The 16 Best Places to Go on Vacation With a Baby or Toddler

Planning a vacation with a baby or toddler? Check out these 16 great child-friendly options! (17 Photos)

Nancy Schretter and Ellen Parlapiano on Jan 1, 2013 at 3:21PM

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Explore a National Park

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a Nancy Schretter and Ellen Parlapiano on Jan 1, 2013 at 1:26PM

A national park is the perfect place to cultivate a lifelong love of nature. Tots will be wide-eyed and wondrous at the towering trees, blue sky and curious critters they encounter in these great green spaces -- best seen from the stroller, child carrier or bike trailer.

Cool option: Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Wash.

Why mama will love it: With mountain vistas, tropical rainforests, and coastal tidepools, it's got three eco-systems to discover; there are several bike paths and stroller-friendly hiking trails (get suggestions from the visitor's center); East Beach has a shallow swimming area with sandy shore for digging and castle making; Sol Duc Hot Springs has a toasty mineral water wading pool (and day use rates), so you can soak with your little one safely beside you; picnic areas are scattered throughout the park for alfresco meals; and there's lodging in and outside the park.

Why kids will love it: In the forest they'll discover bright yellow banana slugs and skittering salamanders, and glow worms after sunset; the tidepools are filled with sea stars, crabs, snails and tiny fish; the Discovery Room in the park's main visitor center has interactive touch tables and a pint-sized Ranger Station playhouse, with puppets, dress-up clothes and more.

Cost: $-$$

When to go: Summer and Fall

Best for: Outdoorsy families

More great options: Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, Calif.; Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Me.; Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colo.

Next Up: 40 Must-See Places to Take Your Kids Before They're Grown
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