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17 Top Family-Friendly Destinations in Mexico [2024]

Lori Zaino's image
Lori Zaino
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Lori Zaino

Senior Content Contributor

51 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 58U.S. States Visited: 40

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lan...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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One of the best family vacation spots in the world, Mexico is home to endless natural wonders, miles upon miles of stunning shoreline, and numerous historical and cultural attractions. The country is nearly two-thirds the size of Western Europe with plenty for families to see and do. Plus, it’s easy to get to, located just south of the U.S., with many nonstop flights between the 2 countries.

If your family wants to explore Mexico, you’re in luck. Families and kids are generally greeted with a warm welcome, and many areas are ideal for family travelers.

Whether you’re worried about safety, wondering about family-friendly activities, or just don’t know exactly where to start, these are the best family vacation spots in Mexico, whether you’re traveling with a baby, kids, or teens.

Mexico Travel Safety

While Mexico is an outstanding family travel destination, traveler safety in Mexico is largely location-dependent. The U.S. Department of State recommends that travelers exercise increased caution and has travel advisories for some areas.

Mexico has been a safe destination for Katie Seemann, senior content contributor and news editor for Upgraded Points, who said:

“I’ve been to Mexico 9 times, and I’ve never had an experience where I felt unsafe. I’ve traveled with my husband, my daughter, my extended family, and by myself, and I haven’t experienced any safety issues while staying at luxury resorts (Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, JW Marriott Cancun, and La Casa de la Playa), a scuba diving resort (Blue Angel Resort in Cozumel), on cruises, and touring the Yucatan Peninsula on a small group trip with G Adventures.”

Katie Seemann

Seemann recommends common sense precautions, including arranging transportation ahead of time, not walking alone at night, and not wearing any expensive jewelry. 

The 7 Best Family Destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya

I’ll start with one of the most popular areas for U.S. travelers: the Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya in the Mexican region of Quintana Roo. While there is some overlap between these destinations, the Riviera Maya is south of Cancún, including Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos. Meanwhile, the Yucatan Peninsula encompasses the entire region, including Cancún, Isla Holbox, and interior cities such as Izamal.

From cenotes to ruins and all-inclusive hotels, there’s so much to do in this region of Mexico, which is simple to get to and well-connected to the U.S. Many destinations are touted by family travelers as being extremely safe, too. Here’s where you should go, see, and do with your family in this region of Mexico.

1. Cancún

Cancun
If you want a family-friendly, all-inclusive resort, Cancún is your spot. Image Credit: Michelle_Raponi via Pixabay

It isn’t news to anyone that Cancún is a family-friendly Mexican destination, with dozens of all-inclusive hotels — many of which have waterparks.

Upgraded Points reader Marisa, a resident of the Chicago suburbs, felt very safe in Cancún on a recent vacation with her husband and 3 children. She stayed in a family-friendly, all-inclusive Iberostar resort (part of the IHG portfolio) with lots of activities for the kids and parents alike.

Marisa recommends booking transport from the Cancún airport ahead of time:

“While I never felt particularly unsafe, it can be overwhelming, with a lot of people offering you rides while you’re trying to keep track of your luggage and your kids. Booking your transport ahead and knowing exactly where to go to meet your driver minimizes your risk of getting scammed or having issues.”

Marisa, Upgraded Points reader

Once you’re in Cancún, you can head to Ventura Park to experience big waterslides or the El Rey Ruins, both of which are within easy reach of most hotels. You can also head further afield with day trips to cenotes or snorkeling tours. Boat excursions, especially on a pirate ship, are particularly family-friendly.

If your hotel doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, consider getting a day pass to one with a waterpark or additional kid-friendly activities (our guide to the best things to do in and around Cancún has great tips!).

Hot Tip:

2. Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a beachy paradise. Image Credit: Leosprspctive via Unsplash

While Playa del Carmen doesn’t have quite as much going on as Cancún, it’s still home to many all-inclusive resorts with kids’ clubs and activities. The Xcaret Park is a theme park that features an aviary, a butterfly pavilion, and a coral reef aquarium.

If you’re tired of sand and sun, or a tropical downpour ruins your outdoor plans, the 3D Museum of Wonders is an excellent alternative for a quick dose of art and culture.

3. Cozumel

Cozumel
Cozumel’s eastern side is wilder. Image Credit: Hutlet_Photo via Pixabay

Families that love nature should head to Cozumel, an island surrounded by a reef that is ideal for snorkeling. The best way to arrive is by ferry from Playa del Carmen.

