TPG’s 10 top family vacation destinations for 2022

Deciding which 10 destinations across the globe deserve a spot on TPG’s list of top vacation spots for families to visit this year was no easy task.

We pulled from our own extensive travel experience, researched new resorts and activities and compiled data from travel sites like Priceline and Vrbo to find the spots your family will still be talking about years after you return home from your trip.

Of course, we had to throw in a few of our dream destinations, too.

Whether your family prefers cities, beaches, theme parks or the great outdoors, you’ll find your perfect family vacation on this list.

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What to do

With four major theme parks in the area, Orlando bills itself as the “theme park capital of the world.” Because those parks are always competing for the top spot in travelers’ hearts (and their wallets), there’s always something new to do.

The VelociCoaster at Universal Orlando. (Photo from Universal Orlando via Facebook)

In just the past 12 months, Universal Orlando opened Jurassic World VelociCoaster, SeaWorld opened Icebreaker — the park’s first launch coaster — and Disney opened Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Space travelers can also now spend three days and two nights immersed in the world of Star Wars on Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The Orlando area is also home to the headwaters of the Everglades and there are ample opportunities for outdoorsy families to explore the flora and fauna that call the Everglades home. Both Wild Florida and Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures offer airboat tours where you are almost guaranteed to spot a few alligators — or you can take it slow on a kayak tour in one of Get Up and Go Kayaking’s clear kayaks.

How to get there

Orlando International Airport (MCO) serves as a focus city for Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and Spirit Airlines, making quick, budget-friendly domestic flights easy to find. If you are staying at a hotel in or around Walt Disney World, you can use the Mears Connect or Sunshine Flyer airport shuttles to reach your resort. You can also rent a car or book a private transfer via Uber or Lyft.

Where to stay

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort opened its new Swan Reserve tower in 2021 and the nearby JW Marriott Bonnet Creek hotel (which opened in 2020) recently unveiled new family suites with bunk beds, chalk boards and sound machines for kids.

A JW Marriott Bonnet Creek family suite. (Photo courtesy of the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa)

All four of the above-mentioned hotels participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program and standard rooms can be booked from between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night.

A few miles down the road from Disney, Universal recently opened its first two Value hotels, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn & Suites and Surfside Inn & Suites. Both have standard rooms that start at less than $100 per night, as well as spacious two-bedroom family suites.


What to do

Dubai is often though of as a hot spot for the rich and famous. But its inclination toward over-the-top experiences like skiing indoors and snorkeling in the world’s deepest swimming pool make it a fitting playground for families as well.

The Green Planet indoor rainforest. (Photo courtesy of Dubai Economy and Tourism)

Dubai is home to numerous theme parks and they aren’t just international versions of parks you can visit in the U.S. IMG World’s of Adventure, for example, is an indoor theme park with attractions based on characters from Marvel, Cartoon Network and more.

Related: Dubai was just named the ‘most popular destination’ — here’s where to stay on points

Dubai Parks and Resorts is a sprawling theme park complex with a Legoland theme park and water park, as well as parks dedicated to Bollywood and blockbuster films like “Ghostbusters,” The Smurfs” and “Hotel Transylvania.”

IMG Worlds Dubai. (Photo courtesy of Dubai Economy and Tourism)

When you aren’t riding roller coasters, you can lounge like a VIP at the Sole Mio Beach Club on Kite Beach, explore a tropical indoor rainforest at The Green Planet and shop at the Dubai Mall, one of the largest malls in the world.

How to get there

When flying to Dubai, you can go the economy route or you can kick off your vacation in the City of Gold in luxury.

If you are looking for points-friendly flights, look to Delta SkyMiles. You can book tickets on partner airlines like Air France and KLM for as low as 75,000 SkyMiles round-trip with low taxes and fees. Unfortunately, business class tickets start at a whopping 130,000 SkyMiles one-way.

You could also look into Qatar Airways, bookable through Oneworld partner airline American Airlines AAdvantage. Economy tickets start at 80,000 miles round-trip, or you can spring for Qatar’s top-of-the-line Qsuites.

Emirates Airlines is your best bet for quick(ish) flights, with nonstop flights from major U.S. cities like New York, Dallas and Chicago. Emirates is also one of the best airlines for flying with kids. It offers complimentary strollers to help you get through the airport with ease, specialty meals and travel-themed activity packs for kids.

