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Netherlands Summer Family Vacation Fun Spots

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The Netherlands in summer offers a wonderful array of activities for kids and their parents to experience. While most visitors, stick to the capital city of Amsterdam, there’s ever so much more to do in this family-focused country. Plus, with the country’s small size and excellent train system, it’s easy to explore the Netherlands with children. As American expats living in the Netherlands, my family has had the pleasure of experiencing lots of kid-friendly attractions here. Take a look at seven of our favorite things to do in summer in the Netherlands with kids.

Child at Efteling Amusement Park in the Netherlands

Efteling Amusement Park in the Netherlands (Photo credit: NataliaD, Depositphotos.com)

1. Castle de Haar

With kid-friendly tours, garden grounds, and courtyard cafés, Kasteel de Haar (Castle of Haar) will surprise you. The largest castle in the Netherlands looks like something out of a fairytale. My family’s favorite part of the refurbished Castle de Haar is its lovely moat and drawbridge. Stairs are plentiful and hallways are narrow so if you’re traveling with little ones, ditch the stroller and use a baby carrier and encourage toddlers to walk instead.

Castle de Haar, the largest castle in the Netherlands

Castle de Haar, the largest castle in the Netherlands (Photo credit: Maugli, Depositphotos.com)

2. Canal Rides and Porcelain in Delft

The city of Delft should be on any Netherlands summer family vacation itinerary. Here you can take a narrated canal ride, dine at an outside café, go for a family bicycle ride, and top off your visit with scoops of creamy ice cream. Children love cuddling animals at the BuytenDelft petting zoo. Meanwhile, parents will want to take advantage of the city’s traditional open air market on Saturdays. Be sure to purchase pieces of traditional Delft Blue earthenware as a beautiful and useful souvenir of your day trip.

Canal in Delft, Holland

Canal in Delft, Holland (Photo credit: Neirfys, Depositphotos.com)

3. Efteling Amusement Park

Considered the Disney of the Netherlands, Efteling amusement park boasts all kind of enchanted wonders for children. Opened in 1952, this fairytale-themed park offers a giant hedge maze, sweet rides for little ones, thrill rides for bigger kids and adults, and the largest water show in Europe.

Talking tree at Efteling Amusement Park

Talking tree at Efteling amusement park (Photo credit: mvdberk, Depositphotos.com)

4. Rotterdam Zoo

I was not prepared for Rotterdam Zoo‘s massive size. It’s a good thing they have a tram that takes you from end to end! My family of five spent several hours exploring this zoo, known as Diergaarde Blijdorp to locals. We could easily have stayed another day. My three young boys’ favorites included the Amazonica butterfly house (complete with a piranha pond) and Oceanium aquarium.

Feeding giraffes at Rotterdam Zoo with kids in the Netherlands

Feeding giraffes at Rotterdam Zoo (Photo from: www.diergaardeblijdorp.nl)

5. Netherlands Beaches

In summer, the Dutch populace celebrates warm weather with a trip to one of the country’s many beaches. The sand on Domburg Beach was exactly what our toes were craving. The beach was immaculately clean and didn’t fill up with too many other beachgoers until we left late in the afternoon. You’ll find restaurants along the beach, a hotel, and the charming little seaside village of Domburg. The water is a little chilly but refreshing on a hot summer day. Get there early to find a parking space in one of the public lots. If you don’t want to rent a car but want to visit the beach, consider this beach tour offered via Viator.

Beach in the Netherlands

Beach in the Netherlands (Photo credit: philipus, Depositphotos.com)

6. Otijdmuseum Boxtel Dinosaur Museum

If your kids love dinosaurs, then Otijdmuseum Boxtel is a must. Even before you enter, kids will go gaga for the life-sized dinos at the park’s entrance. This interactive museum is resplendent with fossils of all kinds, animated life-sized dinosaurs, and a giant sperm whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. After wandering through the exhibits, head to the outside park filled with even more dinosaurs and a full playground.

