22 Ideas to Inspire the Ultimate Family Vacation

Craving some inspiration for your next family break? Look no further

~

A family admiring the hot springs on a sunny day at Yellowstone National Park, USA

Whether it’s stopping by the seaside, camping in the forest, or enjoying a week of thrills at a theme park, everyone has special memories of their favourite family holiday. But finding the best vacation spots for families is never easy. All kinds of factors can be involved, from budget and time of year, to the age gaps between the youngsters you’re travelling with - maybe even the grandparents are in tow, too. Here at Plum Guide, given our global experience in all things travel, you won't be surprised to hear that we've gone above and beyond - we’ve scanned the atlas to come up with the best family vacation ideas around. Amid these tips, there’s something for everybody - whether you’re toddling around on the sand with a bucket and spade, or hankering after a wild ride at an adventure park.

Orlando, Florida, USA

An aerial view of skyscrapers and a large lake at sunset in Orlando, Florida, USA

An aerial view of skyscrapers and a large lake at sunset in Orlando, Florida, USA

The most affordable way to visit America’s premier family attraction is to simply take your time - spread your visits to the four theme parks and two water parks of the Walt Disney World Resort over a week. This allows you to take in the Universal Orlando Resort too, and its many sections inspired by Harry Potter.

The Sultan, Plum Guide home in Florida, USA

The Sultan, Plum Guide home in Florida, USA

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Two skyscrapers illuminated at night with fireworks in the dark sky, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Two skyscrapers illuminated at night with fireworks in the dark sky, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

With the Sunway Lagoon waterpark, Skytrex Adventure theme park, and Lost World of Tambun amusement complex, kids will love a trip to Kuala Lumpur. You'll also discover the KL Bird Park and its exotic parrots, the sharks at Aquaria KLCC, and the glowing fireflies at Kuala Selangor - definitely one for the wildlife enthusiasts.

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

A bird's eye view of people sunbathing with colourful parasols on a white-sand beach by clear blue water, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

A bird's eye view of people sunbathing with colourful parasols on a white-sand beach by clear blue water, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

With nearly 60km of white, sandy beaches lining Queensland’s Gold Coast, this is definitely one to consider when collating your family vacation ideas. Home of Surfers’ Paradise, wildlife sanctuaries, and the Sea World Resort (Australia’s only theme park resort), the whole group is certain to enjoy a memorable trip - for all the right reasons.

Laughing Kookaburra, Plum Guide home in Australia

Laughing Kookaburra, Plum Guide home in Australia

Cornwall, UK

An aerial view of cottages by the sea in front of a forest, Cornwall, UK

An aerial view of cottages by the sea in front of a forest, Cornwall, UK

The UK’s west coast is as rugged as it is romantic - and brims with adventure. With kids more and more environmentally conscious, the Eden Project in a reclaimed clay pit in Cornwall is a great holiday option. Around domes filled with rainforest and Mediterranean foliage, there’s a zipwire, a giant swing, and the Invisible Worlds exhibition.

Sweet Nightingale, Plum Guide home in Cornwall, UK

Sweet Nightingale, Plum Guide home in Cornwall, UK

Yellowstone National Park, USA

An aerial view of orange land around a bright blue hot spring steaming, Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA

An aerial view of orange land around a bright blue hot spring steaming, Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA

Those looking for the best vacation spots for families should head to north-west Wyoming. Cabins, ranches, campsites, and hotels dot the Yellowstone National Park, allowing you to stay at the world’s oldest national park and explore its nature trails. Everyone wants see Old Faithful, which erupts every hour or so.

Algarve, Portugal

Brown rocks on a pristine sandy beach by calm blue water on a sunny day, Algarve, Portugal

Brown rocks on a pristine sandy beach by calm blue water on a sunny day, Algarve, Portugal

Holidaymakers flock to the Algarve because of its scenic beaches and countless cultural attractions. Beautiful coves, gorgeous waters, and plentiful dolphins are key reasons why the coast of southern Portugal is so popular, along with its accessibility and affordability.