You can stay on the more developed western side of the island, but definitely explore the wilder eastern side if you want to get away from the crowds. Don’t forget to visit Punta Sur, an ecological park home to crocodile-filled lagoons and a lighthouse.

4. Puerto Morelos

Pelican
A pelican in Puerto Morelos. Image Credit: Embla Munk Rynkebjerg via Unsplash

One of the best family vacation spots in Mexico, Puerto Morelos is less than an hour’s drive from Cancún but has a completely different feel. The charming town feels world’s away from many of the resort areas along the Riviera Maya but still offers some family-friendly hotels, such as the Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, an all-suite Marriott hotel that has kid-friendly amenities like a water park, bowling space, trampoline park, and more.

Puerto Morelos has a welcoming town center complete with local music and dance performances, a weekend craft market, and a fun playground for children.

5. Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres feels less busy than Cancún. Image Credit: Michelle Raponi via Pixabay

Just a short ferry ride away from Cancún, Isla Mujeres is nice for young kids because you don’t have to worry about cars and traffic. The island is car-free, though many people ride around on golf carts, which the kids find fun.

Bring the family to Aquatic Funday Park for waterpark fun or Garrafon Park for snorkeling and ziplining over the water. Mia Reef Isla Mujeres is one of the top-rated resorts on the island for families, featuring a white, sandy beach with shallow waves.

Hot Tip:

Many hotels in Mexico outside of Cancún aren’t bookable with points. But don’t forget that the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a $300 annual Capital One Travel credit for booking travel in the Capital One Travel portal. Plus, you’ll earn lots of bonus Capital One miles on your accommodation, like 10x bonus miles for hotels booked within the portal.

6. Tulum

Tulum
Tulum isn’t just for wellness enthusiasts; families can enjoy it, too. Image Credit: chopin92 viaPixabay

According to the World Population Review, Tulum is one of the safest cities in Mexico. While you can fly into Cancún with your family and drive to Tulum, you can also fly nonstop from certain U.S. hubs, (including Houston, Chicago, L.A., and Newark) into the Tulum Airport (TQO).

Although Tulum used to have the image of a boho chic adult paradise, hotels are family-friendly these days. We love the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum, which has separate kids’ and teens’ clubs, plus a water park and splash park for the littlest ones.

Hot Tip:

The Tulum town center and the beach aren’t right next to each other, so plan your vacation style, transportation, and accommodation accordingly to where you plan to spend the most time.

7. Mérida

Merida Mexico
Mérida is a beautiful cultural hub for families. Image Credit: Mike Ramírez Mx via Pixabay

The capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state, this destination is for families looking for something a bit different. It’s best for families who want to experience culture in addition to beaches. Start with Turibus and trolley tours of the city, and hop off when you see a lively square or handicraft market.

Sundays are a great time to be in the city — you won’t be the only family walking around catching live music and dancing in the squares, as the streets are closed to cars and perfect for pedestrians. There’s also a Mayan artisan market and a free zoo, as well as many cenotes within easy reach of the city.

The 2 Best Family Destinations in Central Mexico

From the country’s capital, Mexico City, to smaller villages and mid-size towns, central Mexico is a top family vacation spot for those ready to explore culture, art, and cuisine. These destinations aren’t exclusive to families with older children, as many central Mexican destinations have numerous parks and playgrounds where kids can blow off some steam after visiting a museum. Here’s where you should go.

1. Mexico City

Andaz Mexico City Condesa rooftop pool
Take the kids to Mexico City and enjoy the rooftop pool at the Andaz Mexico City Condesa. Image Credit: Ryan Smith

Mexico City’s fancy hotels are relatively affordable, offering a nice way to give your family a luxurious and safe accommodation experience without overspending. From Chinatown to the National Museum of Anthropology to the Xochimilco boats and Teotihuacán ruins outside the city, there are many activities for kids in the capital. Don’t miss Alameda Central, one of the oldest parks in the Americas, or Bosque de Chapultepec, a wooded paradise on the outskirts of town.

Don’t be concerned about safety in Mexico City. Upgraded Points reader Lauren, a British citizen who’s lived there for about a decade, says the central neighborhoods where tourists congregate are safe for families:

“There are ample parks, wide pavements, and lots of greenery, especially in popular spots like Roma, Condesa, and even Polanco. The only things that might pose a problem are the cracked and uneven pavements — they’re not very stroller-friendly.”

