12 Trips to Take with the Kids Once They’re Vaccinated
The siren call of travel is luring families once again thanks to the miracle of the Covid vaccine. Now that kids over the age of five are approved for the vaccine, the options for a family vacation have expanded exponentially. It can be tricky to navigate the endlessly changing travel restrictions around the world, but many countries have simplified things now that so many visitors are fully vaccinated. Whether you want to jet over to Paris, head to Mexico or keep things closer to home, there are lots of great destinations perfect for a family trip. Here are 12 trips to plan once your kids are vaxxed and ready to travel.
Note: Keep in mind that you will need negative Covid tests to re-enter the U.S. if you travel overseas, so be prepared and plan ahead (and consider a good travel insurance plan).
1. London, England
The U.K. border re-opened to American tourists over the summer, and fully vaccinated travelers are now exempt from quarantine as long as they book and take a rapid antigen test by the second day of arrival. England, unlike many European countries, currently has no Covid-19 restrictions in place, which means that everything is open as usual. London is a great city for kids of all ages, with tons of free attractions, including the Natural History Museum and the Tate Modern. For those concerned about safety, check out a themed walking tour with Evan Evans or spend some time at an outdoor attraction, like Kew Gardens. Because London is a very walkable city with mild weather during the winter, it’s easy to avoid crowded public transportation and really explore with your family.
2. Valletta, Malta
Malta might not be the first European destination that comes to mind when planning a trip with the family, but the Mediterranean island is a great choice, especially during the pandemic. Malta requires all entering visitors to show proof of vaccination—and the country itself is over 90 percent vaccinated—and once you arrive there’s a great sense of safety. Valletta, Malta’s capitol city, boasts museums, historic sites and shopping, and to the north St. George’s Bay offers sandy beaches for swimming. Hop on a boat tour to the famous Blue Lagoon, at the nearby island of Comino, or take a traditional Maltese boat around the Grand Harbor. Valletta has also recently become the starting point for a lot of cruises, including with Viking and MSC, in case you want to extend your family vacation farther into the Mediterranean.
3. Tulum, Mexico
Mexico has been relatively accessible for families during the past year, with testing requirements for travelers heading back to the U.S. But now that your kids are fully vaxxed you can rest easy during your stay in Tulum, located about an hour’s drive from Cancun on the Yucatán Peninsula. The hip destination is great for families thanks to its proximity to numerous beaches and the plethora of things to do nearby. Swim or snorkel in the Gran Cenote, search for sea turtles in Akumal or explore the region’s impressive Mayan ruins. Kids of all ages will love the Xel-Ha eco-adventure park, where you can ride bikes, zip-line, swim and take advantage of the park’s Children’s World. Because Cancun is easily accessible from the U.S., this is a good pick for flight deals—and for parents who just need some time on the beach.
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia
In Dubrovnik, parents will love discovering the real-life King’s Landing, while kids will appreciate the beaches and the plethora of cats roaming the old town. Go back in time by walking the historic walls of Dubrovnik, or take a quick ferry ride to Lokrum Island, a nature reserve with hiking and swimming. Don’t miss the cable car, which ascends to the top of Mount Srđ, and the nearby Cadmos Village Adventure Park, which boasts everything from zip-lining to archery. It’s best to plan a trip off-season since Dubrovnik can draw massive crowds—even during a pandemic—but the view from the top of those towering city walls is well worth the planning. Vaccinated travelers and kids under 12 are currently exempt from the Covid test requirements needed to enter Croatia, making this a hassle-free journey overseas.
5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a good pick for families in general, but Punta Cana’s Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts puts it over the top. The resort is surprisingly chic, with fun character touches kids will love. Nearby, check out Playa Macao, a popular white sand beach, and Dolphin Island Park, where your young ones can get up close and personal with dolphins, sharks and manta rays. More adventurous travelers with older kids should head to Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve for hiking and lagoon swimming. Vaccines aren’t required to enter the Dominican Republic, but may be required for those 12 and over when visiting restaurants, shops or bars.
