Want to plan an epic family vacation in 2020? Take a look at my top 20 kid friendly travel destinations that have something special going on in 2020. Scroll to see them all!
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As a family travel blogger, I get asked a lot of questions about where people should plan their next vacation. I never know where to begin!
There are almost limitless ideas of cool, kid friendly travel destinations around the world and it really depends on each family and what they are interested in doing.
But, writing a blog post with thousands of family vacation ideas would be overwhelming for me to write and you to read.
So, instead, I decided to write down my top 20 kid friendly travel destinations that have something special going in in 2020.
One of the places I go when doing vacation research is Expedia. They are one of the world’s largest online travel brands and they do a thorough job of looking into trends for air travel, hotel stays, and even experiences.
After reading the new Expedia’s 2020 Travel Trends Report, talking to friends, family, and crowdsourcing, I think I’ve come up with the ultimate kid friendly travel destinations for 2020.
This list includes some of the best all inclusive resorts, U.S road trip stops, theme parks, and more!
Top 20 Kid Friendly Travel Destinations for 2020
1. LEGOLAND NEW YORK
If you have kids who are into LEGOs, you’ll definitely want to add this to your 2020 family travel bucket list.
The newest LEGOLAND theme park is opening July 4, 2020 in the Hudson Valley town of Goshen, Orange County, New York, just 60 miles northwest of New York City.
LEGOLAND New York Resort will be the largest LEGOLAND theme park with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions across seven themed “lands” on 150 acres
You’ll want to check it out in 2020 while everything is still super new!
Please note that the LEGOLAND Hotel won’t open until 2021, but there are lots of other nearby hotel options.
2. LONDON, ENGLAND
Many families have London on their radar as a super kid-friendly European destination. However, it’s also going to get a lot cheaper to visit.
With Brexit, the pound is falling so the U.S. dollar will go a lot farther.
Some of the top things to do in London with kids include: The London Eye, Hyde Park, Double Decker Bus Tours, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Afternoon Tea, The London Zoo, Shopping for Toys at Harrod’s, and more!
For a splurge, stay at the Athenaeum where they have bunk beds, cribs, and a family concierge on staff to help you plan your ultimate London with kids vacation.
3. DISNEY CRUISE FROM NEW ORLEANS
Cruising is an easy way to travel with kids. All your meals, lodging, and activities are covered so you can relax as a family.
One of the top kid-friendly cruise companies is Disney Cruise Lines.
For 2020, Disney Cruise Lines is departing from New Orleans, Louisiana for the first time! These cruises go to the Western Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas.
And because it’s Disney, there are ample opportunities to see Disney characters, enjoy Broadway-caliber musicals, play in one of their amazing pools, and even explore Disney’s private island in the Caribbean.
Finally, while you are in New Orleans, be sure to check out the new Louisiana’s Children’s Museum in New Orleans City Park.
4. HARD ROCK HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO
All-inclusive resorts are very popular with families this year and it’s no wonder. From unlimited food and drinks to incredible pools and entertainment, kids and parents are set up to have a fun vacation.
In 2019, the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya launched their new KIDZ BOP Experience and it’s a blast! This drop-off program gives kids the opportunity to become pop stars complete with singing and dancing lessons and access to rock star clothing options.
You’ll want to head there in 2020 while the KIDZ BOP Experience facility is still new and exciting!
Plus, the resort itself is phenomenal. They have a water park, several pools and a splash pad, a trampoline park, entertainment, a kids club, and lots of great dining options.
Each room has a hammock on the balcony and you can get a real Fender guitar sent to your room to use during your trip!
5. PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
Did you know that activities and attractions are more than just an add-on to a trip? Sometimes they are the reason for the trip itself.
Pittsburgh is one of those cities that you visit specifically for the kid-friendly attractions.
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh just partnered with Pixar on a cool exhibit about Pixar’s Inside Out that launches in September 2020.
And since Pittsburgh is the home of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, you can also experience many exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh celebrating Fred Rogers.
More fun things to do with kids in Pittsburgh include: Carnegie Museum of Natural History (where they have the nation’s largest dinosaur collection), Senator John Heinz History Center (with kid-friendly exhibits about ketchup and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood), and ride on the 100 year old Duquesne Incline cable car.
6. TOKYO, JAPAN
Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics and that means they are building tons of hotels and preparing the city to accommodate lots and lots of tourists.
While attending the Olympics is an incredible experience (we went to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler), you can also get a fun Olympic experience after the games.
You can tour the Olympic sites, see Olympic mascots, and do all the fun photo ops.
While you are in Tokyo, you can head to Disneyland Tokyo (which has some of the cutest Disney food options) or Tokyo DisneySea (which includes Japanese mythology.)
Tokyo is also home to some of the trendiest theme restaurants like the Pokemon Cafe, Moomin House Cafe, and multiple Alice in Wonderland-themed cafes. And kids will go nuts for the Robot Restaurant Show in Shinjuku, Tokyo!
