Finding a vacation spot kids and adults find equally enriching is a little tricky. Many times, either the parents or their children will find themselves wandering off at least mentally when everyone’s at a theme park or an art museum, and grownups can find the services or food options to be lacking during a youth-oriented trip.
But there are spots around the country and world that can thrill and educate across the generations, with accommodations pampering parents and grandparents, too!
The inhabitants of this beautiful cultural hub on the Mediterranean famously love the little ones, and there are play spaces everywhere for them to get their wiggles out while the grownups sip sangria. One of the best playgrounds of all is right in front of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The open-air Barcelona City Tour bus lets the whole family gawk and stop at the city’s top landmarks, a rolling schoolhouse everyone will be able to learn from. And the Spanish city is stocked with luxury hotels with tantalizing restaurants and sumptuous spas.
This area has evolved far beyond its ski-resort beginnings into a world-class year-round destination with luxury resorts in the mix. And, as this Wyoming city has grown up, it’s cultivated a kid-friendly side with the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum. The National Museum of Wildlife Art has world-class paintings and sculptures to captivate all patrons, and there’s plenty of rollicking outdoor adventures to be had, especially with Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks so close by.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Encompassing the peaks of both Mauna Loa and Kilauea, this is a magnificent place for older kids to learn about the unfathomable power of volcanoes to shape and reshape our planet. The excellent Kilauea Visitor Center’s exhibits are brought to life outside with steam vents, lava tubes, hiking trails and the 23,000 Pu’u Loa petroglyphs. Hilo, just 30 minutes away, has resorts offering golf, dining, fitness centers, nightclubs and more.
Italy’s northern mountain range offers spectacular views and amazing itineraries for active families with hiking, mountain biking (including e-bikes), adventure parks, ziplines, climbing and more in the summer, and downhill skiing and other sports with warm lodges to kick back in come winter. Located on the Austrian border, this is one of the less-traveled areas of Italy for an unhurried introduction to this pivotal nation. Five-star resorts with cushy rooms, outstanding regional fare and superb spas can be found here, including the Rosa Alpina.
This island paradise is especially welcoming to the toddler set, with a Baby Beach tucked away in Horseshoe Bay, an expansive playground in front of the National Museum and Children’s Museum, which is right next to a dolphin attraction and an oceanfront mini-golf course modeled on the most iconic golf courses. Many restaurants serve kid-friendly, wholesome, locally sourced meals, and the island has earned its luxury bona fides at many high-end resorts over the years.