15 Trips Every Mother Should Take with Her Daughter or Son
When you take a mom-child relationship on the road, both parties can learn something new, not to mention have a trip they'll never forget
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
“One of the most important relationships we’ll have is the relationship we have with our mothers,” states one of our favorite mom quotes. This sentence underscores that a mother-child relationship deserves special nurturing. There’s no better way to do that than taking a fabulous trip together. Traveling with mom is a special bonding moment for kids. It gives everyone a chance to leave behind day-to-day concerns and chores and focus on creating special bonds and memories. Mother-daughter trips and mom-son vacations are unique opportunities for spending one-on-one time and creating special memories that the two of you can revisit for years to come. Whether you’re the mom, the kid or even the grandmother, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss. Extra bonus: Planning a special bonding trip with mom is always a welcome Mother’s Day gift.
How we chose the best mother-child trips
To help you narrow down the extensive options for getaways for moms and their sons and daughters, we consulted with experts who spend their careers finding the best vacation getaways. Then we double-checked their suggestions with user reviews and star ratings on Tripadvisor to make sure consumers agreed that these were great spots. We also considered our favorite affordable family vacations, quick trips and must-see places to take your kids. Finally, we highlighted the best in each category, to make it easy for you to find a getaway for Mother’s Day or anytime. Whether you’re interested in planning a long weekend or an extensive bucket list trip for moms and kids, we have great suggestions for you.
Alexander Spatari/Getty Images
Best for: Culture lovers
What to do: To quote Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea.” We couldn’t agree more, especially when moms visit the City of Light with their son or daughter, plus it’s one of the best places to travel in 2023. Together, you can explore the stalls along the Seine, stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, sip hot chocolate at the elegant Angelina tea shop and visit the myriad monuments and churches that dot the city like jewels in a necklace. Then there are the art museums, of course. Culture lovers can explore the big blockbuster collections at the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, then move on to smaller spots like the Picasso Museum and Musee Rodin or even take a trip to nearby Giverny, the famous Claude Monet garden that inspired the Impressionist painter.
Where to stay: Built in the 16th century, the 39-room Hôtel Maison Colbert is located in the heart of the Left Bank’s Latin Quarter, with front-row views of Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s within walking distance of many of the cultural hotspots in the center of Paris, plus the not-to-be-missed shopping and cafés that make the Left Bank so special. And you don’t need to leave the boutique hotel to be immersed in culture: The property is the former home of famed French writer Simone de Beauvoir, and its interiors are inspired by the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla, with large murals splashed across a wall of every room. Stay in for French cuisine at Clotilde Cafe, or let the hotel plan a breathtaking helicopter flight over the roofs of Paris to Versailles for memorable mom-child bonding.
Best for: Live-music fanatics
What to do: The Hostess City of Savannah is a charmer. The entire downtown is a National Historic Site filled with 22 leafy squares, each one highlighted with statues and moss-festooned trees all coated in a layer of history, character and charm. The city is also a foodie find, and there’s art everywhere you look too, thanks to the infusion of talent from SCAD (the Savannah School of Art and Design), which owns buildings throughout downtown. What we like most, though, is the varied music scene, including the Savannah Music Festival, which spreads across nearly three full weeks in the spring, with artists ranging from folk to jazz to blues, including recent sets by Los Lobos and Buddy Guy. And good news for mother-daughter trips and mom-son duos who love live music: These shows won’t leave you reeling from the ticket prices, which start at just $31. In the fall, a jazz festival takes up residence, and throughout the winter months, big-name performers now stop at the new Enmarket Arena too. Savannah is also one of our favorite underrated destinations in the U.S.
Where to stay: The Andaz Savannah is right on Ellis Square, a block from the riverfront and nearly adjacent to the City Market, making it an ideal spot to enjoy the city on foot. It offers a pool, a fire pit with late-night complimentary s’mores and two appetizers, and happy-hour drinks every evening in the convivial bar/lounge, a perfect way for mothers and their adult kids to start the evening. Bonus: In-room soft drinks, water and snacks are all gratis as part of your stay.