7. KNOTT’S BERRY FARM, CALIFORNIA
All summer long, guests will experience special food items, new entertainment, and they are launching a brand new 4-D interactive dark ride!
This SoCal theme park is fun for kids of all ages. They have a designated “little kid” area called Camp Snoopy that will delight toddlers and preschoolers for hours.
And right across the street is Knott’s Soak City, a super fun water park with areas for kids of all ages.
Knott’s Berry Farm is also where boysenberries were invented and you’ll want to stop at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant for an amazing chicken dinner with a slice of boysenberry pie.
And you can stay at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel where Snoopy himself can tuck your kiddos into bed!
8. AULANI, A DISNEY RESORT & SPA
If you ask any family what their dream vacation is, chances are they will say Hawaii. It’s just one of those dreamy, tropical kid friendly travel destinations that is set up for both parents and kids.
For families considering Hawaii for their 2020 vacation, you’ll want to stay at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on Oahu.
They have been doing a huge refurbishment on their pool area for the past few months and it’s set to re–open by January 2020. This means their lazy river, kids splash pad, and all the pools will be shiny and new!
Aulani is the only place in Hawaii where you can have breakfast with Mickey Mouse, search for menehune, go snorkeling in a private lagoon, and have a pool party with Disney characters!
Plus, kids ages 3-12 can participate in Aunty’s Beach House, a free drop-off kids club.
9. PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND
In 1620, the Mayflower set sail from England to the United States of America. So, 2020 is the 400th anniversary of that event and there are a TON of celebrations happening.
First of all, you’ll want to head to Plymouth for the opening of The Box. It’s a new cultural attraction opening in Spring 2020 that will showcase everything about the Mayflower, including toys the children played with.
Another cool thing to do in Plymouth with kids is experience Mayflower Week in September 2020. This is where families can hear the Mayflower story told with 1,000 local people and the Band of HM Royal Marines. It will include representatives from the four nations directly involved in the Mayflower story: The UK, Netherlands, Wampanoag, and the USA.
Families can also visit the Mayflower Steps, the last stop before the Mayflower set sail for America.
And once you get your fill of history, head to the National Marine Aquarium (the largest in the UK), ride on the Plym Valley Railway, and play at Central Park.
10. INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
Like Pittsburgh, Indianapolis is a kid friendly travel destination based solely on the family attractions in the city.
Did you know the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children’s museum in the world? They have incredible permanent exhibits about Greece, dinosaurs, American POP, the International Space Station and more.
For Barbie enthusiasts, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will launch a Barbie exhibit in May 2020 called Barbie: You Can Be Anything.
While you are in Indy, take time to climb on the outdoor sculptures at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, make music at the Rhythm Discovery Center, and get a hands-on learning experience about pioneer life at Connor Prairie.
Norway saw a jump in American tourism with the release of Disney’s Frozen several years ago, as it’s the setting of the film.
With the recent premier of Disney’s Frozen 2, Norway is gaining even more interest from families as a European vacation spot.
Families won’t want to miss these Frozen attractions:
- Akershus Fortress (the model of Elsa and Anna’s castle)
- Norsk Folkemuseum (to see traditional folk dancing costumes that inspired the clothing worn by Anna and Elsa)
- St. Olaf’s Church (the model for the chapel used when Elsa is crowned Queen of Arendelle)
- Troll Forest (this magical playground will delight kids of all ages)
Another cool thing to do in Norway with kids is experience the Sami way of life. Sami culture is a big part of Disney’s Frozen 2 and there are opportunities to camp in a traditional lavvo (Sami tent) under the Northern Lights, see real reindeer, or see a Sami art exhibition.
For lodging, consider staying in one of Norway’s famous ice hotels!
12. NICKELODEON RESORT RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO
In 2020, all-inclusive Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Rivera Maya will open and feature 276 oceanfront swim-up Pad Suites and Flat Suites. Plus, four amazing Nickelodeon-themed signature Penthouses.
Of course, the main draw is hanging out with your kids’ favorite Nickelodeon friends like SpongeBob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Besides the Nickelodeon entertainment and decorations, you’ll want to go for Aqua Nick. It will be one of the largest water attractions in Riviera Maya and will have nearly 500,000 sq. ft. of splashy fun including a lazy river, tubes, mini relaxation pools, and water slides.
For little ones, they have an interactive water playground featuring a splash park with mini-tubes and water slides.
As an all-inclusive, your family will have your pick from 10 premium restaurants and bars to get your fill of gourmet food.
There’s also a state-of-the-art fitness center and spas that feature kids’ treatments.
13. BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
While Boston is always an amazing, kid-friendly travel spot, something special is happening in 2020.
The new, interactive Dr. Seuss traveling exhibit will be making a stop in Boston in 2020 and it sounds epic. It’s going to feature a maze of balloons, a working carousel, and tons of Instagrammable room set ups!
While you’re in Boston with kids, check out the Boston Children’s Museum (one of the oldest in the world), explore the Boston Tea Party ships, learn about the Freedom Trail, build at the LEGOLAND Discover Center, and play at Boston Common.