6. Reykjavík, Iceland
Travelers to Iceland need a negative Covid test to enter, however vaccinated visitors can skip the arrival test. Reykjavík is a shorter flight from the U.S. than Europe, with tons of outdoor activities, making it a good pick for families with young kids who need to burn off some energy. Head to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja Observation Tower, or drive to nearby Laugardalur, which boasts botanic gardens, a playground, a geothermal swimming pool and ice skating. Reykjavík’s Family Park and Zoo is also popular with younger travelers, especially since it’s home to native Icelandic animals like seals and Arctic foxes. And, of course, no trip to Iceland is complete with a visit to the famed Blue Lagoon, which welcomes kids 13 and under for free with a paying adult.
7. Athens, Greece
Greece was one of the first European countries to re-open to vaccinated American travelers and its capital of Athens is a great destination for families ready to head across the Atlantic. There’s a lot of history, from the Acropolis to the National Archeological Museum, all of which can be made kid-friendly. Explore the National Garden, which has a mini-zoo and a playground, and take a ride on the cable car up to Mount Lycabettus, which offers serious views of the city and the surrounding region. Athens also has numerous beaches, from Glyfada Beach to Edem Beach, so there are plenty of opportunities for swimming and playing in the sand. For some extra adventure, hop on a ferry to one of the nearby islands, like beautiful Aegina.
8. Whistler, Canada
Head north to Whistler, home of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, this winter. Now that the border between Canada and the U.S. is open to vaccinated travelers, Canada is a top choice for those who prefer not to travel overseas. While skiing is the primary winter attraction in Whistler, there’s tons to do in the area all year round, from hiking to sledding to mountain biking. Parents who want to ski can take advantage of Whistler Blackcomb’s Snow School, which offers lessons for kids 3 to 12 years old and for teens 13 to 18 years old. Most travelers fly into Vancouver and then drive about two hours to Whistler, but you can also book the YVR Skylynx bus if you prefer not to rent a car.
9. Hamilton, Bermuda
Bermuda is a short flight from the East Coast of the U.S., making it perfect for families with younger kids who can’t handle long trips. The island country has a moderate climate—don’t expect tropical weather—but it’s great for hanging out on a beach or relaxing at a nice resort. Younger visitors will love the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo and the interactive Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, while adults will appreciate the Swizzle Inn, where the rum swizzle was originally invented. Hamilton is the island’s main city, with numerous resorts, restaurants and shops, although some travelers might prefer the more historic center of St. George’s. Don’t miss a delicious ice cream cone at Bailey’s Bay Ice Cream Parlour, which offers local flavors like Dark n' Stormy and banana.
10. Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Relax on the beach at one of the many resorts or vacation rentals on the west side of Costa Rica. The region of Guanacaste, which has its own international airport, is great for families looking to spend time in the sun. Currently, vaccinated travelers and those under 18 can enter Costa Rica without additional Covid requirements, making it a good tropical destination for vaxxed families. Explore the many scenic beaches, or take a hike through Rincon de la Vieja National Park, which offers a variety of trails suitable for travelers of all ages. The weather is nice most of the year, so you can plan a trip whenever you’re ready to unwind. For something really special, visit Guanacaste when the sea turtles come in to nest.
11. Los Angeles, California
If you prefer to stay closer to home this fall, drive or fly to Los Angeles, a city that never seems impacted by cold weather. Opt for a beach vacation in Santa Monica, or situate yourselves in Hollywood, with proximity to Universal Studios Hollywood and the Walk of Fame. Currently, those over age 12 must show proof of vaccine at restaurants, museums, malls and most indoor destinations in Los Angeles, which means you’ll want to plan this trip once your older kids have been immunized. Keep safe by hiking to the Griffith Park Observatory or embracing LA’s extensive outdoor dining scene. Stop by the Time Travel Mart for a souvenir before you head home.
12. Paris, France
Paris is surprisingly child-friendly, especially for those with slightly older kids. France is currently still under fairly strict restrictions, with vaccine passes required to enter most indoor destinations and activities for those over 12 years old, so now is a good time to take advantage of less crowds in the French capital. While museums and cathedrals are the most obvious draw, embrace outdoor excursions, like strolling through the gardens at the Palace of Versailles or searching for famous gravestones at Père Lachaise Cemetery. Disneyland Paris is another option for families, although you’ll want to plan ahead and book tickets in advance. Be sure to stop by Breizh Café, in the Marais, for some memorable crepes.