DESTINATION: KAUAI, HAWAI’I, USA

Na Pali Coast

There is a reason they call Kauai the Garden Island. It is truly a lush, tropical paradise full of leafy vegetation and beautiful flowers everywhere you turn. It makes you feel like you’ve finally made it off the grid and into relaxation mode. Kauai is my favorite Hawaiian island for many reasons, but the quiet, “less-touristy” feel is the main reason why I keep returning. Although it is more of an active island, there are plenty of great things to do with your kids.

The Logistics.

First off, the island is small enough to be able to travel north to south in an hour, so it is worth renting a car. I highly recommend something with AWD because many of the sights are off the beaten path a bit, and you will feel safer driving your kids around in something with a little more traction control. Whether you choose to stay on the North side or South side, it will be worth it to have a car (the Jeep rentals have removable roofs, just saying).

Being the Garden Island comes with its perks, but all perks have downfalls, which in this case is rain. Expect some showers when you’re on the island. Rumor has it that the South side of the island is the sunny side, but I have stayed on both and have yet to see a huge difference. Just make sure to pack a light rain jacket for each person in the family.

Let’s face it; Hawai’i in general is not cheap. Due to import costs, expect to see inflated pricing on everything from eggs to fuel. However, there is a huge perk to the island that helps alleviate that cost, and that is a miracle store called COSTCO. Located on the east side of the island (and conveniently close to the airport), Costco has everything you need from local Poke, wine, diapers, you name it, all for Costco prices. Take advantage of the savings and stock up for the trip.

Accommodations.

What would a Costco trip be worth if you didn’t have a kitchen to cook in? Well, it would still be worth it for the fresh Poke alone. However, if you want to save on eating out and put your culinary skills to work, get a hotel room with a kitchenette in it. Maybe cooking is a chore that you’re taking a vacation from, but if you’re anything like me, being able to thro a bagel in the toaster or whip up a quesadilla on the stove for lunch is worth the extra effort. Keep in mind that most of these units also have washers and dryers, which is gold if you have small kids that require wardrobe changes on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in the North side, Princeville, the go-to spot is the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas. Aside from daily activities and a kids club, every unit has a kitchenette, which makes life with kids much easier. Hanalei Bay is also close by and offers cute shops, great food (don’t forget to take a day off from slaving in the hotel kitchen), and beautiful beaches.

Maybe you’re crossing your fingers for sunnier weather and elect the South side. In this case, Poipu has great accommodations as well. The Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu is a gorgeous, kid-friendly resort with some of the largest units on the island. From great beach access to multiple pools with water slides and waterfalls, this resort is a great option for families.

The island also has many affordable rental houses and condos, so if you’re traveling with a group or on a budget, check out some vacation rental websites and see what fits your needs. Some rates can be as low as $90 per night. Airbnb is my favorite to navigate and has some beautiful, affordable options on both sides of the island.

Exploring the Island.

Believe it or not, ninety percent of the island is inaccessible by car, but don’t let that deter you from renting one. You will still need it. However, if you enjoy hiking and have older kids that are bike savvy, the island has endless options for you. Waimea Canyon is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and boasts incredible views. A cool new way to independently explore is by downloading an app that takes you on turn-by-turn directions to all of the main sights. Don’t worry! You don’t need service to use this, as it is all available offline. Click here to see more details.

Na Pali Coast is equally spectacular in scenery, which is best viewed by water or air. For a more kid-friendly excursion, take them by boat. Depending on the time of year, you will also see humpback whales, dolphins, and turtles, along with other beautiful wildlife. Those of you with children ages three and older, the best tour is by Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures. They offer a variety of tours to meet your needs and are also very family friendly.

Feel like visiting some goats? Kauai Kunana Dairy Farm is a fun activity for animal lovers of all ages. This is a great educational tour about how the farm practices sustainability while making products from goat cheese to honey. Enjoy cheese, organic fruit, and honey tasting as well as refreshments and a souvenir shop.

