Whether your travels take you to the beach, the park, or even a friend’s backyard, there’s one thing you’ll want to have in tow if you have a little one: a playpen. While we don’t want to put our kids in “baby jail,” there are times when we just need to contain them, which is when a playpen, or playpen, is the perfect solution.
Of course, a travel cot can usually serve this purpose, but traditionally, parkas are more spacious. There’s also a good chance you don’t want to put your child’s bed overnight in the sand or dirt outside.
Fortunately, playgrounds have come a long way. Instead of the big, bulky plastic parkas of decades past, you can now find ones that travel much lighter, pop up in seconds, and offer plenty of shade. There are plenty of playground options for your on-the-go needs—here are 11 of our favorites for your next vacation.
$195.99 a Goal
In just two seconds, the AeroMoov Instant Travel Playard pops up, making it incredibly easy to set up a play space for your baby. At less than 11 pounds and less than 5 inches wide when folded flat, it’s one of the most compact and lightweight playsets on the market. The parka also comes with a convenient carry bag, making it easy to tote in your large suitcase, store in the overhead compartment of an airplane, or slide into the trunk of your car on a road trip.
Although this playpen is designed for babies (those weighing less than 13 pounds or until they can sit up on their own), it is one of the few playpens that is also certified for safe overnight sleep. You can also purchase a UV 50+ sunshade and mosquito net pack, ideal for outdoor use.
$129.99 $90.49 a Amazon
The Evenflo Play-Away Portable Playard Deluxe Adventurer will keep your child contained in a unique and safe area, and has enough space to keep them fully occupied with toys and games. With 15 square feet of space, the playpen is water resistant and offers a removable UPF 50+ sun protection canopy with full coverage or half dome. Plus, there are roll-up shades on all six sides of the mesh side walls to keep the sun and bugs out completely.
During downtime, a dedicated pocket inside offers touchscreen capability, so you can give your child a device and keep them entertained while protecting them from sand, dirt and water. We like this option for traveling families because the frame comes fully assembled and can be folded or unfolded in seconds. Plus, easily carry it from the car to the campsite with the included travel bag, which also includes a convenient shoulder strap.
$69.99 $59.49 a Amazon
The Evenflo Play-Away Portable Playard Lite is very similar to the Aventura Deluxe, but with two main differences: the canopy and the roll-up shades. With the Lite version, you get a similar base with the same dimensions (including 15 square feet of space and the interior tablet pocket), but no headboard or roll-up shade. If you don’t need these features and want to spend a little less money on your patio, this could be a great option.
The framework itself is robust while being extremely easy to set up. The frame comes fully assembled, so you can quickly unpack and unfold it to be ready for use. When it comes to taking this playpen on the go, you can use the included travel bag, which features a shoulder strap for easy portability.
$199.99 $149.99 a Aman
The Pop ‘N Go Playground is perfect for both indoor play and outdoor activities. The park includes six ground stakes, seven sand stakes, a UV shade cover with a storage bag and a travel bag with shoulder straps. The high-quality tent can be set up with one hand in seconds thanks to its lift and release capabilities.
Mesh netting on the side allows for maximum ventilation, and the UV shade cover blocks the sun with its SPF 50 protection. And after spending the day outside, you can easily wipe away dirt and sand. At just over 7 pounds and folding compactly into the included travel bag, this is an incredibly easy playpen to take with you on all your travels.
$109.99 a Aman
The Graco Pack ‘n Play LiteTraveler Playard is perfect for all your travel playground needs, thanks to its easy setup and teardown capability. With a one-step fold, it collapses and can fit into the included travel bag, which includes a shoulder strap for easy transport. This allows you to easily take the playpen on the road during your next trip.
The front of the playpen also features a zippered door, allowing your child to get in and out on their own. This will give your child some independence without parents having to constantly bend over to get their child in and out. Plus, we love that this option is machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty during outdoor adventures.
$169.97 a Aman
If you’re a fan of the basic Graco Pack ‘n Play LiteTraveler Playard, but you’re hoping for something that offers more sun protection, you’ll want to consider the Graco Pack ‘n Play LiteTraveler LX Playard. This improved version offers the same dimensions and features as the standard version, but with an added component: a sun visor. This removable canopy provides UV 50 sun protection and shade for outdoor use.
While this version is about $60 more expensive than the base version, if you plan to take the patio to the beach or park, this extra feature may be a necessity. And, to make it a solid choice for every trip, you can transport it in the included travel bag with a convenient shoulder strap.
$89.99 $65 a Amazon
The Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playpen offers 14 square feet of play area that folds easily into the included travel bag. The water-resistant canvas floor allows you to use the playground outside, including with wet grass, and keep your child dry. Although this playpen has a sturdy design, the lightweight metal frame weighs about 12 pounds and can be easily unfolded and folded into a compact, space-saving design. The playpen is used for children between 6 and 24 months, or up to 35 inches tall.
$131 a Amazon
The Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Deluxe Ultimate Playard is similar to the Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard, but with a nice extra feature: a canopy. The removable clip-on canopy provides full coverage over the playground, blocking 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, the canopy features two zippered open panels to allow some sun and air to flow into the patio.
In addition to the bonus of the canopy, the Deluxe version also includes a padded floor and a removable touchscreen entertainment bag. Although it is a little more expensive than the basic version, the added benefits may be worth it. At the same time, this design retains its travel-friendliness, thanks to an easy-to-fold design and an included travel bag for easy transport.
$119.99 $83.99 a Amazon
As one of the most affordable playpens that comes with an attached canopy, the Baby Delight Go With My Eclipse Portable Playpen is a great choice if you’re looking for a primarily outdoor playpen. The UPF 50+ canopy, which protects against 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays, covers two-thirds of the patio.
The patio features a nylon floor, allowing you to easily clean up any messes. Or, since the walls and floors are fully removable, the machine-washable fabric can be tossed in the laundry. There’s also an attached storage pocket and travel bag for easy portability. The playpen is made for children 6-24 months and up to 35 inches tall.
$99.95 a Goal
If you’re looking for a playground not just for toddlers, but for slightly older kids as well, the Kidco Portable Tent-Peapod Camp Playard is for ages 1-6. This tent-style playpen is perfect for kids to play, or nap on the go, especially thanks to its incredibly lightweight design at under 4 pounds. Plus, it’s easy to use as it pops up almost instantly and can be easily transported in the included travel bag.
The included side sun shades provide 50% UV protection, but can also be rolled up three-quarters with a magnet closure. Inside the tent, there are also three storage pockets to keep your child’s toys and activities safe and tidy. There is also a pillow included to make your child more comfortable.
$184 a Amazon
If you’re looking for a large space for your child to play or rest, the Joovy Room2 will give them 10 square feet of play space. It has a large mesh lining on each of the four walls so you can keep an eye on your little one. The playpen also features two wheels on the bottom, allowing you to move it around more easily. And while the parka is a little bigger and heavier than some other options on this list, it comes with a travel bag that allows for easy transport, even if you’re traveling by plane.
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