Best Travel Destinations With Young Twins
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We needed a vacation, badly. The first year and a half with twins was mentally and physically draining for my wife and I, so we knew we wanted to travel somewhere as a family to change scenery and recharge. We decided to skip Mickey and instead head to an island just a one-hour flight from our home airport to spend a nice, restful weekend together. OK, rest isn't really possible with two babies of the same age, but certainly a respite from our normal routine at home was in order.
When it comes to traveling with young babies, particularly twins, it may seem like a daunting task. And at first, it is. But once you get a few trips under your belt, you become a pro at all the intricacies of twin travel that parents of multiples endure. Of course, the same realities are basically true for those who have children in quick succession even if they aren't twins. We have traveled extensively throughout the globe with our twin girls and when deciding on our trip locations, we look for places where we'll have fun (the adults) and the twins will have things to see and do to keep them entertained and ultimately make lasting memories together.
Here are our favorite destinations when traveling with twins in tow:
1. Turks and Caicos
With flight time just over an hour from our home airport (Miami) and under three hours from many major East Coast airports, arriving at the compact yet organized Providenciales Airport in Turks is a breeze for families with multiples. Think of this island like your own little piece of paradise. Seriously, the Caribbean is known for having spectacular beaches, but Turks and Caicos (in our view) has the best. It's even one of TPG's personal favorites.
On Turks and Caicos find countless shallow beaches with calm waters and little to no people surrounding you — perfect for families with young children who wish to run around, scream and everything else little ones do at the beach. Our girls were waddling in knee-deep water at the age of two in Taylor Bay, one of the island's renowned and vastly uninhabited beaches.
The beauty for parents is that the toughest decision you’ll make when visiting Turks and Caicos is whether to visit the beach or the pool. A carefree island with a small population and stunning beaches where the majority of activities consist of being on the water, it truly is an excellent option for parents who want a relaxed vibe with little ones at your side.
Where to Stay: The island has lodging accommodations for all budgets, but first-time visitors might get a touch of sticker shock. The family-friendly all-inclusive Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos packs a punch with a ton of activities for families, including the kids camp, land and water activities and an exclusive partnership with Sesame Street characters that kids love, all covered in the cost. Turks and Caicos isn't built-up with massive hotels like other popular Caribbean destinations, so what you get in privacy and tranquility, you pay for with your lodging, at the grocery store and when dining out. It's the perfect time to use some of those flexible points from the Discover it Miles or Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. (Here are our top picks fixed-value point cards.)
We have gone every year since the girls’ first trip when they were a year old and have always rented an Airbnb. The inventory varies, but we prefer renting a nice apartment close to the beach and visit the grocery store for all our breakfast and snack essentials. (Tip: We visited this past summer and took with us snacks and juice boxes in our checked-in luggage which helped us save considerably on food costs.) TPG has reviewed and recommends The Shore Club, which offers multi-bedroom units.
I know, it's a long-ish haul for those based in the US, but Scandinavia as a whole is extremely family-friendly. (Here are tips for surviving the long flight with kids.) In Copenhagen, they love kids. We visited Norway, Sweden and Denmark with our twins last year and left blown away by the warmth of the Danish people in Copenhagen. The city is designed with families in mind. With countless public gardens and playgrounds, reserved places on buses and trains for strollers and Copenhagen's crown jewel, Tivoli Gardens, the city feels magical for kids and moms and dads, too.
Walt Disney had a dream of creating a magical playground for children and families of America, and word has it that in 1951, he paid a visit to Tivoli Gardens and left with a vision which resulted in the creation of Disneyland four years later. During the day, the park is filled with gorgeous lush gardens and amusement rides for children of all ages. At night it transforms into a lively night show of lights, live music and fireworks. We left blown away by the aesthetics of this place and vowed to return again in the future.
Food-loving parents will love Copenhagen as there are no shortage of great eats in the city. On a beautiful early afternoon, we visited one of Copenhagen's famed outdoor street markets, Torvehallerne. With over 60 stands selling everything from tapas and tacos to gourmet chocolate and pastries, there are plenty of options for even the discerning eater in your family. I would have loved to spend the entire afternoon eating and having an adult beverage, but a visit to the 400-year-old Rosenborg Castle in the heart of the city was in store for us, and let’s not forget the statue of the Little Mermaid.
Families with young multiples will love how compact the city is, yet still with a multitude of family-friendly attractions to explore. With no language barrier (everyone mostly speaks English) and the warmth of the Danish people, it's no wonder young families love Copenhagen for their European vacation.
Where to Stay: There are a variety of points-friendly hotels in the city, including Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers (from 35,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night), Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Copenhagen (from 44,000 Radisson Rewards points per night) and Copenhagen Marriott Hotel (Category 6, from 50,000 Marriott Rewards points per night).
Though frankly, as is an issue through Europe, those hotels may not offer standard rooms for families of four on points. You may need to buy-up to a larger family room or suite to accommodate all of you in one space. Also, keep an eye out for a "Kids Fly Free" promotion to Scandinavia as SAS has offered several in the past.
From white sandy beaches to an urban core infused with culture and top-notch restaurants, it's no wonder folks flock down to Miami for their winter getaways. The Magic City may have a reputation for having epic nightlife and flashy cars, but Miami offers so much more for families of multiples. For one, the weather. While the rest of the country is hunkered down during the winter months, Miamians enjoy tropical-like climate almost year-round.
Miami's beaches rival many of those you see in the Caribbean, and families with young children can enjoy endless miles of powdery white sand steps from your hotel room. South Pointe Park at the southern tip of South Beach has a small kiddie splash pad that's perfect for little ones on those hot, humid Miami days. About 10 miles north from Miami Beach, you'll find the most family-friendly beach in South Florida, Hollywood Beach. Enjoy the Venice Beach-esque boardwalk, eat at one of many casual eateries facing the ocean and watch people test their surfing skills on the surf simulator at Margaritaville Beach Resort.
