The New Year is upon us! Where will you take your kids in 2017? We’ve partnered with Keryn Means of Walking On Travels to share where our own Gnomads recommend taking your kids, as well as a few sweet hot spots that some of the top family travel bloggers think you should add to your 2017 travel bucket list.

Year after year you, the exhausted parent, try to come up with a fabulous family vacation your children will always remember. You’ve done the usual theme parks and local destinations, but you want to dig a little deeper. Sit tight! We’ve done the research for you. We asked a few of our travel buddies to share their favorite spots—some unexpected, some you might not have thought of, but all great locations you will want to take your kids to in 2017.

Where to Take Your Kids in 2017 - Tallahassee Museum in Florida

Photo credit: Keryn Means/WalkingOnTravels.com

Tallahassee, Florida

The home of Florida State University is more widely known for football than food and family fun, but Tallahassee has both in spades. We loved the food trucks and new restaurants opening with young chefs. Breweries are adding a bit of family fun, like bocce ball and play spaces, so local parents and visitors can try their latest brews without boring the kids. If you aren’t into college football, have no fear. History comes alive at the Tallahassee Museum and Mission San Luis, helping children connect with what they are learning in their textbooks at school. You can also bike around the city or take advantage of one of the area’s many green spaces, including Cascades Park and Wakulla Springs State Park. Make sure you take the river cruise for a chance to see alligators and manatees in the wild.

French Lick, Indiana

Our very own Gnational Gnomad, Kirsten Maxwell, who also writes at KidsAreATrip.com, found that small-town life offers more than meets the eye here. “We were very surprised by French Lick, Indiana. It is in the middle of nowhere, but has a ton to do: beautiful resorts, golf, amusement parks, and natural parks.”

Charleston, South Carolina

Gnational Gnomad spa expert Ava Roxanne Stritt found that her older children enjoyed Charleston so much more than she thought possible, and even learned a bit along the way. “With the water nearby, food scene, and culture, it seems the history is underlying and not right in their face.”

Chilkoot Trail, Alaska

Hiking with little ones can be a challenge, but give your kids a great backdrop and they may surprise you. Melissa Schwartz from ALittleTimeAndAKeyboard.com hiked part of the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska with her family—the same trail prospectors used on their way to the Yukon. “My daughter had a blast navigating the rocky terrain using her walking stick to help balance. She also listened and retained quite a bit of what we learned from our guide in regards to survival utilizing nature. I was pretty surprised that my daughter was engaged during the entire hike. If we were hiking at home, she would have been ready to turn back more quickly. This really shows you the power of travel on expanding your horizons!”

Where to Take Your Kids in 2017 - Gettysburg PA with kids

Photo credit: Keryn Means/WalkingOnTravels.com

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields are littered across the East Coast, but Gettysburg may be one of the most popular of all. While the battlefields are definitely worth a stop, Patricia Lee Hall from FairFaxFamilyFun.com knows that there is much more to do beyond them. “The visitor center was fantastic. Around town there were plenty of kid-friendly museums and neat restaurants. We spent three full days exploring and still haven’t seen it all.” Better yet, if you live in the mid-Atlantic region, Gettysburg has a great ski mountain close by, so you can mix learning fun with time on the slopes.

Kennedy Space Center, Orlando, Florida

Corinne McDermott from HaveBabyWillTravel.com knows that Orlando is so much more than theme parks, and your kids can learn something new while in town. “Our whole family absolutely loved Kennedy Space Center, which really surprised me because they have been to a gazillion theme parks but really connected to NASA’s vision of the future. And to be honest, I was brought to tears several times by the incredible intelligence and courage showcased throughout all the exhibits.”

Where to Take Your Kids in 2017 - Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

Photo credit: Keryn Means/WalkingOnTravels.com

Edinburgh, Scotland

We think Scotland is a great place for kids, but many parents will make the mistake of thinking historic sites aren’t kid-friendly. Eileen Gunn from FamiliesGotravel.com came out of Edinburgh Castle realizing just how well Scotland tells its history. “I was surprised by how much my 8-year-old daughter loved Edinburgh Castle. She doesn’t know any European history yet, but the castle had an exhibit on Mary Stuart, her abdication, and the saga of the Scottish Crown Jewels. My daughter took her time looking at and reading everything. I was surprised, and I’m not sure how much she understood, but she was definitely interested. Something about it made her want to know more.”

