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2 Places I Wouldn’t Travel with Kids

This is an interesting way to look at the question of where to travel with kids.

Instead of focusing on kid-friendly destinations, I thought about what makes a place not kid-friendly. You know, where there would be too many questions to answer. When it came down to it, there were two places that really stood out in my mind.

The first is beautiful, fun Key West. Sure, there’s history to be experienced and lovely sunsets. But there’s also a lot of drinking, and tons of festivals that seem to involve people not wearing a whole lot of clothing. I say why not save the Key West trip for a weekend with friends, and keep the Florida travel experiences to anywhere north of Islamorada.

The second locale has to be Vegas. Look, I know there’s lots of cool things for kids to do in Vegas, but it’s mostly about gambling (age restrictions), shopping (boring for kids), fabulous dining (kids don’t care), nightlife (no way) and expensive shows (mostly over their heads).

Of course, you could argue that there are kid friendly things to do at almost any destination.  You’d be right, and more and more places are becoming family-friendly, offering something fun for mom, dad and the energizer bunnies. If you are thinking of taking the whole family, just make sure you have activities planned that will keep everyone happy and entertained. So while you’re dining at the celebrity chef’s table, the kids are swimming at the pool, bowling or at the cool movie theater on the boardwalk.

Or maybe they’re just at home with grandma and grandpa.

Are there other places that should be on this list? Share your opinion…

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This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Bummer. The video isn’t working!
    My twins are (almost 3) and my oldest is 4. We’re living in Europe as expats, and basically I try to avoid any place with cranky American travelers that dislike children. We had the worst experience ever in the south of France (we hadn’t even SAT DOWN and the two women were hysterical over seeing my boys on a terrace at lunch) so that just ruins it for me. If I get the vibe that we aren’t welcome- we will go elsewhere. It isn’t worth proving a point to me- my kids are good and I’m nearly OCD trying to make sure they behave well. I’d rather us all have a good time than constantly stress about ornery Americans. Because the worst we have been treated- is by our own kind.

    1. but what if I told you it’s not about you. Vegas the city of sin. just simply isn’t a place for kids no matter how well they behave. I can think of so many more places better suited for kids. No idea why people still bring anyone under 21 here.

    2. Hi – Don’t be put off by Samantha’s comments on Las Vegas! My son and I have had great times there. Of course, we don’t go to Vegas for gambing or drinking. But, there are many fun things to do there. Zipling just outside of Vegas, Pinball Hall of Fame, indoor cart racing, Circus Circus, waterpark, indoor skydiving, the Mac King comedy show…tons of stuff 🙂 Vegas is not kid-unfriendly.

    3. Well, aren’t you the cranky one now that you have dumped us all into the “Nasty American” category. The worst traveling experience I have had was at a French restaurant. However, I am not going to blame all French citizens for the rudeness of a couple of people. You need to lighten up…

  2. I live in Las Vegas and we have a new Children’s Discovery Museum that is fabulous, many beautiful parks, and many children’s activities, so bring the grandparents along to take them places, while you experience some nightlife!

  3. Regarding Las Vegas:
    People take their kids to catch the sidewalk shows at the big hotels and casinos; e.g. the pirates. (Not that we bothered to take our kids, but my brother did).
    Also remember that Las Vegas generally has beautiful spacious hotel rooms at reasonable prices.
    As such, it serves as a good staging or sleep spot while visiting nearby destinations (Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Hoover dam, some good parks, Death Valley (another long drive), Historical trails, just visiting the desert, rock collecting and even the Grand Canyon (long drive though). Tina’s got it right.
    Additional places not to take kids? Personally, outside of a few museums and aquariums, I make every effort to avoid big cities. People are much friendlier outside of the urbs, food is better (avoid chains) and the views are spectacular.

  4. Ms. Brown, I have watched your show off and on now for several years, always wishing I could go where you went.
    My daughter who is now 11 and I want to plan a trip to Italy, Spain, France for 2-3 weeks for her 15th. birthday. I know I have plenty of time now but would like some advice.
    Thank You and congratulations on your beautiful babies.

  5. Bourbon Street New Orleans.. We saw people with kids there gawking at the sexy windows and people. There are lots of interesting places in the french quarter that are more G rated. But Bourbon street is definitely R or maybe even X rated.

    1. There is sooo much more to New Orleans than Bourbon St. We have taken our children and nieces/nephews there for the past 20 years. Museums, colleges, bayou tours, the music, and food!!! So much to see and do other than 1 street!! Our favorite place to vacation – 3 generations strong!!

