The first time travel adventure plays an important role in the life of every child. Books help establish a life-long love of reading and inspire curiosity about places, both real and imagined and this happens from an early age. Every child would like to get a taste of Harry Potter’s world of wizardry or stroll through Madeline’s Paris.
We’ve put together some family-friendly itineraries to help you do things by the book at any age to help you satisfy the insatiable wanderlust that some of your children’s favorite literary works are sure to inspire.
Trips for young travelers (2-5 years old)
Wander through Paris, France, just like Madeline
Madeline, the beloved 1939 children’s book takes readers on a stroll through Paris with a cheeky protagonist and her boarding school classmates. the center of Paris is compact and easy to navigate with children, whether on foot or by public transportation even though you don’t have Headmistress Miss Clavel as a tour guide. If you look for a kid-friendly destination, the combination of iconic attractions, delightful cafés and the many leafy parks with playgrounds and activities will be the perfect choice for you.
Join Fat Tire Tours for a family-friendly cycling excursion past some of Madeline’s beautifully illustrated locales, including the Eiffel Tower, L’Hotel des Invalides, Place de la Concorde and Tuileries Garden. Baby seats, trailers and tandems and kid sizes are available.
Riding ponies or the carrousel at the Jardin du Luxembourg, the formal garden beyond the stately Palais du Luxembourg will provide you a royally good time. For a panoramic view of Paris don’t miss an excursion to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur atop Montmartre. You can then explore the cobblestone lanes past homes covered with vines. If you want a chocolate croissant or ice cream you’ll find plenty of places on your way.
Trips for Early Readers (5-8 years old)
Explore Bogotá, Colombia like Juana and Lucas
Washington, D.C.-based illustrator and author Juana Medina revisits her childhood in the book Juana & Lucas with the help of whimsical illustrations and heartfelt prose. The autobiographical chapter book about a little girl, her dog and her day-to-day life growing up in Bogotá wastes no time in extolling the virtues of Colombia’s capital city, especially its distinctive neighborhoods, plentiful parks and year-round springlike weather.
Seek a Song for a Whale in the San Juan Islands
Due to its heart-warming tale of a deaf girl named Iris who feels deeply connected to a particular whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, the book Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly has made a big splash among young readers. She goes on a journey to seek him out after inventing a way to communicate with him.
Iris is not the only one who wants to see the majestic creatures up close, judging by the number of whale-watching tours up and down North American’s West Coast. The San Juan Islands in the state of Washington are especially good for families seeking out whale encounters in the wild.
You don’t have to take a boat tour to spot whales, though. Just head to Lime Kiln Point State Park, where you can whale-watch from the shoreline overlooking Haro Strait. Volunteers and marine naturalists are on hand to answer questions about the wildlife.