Where to stay

Atlantis The Palm. (Photo courtesy of Dubai Economy and Tourism)

Opened in April 2022, the W Dubai – Mina Seyahi is a five-star boutique hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf. All 318 guest rooms and suites offer private balconies with unobstructed ocean views. A family of four can expect to pay a minimum of around $600 per night. Marriott Bonvoy points redemption for more than two guests per room is not an option.

Related: How to get to (and stay in) Dubai using points and miles

Located on Dubai’s manmade Palm Island, Atlantis the Palm is another of the city’s five-star accommodations designed with a bevy of family-friendly activities. Of those, the Aquaventure water park and the Lost Chambers Aquarium should top your list. Pricing for a family of four starts around $400 per night and the property is also bookable through Amex Travel portal starting at around 60,000 points per night.


What to do

With a history as plentiful as its green spaces, London’s family-friendly activities range from world-class museums that house some of the planet’s most important discoveries and ancient artifacts to gorgeous parks that feel as if they’ve been dropped right out of the pages of a fairytale.

The London Eye overlooks all of London. (Photo from Reid)

A few must-visit locations include Hyde Park, the Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Gardens, the British Museum (home of the Rosetta Stone), the London Transport Museum (for the plane or train aficionado in your life) and the Natural History Museum.

Related: 16 kid-friendly things to do in London

For a distinctly British experience, reserve a table for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Masons, visit Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, take a stroll through Piccadilly Circus, browse the merchandise at Harrods (also a great spot for lunch) and get a bird’s eye view of London on the London Eye observation wheel.

See a replica Hogwarts Express train at the Harry Potter Studio Tours. (Photo from Shutterstock)

Potterheads will want to take the 20-mile journey outside of London to visit The Making of Harry Potter attraction at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden.

How to get there

You should be able to secure economy tickets on American Airlines, British Airways or United Airlines for less than $1,000 round trip — sometimes much less if your dates are flexible. Using Google flights, you can enter your departure and destination cities and see the lowest per-date pricing when you open the calendar.

Related: Using points and miles to get to London

If you want to book economy or business class seats using points, Flying Blue (the loyalty program of Air France and KLM) has award flights from New York to London starting around 16,000 miles and 80,000 miles (plus taxes and fees), respectively. You can transfer both Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Amex Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue to book your point redemption tickets.

Where to stay

When choosing a hotel, you want a property with enough space, comfort and activities for your family, but also a taste of London’s rich heritage.

Four Seasons Park Lane. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Our choices include the Rubens Hotel, with family suites starting around $700 per night, the luxurious Landmark London, with family suites from around $500 per night and the Four Seasons Park Lane near Hyde Park. While the last option is much pricier, at around $2,200 per night for a suite with one king bed and sofa bed, the landscaped terrace with city views make the Four Seasons worth it if you can swing the extra cost.

Kauai, Hawaii

What to do

Quieter and more laid back than other popular Hawaiian islands like Oahu and Maui, Kauai feels like a remote, tropical paradise. Families can play on the beach, traverse the coastal hiking trails and get a taste of authentic Hawaiian culture.

Related: 6 Incredible Days in Kauai on Points & Miles

When it comes to beaches, Hanalei Bay, on the north side of the island, has breathtaking mountain views and beginner-friendly waves if you want to break out the boogie board or surf board.

Ke’e Beach on Kauai. (Photo by Tom Dorsz Studio/Getty Images)

You can also explore the island via horseback, helicopter or boat, hike the family-friendly Wai Koa Loop Trail (accessible via the Anaina Hou Community Park) and attend a Luau and pig roast at Smith Family Garden.

How to get there

American Airlines often has economy flights to Kauai’s Lihue Airport (LIH) for less than $700 per person from major cities, but the best way to travel to Hawaii is on Hawaiian Airlines.

Related: Best ways to redeem points and miles on Hawaiian Airlines

Its first-class cabin is outfitted with lie-flat seats so you can rest up while en route to Hawaii; you’ll spend a minimum of around $2,000 per person from cities on the West Coast or between 40,000 and 130,000 points when redeeming Hawaiian Airlines miles.

The cheapest way to book award tickets to Hawaii is via Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. This program lets you book United Airlines tickets from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii for just 15,000 miles round-trip in economy. Award space can be tough to come by, but you can transfer Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou points to Turkish to book.

