Top Places to Visit in Mexico With Kids

Look no further if you’re after some tips for an epic Mexican holiday with little ones. Our summer trip was amazing, including action, culture, adventure and plenty of beach time! Here are my top recommendations to visit in Mexico.

1. Mexico City

Although it may seem like a sprawling, chaotic city, Mexico City offers plenty for families. The variety of food (not to mention the price) was by far the best we had in all of Mexico, and staying in the upmarket area of La Condesa meant we felt safe to wander on foot to explore all the area, including a plethora of restaurants, cafes and playgrounds.

Xochimilco is my top recommendation for kids when visiting Mexico City. We spent a fun-filled few hours in a traditional colourful gondola-like boat called trajineras. We visited on a Saturday, when the locals’ party, and had lots of fun making our own drinks and food with an amazing tour guide, listening to mariachi bands and soaking up the atmosphere. Discover more of the best things to see in Mexico City with kids.  

If you’re looking for a day trip outside Mexico City or even an overnight stay, add Grutas Tolantongo to your itinerary! Located around three hours from Mexico City, you can jump on a tour, which lasts around 12 hours or opt to hire a car if you’re in a group and spend the night so you can wake up right next to the waterfalls and hot springs.

2. Campeche

While Campeche doesn’t offer a vast amount of activities to do with kids, it’s still a stunning spot to spend a few days and wander through the beautiful coloured streets. Take a walk along the Malecon, which runs for around 6km along the Gulf of Mexico and pack your swimmers to visit the Parque Acuático Malecón Campeche, a free water park aimed at kids and families.

When you’re done, head to Calle 59 to soak in the atmosphere of this beautiful town. It’s jam-packed with restaurants lining each side of the pedestrian-only road that really comes alive at night.

If you’re after something quieter and less touristy, check out Son Jarocho in Calle 63. The owner speaks perfect English, gives plenty of local tips and can recommend menu options to suit everyone. Try the delicious local coffee spiced with cinnamon for a sweet treat. We visited for breakfast, and the kids loved the empanadas and the picadas were to die for!

3. Merida

Merida is a convenient base to explore the many sites in the Yucatán Peninsula, including UNESCO-listed archaeological sites, Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, and various nature reserves and beautiful towns like Valladolid and Izamal.

Merida is a beautiful city with a lot of history that offers a lively main square filled with locals selling odds and ends, music and plenty of action to keep your kids entertained. With only two nights here we splurged and had an amazing experience at Casa de Los Xolos – Majikal B&B. Each room of this quirky pink house had it’s own unique theme as well as a beautiful garden and pool that felt like you were in a tropical oasis surrounded by nature. The kids enjoyed selecting rooms to match their style and spent the first day exploring the house. They didn’t even notice there was no television until the next day! If you’re looking for a unique property, then it’s well worth a visit!

If your kids enjoy museums, the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Merida and the Museum of Anthropology and History, housed in one of the many stunning mansions on Paseo Montejo are worth a visit. The city is also renowned for its local cuisine, with cooking classes available to try your hand at creating local dishes. Check out the two main markets, Mercado Lucas De Galvéz and Mercado Santiago to purchase exotic and local fruits and vegetables.

4. Chichén Itzá

No trip to the Yucatan region would be complete without visiting this impressive archaeological site. The city was once one of the biggest Mayan cities and is now one of the most visited sites in Mexico. It’s easy to see why given the size of the ruins, notably the pyramid known as El Castillo (‘The Castle’), which is believed to have been built to honour the God Kukulcan. Jumping on a tour is a fantastic way to learn more about Mayan culture and explore one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

We did the Classic Tour from Playa Del Carmen. Besides your entry and a friendly and knowledgeable guide, the tour also included a delicious buffet lunch, a visit to a beautiful cenote where you have time for a quick dip and a visit to Valladolid. This colonial town is known for its stunning architecture and beauty.

5. Bacalar

Bacalar is located near the Mexico-Belize border, and the small town sits on what’s known as the Lagoon of Seven Colours, nicknamed for the beautiful shades of blue and green seen on the lake. It offers stunning sunsets and access to plenty of cenotes (freshwater swimming holes) and is a great little spot to spend a couple of laid-back, relaxing days. 

If you can, try to find a place with a view so you can truly appreciate the beauty of the lake. Unfortunately, due to development, many hotels are built directly on the lake, so getting visibility if you’re not staying somewhere with a view can be difficult. Cocalitos is an excellent choice if you’re after a swimming spot. Arrive early, as it can get busy, so you can spend some time on the swings and hammocks before the Instagrammers arrive. It’s also worth investing in a waterproof case for your phone/camera if you want to take shots in the water.

There are also plenty of places off the beaten track right on the lake that you can access if you’ve got a car. Ask for local recommendations and find out if you need to make a reservation to secure a seat to enjoy a meal/drink on the stunning lakefront.

6. Playa Del Carmen

This busy and thriving tourist spot is an excellent base for exploring all the coastal region offers. It’s on the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya strip of the Caribbean shoreline, so the ocean is a beautiful shade of blue, and there’s white sand and palm trees everywhere you look! We hired a car to explore the region, visiting a local cenote (fresh swimming hole) and the ruins of Coba, where you can hire bikes to explore the ruins, walk or jump on a bike taxi.

If you’re looking for help organising tours, look no further than the fantastic Talit! Talit is from Venezuela and has lived in Playa for a few years. He’s one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met and will do everything he can to ensure you have a fantastic time in Playa. Check out his Insta account to get in touch.

If you’re looking for a great lunch spot, Calle 38 has loads of options and offers direct access to the beach. Amate 38 has delicious meals with homemade tortillas cooked on-site. Watch out for the cheeky spider monkey who hangs out on the rooftop!

Don’t forget to stroll down 5th Avenue, the main pedestrian street full of bars, restaurants and shops. Nighttime is when the street really comes alive!

7. Cozumel

Cozumel is a small island located a short 40-minute boat ride from Playa del Carmen.  

It’s a lot less developed and far quieter than Playa, and to really explore the island, you’ll need to arrange transportation via a taxi service or hire a car, as public transport is limited. Organising car hire was easy and affordable (around $50 a day, including insurance), and the island isn’t massive, so you won’t need to drive far. 

We spent one day visiting The Cabana Beach. In this exclusive beach club, you can pay for your own personal hut for the day, including snorkelling gear, towels, a complimentary fruit platter, and chips with guacamole. It’s next to Chankanaab, a large eco-park that surrounds a lagoon with underwater caverns where you can see dolphins and a seal show. We had a very relaxing day with our own private strip of beach and enjoyed snorkelling in the sea.

Another great spot to visit during your stay in Cozumel is Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, located at the southern end of Cozumel. The beach park forms part of a 247-acre ecological park covering beaches, lagoons and reefs. You need a car if you’re visiting as it’s impossible to walk, given the size, or you’ll need to arrange a driver for your entire visit. Entry is cash only, and the road is very bumpy, so be careful of your speed! You’ll be able to climb a lighthouse that offers a fantastic view (apparently, you can see all the way to Cuba on a clear day), spot alligators from observation towers or experience them up close by taking a boat tour. There are also opportunities to watch for hatching sea turtles if you visit at the right time of year. You can also spend a few leisurely hours relaxing on the beach, hiring a beach chair at one of the many beach restaurants. If you’re after some peace and quiet, walk a little further along the beach and grab a spot of sand all to yourself!

Mexico is an amazing country to visit with kids. Our four weeks flew by and I feel like we only scratched the surface of all this country has to offer. I can’t wait to visit again!