For some island history, visit the Kilohana Plantation. Equipped with restaurants, shops, and its own railroad, you will definitely find entertainment for anyone in the family. They also feature a theatrical luau that will be sure to entertain the kids and give them some immersion into Hawaiian culture.

Kauai has an abundance of water activities, but for those with kids five and older, try the Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure Tour. Hop in an off-road vehicle to the starting point and float down the river while taking in the views of nature, as well as some pretty cool engineering. Some of these canals were even dug by hand back in the 1800s!

Finally, if you’re anything like me, you may or may not FaceTime your dogs while on vacation (yes I’m that person). In this case, take advantage of the open doors of Kauai Humane Society. They offer a special Shelter Dog Field Trip program that gives you the opportunity to take a dog out for the day. That’s a win-win situation if you ask me! Click here for more information.

Island Eating.

Porky’s Kauai. Let the reviews do the talking. It is rated number one on the island by TripAdvisor and is in Yelp’s top 100 places to eat. Kids have been known to lick their plates clean here as well. Need I say more?

Bubba’s Burgers.  I have a love-hate relationship with Bubba’s because it was so good that I unintentionally left my phone behind. With that said, I was forced to make the hour trip back the next day to pick up my phone, and of course, eat there again (maybe it wasn’t by accident after all?). Kids will love the grass-fed burgers and milkshakes, and it’s also easy on the parents’ wallets. Enjoy the laid-back island vibe, but don’t forget your phone there. That’s unless you want to come back for seconds.

Smith’s Family Garden Luau. What would a trip to Hawai’i be without a Luau? Enjoy what many people say is the best Luau on the island with lots of fun and interactive entertainment. Be sure to look at the schedule based on the month you plan to travel, as the weekly schedule can vary.

Wailua Shave Ice. Hawai’i is known for their shave ice, and this one is not your average Joe. Made with all natural ingredients, this grab-and-go style food truck features real fruit juice and fresh fruit incorporated into their beautiful presentations. You will not be disappointed!

Don’t Forget Your Swimsuit!

Whether you love to dive in and explore the ocean or prefer to stick to drier activities on land, Kauai is definitely the place for you and your family. Enjoy the unique culture and the beautiful scenery, and also don’t mind the resident roosters, which are Kauai’s very own version of pigeons. Bring a camera, pack some hiking shoes, and go for it!

Safe Travels,

Kirby

DESTINATION: TOKYO, JAPAN

First, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Tokyo has a Disneyland and a Legoland. Obviously those two places are must-visits if you’re taking kids on this adventure to Japan. However, despite the obvious kid-friendly attractions, Tokyo is a great place to immerse your family into a different culture and see some less “Americanized” family-friendly sights. Japan is also known for a very low crime rate, which puts parents at ease when traveling with little ones. Here are some insights for planning your trip.

Prep Work.

As soon as you arrive, make sure to buy a Suica or Pasmo card in order to get around the city. These are transit passes that resemble subway systems. You pay a deposit  (there’s a reduced kids’ rate if you show passports) and any unused credits will be refunded. To be efficient and buy in advance, go here.

Your options are unlimited for hotels, but the following three are my top choices:

1. Mimaru Tokyo Ueno Inaricho. This hotel is rated number one by trip advisor for being family friendly and comes with kitchenettes. Those of you who have read past posts know how much I like rooms with kitchens included when traveling with kids. This gives you the option to “short order cook” just in case the kids are not acclimating to the culture change yet.

2. ANA InterContinental Tokyo. Anything from this hotel chain is a safe bet, which is why I’m listing it. InterContinental hotels are known for luxury, and surprisingly, this hotel was very reasonably priced for a 4.5-star hotel when looking up rates. Despite the extravagance, it is also very kid friendly, and don’t worry- it has a pool.

3. Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo. Also equipped with kitchenettes, this hotel is very close to the subway lines and has a clean, modern feel. The property is also in a prime location for many activities and restaurants around town.

What to See (That’s Not Disneyland Tokyo).

If you can plan your trip around seeing the famous cherry blossoms, it is highly recommended. Japan is known for amazing displays of blooming cherry trees in the spring months that are symbolic to the Japanese culture. Because the blooms only last a couple weeks, Japan has recognized their beauty as what they call “mono no aware”, which means “nothing last forever”.  Blooms can start as early as January and continue through as late as May, however for optimal timing, I would suggest visiting in March or April.

KidZania is a museum where kids can dress up in their favorite occupation, and everything is two-thirds life size. Kids anywhere from 4-12 can enjoy it easily, but all are welcome. Those six and under can also play in the toddler area that provides complimentary milk. Visit the website link for reservations and more information.

For science buffs, visit the Miraikan Museum of Science and Innovation. There are so many things to explore that you’ll need to set aside a good portion of the day. It has exhibits for all ages as well as for adults, including ASIMO, the humanoid robot that does demonstrations throughout the day. Be sure to stop in and watch!

Another great science museum is the National Museum of Science and Nature. With multiple permanent exhibits, a seasonal exhibit, and a theater, there is plenty to explore and something for everyone. They also offer astronomy viewing a couple times per month, so if you can time it right, that is something fun and free for kids high-school aged and younger. For more information, visit the general information page on their website.

For some sight seeing in the city, make sure to visit Tokyo Tower. Think of it as Tokyo’s very own Eiffel Tower. It has a glass floor right below the main floor that you can walk across and has great views of the city. Many believe that evening visits make this attraction more satisfying, but if the kids need to go to bed early, it won’t disappoint in the daylight either.

Sushi Anyone?

Japan is the sushi Mecca of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find plenty of other kid-friendly restaurants around the city. Here are some top picks:

Organic Café Lulu (Organic (obviously), egg and dairy free food for those with dietary restrictions, a play area with books (in English and Japanese), all kinds of toys for kids, and even child-sized toilets in the restrooms.)

Minoru, Ginza Mitsukoshi (A posh but kid-friendly rooftop restaurant within a department store with a farm-to-table style menu and a variety of unique, pure juices.)

Gundam Café (A robot style restaurant that features bot-shaped foods and other fun things for kids of all ages to enjoy.)

Chano-ma (Super kid-friendly for all ages, especially babies and toddlers. There is ample space for them to roam around if you so choose, or put the smaller ones next to you on mattress-style seating and let them nap while you enjoy a hot meal.)

Daylight Kitchen (An organic café and of the most family-friendly restaurants in the city. It also has big tables, providing plenty of space for a stroller, as well as a kids’ menu that is sure to please any little one.)

Genki Sushi (I have to include at least one sushi spot! Most traditional places are too fancy or too confining for families, but this sushi spot is inexpensive and has great food options for every age. The conveyor style service will also entertain the kids.)

Get That Suitcase Out!

Tokyo is sure to give you and the family a great time regardless of your interests. Brush up on your Japanese and get ready for an amazing adventure! Don’t worry though, even if picking up another language is not your strongest suit, you will not have a problem getting around. Pack your suitcase and enjoy!

Safe travels,

Kirby

DESTINATION: SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, USA

I spent much of my childhood in Arizona thanks to my grandparents being snowbirds, so it holds a very special place in my heart. As an adult, I have built a lot of wonderful memories there as well, and as much as I’d like to continue exploring new places, my heart still takes me back from time to time. Now I’ve had the opportunity to show my daughter the desert, and I’m sharing my experiences with you as well. Here is how to make the best out of a family vacation in Scottsdale.

The Logistics.

First off, plan on renting a car for this trip. There are so many things to do outside of Scottsdale, and that ride share bill will get expensive if you’re relying on someone else to chauffeur you. The perk to renting a car- you only have to install that car seat once!