Where to stay

The Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort is our top pick for family-friendly amenities you can only find in Hawaii. The resort hosts a twice-weekly luau with a torch lighting ceremony, hula dances and a traditional Hawaiian feast. It also offers a package that allows families to borrow bikes for a ride along the resort’s oceanfront bike path, complete with a gourmet picnic. Rates start around $325 per night.

Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas near Hanalei Bay has four pools, including a kids splash area, kids club and accommodations ranging in size from a studio to two bedrooms. Pricing starts at around $400 per night. Awards availability is scarce, but you can book through the Amex travel portal starting at around 61,000 Membership Rewards points per night.


They say everything is bigger in Texas and that includes travel demand, according to data from popular travel sites. Priceline data shows year-over-year search data for Houston hotels rose 162% for 2022 and the “Space City” also landed on Vrbo’s list of top 10 U.S. cities with the fastest-growing demand among families compared to 2021 numbers.

Space Center Houston
(Photo courtesy of Travel Texas)

Houston is easily accessible from most of the country, it’s budget-friendly and packed with fun for families, like the Houston Zoo and Houston Space Center. The Children’s Museum Houston’s “Kidtroplis” exhibit is a real, working city where kids get to be grown-ups and the Houston Museum of Natural Science plays host to exhibitions on Ancient Egypt, paleontology, chemistry and more.

When you are ready to get outside, you can spend an entire day at Discovery Green park in downtown Houston. There is a multi-million-dollar playground, a lake for kayaking, restaurants and more.

How to get there

United Airlines has a hub at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Houston also serves as a focus city for budget carrier Spirit Airlines. Nonstop flights on Spirit are readily available from major cities like Atlanta, Chicago and New York for under $200 round-trip.

Flights on United are fairly easy to find from most U.S. cities, with widespread cash and points availability, even in first class. Cash prices from Atlanta average around $600 round-trip for first-class seats or 30,000 United MileagePlus reward miles. Or, like with Hawaii, you can book economy tickets for 15,000 Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles, if you can find award space.

Where to stay

The Omni Houston Hotel is located across from Memorial Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. It even has a Kids’ Sensory Suite with video games and colorful decor designed specifically for teens. You can also book an adjoining room for parents. Pricing starts at around $650 and the room can only be booked by calling the hotel directly.

The Kids’ Sensory Suite at the Omni Houston Hotel. (Photo courtesy of the Omni Houston Hotel)

Downtown at the Marriott Marquis Houston, families can soak up the city views in the Texas-shaped rooftop lazy river or adjacent pool. Pricing begins around $250 or 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. Keep in mind, the hotel does charge an additional fee for having more than three guests in the room.


What to do

There’s plenty for families to do in and around the Denver area (not to mention nearly year-round sunshine), but the Mile High City also serves as a gateway to some of the country’s top ski resorts and National Parks.

Not only can your little animal-lovers see lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) at the Denver Zoo, they can also visit with sea life at the Downtown Aquarium. There are no animals at Elitch Gardens theme and water park, but it does have some wild rides that will make your whole family howl with delight.

A snow castle at Keystone Ski Resort. (Photo courtesy of Jesse Starr/Keystone Ski Resort)

Keystone Ski Resort is less than two hours from Denver. Kids four and under always ski for free and kids under 12 ski free when you book a lodging package for two or more nights directly through the resort.

If you prefer hiking boots to ski boots, Rocky Mountain National Park is also less than two hours from Denver or you can explore the fossils and dinosaur tracks on Dinosaur Ridge’s paved trail just 15 miles west of the city.

How to get there

Denver-based Frontier Airlines offers low-cost flights to all passengers, but it doesn’t get much more low-cost than its “Kids Fly Free” deal. All you have to do is join Frontier’s Discount Den program ($99.99 for the first year and $59.99 for subsequent years) and kids under 14 can fly for free on select flights with the purchase of an adult Discount Denfare (one child per purchased booking).

Denver International Airport (DEN) also serves as a hub for United, offering economy fares for less than $300 from Midwest cities like Chicago and St. Louis.

