Top 10 Travel Destinations for Kids According to Make-A-Wish Foundation

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?  If you only had one chance to take a dream trip, how would you use it?  For the Wish Children battling life-threatening illnesses, their wish trip truly is a “once in a lifetime” vacation.  Each year, over 10,000 wish families are traveling all over the country and all over the world, for those life affirming experiences that give them strength and fortitude.  We can learn a lot from these kids.  Want to know where they go?  Continue reading for the top 10 travel destinations for kids sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


From the Make-A-Wish Press Release

Ever wondered where wish kids travel most?  Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions – some 14,000 wishes each year.  And with 10,000 wish kids jetting across the United States – and in some cases around the world – the options for their journeys are nearly unlimited.  Some of those wishes are direct requests to travel to a particular destination; other wishes involve travel because of the nature of the request.

According to wish data, the destinations tend to focus on places where wish kids and their families can experience the excitement of world-class cities full of theme parks and activities; on places where they can immerse themselves in the local culture of a foreign country or just sit back and relax in a laid-back, beach-side location.  The list provides a perfect snapshot of the places kids think are cool to visit.

Sanibel Island, FL

Based on data from 2013 wish trips, the destinations most visited by wish kids and their families are:
10. Alaska
9. Australia
8. Italy
7. France
6. San Diego
5. New York City
4. The Caribbean
3. Los Angeles & Orange County
2. Hawaii
1. Orlando

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom
You can see photos and learn more about what wish kids say about each of these Top 10 Wish Destinations in this post from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

And while most wish kids have seemingly narrowed in on their favorite destinations, imaginations are as limitless as the skies in which they fly and some kids dream up experiences in some unusual locations: digging for dinosaur bones in the mountains of South Dakota, trekking to the Antarctic for a once-in-a-lifetime expedition, or becoming an honorary park ranger – at the age of 8 – in Yosemite National Park.

“When I saw all that water, I couldn’t get my family to the beach fast enough,” said 6-year-old wish kid Natalee in a letter to Make-A-Wish following her wish trip to Hawaii.  She reinforced her sentiments by adding “water-water-water! Beach-beach-beach! Warm-warm-warm! I love it all.”

“Each child’s wish is an experience that can give them the drive to beat their illness.  A wish-come-true can help them feel better and, in some cases, get better,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America.  “Whether it is traveling to Los Angeles to meet their favorite celebrity or a trip to Maine to see snow for the first time, it can be a life-changing experience for everyone involved.”

Wishes in Flight Program

That’s why Make-A-Wish is encouraging the donation of airline miles throughout the month of April to help gear up for the busiest wish granting season.  Individuals who fly on Delta, United, and US Airways can easily donate frequent flier miles, in just a few easy steps, by visiting  The number of miles an individual can donate can range from a few thousand miles to millions.  Donated miles never expire and are never used for anything other than wish travel.

Make-A-Wish accepts the donation of airline miles year-round, but April is a critical time for airline miles as travel arrangements are being made for summer wish travel.  To learn more about the inspiring wishes Make-A-Wish grants visit or to donate miles, visit

Wish Child at Give Kids The World Village

Image courtesy Give Kids The World Village


Editor’s Note: As you can see from the list, Orlando, FL is the TOP destination for wish kids and their families.  When fulfilling their wishes in Orlando, the vast majority of these families stay at Give Kids The World Village.  That’s one of the reasons why I am so committed to supporting Give Kids The World through volunteer trips and fundraisers – it directly helps wishes come true for kids in need.  Oh, and because Give Kids The World truly is the most magical place on earth.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.