From Paris to Portland, our readers share their best mother daughter trips along with tips to make them go smoothly.
Our most touching story is from Susan Moynihan who traveled with her mother after her father died. While they participated in a lot of activities during their cruise, “It’s what we didn’t do that was most renewing,” she wrote.
Our readers shared stories of three generations traveling to Aruba, traveling with two daughters with different interests and dozens of destinations to check out for your next mother daughter getaway.[See related story: Memorable Mother Daughter Getaways and Why You Should Go.]
Get inspired and start planning your next getaway!
Best Mother Daughter Trips From Our Readers and Travel Writers
My daughter Eleanor and I agree that our favorite mother daughter trip was to Portland, Oregon, and surrounding areas. We loved the many waterfalls to hike along the Columbia River Gorge. We visited beaches along the Oregon coastline and came back through a winery in the Willamette Valley. All fabulous!
– Donna Egan Rogers
My daughter, Taylor, and I are business partners, but we live over 12 hours apart. Every year we do a two-week road trip to gather story content. Our most memorable was a jaunt from Detroit, Michigan, through Ohio, ending in Indiana. We had so much fun, though she wasn’t one bit happy about any of the towns I chose, other than Columbus.
Two grown women in and out of hotels for 16 days, in all sorts of weather conditions (and snow/ice), was a lot, but we ended up trying new things (candle making, flower jewelry class, soap design), visited about 20 awesome museums (Football Hall of Fame and Detroit Institute of the Arts were our faves!), and made a mountain of memories.
A really special outing was exploring Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. We both enjoy living history museums, but this one is off-the-charts. Being a mom, I loved seeing Taylor (who was 24 at the time) “playing” in the Makesmith Workshop and oohing and aahing over the springtime animal babies in the barn.
Taylor has never been an animal lover like me, so I was over the moon watching her playing with two-day old goats and a three-week old calf. We also a similar experience seeing Fiona (the hippo) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. (See some of Melody’s tips for mother daughter getaways below.)
– Melody Pittman and her daughter Taylor publish the site Travel the South
We saw “Come From Away,” which was so inspiring and moving. There was a generational difference in how we reacted to the story of 9/11 since Allie was in Kindergarten and Danielle was a toddler when it happened. I was in tears most of the time, while they were just fascinated by the story.
We checked out the hip new neighborhood of Shoreditch, which was at the top of Allie’s list as a Taylor Swift fan. Danielle, who’s studying at Cambridge this year, knew of the best Indian restaurant I’d ever experienced, Dishoom. Of course there was a lot of shopping. We had a blast!
– Renee Sklarew is a travel writer.
When my daughter Alexa was 15 we went to Los Angeles and stayed in The Garland Hotel. It has a great 60’s decor and family friendly vibe. We did a private tour of the top sights of LA and of the underbelly of LA (high profile murders in LA). My daughter loved this! We walked around Venice Beach, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive and went to a movie at TCL Chinese Theater (Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.) We also took tours of Paramount and Warner Brothers Studios.
– Laura Marcontell
I have an 11-year-old daughter, Emerson. Ever since Emme, as we call her, was young, my husband and I have always exposed her to different parts of the world, different cultures, etc. to help expand her world. As part of that we started taking mother-daughter trips when my husband wasn’t available or had to work.
In her short 11 years Emerson has been to Paris, Rome, Bali and Anguilla. Stateside she’s been to Hawaii, NYC, LA, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Carmel, Portland, San Antonio, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Charleston, SC – whew – quite a lot of destinations! Recently, we went to San Fran and had a ball.
When we travel together I like to do a mix of the traditional (take in some touristy spots), leave plenty of time to explore and add some cultural and fun expeditions as well as sample all the local food we can. When we went to San Francisco, because this was her second time, we spent more time on doing unique things like going to the Museum of Ice Cream, Sampling Boba Tea in Chinatown, seeing “Hamilton” at the legendary Orpheum Theatre, exploring The Presidio/Golden Gate Bridge and since she’s in 6th grade, exposing her to college so we also took in a football game at Stanford University!
– Tiffany Cochran Edwards
I have two daughters so it’s been fun to experience different types of mother daughter vacations one-on-one. One daughter loves relaxing, beach/spa type trips and the other loves non-stop museum exploring trips. Each of these mother daughter trips reflect their personalities perfectly and makes it tons of fun for me!
– Claire Cronk
Chicago often tops the list as one of the Best Big Cities in The World and is known for its architecture, but I happen to think Chicago is perfect for a mother daughter trip. There is a great theater scene and you can visit art museums, get pampered at a spa, do some shopping on the Magnificent Mile and play with reflections at the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park.
