Ancient Mayan culture, including this temple to explore, is just one of Mexico's engaging options for family vacations.

Taking your family on an international vacation may sound like a daunting task, but when you visit Mexico, our neighbor to the south, you'll find the flight relatively short and easy, minimal time change to manage (or maybe none at all), and a country rich in history and ancient culture spread out before you.

And even if history doesn't usually spark your children's interest, when presented as a theme park, they'll find the ancient Mayans or Aztecs hard to resist. Plus there are jungles to explore, oceans to enjoy, and Mexican traditions to experience. Your biggest challenge may be choosing what part of the country to visit. Your options include the following:

Chichén Itza

Located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, this ancient Mayan city's stone pyramids, courts and temples offer plenty of family-friendly opportunities for climbing and exploration.

Xcaret and Xel-Ha

These cities in Cancun's Riviera Maya region make history an interactive experience via theme parks, complete with an authentic lazy river.

Oaxaca's Day of the Dead and Night of the Radishes Festivals

Learn along with your children about the Mexican version of Halloween, as well as a Christmastime celebration that involves elaborately carved produce.

Whale Watching in the Sea of Cortez

Gray whales travel even farther to winter in Mexico than you and your family will. Visit Mexico's Baja Peninsula to see the whales, including newly born babies, up close.

Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

If relaxing is at the top of your family's agenda, these Mexican islands offer a slower pace and authentic character. Spend your days snorkeling or snoozing in the soft sand.

Los Cabos

The striking scenery and miles of beautiful beaches make Los Cabos a hot spot not only for the rich and famous but for families, too. Enjoy the environment while snorkeling, swimming, fishing, or any other number of outdoor activities.

Guadalajara

This historic city features monuments, parks, and a magnificent cathedral. Although it's not a tourist town, there's plenty to do, including visit the zoo or watch the bullfights.

Start your family vacation adventures on the next page with a visit to the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itza.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country