The vibrant city of Galway is one of the most popular places to visit in Ireland and there are loads of fun things to do in Galway with kids. From its bustling city centre to its lush Connemara landscape, beautiful beaches and charming villages, Galway is a great family destination.
The promise of beautiful beaches, adventure playgrounds, forest trails, and boat trips mean Galway is always a popular destination for our family. For those of you planning your own trip, we wanted to share our favourite things to do in Galway with kids.
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Best Things to do in Galway with kids
From a stroll on Salthill Promenade to a day on the Aran Islands and a trip to a white sand beach, these are our 11 best things to do in Galway.
Galway with kids: the essentials
First things first, the Galway with kids essentials:
Where to stay in Galway with Kids
If you are searching for a hotel to stay in Galway with kids these are our favourites. We usually stay outside of the city centre when we’re travelling as a family as a lot of the best things to do in Galway with kids are located outside of the city:
Connacht Hotel: popular family hotel located a few kilometres from the city centre. The Connacht has a swimming pool, a kids club (during peak family times) and even a family-friendly afternoon tea. Family rooms can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children – check prices now!
Jameson Court Apartments: excellent self-catering option in Salthill just 5 minutes walk from the beach. Families can avail of the two-bedroom apartments with kitchens – the largest apartments have 2 x double beds and 1 single with the option of an extra bed or cot – check prices now!
Glenlo Abbey: if you are looking for a treat, Glenlo Abbey is located just 4 kilometres from the city centre. The classic 5* luxury, beautiful grounds and availability of family rooms make this one of our favourite luxury hotels in Galway with kids and we loved our most recent stay here – check prices now!
Getting around Galway with kids
Renting a car is the easiest way to travel around Ireland and we’ve rented cars in Ireland on many occasions. It has allowed us to see incredible sights and visit remote destinations on our own flexible schedules around the country – you can check out our tips for renting a car in Ireland if you are planning on driving.
A hop on hop off bus tour is a great way to explore the city centre and Salthill – check prices here!
1 | Latin Quarter
Known as the cultural heart of Galway City, the Latin Quarter is a vibrant mix of quirky shops, pubs, and restaurants. Some of the area’s cobblestone streets are pedestrianised and street performers and buskers add to the fun atmosphere.
The Latin Quarter is an awesome spot to take kids during the day. Our favourite stops in the Latin Quarter include:
- The Wooden Heart: an independent toy store with a fabulous range of wooden and ethical toys
- Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop: one of the best independent bookshops in Ireland, Charlie Byrne’s is a treasure trove of over 100,000 books. There is a wonderful children’s section with new and second hand books.
- Cupán Tae: a gorgeous little tea room close to the Spanish Arch.
- Claddagh Ring Museum: part of Thomas Dillion’s, the original maker of the Claddagh Ring since 1750, the tiny little museum showcases the history of the distinctive Irish ring.
2 | Wildlands
A visit to the Wildlands is one of our favourite things to do in Galway with kids of all ages. The adventure centre offers an array of indoor and outdoor activities and a visit is always a highlight of a trip to Galway for our kids. For younger kids, there is an imaginary village with shops, cafes, and a police station, an off-road 4×4 adventure, a fairy trail, and an adventure playground. For older kids, the activities include ziplining, climbing walls, paddleboarding, archery, and kayaking.
Best things to do in Galway with kids tip: On our most recent visit in March 2022, our 3 and 5-year-old had a wonderful morning managing the shops, post office, hairdresser, and Garda Station in the imaginary village of Baile Beg. They then spent an hour outdoors, exploring the fairy trail and having fun in the playground. Our visit cost EUR 10 per child for Baile Beg and this included access to the fairy trail and playground.
3 | Salthill
The seaside town of Salthill is located just a couple of miles from Galway City Centre and is a wonderful destination in Galway with kids. Take a stroll along the Salthill Promenade, watch the swimmers jump from the Blackrock Diving Tower, stop by the aquarium at Galway Atlantaquaria, and have fun on the waterslides and playing crazy golf in Leisureland.
Things to do in Galway with kids tip: my mum used to take me to Salthill when I was growing up and the Galway seaside suburb is still reminicient of how it was back then. I spent fun filled mornings in Leisureland, strolled the Salthill Promenade, squealed with delight at the funfair and ate ice cream on the main street! It’s so lovely to watch my own kids having fun doing the exact same thing years later!
4 | Aran Islands
The Aran Islands are a set of three small islands located just off the coast of Galway Bay.
There are three Aran Islands: Inish Mor (the largest of the three islands), Inis Meain (the middle island and least visited of the islands), and Inis Oirr (the smallest and probably our favourite Aran Island, especially if you are travelling with kids). The islands are a step back in time and a visit is a wonderful opportunity to experience Ireland from a more traditional perspective.
How to get to the Aran Islands from Galway
There are 3 ferry options (passenger only) for visiting the Aran Islands from Galway:
- Rossaveel: ferries depart from Rossaveel in Connamara, a 45 minute coastal drive from Galway City. A shuttle bus, run by the ferry operator, leaves from Queen Street in Galway if you don’t have your own transport. It takes 40 minutes to travel to Inis Mor (book ferry tickets here), 50 minutes to Inis Meain (book ferry tickets here) and 55 minutes to Inis Oirr (book ferry tickets here).