During our recent mother daughter trip, that is exactly what my daughter and I did during her college spring break. We had fun planning an itinerary around our interests with the boys (in the family) out of the picture, we went looking for murals and even stayed at a hotel that had an art package – they had a mini easel paints and brushes waiting for us in the room!
– Priya Vin is a photographer and travel writer at Outside Suburbia. See more of her story on Chicago.
Emilia Guarisco is my favorite travel buddy! The first of our mother daughter trips was when she was four and we went to Earthshine Lodge, a retreat center in North Carolina. We did Paris together for her high school graduation and I’ve brought her along on business trips to Los Angeles a couple of times. Next up: our annual pilgrimage to St. Louis for my aunt’s 106th birthday!
– Wendy Guarisco
My daughter Eliza and I drove up to Maine together a number of years ago. We stayed on the Blue Ridge Parkway and saw more lightning bugs than I’ve ever seen, went to a cave in West Virginia, and stayed in Amish country in Pennsylvania at a friend’s farm where we picked raspberries and blueberries for breakfast. Road trips can be amazing.
– Melissa Allen Heath
Of the many mother daughter trips I’ve taken with my oldest daughter, our road trip from Connecticut to Seattle was one of our most fun. Listening to Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, stopping for eggs Benedict mid-morning for a break each day, winning the 50-state license game, and best of all catching up on all that had happened her previous year in college, we had a blast.
– Corinne Vail is a travel writer. Please see her story on Interstate 40 attractions.
Several times I’ve brought my daughter to join me for fun at the end of business trips, but sometimes we just strike out on our own. We’ve been to Paris (where we were lucky to attend both a service at Notre Dame and go to the Pompidou Center on a Christmas day), Spain (including Granada where we stayed in a cave house), New York, Richmond and recently Panama. We’re lucky that we have similar paces and interests: including food, art, nature, people-watching.
And we’ve learned over the years that it’s best to agree up front on just the type of vacation you want: adventure? activity? culture? relaxation? Sometimes we’ll do several types, but it’s good to both be on the same page at the outset. On our list now is good ol’ Atlanta to see the new home of the Cyclorama!
– Merrill Wolf
Three’s Company in Aruba: Three Generations on Mother Daughter Trips
On the heels of recent trip as a threesome to Aruba- mother-daughter-grandmother aka #momzilla #thebrat and #thenan, (all in good fun,) we can say One Happy Island is epic for multi-generational travel for the ladies. This is the second time we’ve traveled there together as a trio to celebrate my December birthday – this time marked the big 60!
We each have individual dining preferences – my daughter is vegan, my mother is vegetarian, and I cannot eat spicy foods – so we’re not that easy to feed. We find Aruba is the ideal island to meet all our needs on that front with so many modern, creative and cosmopolitan choices. It’s also a very accessible island. At 83, my mother can no longer do a lot of stairs or steep hills, but by design Aruba is a very flat and the Palm Beach areas are all connected by sidewalks and flat boardwalks making getting around a breeze.
Perfect year-round weather, and a safe, friendly and extremely welcoming vibe add to this island’s allure. We did a lot of hotel hopping during our adventures and found that each stay had its own distinct appeal for multi-generational travel. It really depends on the type of holiday you’re seeking, and your budget of course, but here are some highlights of each resort:
Holiday Inn Beach Resort. We adore the beachfront there for its pond-calm aqua surf and silky sand bottom, and the killer views from their Seaview Tower are postcard perfect. The surprisingly excellent gourmet fare (including creative vegan choices) at their Da Vinci Ristorante is not to be missed, and there are enough great food and drink outlets onsite to make their new all-inclusive option totally worth it.
Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort. Their spacious two-story suites with multiple bathrooms – each with a whirlpool tub- and their full kitchens with all you need to make a meal, plus your own laundry facilities make it an ideal home away from home stay. A friendly swim-up bar with tempting tapas, elegant on the beach sunset dining, and the luxe spa with a sea view for champagne mani-pedis will also please all ages of women travelers.
The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. It’s worth it to splurge for a suite on the Club Level as the five-time-a-day food and drink offerings they serve in the private lounge are sensational. Onsite dining is also first class, if a bit pricey, but after all it’s The Ritz. You can also enjoy great reasonably priced fare from their beach bar with wait service provided by servers on Segues – such fun! Plus, they have the best casino on the island in my opinion – open 24/7, and the spa is also excellent.
Aruba Ocean Villas. We almost hate to share our enchanting hidden Eden secreted away in Savaneta in case they are all booked up for my next birthday since there are only a few villas at this surreal South Pacific style boutique resort. But because the staff there makes us feel so much like family, we will, as it’s way too special not to encourage other discerning tropical travelers to discover it.
