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3 Awesome Outdoor Family-Friendly Destinations

family-friendly destinations

These destinations are fun for the whole family! Photo: Julian Bialowas/Unsplash; Edited: Jessie on a Journey.

By Nick Geller

The old adage says that you can’t please everyone all of the time. This seems especially true when deciding upon an outdoor family vacation. Parents might want to hike across stunning terrain, explore local culture and eat local cuisine. The kids are more likely to want to spend all day on the beach followed by a visit to a theme park.

Does this sound familiar? Fear not. This article narrows down three destinations that appeal to numerous interests, including:

family-friendly destinations

Cancun, Mexico. Photo: dronepicr/flickr.



Cancún, Mexico

Cancún is located on the northeast corner of the Yucatán Peninsula. With white sands and warm turquoise waters perfect for snorkeling, Cancún’s 13 miles of superb coastline have become one of Mexico‘s top coastal destinations. The beach of Punta Nizuc has an accessible reef home to turtles and starfish swimming amongst vivid corals. And if that doesn’t please all the family, try venturing inland to visit ancient Mayan ruins. El Rey is easily accessible, located within Cancún’s hotel zone. If that piques your interest, try the larger sites of El Meco, Cobá and Muyil for their impressive architecture.

family-friendly destinations

Snorkeling in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Jessie on a Journey.

Dominican Republic, Caribbean

The Dominican Republic has much to offer visitors, including a number of sustainability-focused activities for responsible tourists. One major highlight: taking a boat trip to Los Haitises National Park, a popular ecotourism destination. A hike around the park’s virgin tropical forests reveals numerous caverns with ancient pictographs emblazoned upon their walls. After exploring the caverns, many boat tours sail around the mangroves where manatee sightings happen regularly. Frigatebirds, pelicans and turkey vultures are also a common sight.

family-friendly destinations

Niagara Falls. Photo: Eva Blue/Unsplash.

Niagara Falls State Park, USA

Located in New York, the Niagara Falls State Park is best known for its main attraction, Niagara Falls. The 167-foot waterfall is a show stopper for sure, though this park has a whole lot more to offer. There’s the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory, jet boat cruises through the Niagara Gorge rapids, helicopter tours, Prospect Point Park observation tower, Skylon Tower and Niagara Botanical Gardens, to name a few. 

For hiking and cycling, don’t miss the Niagara Glen Nature Centre where miles of well marked and well paved trails afford spectacular views over the stunning Niagara River. It’s free, and so is most parking along the Niagara Parkway, though there is a charge for parking spots close to Niagara Falls.

If you’re based in NYC and want to visit this natural gem, a Niagara Falls Private Plan Day Trip offers an exclusive experience that also maximizes time.

What’s your favorite destination for a family vacation? Please share in the comments below! 

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Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers by Don George [Great Reads]

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