Scottsdale is a great area to stay in because it’s centrally located to many attractions and activities. My home away from home is the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, making it my number one recommended hotel. Moms, I am putting an emphasis on resort and SPA, because their Agave Spa has been ranked top 10 in the world. You might even find Oprah herself sitting next to you in the sauna, as it is one of her personal favorites. Hey, if Oprah likes it, we all should, right?

Next to the main hotel is also the villa sector, which all come with fully equipped kitchens in case you feel like making more of a dent in your bank account.

As far as kids go, the Westin Kids Club is one of the best childcare facilities I have found while traveling. They have wonderful staff that keeps them busy all day long while you are enjoying your spa day. Drop them off starting at 9AM and pick them up at 5PM. They also offer half day options if you’re only needing a few hours to yourself. Aside from the spa, the Kierland Golf Course is also highly regarded and is endorsed by the amateur (emphasis on amateur) golfer, yours truly. Take advantage of that kids club for your round and enjoy.

What does Westin have to offer in the way of amenities? The list is endless. For the water babies in your life, there are several pools with cabanas to keep them active in the water and also out of that desert sun during their snack time.  The cabanas are first come, first serve, so make a day out of it and snag one up early.  While you’re there, grab an inner tube and float the lazy river with your kids while you sip on your pool serviced adult beverage. There are also water slides, hourly entertainment, and other fun things to engage in while you’re hanging by the pool. It is a must. Enjoy some down time.

Another great option in Scottsdale is the Sonesta Suites Scottsdale Gainey Ranch. With an all-suite set up with kitchenettes, you are sure to be comfortable in the room as a family. They even provide a Gainey Plush Bear for all of your kids to fight over once you arrive. On top of that, they have a beautiful pool, an on-site fitness facility, plus discounted entry to the neighboring health club. Complimentary breakfast and late afternoon drinks and appetizers are all included in your daily rate as well. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

Attractions.

How many of your kids like trains? Or at least riding on one? I have yet to hear a parent say zero or no to those questions! In this case, take the whole family to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Visit the museum, ride on some trains, look at model railroads, and enjoy the playground at the end. There is fun for kids of every age bracket, not limited to those over the age of 18, or 45 for that matter.

Scottsdale is also home to the beautiful Sonoran Desert Preserve, where you can take a stroller-friendly, kid-friendly hike on the Bajada Nature Trail. There you will see lots of vegetation and wildlife while getting some energy out of the kids. In addition to the preserve, you can also book horseback riding, jeep tours, and even helicopter tours. Click here for an overview of all activities.

Are there any music buffs reading this? If so, this next attraction is for you. Spend an afternoon in the Musical Instrument Museum, where you can discover musical instruments from all over the world. They also offer hands on learning and encourage kids of all ages to try out a variety of instruments in the Experience Gallery. Don’t forget to check out the concert schedule as well!

Put your rental car to use next and take a day trip to Tuscon. There you will find the Desert Museum, my personal favorite attraction in all of Arizona. Let’s just say they have a little bit of everything from bobcats to stingrays to snakes to tarantulas (you get my drift), plus an absolutely amazing hummingbird aviary.  Pro tip- wear something colorful and/or floral and you might just have a couple land on you! New to the museum is also a recent dinosaur skeleton collected from where else, but Arizona. Plan on getting on the road early and spending the whole day there because there is that much to do. Enjoy it and think of me when that hummingbird poses with you for a photo-op! Totally kidding. But not really.

Tantrum-Friendly Restaurants!

There’s nothing like feeding your cranky, overtired child sugar, so why not take a trip to Sugar Bowl? Not to worry, they have real, main-course food that you can force feed them before they go crazy on the dessert menu. Enjoy the retro, soda fountain style atmosphere and an ice cream sundae while your kids fuel up on their favorite foods.

