Family Travel Bucket List For A Decade – 2020s

Couple at Machu Picchu at sunrise in Peru.

New decade means new bucket list- around the world with the best of family travel. From toddlers to teenagers, we have a new family travel bucket list you won’t want to miss!

This new decade of the 2020s is a big one for me- I turn 40, and both my kids will pretty much stop napping. Oh, and we will have been married for longer than we’ve been alive this decade too. 

I’m choosing to look at the bright side of both by remembering that 1. every woman I have ever talked to has said her 40s were her best decade and 2. when the kids don’t nap, we have more flexibility to travel more adventurously.

In honor of this new decade, I’ve put together my 2020 bucket list- the places I want to see before the close of 2029. (I can’t believe I just typed 2029!) These are places that I have wanted to go for years, but haven’t made the time yet. 2020 is my decade! 

Of course, we will continue our yearly family trips to Costa Rica, as that’s where our families and our hearts live part-time. 

Related article: 20+ Best Places For Your 2020 Costa Rica Vacation

My hope is that over the next 10 years, this post of bucket list vacations will be updated with my travel stories from all of these locations- and links to lots of content about our time away and what destinations and activities our kids most loved. Anyway, for now, here is my 2020s Family Travel Bucket List! (In no particular order.)

Hawaii beach in broad daylight

Hawaii

I really want to visit Hawaii for a few reasons. The first is that so many people compare it to Costa Rica that I really want to see if I agree. I know the climate is similar, and obviously both places have lots of volcanos.

To me, however, Hawaii is a whole different ballgame as far as culture. If you didn’t know, Colorado and Hawaii have been sister states for years, and when I worked in kitchens in college, lots of the line cooks were here from Hawaii to experience a bit of Colorado weather and culture. 

The Hawaiian twist they would put on food was always so delicious, and I love the laid back culture. And of course, learning a bit of Hawaiian language and dancing would be amazing. I have a feeling my girls are going ot love a Hawiian luau too. 

Plus, Southwest flies to Hawaii, and I love flying Southwest. Speaking of which, do you know about the Companion Pass

Bahamas lighthouse surrounded by water with Nassau in background

The Bahamas

I am totally addicted to the Elin Hilderbrand Paradise series of books- and they have made me want to visit the Caribbean Islands. Though the books take place on the US Virgin Island of St. John, United Airlines is to launch a direct flight from Denver to Nassau, which will make traveling with kids so much easier.

So- I’ve added the Bahamas to my bucket list. Plus, it will be great to support the islands after Hurricane Dorian, and get a huge dose of “vitamin sea,” sun, and drink lots of rum punch.

Related article: 5 Minute Tropical Rum Punch Cocktail Recipe

Carnival Cruiseline ship docked in the tropics

Caribbean Cruise

I haven’t ever been on a cruise before- but my parents recently started doing the European river cruises and they absolutely love them. 

I’m more of a kick back and relax on the beach type of girl though, but I also like to see a lot of things when I travel. I think a Caribbean cruise would be perfect- a great way to see some of our favorite places (Cozumel, San Juan, Belize, Roatan, Panama Canal would all be great destinations for families). 

But- the ships look amazing, so I know we could relax in the sun on the ship and enjoy all the entertainment, cuisine and more. 

Might even be a good place to celebrate my 40th?

overseas highway from mainland Florida to Florida Keys and Key West

Florida Keys/Key West

Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of driving the causeway from Miami to Key West Florida. There is just something so amazing to me about that long bridge surrounded by crystalline water. I would say this is probably my top bucket list destination ever, and I have to do it this decade.

Even though people in Miami always tell me the drive is a nightmare because of traffic- I don’t even care. This decade, I am committed to bumping along the causeway and visiting the different keys before spending a few nights in Key West. Ideally with the kids!

rain at Dominican Republic Juan Dolio Beach.