Words alone cannot do it justice though, you must visit the website to appreciate the insanely creatively appointed overwater bungalows, luxe beach villas, and even the two-story treehouse. Or if you are on island, reserve a beach dinner at their tiny stand-alone restaurant to preview the property.
– Sue Campbell is a travel writer and lifestyle journalist.
I went to Amsterdam with my mom for Mother’s Day where we spent Mother’s Day in Keukenhof Gardens. Instead of buying my mom a bouquet of flowers I brought her to 8 million tulips 🌷🌷🌷
– Kimberly Button is a travel writer.
I took my daughter on assignment with me. A luxury tour of Italy. On a bus. With 18 strangers.
– Kimberley Lovato is a travel writer.
I’ve gone to Paris with my daughters Ellen and Lucy; Boston and Miami with Lucy, NYC with both girls, Chicago too. Road tripped to Durango, Colorado.
– Laura Butsch
I take an annual mother daughter trip with my now 15-year-old daughter. This past summer was one of the best to the Canadian Rockies but we have done a Midwest road trip, Southwest road trip, civil rights road trip through the south, Gettysburg, Virginia road trip and tons more.
– Tamara Gruber is a travel writer and publisher of We Three Travel.
I am on one now with my mother. We head home tomorrow after an 8-day river cruise on the Danube to the Christmas markets with Tauck. It is the ultimate girls shopping trip and there were several pairs of mothers and daughters. Highly recommend!
– Sally Pence
My daughter Rosalee and I went to Machu Picchu with Gate 1 Travel and had a terrific time for not a lot of money. We also drove cross country together twice, with some great stops along the way.
– Kathleen Lewis
Mother daughter trips can be loads of fun. They can also be a time to heal, as in this touching story from Susan Moynihan about traveling with her mother after her father died.
I’ve done a lot of traveling with my mom, who is very social and loads of fun; Ireland, Scotland and Sedona jump to mind, where we covered miles and miles in our rental car trying to see and do as much as possible, our typical M.O. But our most resonant trip was September 2017, on a Seabourn cruise to Eastern Canada.
My father had died that April, after a 7-month illness that saw my mom at his bedside every day – a natural for a couple who’d celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary just a few months earlier. We had a funeral service for him in May, and then put in for an internment date for his ashes to be buried with his military brethren at Arlington National Cemetery.
When my father was sick and knew he wouldn’t get better, he asked me to take Mom on a cruise after he passed. “Take her on a cruise to Alaska,” he said. “First class flights – the works!”
When I relayed his offer to Mom, she laughed. “I have no desire to go to Alaska – that is totally your father! But I have always wanted to visit Canada.”
So after he passed, we started looking at dates. The sailing season in the Canadian Maritimes is short – typically late August into early October – and they sell out quickly. We also had no idea when my father’s Arlington burial ceremony would be; the process can take a few months, and Arlington suggests the date. We expected the funeral would be some time in our travel window but decided to take our chances and booked anyway.
She wanted to visit Boston, she wanted to see Acadia National Park in Maine, and she wanted to see Anne of Green Gables’ house on Prince Edward Island. I wanted it to fulfill my father’s wishes for a truly first-class trip – something she typically wouldn’t be comfortable springing for, preferring practical four-star overindulgent five star. Seabourn was perfect. It hit all of our spots, starting in Boston and finishing in Montreal. They had a balcony cabin available, which was her one wish in a stateroom. So we booked it, giving us something to look forward to after a long, dark winter.
We expected the trip to be about fall foliage, socializing with other guests and lots of sightseeing. Turns out we were too early for the leaves, and while we did her bucket-list items – a photo op on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia, lobster in Maine, and a tour through Prince Edward Island that brought her favorite childhood book, Anne of Green Gables, to life and put the biggest smile on her face that I’d seen in months – it’s what we didn’t do that was most renewing. We watched for whales and dolphins during breakfast on the back deck. In the afternoons, we both read and took naps. We did a few excursions together, and I did others solo while Mom stayed on the ship, enjoying the luxury of not having anyplace she needed to be.
Her favorite spot was our balcony, where she could enjoy stitching in the sunshine, the side walls keeping her from being too chilly. We dined at tables for two rather than larger, social tables, which was easy to do despite the ship’s small size. We stayed in our cabin one night, ordering room service and polishing off a bottle of champagne. And when our last port day in Quebec City proved rainy with gale-force gusts, we cheered at the welcome excuse to spend our final day of the cruise doing absolutely nothing, which was an unimagined pleasure during the long months of my dad’s illness, and in all of our previous, agenda-filled travels.
