My family of four will be traveling to the Netherlands in October. My daughters are ages 8 and 5. I have not booked accommodations yet but wondering do you recommend staying put in one place and doing day trips from Amsterdam. I am at the very beginning of planning our trip and am thinking Bruges and Delft would be good day trips. We will be in the Netherlands for 8 full day and 9 nights. Is driving to Delft or Bruges convenient for a family or should we take public transportation? I am curious what family friendly adventure you recommend? Also what parts of Amsterdam are the best parts for families to stay. Thank you so much!
For the ages of your children, consider the science museum in Amsterdam and definitely Zaanse Schans. You can get your fill of windmills, wooden shoes, farm animals and cheese all in one spot for free.
Check out the section for kids in Rick's books. Trip advisor also has a filter for children's activities.
Use the trains - they are efficient and convenient. Would recommend against a car. Parking can be difficult.
Consider looking just outside of Amsterdam in the suburbs for a place to stay. We used VRBO last year and rented a house in Zandaam with plenty of space for four (and more) and were very pleased. The price was reasonable and we had a full kitchen and other house amenities including a courtyard patio, bikes, and a washer and dryer - which might be helpful for you.
Netherlands has lots of neat towns (Haarlem, Delft, Gouda, the Hague as well as Alkamar and Hoorn); see what they have to offer and then make your decisions for day trips. There may also be parades, markets or festivals around in some of the towns during your stay. Check out some of the parks for stretching young legs.
If you consider Bruges, you can change locations. Bruges will be a 3-4 hour trip from Amsterdam each way, making it a long way for a day trip.
Ghent is about 30 minutes less in travel time. There may be something in Antwerp of interest and that is only an hour by Thalys. I would focus on trips less than an hour each way and stay in the Netherlands. I don't think you will have trouble filling in your vacation time!
Good luck and have fun planning!
Crowded and busy Amsterdam is not the most child-friendly place to stay. You can also have a look for a B&B or apartment in Haarlem (15 mins from Amsterdam) or Utrecht (30 mins).
Forget driving. Parking in the cities is a nightmare. Public transport is superb. All your likely destinations will have at least a half-hourly connection with train or bus, and probably running every 15 mins. Use the public transport planner 9292.
Your children can travel all day on the train for € 2,50 with a RailRunner ticket.
An exciting daytrip is to visit the windmills of Kinderdijk. Take the train to Dordrecht, which is a nice city to explore with its river harbours. Take the Waterbus river ferry to Kinderdijk. After visiting you can continue with the same Waterbus to Rotterdam, where you can pick up a train to get you back.
Another exciting day trip - and not only for the children - is the combination of steam train and ship between the historical cities of Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Medemblik.
Hoorn is only 30 mins by train from Amsterdam (and Enkhuizen another 30), but it could be a good reason to change accommodation for a few nights.