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7 Trips to Thrill the Kids in 2015

It’s hard to believe it's almost 2015. Time to start planning what you will do with your kids in the next 365 days. Maybe your New Years Resolution is, finally, more travel. More adventure! Here are seven family-friendly destinations that you should keep on your radar for 2015.

1. Iceland and the Northern Lights

Like nature? Want to show your kids the Northern Lights? You need to go to Iceland. October through March is the best time to hunt for the Aurora Borealis, while the summer months are great for hiking, horseback riding and exploring by car. You will still find chilly weather in the summer months, but not a lot of snow, which could derail road trip plans around the island. Add a stop at the Blue Lagoon to soak those weary muscles, and you have yourself a winning vacation.

2. Panama City, Panama

RELATED: 8 Best Family Vacations for 2015

Image by Geoff Galice

Costa Rica gets all of the publicity when it comes to Central American countries. But Panama should never be ignored. The city has its own rich history and a friendly population ready to let you practice your Spanish. Enjoy the food, beaches and jungles of this country — and, of course, that famous canal your kids have read about in books, but can now see in person.

3. Hanalai Bay, Kauai

Image by Frank Kovalchek

Kauai’s north shore is the perfect beach getaway for families seeking the quiet island life. The town of Hanalai has enough good food and coffee to keep Mom and Gad going, while the kids play in the sand and surf at the beaches around town. Hanalai Bay is a 15-minute drive from the Napoli Coast trailhead, if you are looking for a challenging family hike. Tunnels Beach is the best spot for snorkelers of any age to catch a glimpse of the type of fish many have only seen in an aquarium. During winter months the surf can pick up, but it is still a beautiful part of the island to call home for a week or two.

4. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Image by CJuneau

The Pacific Northwest gets a lot of flack for being beaten down by rain day after day. One thing many people don’t know is that rain comes via storms in the Pacific, and Cannon Beach, Oregon, is the perfect spot to storm watch in the winter months. Come summer this town is a a warm-weather playground for locals and residents of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. You can’t swim in the water without a wetsuit, no matter what time of year you visit. But you can dig holes, build sandcastles and hike through any of the state parks in the area. The town is adorable with lots of kitschy shops and places to pop in for a bite. It’s the perfect weekend or weeklong getaway for families looking to unwind.

5. Keystone, Colo.

Image by Ben Onken

Pack your skis and head to one of Denver’s premiere winter playgrounds. This resort town has a great daycare for little ones, a fantastic kid ski program that your kids will be jumping out of bed in the morning to attend, and plenty of runs to challenge Mom and Dad. Keystone’s Kidtopia programming offers loads of activities on and off the slopes, including ice-skating, sundae-making, pottery-painting and a parade with the mountain mascot, Ripperoo.

6. Yosemite National Park

Image by Joel Olives

Gorgeous weather, magnificent views and endless hiking possibilities await your family in California's Yosemite National Park. Babies through grandparents enjoy multiple aspects of the park, including bike rides in the valley, a sunset picnic at Glacier Point and countless family portrait backdrops. Make sure you stop in the visitors’ center to learn more about the history of the park and the massive granite rocks you will see littered throughout the place. There is a reason legendary photographer Ansel Adams loved to photograph this park. It’s your turn to find out why.

7. London, England

Image by Nikos Kouttoulas

If you are dying to get to Europe, but don’t want to deal with language barriers while traveling with you kids, London is the place to go. With so many free museums and sights to explore, it’s a no brainer. Lodging can be pricey, but getting around the city via the Underground is fast and efficient, so there is no need for a rental car. Walk through Hyde Park, Covent Garden and Portobello Road Market for a bit of local color. Free museum entrance means that if anyone isn’t into seeing another Rembrant or Degas, you can duck out without feeling like you lost money on the experience. The Natural History Museum, Transportation Musuem and Science Musems are a must on any family’s list. A stop at the massive toy store, Hamleys, may make your kids pass out with glee.

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Iceland image by Berit Watkin

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