Where to stay

The Curtis is a Doubletree by Hilton property in downtown Denver with kitschy, colorful decor and themed suites to suit any family. The hotel has suites themed to video games, Barbie, Ghostbusters and more starting around $234 or 85,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

A “Ghostbusters” themed suite at The Curtis. (Photo courtesy of The Curtis Hotel)

Gaylord Rockies Resort, like all Gaylord resorts, has a water park (indoor and outdoor so it can be enjoyed year-round), an abundance of dining options and seasonal events with kid-friendly activities. Pricing for a family of four starts around $265 or 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: Families will flip for these 10 themed hotel suites

Paradise Island, Bahamas

Paradise Island is located less than a half mile from Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. Connected to Nassau by bridge, Paradise Island is dominated by two massive family-friendly resorts — Atlantis Paradise Island and Baha Mar.

Atlantis Paradise Island. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

With so many amenities at these two resorts, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy when you aren’t lounging in the sun. Both resorts have on-site water parks (including a water slide that travels through a shark tank at Atlantis) and kids clubs.

The Challenger Slide at Atlantis. (Photo courtesy of Atlantis)

At Baha Mar, you can visit a marine wildlife sanctuary and at Atlantis you can swim with dolphins. You don’t need to be staying at the resort to book these encounters or to visit the respective water parks.

How to get there

Getting to Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) from most major U.S. airports is simple (and quick, if flying from the East Coast). American Airlines offers nonstop flights from cities including Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia that can be booked using cash or British Airways Avios.

Related: The best ways to fly to the Bahamas with points and miles

Jet Blue, Delta and United have widespread availability in other U.S. markets, but be prepared for layovers because nonstop flights can be hard to come by. Some flights from Los Angeles to Nassau have up to a 12-hour layover before taking off for the Bahamas.

Where to stay

Bird's eye view of the new Baha Mar luxury waterpark Baha Bay
Baha Mar and the Baha Bay Waterpark. (Photo courtesy of Baha Bay at Baha Mar Resort)

Both Atlantis Paradise Island and Baha Mar are made up of multiple hotels – six at Atlantis and three at Baha Mar. Of the Atlantis hotels, The Coral, The Royal and The Cove are bookable through Marriott using cash or Marriott Bonvoy points starting around $250 or 46,000 points for a family of four (plus an extra guest fee for the third or fourth guest over the age of 12 and a daily resort fee).

Related: Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas is getting a multimillion-dollar renovation

Baha Mar boasts a Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and SLS. Of these, the SLS Baha Mar is generally the least expensive and participates in Accor Hotel’s loyalty program, but the Grand Hyatt is the top option for travelers with Hyatt elite status. Cash prices start around $300 or 17,000 World of Hyatt points per night (plus a daily resort fee of $59) for a family of four.

New York City

What to do

What isn’t there to do may be a better question. There’s more to do in the Big Apple than you could ever accomplish in one trip (or even if you moved there permanently) and lots of visitors want to take a bite. Hotel searches are up nearly 350% from last year, according to Priceline.

Aerial view of New York City skyline with Central Park and Manhattan, USA
Central Park. (Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

Of course, there are the must-dos like visiting the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square and the Empire State Building — but there are other sights families won’t want to miss.

Little Island park. (Photo by Nicholas Ellis/The Points Guy)

Little Island is a floating public park with family activities and play spaces where you can spend a leisurely afternoon. Over at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s TWA Hotel, families can roller skate at the Roll-A-Rama, an outdoor roller skating rink on the old TWA tarmac. In the winter months, it sometimes doubles as an ice skating rink.

How to get there

Though New York City has three major airports (if you count Newark, which is technically in New Jersey), La Guardia Airport (LGA) is the closest in proximity to Manhattan. It is also a hub for American and Delta airlines with nonstop flights from many major U.S. cities including Chicago and Orlando, often for under $300 per person.

Where to stay

You’ll love the Loews Regency on Park Avenue because Loews loves families. Through its Loews Loves Families program, kids under 18 stay free and the hotel can provide cribs, baby bath amenities, board games, art supplies and video game consoles (for loan only — sorry, kids). Rooms start around $650 per night for a family of four.

The Peninsula. (Photo courtesy of The Peninsula New York)

The Peninsula is conveniently located near Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Broadway’s famed theaters on Fifth Avenue in Midtown. Rooms that sleep four start at around $895 per night. For an additional $200 per night, you can add on the hotel’s Camp Peninsula package, which includes a kids tent set up in your room, a robe and slipper for your kids, a hotel scavenger hunt and a s’mores welcome amenity.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

What to do

Tamarindo is a fun-filled town in the province of Guanacaste where families can combine lazy days on the beach with outdoor adventures in Costa Rica’s lush, tropical rainforest.