The Vig. Take your kiddos out back and let them play corn hole and bocce ball while you sip on some wine and take in the modern, laid back atmosphere. If you go on Sunday, bottles of wine are half price.

Looking for some southwestern style food? The Blind Pig Café has been written up as one of the best spots for some great authentic Mexican food, as well as some American classics. Try the queso fundito and the street tacos for the most “Blind Pig” experience.

O.H.S.O is another awesome place for kids. Request a table outside so you can watch your kids play classic recreation games while you sip on some locally brewed beer and relax.

And just in case you do have some adult time, I have to throw out my favorite restaurant in Scottsdale, The Mission. It is a really trendy, foodie restaurant featuring Latin style cuisine and the most amazing margaritas I’ve ever had. Well-behaved kids with an open-minded palette would do fine here, but it is definitely more of a “hire some childcare for the night and do a date night” type place. Enjoy it.

Get Packing.

In closing, Arizona is so beautiful in its own unique way and offers entertainment to audiences of all ages. Pack your lip balm with your sunscreen, as it’s a dry climate, and don’t forget to pick up some delicious prickly pear syrup (my all-time favorite margarita flavoring) while you’re there! Book and enjoy that wonderful sunshine!

Safe Travels,

Kirby

DESTINATION: NEGRIL, JAMAICA

Oh, beautiful Jamaica, the reggae capital of the world. It is also known for something else not so kid-friendly. Any guesses? I’ll let you use your imagination on that one! At first I didn’t pin this as being a place where kids could flourish, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of activities for a broad spectrum of audiences.

If you are looking for a little less tourism and a little more laid-back vibe, Negril is the place for you and your family. It is known for possessing many of the most exquisite beaches on the planet, including Seven-Mile Beach, a top 25 worldwide rated beach, and it has some of the best Caribbean food on the Island. Now that I have you at beaches and Caribbean food, let’s get down to some insight on making your stay with your kiddos a breeze.

Getting There.

Negril is easily accessible, either by car from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, or by intra-island flight right into Negril Airport. Once you’re there, you have a plethora of taxis to take you wherever you may please. Many places are walkable as well.

What not to do with kids? Bike rentals. Traffic is crowded and chaotic at times, making biking slightly dangerous for beginner riders. You also have the option of public transit, but be warned that it is also crowded and has no air conditioning. If your kid is at all like mine, keeping them semi comfortable is of the utmost importance; otherwise I’m dealing with a “Debbie Downer” for the rest of the day.

Where to Stay.

You have options on this one, but my favorite hands down is Beaches Negril. With unlimited activities on land or in the water, you don’t even have to leave the resort if you so choose. The all-inclusive packages include a multitude of activities, including, wait for it, kids camps! The amenities are so plentiful that I can’t list them all, but click the link for more detailed information.

My favorite part about this resort is the fact that the term “all-inclusive” has more than one meaning. The certified nannies are also specially trained for kids on the Autism Spectrum and modify activity to accommodate special needs of all kinds. If you have a child on the spectrum (or with any other special need), you know exactly how invaluable that is. If not, no worries there either; they will still show your kids a great time.

Kid perk number two- the resort has its own water park, which is included with your all-inclusive package. Need I say more? Beaches also partnered with Sesame Street to give an extra special experience for the younger audience, included as well.

The Royalton Negril Resort and Spa is another all-inclusive resort with endless accommodations. This resort offers a lot of family friendly amenities without sacrificing luxury. Put your 4-11 year old kids in the kids’ camp from 9am-9pm while you go for a spa day. They also have a teens’ club for 13-17 year olds that features billiards, ping-pong, a playstation lounge, and supervised outdoor activities. Also enjoy four pools and water slides, as well as many other on-site activities.

Not a fan of all-inclusive? You still have options.

Villas Sur Mer is a beautiful, lush, cottage style resort. It is located just south of Negril and is what I call a “hidden gem”. Some rooms also come equipped with kitchenettes, and if you read my first post, you know that I find this very convenient when traveling with kids. Childcare services are also available at a very reasonable rate. While you take advantage of the babysitting, enjoy the beach, restaurants, or my favorite, the spa services available.

