We all love spending time with your families, but planning for a big vacation can be difficult. Between coordinating schedules, packing all the essentials, and figuring out itineraries, you might even be tired out before you board your plane! Still, family time is important, and we know that if you’re reading this then you’re looking out for the best spots to bring your loved ones too.
If you’re dreaming about your next big family vacation but haven’t decided on where to go yet, then we have the perfect list for you. After all family vacations may be difficult (and worthwhile!) to plan, but picking a family- and age-friendly spot is half the battle won 😉 These 14 family-friendly destinations are well worth the trip there, and you’ll end the trip wanting to go back as soon as possible!
1. Gold Coast, Australia
Australia’s Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks, beaches, and infinite list of attractions! With its accessibility from the major city of Brisbane, sunny weather, and organized public transport system, it’s the perfect family vacation spot all year-round 😁
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Gold Coast really is an age-friendly location for all – the stunning beaches are perfect for both a relaxing walk along the shore or a more exciting dive in for a swim. You can’t miss the theme parks while you’re there either – Dreamworld, Movieworld, and Whitewater World are all uniquely exhilarating and easily worth a day trip each 😍 Families of all ages can also explore native wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and shop for hours at Pacific Fair – all of which are accessible from the city centre by bus!
#HHWT Tip: The bus or tram rides to major attractions can take between 15 to 45 minutes from the city centre, so remember to bring along distractions for younger kids, or catch up on your sleep before you get to your next stop 😴
2. Hong Kong
We’ve already covered some of the reasons why Hong Kong is great for families but we’ll never get tired of everything to do here! 😍 Between the rich culture, non-stop shopping, amazing food, and huge theme parks – it’s the perfect place for a family vacation of your lifetime! Plus Hong Kong Disneyland and its nearby Disney hotels are great for the kids’ first Disney trip – they even provide Halal food!
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The Tian Tan Buddha (Big/Giant Buddha) statue at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is a classic Hong Kong site. The Ngong Ping 360 cable car makes travelling here a breeze – and both you and the kids will be astounded to peer through the see-through glass bottom! There’s some walking to be done around the area if you choose to visit, but it’s a wonderful opportunity for the family to learn more about other religions, and you can enjoy being out in nature too!
#HHWT Tip: As there’s so much to see around Hong Kong, make sure you add these amazing attractions to your bucket list! Whether it’s shopping or eating, we’re sure that you’ll find yourself wanting to come back for more 😊
3. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is famous for so many things – exciting theme parks, historic temples, and beautiful greenery year-round? It’s an ideal destination for families of all ages both in the summer and winter 😊 Plus with the 2020 Olympics coming up, visiting it in 2019 means you might get to avoid the crowd!
We’ve covered some of the biggest family-friendly attractions in Tokyo already, but did you know that Asakusa is one of the districts you definitely can’t miss? Besides Senso-Ji temple and its Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) which is a mainstay in any Tokyo itinerary, you can even rent out a kimono for the day to experience a slice of traditional Japanese life. The streets at Nakamise nearby are also full of sweet treats, snacks, and souvenirs that will always remind you of your trip for years to come 😍
P.S. Tokyo is also an amazing base to have if you want to explore the surrounding areas – day trips to Karuizawa and Kobe (and many more!) will set this trip apart from the rest, but do remember to check how long the train or bus journey will be!
4. Auckland, New Zealand
As one of New Zealand’s biggest cities, Auckland has stunning sights to offer both within the city and in the neighbouring Wellington. If you thought New Zealand was just sheep and the outdoors – think again! 😉
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Fans of the popular Lord of The Rings franchise will of course already have the Hobbiton Movie Set on their to-do list, but did you know that you can also visit Weta Workshop to see where the LOTR and other hit movies were filmed? There are even have workshops for all ages that will really let you into the movie magic! Auckland’s War Memorial Museum is also another can’t-miss attraction, well-known for its interactive exhibits and immersive experiences that leave visitors stunned. And if you’re already planning a trip there, make sure to check out the halal and Muslim-friendly eateries in the area!
P.S. If you want to maximize your family time together, why not consider a road trip through the country that’ll really show you all the beauty New Zealand has to offer?
5. Cape Town
Over the past few years in particular, Cape Town has become one of the most vibrant South African spots you can’t miss! It houses the largest Muslim population in South Africa and is a particularly special destination for Muslim travellers to – did you know that the local Cape Malay population has historical ties to Southeast Asia? 😮 With year-round good weather and a booming Muslim-friendly tourism industry, it’s definitely a destination you can’t miss in 2019!
The Bo-Kaap (formerly known as the Malay Quarter) is one of the most happening neighbourhoods in Cape Town today, known for its brightly coloured houses and vibrant Muslim community. Prayer rooms and halal food can be found around every corner, and there are an astounding nine mosques in this area alone! The Bo-Kaap Museum is a must-visit to learn about South Africa’s Islamic heritage – they display handwritten Quranic scriptures and various artefacts that display the mix between Islam and all of the cultures that have influenced the Cape. District Six and the Cape Flats are two other significant Muslim neighbourhoods in the city – each with their own distinct charm and welcoming hospitality 😍
#HHWT Tip: If South Africa is a new destination for you, check out our top Muslim-friendly tips for having a great time in this beautiful country! Don’t forget to visit the safari parks if you have a chance – many of them, especially those managed by South African National Parks (SANP) are dedicated to conservation and the protection of the local wildlife!