Otijdmuseum Boxtel Dinosaur Museum in the Netherlands with kids

Otijdmuseum Boxtel Dinosaur Museum (Photo from: www.oertijdmuseum.nl)

7. Beekse Bergen Safari Park

Beekse Bergen Safari Park is so huge, it warrants more than one visit. Choose from many ways to see the animals: a self-guided drive-through adventure, a narrated bus tour, exploring the park on foot, or even a personalized tour in a zebra-striped vehicle. Be prepared to spend a whole day. When opting to drive, remember to keep those windows rolled up; the giraffes like to get friendly!

Beekse Bergen Safari Park

Beekse Bergen Safari Park (Photo credit: Tadzo, Depositphotos.com)

Explore More of the Netherlands

The Netherlands is famous for its beautiful tulips. Take a tour of the Keukenhof Gardens Near Amsterdam.

Windmills are another symbol of this European country. Learn about the Dutch windmills in Kinderdijk.

Of course, you will want to spend some time in the capital city of the Netherlands. Discover the top things to do in Amsterdam with kids from another American expat.

Netherlands Summer Family Vacation Guide

Save these Netherlands Summer Vacation Tips

For future reference, be sure to save these tips for planning a trip to the Netherlands in summer with kids. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. We hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Which of these seven fun Netherlands summer vacation spots appeals most to your family? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Nomadic Travel Mama: A special thank you to the Rotterdam Zoo for hosting my family and giving us a personal tour of their magnificent zoo. 

About Farrah Ritter, The Nomadic Travel Mama

Farrah Ritter is an adventure-seeking mama to a twin boys and their older brother. Her family of five moved to the Netherlands in 2012. Originally from Michigan, she and her husband relocated to the South in 2006 and jumped over the pond with their boys in tow. She blogs at TheThreeUnder.com. An Instagram and Twitter junkie (@Momofthreeunder), Farrah loves to see perspectives of others and experience the beauty of old towns and historic places.

Comments
  1. wanderingeducators says

    Looks like such an amazing place! I’d love to visit.

  2. Lisa Goodmurphy, the Spunky Travel Mama says

    I would love to travel to the Netherlands and visiting castles and canal boat rides both sound like great activities. We went on a canal tour in Copenhagen and I loved seeing the city from the canals! I’ve always thought that Delft porcelain was beautiful too – I wonder how much I could get home in my carry-on?

    • 🙂 They’re happy to ship and will tell you so! I bought a tile and love it. I was told a tip though- when buying the good blue and white stuff, make sure it doesn’t say ‘Holland’ on it. I thought that was interesting- so tried to remember that.

  3. Thanks for the tips! For all the love I have of the NL and doing things with my kids, I haven’t been to any of the attractions you mentioned. I think our next trip has to be to the Zoo. My kids love trams, animals, and that butterfly house sounds really, really cool. My son would go crazy in there. And I love a good lunch deal.

    • Highly recommended! I couldn’t get over the size. They have attractions opening this fall as well- so we might need to plan a trip back come September. I believe it is a black rhino exhibit that will be opening. It was under construction while we were there.

  4. Keryn @ walking on travels says

    Zoo? Amusement park? Dinosaurs? I’m there people!!!!

  5. Laurel- Capturing la Vita says

    I spent a very brief afternoon there and I loved it. This makes me want to go back for more!

    • Farrah Ritter, The Nomadic Travel Mama says

      I have quickly learned that although the NL might be a small country- there is so much to see it can easily take you a while. We’ve been here now over a year and there is still so much to do.

  6. What about Madurodam? It is a miniature city with 1:25 scale replicas of famous buildings in the Netherlands. It looks amazing.

    • Farrah Ritter, The Nomadic Travel Mama says

      That is absolutely on our list! A mom friend at school first told me about that. I get my best tips from them 🙂

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