5 Great Destinations for Multigenerational Travel

With relatives scattered all over the globe, multigenerational travel is the perfect opportunity to get the entire extended family — grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins, too! — together while discovering a new place. And while Disney is delightful, there are some less expected places that are just as apt, or more, to put smiles on everyone’s faces.

By Tanvi Chheda
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1

Exploring Yucatan: Merida, Chichen Itza & Tulum

The famously bohemian beach town holds a surprising amount of appeal as an all-ages getaway. If time allows, combine Tulum with nearby Merida for a weeklong Mexico adventure of beach, jungle, and culture. Play in the powdery sand and swim in cenotes, natural sinkholes, in Tulum. Visit the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which boastsan incredible diversity of fish, birds, and even four species of marine turtles. Stay at the boutique El Pez hotel, which welcomes families and sits right on the sand. Wake up to a beautiful breakfast spread of chilaquiles and avocado toast. Come dinner, head to Hartwood, along the beach town’s main drag. Started by two former New Yorkers, the restaurant’s menu changes daily based on that morning’s catch and seasonal produce. Should you head to Merida, stop at Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city of temples and step pyramids, along the way. On the outskirts of Merida, Chablé Yucatan, set on a former hacienda and surrounded by lush jungle, makes for an ideal base for exploring the colonial charms of the city. Plus, all 40 rooms feature their own plunge pool!

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Kid-Friendly Paris Trip

Yes, it can take a bit of planning and patience to navigate the French capital as a larger group, but Paris is always a good idea — even with grandparents and children in tow. Sail wooden toy boats at the fountain in the Tuilieries Gardens. Ride the Bateaux Mouches riverboat along the Seine, taking in the sights from the water. Embark on an engaging and family-friendly scavenger hunt through the Louvre, stopping at highlights such as the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa with Paris Muse, a tour company that specializes in exploring Paris museums with kids. Grab some macarons or chocolates from Pierre Herme and eat them on the steps of Sacre Coeur.Or, take a break from the city and tack on a few days in the countryside, visiting the gorgeous lavender fields of Provence. Speedy and efficient, Rail Europe offers six trains a day between Paris and Aix-en-Provence; the three-hour ride means you could hop on the train in the morning and be in Provence by lunchtime! 

3

Niagara Falls Family Trip

Much like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, Niagara Falls is a must-visit destination for families. Seeing the nighttime light show as beams of color are projected onto the cascading water may sound cliché, but it is undeniably beautiful. Taking the Maid of the Mist boat as close to the mighty beauty and spray of the falls is another guaranteed crowd pleaser for toddlers, teens, parents and elders. Cross the border and arrive into Canada to spend a few days in Toronto, a vibrant, multicultural metropolis of three million. Ride the elevator to the top of the CN Tower. Catch a Toronto BlueJays baseball game. If traveling with younger ones, visit the fun Centreville Theme Park on Center Island, a short ferry ride from downtown. 

4

Hawaii with kids: Best Things to do

The Hawaiian islands make for an ideal multigenerational destination with active and relaxing options galore, especially on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. Maui is a great fit for all ages. Younger children will enjoy visiting the Surfing Goat Dairy, a working goat farm where kids can milk the goats and even tuck them into bed during evening hours. Older teens and adults may want to try some of the more adventurous offerings on the island, including ziplining, kitesurfing or driving the curvy 64-mile Hana Highway that features waterfalls and dramatic vistas. Stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani, on the southwestern coast of Maui, where villa configurations are perfect for larger family groups. On the Big Island, Hawai’i Island, hike and explore the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park or soak up the sun at one of seven pools at the Four Seasons Hualalai, a longtime favorite on the island. And on Oahu, kids can snorkel or surf, while grandparents look on from the sand. History-loving teens and grandparents may want to visit Pearl Harbor and the battleship USS Arizona memorial. Both are free, but the latter does require timed tickets. Tucked away along the Ko Olina lagoons, Disney’s Aulani is among the most popular resorts on Oahu; or explore dozens of villa rentals available through VRBO or AirBnB.    

5

South Africa: A Wildlife Adventure

Thanks to its natural beauty, magnificent wildlife and layered history, South Africa is well suited for a larger group with different ages and interests. Start by spending some time in Cape Town, a port city on the southwestern coast known for the dramatic flat-topped Table Mountain peak. Hike or ride the aerial cable car to the summit for some spectacular views of the area. For older teens and adults, it’s also worth taking the ferry at the waterfront to Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela was once held that’s now a museum. From apartheid to the struggle of freedom, the prison is an overwhelming symbol of human spirit. After a day or two in town, consider heading into the Cape Winelands, the agricultural and wine growing area that’s just east of the city. The gorgeous 22-room Babylonstoren hotel, set on a historic Cape Dutch farm in the Cape Winelands, offers workshops on bread baking, cheese making, pickling and more. Kids will love seeing the farm’s animals, including geese, turkeys and tortoises, roam free on the sprawling 168-acre property. Then, drive along the beautiful Garden Route, a 186-mile stretch that hugs the country’s coastline and spend the night in Knysna before heading onto Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, a 26-room safari lodge in Port Elizabeth. Finish with a few days of spotting the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo) as well as giraffes and zebras. 

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