Xi’an is truly a city where you can witness the fusion of Islamic and Chinese culture. Despite some potential language barriers, it’s truly one of the most Muslim-friendly cities in China and a hidden gem that we can’t wait to uncover more of! We highly recommend finding accommodation near the Muslim Quarter which will allow you to explore most of the city while being in proximity to delicious authentic halal Chinese food – it’s a win-win situation! 😉
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At first sight, it can be difficult to believe that this is the Grand Mosque of Xi’an – built in the 5th century, it blends Chinese and Arab architectural influences together to create a building that truly reflects the diversity of Islam around the world. After you’ve taken a look at the mosque, make sure to head back to the Muslim Quarter to feast on authentic Halal local fares such as Biang Biang Noodles (thick hand-pulled noodles) and Yang Rou Pao Mo (flatbread soaked in mutton gravy and topped with beef) 😋
#HHWT Tip: As most of the attractions are close to the Muslim Quarter, you actually can cover the city in less than a week, making it a good trip idea even for older family members! For attractions such as the Terracotta Army which are much further away from the Muslim Quarter, you can access them via public transport or hiring a personal guide or car to bring you around. To find out how we did it, check out our 5D4N itinerary covering both Xi’an and Zhengzhou!
7. London, United Kingdom
London is one of the cultural capitals of the world – it’s no wonder there are always new things to discover in its streets! Whether it’s museums holding centuries-old artefacts or the latest art exhibition, London offers up an endless menu of sights and sounds that will keep everyone entertained 🤩
Make sure to catch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in the morning, followed by a relaxing walk down towards Westminster Pier that will eventually lead you down the River Thames. For the younger ones, they’re sure to be amazed by the Natural History Museum’s, or the mummies in the British Museum 🤭 Football fans of all ages will also be glad to know that there are sports tours you can sign up for which will introduce landmarks such as Wembley Stadium and Chelsea FC Stadium to you!
#HHWT Tip: We know that London doesn’t have a reputation for being the most affordable city around, so here are a few hacks to help you spend less while you’re there as well as some amazing attractions that won’t cost you a penny!
8. Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa is the museum capital of Canada, and is one of the country’s most family-friendly destinations! There are plenty of family resorts in the city, as well as museums, historical sites, and giant shopping malls that will keep you entertained no matter what the weather’s like. It’s definitely a destination Muslim travellers shouldn’t miss out on!
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The Rideau Canal is stunning year-round – whether you’re enjoying a nature walk in the nearby Arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm under the summer sun, or ice-skating down the Canal Skateway in the winter! The exhibits at the War Museum and Aviation and Space Museum consisting of real 20th century military vehicles are a huge hit with any visitor there – but we heard that the Canadian Children’s Museum has over 10,000 items from all over the world in its permanent collections! 😮 You’ll definitely never run out of things to do in this city of wonder (and remember to try some maple syrup goodies while you’re there)!
#HHWT Tip: Remember to pack warm clothing and bundle up if you’re travelling in December! If it’s your first time facing sub-zero temperatures, make sure to read up on our top tips for surviving a winter holiday.
It seems like Turkey’s been on everyone’s bucket list the past few years – so why not conquer it with your family in 2019! Whether you’re in Cappadocia, Pamukkale, or Istanbul, you’ll be awestruck by the breath-taking Islamic sites and architecture in this gorgeous country 😍
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The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia are two famous Islamic sites known for their treasured history, as well as their beautiful design and architecture. For more adventurous families, Cappadocia’s famous hot air balloons and underground caves are two absolutely different ways to witness the beauty of the country. Make sure to catch a hot air balloon ride as the sun sets – the orange hue of the sky will seem like something out of this world. Remember to end your day at the Bazaars, chock-full of delicious food and the unique Turkish ice cream 😋
#HHWT Tip: To manage your budget properly throughout the trip, check out our pointers to help you get the most out of your lira 😉
10, Malacca, Malaysia
Are you surprised to see somewhere this close by on the list? 😉 Malacca is great for a family getaway further away from the city, where you can sit back and relax and feel the city’s old-world charm wash over you. (Plus, you can save on transport costs by driving your own car up there, and you won’t have to deal with jet lag once the trip’s over!)
