One trip that we all look forward to irrespective of our age is the family vacations. Travelling with kids can be absolute fun as long as the trip is planned well and the arrangements are well done. For a lot of us finding child-friendly destinations can be a challenge. The challenges extend from where to go and what to see to the care, food and other needs of the kids. We share our exclusive list of top places to take your children this summer. With the right choice of destinations and proper arrangements, travel with kids can be a cakewalk.
Choice of destination is extremely important here. Taking kids on a holiday to a destination like Leh-Ladakh may not just be a great idea, considering the high altitude and the climate. Choosing a destination which adds an element of learning and brings value to the vacation would mean happy kids and happier parents. Here is our list of Child-friendly destinations which are not just child-friendly but without a doubt also add some value to the vacation.
Child-Friendly Destinations to Vacation with Kids
Ooty or Ootacamund is a hill station, tucked snugly in the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu. And true to its name, the Nilgiris or the ‘blue mountains’ is an absolute treat. Ooty is home to lush green tea plantations, magnificent mountains and lands made of every shade of green. The weather in Ooty is a quite welcoming year long. It provides a welcome relief from the hustle bustle of the daily quick running city lives.
Among the places to visit in Ooty don’t forget to take the mini train ride or just take a boat ride in the Ooty lake. Learn a thing or two with an educational tour through the tea plantations and tea factory, or watch a demonstration on the honey gathering. Don’t forget to stop by at the Honey and Bee Museum. Walk through the well maintained Ooty Botanical Garden and be amazed by the incredible variety of flora. Chocolates are something that is beyond age. So indulge in some chocolate treats at the Commercial-road where you will find some of the best home-made chocolate. And if those horses seem to catch your attention, take a horse ride with the help of a guide. All this and more make this one of the most popular child-friendly destinations in India.
- Best time to visit: All Year round. Ooty experiences pleasant climate all through the year.
The ‘Queen of Hills’ Darjeeling is one of the top places to take your children this summer. Located in West Bengal, Darjeeling is home to the world-famous tea factories that manufacture the world famous ‘Darjeeling Tea’ and also to the third highest mountain in the world, the Kanchenjunga. Darjeeling is the perfect getaway for every age. Blessed with some geographic marvels, Darjeeling is a place where one can holiday as well as learn. This hill station is also home to the Darjeeling Himalayan railway which is a UNESCO heritage site and a great place for kids to visit. The miniature steam engine brings in a lot of tourists.
The crisp blue skies, stunning landscapes and the snow-capped mountains that will make you drop your jaw are a delight to watch. Darjeeling has something for everyone. Hikers and trekkers can visit the Singalila National Park which has several trekking routes and options that are safe for both the parents as well as the kids. If trekking isn’t really your thing, then simply go camping. So while in Darjeeling, go shopping at the Bhutiya market or simply take a trip to the Happy Valley Tea Garden and learn about how tea is made. Take a trip to the Tiger hill and be amazed by the jaw-dropping and breathtaking views of the Mount Everest. While many choose to walk up the hill, however, taking a jeep ride would be recommended. Darjeeling is child-friendly in every aspect. Be it the toy train rides or the cable car rides, or simply a trek up the hill, all of these are enough to keep both, the kids & you, occupied and entertained; making it the perfect Child-Friendly Destinations to Vacation with Kids. No trip is complete to Darjeeling without the pony ride at Mall road. The guides take good care to see to the safety while the children take a ride.
- Best time to visit Darjeeling: April to June
3. Aurangabad – Child-Friendly Destinations to Vacation with Kids
Aurangabad has rightly earned itself its sobriquet and it is rightly called the ‘City of Gates’. Situated in Maharashtra, Aurangabad is known for its monuments that have made it a popular tourist destination. Aurangabad is a great place to take your children, mainly because the city has a rich contribution to history. Ruled by several dynasties, the city has seen the rise and fall of many kingdoms.
Be it the uprising of Shivaji or the Mughal rule, the city has played a strategic role. The Ajanta and the Ellora caves are the most popular attraction here. The Ellora caves have 34 beautifully built caves that came into existence somewhere around the 5th and the 10th century. The cave 16 is home to the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world, the Kailasha temples which was made as a dedication to Lord Shiva. With 30 rock cut caves, the Ajanta is no less than the Ellora caves. Both these locations are UNESCO heritage sites and inspite all these years, the charm and magic are still alluring.
For those who cannot visit the Taj Mahal at Agra, take a trip to the Bibi ka Maqbara which is almost an identical copy of the Taj Mahal. Visit the Salim Lake and Bird Sanctuary to watch the migratory birds. The vibrant gardens here would be loved by the kids. The combination of History and nature make it enjoyable for every age group and hence it is on our list of the most Child-Friendly Destinations to vacation.
