I'm considering a day trip to a city in Belgium during our six day trip to Amsterdam this July. We'll be heading there from Amsterdam, so the closer the better. Antwerp? Bruges? I'm not super interested in Brussels, but I haven't ruled it out either. I'm traveling with my husband and two children (ages 7 and 9).
Antwerp is cool Ghent is underrated and cool do those.
Brugge is touristy because of hype busloads of tourists in hot July
they are all close together.
don't worry about Brussels there is piece of it in Antwerp Ghent and Brugge
For a day trip the travel time is a point of consideration. With the direct high-speed Thalys service it is 1h15 to Antwerpen. Brugge is 3h15 with a change at Brussel; lively Gent is on the same line, and takes 30 mins less. I'd say Gent is the nicer place, especially for children, but it is a lot of travelling.
For adults I agree that Ghent is the place. However you may find more sights of interest to children in Brussels, and it is an easy trip from Amsterdam. Check out the comic strip museum (musée de la Bande Dessinée) Mannekin Pis, Atomium, Mini-Europe, and the Musical Instruments Muséum (Musée des Instruments).
Why not daytrip to Haarlem, Amersfoort, Delft, Alkmaar, Gouda, den Haag, Leiden, or UNESCO windmills? This is a waste of time and train fare.
Tim the Op is not asking you to pay for it