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Part of being a parent is an inevitable nostalgia for your own childhood, and what fonder memory is there than the family vacation? While times are changing, certain experiences can’t be beaten, we’ve gathered the best vacations for toddlers and young children to keep the whole family entertained.

By Shutterstock | Robert Kneschke

Splash around on Captiva Island

Captiva Island, Florida presents a nice alternative for families with kids aged one to four. Most people seeking the Sunshine State for a family getaway immediately resort to signing up for a trip to Disney World. With infants and toddlers you have to ask “Will they remember this?” and the answer is probably no. So why spend a crazy amount of money on somewhere that won’t have a lasting impact? Instead, save it for when they get a touch older. Small children will be just as content playing in the powdery sand and shallow, warm waters of Captiva Island on the west coast of Florida. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy the quiet beaches and minimal crowds — which is about as much of an escape with kids you could hope for.

By Jose Antonio Perez

Explore the family museums in Washington DC

Washington DC is a great place to stick together as a family and enjoy a kid-friendly trip. DC is packed with a number of mesmerizing museums that will be sure to capture and keep any kids’ attention. For example, museums like the National Museum of Natural History, The International Spy Museum, and National Air and Space Museum all have kid-friendly exhibits.

By Cristina CIOCHINA

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Go to the zoo in San Diego

Besides the awesome weather and beaches packed with plastic shovel-wielding children, San Diego is home to some of the most beloved destinations for kids and families. While the controversial orca program is coming to an end, SeaWorld remains a great place for the little ones to get up close and personal with aquatic creatures. Outside of the city, in Carlsbad, awaits Legoland, a theme park known for activating creativity in many children visiting. Finally, The San Diego Zoo is arguably the greatest zoo the world has to offer — the pandas will undoubtedly be sleeping but the gift shop offers stuffed pandas, which, to a toddler, may be better.

By f8grapher

Meet Big Bird and Elmo in Langhorne, Pennsylvania

On the outskirts of Philadelphia lies Langhorne, a tiny township that’s surprisingly unknown by a number of people in Pennsylvania. What the city of 1,500 people does have is Sesame Place. Sesame Place is a theme park entirely based on the long-time, toddler favorite television show Sesame Street. Still running every day, children of the past few generations have learned, laughed, and loved with the furry puppets created by Jim Henson. Sesame Place gives toddlers a chance to meet their favorites like Big Bird, Elmo, and Snuffaluffagus. Having first aired in 1969, parents, and maybe even some grandparents, will be able to reminisce during their time here.

Soak up nature in Vermont

Although all the maple syrup may get kids a little too jacked up on sugar, Vermont is a welcoming state home to two of America’s premier family hotels, Smugglers’ Notch Resort and the Tyler Place Family Resort. Smuggler’s Notch, affectionately known as Smuggs, is located in Jeffersonville at the base of the like-named skiing mountain. Not just a winter destination, Smuggs also offers fun activities in the summer like disc golf. Elsewhere, The Tyler Place Family Resort is an all-inclusive resort near to the shores of a northern bay of Lake Champlain. While many resorts have children programs during the day, Tyler Place has separate options specifically for toddlers.

By Sean Pavone

Vacation with Mickey on a Disney Cruise

Hey, sometimes The Mouse is unavoidable. In terms of a cruise line, Disney Cruises, for obvious reasons, is the most friendly for the youngest of your family. Besides having beloved characters walking around at all times, kids can enjoy themselves at the kiddy pool, being catered to in kids’ clubs, and napping to their favorite Disney film. A major operation, Disney Cruises can take eager travelers to numerous locations like The Bahamas, Alaska, and Rome.

By Miles to Memories

Get outdoors in a National Park

Famously called “the best idea America has ever had” the United States National Parks system is truly one of the best things the country has to offer. Getting outside is scientifically proven to make everyone happier, and doing so in an environment as stunning as some of these parks, is sure to leave families with a lasting good feeling. Depending on the park there are a multitude of outdoor activities for the young ones, swim lessons in lazy rivers, trails to be explored, or snow to dive into. National Parks are sure to bring families together — try ditching the restaurant high chair for a picnic with a view.

By Shutterstock | Margaret.W
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