When choosing your next travel destination, there are endless options, and often, the best family vacations in the US aren’t what you’d expect.
Most kids love to go somewhere that allows their imagination to run wild, which includes places like amusement parks and beaches. As it turns out, places all over the country fit a child’s need for adventure.
So, here are 19 of the best family vacations in the US.
#1 – Orlando, Florida
Orlando is surrounded by family-friendly theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Legoland. Plus, International Drive is packed with rides, restaurants, and other attractions. So, there’s no shortage of family hotels both inside and outside of the theme parks. These big attractions will create memories that your kids will likely cherish forever.
#2 – Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is a must-see for all ages. Grand Canyon National Park is located in northern Arizona, and it has some of the most mesmerizing views in the world. It’s about a mile deep and 277 miles long. Families can explore the landscape on foot, on bike, or even on a mule! There’s also a Skywalk at Grand Canyon West, which has glass floors. So, kids afraid of heights might be hesitant.
#3 – Yellowstone, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is another excellent place for kids to experience nature. It has about 3,500 square miles of protected nature space for the whole family to explore. You’ll see lots of beautiful sights, including geysers, mountains, canyons, and forests. If you keep an eye out, you might also see wildlife like bison, elk, wolves, bears, eagles, swans, and antelope.
#4 – Anaheim, California
Anaheim is just under an hour away from Los Angeles, but it’s the preferred location for children because it’s home to Disneyland! Disneyland might be smaller than Disney World, but it still has plenty of excitement for the kids. Disneyland was built before the Orlando amusement park, and it has been operating since the 1950s. It still has many class rides like the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World.
#5 – San Diego, California
San Diego is a beautiful California destination with over 70 miles of shorelines. Plus, it also has plenty of kid-friendly attractions nearby, including SeaWorld, Legoland, and the San Diego Zoo. So, whether you want to spend your day at a relaxing beach or an action-packed amusement park, your family will have a blast in San Diego.
#6 – Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu is the most popular Hawaiian island for families to visit, and one of the best family vacations in the US. Some families prefer to relax on the beach all day while others prefer to partake in events like kayaking, swimming with dolphins, taking a trolley tour, or learning the hula. It’s the perfect mixture between beaches and city space, and the weather almost always feels perfect.
#7 – Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is well-known for being the country’s capital, so of course, it has lots of fun things to do and many unique buildings to see. It has many museums and historical structures to give your kids an educational experience. Yet, it also has a zoo, several malls, and plenty of tasty dining options. Washing D.C. is a great place for everyone to visit at some point, but it’s probably better for older kids.
#8 – Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles can be a little chaotic, so it’s another option best suited for older kids. However, it’s a great family adventure because it has endless amounts of things to do. You’ll find rides, backlot tours, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, and lots of other one-of-a-kind attractions. It’s the perfect place to make you feel like a celebrity, and you can visit many times without running out of things to do.
#9 – Yosemite, California
Yosemite National Park is another must-see nature space. Cliffs, valleys, massive sequoias, and waterfalls are just some of the many sights you’ll see. Many families choose to go camping in the area, allowing all your family members to take a break from technology. During your stay, you can experience a lot of outdoor activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and rafting. If you’re lucky, you might even see some unique wildlife!
#10 – Destin, Florida
Destin, Florida is often overlooked by Orlando, Miami, and Tampa, but it’s certainly one of the best family vacations in the US. It’s much more relaxing than Orlando, so it’s a fun and safe spot for kids to hang out. It has plenty of beaches, state parks, and water park areas. So, it has plenty of opportunities for all ages to have fun in the sun.
#11 – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg is a mountain town in eastern Tennessee, but it’s much different than the nature spaces on the West Coast. It’s full of family-friend activities, including an aquarium, old time photo booths, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. You can also hike, mountain bike, or horseback ride among the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re feeling brave, you can ride on the aerial tramway to get even more beautiful views.
#12 – Branson, Missouri
Branson is a tourist town that is often overlooked by families traveling. It’s located among the Ozark Mountains, so it has plenty of beautiful nature views. For kids looking for a little more excitement, it also has family-friendly shows, the World’s Largest Toy Museum, theme parks, and museums. Some have even called Branson “a family-friendly Vegas.”
#13 – Maui, Hawaii
Like Oahu, Maui is another part of Hawaii that families love to visit. It’s a more laid-back destination, without as many big buildings and busy streets. Instead, Maui is beloved for its nature sights, beaches, and shopping centers. If you’re looking for an opportunity for your family to relax and enjoy some beautiful weather, then Maui is a great choice.
#14 – Outer Banks, North Carolina
Outer Banks is a series of islands off the coast of North Carolina. It’s a destination perfect for relaxing and taking in the sights. It’s home to some famous locations, including the Kill Devil Hills, which is where the Wright brothers took the first flight. There’s also a long stretch of beautiful beaches, which many families love to spend most of their trip at.
#15 – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
South Carolina is also known for beautiful beaches, but Myrtle Beach is more crowded than the Outer Banks. In addition to swimming, kids can also enjoy amusement parks, an aquarium, a grand prix, and mini golf course. Of course, there are also plenty of dining and shopping destinations for all ages to enjoy. It’s full of family-friendly adventures, but it’s also more budget-friendly than other destinations.
#16 – New York City, New York
NYC is a location that many people want to check off their bucket list. Of course, it’s best for older kids though since it can be very crowded and overwhelming Many tourists like to hit the landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the Empire State Building. Yet, there are plenty of other fun attractions, such as museums, the zoo, and the ice skating rink. Plus, the flashy lights of Times Square will be fascinating for all ages.
#17 – Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City is beautiful, affordable, and family-friendly. Of course, it has plenty of beaches and boardwalks for tourists to hang out at. Yet, it also has amusement parks, arcades, and water activities like parasailing. Nearby, you’ll also find the Assateague Island National Seashore, where you might see wild horses. This waterfront town has a little something for everyone.
#18 – Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is one of the best family vacations in the US because it teaches kids about history in an exciting way. You can ride a horse-drawn carriage or walk past many historical buildings. Kids can learn stories about historical figures, including George Washington, Pocahontas, and John Smith. Busch Gardens and Water Country USA are also great opportunities to take a break from learning during your trip.
#19 – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Dells is known as the “Water Park Capital of the World.” It has two massive outdoor water parks, along with many large hotels and resorts that also have large indoor water parks of their own. There are so many attractions for kids to enjoy at the Dells, including boat tours, ziplining courses, miniature golf, and WizardQuest. It’s best to visit this destination in the summer though.
Sometimes the ideal destinations for adults aren’t the same as for kids. Yet, these 19 best family vacations in the US are sure to bring a smile to your entire family. The most exciting places aren’t always where you’d expect them to be. So, consider adding these favorable cities to your family’s bucket list.