Top 10 Vacation Spots to Take a Toddler

by Sarah Valek

There are many vacations spots that cater specifically to families, especially those with adventurous, high-energy toddlers and preschoolers. These destinations offer room for exploration and fun and are sure to please any busy, rambunctious toddler.

San Diego

San Diego is appealing for its year-round warm weather and variety of family-friendly activities. Toddlers will enjoy the rides and interactive exhibits at Legoland. Then take the kids to run on La Jolla's beaches or marvel at the architecture in Balboa Park.

Acadia National Park

Located on Mt. Desert Island on the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park features a variety of stroller-friendly carriage trails and scenic ocean views. Toddlers will love exploring for creatures in tide pools and looking for whales in the nearby town of Bar Harbor. You can also camp in the park.

North Carolina's Outer Banks

Pack the plastic buckets and shovels and book a condo or house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Children have plenty of room to run on Coquina Beach, a flat beach full of white sand. When you're sick of the beach take your toddler to the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island and stare at some brightly-colored fish.

Sesame Place, Longhorn, Pennsylvania

Located 30 minutes north of Philadelphia, Sesame Place is packed with both wet and dry attractions, parades and your child's favorite Sesame Street characters. Parents can relax and let toddlers do what they love to do: climb, run, bounce, splash and be around other children. This is your toddler's dream come true.

Ithaca, New York

Ithaca is a college town nestled in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York that isn't just for students. Ithaca is a family-friendly town featuring Ithaca Children's Garden, an organic garden with a large climbable turtle and the Sciencenter, which offers plenty of sand and water-based activities for little ones. Visit the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and walk the short wooded trails while spotting birds.

Portland, Oregon

The Portland Saturday Market, from March to late December, is full of enough activity and entertainment to please any toddler. Toddlers can watch street performers and hone their artistic abilities at the children's craft tables.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is a park with an echo chamber, weather machine and waterfall fountains. Portland Children's Museum transports toddlers to their own shopping market and gravel pit.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Take the incline railway up the side of Lookout Mountain and on a clear day you can see the Great Smokey Mountains, which are over 100 miles away. The large Tennessee Aquarium is popular for toddlers, as is Coolidge Park with its hand-carved carousel. You can even book a night in an old choo-choo train car that's been converted into a hotel.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is inexpensive and features lush rainforest, white sand beaches and a variety of accommodations. Toddlers will love pretending they're monkeys while strolling through the accessible trails in El Yunque rainforest.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Toddlers will have a blast at Cape Cod Children's Museum where they can climb all they want in this interactive museum. Visit choo-choo trains in the Chatham Railroad Museum or pick vegetables on Coonamessett Farm. And don't forget to have a good run on the beach.

Disneyland

Children love Disneyland for obvious reasons and toddlers have their pick of which rides to go on, since many rides have no height requirements. Bright colors, endless surfaces to climb on and their favorite characters---what's not for a toddler to love?

About the Author

Sarah Valek has been a writer since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and art from Ithaca College. Valek's work has appeared in ModernMom.com, "Mommies Magazine" and "Natural Moms Talk Radio."

Photo Credits

  • "bébétoujours" (Flickr)