Home to one of the new seven wonders of the world, UNESCO world heritage sites, culinary delights and out-of-this-world landscapes, there are so many things to do in Jordan with kids. In fact, over a million people visit this Middle-Eastern gem every year, and some of those visitors include children, like my own.
While Jordan is a far cry from Disneyland, it does not mean that it is not family-friendly. Whether it is exploring ancient Roman Sites like Jerash, riding in the back of a 4×4 and camping in Jordan’s breathtaking desert, Wadi Rum, snorkeling off the coast of the Red Sea or exploring the ancient Nabatean capital of Petra, there is plenty to do for adventure-loving families!
Why plan a Trip to Jordan with Kids?
- ENGLISH IS WIDELY SPOKEN: Visitors to Jordan will find a country full of smiling and friendly locals, and a genuine joie-de-vivre that they love their country and they are proud to show it to guests. While Arabic is their official language, families will find English spoken in all hotels and restaurants throughout, as the country relies heavily on the tourism industry.
- DIVERSE BIO-GEOGRAPHICAL CLIMATE AND LANDSCAPE: Jordan is not just a desert. has a diverse bio-geographical climate and landscape and is home to not just desert-like weather. For parents with children who love hiking, there are dozens of hiking opportunities all over the country. Whether it is sections of the Jordan Trail, which runs over 400 kilometres from the far North of the country to the Red Sea in the south, or hiking in Petra to the 2000 year old Monastery, there is no shortage of diverse hiking options.
- KIDS-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY: While Petra is a massive outdoor site to explore, there is so much more for kids all over Jordan. For those looking for adventure, Wadi Rum is most kids favourite part of the country! Not only can they ride in the back of a pickup truck as it crosses the wide expanse of desert that they may have seen in the latest Star Wars film, but they can run up and roll down sand dunes, enjoy sweet bedouin tea with locals and camp under the Milky Way in a traditional bedouin tent. Beyond those two sites, there is snorkelling in the Red Sea, floating at the Dead Sea and enjoying some beach resort time! Jordan has something for all kinds of family travellers!
How to Plan a Trip to Jordan with Kids
Whether or not you are traveling to Jordan with kids, trip planning is essentially the same. Almost everything to see and do in Jordan is suitable for kids (with the exception of canyoning in Wadi Mujib which is just for 18+)
My first suggestion kid-wise is to make sure you have some flexibility in your itinerary. Most kids need some downtime, especially younger ones, so if you have booked a hotel with a great swimming pool, plan to hang around the pool and let the kids play.
Jordan can easily be seen on a self-drive, road trip itinerary. However, if you want to avoid the hassle of navigating your own way and get a real sense of the people and the rich history of the region, taking a tour or hiring a licensed guide will make your visit that much better. I also offer an Itinerary Guidebook you can check out to help you plan!
Jordan does get hot, and cold! VERY COLD! The best time to visit Jordan weather-wise is typically spring and fall, where the weather is pleasant but not too hot. Those comfortable with hot climates will find the summer weather bearable, but some may struggle in the heat. In the winter months, a winter coat and warm layers are essential as temperatures in the desert regularly reach freezing during the night. It is not uncommon to have a snowy day or two in Amman, which essentially shuts down the hilly capital city. While the south is always a bit warmer, it is likely too cold for a swim in the Red Sea. If you want to capture the country at its best, visit from mid-March to late May or mid-September to early November.
Jordan is not a cheap country to travel in; its neighbors, such as Turkey and Egypt are much cheaper. Many prices are more in line with Western Europe and Israel prices. Keep that in mind when you are planning and booking.
Essential Jordan Information:
- Jordan Power voltage is 230 V and they use a mixture of the UK style plug and European 2 pin plug. Bring a universal adapter for ease of use.
- Jordan is considered a safe destination for families. While it is sandwiched between countries that see more local unrest, it never spills into Jordan.
- Jordan is a Muslim majority country but freedom of religion is tolerated. There is a minority Christian population or Arabs who reside in the Kingdom. Muslims dress modestly, many pray 5 times a day, and fast from morning until sunset during the Holy month of Ramadan.
- Expect late openings for restaurants during Ramadan as Muslims will be fasting. Check when Ramadan occurs and plan accordingly.
- Jordan currency is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD). It is often refered to as JD. Cash is still king in Jordan and ATMs are all over the country. Major hotels and car rental companies take credit cards, but expect to pay cash in restaurants, shops and for day to day purchases.
- Jordanian people are welcoming and friendly. Many are genuinely happy to see visitors in their country and are proud to show off their traditions.
- Jordanians are generous and give without expecting anything in return. My children are constantly given treats from people we meet. Being invited for coffee or tea, or to share a meal is quite common. Note that their friendliness often spills into a hair rub, or shaking of children’s hands. Ensure your children are aware of this and feel free to intervene if you find your child uncomfortable with any of the attention.
- There are no required vaccines to visit Jordan. However there is a list of recommended immunizations to have before visiting. The list from WHO includes hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). Check with your national health office for current information.
- Tipping is customary as the service industry is paid quite poorly. Workers rely on tips to subsidize their wages.