Geneva, Switzerland

The Swiss mountains are calling, but if you don’t ski, can you really have fun with your kids in Geneva? Marta Correale from LearningEscapes.net says yes, yes, yes! “We visited Geneva for a weekend, and while I thought it would be pleasant, I didn’t expect to leave with two kids declaring it their ‘favorite city in the universe.’ I guess the lake, the chocolate, and their fabulous playgrounds helped!”

Where to Take Your Kids in 2017 - The Tower of London in England

Photo credit: Keryn Means/WalkingOnTravels.com

London, England

London has its own magic when it comes to wandering with your kids. We love that many of the museums are free, the food scene goes well beyond your typical English fare, and that our kids can surprise us at every turn. Karilyn Owen from NoBackHome.com wasn’t so sure about hitting the city with her outdoor-loving son, but the Tower of London convinced him that maybe the city isn’t so bad after all, at least not when in Europe. “My son is an outdoor fanatic, so I was surprised at how much he loved London. He loved the history, the pomp of English traditions, walking the streets, and taking every type of public transport he could. He has visited 16 countries in his short life, and this was the only place he cried when he left.”

Morzine, France

Paris gets plenty of families every year, but it is important to get out of the city and explore the smaller cities and towns throughout the country. Heidi Wagoner from WagonersAbroad.com says “Morzine, France, was a big and good surprise. We were expecting a sleepy little ski village in the summer, and we couldn’t have been more wrong. The activities were endless and none of us wanted to go.”

Israel and Palestine

“We are not religious, but agreed to meet my parents for a pilgrim’s tour of the Holy Land and had an amazing time,” Jason Jenkins from AnEpicEducation.com told us recently. “It was not the usual way we travel either (tour group, on & off buses, etc.), but it worked really well, and we simply couldn’t have seen everything without that kind of itinerary. I knew that we would all enjoy the historical aspects of the area, but our kids’ interests were compounded because they have been attending local Catholic schools in Spain since 2015. So much of what we were doing and seeing on this trip was straight out of one of their Religion class textbooks. Floating in the Dead Sea was great, too. An extra highlight for us was meeting one of the Arab guides and his family for dinner in the West Bank, and then riding through the checkpoints with them.”

Jordan

Every family should have a bucket list, and if Jordan isn’t on yours yet, it really needs to be. Lindsay Nieminen from CarpeDiemOurWay.com took her children there for the first time in 2016, and she can’t wait to go back. “I was surprised by how much our kids loved Jordan. For them it was a giant adventure playground. From climbing ancient Roman theatres to exploring trails in Petra, there was so much to do! We were able to visit Amman’s Citadel, ride camels in the Wadi Rum Desert, visit the amazing Petra (one of the new wonders of the world), wander ancient Roman cities, and explore Crusader castles. What surprised me the most about Jordan was how safe I felt there. I felt safer than I do in American cities. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and we fell in love with the people of Jordan.”

Cancun, Mexico

Amber Myers Mamian of GlobalMunchkins.com told us that Cancun was a big surprise to her husband and five children. “It was much more family-friendly than I had anticipated. I think it is one of the most luxurious places you can visit on a budget, with some of the best service and most gorgeous coastlines that I have ever seen. We will definitely be back.”

Where to Take Your Kids in 2017 - Sloth hanging out in Tortuguero National Park Costa Rica

Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

If your kids are like mine and they are in love with sloths, this is the place you go. Hop on a tour from San Jose, Costa Rica, or drive to the boat docks to enter this national park. An hour-long boat ride will bring you through the park to your lodge. Keep an eye out for macaws, howler monkeys, and sloths along the way. Your lodge will also offer river cruises with knowledgeable guides who can spot a sloth or monkeys up in the trees and basilisks along the river that blend into the background. A three-day trip to this part of the country is enough time to see the park, and if you are lucky you will get to see the native turtles laying their eggs on the beach or new hatchlings making their way to the ocean to start their journey into life.

Keryn Means is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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