BY JANA BEAUCHAMP
Traditional family vacations (and everything else) the way we know and treasure them are on pause. We can still plan a virtual vacation and don’t need to factor in what to pack, travel logistics, or transportation plans. It’s easy peasy to have a super fun trip at home. Here are some perfect places for families to travel to from home sweet home until we can hit the road again.
Looking for more virtual fun? Check out Virtual Museum Tours in New York Families Will Love
Virtual Travel for Families
Everyone needs Disney magic from the happiest place on earth right about now and there is so much new magic to discover on the Disney Parks Blog. They offer opportunities to learn, create, play, and take care. There are virtual views for select Disney attractions on the Disney Parks YouTube Channel and #DisneyMagicMoments content and activities on the Disney Parks Blog. We especially enjoyed the theme park recipes and tutorials like “OOOoooOOOooo! Learn from Pixar animator Ben Su how to draw a Toy Story-style alien.”
Travel virtually with Dolphin Quest to Dolphin Quest Bermuda, Dolphin Quest Hawaii, or Dolphin Quest Oahu, for your family and friends to interact live with dolphins and Marine Mammal Specialists. There is a free Dolphin Quest LIVE on their Facebook page daily for a fun and informative live interactive broadcast with Marine Mammal Specialists and dolphins. Families can also schedule private dolphin encounters via Zoom for an engaging, interactive visit with Marine Mammal Specialists and their favorite dolphins. Dolphin Quest provides a guided, personalized experience to meet and interact with the dolphins (they dance, leap, and more) from the safety of your home. Participation in the paid virtual program supports the continued professional care of the dolphins while Dolphin Quest’s onsite interactive programs are on pause.
You can make sweet memories at home with Hershey-themed virtual experiences, like takeout dining, recipes, and more by visiting One Sweet Minute: The Stay At Home Edition. There’s a delicious collection of virtual experiences that cover the destination of Hershey, PA, like trivia and coloring pages. Our favorite is to grab the family, take a seat, and get ready to ride front row on your favorite Hersheypark coasters! Take a ride on all 15 mild to wild coasters, including the new and thrilling Candymonium, and pick your favorite. It’s a sweet sensation!
Head to Africa with Wild Earth Kids by hopping in the back of a jeep for a virtual action safari. Kids of all ages will enjoy this free, live, and interactive safari experience as they join safariLIVE and tour some of the famed wildlife areas, interact with experts, and drive through the African wilderness. Lions and tigers and elephants, oh my!
Travel to Australia and visit the land down under with Live from Australia and virtually experience the one-of-a-kind events hosted by some of Australia’s most iconic personalities. Explore across the continent from the Great Barrier Reef to the Sydney Opera House, and along the way plan to dance with The Wiggles and learn Aussie BBQ secrets from Hayden Quinn. What a way to say g’day mate!
Visit the Bahamas with ‘At Home with Baha Mar.’ There’s a digital care package with ways for families and friends at home right now to get creative, relax, and connect with loved ones – all inspired by the Bahamian islands. With themed coloring pages, playtime with kids’ crafts, Happy Hour the Baha Mar way, and family game night ideas, Baha Mar provides families with a little Bahamian-inspired escape. You’ll practically feel the island breeze!
It’s never been so easy to take a trip across the country to California. Many family-friendly California institutions from LA to San Fran are posting virtual experiences and fun lessons online, bringing celebrated California attractions to families at home and almost all of them are totally free. Some family favorites that will especially delight the kids include SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, Spitzer Space Telescope, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and The Exploratorium.
Feel the love in the air and travel to France, the most visited country in the world, without leaving home. Take your own private tours of The Louvre and Chateau Versailles to marvel at the grandiose structures and ornate masterpieces. You can also visit Provence, Mont Blanc, and so many more famed French destinations. Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to France without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy the panoramic views and soak in the City of Lights!
While we count down until Japan hosts the Olympics in 2021, in the meantime, we can visit virtually. Enjoy the springtime cherry blossoms blooming in Chidorigafuchi Park, visit Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, or spend time on Kids Web Japan complete with history, culture, legends, ninjas, and games. You may even be able to catch some traditional sumo wrestling.
Thanks to Visit London we can hop across the pond and experience London at home. There are countless city webcams (like Westminster Bridge and River Thames), virtual tours of famed attractions like the Buckingham Palace and Kew Gardens, plus a regular listing of weekend activities in London from home. Also, Rosewood London (and all Rosewood properties) has been keeping travelers inspired during this time with its Instagram series, #JourneyInPlace. It aims to unite people around the common idea of an undying love of travel, encouraging followers to keep exploring, virtually for now, with at-home tips, tutorials and activities from the brand’s properties around the globe. Some kid-friendly activities include Kid’s Hot Chocolate Turndown Service, inspired by the hot chocolate offered at Rosewood London’s Children’s Afternoon Tea Experience, and the Rosewood Explorer club that gives tips on how to build an indoor fort.
If you missed Mardi Gras but you still wanted to travel to New Orleans, now is the perfect time. New Orleans Quarantine Boredom Busters is bringing the best of the city to you at home through their social channels and many museums, attractions, musicians, and online stores. There are ways to get crafty, get cooking, take tours, and jam out and let the music come to you. Don’t miss the feel-good NOLA music playlist!
Thanks to Discover Newport, you can visit Newport, RI from home. Newport’s popular museums and attractions transitioned their exhibits and experiences into the digital realm. Fan favorites like the Newport Mansions, Cliff Walk, and International Tennis Hall of Fame, to name a few, have live streams and digital exhibits to help families stay entertained at home. Also, the Newport Gurney’s Resort (@gurneyresorts) virtual experiences campaign called #GoneHomeWithGurneys has virtual programming with daily themes, from wellness tips, curated Spotify playlists, and signature recipes from Scarpetta to add more local flavor at home.
Visit Philadelphia with Philadelphia from Home to take in the best of the City of Brotherly Love. The long list of virtual activities includes a visit to the Philadelphia Zoo with Philly Zoo to You, dozens of museums, specialty recipes like Philly cheesesteaks, and curated playlists on Spotify featuring Philly artists like Will Smith and Boyz II Men. There’s also a Philly Bingo game to help families keep track of completed virtual adventures and plan where to go on their next visit.
Visit the Lowcountry in South Carolina at Montage Palmetto Bluff and kids earn a special certificate with the At-Home Edition of its popular Montage Merits program. From reading a book and spotting a squirrel, to writing a letter and practicing yoga, those who conquer all 12 achievements will earn “Rainbow” status. As rainbows are bright spots created in special circumstances, earning this coveted accolade signifies that the participant is a true Rainbow Creator. Families can visit the property or email email@example.com and a certificate will be emailed to them.
We love New York and love to visit Virtual NYC because we can relive our glorious city the way we love it most. While you can still explore NYC while socially distancing, you’ll also enjoy taking virtual visits to your favorite museums, theaters, historic landmarks, and attractions to experience the best of New York City at home.
This story first appeared on newyorkfamily.com.