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place to eat in Boston, head to Legal Harborside. Not only do they have a great menu, but kids can watch boats come in and out of the harbor. But, the real draw is that kids can go fishing in a stocked trout pond inside the restaurant!
And if you want to extend your trip to Massachusetts, head to Cape Codder Resort & Spa about 90 minutes outside of Boston. They have an amazing indoor water park and kid-friendly spa.
14. WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
There are tons of cool things to do in New Zealand with kids, but I’m recommending it for 2020 specifically because it’s the host country of the 78th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon.)
The Toastmaster is George R.R. Martin (yep, the guy who created Game of Thrones!)
There are autograph sessions, costume parties, a film festival and a ton of other cool activities for families with older kids.
Besides WorldCon, your family can visit the Te Papa Museum (with hands-on activities and interactive experiences), go on the Weta Workshop Studio Tour, ride a cable car, and more.
And if you want to extend your trip to New Zealand (which you should!) then plan to head to Rotorua to ride the Skyline gondola, visit a Maori village, play in the Hell’s Gate mud pool, and explore the Wai O Tapu geothermal park.
15. CAMP LONG CREEK AT BIG CEDAR LODGE IN RIDGEDALE, MO
Glamping has been a big trend in the United States for years now, but you’ll want to head to Camp Long Creek in the Ozarks.
This new luxury glampsite just opened in May 2019 and has 42 rustic-chic huts, luxury glamping tents (with canopy beds, chandeliers, and an outdoor shower and soaking tub), and cottages. So, something for everyone.
While not all glampsites are kid-friendly, this one offers pack ‘n’ play cribs for families with young children and they offer a s’mores kit.
Of course, you’ll want to check out the luxury amenities like the spa, multiple golf courses (designed by top golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods), horseback riding, the Kids Adventure Club, and more.
16. VENICE, ITALY
If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that Venice has been sinking for decades. However, lately it’s been flooding. A lot.
If you’d like your kids to see Venice before it totally disappears, you might want to plan your trip in 2020.
Of course, kids will get a kick out of riding in one of the famous Venice gondolas. But, they will also think it’s cool riding on the water taxis to get around to see the sites. Older kids will love seeing the eerie prisons in the Doge’s Palace.
And be sure to visit the islands of Murano and Burano to see handcrafts and some of the most colorful houses.
For a luxury experience, stay at one of the hotels right on the Grand Canal where kids can watch gondolas from your hotel room window.
17. KAUAI, HAWAII
Hawaii is always a top kid friendly travel destination and with so many direct flights from the West Coast, it’s becoming more affordable, too.
Kauai is one of those chill, laid-back Hawaiian islands outdoorsy families are drawn to. From waterfall hikes to Na Pali boat cruises to the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Kauai has an adventure for everyone.
It’s also a foodie’s paradise. They have an incredible food truck scene and some of the best organic shave ice in Hawaii.
But, I’m recommending Kauai as a 2020 family vacation destination specifically because the new movie Jungle Cruise was filmed there and premieres in 2020.
The film is based on the popular (and hilarious) Disney ride and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (of Moana fame.)
Watch the movie and then head to Kauai for your own jungle adventure!
18. MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
If your kids love Hotwheels, you’ll want to “race” to the Minnesota Children’s Museum for their new Hot WheelsTM: Race to WinTM exhibit that runs Jan 18, 2020 – May 10, 2020.
Families will get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of car racing and they can compete to see who has the fastest car on the track table.
While you are in Minneapolis, you’ll also want to check out the Mall of America and check out the Nickelodeon Experience, Crayola Experience, Flyover America, and the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium.
19. SONESTA MAHO BEACH RESORT, CASINO & SPA IN ST. MAARTEN
For another amazing all-inclusive beach-front resort, head to the Sonesta in St. Maarten. It re-opened in February 2019 with a refreshed design, a new Teen Zone, a decked-out Kids Club, and new loft-style rooms to give families a bit more privacy.
With pools, beaches, fitness centers, kid programming, a casino and a spa, there’s really something for all family members.
Parents will love how easy it is to get to Maho’s shops and restaurants. Kids will love the animal encounters at Parotte Ville and ziplining at Rainforest Adventures.
Sonesta is the largest family resort in St. Maarten.
20. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ORLANDO
Finally, I have to include Universal Studios Orlando in Florida specifically because of the new Surfside Inn and Suites, which opened this summer and the upcoming Dockside Inn, which opens in March 2020.
These two new value hotels make up Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. These affordable hotels start at $100 per night and include amazing on-site experiences and perks like Early Park Admission and resort-wide transportation.
They also offer two-bedroom suites that can sleep six people.
At Universal Studios Orlando, you’ll have to check out the new The Bourne Stuntacular that debuts in the Spring 2020. This live-action stunt show is based on the Bourne film franchise and will be sure to impress kids of all ages.
And Potterheads will want to fully explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ride on the new Hagrid’s Creatures Motorbike Adventure..