Taking your children to see art may not sound like your idea of fun, but visiting Wynwood Walls is not your typical day at the art museum. Wynwood, the artsy-hipster sector of Miami proudly gloats their large graffiti murals splashed across the entire neighborhood. Artists from all over the world have contributed to the Wynwood Walls street art masterpiece that cover more than 80,000 square feet of walls.
If you're staying on the beach or downtown, you don't need to rent a car as Uber is an efficient way to get around Miami's entertainment districts. Ubers are aplenty, and you can even order one accompanied with a car seat. Parents of multiples will be pressed to find two car seats in an Uber, though. If that's a deal breaker for you, rent a car instead and bring your own car seats or request them with the car rental agency. Or, those with little twins may do well with a Doona that converts from a stroller to a car seat.
If you're looking to really explore all that Miami has to offer, renting a car is a good idea. Miamians and tourists alike love taking a road trip down to Homestead, approximately one hour south of Miami. Homestead is the home of Robert Is Here, a family-owned fruit stand that doubles as an animal farm with a play area for kids and picnic tables. Kids will love feeding the goats, and parents will enjoy the array of rare and exotic fruits (fruit smoothies are insanely good) and vegetables grown on Robert's farm.
Miami is, simply put, a culturally rich city with an international influence. With an abundance of activities, events and sights for people of all ages, it's easy to customize a trip to the Magic City that will make the whole family happy.
Where to Stay: Try the Hyatt Regency Miami (from 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night), the Confidante Miami (15k Hyatt points or a Category 1 - 4 award from the World of Hyatt Credit Card), Homewood Suites by Hilton Miami Downtown/Brickell (32k - 60k Hilton Honors points per night, depending on the season), or live it up at the beachfront St. Regis Bal Harbour (60k Marriott Rewards points per night).
4. New York City
New York City is an overstimulation of the senses. Fast-paced and filled with bright lights and loud sounds, The City That Never Sleeps may not be the obvious vacation choice for parents with young twins. But those attributes are exactly why it is an excellent destination for families. Check out these tips for navigating NYC with kids.
Beyond the commonly visited tourist attractions that families can enjoy, the city is home to over 1,700 parks and playgrounds (regardless of where you’re staying, you're bound to have a playground or green space close by).
Central Park is king of parks in NYC but my favorite is Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City. No matter the ages of your multiples, this park has various playground structures that work for all kids. The views of Lady Liberty aren't so bad either. There's something pretty cool about being at a green public playground in the middle of a concrete jungle.
If you're visiting during the chilly winter months or rainy days, you'll probably want to include indoor activities. Our favorite is the Children's Museum of Manhattan with interactive exhibits and an emphasis on early child development. If the weather is nice, I take the girls to the Central Park Zoo followed by a visit to the Central Park's famed Carousel.
Best of all, do NYC at your own pace. Don't overly plan too many activities that will wipe your family out. The city has unlimited entertainment options for parents and children of all ages. You shouldn't have trouble tailoring your vacation to satisfy the entire family in the Big Apple.
Where to Stay: There are plenty of points hotels in Manhattan. Consider these Marriott Category 5 NYC hotels as well as these additional family-friendly hotels spread across the city. If you have a big family, you can sleep up to 8 in bunk beds for 15k Wyndham points per night at the TRYP Times Square South. At the other end of the spectrum you can splurge on the fancy life at the St. Regis New York (60k Marriott).
An obvious vacation destination for families of multiples and all parents with Disney-loving kids is Orlando. The Central Florida city is synonymous with theme parks, but I've actually visited a handful of times without going to a single theme park. That's because in kid-friendly Orlando, even the resorts and hotels are jam-packed with amenities for the little ones, making it easy to bypass the parks for a day or two and enjoy the resorts with the family. Our favorite resort is the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress thanks to its top-notch amenities, central location and a short 12-minute drive to Walt Disney World.
Best of all for points-lovers, this hotel can be booked for just 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night even though paid rates spike to several hundred dollars during peak season. Here's how to rack up Hyatt points for your family.
In between visiting the theme parks and enjoying the hotel, an easy (and free) entertainment option for families is Disney Springs. Here you'll find an eclectic mix of shopping, top-notch restaurants, live music and my twins’ favorite, the $2 choo choo train ride. Explore the world's largest Disney store and check out Disney items that can only be found here. My girls are absolutely obsessed, and leaving the store without buying a single item requires an unearthly amount of self-control.
No trip to the Orlando area is complete without a visit to the town that Disney basically built: Celebration. Upon entering Celebration, you're transported to a small-town traditional American community where theoretically neighbors know each other well and a little boy delivers the newspaper to the neighbor's front porch every morning from his bicycle. A place where life is simple and everyone knows your name.
During the holidays, the town of Celebration hosts a tree lighting event for Christmas and its much-awaited "Now Snowing in Celebration" event. It's Florida so there is no snow, but you will get live shows, Charles Dickens carolers, Santa visits, train rides and ice skating at the "Now Snowing in Celebration" festival. Stop by Kilwins ice cream shop for ice cream or hot chocolate for the little ones. Need coffee for mom or dad? Grab a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks and snag a colorful rocking chair on the lakefront. Park your double stroller beside you and enjoy the serenity.
Orlando is a predictably obvious vacation destination for parents with small children, but packs a punch with alternative entertainment options in addition to the popular amusement theme parks. And let's be real -- going to a place that is built for families is not the worst idea with multiples.
Where to Stay: Your kids will love staying at a hotel with its own waterpark.
If you've got two little ones at home, don't be afraid to go on vacation. What twin-friendly destinations do you recommend?