- Best time to visit: October to February
There is no better place for a family vacation, then taking a trip to God’s own Country, Kerala. Kerala is home to some beautiful destinations and is extremely child-friendly. Be it the beaches or the plains or the hills, each of them has their own charm and lure. Thekkady is one of the most child-friendly destinations mainly because of the variety of activities that they have for children, making this place the most popular destination. The right climate and the enticing backwaters are the perfect combinations to unwind. Getting kids to pay attention can be a bit of a task, but here in Thekkady, kids are willing to give their total attention, simply because they have the company of Elephants. Yes, it could be intimidating and scary to be in the company of elephants, but this is an experience that every city-bred, child or adult must experience. So while in Thekkady, take an elephant ride and feel royal. Hotel stays are the norm, however, make sure you take the kids on the houseboat. If you can stay at a houseboat, nothing like it. The splendid views of the backwaters add to the calm and relaxation.
Another reason why Thekkady is one of the top places to take your kids this summer is the Periyar National Park. It is one of the largest tiger reserves in the country and if you get lucky you might just spot a tiger if not there are a whole lot of other animals that you can spot. The Periyar Lake is home to many birds, so don’t miss the boat ride. For those who enjoy a dash of adventure can take a trek to the ancient Devi temple situated right in the middle of the National Park. The Jungle walk is a treat and an experience in its own way.
- Best time to visit: October to February
Referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth’, Kashmir is truly bliss. With mountains wearing the silvery white snow and the warm hospitality, Kashmir is the place to visit. Take a boat ride in the Shikara at Dal Lake or simply stay at a houseboat and feel like royalty. Watch the peaks from Gulmarg or simply ski around in Gulmarg. Walk around the Tulip gardens or take a picture in the Kashmiri attire or simply go river rafting and angling in Pahalgam. Kashmir is one destination that can bring a smile to everyone’s face, be it a parent or a kid. The splendour of nature and it’s beauty make Kashmir one of the most Child-Friendly Destinations to vacation in.
- Best time to visit: March to June
6. Himachal Pradesh
The state of Himachal Pradesh is something. Everything there, be it the hill stations, weather, the routes or even the air, every single thing is enticing. While in Himachal don’t forget to enjoy the sun, the blue skies and the crisp air. Feel the wind in your hair as you pass by the scenic landscapes on the Delhi-Manali route. Shop around at Shimla and soak into the cultural goodness at Dharamshala. Say a prayer at Naina Devi or enjoy the orchards and the cable car rides at Parwanoo. Be amazed by the fossils at Nahan or simply enjoy some adventure at Chail and Chamba. Himachal is all about the goodness that cannot be put in words. You have to be there to experience it. Kids will love the experience for sure.
- Best time to visit: March to June
Orissa is much more than what meets the eyes. The Golden Beach of Puri is a pure delight. With beach activities like surfing, fishing and a lot more, this place is equally exciting for children and parents alike. Bird watchers and ornithology enthusiasts can watch migratory birds that flock the lake in large numbers around this lagoon of salt water, which is the largest in Asia. The Jagannath Yatra & Temple is the highlight of Orissa and should not be missed. While in Orissa, get lost in the warmth of the Konark Sun Temple or take a tiger safari at the Nandankanan Zoological Park, watch the elephants at the Chandaka Elephant sanctuary or dip your toes at the beach in Gopalpur. The interesting cuisines and lip-smacking food will make you take another family trip to Orissa.
- Best time to visit: November to June
8. Andaman Islands
The Andaman Islands can be a great destination for child-friendly holidays. With golden beaches, turquoise blue waters and clear skies, Andaman offers a lot of interesting activities for children as well as adults.
Take a walk in the history with a visit to Port Blair and the cellular jail which talks about India’s struggle for independence. Take a view of the rainforests, birds and the active volcano or simply go island hopping. Go snorkelling or take a swim with the elephants or watch the sea life and corals showing off their hues in the glass bottom boat ride. The Islands are seemingly untouched by any human factors and hence it allows both adults and children to be at one with nature, making it one of the Child-Friendly Destinations that one can relax and enjoy their holiday at one’s leisure.
- Best time to visit: September to March
These are the top places to take your children this summer. Thomas Cook’s India tour packages are a complete package in terms of learning as well as a vacation. However, summers being the peak holiday time, ensure making bookings and travel arrangements well in advance. That would make things hassle free and easy especially when travelling with kids. Planning vacations can be a bit of a hassle especially if you cannot decide on where to take the kids.