Stay at the family-owned Travellers Beach Resort for a budget-conscious price and a good bang for your buck. Situated right on the Seven-Mile Beach, it is conveniently located and is very family friendly. For the best room with a kitchenette, air conditioning, and a king bed, select the Superior King Kitchenette Room. Also, leave the obnoxious pack and play at home. There are cribs available upon request. Other amenities include nightly entertainment, a swim-up bar, a hidden grotto (your kids will get a kick out of you “losing” them to the waterfall), and a fitness facility.

Beyond the Resorts.

Get ready for some of the best excursions and activities outside your resort. 

Aside from the world-renowned Seven Mile Beach, Bloody Bay is also a must-visit and appropriate for all ages (and no, it’s not at all what the name makes it out to be!). The calm, clear, shallow waters make it very kid friendly so you can sit back and relax while they tread the shoreline (disclaimer- it is still the ocean; be the smart parents that I know you are). The view is amazing and it is less crowded than other beaches, making it one of the top places to see. Some would argue that this beach is the nicest of them all. Go there. You wont regret it!

One of my personal favorite vacation activities is horseback riding. As a horse owner, this is my home away from home, but you do not have to be an experienced rider to enjoy what this excursion has to offer. Granted, this is not the best choice if you have toddlers, but older kids will definitely enjoy it. Let the horse do all the work while you take in the view of the island. They will even take you for a swim in the ocean! For one of the most personalized tours, try Reggae Horseback Riding.

In continuation of the animal theme, take your kiddos of all ages to Barney’s Flower and Hummingbird Garden. This quarter-acre garden full of exotic plants houses an abundance of wild hummingbirds and other wildlife without nets or confinement. The wildlife comes and goes as they please, which is why I’m an advocate for visiting this establishment. It is sure to entertain the kids while also giving them some valuable wildlife education.

Did you decide to rent a car? Feel like going on a day trip? Ocho Rios is about 79 miles (oops, I’m American, how about 126 kilometers?) away from Negril and houses the famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park. I’m serious about it being famous. It was featured in the 1962 James Bond film, “Dr. No.” Get the older kids moving (obviously WAY cooler than that playstation lounge at Royalton) and take a hike right into the waterfalls.  It is smart to pack some water shoes for traction as the rocks can get slippery, but worth the space taken up in your suitcase. Side note, you don’t actually need a car for this, as there are many excursions that offer hotel pickup and drop-off from Negril.

Rainforest Adventures at Mystic Mountain, also in Ocho Rios, is full of additional outdoor activities that will entertain you all day, one of which is the signature Jamaican bobsledding. You have the power to control the sled to your comfort level. Again, this is more of a school-aged and older kid activity, but sure to put smiles on their faces. Kids need to be 48 inches tall to ride. There is also a sky adventure that takes you on chair lifts over the rainforest, a zipline, and the ability to include the Dunn’s Falls tour as a bundle if you wish.

Food. Yes. Finally.

There is nothing like some authentic Jamaican style cuisine. Here are some kid-friendly ones for you to enjoy.

Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio. (Organic farm to table style, cooked right in front of you. If you go on Wednesday night, they have drumming entertainment. They also offer farm tours in a packaged deal.)

Just Natural (Casual, authentic Jamaican food with a home cooked feel. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friendly. This restaurant is right next to the Barney’s Hummingbird garden, FYI. Kids are welcome and embraced. Give them a checkers board while you sip on your adult drink and watch the hummingbirds visit.)

Pushcart Restaurant and Rum Bar (Inside the Rockhouse Hotel. Great atmosphere. Known for Authentic Caribbean food with vegetarian and gluten free accommodations. Locals often recommend this. Family friendly, casual environment with awesome nightly entertainment.) Scroll down on the page via the link to see the menu and get more information.

