One of the best things about family travel is the magnitude of wonderful memories you make with your kids. Whether you’re on an RTW family adventure or a short city trip with your kids, travel creates memories that last a lifetime. Our house is filled with pictures from all the places we’ve visited with our son. And every time we look at them, we’re reminded about the wonderful time we had and the awesome things we did. Some people say that it’s hard to travel with kids or that travel with young kids isn’t worth it. We disagree. Take a look at all these wonderful travel memories and decide for yourself!
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- 1 Creating the best travel memories
- 2 Spotting bison in Yellowstone National Park
- 3 Our first Disney Cruise
- 4 Seeing baby puffins in Iceland
- 5 Swimming in the hot springs at Santorini
- 6 Interrailing in Europe with kids – Mondsee, Austria
- 7 Exploring an abandoned mine in the Black Hills, South Dakota
- 8 Staying in a traditional Japanese style house in Kyoto Japan
- 9 Motorhome road trip along Australia’s east coast
- 10 Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang with kids
- 11 First steps in Seville
- 12 Family trip to Oman
- 13 Road Tripping in the Balkan Countries
- 14 Bike trip in Connemara, Ireland
- 15 Visiting a traditional Balinese home
- 16 A trip to Neuschwanstein Castle with kids
- 17 Watching the Penguins in South Africa
- 18 Exploring Erice: An Italian City in the Clouds
- 19 Conclusion
Creating the best travel memories
Unless you want to, your family holiday doesn’t have to be restricted to a few days at a bungalow park or an all-inclusive kid-friendly hotel. Don’t get me wrong, this can be fun too and your kids will probably have a great time. But it’s not the travel style we prefer. There are so many destinations to discover with your kids! So many adventures to be had, so many foods to try, so many cultures to experience and so many people to meet. That’s why we travel with our son. We want to show him the world and share all those wonderful experiences with him, create amazing travel memories together.
We’ve made so many fantastic travel memories already:
- Riding our bikes in the Coba Ruins in Mexico
- Celebrating New Years Eve in Bangkok, Thailand
- Going on a safari in Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka
- Going on a motorcyle trip from Nha Trang to Dalat in Vietnam
- Eating Italian ice cream in Milan, Italy
We’ve asked our fellow family travel bloggers to share their most precious travel memories with you. To give you a little peek into their lives and the way they travel with their kids. So you can see how amazing family travel can be. And get inspired to travel with your own family. Maybe you’ll find a few new things to add to your travel wish list. I know I have! From spotting penguins in South Africa to a bicycle trip around Ireland and from staying with the Bedouins in Oman to roadtripping around Australia. The world is an amazing place to explore!
Spotting bison in Yellowstone National Park
by Catherine of Passports and Adventures
One of our fondest travel memories as a family is our time spotting bison in the plains of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Yellowstone had been on our family bucket list for a while and when our son was three years old, we couldn’t wait any longer and made the epic trip from Portugal to one of the best national parks in the US.
As well as visiting the geysers and waterfalls of Yellowstone and driving the Grand Loop and enjoying the beautiful landscape, we loved trying to spot bison. Our first experience was on our first day driving out of the park and coming across one lone bison walking on the side of the road. Our then three-year-old was totally in awe of this big beast blocking the way in front of us.
Over the next few days, and armed with a set of binoculars, our son spent most of his time trying to spot bison in the plains and hills of Yellowstone as we continued exploring the park. On our second day we were rewarded with a small herd of bison taking a break in the Hayden Valley, beside the river. We jumped out and enjoyed watching them from a safe distance before moving on. On our day, as we drove through the Lamar Valley towards Roosevelt, we came across a large herd crossing the road, forcing us and everyone else to stop. There were even some bulls fighting.
Spotting bison and other wildlife is one of the best things to do with kids in Yellowstone and is an experience our son has never forgotten.
Our first Disney Cruise
by Adriene from Put on Your Party Pants
We have had a lot of memorable travel experiences, but by far, our favorite is our first Disney Cruise with our young children. We did the Bahamas Cruise that left from Port Canaveral, Florida. The magic of this experience to young children cannot be understated.
A Disney Cruise is the perfect vacation option for families with young children because Disney caters to them in every way. Characters abound, there are countless activities throughout the day, and the pools and water slides are amazing. The ships feature live shows each evening that could arguably make it on Broadway. All of this pales in comparison to the kids clubs, which are included in your cruise fare. You can drop your kids off there as much as you want. Your kids will find endless entertainment, while you have a sanity-saving cocktail.
Our favorite port is Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. It is clean, serene, and has tons of things to do. You can drop your kids off at a kids’ club on the island as well.