- Doolin: Doolin is a 1 hr 30 minute drive from Galway City and is close to the Cliffs of Moher. A visit to the Aran Islands is one of the most popular things to do in Doolin and the shorter sailing times often attract visitors from Galway – it takes 15 minutes to get from Doolin to Inis Oirr (book ferry tickets here), 35 minutes to Inis Mor (book ferry tickets here) and 20 minutes to Inis Meain.
- Galway City Docks: during peak season (starting April 16th 2022) a ferry operates between Galway City Docks and Inis Mor and returns to the docks by sailing past the Cliffs of Moher. The sail time is 90 minutes to Inish Mor and 2.5 hours (including the 15 minute Cliffs of Moher photo stop) back to the docks.
- With Cliffs of Moher Visitors Center stop: If you want to combine a visit to the Aran Islands with a stop at the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre then there are some great day trips. One of the most popular is this day tour which includes 2 hours on Inis Oirr and an hour at the Cliffs of Moher – check tour prices here!
Things to do in Galway with kids tip: we last visited the Aran Islands in the summer of 2021 and spent an idyllic day exploring Inis Oirr with our two kids. We rented bikes with a bike trailer and cycled all around the island – the highlights include the Plassey Shipwreck, Trá Inis Oirr (the island’s stunning beach) and the island’s playground!
5 | Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher is one of the best-known and most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and it is possible to visit the Cliffs with a 90-minute drive from Galway City. Towering over the rugged Clare coastline the cliffs are a natural masterpiece and an Irish icon.
Things to do in Galway with kids: if the Cliffs of Moher look familiar then you’ve probably seen them in the movies. The Cliffs made an appearance in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and in the Princess Bride where they featured as the Cliffs of Insanity.
How to get to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway
There are also full-day tours to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway which include a scenic drive through the rugged Buren landscape, a stop in Kinvara and Dunguaire Castle, a visit to the 5,800-year-old Poulnabrone Dolmen and a 2 hour stop at the Cliffs of Moher – check prices here!
If you want to combine a visit to the Aran Islands with a stop at the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre then there are some great day trips. One of the most popular is this day tour which includes 2 hours on Inis Oirr and an hour at the Cliffs of Moher – check tour prices here!
6 | Brigit’s Garden
A visit to Brigit’s Garden is one of our favourite things to do with kids in Galway. The 11 acres of Celtic themed gardens have wildflowers, nature trails, a calendar sundial, a lake and a fairy fort. For younger kids, there is a small playground with a sandpit, climbing frame and slide as well as the entire garden, which is a natural playground!
There’s also a lovely cafe and gift shop on site.
7 | Explore the Galway Beaches
Galway is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland and there are some fantastic beaches in Galway that are great for kids.
Some of the best beaches in Galway that we love:
- Gurteen and Dog’s Bay Beach in Roundstone
- Coral Strand in Ballyconneely
- Eyrephort Beach at the end of the Sky Road in Clifden
- Omey Strand: if you are there when the tide is low you can even drive across to Omey Island, an experience in itself!
- White Strand Beach in Renvyle
- Silverstrand Beach close to Galway City
8 | Loughwell Farm Park/ Turoe Farm
Loughwell Farm Park and Turoe Farm are two of the best family days out in Galway.
Loughwell is a family-run farm operating for over 100 years in the area. In recent years, it has expanded to include a host of family-friendly activities. As well as meeting the farm animals, there’s a fantastic indoor soft play area with a four-lane slide, playgrounds, a fairy trail, mini golf and a giant sandpit.
Turoe Farm is another excellent choice. It has a pet farm, an inflatable city, a jungle town soft play centre, an outdoor playground and a fairy walk.
9 | Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park is home to the Diamond Hill Hike which offers one of the most spectacular views in the west.
There are two trails you can follow to Diamond Hill: the Lower Diamond Hill trail (takes around 90 minutes with kids) and leads into the Upper Diamond Hill Trail which takes about 3 hours to hike in total. The lower trail is 3km and has a wooden boardwalk and views across Kylemore Lough. The Upper Diamond Hill Trail is more suited to older kids as it is a bit of a scramble to the summit.
The views from Lower Diamond Hill are beautiful but it’s the Upper Diamond Hill Trail that rewards with the magnificent views of the Connemara landscape and coastline – from the summit you can check out the islands of Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishark as well as the Twelve Bens and the Tully Mountains.
Things to do in Galway with kids: our 5 year old can manage the Lower Diamond Hill trail just fine and even our 2 year old can manage quite well before taking a break in her hiking carrier.
There’s also a playground with slides, see-saws and playhouses close to the park entrance.
10 | Sky Road
A panoramic drive with incredible views, the Sky Road is a circular route that starts and ends in Clifden and is part of the Wild Atlantic Way. The Upper Sky road is our favourite and has a beautiful viewpoint at its highest point where you can stop for a picnic and take in the scenic views of the coast, countryside and islands.
After driving the Sky Road make sure to stop at Eyrephort Beach, a beautiful white sand beach with plenty of space for kids to run around.
11 | Pines Island, Derryclare Lough Viewpoint
A spectacular photo spot, Pine Island is located on Derryclare Lough, an almost glass mirror body of water, 20km outside the town of Clifden in Connemara.
It’s the perfect spot for the kids to stretch their legs on the way back into Galway and, if you visit on a nice day, you can get some wonderful photos against the backdrop of the Twelve Bens Mountains.