Best for: Mountain adventurers
What to do: A short, scenic drive from Denver, Keystone, Colorado, is a year-round mountain playground suitable for all ages. In the winter, Keystone is one of the best places to ski in the country, with more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain as well as an expansive ski school for moms and kids who want to take lessons. And don’t miss one of our favorite winter activities here: A sleigh-ride dinner, where a horse-drawn sleigh transports you across the snow-covered terrain to a warm cabin for a cozy dinner. During the summer, hiking, mountain biking, mountaintop yoga, golf and festivals beckon those looking for a mountain getaway.
Where to stay: Keystone Lodge and Spa has a prime location in Lakeside Village near shops and restaurants, offering fabulous views of The Rockies from spacious room balconies. The lodge has both indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs for great mother-daughter and mom-son splashing or water relaxation. In the winter, there’s also an outdoor ice skating rink that hotel guests can skate on for free.
New York City
Best for: Theater fans
What to do: While shopping, trendy dining, museum visits and jaunts through Central Park are all popular pastimes on a trip to the Big Apple, seeing a musical or play on the Great White Way is truly a must-do, especially for theater lovers. Moms and kids big or small can enjoy quality time together at one of the many Broadway shows featuring strong familial relationships, including new productions like Kimberly Akimbo and Life of Pi, and beloved favorites such as Lion King and Wicked.
Where to stay: NH Collection Madison Avenue has a prime location in the heart of Manhattan a few blocks from the Empire State Building and a quick walk to the Theater District, making it an ideal location for a special Broadway-focused trip with mom. The hotel’s 288 rooms offer stunning city views and a mix of modernist furnishings and the Mad Men–era design elements make the midcentury building a special place to stay. There’s also a branch of trendy Italian favorite Serafina in the hotel for pre- or post-theater pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Don’t miss these NYC hidden gems while you’re there.
Best for: Novice chefs
What to do: Travel to Europe came roaring back throughout 2022, according to flight data. And the No. 1 destination? Italy. No trip to the country would be complete without indulging in its famed pasta, pizza and gelato. The best way to experience these tastes on a mom-child bonding trip is to not just enjoy them—though that’s pretty great too—but also learn how to make them together at a cooking school. That way, when you return home, you’ll have the recipes and the skills to recreate your favorite dishes together—talk about the ultimate souvenir! Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside are especially well known for their cooking schools; we particularly like Giglio Cooking School in Florence and Fattoria Poggio Alloro in San Gimignano.
Where to stay: Immerse yourself in the heart of Tuscany at the elegant Tenuta di Artimino estate, which includes Paggeria Medicea, a 17th-century villa once owned by the Medici family and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel offers 36 rooms with original details such as wood beams, plus a large swimming pool and a tennis court. You’ll also enjoy on-property local wine-tasting and cooking classes, so you can work on your pasta-making skills during a mother-daughter or mom-son vacation.
Greater Zion, Utah
Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts
Utah is home to some of the best state and national parks in the country, which makes it an amazing place for a mother-and-child vacation, no matter what age you both are. Make it a Utah road trip with stops at the awe-inspiring Red Arch mountain and the otherworldly scenery of Zion National Park, then drive 140 miles to Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its hoodoo formations. If you have time and it’s the right season, take a detour to the north entrance of the Grand Canyon to check a third national park off your list. (This entrance closes in the winter.)
Where to stay: To make a trip here truly special, check in to the all-inclusive Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, just 40 miles from Zion. Before you even head out to the parks, you’ll be treated to views of red-rock bluffs rising out of the Southern Utah terrain from the windows in your room. Choose from 82 rooms and 24 villa suites, the latter perfect for mother-daughter trips and mom-son vacations, and you’ll also get three healthy meals a day, access to swimming pools, complimentary loaner bicycles, s’mores at the fire pit, guided hiking and biking, cooking demonstrations and more.
Best for: Potterheads
What to do: For moms and kids who are fans of the boy wizard, London holds many fabulous attractions. Start with a visit to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London to see the movie sets, props and costumes featured in the Harry Potter films. Then check out movie locations and some of the magical things in Harry Potter that are real across London, including Leadenhall Market (entrance to Diagon Alley), Kings Cross Station (home of platform 9 3/4 for the Hogwarts Express), the London Zoo (where Harry speaks parseltongue to a Burmese python), Australia House (Gringott’s bank) and more. Grab a meat pie at Borough Market (where Harry visits the Leaky Cauldron) and explore the rest of London with a pass from Go City, which gives you front-of-the-line access to some 90 attractions, including The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.
