Best baby-friendly vacation spots in the United States

Babies and traveling don't have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, traveling with an infant might even be easier than taking on older child on vacation. Infants, after all, sleep a lot, have a simple diet, and are portable. From beaches and mountains to more urban settings across the United States, you can find vacation rentals that will make you feel right at home—and make vacationing with baby a breeze.

Beachside vacation home rentals

For some, summer wouldn’t be summer without a trip to the beach. And you don’t have to give up sea, sand, and sun because of your baby. There are plenty of baby-friendly beach destinations on the country's coasts. You might even find vacation homes with direct beach access, making it easier than ever to get your baby to experience the sand and the sea.

Seaside, Florida

Family-friendly beaches abound in the Sunshine State, with the better-known ones in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. But with a baby, you might consider more tranquil waters on the Emerald Coast along the Gulf of Mexico in a town like Seaside. Best known as the filming location of The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey, it’s a picture-perfect resort community featuring pastel-colored houses with porches and white picket fences. You can find a weekly summer rental and forget about your car. Seaside, with its New Urbanist design, was built with pedestrians in mind. Take a stroll through town and enjoy the quaint shops along the beach, or get a meal from one of the gourmet food trucks in vintage Airstream trailers.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Another place to travel with a baby are the Outer Banks in North Carolina, also known as OBX. Set between the Atlantic Ocean and the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, these barrier islands and sand dunes span 200 miles, from the Northern Beaches to Hatteras Island. You can book a vacation home facing the ocean or the sound. The different towns offer something for everyone—from villages filled with restaurants, shopping and attractions, to more secluded, peaceful areas. Beach activities include building sand castles, flying kites, or lighting bonfires. You can also visit the site of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 flight at Kill Devil Hills, fish on Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, or tour one of the five OBX lighthouses. At the end of the day, you can relax in your vacation rental and take in a fiery sunset.

Vacation rentals in mountain resort towns

If a mountain setting is more to your liking, whether it be in the winter with views of snow-capped peaks or in the summer when green vegetation abounds, then you can head for the hills and enjoy one of your best vacations with your baby. You might book a cozy getaway cabin and take in the crisp mountain air.

Vail, Colorado

Baby-friendly may not be the first adjective that comes to mind when thinking of Vail, but traveling to Vail with a baby doesn’t mean you have to give up the fresh powder and 1,500 acres of downhill slopes. Rent a cabin or vacation home as your pied-à-terre and take advantage of the ski resort’s childcare offerings. The family-friendly Lionshead neighborhood is close to the Eagle Bahn Gondola, which you can board with your baby for a scenic ride up the mountain. Other activities that make this a baby-friendly vacation destination include the Pirate Ship Park, the Imagination Station play space, and the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah is a charming, small, baby-friendly mountain resort town. Adjacent to several ski areas known for their pristine slopes, it also offers modest to luxe vacation home rentals. Activities off the slopes include a scenic train ride on the Heber Valley Railroad, a 10,000-year-old geothermal spring at the Homestead Crater, and the summer version of the bobsled at Utah Olympic Park, built for the 2002 Winter Olympics. A free public transportation system makes it easy to go from your vacation rental to the art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques of Park City’s historic district.

Vacation homes in a cityscape

At first glance, cities can seem like they might not be ideal for babies—they can be noisy and hectic. But they also have lots to do, from museums to historical landmarks to urban parks. Wherever you go, you’ll create priceless memories, and a city might very well top your list of best vacations with your baby. Whether you end up in the nation’s capital or on the West Coast, you’ll find a vacation rental you can call home.

Washington, D.C.

It’s never too early to expose your baby to the rich history of the nation’s capital. The sprawling, grassy National Mall is home to the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, and it’s flanked by Smithsonian museums, which are free. And don’t forget to take a peek at the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court. You can find a vacation rental in different D.C. neighborhoods, including the charming historic Georgetown, the family-friendly Capitol Hill (sometimes dubbed “Stroller City”), or the lively Dupont Circle. Wherever your vacation home ends up, you’ll never be too far from a historical landmark.

San Francisco, California

On the other side of the country, San Francisco is another baby-friendly vacation destination. At the end of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, it’s known for its hills, year-round fog, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, along with cable cars and Victorian houses. San Francisco offers diverse neighborhoods, so you can book a vacation home rental in the one that suits you best—from the upscale Nob Hill, to the casual North Beach, or the tranquil Richmond District. There’s lots to do beyond your vacation home, including the bustling Chinatown, the famous Fisherman’s Wharf with the sea lions at Pier 39, and Lombard Street, known as the crookedest street in the world.