Related: 6 Adventurous Activities in Costa Rica for Families

Playa Tamarindo – along with nearby beaches Playa Grande and Playa Langosta – is well-known for its surf-ready waves, even if you have little (or no) experience on a surfboard. There are a number of local surf shops offering surfing lessons or boogie board rentals if you aren’t quite ready to brave the waves while standing.

Tamarindo Beach. (Photo by Megan Joyner/Getty Images)

If you can pull yourself away from the surf (and you should), there are ample opportunities to experience the jungles of Costa Rica. You’ll need to travel a decent ways inland, so the easiest route is to book a half-day or full-day tour that leaves from Guanacaste. You can spend a day in the treetops of Monteverde’s Cloud Forest, see some of Costa Rica’s breathtakingly blue waterfalls or visit Arenal Volcano National Park.

If you book through Viator, you can get up to 10% cash back through the Rakuten shopping portal or earn miles through the Delta Skymiles or AAdvantage portals.

How to get there

The closest airport to Tamarindo is Libera’s Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR). Tamarindo is only an hour’s drive from the airport, with taxis, car rentals and shuttle buses that can transfer from the airport to your hotel.

Related: Get to Costa Rica and back for $200 or less this fall

American Airlines flights from Midwest cities like Indianapolis and Chicago typically run at least $600 per person, though you can find flights for half that price on Frontier Airlines if you are willing to spend upwards of 18 hours getting to your destination.

Where to stay

Prices at the Wyndham Tamarindo start at around $140 or 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night and the hotel has the same laid-back, tropical vibes as the beach right outside your balcony. Rooms can accommodate two adults and a child up to four years old and a rollaway can be added for children up to 12 (for a $20 fee per night).

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort. (Photo from Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort on Facebook)

The Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort tips the scale toward luxury with its beachfront location, delicious dining, gardened grounds and stunning pool. Rooms that sleep four start around $200 per night and breakfast is included in the room rate.

Punta Mita, Mexico

What to do

If your family is in the market for secluded luxury, Punta Mita, Mexico, will soon be your new favorite vacation spot. This private community is home to multimillion-dollar residential homes and the luxurious Four Seasons and St. Regis resorts for visitors who want to experience this upscale beach locale.

Beach views in Punta Mita. (Photo by Nicholas Ellis/The Points Guy)

While you can certainly spend your days playing on the beach, you can also spice things up at Punta Mita Ocean Sports which offers surfing lessons, bike rentals, whale watching and more. The nearby Isla Marietas National Park offers opportunities for whale watching, hiking, boating and snorkeling which are easiest to book via a local tour group.

How to get there

The closest airport to Pinta Mita is Puerto Vallarta’s Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). From there, it’s less than an hour drive to Punta Mita.

Airlines like Aeromexico, American, Delta and United often have flight deals to Puerto Vallarta for less than $300 from major U.S. airports if your dates are flexible.

Where to stay

The St. Regis Punta Mita is a lavish yet unstuffy beachfront resort with inviting pools, a sprawling stretch of white sand beach, a kids club, family cooking classes, bike tours, paddle boarding and more.

St. Regis Punta Mita. (Photo courtesy of the St Regis Punta Mita)

Room rates for a family of four start at just under $1,500 or 106,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. If booking with points, check with the hotel first to ensure you can add guests to the room after booking because Marriott’s website only shows award redemption rates for two guests per room.

Related: Battle of the 5-star hotels: Watch us compare 2 luxury beach hotels in Mexico

The Four Seasons Punta Mita is located a few miles north of the St. Regis, but similarly has a rugged beachfront location, multiple pools, oceanfront rooms and three exceptional restaurants. The Four Seasons also caters to families with a lazy river, kids club and amenities like specialty kids dining menus and robes. Standard casitas start around $1,000 per night and two-bedroom family casitas that sleep up to seven guests start around $2,000 per night.

Bottom line

Here at TPG, we are on a never-ending quest to provide travelers with vacation experiences that fit their budget, family size and travel style.

Families have endless vacation destinations to choose from, and we’ve compiled the best of the best to help you create your dream getaway.

Featured image courtesy of YinYang/Getty Images.

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