Family vacations can supply lifelong memories, but to ensure that every member of the family is satisfied, it’s important to travel to the perfect locale. With the help of reader votes and expert opinion, we gathered a list of travel destinations that offer reasonable rates and activities the whole family can enjoy. We hope you find these ideas helpful when planning your next trip!
Orlando-Walt Disney World
#1 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Known for its timeless appeal, thrill rides and performances, the Walt Disney World resort is engineered specifically for families, and its formula is very successful. Plus, the new Star Wars opens here on August 29th! But if you aren’t up for putting on mouse ears, this Florida city hosts a slew of other theme parks that are sure to excite kids and adults of all ages.
#2 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Kids will get a kick out of watching Old Faithful erupt, and there’s nothing quite like an afternoon hike to bring the clan together. Hotels inside the park can be expensive, so make this a BYOB (bring your own bed) vacation and take advantage of the park’s well-equipped campsites.
#3 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
This national park is a universally admired family destination. You’ll find lots to do here, including hiking, kayaking, rafting and riding the Grand Canyon Railway. Despite its popularity, the Grand Canyon also manages to be budget-friendly. Keep in mind: if you’re planning a summer visit, you’ll have to contend with massive crowds.
#4 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Along with its pearly white sands, Destin offers a variety of kid-pleasing entertainment. Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park is a hit for its long slides and lazy river, while the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is popular for its variety of animals, including tropical birds and bottlenose dolphins.
#5 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
The key to D.C.’s family appeal is the National Mall, which is surrounded by free, kid-friendly museums and renowned monuments. Beyond the mall, a stop at the National Zoo is also a must. To cut down on vacation costs, consider booking a hotel in a nearby suburb, such as Arlington or Alexandria in Virginia, and relying on public transportation.
#6 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
What makes Yosemite an excellent family destination? Its numerous outdoor offerings, from hiking and camping to mountain climbing and rafting. And, unlike other national parks, Yosemite boasts relatively easy accessibility (San Francisco is only a few hours away by car), making it easy to plan daytrips.
#7 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Similar to its Disney sister city, Orlando, Anaheim has enough mouse-themed attractions to keep parents and kids busy and smiling, along with Knott’s Berry Farm and Adventure City. The new added bonus at Disneyland is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Plus, Anaheim has the added benefit of its California location, which sits in close proximity to the beaches and sights of Los Angeles and San Diego.
#8 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
This Hawaiian island has plenty of sights for kids of all ages. Travel to Haleakala National Park to see the world’s largest dormant volcano or splash around the calm waters of Wailea Beach. If you’re faced with a rainy day, take a trip to the Maui Ocean Center to learn more about Hawaii’s underwater ecosystems.
#9 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
This mountain town in eastern Tennessee was practically made for families. When you’re not exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park (for free), take a ride up the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram to reach the amusement park of the same name or head to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to see their resident mermaids.
#10 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Travel to San Diego for 70 miles of sandy fun. When the waves start to bore the kids, the creatures at the San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld are sure to hold their interest. And if you need some relief from the sun, head to the attractions housed within Balboa Park – home of the popular San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Honolulu – Oahu
#11 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Honolulu – especially Waikiki – offers excellent child-friendly beaches and activities like snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and the Wet’n’Wild Hawaii water park. Many hotels and resorts sit along the shore, negating the need for public transportation or a vehicle. For a fun introduction to Hawaiian culture, consider a luau.
#12 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Families looking for a simple beach vacation should consider renting an oceanfront house or cottage on the coast of North Carolina. If the kids tire of playing in the sand, you can visit one of the many lighthouses or sneak in a history lesson at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
#13 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
The miles of sandy beaches and activities surrounding the boardwalk draw families to Ocean City, Maryland, every summer – and the affordable dining and lodging options keep them coming back year after year. If you’ve got a big crew, save some coin by opting for one of the many vacation rentals instead of several hotel rooms.
#14 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
The Windy City offers a wealth of activities for family fun. Visit Millennium Park to snap a photo with the “The Bean,” head to Shedd Aquarium to see everything from beluga whales to bullfrogs, or cheer for the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Plus, Chicago’s signature eats – hot dogs and pizza – are sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
#15 in Best Family Vacations in the USA
Little ones will love searching for shells on Bowman’s Beach and spotting crocodiles, alligators, and numerous birds at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, parents will love the affordable prices and laid-back vibe that’s become synonymous with Sanibel Island.
*Portions sourced from: https://travel.usnews.com/rankings/best-family-vacations-in-the-usa/