Dominican Republic

We spent almost 10 days in the DR when my daughter was 15 months old. We rented this little beach apartment in the tiny town of Juan Dolio, and just hung out on the beach. The Dominicans were so incredibly nice, and the food was incredible.

The coolest part of the trip is that my older daughter took her very first steps in the Basilica in Santo Domingo- and I would love to take her back to that spot. And then explore even more of the culture and food that the island has to offer.

Singapore city skyline at night

Japan, Thailand or Singapore

I didn’t want to cop out and just say Asia because I don’t know if I necessarily want to go to China, but I am interested in taking my daughters to Asia before they graduate high school. Plus, after flying Finnair to Finland this year and seeing how their Asia stopover plan works, I would love to fly to Finland, spend a few days there with the kids, and then continue on to Asia. 

Related post: 15 Things To Do In Finland With Kids

I would love to head to Singapore just to eat and wat and wat. After reading Crazy Rich Asians and Kevin Kwan’s amazing descriptions of Singaporean food, I am ready to eat my way through Singapore one dish at a time.

Thailand calls my name too- the gorgeous beaches and incredible food (I am a sucker for Thai food).  Oh and the massages. Did I mention hiking the rainforest? Elephants?  Thailand would be a super cool family vacation.

As for Japan- I have a friend from high school who married a Japanese woman and liven in Japan until they relocated to Costa Rica. We reconnected there, and I loved hearing his cultural takes on Japan. I think I would really love to visit some smaller rural towns in Japan to look at the education systems, sustainability with food, and of course visit Tokyo. 

View of Barcelona Spain from Gaudi's Parc Guell

Spain

La Madre Patria. Since my husband’s ancestors are from Spain, he has always wanted to visit. I have been to Barcelona and absolutely loved it, and I think it’s time for us to venture across the Atlantic.

Ideally, we would go when the girls are able to walk longer distances and then spend time in Barcelona check out out the architecture and food. I’d spend a whole day in Parc Guell and another whole day just focused on Gaudi and Picasso.  We’d have to see a Barca game too- my husband is a huge fan! 

Then, I’d love to walk part of the Camino de Santiago, and finishing up in a small coastal town somewhere enjoying language and culture.

Volkswagen RV motorhome at California Beach

RV Road Trip San Diego to Portland and finish with an Alaskan Cruise

My very best travel memory from childhood is the two weeks we spent in an RV crossing the American West Coast. We went from Denver to Arches, Salt Lake To Las Vegas, then to Disney, San Diego, the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe and home. That trip ignited in my a wanderlust that I haven’t been able to get rid of since.

I would love to recreate that experience with my kids, only I’d like to go up the West Coast. From San Diego to San Fransisco, then up through Seattle and Portland. From there, I’d fly to Alaska for a summer cruise and to visit at least one National Park, and then fly back home to Denver. 3 weeks, thousands of miles, and the best family memories ever. Am I right?

colorful street in Buenos Aires Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina calls me- the tango dancing, the incredible food and the cheap books. Did you know you can buy gorgeous books in Spanish at a fraction of the cost of almost any other Spanish speaking country? You can- but you have to get to Argentina first.

I feel like I could spend days just wandering the bookstores and churches by day, and eating churrasco and alfajores while watching tango all night. 

Related post: Authentic Spanish Literature For Kids

Couple at Machu Picchu at sunrise in Preu

Machu Picchu

We went to Machu Picchu in Peru when I was pregnant with Big Sister. the plan was to hike in, but I was too morning sick and we had to change plans and ride the train in. It was amazing- I absolutely loved the entire experience, but we definitely want to go back and hike. 

What a trip down memory lane it would be to revisit the area- but with our actual kids in tow? We also spent time ni Cusco for the Inti Raymi festival, which happens on my birthday. I’d take the kids back there and make sure to eat a ton more Peruvian food! 

And that’s it for now- the 2020s Pura Vida Moms Family Travel Bucket List. What’s on your list? A dude ranch? South Africa or an African safari? Yellowstone National Parks? New York City?  Let me know in the comments below!

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