Lauren, Upgraded Points reader

Take general precautions when walking at night and with your belongings, as you would in any large city.

2. San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende
Bask in the bold colors of San Miguel de Allende. Image Credit: Nelson Albeiro Zamora Castro via Pixabay

Families that want a truly picturesque vacation in Mexico should travel to San Miguel de Allende, a colonial town painted in bold colors of pink and yellow. The whole family will love roaming around the city center’s charming streets, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stopping to admire the dazzling pink Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church.

Head to the edge of town to visit El Charco del Ingenio, a botanical garden full of exotic plants, flowers, and cacti. Various hot springs are a short drive away if you get tired of visiting the city’s many art galleries and museums or strolling the verdant Parque Juarez.

The 4 Best Family Destinations in Western Mexico

Western Mexico is an easier and closer choice for residents living in the Western U.S. Beaches on this side of the country have more golden than white sand and larger waves than those off the Yucatan Peninsula, but you can usually count on less sargassum, a seaweed that often plagues the Atlantic side. These are some of the top spots to visit.

1. Puerto Vallarta

Sheraton Buganvilias Resort
The Sheraton Buganvilias is optimal for families. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

This beach resort town offers activities, including the Aquaventuras Water Park, as well as ziplines and animal sanctuaries for tropical birds and monkeys. More nature-friendly excursions include the town’s blooming Vallarta Botanical Gardens and hikes and walks through the nearby Sierra Madre mountains and jungle.

Families can also catch cultural events, like traditional music and dancing, at the Los Arcos Amphitheater. Although the town has a buzzing nightlife scene, you can skip it by hanging out at a family-friendly resort like the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort, which has a few pools and a kids’ activity center.

2. Sayulita

Sayulita
Sayulita has fishing village vibes. Image Credit: Anir Mitra via Pixabay

For a more laid-back, local experience, families can go to Sayulita along the Riviera Nayarit, which is especially ideal if you have older children or teens and want to enjoy family surf experiences. Although the waves are often large, the nearby Playa de los Muertos is a more sheltered beach with smaller swells.

Kids will love watching turtles hatch at the Sayulita Turtle Camp. Known as one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos, families can wander the colorful town center, home to murals, colonial buildings, craft markets, leafy squares, and lots of tasty street food.

3. Punta Mita

Conrad Punta Mita
The Conrad Punta Mita is ideal for families looking for a luxurious vacation. Image Credit: Conrad Punta Mita

Families in the market for luxury resorts should head to Punta Mita, just a half-hour’s drive from Sayulita. This destination is home to properties where families can relax with all the amenities, such as the Conrad Punta Mita (complete with a waterslide and various pools — and kids eat free) and the Four Seasons Punta Mita, which has baby-care baskets and surf lessons for kids.

Consider taking a boat trip to the nearby Marietas Islands (known as Mexico’s version of the Galapagos), home to manta rays, sea turtles, humpback whales, wild dolphins, and the blue-footed booby birds, which, indeed, have blue feet.

Hot Tip:

Certain hotels, such as the Four Seasons Punta Mita, don’t have a traditional loyalty program with points. But you can book this hotel (and many others) on American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts using The Platinum Card® from American Express to perks including room upgrades, daily breakfast for 2, a $100 experience credit, and late checkout. Cardholders also get up to $200 prepaid hotel credit when paying with their Amex Platinum card. Additionally, you can get the fourth night free if you book qualifying dates.

4. Zihuatanejo

Turtle Release
Families can learn about turtle conservation in Zihuatanejo. Image Credit: Daria Gordova via Unsplash

Escape the larger resorts for a relaxed beach town feel in Zihuatanejo, where the golden sands of Playa La Ropa welcome everyone. Families can learn about turtle conservation at Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli, a rescue center where kids can release baby sea turtles or participate in summer camp-style activities, like arts and crafts and Spanish classes.

Families will have a blast exploring and taste testing at food markets like Mercado Zanka, which has a casual picnic table area and live music — no one will notice (or care) if your baby is fussy and your kids are running around.

Hot Tip:

All-inclusive resorts can be particularly apt for families. They offer activities and fun things to do for kids and adults of all ages, making it easy for everyone to relax and enjoy. Here’s how to get the most out of your all-inclusive stay.

