If the thought of holidaying with toddlers brings you out in a cold sweat, hot rash, or both, we’re here to let you know that it’s not just possible to enjoy an adventurous family holiday with little ones, but positively life-affirming!

Fly and flop holidays these ain’t.

Instead, as parents ourselves, we know you don’t even have to compromise too much to make your adventure holiday fun for the whole family.

First, some honesty regarding what we mean by ‘toddler-friendly holidays.’ Will there be a microwave in your room for warming milk? Possibly not, but there’ll be someone in the kitchen who can help! Will there be a babysitting service? There can be, it just depends on what kind of accommodation you use and which destination you travel to.

Toddler in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco on toddler-friendly holiday

Exploring the High Atlas – Morocco is the perfect ‘and toddler came too’ destination

What we want to emphasise is that on a Stubborn Mule holiday your family will enjoy much more than simply sitting by the pool; a holiday during which travelling with your toddler can enhance the interactions you have with local people rather than curtail them; an adventure which doesn’t revolve around the youngest family member but allows everyone to have fun.

Here, we’ve highlighted which destinations can make the perfect ‘and toddler came too’ holiday, so take the Trunki out of hiding, get that passport processed and take a look at where you could be heading on your next family adventure!

Our top 10 destinations for toddlers and younger children

1. Toddler-friendly holidays in Mexico

Toddler- friendly holidays, family with three young children on holiday in Central America

Self-drive in the Yucatan and travel at your own pace in child-friendly Mexico

We admit that the journey time to Mexico is comparatively long at just over 10 hours. But the flights are direct and, if taken overnight, parents and toddlers can wake up in paradise with relatively little drama. When you arrive, Mexico is an adventure playground for little ones and adults alike. Once you’ve visited a few Mayan ruins your trip is likely to be dominated by water-based activities: think swimming in cenotes (natural water holes), paddling in lagoons or just hanging out around the pool or beach. And what beaches they are! Just take a look at the Lagoon of Seven Colours at Bacalar!

And, because Mexico has such a great infrastructure, taking a self-drive around the Yucatan Peninsula (have a look at our Best of Mexico Yucatan Peninsula trip) can keep costs down and make the trip much more ‘at your own pace’ toddler-friendly.

2. Toddler-friendly holidays in Slovenia

Hiking with a toddler on a Slovenia family vacation - with stunning Alpine backdrop

Give the little ones a helping hand and explore Slovenia’s gorgeous Alpine landscapes

The tiny country of Slovenia may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of a toddler-friendly escape but allow us to change your mind. Known for its stunning mountain scenery and amazing limestone caves, it’s also most famous for the iconic blue-green waters of Lake Bled complete with island church.

Depending on the age (and, if we’re honest, weight) of your toddler, throw on a baby carrier and you can hike almost as you did pre-kids, stopping for some refreshments or relaxation at one of the many mountain refuges that pepper the Julian Alps. On other days, you can relax on the shores of Lake Bled or Soca River, both of which have small, pebbled beaches for paddling, sunbathing or post-lunch naps. Inspired? Our Slovenia sample itineraries will tell you more.

3. Toddler-friendly holidays in Morocco

Exploring Marrakech by horse drawn carriage on a toddler friendly holiday

A novel experience in Marrakech… sight-seeing in a horse-drawn carriage

Perhaps the most exotic destination you can travel to in under 4 hours, Morocco ticks all the toddler-friendly holidays boxes. No jet lag? Tick! Loads of boutique hotels and riads? Tick! Fun things to do? Tick! You can take a horse-drawn carriage around Marrakech, clamber over the ruins in Ait Ben Haddou, take a camel ride into the desert (toddler sits in front) or spend the night in a desert camp, where you can sit around the evening camp fire whilst your toddler sleeps out under the stars. Take a look at our Highlights of Morocco trip for even more activities.

4. Toddler-friendly holidays in Greece

Kids playing on the beach - holidays for young children and toddlers

Greece’s laid-back pace makes this an ideal destination for a toddler-friendly holiday that all the family will enjoy

You don’t have to have seen Mamma Mia to know that the beaches and islands of Greece are hard to resist. Even more so for a family with toddlers, where gently sloping beaches backed by characterful tavernas serving delicious food make for a relaxing break for all.

Whilst the mainland has lots of things to see and do, we recommend focussing on a particular area or island, such as Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Easy to get around and with more family-friendly beaches than seem strictly fair (Elofonnisi, Marathi, and Bali beaches to name just three), you can also jump on a horse-drawn carriage in the charming harbour town of Chania or go for gentle hikes inland. Take a look at our sample Greece itineraries for more.

5. Toddler-friendly holidays in Sri Lanka

Young child with ice lolly at Sigiriya - Sri Lanka - toddler-friendly holidays

Sri Lanka is great for toddlers, tweens and teens and a timely ice lolly is always welcome…

This relatively small island packs a big, toddler-friendly holiday punch. Flights to Sri Lanka are direct (yay), boutique, 4-5 room hotels are plentiful (double yay), travel distances short (you can see where we’re going with this), the people are friendly and welcoming, the waters warm and the beaches divine. We offer two sample itineraries depending on what time of year you prefer to travel: Sri Lanka Summer Tour and Sri Lanka Christmas and Easter Tour. We also recommend checking out our Sri Lanka with Kids – Top 10 Things to Do blog.