Jordan Tipping Guide
Guide USD3-5 per person per day for larger group tours over 6 people, Private Guided Tour USD50 per day (1-4 people), Driver USD2-3 per person per day for larger group tours over 10 people, Private Driver USD20 per day, Housekeeping USD1-2 per room per night, Buffet Breakfast USD1-2 per table, Bellboy USD1 per piece of luggage, Horses at Petra USD3-4 per person per horse (This is not for donkeys in the site. Pay the negotiated price for the donkey), Camels In Wadi Rum USD3-5 per camel or ask your tour guide for advice, the price you pay for the camel may include a tip, Jeep Tour drivers USD 3-5 per vehicle, Taxi Drivers Round up to the nearest Dinar, Washroom attendants 1 USD
How to Get to Jordan for your Family Holiday
Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) has flights arriving from all over the world. Major carriers such as British Airlines and Lufthansa fly into Amman with daily flights. Royal Jordanian is Jordan’s national carrier and services many airports around the world.
Aqaba Airport (AQJ) has ULCC carriers from Europe that fly in seasonally catering to the European holidaymaker looking for a sunny vacation on the coast of the Red Sea.
Ferry service from Egypt arrives into Aqaba port daily by AB Maritime. If you are planning on arriving to Jordan by ferry, I have a post on arriving to Jordan via the Red Sea.
There are three crossing points between Jordan and Israel. They are in the North, the South and a central crossing. Visa’s are granted in the North and South only, so only travellers already possessing a visa can cross from Israel into Jordan at the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein crossing. Note that the Jordan Pass is not considered a visa, it just waives on-arrival visa fees.
Top 10 Things to do in Jordan with Kids
Amman with Kids
Overall, there are kids in every city, so to a point, every city is kid-friendly. However, I do not find Amman to be overly kid-friendly, but that is mostly due to the infrastructure. Lots of sidewalks are impassible on local streets, meaning kids walk on the road. The city is ups and downs all over, as Amman is built on a series of over 20 “jebels” or hills. For young kids, this is not always easy. Traffic in downtown Amman is crazy, the sidewalks can be crammed and it is almost impossible to use a stroller in Amman. I have a whole post dedicated to things to do in Amman with kids. It goes way beyond the tourist things to do and find local gems and parks for those who have more than a day in the city.
You will be happy to know, however, once you get out of the city, Jordan is overall extremely kid-friendly with a plethora of outdoor activities, few places that they need to sit still, and friendly locals who adore children!
Amman Citadel: The Amman Citadel is one of Amman’s most recognizable landmarks and stands in downtown Amman atop Jebel Al-Qala. You can walk up the hill or there are steps across the street from the Roman Theatre that will take you to the top. You can also drive your rental car and park in the Amman Citadel parking lot, or take a taxi. If you do take a taxi, ask them to take you to Jebel Al-Qala as that is what the site is known to locals as. They do not call it the Citadel.
The cost to visit is JD2 (USD3) per person and is included in the Jordan Pass.
Expect to spend an hour at the site, longer if you like to take your time or are planning on taking a lot of photos. This is a great place for kids to run around and a perfect place for photos.
Roman Theatre – After seeing it from above at the Citadel, the Roman amphitheater deserves a visit. You can walk down a series of steps (past some beautiful graffiti) from the Citadel and cross the street to find the entrance of the theatre. The toughest part about the route from the Citadel to the Roman Theatre is actually getting across the street. Once holding thousands, you will likely have the place mostly to yourself where you can climb to the top, or preach from the bottom and hear the centuries-old acoustics fill the room as you can be heard in every seat in the house. My kids loved climbing to the top. Its a bit of a heart attach for parents, but if your children are sure-footed they will love exploring the theatre
The theatre was cut into the side of a rock cliff, likely to protect many of the 6000 spectators it could hold, from the sun. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is an impressive remnant and one of the most places to visit in Amman.
About 30 minutes is enough time to have a quick look around. Do not miss the Audium, a smaller theatre, once used for city meetings, to the right of the stage.
Jerash with Kids
About 1 hour’s drive north of Amman is Jerash, the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Rome. The site is massive, for anyone who has to explore Ephesus or other Roman ruins, this site blows them all out of the water! From colonnaded streets to theatres to the massive Hadrian’s Gate, it can take a couple of hours to have a quick walk through the site. It was only in recent years that the beautiful oval was discovered. Soldiers were camping on the site, and after hitting the hard ground, they began excavating, and what was discovered was the massive oval. Much of Jerash’s preservation is due to mud covering much of the site. There are still excavations going on, although most of the major structures have been found. What has not been uncovered is where the homes were of those who lived here.
This is another place that is great for kids to run around. It takes about an hour to drive here from Amman, so it is perfect for kids to burn off some energy.
Sometimes they even put on replica gladiator shows.
Petra with Kids
Petra, the rock-cut capital of the Nabataeans, is what seduces almost a million visitors to the kingdom each year. Lost for hundreds of years, this World Wonder is well worth its title and anotehr great place for kids. From its secret entrance down a narrow Siq, to the stunning Treasury views, every visitor leaves awe-inspired.