The 2 Best Family Destinations in Southern Mexico

Mexico’s shape doesn’t have exact corners, but we consider the southern area to be the bottom point running into the Guatemalan border. This region of Mexico is one of the furthest from the U.S. and not quite as easily accessible. It’s managed to retain a bit more local charm that many families looking for a more far-flung, authentic Mexican vacation will find idyllic.

1. Oaxaca

Oaxaca
The gleaming colors of Oaxaca. Image Credit: Roman Lopez via Unsplash

Families will be mesmerized by the colorful colonial architecture and the friendly, local ambiance of Oaxaca. Especially apt for families who prefer a vacation rental over an all-inclusive resort, it’s easy to find an Airbnb with family amenities available, like washers and cribs.

From the playgrounds at Parque Llano to the murals, colors, and flags of the Jataltaco neighborhood, your kids will have plenty to do and see. And if they get cranky, just serve them up some hot chocolate or nieves (fruit ices), which are both popular in the region. Nearby, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zona Arqueológica de Monte Albán, ancient archeological Zapotec ruins.

2. Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido has local charm. Image Credit: Lorraine Mojica via Unsplash

Families that want to escape the party vibes of destinations like Cancún or Puerto Vallarta and just chill out in a laid-back beach town should head to Puerto Escondido, which is sort of a mini version of Zihuantejo. While there are many beaches to choose from, Playa Principal is one of the most protected ones with the lowest waves, which makes the area popular for surfing.

Wildlife watching is easy with family boat tours, where you can spot dolphins and whales. There are also local conservation programs where you can release turtles or protect local iguanas.

The 2 Best Family Destinations in Baja California Sur

Another destination ideal for families living on the western side of the U.S., Baja California Sur is the bottom of the peninsula that extends down into Mexico below California. Some families may prefer the fancy, all-inclusive resorts of Los Cabos, but you can also rent a car and explore sleepy fishing towns and other family-friendly spots. Here’s where to go.

1. Loreto

Loreto Mexico
Families should keep an eye out for sea lions and other wildlife in the waters of Loreto. Image Credit: Wonderlane via Unsplash

Located on the east side of the Baja Peninsula along the Sea of Cortez, Loreto’s vast beaches have low waves ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Parents will love to admire the jagged rock formations that rise up from the sea, while the kids will love spotting sea lions, whales, and wild dolphins.

Deemed a Pueblo Mágico, Loreto was one of the first Spanish colonial towns along the Baja Peninsula and is home to a number of missionaries.

2. Los Cabos

Cabo San Lucas Arch
Los Cabos is fancy and fun. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

It’s true that Los Cabos can be a bit of a scene — yachts, nightlife, and glamorous hotels. But it’s also a fun spot for families looking for all-inclusive resorts and lots to do. The beaches often have very big waves, so you may want to book a hotel with a pool so everyone can get in the water.

For example, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos has several pools, including a kids’ pool with slides. Hotel staff will ring a bell on the beach to alert guests of whale spottings! Similar to the Riviera Maya and Cancún, families can enjoy pirate boat rides and zipline adventures in the area.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy and affordable for families to get to Mexico. The country welcomes children, babies, and families with open arms. Although the news may say otherwise, many tourist regions of the country are safe to visit. In fact, destinations like Tulum, Sayulita, Mexico City, Cancún, and San Miguel de Allende top the list of the country’s safest cities.

While you should always carefully research your destination to find out if it’s a good fit for your family, you really can’t go wrong with any of these family vacation spots in Mexico on this list.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What part of Mexico is best for a family vacation?

There are so many family-friendly places in Mexico, from the beaches of the Riviera Maya to the parks of Mexico City and the charming small towns along the Riviera Nayarit, like Sayulita. 

Is Mexico a good family holiday destination?

Mexico is a great family holiday destination. Whether you want authentic Mexican cuisine and culture, nature activities, sandy beach fun, or all-inclusive, family-friendly resorts, Mexico has it all.

What is the safest city in Mexico for families?

Many cities are safe for families in Mexico, including Tulum, Sayulita, Mexico City, Cancún, and San Miguel de Allende.

What is the safest part of Mexico to vacation?

Tourist-catered areas are some of the safest places for a vacation. Consider spots such as Cancun, Oaxaca, or Los Cabos for your next Mexico family vacation.

Lori Zaino's image

About Lori Zaino

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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