To preserve this memory, we took a ton of photos and purchased an ornament. Every holiday season, we are reminded of our trip. I would definitely recommend this trip to families with young children. If your kids are old enough to watch themselves, the exorbitant price of the cruise may not be worth it for you. Our kids were aged 5 and 3 at the time.
Seeing baby puffins in Iceland
by Helen from Holidays from Hels
Our absolute favorite family travel memory is from our visit to Iceland when we saw baby puffins learning to fly!
The guide book suggested that visitors to Vik, a dramatic volcanic beach on Iceland’s south coast, would not only be visiting one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, they might also get a glimpse of some very colorful baby birds.
The Icelandic sun made the black sand sizzle, even tempting us into a short-lived paddle (the water remained ice cold). We started to get excited when, through the binoculars, we realized that the black dots bobbing on the glimmering sea were actually the puffins!
Walking to the cliffs at the far end of the beach, we could hardly believe our eyes when tiny cartoon-sized birds started to launch themselves from only a few feet above us into the water below. The ocean must make for a safe landing on your first foray into the world of flight. We were mesmerized by the baby puffin bombardment taking place around us. One would launch every couple of minutes, flapping their little wings madly for whole the time it took to reach the water. Quite magical.
I took a thousand photographs and on returning home wrote a post about our adventure in my family travels blog to spread the word. If you visit Iceland in July, I would totally recommend this. My boys were 10 and 12, but I think children of any age would love it.
Swimming in the hot springs at Santorini
by Christine from My Traveling Kids
How often can you say you swam inside a volcano? Before our trip, we didn’t know the caldera of Santorini, Greece, was actually created by a volcano. If your family loves adventure, there’s nowhere better to spend your day than out on the water. There are lots of excursions you can book, but we had a perfect afternoon when we reserved a private boat to take us out.
First stop was swimming in the hot springs. My daughters thought it was so cool because of how unique the water is. The water is hot at the surface, but if you hang your legs straight down it is cold, so you are feeling two different temperatures at the same time! My girls thought it was a magic trick!
Our next stop was snorkeling at White Sand Beach. The sand and towering cliffs of white stone are a stunning ashy grey color and the water is crystal clear. We could see colorful fish, but the best part is you can see the actual drop-off of the volcano. We were all in awe! We ended our day with an unforgettable sunset. In Santorini, the sunsets are legendary and it was stunning seeing the orange glow of the setting sun reflecting off the pearl-colored town of Oia. We felt like we were in a postcard.
My daughters were ages 7 and 9, and they still talk about how fun our trip was. Every time we look up at the framed print hanging in our living room, it takes us back to our amazing time in Greece.
Interrailing in Europe with kids – Mondsee, Austria
by Debbie from GrandAdventureStory
One of our fondest travel memories is waking up in a sleeper carriage on a train as it crossed the border between Germany and Austria. We tucked into our breakfast of fresh rolls and jam, excited for the first stop on our European Interrail holiday. Together with our two boys, aged 6 and 8, we were on our way Mondsee to meet up with family for a few days on the lake.
Mondsee, one of the largest lakes in the Salzkammergut, Austria’s lake district, is an ideal destination for a multi-generational family holiday. With a car (we hired one near Salzburg train station) it’s easy to visit the city of Salzburg, the surrounding lakes and villages, or even tick off some of the ‘Sound of Music’ filming locations. Our favourite day, however, was spent on the lake itself.
We paid less than €10 per person for a day pass to Alpenseebad, an open-air water park on Mondsee. In the park the kids were awed by the variety of activities on offer. Huge inflatables sit in the water, slides rush straight into the lake and seriously high diving boards are available for the fearless. Younger children can play in a splash pool or paddle at the beach. Alongside these water activities there’s a café serving up würstl (sausages), chips and ice cream. All of this is set against the stunning backdrop of the mountains of the Salzkammergut. There’s no better place to spend a warm summer’s day.
Exploring an abandoned mine in the Black Hills, South Dakota
by David from DavidnBrace.com
Nothing builds family memories like traveling. By experiencing and taking on the unique challenges of the world we strengthen our own family bonds and build deeper connections.
For our family, the greatest memories have always been made when we jump off the beaten path and go out exploring the wild places of wherever we happen to be. From the otherworldly interior of the Badlands National Park to the bayous of New Orleans, nothing compares to watching our kids explore some natural wonder.
My fondest memory without a doubt comes from the Black Hills of South Dakota. We had spent several days hiking and exploring the rugged terrain, watching bison wander through Custer State Park, and following streams as they trickled through crags and over cliffs.
