Come Away With Us: A Jordan Itinerary with Kids

Carleton, Scarlet, and I recently spent ten maginificent days touring the country of Jordan. From wandering the green north of Jerash, to luxuriating at the Dead Sea, to unplugging in Wadi Rum, to exploring the wonders of Petra, to relaxing at the balmy red sea of Aqaba – we had the experience of a lifetime. I’d like to share some highlights of our trip with you, and suggest the perfect Jordan itinerary for families with kids…

A Jordan Itinerary for Families with Kids

If you missed our video of the Top 15 Things for Families To Do in Jordan, you may want to take a look here.

Traveling in Jordan is both safe and quite easy. I recommend hiring a tour guide and a driver, this way you will be able to experience the country with context and free yourself from worrying about most logistics. Once you are in Jordan you can tour the whole country in ten days give or take. The best driver in all of Jordan is Ibrahem Hamoud, and the best tour guide in all of Jordan is Ibrahim Semrin – you can contact him at semrini(at)yahoo(dot)com, or you can visit the Jordan Tourism department at, and they will assist you in planning your ideal trip. You can also follow them on twitter @VisitJordan or on Facebook. But before you get into all of that, let me just give you the scoop on the perfect Jordan itinerary for families with kids.

You’ll start your journey in Amman. I recommend spending one full day here at the start of your trip, and a half day at the end. We stayed at the Landmark Amman, which is a good starting and ending point for your journey. Start your visit to Amman at the stunning Blue Mosque.

You’ll rent an abaya before entering.

Visit the citadel as well and get a basic understanding of Jordanian history from a guide.

You’ll find that Jordanian people adore children. Everywhere we went people would offer assistance, they had such patience for normal child shenanigans, and you could just see the joy in their eyes. I can’t express to you strongly enough how overwhelming this sense of the value of family is in Jordan. This is our guide Ibrahem, whom Scarlet ADORES.

On your way out of Amman, stop at Mount Nebo to look across the valley at the promised land as Moses once did. You’ll see the Jordan river, Jericho, the Dead Sea, and on a clear day, all the way to Jerusalem.

Lunch in Madaba and see the ancient mosaics.

The mosaic on the floor is the most famous, and most beautiful, but I could not snap a great picture.

The most luxurious part of your visit will be an overnight at Ma’in Hot Springs Six Senses Resort and Spa. Do not miss this. Here is a picture from the hotel of the spa, nestled in the valley.

Seven waterfalls pour steamy warm water into the springs – it’s so magical. There’s even a natural sauna in a cave.

Book your spa treatment in advance, cause it’s kind of heartbreaking to be there and find out all the appointments are already booked (sigh), but just swimming in the springs is amazing. There’s also a playground for the kids and lots of easy hiking paths. We had such a blast here.

The next day, you should drive to Petra. Spend the afternoon at Little Petra. This site is so peaceful and wonderful, and it’s great for children – less crowded and easier to scramble around the dwellings and tombs.

Sometimes companies throw these amazing, fancy outdoor parties at Little Petra. They were setting up for one when we arrived, and Scarlet felt they had rolled out the red carpet just for her.

That evening, take a cooking class at Petra Kitchen. The whole family can join in and you’ll meet travelers from all over the world. A wonderful way to spend an evening, and I even brought the recipes home and have been making them!

In Petra, stay at the Moevenpick. Unfortunately I did not get many pictures of the inside of this hotel, but it is breathtaking. I want this chandelier. This hotel also has a lovely pool, which is ideal for the family after you’ve spent the day in the dusty heat.

Spend a full day at Petra. If you were traveling without children, I’d suggest staying longer, but one full day (two nights) is perfect for families. Petra is HUGE, so if you are with small kids, I recommend renting the horse and carriage at the entrance. It will carry you to the treasury (about a mile walk), but more importantly, it will meet you there later at a time you set, to carry you back. You’ll be glad at the end of the day.

Here we are at the Treasury.

Petra is breathtaking.

A guide is indispensable for helping you understand what you are seeing and guiding you to the key points before your kids get too tired.