Sounds Of The Waves, Plum Guide home in the Algarve, Portugal

Sounds Of The Waves, Plum Guide home in the Algarve, Portugal

Paris, France

A view of a small boat on the River Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower in autumn, Paris, France

A view of a small boat on the River Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower in autumn, Paris, France

If you’re going to do European city break with the family, Paris is a top choice, with Disneyland Paris on its eastern outskirts, famous selfie spots aplenty and boat rides down the Seine. Eurostar travel from London means you don’t have to deal with airports, and urban transport is second to none.

Rock On Charonne, Plum Guide home in Paris, France

Rock On Charonne, Plum Guide home in Paris, France

Montenegro

A view of Sveti Stefan in front of distant mountains, Montenegro

A view of Sveti Stefan in front of distant mountains, Montenegro

The scenery in Montenegro is sensational, so this isn't one to miss. Fulfil your sense of adventure with trips to Kotor Old City and Lake Skadar, or put your feet up at one of the sandy strips that line the Adriatic Sea - Dobrec beach and Jaz Beach are two favourites, and they're popular for a reason.

Lake Tahoe, USA

Clear blue water with green trees in front of snow-capped mountains, Lake Tahoe, USA

Clear blue water with green trees in front of snow-capped mountains, Lake Tahoe, USA

Around these pristine waters where California meets Nevada, you can take a mountain gondola, ride in a hot-air balloon, go hiking, take a boat cruise and, in winter, go skiing. Top-quality restaurants line the north shore, too, so your cravings will always be met.

Elderbrush, Plum Guide home in Lake Tahoe, USA

Elderbrush, Plum Guide home in Lake Tahoe, USA

Barcelona, Spain

A colourful wall overlooking green trees and buildings in Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

A colourful wall overlooking green trees and buildings in Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

Both a city break and a beach holiday, Barcelona is within easy reach of the relatively unspoiled Costa Brava. The city also welcomes visitors to its Port Aventura theme park, which boasts the highest rollercoaster in Europe, as well as a skydiving simulator. Treat the kids to a game at the Camp Nou, home of football’s famous FC Barcelona.

Rhodiola, Plum Guide home in Barcelona, Spain

Rhodiola, Plum Guide home in Barcelona, Spain

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

An aerial view of a pier with red parasols in bright blue water on a white-sand beach, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

An aerial view of a pier with red parasols in bright blue water on a white-sand beach, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Jungle trails past giant fruit bats, and Lutong monkeys lead up from the wild sandy beaches of this idyllic getaway - Perhentian Islands off the eastern coast of Malaysia. Perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving, this is where the giant green turtle lays her eggs.

Southern California, USA

A calm sandy beach with palm trees and large rocks at sunrise, Southern California, USA

A calm sandy beach with palm trees and large rocks at sunrise, Southern California, USA

Southern California packs a punch for family vacations, boasting everything from breezy beach houses to high-octane national parks. The original Disneyland in southern California keeps adding new attractions, to woo families long familiar with Mickey’s Toontown and Tomorrowland.

Turn on the Heat, Plum Guide home in California, USA

Turn on the Heat, Plum Guide home in California, USA

Langkawi, Malaysia

A bird's eye view of a lighthouse on a green cliff by the sea, Langkawi, Malaysia

A bird's eye view of a lighthouse on a green cliff by the sea, Langkawi, Malaysia

Surrounded by 98 islands set in the deep-blue Andaman Sea in Malaysia, Langkawi is tailored for family holidays. A cable car leads to the SkyRex, SkyDome and SkyGlide attractions for young thrillseekers - that is, if you can lure them away from snorkelling, swimming, and paddle-boarding.

Galway

A view of colourful terraced buildings by calm water at sunset, The Claddagh Galway, Galway, Ireland

A view of colourful terraced buildings by calm water at sunset, The Claddagh Galway, Galway, Ireland

Child-friendly Ireland is usually around the top of most people’s lists for family vacation ideas, and Galway ticks all the boxes. With its lovely beaches, Leisureland waterpark, a trampolining centre, horse-riding, and the Burren Nature Sanctuary close by, it's the perfect spot for that precious family time.