    2. That’s was my thought too. Every big city has their District of Questionable Decisions, but nobody celebrates their sins like New Orleans.

  6. Time to look beyond the adult-themed activities of Las Vegas mainly on the Strip. Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, Lake Mead/Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire, Grand Canyon and Sedona aren’t far, and neither is Death Valley. I may be biased because I live here, but I could think of worse places to visit…..

  7. I haven’t been to Key West or Las Vegas, but I do recall when we took our two teenage kids to South Beach. There were plenty of family-oriented activities there, but we also ran into some strange characters, especially in the evening. It just required some explaining 🙂

  8. I agree about Vegas. The most disturbing things are the “Base Ball Cards”, as my husband puts it, strewn all over the sidewalks promoting “Women of the Night”. Just what I want my 6 year old picking up and collecting (<—insert sarcasm here). 🙂

  9. When they were small, I tried to take my kids many places. What I discovered was that I attempted to pay for things my kids refused to do. Like trying to take them on an underwater excursion on mini subs. They said yes before I paid for the trip, but chickened out once they were on the boat.

    Also, while on vacation, leave the gameboys home, confiscate the phones unless your trip includes boring travel times, limit TV, especially in the morning when you’re trying to get out the door, and listen to what the kids want to do. Colonial Williamsburg was a wonderful trip in the 70’s, but today, only a select few younger kids really care to see it.

    Beaches was great. The kids are in a place that is self contained. Have the freedom to move around, and as long as they promise not to go in a pool in another area than you are, you can be sure they’re safe. Tip: take them out of school for the week. Traveling to Beaches during school holidays can cost you double. Sorry Teachers.

    A cruise is also a good trip for the same reasons as Beaches. Plus, to keep track of their movements, all the child has to do is call your room phone and leave a message before they move to a new location. Food is included and the kids gain independence when they can ask for a burger whenever they’re hungry. Just tell them to meet you at the dinner table.

    Take advantage of Nannys. If all the kids want to do is sit home and watch TV. Do it one day. As an example… we left our kids for the day and we went to Seaworld. (Or was it Universal?) Our tickets included second day free admittance, so after enjoying the park and seeing what we wanted to see, we returned the next day with the kids and didn’t obsess over taking care of them and trying to cram a bunch of stuff into the day. We also knew which attractions they would prefer and which ones were a waste. We saved a lot of time by not dealing with the scarier stuff and long lines. We also knew where the best places were to eat.

    Btw, Now our kids are much older and refuse to come with us on vacation, so we’ve been able to visit Vegas, Aruba, Bermuda ,(another place not to take kids) and we just returned from Sedona, which I don’t think I’d take my kids. They were never into hiking. So, if you can save those places until your kids are more mature and responsible, you can leave them home and still enjoy these places without hearing “Daddy, can we leave now?” 5 minutes after you arrive.

    1. “Colonial Williamsburg was a wonderful trip in the 70’s, but today, only a select few younger kids really care to see it.” — That is a sad commentary on today’s kids.

  10. The look on my daughters face (she was 12 at the time ) when she seen the statue of David at the louve in Paris was priceless

  11. Well, there’s San Francisco and its “poo maps”, for starters. Probably not something you want your kids seeing.

    Then there’s Seattle, with its aggressive panhandlers and legal heroin injection sites. I’m guessing that’s a no-go.

    There are certain weekends at Disney where you probably don’t want to explain to the young ‘uns why a 300 lb bearded man is wearing fairy wings and leather chaps…and little else.

    Whale watching in Alaska sounds fun, but you’d better bathe in mosquito repellant. The bugs in America’s Last Frontier are CRAZY. They will carry your children off if you give them the chance.

  12. I’ve always felt the same with Vegas, I was creeped out by all the “flicker” cards being shoved in my face and strewn all over the ground and saw little kids picking them up like trading cards… Not to mention being propositioed everywhere we went.

  13. Guess we would avoid some neighborhoods in Amsterdam. But be sure to visit Anne Frank (depending on kids ages) and Rijk’s museum. In the US, just plan ahead and use common parent sense.

  14. I find that all major cities have something not child appropriate. The best thing to do is do some research of the areas you plan to visit and if possible, involve your kids in the planning. Vegas and the immediate areas have wonderful family activities, such as the Pinball museum, the Lion Encounter in Henderson, the Neon Museum, and the Springs Arboretum in North Las Vegas.

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