And when you are too tired of hauling a tot, you can always rent a mule or donkey for the little one.

From Petra, head to Wadi Rum. This valley is stunning, with desert sands and rocky peaks. Stay at Captain’s Desert Camp, where you’ll sleep in a tent and unplug for the night.

Take your family on a camel caravan.

See some amazing things.

Take a climb to watch the sunset.

This may be my favorite moment of the whole trip.

In the morning, get up early to see the sunrise.

And enjoy breakfast with your new friends.

After Wadi Rum, head south to Aqaba for a day on the Red Sea. This port city is bustling and the water is warm. We took a boat out for a snorkeling trip to see the stunning coral reefs.

We jumped on a glass bottom boat, which Scarlet absolutely adored, and just enjoyed a day at sea. From the boat you can see four countries – Isreal, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

We stayed at the Intercontinental Aqaba, which I highly recommend because it has an expansive children’s pool, a beautiful beach, and a Kids Club where you can drop your tot while you head out for a romantic dinner. They had a pajama party the night we were there!

We left Aqaba and headed to Feynan Eco Lodge in the Dana nature preserve. This lodge is lovely – luxury accomodations but no electricity. Eating by candlelight and staring at the stars in the middle of the quiet desert – well, it’s amazing. however, there’s not much to do in Dana other than hike and enjoy the wildlife, so I’d suggest waiting until your kids are older and can hike and play outdoors without becoming too exhausted. But at the same time, we had two of the highlights of our trip in Dana. One was getting to see, through a telescope on the roof in the evening, the most spectacular clear view of the surface of the moon and of Saturn. Scarlet still talks about when she saw the moon in Jordan.

The other amazing part of this night, was experiencing Bedouin hospitality. Our nature guide, Saluman, lives in this area in a traditional Bedouin home, which is a tent made of goat-wool textiles. He invited us over so Scarlet could meet baby goats (“mommy! They are called KIDS just like me!). His family invited us into their home and served us Arabic tea and candies. We had the MOST amazing time. I would have loved to share pictures with you, but it’s not polite to photograph Bedouin families, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Next you will want to spend a day with the Zikra Initiative. You will learn local skills and crafts with the women of Jordan. This was very special for Scarlet and I. Here I am attempting to learn to make Shrak – a traditional bread that is tossed until very thin and cooked over a fire on what looks like an upside down wok.

I am not so good at making Shrak.

We learned how to weave banana leaves…

Which they make bracelets and these lovely baskets with.

We also learned how to grind lentils.

And make olive pits into beads.

We had our hands painted with henna…

I love this picture because you can see that our host and I both have the same color nail polish 🙂

Next, head to the Dead Sea. 33% salt!

Take your obligatory floating-in-the-sea picture. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was wonderful if not super luxurious.

I was surprised by how much the Dead Sea stings! I guess it makes sense. Scarlet had a cut on her toe so she was all about heading back to the kid’s pool. I had a Dead Sea mud wrap and I will tell you that stuff is MAGICAL. I swear I lost at least five pounds of pure water weight in one hour, and I felt like a million bucks afterwards.

From the Dead Sea we drove North, past Amman, to see Jerash. The north of Jordan is so green, it’s a definite change of pace from the rest of the country. I found Jerash fascinating, but it’s a bit heavy on the history/hiking for a four-year-old. Luckily, the day we visited Aljoun and Jerash was also national girls’ school field trip day. Girls were everyone goofing around and having a blast, and you would have thought Scarlet was Miley Cyrus from the attention she was getting and pictures they all took.

On our last night in Amman, we were invited by Ibrahem to visit his family at home and eat the national dish of Jordan, mansaf. Mansaf is served on a large tray, with a piece of shrak covered in rice and meat (we had chicken), then covered with a sauce made of Jameed, which is a dehydrated yogurt, and sprinkled with almonds and pine nuts. IT IS DELICIOUS! Scarlet wolfed it down, and now I am headed to my local Arabic market to hunt down some jameed and make this at home.