Finally, we came across the abandoned Ingersoll Mine, one whose operators claimed “held more varieties of minerals than Heinz had pickles!”
The processing building was the first sign of the mine we found. Its structure was crafted from hand-hewn timber beams and sided with sheet metal, twisted from decades of fierce winds. We climbed through 3 stories of wood and equipment. Giant gears, steam-pumps, and chains littered the place, too heavy to be removed or looted.
We climbed the mountainside above the building to where I had heard the intact mineshafts were. Cold air swept out of the shafts, carrying the metallic smell of earth and granite. The kids were timid yet excited. This was bringing the history of the Black Hills to life in a way that no museum could.
That’s how it is when you leave the tourist sights. The world is full of adventures waiting to be had and your kids are ready to take them on!
Staying in a traditional Japanese style house in Kyoto Japan
by Brittany from Family on Standby
It’s a difficult thing – choosing one super memorable travel experience. Something that stands out amongst all others. But the one I always go back to is the trip our family took to Japan a couple of years ago. We visited Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Especially Kyoto is so rich in culture and tradition that you’ll never forget your time there.
We stayed in a traditional Japanese house. It was conveniently located, had plenty of space for the kids to spread out, and yes, the much-hyped Japanese style toilet. But the coolest feature was the bedding set up. Our family of four slept on the floor, using traditional tatami mats. I thought it might be uncomfortable, but it was such a cool experience. One that I recommend if you ever get the chance to visit Japan.
Viewing shrines and eating ramen is absolutely a cultural experience not to be missed. But staying in a traditional Japanese house was a unique way to experience the culture. Plus, we were traveling with a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old. As it turns out, sleeping on tatami mats is like one big sleepover. Perfect for kids!
We created a video to remember our experience (and for other families wondering what the experience is like). Other memorable spots included the Arashiyama Monkey Park and Bamboo Grove, Golden Pavilion, and Fushimi Inari Shrine. If you visit Kyoto, you’ll be getting tradition and culture, but also the chance to meet some of the kindest people in the world.
Motorhome road trip along Australia’s east coast
By Sinead from Map Made Memories
One of our family’s best travel memories is our six-week road trip in a motorhome along the east coast of Australia. We drove from Cairns to Sydney, traveling during the Australian winter thereby benefiting from quieter locations and attractions. Luckily, we also experienced consistently warm, sunny weather.
We loved the sense of freedom and flexibility that a self-contained motorhome provided our family and found our three children, then aged 12, 10 and 7, adapted easily to van life. We self-catered, stopping to eat where and when we wanted to and were able to use the fantastic Australian freedom camping initiative. We were able to camp for free in a variety of stunning, rural locations that allowed us to witness incredible starry skies and an abundance of wildlife.
The east coast is a diverse, family-friendly destination offering an incredible array of activities and attractions. We snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, walked in rainforests at Mossman Gorge, fed wild dolphins at Tin Can Bay, spotted whales in Byron Bay and went sandboarding in Port Stephens. We learned to surf at Coolum Beach and stroked a Giant Tortoise at Australia Zoo in Beerwah.
Every day brought a new, fun experience creating a host of wonderful memories. I have written about our Australian east coast road trip on our family travel blog and we have photos from this trip around our home to remind us of this special time for our family.
Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang with kids
by Martha from Go Places With Kids
Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang, Malaysia is one of the largest Buddhist Temples in Southeast Asia. And although there are many fun, kid-friendly activities in Penang, visiting this temple was not only a highlight of our trip, it’s also one of our family’s favorite travel memories!
When we visited the temple, our boys were 18 months and three years old. Our three-year-old was absolutely delighted by the experience. He ran energetically from place to place pointing out all the wonders he could find while our toddler received a free ride in the baby carrier.
Kek Lok Si is actually a massive temple complex, filled with statues, pagodas, shrines, and detailed art. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there is another stunning sight around the next corner.
We happened to visit the temple during Chinese New Year. Little did we know that each year at that time the temple is illuminated at night by thousands of glimmering lights. As we strolled through the temple at dusk, much to our surprise, the temple began to light up around us.
Our boys were transfixed by the sight of countless glowing lanterns and twinkling neon lights. It felt like a magical experience meant just for our family, especially because it wasn’t something we were expecting. Even now, our boys love to look back on the many pictures we took to capture those special family memories.
If you’re visiting Penang with (or without) kids, a trip to Kek Lok Si Temple is one experience that you do not want to miss. Especially if you’re lucky enough to be there during Chinese New Year!