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Why not experience a replica of a 15th century Melaka Sultanate Palace in Jalan Kota? The Palace is filled with historical and cultural artefacts, as well as galleries depicting classic Malay tales such as the clash between Hang Jebat and Hang Tuah 😮 If you’re more interested in a walking tour to soak in the sights, why not start at Dutch Square and see the eye-catching red-brick design of the Stadthuys (former residence of the Dutch governors), Christ Church, and the Tang Beng Swee Clocktower. And of course, the Jonker Street markets are full of things to see, buy, and eat 😁
P.S. Make sure to try the chendol, kuih keria, and other Halal snacks and treats while you’re there! 😋
Jordan may be a bit of an unorthodox choice for a family trip, but the desert landscape and ancient monuments make it the perfect destination for the kids to learn more about history and the world, and to have one-of-a-kind experiences such as an overnight stay at a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, or visit the fruit and date groves in the Jordan Valley at Al-Ghor. If you’re planning to go, you might want to consider a June trip to get the most of the sunny season – the temperatures here can drop to 10 degrees Celsius or below in December!
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The ancient ruins of Petra are a testament to the ingenuity of man, and seeing the sheer size of the buildings carved right into the stone can take your breath away. While the Al-Khazneh structure pictured above may be an iconic sight, the entire Petra complex is actually huge enough that people often return on multiple days to canvass all of it 😮 (P.S. Petra won’t be around forever, so catch a glimpse of it while you still can!)
#HHWT Tip: While Jordanians are known for their hospitality and the distance between major attractions is fairly manageable, this trip may be better suited for families with older children. Public transport can be a bit rough or uncomfortable for young kids unless you book a personal driver or rent your own car, and nightlife in the capital city of Amman can sometimes get quite loud. If this doesn’t deter you, check out our 8D7N itinerary showcasing Jordan’s Islamic wonders!
12. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has become increasingly popular recently – and for good reason! Beyond the iconic blue train ride and Ceylonese tea plantations, its beautiful beaches have made it a new alternative to typical beach spots. Families of all ages are sure to have an amazing time discovering the heritage of the country in Galle, or relaxing on the shores of Dalawella or Tangalle beaches.
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For a unique nature experience, Gal Oya National Park provides boat and jeep safaris unlike anything else. The park takes an animal-first approach so as to not upset the resident fauna – some visitors have even said they were warned they might not be able to see any animals during their visit, as the park staff wouldn’t try to force the animals out if they were being shy! It’s truly an experience you can’t miss 😊
#HHWT Tip: As nature experiences are a big draw in Sri Lanka, make sure you do your research first to find out which ones have ethical and sustainable practices! If you just want to enjoy a scenic view that will leave beautiful memories, check out our writer’s life-changing experience with the train ride from Ella to Kandy! 😍
13. Dubai, UAE
Dubai is more than just a stopover on a flight to Europe – it’s the perfect destination if you’re craving some laid-back family fun with a hint of luxury. The theme parks are massive, and the souks are brimming with endless displays of wholesale spices, souvenirs, and jewellery. The Burj Khalifa is of course a skyscraper you can’t miss, but Dubai has so much more to offer than meets the eye!
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Dubai Parks and Resorts is the largest theme park complex in the Middle East, consisting of Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Waterpark. The four parks have attractions covering all ages, guaranteeing a fantastic stay whether you’re travelling with a toddler or a teen! 😁 These aren’t even the only theme parks and large attractions in Dubai – there’s the humongous Aquaventure water park, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, and amazingly, the indoor Ski Dubai Snow Park in the Mall of the Emirates where you can take to the slopes all year-round!
P.S. If you want more tips on enjoying Emirati luxury without breaking the bank, check out some of the activities in Dubai perfect for a shoestring budget!
It feels like every time we take another look around Singapore, we find something completely new to do 😄 We recently rediscovered the neighbourhoods of Chinatown and Little India and we can’t wait to learn more about what’s around this beautiful island!
One of our top Singapore attractions has got to be Resorts World Sentosa – with a variety of attractions for all kinds of visitors, the hours will fly by during your trip here! But the beauty of Singapore isn’t just its theme parks – there’s so much hidden beauty, nature, and culture to discover all over 😍 Even if you’re having a staycation, why not rediscover some of the unique experiences even locals may overlook or rediscover some of Singapore’s favourite nature parks?
If you really want to go on a family vacation, but can’t seem to decide on a destination or find a good flight – why not go on a cruise instead? They’re usually a more affordable way to ensure some quality family time together, and for the price you pay you’ll always get a ton of attractions and activities worth your dollar!
Cruises are truly the type of vacation where you get what you put into it, and we made the most of our recent trip on the Genting Dream Cruise! If you want something more laid-back, you can always sit on the deck and enjoy the sea breeze, or take in a live show; if you want adventure and exhilaration, the ship even has a rock-climbing wall on top of its pools and slides! And for activities the whole family can enjoy, there’s mini-golf or a movie under the stars. Best of all the Genting Dream Cruise is the only cruise in Asia that serves JAKIM-certified food! 🤩
#HHWT Tip: While not all of the spread on the ship is halal-certified, we confirmed that all of the meat is from halal sources.
Vacations are truly the best opportunity to relax, recharge, learn, and grow with your family 😍 Be sure to make the most of the time you have with your loved ones in these amazing destinations!