Did you take advantage of a hotel sitter? In that case, you have to visit Rick’s Café, just for the experience, even if it’s just for a drink. Be prepared for crowds considering it is a world renowned bar, but the cliff views and live reggae music are worth enjoying for a bit. Take advantage of the free time and have a date night!

Get That Suitcase Ready!

Whether you plan on taking advantage of an all-inclusive resort or decide to do a little more independent planning, Negril offers an endless amount of family fun. Don’t forget to grab a waterproof phone case so you can snap some action shots of the kids and make some memories. Book and Enjoy!

Safe Travels,

Kirby

DESTINATION: WHISTLER

Whistler, B.C., Canada

It is only fitting that my first destination post be about the first place I took my daughter. In fact, it was because of this trip that I thought I could take her anywhere with me. Whistler is a very kid-friendly town, and it’s kid-friendly year-round. Here is what I found most helpful to me.

Accommodations and Planning.

First thing’s first. Splurge for accommodations with a 1-bedroom suite or more. Many of you will deal with time changes that will throw your kids off of their sleep schedules. Joy! Nothing is worse than having to share a studio unit with sleeping children. I made this mistake once and spent my nights in the silent darkness (or the bathroom) for fear of waking the sleeping dragon. Being able to close the door and have your own adult living space is something I will never sacrifice again.

Furthermore, if you can access a unit with a kitchen, even better. It is nice having the ability to make meals in the comfort of your own space, especially when you have the pickiest eaters alive (am I the only one with a picky-eater?). Click here for a list of family-friendly hotels with kitchenettes: https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsList-Whistler-Hotels-With-Kitchenette-zfp26451.html

For warmer weather visits, save yourself the pain of lugging a stroller though the airport and rent a bike with a cart (or “chariot”) attachment instead. The entire town is bike accessible, and guess what? You won’t even need to hit the gym in the morning because your transportation is your workout. Rent them here: https://www.whistler.com/activities/biking/recreational/

Oh, you can also leave your pack and play at home because you can rent one of those too. Save your airport bicep workout for your wine glass instead. Here’s where you can rent all of your kid stuff (including that stroller I told you to leave at home): https://www.babysonthego.com/

The village itself very easy to navigate. If you’re not a bike rider, there are plenty of other ways to get around. Most resorts are within walking distance and many include complimentary shuttles. The BC transit system is also a breeze and allows for up to 3 kids free with a purchased adult fare. Oh, and no need to install that obnoxious car seat. Take advantage of that! https://bctransit.com/whistler

Activities.

If you’re planning a trip to Whistler, you probably already are clued in to the fact that it is an active, outdoorsy destination. But that doesn’t mean you have to stress out about seeing the sights while appeasing kids. The options are honestly endless and for all ages, but the following are a few of my favorites:

Many activities in Whistler go year-round, and one of my favorites is the Peak-to-Peak Gondola Ride. Take in the beautiful scenery and Whistler village from a bird’s eye view. Dining is available during the attraction and kids under 6 are free. For more information, click here: https://www.whistler.com/activities/peak-to-peak-gondola/

Want some adult time? There are childcare facilities available to you. Real ones. Drop them off between 8AM and 10AM, and pick them up by 3:30PM. That’s plenty of time for a round of 18 at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course or plenty of runs down Whistler Blackcomb. Don’t forget about all of the AMAZING spas if you prefer to actually relax sans kids! https://www.whistler.com/family/childcare/#three

We all love obstacle courses (oh that’s just me?). Why not try one suspended 60 feet above ground in the forest? Tree adventure courses are an all-season activity for all ages where you can cross bridges, swing on tightropes, climb cargo nets, and explore anything that requires the use of some gross motor skills, all while taking in the beautiful view of nature. https://tagwhistler.com/tour/treetop-adventure-full-course/