First steps in Seville
by Rachel from Celt and Kiwi
As a brand photographer and family travel blogger, I spend a lot of time behind the camera. Sometimes I get home from a trip having so few photos of myself it’s like I wasn’t there! So every couple of years I book a local photographer to capture our vacation. If you’re a parent who wishes they were in more photos, we thoroughly recommend hiring a vacation photographer. It’s usually fairly easy to find a local photographer to help you out and it’s a great way to support local businesses!
When our daughter Wendy was almost 10 months old, we went on a family road trip around the Andalucia region in Spain. It was already a very special trip because my brother, who had been on military deployment, was able to join us. I booked a photographer through Flytographer to capture some travel memories while we were in Seville. We chose the Real Alcázar, Seville’s impressive palace as the location for our shoot. Since the famous Andalucian oranges were in fruit, simply exploring the grounds was amazing. But it reached a whole new level when Wendy decided to take her first steps while in pursuit of a duck she had spotted. And I didn’t need to worry about capturing it myself!
This travel memory is so special to me that it is immortalized in a printed photobook. Of course, it made it onto our blog as well!
Family trip to Oman
by Nichola from Globalmouse Travels
Our favorite travel experience as a family so far has been that of our trip to Oman. We weren’t sure what to expect from Oman but it proved to be the most evocative country, full of warmth both in temperature but crucially from the people we met. We started our travels in the capital city of Muscat and enjoyed browsing the souk with its constant smell of frankincense, the perfume of our travels around Oman. We took a boat trip out in the bay to watch the dolphins jumping in the calm sea and spent time at the amazing resorts here in the city.
Then it was time to head out. We spent a night with Bedouin nomads and their camels in the desert of The Sharqiya Sands. Here the children clambered over the sand dunes, rode camels, shared dates with the nomads and we all sat and watch the sunset. It was the most magical of experiences. We also went glamping in Oman. Staying in an air-conditioned tent up on the clifftop where at night we went with an environmental research group to silently watch endangered Green Turtles lay their eggs on the beach. This is a country that gets under your skin and our trip to Oman with kids (who at the time were 10,8 and 5) made us all fall in love with this beautiful place and we can’t wait to return.
Road Tripping in the Balkan Countries
by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
On a last-minute trip we headed to the Balkans to do a road trip around 5 countries – Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia. It was a whirlwind of a trip as we only had two to three days in each of these countries.
Despite the challenges of finding vegan food in these countries, we made lovely memories. The undulating landscapes, friendly people, fewer tourists, and some of the stunning coastlines have left an unforgettable mark on our experience.
My twins, who were 3 years old then, enjoyed the trip lot, and fondly talk about it even today. Soaking in the warm waters, eating the fresh fruits from the countryside, communicating with the B&B hosts without even having a common language, hiking the mountains or being lost in the towns and villages. We made countless memories in the short time we traveled.
Our kids’ favorite memory goes back to visiting the bear sanctuary in Kosovo, paddling in the pristine waters of Ohrid lake in North Macedonia, taking the longest cable car to Dajti National Park, in Albania and swimming in the crystal clear sea in Montenegro.
Balkans are the most underrated countries in Europe and are usually off the radar for families. But we felt safe all the time in all these countries. We loved each of these countries so much that we went back again to Albania and North Macedonia to spend another three weeks.
To preserve the experience and relive the moments, we have made a photo album of our Balkan trip.
Bike trip in Connemara, Ireland
by Celine from Family Can Travel
One of our best family travel memories is our bike trip in Connemara, Ireland. Cycling through Ireland was always something we had planned to do and getting to share that experience with our kids made it so much better. We thought we’d have to wait several more years before we could do it as a family but finding the right tour company made it possible. Thanks to the right cycling gear and a family-friendly itinerary, we were able to do this family cycle tour in Ireland with our kids (who were 6 and (almost) 4 at the time).
Accomplishing this 7-day self-guided tour as a family was a big deal to us. It helped us to see what we could do with our kids and that pushing the limits wasn’t a bad thing. It also demonstrated to the kids what they were possible of accomplishing. We had one tag-a-long that the kids were able to take turns riding on and pedaling along with us. This led us to even greater adventures on subsequent trips and has us dreaming about our next biking adventure.
That aside, it was just a lot of fun to do as a family. Biking is one of our favorite things to do when we travel. It’s a completely different experience than driving. We have so many incredible memories from that week, and thankfully we have all the details, pictures and videos up on the blog for any time we want to relive it.
Visiting a traditional Balinese home
by Astrid from The Wandering Daughter
When traveling, our family often tries to connect with the local culture as much as possible. One of our favorite travel memories was taking a Bali day tour in Indonesia to visit a traditional Balinese home. It was a unique opportunity for our family to see what life was like for a typical Balinese family.
