With Cinco de Mayo fast approaching, we wanted to share some of our favorite family-friendly destinations in Mexico! Mexico is a popular destination for families just dipping their toes into international travel. It’s also popular with experienced international travel families because it has so many gorgeous and affordable locations! While there is a lot more of Mexico to explore, we’re going to cover seven of the best family-friendly destinations in Mexico to help you start planning that next vacation!!
Family-Friendly Destinations in Mexico
Why is Cancun one of the most popular destinations in Mexico? For one it’s easily accessible for most Americans- with most major US airlines offering direct flights right into Cancun! The city is also only 15 minutes from the airport, making it easy to get to once you land in Mexico. Cancun also known for numerous all-inclusive resorts, and while many think of these as major party places (and there is a major party scene in Cancun), there are also many family-friendly all-inclusive here too! If you’re truly looking to splurge and stay at a resort with some of the best kid-friendly amenities in the world (think circus and trapeze school, archery lessons and water skiing!), Club Med Cancun Yucatan is the place to be. The Grand Moon Palace is also well known for it’s kids club and family-friendly activities. But whatever your budget, there are numerous all-inclusive resorts along the 15 mile “Hotel Zone” in Cancun that make Cancun the perfect location for a family vacation- especially if this is your first trip to Mexico!
2. Isla Mujeres
Want the convenience of an easy to reach destination like Cancun but looking for a more laid back vibe that’s a bit less touristy? Isla Mujeres is a 15 minute ferry ride from Cancun- making your total transportation time from the airport about 30 minutes. Playa Norte beach is known for being one of the most family-friendly beaches in the Riviera Maya! With a healthy reef off the shores, the snorkeling and diving in Isla Mujeres is superb. Locals use golf carts to get around the island, so consider renting one for your trip so you can explore the shops, markets, and even drive to see the sea turtle sanctuary! Mia Reef Isla Mujeres is known for being a super family-friendly resort on a private island just off Playa Norte with spacious rooms for families as well as a kids club!
Looking for something a little lest touristy and a little more authentic? Merida is exactly what you’re looking for. You can fly directly into Merida, or it is about a 3.5 hour drive from Cancun. Merida is better known for its gorgeous boutique hotels than all-inclusive resorts, adding to the local charm versus the tourist vibe of many other destinations in Mexico. It’s a charming old town with beautiful coastline and beaches, known as the cultural heart of the Yucatan Peninsula! There are great opportunities to explore Mexico’s Mayan history and colonial history here as well as some fantastic local cuisine. Experience and learn about Mayan culture in the numerous performances at the Plaza Grande, visit the many open air markets and historical museums, and bike ride along the Paseo de Montejo. There are also many cenotes nearby for swimming!
4. Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a popular resort city on the Yucatan Peninsula, known for it’s crystal clear turquoise waters and palm trees. It’s the quintessential tropical beach town you’ve been dreaming of! What makes it so family friendly? It’s a small town- small enough that you can walk just about everywhere. And it’s safe to do so! There’s a daily family show at the Fundadores Park, plus Playa del Carmen is a great base for exploring popular sights like the pyramids at Chichen Itza and Akumal Bay which has fantastic snorkeling for the entire family! . Paradisus La Esmeralda is a great family-friendly resort in Playa del Carmen with a beautiful beach that has fantastic snorkeling, three pools (with a pirate ship!) and a younger kids club for ages 1-4 plus an older kids club for ages 5-12. There are numerous family suites and family suite upgrades available so you can find the perfect suite for your family.
If snorkeling is at the top of your family’s list of things to do in Mexico, you might want to consider Cozumel as your destination! The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest living reef in the world and is home to the best snorkeling and diving you’ll find anywhere in Mexico. It’s even a great location for beginner snorkelers- so your little ones can experience life under the sea here! the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio make for a great day trip if you want to explore a little bit of local history. Many families love San Gervasio over some of the larger more popular ruins sites because it’s easy to reach and is often less crowded which can make it more enjoyable to visit with little ones. El Cozumeleno Beach Resort is a popular family-friendly resort in Cozumel set on a beautiful stretch of beach with a fantastic kids-club, mini-golf and three kid-friendly pools.
6. Mexico City
Mexico City isn’t a beach town. In fact, you won’t see a beach anywhere unless you plan an extra stop to a beach town on your trip. It’s also not a resort town- you’ll be looking for hotels here instead of all-inclusive resorts. But Mexico city is a great family destination for families who want to experience the culture, art, and cuisine of Mexico. Bustling Mexico City is the most populated city in all or North America and it is bursting with things to see and do. Xochimilco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a World UNESCO Heritage site, the National Museum of Anthrolology is world famous, you can explore Mexico’s colonial history in Centro Historico and Catedral Metropolitana, you can visit the home of famous artist Frida Khalo. There’s a world class underground aquarium, hands-on children’s zoo, or you can take a street art tour- there’s literally something for everyone in the family in Mexico City! But you’ll also want to plan time for a day trip or two- particularly to Teotihuacan,, about an hour north of Mexico City, where you explore ancient Mesopotamian pyramids including the Pyramid of the Sun.
Located about 5 and 1/2 hours southeast of Mexico City, Oaxaca is another great destination for families looking to immerse themselves in Mexican culture. Oaxaca isn’t a beach town. In fact, you’re about a seven hour drive from the nearest beach town. But if you’re looking for an authentic experience in Mexico- Oaxaca is a great destination. Oaxaca is a colorful city known for its centuries old Spanish architecture. The city is known for it’s numerous open air markets as well as it’s museums and galleries. Kids will love the trolley rides through the gorgeous historical district. They’ll also love Paseo Juarez el Llano Park with it’s beautiful fountains and gardens- it’s a great place for the family to relax! The Zapotec ruins at Monte Albán are another great family activity. Exploring the ancient ruins of the Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, dating back to 8 BCE is a great way to share Mexico’s rich history with kids!
There are so many family-friendly destinations in Mexico. Choosing the perfect location for YOUR family is a personal decision based on what kind of experience you are looking for! We hope our list of family-friendly destinations in Mexico, while not exhaustive, helps you narrow down your search for the perfect family vacation in Mexico! And if we missed YOUR favorite family-friendly destination in Mexico- drop it in the comments so our readers can check it out!