No matter where you decide to go on your family vacation, there are certain attractions, sights and activities that will capture the excitement of your little ones. Here is a list of a few of our favourites.
1. Trains - Train museums, model train shows, model train stores, working steam trains, child sized trains. Whether you find them in parks, playgrounds, amusement parks, museums or along the road, trains (and buses, and planes) are always a hit with the kids. And if you can manage to include train travel in your plans, your golden.
2. Water - Of course, beaches are big family destinations, but even if you are heading to a inland city or traveling in cooler weather, you can still make swimming part of your vacation fun. Search for local recreation centres to find pools and water parks. And don't overlook lakes and slow moving streams for potential water play areas. Just check out the local safety guidelines. And of course, there is always the hotel pool.
3. Playgrounds - If children live in the area you are traveling to, there will be playgrounds of some description. Often, what is most interesting about them is how they differ from the playgrounds your kids are used to at home. And there are usually some fun photo ops, too!
mental_floss has a fun list of unusual playgrounds world wide. Or just google playgrounds for your destination.
4. Toys Stores - Okay, I know that a trip to the local Toys R Us may not be a parents idea of a great time. But finding unique local toy stores for kids (and adults) to peruse can be fun, and give you a child-sized glimpse into local culture. And you just may find the perfect souvenir for your kids to take home.
Spot Cool Stuff has a great list of "cool" toy stores around the world.
5. Festivals, Parades or Sporting Events - You don't need to plan your vacation around them, but it is worth the time to look up local events at your destination, and make a note of anything that may appeal to your family. Your little hockey player would love to take in a local game, even if it's not their favourite team. Your budding ballerina would be over the moon at a performance of the local ballet company. Music festivals, celebrations of heritage, fireworks competitions, and sports tournaments. And you might enjoy these things, too!
What's On When is a good source of info for events around the world. No matter where you go, with just a little research, you will find fun and interesting things to do that will keep the whole family engaged.