I’d like to take her on another cruise, equally first rate; the 229-stateroom Seaborn spoiled us against ever doing a large ship. And maybe this time we’ll get out and explore more together. But for this trip, the ability to do nothing while the ship did all the moving was exactly what we needed to start to heal.
– Susan Moynihan
London is my favorite mom-daughter destination in Europe for a few reasons. First of all, it’s one of the easiest cities in the world that you can explore using public transport. You don’t have to walk a lot: buses and tube stations are basically everywhere. Then there’s so much to do that you can tailor a mom-daughter trip specifically on what you both like the most.
It can be a mix of museums and art galleries, theaters and eateries or even a trip to score the best souvenirs from London: make it whatever you want it to be! My mom and I visit London quite often and we always have a great time. When we get home she has that huge smile on her face, and a glow that lasts for weeks!
– Dany Caputo is a travel writer and publisher of the site TravellingDany.com
Tips on Having the Best Ever Mother Daughter Trips
Things between mothers and daughters can sometimes get a little, well, tense. Here are a few travel tips to ensure your mother daughter trips go as smoothly as possible, whether you are the mom or daughter in the situation.
Make sure your daughter or mother wants to go on the trip.
This may sound kind of silly, but sometimes I think we get so excited about the prospect of a trip with a loved one that we don’t take their needs or desires into account. Maybe your daughter has some big event with her friends during your time frame or your mother doesn’t feel comfortable sleeping away from home.
Start with the question first, “Would you like to take a trip together?” Then go from there.
It’s okay to plan some activities apart.
Your daughter or mother and you may not share all the same interests. If she wants to go horseback riding while you get a massage, why not? You don’t need to spend every waking minute together to have a successful, bonding trip.
“Factor in time for you and her to do your thing, especially when you are on total opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to food,” Melody Pittman advises. One night, we couldn’t agree on dinner, so I went to a restaurant by the hotel and she ordered had food delivered in. Win-win, plus nobody was unhappy with the choice.”
Plan your mother daughter trips together.
Even from a young age, your daughter can be involved in the planning. Talk about possible destinations together, look at maps and read reviews together. Part of the fun of a trip can be planning it.
Same goes if you’re traveling with your mother, unless she doesn’t want to be part of the process and just wants to show up.
Agree upfront what type of trip you want to take.
This tip is from Merrill Wolf. “We’ve learned over the years that it’s best to agree up front on just the type of vacation you want: adventure? activity? culture? relaxation?” That’s a great starting point to narrow down where you want to go.
Take photos of the two of you
This tip comes from Merrill after I asked her for a photo of her and her daughter. “L esson learned: Take more pics of us together! I have so many great ones of Chandra, showing the locale, but very few of us together!”
Don’t worry if you’re having the mother of all bad hair days or haven’t put on lipstick. Get those photos together – you’ll cherish them later, no matter what you look like.
Confession: Some photos have led me to discard some outfits. I wore a dress to a show in Las Vegas. When I saw the photos later, I was stunned by the hideousness of the dress and promptly donated it. But I did keep the photo.
Have a policy on cellphone use.
I am fairly adamant about limiting smartphone use when I’m with someone else and consider it the height of rudeness to whip out your phone when you are at a meal or talking to someone. Just ask my husband how many fights we’ve had about that subject.
My son takes after me. He was once telling a story a girl in a bar about how he almost knocked down Ted Turner when he was snowboarding and in the middle of the story she whipped out her phone and started looking at it. He said, “Hey can I have your phone number?” She looked up and said, “Why?” “So I can text you the rest of the story,” he said.
It’s great to post on social media while you’re traveling, but I typically tell the person I’m with what I’m doing and why, then put my phone away. Or if you can agree that once an hour you will both check your phones for whatever you may deal with.
Your policy may be completely different from ours. The main thing is that you agree on it.
Don’t expect perfection.
This is pretty much my #1 tip on any trip. Well on life, really. Everything won’t go perfectly and I detail many of our mishaps in my story on Memorable, Amazing, Mother Daughter Getaways [With a Few Mishaps]. In travel as in life, the unexpected happens and sometimes it’s not in a good way.
Try to make the best of it and hope you can laugh about it in the future. We still talk about our worst trip ever and that was decades ago. It wasn’t funny when our car broke down, our daughter threw up in the car and we were stranded for a few days, but it does make for some amusing memories now.
As Melody Pittman said, “Don’t worry when the train jumps off the track; enjoy the journey and roll with the punches. Laughing definitely makes it all good again.”