From some delightful spots that inspired famous children’s authors, to theme parks and penguin parades, here are some of the best places for a family getaway.
Why: Disney? Check. Harry Potter? Check. Being the coolest parents ever when you tell the kids you’re going to Orlando? Check, check, check. The ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’ is a sure-fire family favourite destination for good reason – there’s something for everyone, no matter your age. Little ones can meet their favourite Disney characters, older kids get a thrill on rollercoasters, and parents can relax in the resorts or enjoy the rides, too! The parks are generally busy during the school holidays, but if you can handle the crowds, you’ll be rewarded with mild March weather of warm days and cooler evenings, and very happy kids.
How to get there: The closest airport is Orlando International Airport (MCO), and is the easiest way to get to Orlando and the theme parks. Nearby airports in Florida also include Orlando Sanford Airport (SFB), located in nearby Sanford, and Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB).
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Phillip Island, AUS
Why: Phillip Island has been charming visitors with its famous fairy penguin parade, quaint towns and great surf beaches for years. Its close proximity to Melbourne makes it an ideal place to visit, and the lure of hedge mazes, mini-golf, calm swimming beaches, The Nobbies eco-centre and seal rocks (home to Australia’s largest colony of fur seals), chocolate factory, koalas, family-friendly eateries and pelican feeding in San Remo make Phillip Island the perfect family destination.
How to get there: Fly into Melbourne Airport or Avalon Airport. Phillip Island is around 150 kilometres from the city centre, making it perfect for a day trip if you’re based in Melbourne, a weekend away or even a week-long beach retreat.
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Phillip Island has many attractions to delight families, including the famous penguin parade, where visitors can watch the cute birds waddle back from the ocean to their nests at dusk
Why: While any of the four major Hawaiian islands boast picture-postcard family holiday scenes, our pick for the best family vacation is Maui. Head here for impossibly beautiful beaches, spectacular ocean sunsets, gorgeous coastal drives and a great vantage points to spot whales migrating. Kids can snorkel the azure waters while parents relax in lush tropical retreats, take the family on a hike to a dormant volcano, or swim in cascading waterfalls. Maui is (slightly) less crowded than its popular neighbour Oahu too, so you get all the amenities and luxuries of a tourist centre and a quintessential Hawaiian experience, while still offering some rural, off-the-beaten-track escapes.
How to get there: You can access the island of Maui easily by flying into Kahului Airport. From there, the island is your oyster.
East Sussex, UK
Why: If you or your kids ever read A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh growing up and were enchanted by the adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, you need to put the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex on your family bucket list. This tranquil open heathland will delight you with views of the East Sussex countryside as you explore the playground of Christopher Robin, which inspired the beloved children’s books. Once you’ve had your dose of the outdoors, you can then explore more of what East Sussex has on offer. Take the kids to the Ashdown llama farm, National Cat Centre, Pooh Corner or the Lavender Line Railway for fun family activities.
How to get there: Ashdown Forest in East Sussex lies roughly 30 kilometres south of London Gatwick Airport, and 80 kilometres from central London.
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Gold Coast, AUS
Why: The Gold Coast on Australia’s east coast ticks all the boxes for a perfect family getaway. Glittering beaches, great shopping, gorgeous sunny weather and of course – theme parks! Grab your passes to check out Warner Bros Movie World, Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild, and see for yourself why the Gold Coast is Australia’s theme park capital.
San Francisco, USA
Why: San Francisco is one of those cities that has something for everyone, so every member of your family is going to love a vacation here. Whether you want to cycle along the Golden Gate Bridge, get a dose of history at Alcatraz, ride the historic cable cars, indulge in SF’s delicious food scene, catch a ferry to Angel Island, see the fascinating exhibits at the Exploratorium or bounce at the House of Air trampoline park, SF will be a family trip to remember.
How to get there: San Francisco Airport (SFO) is the most convenient airport for a family vacay to SF.
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Fraser Island, AUS
Why: If you’re in need of a serious digital detox, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island off Queensland’s coast is just what the doctor ordered. Towering, lush rainforests paired with stretches of pristine beach make the world’s largest sand island the perfect eco-escape. Kids will love swimming in the crystal clear waters, either at the beach or at one of the 100 freshwater lakes as you all take a break from the digital world and reconnect with nature.
Why: Old-fashioned seaside charm is what makes Dorset popular with families, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Kids can learn about apes and monkeys at Monkey World, an ape rescue centre, enjoy a picnic at Durdle Door, one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks, and younger children will adore the farm animals and huge adventure playground at Farmer Palmers.
For literary lovers, relive the adventures of The Famous Five and The Magic Faraway Tree – children’s author Enid Blyton spent much of her time in Corfe Castle, Dorset, which inspired many of her popular books.
The quaint seaside charm is what attracts visitors to the English county of Dorset
Why: Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world, so for families that seek out an adrenaline rush, this city in New Zealand’s South Island is the perfect thrill-seeker getaway. Bungee jumping, jet-boating, suspension bridges set against the dramatic NZ Southern Alps are just some of the reasons why visitors keep coming back for more.
How to get there: Fly into Queenstown Airport, which is conveniently just eight kilometres from the city centre.
Why: Perth is one of the most underrated Australian capital cities due to its remoteness from other large cities, yet it has so much to offer – especially for families. Whether you’re seeking culture, nature, delicious food or great weather, you’ll find it on Australia’s west coast. Mini-science buffs can unleash their inner scientist at Scitech Perth, there are a number of parklands to run around in, snorkel and swim at Cottesloe Beach, or meet the adorable quokka on Rottnest Island.
How to get there: The closest airport is Perth Airport, just 11 kilometres from the city centre and also the fourth busiest airport in Australia.
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