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).

Hotels and resorts also typically offer free or reduced stays for children; many even have “kids clubs” to keep children of all ages entertained. Public transportation, too, is often half-price for children or free if they’re small enough to sit on your lap.  

There are challenges to traveling in Mexico with kids, of course. 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. And while it’s easy enough to buy bottled water, tap water is tougher to manage during bath- and bedtime routines.  

Best places to go 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

Riviera Maya  

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. 

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. 

Amusement-type “eco-parks” Xcaret and Xel-Há make entertainment easy while guided tours of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve are a hit, where sightings of dolphins and sea turtles, crocs and even manatees are common. Finally, 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 a towering pyramid visitors can still climb. 

The best time to visit Mexico

Father and daughter with shopping bags
Mérida's cultural atmosphere is a great introduction to life in Mexico © Jupiter Images / Getty Images

Mérida and around 

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 – a perfect place to introduce kids to life in Mexico. 

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. 

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. 

Equally engaging are a series of nearby 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.  

Mixed race girl taking pictures on city street, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
The vastness of Mexico City means the choices of activities are endless © Solina Images / Getty Images

Mexico City 

Mexico’s capital offers a kaleidoscope of sights and activities. A mega-metropolis, it has countless parks and plazas, museums and historic sights, and more restaurants and taco stands than you can count. Choosing what to do is the hardest part.

For families, Bosque de Chapultepec is a good start. A vast leafy park, it 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!).

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. Beyond the city 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.  

Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, mother and three children having fun at seafront
Puerto Vallarta has fun in the sun of course, but with outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, its a great place to travel with families © Westend61 / Getty Images

Puerto Vallarta  

A chic cobblestone-paved town, Puerto Vallarta lies 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.

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

The Plaza de Armas, the town’s breezy central plaza, 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. 

Beyond town, 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, too, keep the entire family happy – bottlenose dolphins can be spotted year-round, while from December to March, visitors can see migrating humpback whales and their calves; boats often get close enough to feel the spray of their massive fins and tails slapping the water – an unforgettable experience at any age.  

Best things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids

father and sons playing on beach Cabo San Lucas Mexico
 Cabo has all the outdoor adventures for active families © Hola Images / Getty Images

Cabo San Lucas 

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

The main town beach, Playa Medano, is the place for watersports – jet-skiing, banana boating, parasailing – perfect for older kids. Standup paddleboard tours leave from here too, a great way to see Land’s End, Cabo’s famous rock formations or Playa del Amor, a gorgeous beach that spans both Bahía San Lucas and the Pacific. 

Playa Empacadora is a good alternative if you have little ones; a quiet locals’ beach, it has soft sand and calm, clear waters that are perfect for wading and snorkeling. Tours of all kinds are offered from Cabo too – horseback riding on empty beaches, sunset sailing trips, kayak tours and, from December to April, whale watching excursions too! 

Introducing Mexico

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