Where to stay: The Guardsman is a chic, contemporary boutique hotel in Westminster, a central location near iconic Buckingham Palace, just two blocks from the tube, with easy access to parks, palaces and other top sites. The spacious, soundproof rooms—including family suites—have under-floor radiant heat, blackout curtains and a warm design that feels at once high-end and homey. Sink into a plush sofa in their cozy drawing room for afternoon tea, or grab a delicious handmade burger with sweet potato fries and a Caesar salad in their all-day dining room. A children’s menu—with bangers and mash, of course—will keep even the fussiest palates fed and happy.
Best for: Theme park lovers
What to do: Walt Disney World is the most visited theme park in the world for a reason, and riding Space Mountain and meeting Mickey Mouse are hard to top when it comes to family-bonding moments. Harry Potter fans will want to make a beeline to Universal Orlando to experience a real-life Hogsmeade, complete with butterbeer. Round out a trip with stops at nearby Legoland and SeaWorld for more fun-filled adventures.
Where to stay: Base yourself at Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek for nonstop fun for all, even when you’re not at the parks. You can learn how to scuba dive through the property’s Scuba Academy, or pick up some impressive golf moves at the Waldorf Golf Academy, located at the adjoining Waldorf Astoria Orlando. It’s an official Walt Disney World resort, so mom and the kids are granted 30-minute early entry to any Walt Disney World theme park, every day, along with free transportation to and from the resort. There are also weekly dive-in movies and DJ pool parties and an on-site lazy river.
Best for: Amateur conservationists
What to do: The watery world of the Galapagos Islands is a remote destination for unique water-based wildlife not found anywhere else on the globe. Walking on small, isolated islands, you’ll see a plethora of native birds such as blue-footed boobies, red-throated frigate birds and finches. Some of the best snorkeling in the world can be found in the Galapagos, where guests have daily opportunities to see exotic underwater life. You can swim and kayak with sea lions, penguins, a rainbow of reef fish, giant sea turtles and even sharks, all while learning how to protect and conserve these rare creatures.
Where to stay: Quasar Expeditions offers small-ship luxury cruises around the Galapagos Islands, with a maximum of 32 people, perfect for adventurous nature-focused moms traveling with teens. You’ll spend each day snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and getting up close and personal with the islands’ amazing animals while learning about different ways to help conserve the islands. Setting sail throughout the summer months, Quasar’s family cruises offer activities that span multigenerational interests including stargazing and cooking classes. Quasar’s weeklong cruises also give families the opportunity to disconnect from their devices and connect with nature and each other, which equates to ample quality time for the two of you.
Best for: Barbecue addicts
What to do: Foodies, take note—there’s no better spot to take mom for a barbecue weekend than the laid-back city of Austin. Plan around a visit to Franklin’s, widely regarded as the best barbecue in the country (if not the world). The lines here are famously long, but we have a secret tip: You can order takeout a week or more ahead. Bring your smoked meat to Lady Bird Lake for a BBQ picnic with water views. But wait, there’s more meat, and sides, to explore. Other favorites include Terry Black’s, where the lines take less than an hour, and La Barbecue in East Austin, with a more modern interior and serving up additional options like homemade hotdogs.
Where to stay: The Fairmont Austin has a prime location between the music venues of 6th Street and Historic Rainey Street, plus spacious rooms with stellar views over Austin. The hotel also sports the largest pool in downtown, with chair-side cocktail service and cabanas too, for a full day of relaxation. There’s a hip dining area, Revue, that resembles an upscale food hall, which happens to be serving a stellar Mother’s Day brunch. Plus, the hotel is directly across the street from sleeper barbecue spot Iron Works, perfect for a late-night ribfest.
M Sweet/Getty Images
Best for: Beach goers
What to do: It’s hard to beat the Hawaiian island of Maui for fun in the sun. You can snorkel in a volcanic cone at Molokini Crater, bike down a dormant volcano at sunrise at Haleakala National Park, navigate the twisty, waterfall-lined Road to Hana, enjoy a traditional evening luau and search the seas on a whale-watching expedition. Or, simply relax on the golden-sand beaches and dive into the warm Pacific Ocean waters. Whichever you choose, it’s sure to be a fabulous mother-daughter vacation or mom-son getaway.
