Creative Child

7 Best Summer Family Vacations that Offer Something for Everyone

by Deborah Song

Safety, kid-friendly activities, good food, ease of transportation, and cost are all considerations when planning a family vacation this summer. Some destinations just seem to be more welcoming to kids, whether it’s by way of their culture, recreational and architectural design, or the free admission and meals for kids. But the best family vacations should offer something for everyone -- fun for both kids and grown-ups, preferably in intertwined ways, which is why we purposely left out Orlando, Florida.

Here are our top travel destination recommendations for this summer.

Japan. Japan was chosen as destination of the year by virtually every glossy magazine -- and for good reason. The electric energy, ancient customs, cutting edge architecture, magisterial landscapes, and unforgettable culinary experiences are reasons that would appeal to everyone. But Japan in particular takes the stress out of traveling with kids because it’s such an honest society. Kids as young as kindergarteners can be seen riding the subway by themselves. And it’s not uncommon for the Japanese to use their wallets (not drink cups or forks!) to reserve seating at a quick-service restaurant while using the restroom. Not to mention it’s got to be the cleanest country on the planet. From touring Tokyo on a Mario go-kart, to Disneysea, to bigger-than-life aquariums, to forest trails and top-notch fare to accommodate any palate, Japan is a top destination for families looking to mix technology, culture and history. The only downside: it will be hot in the summer. If the heat becomes too much, head for Hokkaido where the temperatures are cooler.

Belize. If you want have your cake and eat it to, you don’t have to choose between an active vacation or lying on a beach. Belize offers both. The English-speaking country has traditional tropical offerings like diving, sailing, snorkeling, fishing and water sports, all of which can be done in turquoise water. But Belize’s interior also has amazing jungles, diverse birds and wild life, stunning Mayan ruins and plenty of waterfalls, caves, rivers and the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Yellowstone, Wyoming. Yellowstone is an enchanting place. It permeates a magical quality by way of surreal views, wildlife and constantly changing landscapes, some of which are predictable. The show-stopping Old Faithful cone geyser erupts every 45 minutes. And the multi-hued Grand Prismatic, the largest hot spring in the U.S. is a feast for the imagination. Families can also enjoy hiking, bike trails and just being kids playing in the streams.

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