The Best Baby-Friendly Vacation Spots (and Where Not to Go)
Ready for a vacation? We feel you. But planning a getaway doesn’t mean you have to leave baby behind—there are plenty of great places that offer fun for the whole family. We’ve rounded up of a few of the best baby-friendly vacations out there (so you don’t have to rack your in-need-of-a-break brain trying to think of one)—plus a list of some less baby-friendly destinations you may want to avoid for now.
Let’s face it: Traveling with a little one can sometimes be a challenge, what with the mountains of gear to carry and an infant to keep safe, soothed and entertained. But the right destination can make all the difference. Check out these baby-friendly vacations that’ll set up the family for some relaxing fun.
We know what you’re thinking: Sailing the open seas with baby? Well, hear us out. If you choose the right cruise, you won’t have to schlep around a stroller all day long, and it’s pretty easy to return back to your stateroom every few hours for a little break. Plus, most cruises are equipped to cater to families, even those with small babies. If you go on a Disney cruise, for example, you can order diapers, wipes and other necessities ahead of time (so you don’t have to pack them). And you’ll never be bored—on most cruise lines, there are deck parties and games, live shows, babysitting services, a variety of cuisines to choose from and you can personalize your excursions to something easy and baby-friendly, like a dip in the pool. In terms of baby-friendly vacations, this one ranks pretty high up there.
Check out: Disney Cruise Lines. Rates vary, but a two-night cruise for a family of three (two adults and one infant) starts at around $1,500. Note that children must be over 6 months of age.
Rent a beach house that’s within driving distance—it’ll be way easier than going through airport security with baby. This option has a couple of other great benefits too: You’ll save money by buying your own groceries (not to mention you won’t have to bring baby to a million different restaurants). Plus, you’ll be able to pack all your baby gear without worrying about airline baggage restrictions and fees. And renting a beach house is a great way to get other family members, like your parents or in-laws, together for a few days. Hello, free babysitting!
Splurge by booking a stay at an all-inclusive, ultra-luxe resort. With meals and some activities included, you’ll have all the luxuries already provided and you won’t feel guilty if you don’t end up setting foot outside the resort the whole time. Plus, most all-inclusives will cater to infants, making them some of the best places to vacation with a baby. Some resorts provide babyproofing services for your room, in-suite nannies you can hire when you want some alone time with your partner and day care or kids’ camp to keep baby entertained while you enjoy the golf course, spa or pool.
Check out: Azul Beach Resort. This boutique-size, Riviera Maya-based resort gives you a gorgeous, relaxing setting for your vacation with baby, plus an all-your-babe-can-eat Gerber snack bar, high chairs and boosters at every table, special Fisher-Price-themed suites stocked with cool toys, and a playhouse filled with fun My Gym equipment and teachers. Other baby and kid-friendly locations in this resort group (all in Mexico) include Generations Maroma and Azul Sensatori.
Another option to check out:Beaches, whose Caribbean resorts have a special Sesame Street program where you and baby can go bird-watching with Big Bird, have story time with Elmo and make music with Bert and Ernie. Talk about baby friendly vacations!
Or try a Club Med resort with a Baby Club Med, where for an extra fee, babies from 4 months to 2 years old can do fun activities, eat healthy meals and get all the diapers, wipes and other baby necessities they’ll need.
Grandma and Grandpa’s house
Okay, maybe going to your in-laws’ or parents’ house isn’t your dream vacation with baby, but it’s something, right? In fact, a road trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house is the perfect starter trip. The grandparents will be able to get some bonding time with their grandchild, you can bring as much gear as you want and you won’t have to splurge on a fancy hotel or resort (and we’re pretty sure they’ll provide most of the meals too). Plus, you’ve got a built-in babysitter on hand so you can have a date night during your trip.
Check out: Well, for this one, all you have to do is give your folks or in-laws a call. Easy, right?
These vacation options might sound fun at first, but trust us, these spots don’t make the list of best places to vacation with a baby. Consider waiting to head to these destinations until your infant is older.
You might want to hold off on any plans to go to Southeast Asia or Africa for now. Any place where baby would need special immunizations or malaria pills is probably not worth the stress right now.
Somewhere more than six hours away
A quick plane ride will likely be okay—baby should be good for a short time, but if not, you’ll be off the plane in just a couple of hours. Extend the plane ride over the span of several meals or naptimes, though, and you’re could be asking for trouble.
Bugs, bears and the whims of Mother Nature? That doesn’t exactly sound like the best baby vacation destination. In fact, a camping trip will probably just mean a ton of work and creativity on your part. Think about the logistics of baby-safe activities, where to put stinky diapers and how in the world you’re going to fit a portable crib in your tent. Unless you’re super-outdoorsy, when you go on vacation with baby, you want amenities and something a bit more relaxing.
Sure, B&Bs were a perfect getaway when it was just you and your partner, but now that you’re planning a vacation with baby in tow, it probably won’t work. You’ll constantly worry that baby’s cries are waking (or annoying) everyone in the house. And you might not be able to borrow baby gear like a crib or high chair or have access to other baby-friendly amenities a larger hotel might offer.