6. Toddler-friendly holidays in Jordan

Jordan family holidays - exploring the Temple of Artemis at Jerash with the kids

The ruins at Jerash are a relaxed place to explore with toddlers and younger children

Introduce your toddlers to one of the world’s largest sand-pits (that’ll be the desert) and you can see why Jordan is a big hit with the under-5s. It’s not all digging and eating sand, though, as our Jordan with Kids – Top 10 Activities blog shows! There’s a huge variety of things to do which will entertain the whole family, from running down sand dunes, exploring castles and world-famous archaeological sites (Petra being the most famous). For some R & R at the end of the trip (the perfect finale to a toddler-friendly holiday), we recommend some gorgeous hotels on the fringes of the Red Sea. The Dead Sea, we’ve found, whilst appealing in principle rarely ends well with salt concentration and toddler’s sensitive skin and eyes. Want to know more? Check out our Highlights of Jordan trip.

7. Toddler-friendly holidays in Turkey

Holidays with toddlers in Turkey, baby on beach - toddler-friendly holidays

Is there anywhere more child-friendly than Turkey? And with warm seas and sandy beaches, all the family will be happy

Allow us, if you will, to make a sweeping (but we think true) national observation: Turkish people LOVE children, and not just their own. Wherever you go in Turkey you and your youngsters will be welcomed, literally, with open arms – whether you’re out dining late, or being asked to enjoy a cooling mint tea or ice cream.

It’s not just outstanding hospitality that makes this a great place to enjoy with toddlers, though. Despite being a large nation, we recommend focussing your holiday in a smaller area, say, arriving in Antalya before heading off to the Turquoise Coast for R&R.

We love the pretty harbour of Antalya where there are lots of boats to look at. Also, the food. Is there anything more toddler-friendly than delicious, barbecued meats on a stick? The beaches all along the coast are gorgeous, the waters warm, and most hotels here have lovely pools to splash in, too. Our Turquoise Coast Adventure can be easily tweaked to make it even more toddler-friendly.

8. Toddler-friendly holidays in South Africa

A toddler on safari in the Eastern Cape

Lodges in the malarial-free Eastern Cape are ideal options for toddlers and younger children

Although South Africa does require a long-haul flight, there’s no jet lag to contend with, a real blessing when travelling with toddlers. Probably the ‘easiest’ African country to travel through, with some gorgeous hotels, South Africa is easy to self-drive whilst offering ‘teaser’ safaris, ideal if you’re not sure how your child will get on during a game drive.

Many of the lodges offer a babysitting service too, so you can enjoy a romantic meal whilst knowing your toddler and children are in good hands. As far as food goes, you’ll be able to enjoy the very best wine and cutting-edge cuisine whilst chicken nuggets and pizza are also on the menu for less adventurous young palates. Of the two sample itineraries we offer, the Classic Cape & Garden Route is the more toddler-friendly.

9. Toddler-friendly holidays in Oman

Young child exploring the beach in Oman on toddler friendly holiday

Omani beaches are quiet outside peak season and fun for toddlers and younger children 

A toddler-friendly holiday oasis? Let us count the ways we love this place! Whether you’ve chosen to self-drive (very toddler-friendly) or be driven around Oman, you can’t help but notice just how much contrast there is in the landscape during comparatively short driving distances. There are no epic overland adventures required here.

We can’t begin to explain how welcoming and friendly the people are, who will bend over backwards to accommodate any specific requirements or needs. And, if there’s a more toddler-friendly hotel than the Shangri-La on the beach near Muscat we are yet to find it: an indoor play centre, toddler pool, kids’ club, a buffet packed with things you’d never let them eat at home (smarties feature heavily) whilst rooms come with free pushchairs and baby cots. If you think a 12-day Highlights of Oman will prove too much, why not take an Oman Short Break? It’s also worth taking a look at our Oman with Kids – Top 10 Family-Friendly Experiences blog.

10. Toddler-friendly holidays in Cuba

Vinales - Places to visit in Cuba

Explore Cuba’s countryside by horse and cart when travelling with toddlers and young children

Lush and tropical, this Caribbean island has been hugely popular for western tourists in recent years. Don’t be put off if you have a toddler in tow as although the social and political history may be lost on them, the lovely beaches, hanging out in a convertible Cadillac or taking a horse-drawn carriage through the tobacco fields in Vinales won’t be. Take a look at our Cuba with Kids – Top 10 things to do with the family blog. One of the most toddler-friendly aspects of Cuba is the prevalence of Casas, locally owned B & Bs which allow you and your children an up-close-and-personal authentically ‘Cuban’ experience. And because they are small, you can put the children to bed and sit out on the rooftop to enjoy dinner, knowing that they are safe. See our Highlights of Cuba trip and be inspired!

We’ve been travelling with toddlers and young children too…

As parents ourselves, we understand that you’ll want to be as clued up as possible ahead of your trip. If you’re still unsure about something, do give us a call 01728 752751 or email. If there are other countries, not covered here, you’d like to visit with younger family members – like Costa Rica – ask us for the best way to do this. There are no silly questions!

If you are travelling with older family members too, see multi-generational holidays with grandparents for more ideas.

Travelling with toddlers - baby on the beach in Costa Rica

One of our younger travellers enjoying time on the beach in Costa Rica