It would take a lifetime of travel and then some to lay claim to having explored North and South America. The beauty of the Americas lies in the grandeur of its nature, the ambition of its people, and the adventurous nature of its spirit. Visiting just some of its highlights can effortlessly become the experience of a lifetime.
The New World has hosted some of the most fascinating civilizations in human history such as the Inca and the Aztecs, while also becoming a home away from home to hundreds of millions of immigrants from around the world who have fled their own nations in search of a new life, full of inspiration and opportunities.
My family has lived and traveled on this continent for the majority of our lives, and to us, these are three of the best family-friendly trips we’ve experienced:
Patagonia, nature for everyone.
One of the safest, wildest, and most awe-inspiring travel destinations on the planet. We had never really experienced space until you visit the south of Chile and Argentina, everything about this place is immense and dramatically beautiful. Its location at the end of the continent made it a perfect place to escape harsh winters in the northern hemisphere since the seasons are the opposite there.
Hiking around Mount Fitz Roy and Torres Del Paine National Park we felt like the dinosaurs had been roaming the area just minutes before we arrived. The noticeably fresh air and clean water combined with gorgeous hiking and camping opportunities were perfect opportunities for the kids to connect with nature, and more importantly, fall into deep sleep at the end of the day.
Just driving around, one comes across valleys larger than entire cities. Everything is incredibly pristine, and the tourism infrastructure is very high quality considering the remoteness of the area. The highlight for the whole family was our day trip to Glaciar Perito Moreno. I admit I underestimated it as “a bunch of ice that will probably get boring after twenty minutes”. In reality, after staring at the massive expanse of ice, watching pieces of it break off and create thunderous cracks and huge splashes for three full hours, it became by far one of the most memorable day-trips of my life.
Wintering in the Yucatan Peninsula
Containing famous archeological sites and jungle ruins (like Uxmal, Tikal, and Chichen Itza), one of the cheapest and tastiest cuisines in the world, some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and a highly developed and affordable tourism infrastructure ready to help you enjoy every second, this is a land that was designed for travel. Just like Patagonia, January and February are often the best time to visit. The Yucatan is the safest region in Mexico as well as an easy to access destination via Cancun’s international airport. You don’t have to worry about anything other than some haggling here and there for taxis.
Our three favorite highlights were Celestun, where you can take a boat ride and see countless flamingos in the wild, Dzibilchaltun, where you can explore Mayan ruins in the heat and cool off in a unique natural groundwater pool, and of course Tulum, a laid back but fast-growing Caribbean hotspot with turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and some of the best restaurants in all of Mexico. The best views we found are from Mezzanine’s restaurant and bar. Go for the 2×1 margarita happy-hour and thai-mexican fusion cuisine and enjoy the sweeping views of the Caribbean while you keep an eye out for the kids as they run around the beach.
New York & Disney World
The city that never sleeps is truly a grown-up’s version of Disneyland, but rest assured, there are also plenty of things to do as a family. It’s by far the safest and most populated big city in the USA. NYC is positioned as one of the world’s most important cities and travel hubs which makes it a perfect place to start or end a family trip through the Americas.
The main issue with New York is that it is so diverse, addictive, and electrifying that once you visit, you’ll always want to go back and catch another dose of its energy.
September and October are the best times to catch the crisp autumn temperatures that will keep you motivated on your marathon walks through the city’s most vibrant and famous neighborhoods. We like the Financial District, the Village, Williamsburg, Midtown, and Bushwick. Don’t forget the lively parks! Our favorites are Central Park, Washington Square Park, and the High Line Park.
Most people barely make it out of Lower Manhattan, let alone the city, but we wanted a great daytrip to see some world-class foliage and arts that the whole family would love. A local recommended we take a scenic short train ride north from the Bronx to Storm King Art Center. It proved to be a priceless tip. Storm King is an unforgettable 500-acre museum located in the Hudson Valley containing the largest collection of outdoor sculptures in the USA, go early, bring a picnic basket, take a million photos of the autumn leaves, and leave late.
We took advantage of already being on the East Coast and the Yucatan Peninsula with the kids and decided to swing by Florida on both occasions to make some dreams come true (and maybe get some last-minute shopping done). There are fantastic flight connections to Orlando from NYC and Cancun, so it’s no hassle to include a trip to Disney World on either trip.
We chose to book our North American trips through an authorized Disney trip planner to avoid making any beginner mistakes, and we all agree that Disney World was just as magical as advertised. Our whole family was smiling throughout the entire visit, except for some indescribable facial expressions we captured on the more thrilling rides.
There is of course so much more to the Americas, but as a family that has visited over 12 of its countries, we know these areas will make for a stress-free vacation with memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your lives.