Although a popular vacation destination for travelers, Bali’s culture is not always something that people take the time to learn about. In reality, the Balinese practice their culture and Hindu religion in a way that permeates every aspect of their life. Whether it’s creating daily offerings or visiting the water temples, the island’s cultural practices are ingrained into every Balinese. And that has always intrigued our family.
Through a travel company called Real Indonesia, our family had a chance to visit a traditional Balinese home and take part in making offerings, cooking food, and working in the rice paddies. Our 9 and 6-year-old children were engaged in hands-on cultural activities during the whole experience, and they enjoyed every minute of it!
While we didn’t bring back any souvenirs, the photos we took were more than enough to keep our memories of that experience alive and well. More importantly, the cultural insight we gained from that visit to a Balinese home was more valuable than any book we could ever read. For families who like to use the world as their classroom, this experience is something that’s not to be missed!
A trip to Neuschwanstein Castle with kids
by Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels
Neuschwanstein Castle is a magical place located in southern Germany, nestled high in the mountains within Bavaria. Most kids will easily recognize this castle due to the replica at Disney World and in several Disney movies. Neuschwanstein draws more visitors per year than any other castle.
I chose this family adventure as one of our fondest because this was our first long-distance family trip as an entire family after my youngest son was born. It was such an amazing experience to watch my oldest get super excited when he recognized the castle. His exact words “Look! It is the castle from the movies!” He so wanted for his baby brother to be just as excited as him. I’m sure one day we will return and then my youngest too can get super excited about this fairytale castle.
During our visit, we loved all of the different adventures that are located right in this area. We took the walk out to Queen Mary’s Bridge to get beautiful pictures. We visited the Hohenschwangua Castle, which is right next door to Neuschwanstein. And as a bonus family activity, we went to Tegelbergbahn and did the toboggan run.
Still several years later, whenever we start a Disney movie, my eldest always reminds my youngest of how they both got to see that castle and all of the fun activities they did that day. I’m so glad that I preserved this amazing family experience through photos that we have hanging around the house, and through our dedicated blog post, Visit Neuschwanstein Castle With Kids, so that both of my boys can remember all of their wonderful adventures from a young age. I highly recommend a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle if you are ever in lower Germany.
Watching the Penguins in South Africa
by Karishma from Life with 2 cubs
We are a Canadian family and some of our fondest memories have involved exploring and adventuring with our 2 little girls. One that particularly screams out was witnessing the penguins in their natural habitat in South Africa. We made this trip halfway across the globe in November 2019 when our older daughter was 2 years old and the little one was a mere 6 months old. Our older daughter is so fond of animals and when we were planning our trip to South Africa, we knew this was a must for us. I mean, we did not need to go to Antarctica to see penguins so it was definitely a win!
A colony of South African penguins resides on the Boulders beach in a coastal town near Cape Town. A short walk from the parking landed us at the entrance to get into the preserved area to watch the penguins from the boardwalk. While you can only watch them up close from the boardwalk, a little trick to encounter them closer is swimming on the beach adjacent to where the colony resides. If you are lucky enough, you will have these cute penguins swimming right alongside you – the ones that crossed the boulders and made it to the beach area. Check out our blog to read more about our South African adventures with our two cubs!
Exploring Erice: An Italian City in the Clouds
By Denisha of Love Joy Blessings
Erice is a historic town and commune in the province of Trapini in the southern part of Sicily. On our tour of the island, we chose to make the steep, winding drive 751 meters above sea level to explore this historic wonder.
We were already blown away by the views on the way up, but there was so much more to see once we made it to our destination. The huge stone archway leading into the walls of the commune was quite impressive. We got lost in the ancient alleyways as we explored beautiful churches, palaces, businesses, cafes, and residencies with our 6, 5 and 3 year old girls. They giggled with delight as they ran free through the cobblestone streets, discovering every nook and cranny they came across.
Venus Castle is a huge staple in Erice, providing some of the best panoramic views. We decided against venturing further for a closer look, but we certainly enjoyed its beauty from a short distance away.
I recommend this adventure with children who are old enough to handle the cobblestones. Pushing a stroller here would be quite a feat, so if you could wear your baby this destination is still possible for you and your family. There’s so much to see and plenty of great Italian cafes, so plan to stay a while.
Family travel creates memories that last a lifetime. Don’t just take our word for it, but the wonderful words of all the families that contributed to this post. I don’t know about you, but we’re very inspired by all these amazing travel memories and more determined than ever to hit the road again soon!