Ibrahem has three girls around Scarlet’s age. The eldest, Salem Clare, picked fresh mint for our tea from their lovely garden.

Scarlet and the girls had so much fun playing soccer and swinging on this swing, the fact that they don’t speak the same language was utterly inconsequential.

Probably the most important piece of advice I can give you for your trip to Jordan, is bring a hat.

I hope that you will consider taking your family to visit Jordan. This country is the ideal place to experience the middle east in a safe environment with modern amenities and a strong tourism infrastructure. Seeing my daughter try new foods, hearing her say “thank you” in arabic (“shokran”), and feeling her little heart grow as her worldview expanded exponentially in just a matter of days – well, it was life changing, for my husband and I, and certainly for her. I wish you all such magical experiences!




I have had a chance to visit Egypt and Israel, but not Jordan (yet!). Your photo essay is amazing. I would love to bring my girls to see Petra. You have captured Jordan beautifully.

Cindy C

These pictures are exquisite and the travel journal unique and interesting. The trip of a lifetime, for certain.

eRin @ Growing Up Senge

What a magical adventure. So exotic for such a little world traveler!! I never would have thought that Jordan would be such a wonderful place to take a child, but this post definitely convinced me otherwise!


I believe traveling is the best thing you can do for yourself. I love to travel and don’t do enough of it! I did a lot as a child and I can’t tell you how many times I would tell stories and teachers thought I was lying. I was told there is no such place as the 1000 Islands that there is not a castle there. There is, and the castle is called Heart Castle and one of my favorite places I visited as a kid.

So glad to see you had a wonderful time in Jordan. Too bad I wouldn’t be able to talk my hubby into going back to the middle east after two deployments to Iraq. Jordan looked rather magical and rich with history. So glad I could live vicariously through you.


Nice pictures and welcome to the Middle East
i’m from Kuwait
I have visited Lebanon couple of times but not yet to Jordan
شكرا for the post (this is how we write “shokran” in arabic)


Hi There; I have been searching information on travel with small children to Jordan and came across your post. We are going in April and following a similar route to what you have taken. Besides a hat and hiring a donkey at Petra for the long walk there and back, are there any other bits of practical advice you can give me for travelling there with small children. I have two boys aged 4 and 6.

I am looking forward to it even more after reading this.


Hey there, thanks so much for this! I have been searching around for information and encouragement on taking young children to Jordan. My husband is Palestinian and we are taking our 4-year-old son soon to visit his grandparents and family in Palestine. At the end, I really want to take him to Petra because I think he will absolutely love it. Your video and gorgeous photos are super encouraging. Thanks!


Hi, We want to plan a family trip to Jordan with our kids (ages 8, 5, 3). In your opinion, is this a good idea? Thanks!


I will follow all your recommendations, and maybe even your itinerary! Thanks for a good post! It’s really sealing the deal on Jordan for me 🙂


We’ve booked our flights and hotels and car + drive in Jordan for October! Can’t wait!

Sue Gold

Hi jlaceda,

How was your trip with 3 kids ? We are looking at going with our 3 (aged 10, 8 and 3) would you the recommend ? Where did you fly to ? We are looking at flying via tel Aviv to Eilat and crossing into Aqaba, as people say Amman not safe at present. Be grateful for any thoughts ! Thanks sue


Hi! Do really like your itinerary, mostly the same we have drafted up for ourselves : 0 There is only one thing we are doubting about which is Wadi Rum as we have two younger kids(2,5 and 6 mo), sleeping in a tent prob not the best idea nor sitting in a 4×4 for hours. Do you recon we should still go to wadi rum? possible smth less rough and overnight in a hotel nearby?

Your feedback is highly appreciated!


Great post. Sounds amazing. We’re heading there in March. Do ou make all your own hotel arrangements? How did you find your guides?

Zen Babytravel

Great post and itinerary, I loved Israel and Egypt but still need to see Jordan! Pinning your post for later, hoping we get to visit with our cheeky monkeys 2 and 4 years old soon.


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