While some visitors only have half a day, it is well worth having two or three days to explore the hiking trails, take pictures from all angles and absorb the enormity of what was built by the Nabataeans, almost 2000 years ago!
When visiting Petra with kids, look out for plenty of cats, local donkey’s, camels as well as the ancient parts of the site.
There are really no safety barriers anywhere in Petra, so keep little ones within arm’s reach when you are climbing the hiking trails.
Beyond Petra is Petra by Night (click the link for more details) where 15 000 candles illuminate the Siq all the way to the Treasury. Sweet Bedouin tea, a starry night, and a traditional Jordanian flute set the stage for a short performance. It occurs three times a week from 8:30-10:30pm. The timing can be a bit late for little ones, so gauge your own kids before you take this on.
Jordan’s Dead Sea with Kids
The lowest point on Earth lies at the border of Jordan and Israel. A bucket list moment, let your feet leave the ground as you float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is about 30 minutes from Amman. There are several ways to get there. Before your visit, you should read these Dead Sea tips.
Some kids are a lot more sensitive than adults and that can result in a bad Dead Sea experience. My son fell the morning before our visit and had some good road rash. Despite spraying it with liquid bandaids, he came out in tears before getting knee-deep. On a second visit, he said it was uncomfortable as soon as he got in.
My younger son, who was three our first visit, enjoyed it but had a tough time keeping his mouth closed and not splashing, especially while trying to balance and float.
Make sure you have a bottle of freshwater to wash out their eyes and mouth. While my older son did not like getting in the water, he enjoyed collecting chunks of salt and examining the crazy formations that it makes.
After our “float” we went back to the hotel pool for the afternoon and they had their fun!
Overall, my suggestion is to manage your expectations when it comes to your little ones and it may not be the same experience for them as it is for you.
If you are planning a day trip, you can find hotels that offer day passes to access the Dead Sea and also use their showers and pools. If you plan on spending the night, the Dead Sea Spa offers great value and for a luxurious stay, the Movenpick and Marriott will not disappoint. Read more about the best Dead Sea hotels.
Wadi Rum with Kids
Jordan’s desert, Wadi Rum offers 360-degree views of out-of-this-world landscape and a peek into bedouin cultures. From massive sandstone to miles of soft desert sand it is an outdoor paradise for adventure seekers! Start your visit to Wadi Rum with a Jeep tour from the visitors center.
While it is called a Jeep tour, expect a ride on the back of a pickup truck by a local bedouin. These expert guides will show you the time of your life! From natural rock bridges and ancient carvings to sunsets from the back of a camel, Wadi Rum exceeds almost everyone’s expectations!
After exploring the landscape, visit a Wadi Rum Bedouin camp and enjoy traditional Jordanian foods before camping under the stars. Some camps offer evening entertainment, others have luxury bubble tents. Whether you visiting on a budget or want a full 5* experience, there is a camp for everyone.
Wadi Rum is my personal favorite part of visiting Jordan and I suggest everyone spend a night at a camp.
Itinerary for Jordan with Kids
My website has several itineraries for trips to Jordan, whether or not you have kids with you. If you want my detailed guide to Jordan you can find it here.
You can also read these itineraries on the site:
Safety in Jordan with Kids
Overall, Jordan is safe and welcoming to tourists. Common sense goes a long way, whether home or abroad. Pickpocketing is rare and tourist scams are not common practice. Have a read of my post “Is Jordan Safe” so you are aware of local customs, culture and what you do want to watch out for.
When it comes to playgrounds, you will find many run-down playgrounds in the Kingdom. When you do send your kids to play, just keep an eye for worn-out fiberglass on slides or broken teeter-totters that could become hazards. There are plenty of good playgrounds for kids as well, you can see a few in this post about things to do in Amman with kids.
Manage your expectations when it comes to the Dead Sea with kids. The mineral-rich water can sting sensitive skin or any cuts or scratches. My oldest son called it the stinging sea and would not get in it. It also stings when splashed in eyes.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to traveling with children to Jordan is the outdoors. While Jordan offers amazing outdoor wonders, hiking and climbing, there are not a lot of barriers to keep people from steep edges. When hiking the back trails in Petra, or exploring Roman ruins in Jerash, keep little ones close.
If your children require car seats or boosters, check-in advance about availability, and I highly suggest you bring your own. However, on our first visit to Jordan, our tour operator had a car seat for my then 3-year-old. You will see many young children riding on parents’ laps in the front seat, despite laws requiring children to be in the back. There does not seem to be any rules about car seats and boosters in Jordan.
This Jordan with kids travel guide will help you plan every aspect of your vacation, from visiting the red-rose city of Petra or you want to watch the sunset on the back of a camel in the desert of Wadi Rum, or float at the Dead Sea, or wander the ruins of Jerash, or dive into the blue waters of Aqaba, or wander the busy streets of Amman, or enjoy the sweet Bedouin tea next to a fire after hiking along the Jordan trail. I have spent months in Jordan and have plenty of posts on this site that can help you plan your epic vacation to Jordan with kids.