Spell Cast, Plum Guide home in Ireland

Spell Cast, Plum Guide home in Ireland

Vienna, Austria

A view of the Church Heiliger Franz of Assisi by green trees and a canal, Vienna, Austria

A view of the Church Heiliger Franz of Assisi by green trees and a canal, Vienna, Austria

For a winter break, the Christmas Market in Vienna can be combined with the Austrian capital’s year-round attractions- think the Butterfly House in town, the old-school Ferris Wheel in Prater Park, and the Haus des Meeres aquarium in Esterhazy Park. Delicious hot chocolate and cake seals the deal.

The Wings of Hope, Plum Guide home in Vienna, Austria

The Wings of Hope, Plum Guide home in Vienna, Austria

Bangkok, Thailand

An aerial view of colourful tents at a night market in Bangkok, Thailand

An aerial view of colourful tents at a night market in Bangkok, Thailand

The Thai capital can be a wonderland for parents and kids alike. Attractions will be found around every corner - visit the region’s largest aquarium, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, the Children’s Discovery Museum, or Dream World. As well as these stops, enjoy traditional outings, with canal boat tours and visits to the floating markets a must-do.

Menorca, Spain

A white sailing boat on clear blue sea between rocky cliffs in Menorca, Spain

A white sailing boat on clear blue sea between rocky cliffs in Menorca, Spain

The most rugged of the Balearic isles, the lesser-visited Menorca offers the best and emptiest sandy beaches - particularly Cala d’Algaiarens on the north-west coast. Older ones can try windsurfing, younger kids can visit Lloc de Menorca farm and animal reserve, and everyone can enjoy a boat tour around the coast.

The Golden Goose, Plum Guide home in Menorca, Spain

The Golden Goose, Plum Guide home in Menorca, Spain

Abu Dhabi, UAE

A view of a small water fountain in front of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on a sunny day, Abu Dhabi, UAE

A view of a small water fountain in front of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on a sunny day, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi has reconfigured itself to be a family-friendly holiday destination. Home of Yas Waterworld, Wadi Adventure, Ferrari World, Hill Fun City, and the Marina Eye, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy.

Yosemite National Park, USA

A couple walking on a boardwalk in green fields in front of tall mountains and a waterfall, Yosemite National Park, USA

A couple walking on a boardwalk in green fields in front of tall mountains and a waterfall, Yosemite National Park, USA

Active families will enjoy a visit to California’s top national park, with its crashing waterfalls, beautiful rock formations and hiking trails. Climbing lessons and guided tours are also available.

The Maiden Fair, Plum Guide home in California, USA

The Maiden Fair, Plum Guide home in California, USA

Khao Yai, Thailand

Calm blue water in front of a rushing waterfall by green trees, Khao Yai, Thailand

Calm blue water in front of a rushing waterfall by green trees, Khao Yai, Thailand

Thailand’s first national park, 180km north of Bangkok, stretches over 2,000sq km of rain- and evergreen forest. Elephants, macaques, and Chinese water dragons can all be seen, along with exotic birds, and even Asian black bears - a guide is essential. Two campsites sit by dramatic waterfalls, with other lodging around Pak Chong by the main entrance.

Sydney, Australia

The famous white curves of the Sydney Opera house against a blue sky, Sydney, Australia

The famous white curves of the Sydney Opera house against a blue sky, Sydney, Australia

Easy-to-negotiate Sydney has all kinds of family-friendly attractions, from the sharks and penguins of SEA Life to the Australian animals at Wild Life Sydney Zoo - think wombats, kangaroos, koalas, and more. Take the ferry from Circular Quay past the Opera House to harbourside Taronga Zoo for seal shows, an adventure playground, and a cable-car ride.

The Edge of the Earth, Plum Guide home in Australia

The Edge of the Earth, Plum Guide home in Australia

Tasmania

A close up of orange and brown rocks near calm streams at sunset, Tasmania

A close up of orange and brown rocks near calm streams at sunset, Tasmania

The island state may not be the most obvious choice when listing the best vacation spots for families, but Tasmania has unique attractions. Explore the Wilderness World Heritage Area for wild-water rafting, embark on dune buggy rides by the ocean, and enjoy stargazing in the Cradle Mountains - with the best view of the Milky Way on Earth.

Related Articles

Stay in the world's most beautiful homes

Search for a holiday home