Mexico is a wondrous place with magnificent landscapes and endless outdoor activities, where ancient archaeological sites and cosmopolitan cities sit side-by-side.

It’s a place where art, history and Mexican culture can be equally enjoyed in museums, theaters and public parks. There’s truly something for everyone here. And everyone is welcome. 

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Is Mexico good for kids?  

Mexico is an easy place to travel with children. Family is at the center of daily life, and children are warmly welcomed just about everywhere. From museums and parks to theaters and restaurants, children are accommodated with discounted admission and tour fees, kid-focused activities and even playrooms in restaurants (the more upscale, the more soundproof).

Where is best in Mexico for kids

With white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, the Riviera Maya offers every imaginable surf and sand activity – a no-brainer for a family vacay. Kid-friendly hotels and resorts line the coast from Cancún to Tulum, making travel here that much easier. 

There’s also Puerto Vallarta, a chic cobblestone-paved town between the verdant Sierra Madre mountains and the glittering Bahía de Banderas. Beachfront resorts and tawny sand beaches line the bay, easy places for families to spend their days making sandcastles and playing in the waves.

For urban-style adventures, try Mérida or Mexico City. Mérida is the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula, a vibrant city that has a rich cultural scene with museums galore, free daily concerts and performances and plazas that come alive in the evenings and weekends. It's a perfect place to introduce kids to life in Mexico. 

Meanwhile, the capital city is a mega-metropolis boasting a kaleidoscope of sights and activities, with countless parks and plazas, museums and historic sights, and more restaurants and taco stands than you can count. Choosing what to do here is the hardest part. 

Best things to do in Mexico with kids

children playing in folded cave or cenote
Mayan architecture, natural wonders and great beaches abound in the Riviera Maya © Luis Javier Sandoval / Getty Images

Go below the surface in Cozumel

If snorkeling or diving is on the family bucket list, Cozumel is where it’s at, a world-class underwater destination with a Mexican beach-town vibe. Alternatively, cenotes (freshwater sinkholes) line the coast, many located inside of caves – an eerie and fascinating experience to snorkel past stalagmites and eyeless fish. 

Check out the wildlife in Tulum

Amusement-type “eco-parks” Xcaret and Xel-Há make entertainment easy in Tulum, while guided tours of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve – where sightings of dolphins, sea turtles, crocs and even manatees are common – are a hit. 

Visit ancient ruins on the Riviera Maya 

If you're on the Riviera Maya, don’t miss the easy day trips to the spectacular Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and Cobá, with its towering pyramid. 

Take to the streets in Mérida

On Sundays, Mérida’s historic center closes to vehicular traffic; families can walk or ride bikes (rentals are easily found), while food stands and artisan booths line the plazas and music fills the air. 

Large colony of flamingoes in the mangrove swamps of the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, Yucatan peninsula.
Thousands of flamingos wade through shallow waters and fly overhead at the Biósfera Ría Celestún © by wildestanimal / Getty Images

See flocks of flamingos in Celestún

For kids who love the outdoors, head west to the Biósfera Ría Celestún, a 590-sq-km reserve along the Gulf coast. Guided boat tours take visitors to view the resident colony of American flamingos, where thousands of the pink birds wade through shallow waters and fly overhead. 

Go back in time on the Ruta Puuc

On the Yucatán Peninsula near Mérida, you'll find an engaging series of archeological sites along a jungle road known as the Ruta Puuc. Public buses and private tour companies take travelers to the five sites, providing an insight into ancient Maya cities, now tucked into jungle forests – places to explore and wander, imagining what life here was once like.

Spend time in and around Mexico City’s Bosque de Chapultepec 

A vast leafy park, Bosque de Chapultepec features lakes and paddleboat rentals, fountains and a botanic garden, even an 18th-century castle.

There are also several kid-friendly museums in or near the park: Museo Nacional de Antropología, a spectacular archaeological museum; Papalote Museo del Niño, an innovative children’s museum; and Acuario Inbursa, a five-story aquarium that wows visitors with its 14,000-plus marine creatures (even penguins!).

Catch a show in Mexico City

Mexico City’s performing arts scene should not be missed – folk dance shows are regularly showcased in the renowned Palacio de Bellas Artes, while smaller theaters like the Centro Cultural del Bosque and Centro Cultural Helénico stage children’s plays and puppet shows.

For kids (and parents) who like more action, don’t miss Arena México, where lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling) takes center stage in a boisterous circus-like setting. 

Aerial view of colorful gondolas along the Xochimilco canals in Mexico City
The whole family will enjoy riding a colorful gondola down the canals of Xochimilco © LIBIA SEGURA / Shutterstock

Explore the capital away from the city center

Beyond Mexico City’s center, head to Xochimilco, where the fam will enjoy riding colorful gondolas down ancient Aztec canals, or visit the magnificent ruins of Teotihuacán, once Mesoamerica’s largest city and today home to one of the world’s tallest pyramids.  

Cruise around Puerto Vallarta by boat or on horseback

Beyond the town of Puerto Vallarta, families can explore the mountains on horseback tours; half- and full-day trips lead to cascading waterfalls, hidden rivers and breathtaking lookout points. 

Boat tours also keep the entire family happy – bottlenose dolphins can be spotted year-round, while from December to March, you can see migrating humpback whales and their calves. Boats often get close enough to feel the spray of the whales' massive fins and tails slapping the water – an unforgettable experience at any age.  

father and sons playing on beach Cabo San Lucas Mexico
 Cabo has kid-friendly resorts and soft golden beaches © Hola Images / Getty Images

Best things to do in Mexico with babies and toddlers

Though it's known as a party town, Cabo San Lucas doubles as a great family beach destination, with all types of activities and amenities just steps away. Kid-friendly resorts and soft golden beaches are found in town and along the “Corridor” towards San José del Cabo.

Playa Empacadora is a good destination if you have little ones. A quiet locals’ beach, it has soft sand and calm, clear waters that are perfect for wading and snorkeling. ​

Best things to do in Mexico with kids

In Puerto Vallarta, the Malecón is a lively boardwalk lined with fantastical bronze sculptures, cart vendors selling rainbow-colored snow cones and street performers entertaining crowds.

The breezy central Plaza de Armas is another good spot for kids to run and play and for grown-ups to take a breather. On weekends, live music gets people moving – a wonderful introduction to Vallarta life. 

Best things to do in Mexico with teenagers and tweenagers

Cabo San Lucas’ main town beach, Playa Medano, is the place for water sports, such as jet-skiing, banana boating, and parasailing – perfect for older kids. Stand-up paddleboard tours leave from here as well, and they're a great way to see Land’s End, Cabo’s famous rock formations and Playa del Amor, a gorgeous beach that spans both Bahía San Lucas and the Pacific. 

Tours of all kinds are offered from Cabo – horseback riding on empty beaches, sunset sailing trips, kayak tours and, from December to April, whale-watching excursions too. 

Planning tips

  • Hotels and resorts in Mexico typically offer free or reduced stays for children; many even have “kids clubs” to keep children of all ages entertained.
  • Public transportation is often half-price for children, or free if they’re small enough to sit on your lap.
  • City sidewalks are often narrow and uneven, making them difficult to navigate with strollers. Metro stations, often lacking elevators, can be tough to access with strollers too.
  • Public restrooms are sparse and diaper-changing stations almost unheard of outside of big cities. Look for pay-to-use toilets in restaurants and markets, and prepare to change diapers on park benches.
  • While it’s easy enough to buy bottled water, tap water is tougher to manage during bath and bedtime routines.  

This article was first published Jun 22, 2021 and updated Jun 17, 2023.

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