Where to stay: The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is the ideal destination for moms and kids, offering quintessential Hawaiian experiences including a luau, expert-led stargazing and cultural classes. The beachfront property also offers an entire half-acre of pools and waterslides, golf, tennis, wildlife areas with flamingos and penguins (yes, penguins!) and a full-service spa. Plus, as part of a special Mother’s Day package, you can also get a family photoshoot on the property to remember your special getaway.
Best for: Budding geologists
What to do: Adventurous mom-child duos will be wowed by the geological wonders of this otherworldly island. You can explore lava fields and ice sheets, dip into hot springs and waterfalls, be dazzled by dramatic landscapes, gorgeous glaciers and possibly even witness the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky. A full circumnavigation of the island nation on a cruise is the ideal way to spot rock formations, archipelagos, cliffs and ice ledges.
Where to stay: Lindblad Expeditions excels in small-ship adventures (think 100 to 150 people) with a big focus on education and information. And for Iceland trips, they’re offering special fares, where “kids” up to age 22 cruise free (yes, free!) with a paying adult if booked by June 30, 2023, making this a perfect Mother’s Day idea for a special getaway.
Best for: Adventurers
What to do: Adventures by Disney offers a super fun, impeccably run family-friendly trip to this colorful South American country, but you can also hit the highlights on your own. Go white-water rafting down the Urubamba River, get up close and personal with llamas and alpacas, hike up the ancient steps of Ollantaytambo’s Inca ruins and see the imposing Inca structures at Sacsayhuaman. The main event is a visit to Machu Picchu—”the lost city of the Incas” and one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, at an elevation of 8,000 feet. Your hike up the uneven stairs will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the more-than-600-year-old structures nestled in green peaks shrouded in mysterious mist.
Where to stay: For its Private Adventure, Adventures by Disney has guests stay at Tambo del Inka, a picturesque luxury resort in Sacred Valley. For guided group land adventures, they host travelers at Sol y Luna in Urubamba, so you can’t go wrong with either one. Sol y Luna is an intimate hotel with cozy stone “casita” houses amid lush gardens and the scenic Andes mountains. With authentic Inca-Peruvian cuisine in their two on-site restaurants, plus a pool, a gym and activities such as horseback riding, paragliding, kayaking, trekking, cycling and more, it’s no wonder the hotel gets a five-star “excellent” rating from more than 2,000 reviewers.
Balate Dorin/Getty Images
Best for: Sun worshippers
What to do: Want to slow down and unwind with mom? Spain’s Menorca island off its southern coast lures relaxation seekers with its enchanting beauty, archaeological treasures, laid-back vibes and one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. This is a place to enjoy the simple pleasures: Slather on SPF and settle in for an afternoon of lounging on the white-sand beach and swimming in the shallow, turquoise waters of Cala Turqueta.
Where to stay: Villa Le Blanc faces the glistening Mediterranean Sea and sports design elements reflecting the traditions of local architecture married with energy-efficient, carbon-neutral features. The 159 guest rooms all boast private balconies to take in the sun-filled views; many have private pools too. The hotel features three restaurants, including the newest location of S’Amarador, widely considered to be the top seafood spots on the island.
Best for: Wannabe royalty
What to do: The Emerald Isle is filled with lush scenery, including the soaring Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry. Along the way, you’ll also be able to explore a wealth of castles to not only visit, such as Kilkenny Castle, but also stay in to live out your royal fantasies. The best way to explore the delights of Ireland is with Brendan Vacations on their private chauffeur trips. Completely customizable to your interests, these trips include a luxury car with a private driver to chauffeur you around Dublin, Killarney, Galway, iconic natural sites and then to the doors of your royal castle.
Where to stay: Follow in the footsteps of centuries of royal mothers and their kin at historic Ashford Castle in western Ireland. The 800-year-old castle first opened its doors as a luxury hotel on July 6, 1939, and has been host over the years to royalty, presidents and celebrities, not to mention mother-daughter and mother-son duos who come to enjoy elegant teas, horseback rides, falconry, fishing and shooting, just like the original queens did here centuries ago with their princes and princesses.