The Best Big City Vacation with Small Children

Planning a vacation with small children is ultimately rewarding but it can be a challenge to find ways to affordably entertain a diverse age group. Resorts tend to be a great option for families who will be staying in a location for a week or more. They offer more privacy and a greater since of routine and familiarity and are far more affordable than many imagine.

When traveling with children, it is important to choose locations that have many child-friendly attractions and activities that will also be enjoyable for adults. Take into consideration everyone’s interest and begin the planning process with those in mind.

San Diego

San Diego has a wonderful laid back feeling that is more than welcoming to those traveling with children. The city has numerous opportunities to nurture a child’s growth and education. Families staying in one of the resorts in San Diego should be sure to take advantage of the many outdoor venues such as the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the Cabrillo National Monument, the Carlsbad Flower Fields, and La Jolla Cove.

Parents who want to explore some indoor venues have plenty of options from which to choose. The Maritime Museum of San Diego can investigate a large selection of sailing vessels such as submarines, steam-powered boats, and sailing ships. The Birch Aquarium continues the nautical theme and offers an in-depth look at ocean conservation and education. Sea World San Diego is another great option for those who love marine life.

Washington D.C.

One of the most educational vacations one can take is to the nation’s capital. Not only is it a fantastic introduction to the political process and three branches of the federal government, but there are also many learning opportunities scattered throughout the city.

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is comprised of 163 acres and filled with more than 2,000 animals. There are numerous educational programs offered for children and adults of all ages. The sixteen Smithsonian museums are another must for anyone in the area. They have free admission and a wide range of educational programs. All of the Smithsonian attractions are easily accessible by Metro and many of the museums are conveniently located together at the National Mall.

D.C. has more to offer than the Smithsonian institutions. There are cruises on the Potomac that provide a phenomenal view of many of the most iconic structures in the city. Exploring Old Town Alexandria is another great option for children, especially if the family decides to participate in the exciting self-guided scavenger hunt.


Orlando is perhaps most well known as being the home to the many Disney theme parks, Sea World, and Universal Studios. While these are certainly fantastic options for those visiting the area, they are not the only enjoyable activities in the area.

Orlando is not a beach town, but it is centrally located and only about an hour away from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Both coastlines have numerous beaches for families to explore that are equally gorgeous in their own way. For those traveling to Florida for the first time, it is fun to spend one day on each coast to see how different the two coastlines are.

International Drive is one of the most fun-filled locations in all of Orlando. It is home to Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Wonder Works, both of which are always a hit with children and parents. This area has a multitude of shopping and dining options as well as a large IMAX theater.

Traveling with children does require more planning than a solo trip or an adventure with adult companions. However, it also gives one the ability to experience the world in a new and exciting way. Take the time to immerse yourself in the vacation with a childlike wonder and see what the destination has to teach the entire family.

The Best Big City Vacation with Small Children



  1. Jeni Hawkins says

    These all look like great places to visit! I am glad to know that they have kid friendly activities.

  2. This sounds so great! There’s so many great ways to have fun with kids close to home!

  3. Orlando has always been a favorite of our family for trips. Of course you’ve got the two big theme parks, but there’s also so many other things to do, as well.

  4. Jenna M Wood says

    I’ve always wanted to travel to Orlando but I never knew it was so kid friendly! We are overdue for a family trip!

  5. I have never been to Orlando before. I was so close to going but changed my mind last-minute!

  6. I know we had a really good time in Orlando when the kids were little. I think we could have had a blast in D.C. too. I love the museums there.

  7. Love the fact that San Diego made the list because I’ve always wanted to go! Great to know that it can be visited with the whole family and still be enjoyable.

  8. We went to San Diego last year! I agree that city has a lot to do with small kids! We love that city!

  9. We love San Diego and Orlando for the kids! We’ve done both and they’re perfect for the whole family!

  10. mommymomentblog says

    We have gone to Orlando with the kids but not the other places yet. It sounds like San Diego would be a lot of fun and the museums in D.C. interest me for sure.

  11. We have never done Orlando but that sounds fun. I want to do DC again now that our youngest is older and can appreciate the history!

  12. Claudia Krusch says

    These are great places to travel with kids. I am excited to go to San Diego this summer with my family.

  13. Lisa Bristol says

    I am looking forward to going to San Diego next Winter. DC is at the top of my list as well.

  14. Cool! Thanks so much for these suggestions! One of my friends is looking for child-friendly places to visit next week. Will suggest these to her!

  15. I remember traveling with my daughters when they were younger. I would have loved to have visited these cities.

  16. These are all great cities to visit. We go to San Diego every year.

  17. It’s so good to hear that Orlando is kid friendly.We will have to book something soon.Thanks for the great feature.

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