Have older kids? Take them ziplining. Especially if they’re mouthy teenagers and are scared of heights. Send them down that once and they’ll shape up for the rest of the trip! Enough said. Here are some of your disciplinary options: https://www.whistler.com/activities/zipline/

On a serious note, the water in Whistler is one of its most beautiful attributes. With that said, you can hike (or bike, snowshoe, etc.) around many bodies of water that are picnic friendly. Lost Lake is a must see and an easy hike, which is only a 10-minute walk from the resort zone. There is also a café there just in case you feel less inclined to pack a picnic. It is located inside the Lost Lake Passivhaus, right at the lake’s main entrance. https://www.whistlerhiatus.com/parks/lost-lake-park.html

If relaxing really is on your to-do list, maybe some live entertainment or a show is more up your alley. In that case, try the Maury Young Arts Center. They have classes and attractions available for all ages, none of which require breaking a sweat. https://artswhistler.com/

Then you have your signature Whistler activity- snow sports. Need I say more? Channel your inner Olympian and hit the slopes while the kids are in ski school. Or daycare. Remember, you have that! This link has every option available for whichever sport you deem worthy. https://www.whistler.com/activities/winter/

Dining with Kids. Eek.

Oh the dreaded idea of eating out with kids. Tired kids. We parents all know how fun it is taking kids to restaurants when they’ve skipped their naps and/or have low blood sugar. Here are a few restaurant suggestions where people will mind tantrums less:

The Brewhouse (You guessed it. They have beer. It helps drown out the whining.) The kids can also get more energy out running around by the Olympic Rings right outside while you watch and down your IPA.) http://www.mjg.ca/brewhouse/

Creekbread (Great wood-fired pizza with lots of space for strollers (you were supposed to leave those at home, but I forgive you) and large parties. This is rated one of the best family spots by locals.) http://www.creekbread.com/

Pasta Lupino (A cute Italian lunch spot that you can order food to-go. Yes, you want it to-go because they don’t have high chairs. Take it back to your room and kick your feet up while the kids are, cross your fingers, napping.) http://pastalupino.com/

El Furniture “El Furny” Warehouse (Large, budget conscious families, this is your dream spot. Everything on the menu is $5.95. Also, yes, they do have high chairs. And crayons.) https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g154948-d3468691-Reviews-El_Furniture_Warehouse-Whistler_British_Columbia.html

Time to get Packing!

At the end of the day, a stress-free vacation is what you make of it. In Whistler, you have many avenues of accomplishing that, all while enjoying the company of your babies (large or small). If I could’ve changed one thing about my own vacation with my daughter, I just would’ve taken more pictures. You know it was a good trip when you don’t have anything to show for it though, right? Pack that camera[phone] and make some memories!

All in all, if you enjoy beautiful scenery, an array of entertainment choices, and moving your feet a bit, Whistler should absolutely be on your kid-friendly vacation bucket list. Book and enjoy!

Safe Travels,

-Kirby

Special thanks to the following resources:

Tourism Whistler

Whistler Hiatus

Maury Young Arts Center

The Whistler Insider

Salutations

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.” — Izaak Walton

Hi Everyone! Thanks for joining me!

I’m Kirby, the author behind this site, and mom to a spunky five-year-old daughter, Elynn (it’s pronounced ee-lin in case you were wondering). We have been fortunate enough to take some pretty fun trips together, but let’s be honest; traveling with a kid is not always blue skies and butterflies. We have had our fair share of challenges that make me say, “That’s it! I am never doing this again!”. Just getting to the airport and lugging around car seats, luggage, the pack and play, and god forbid your golf clubs is hard enough! You need a vacation from your vacation, and that’s before it even starts!

Times like those prompted me to think about a better way to vacation. I became dedicated to finding the best destinations, things to do, and how to do them as a family without wanting to pull my hair out. Now I’m sharing my insights and research to better your vacation experience with your kids as well. Enjoy the journey and safe travels!

-Kirby