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Discovering the best family vacation spots in the US is a rite of passage for parents keen on making unforgettable memories with their little ones.

While combing dozens of travel guides and lists from friends, we realized that finding the perfect family getaway is no easy task. The destination needed opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and bonding time so that anyone could find something to fill their itinerary.

After much deliberation and a few detours, we finally found a handful of destinations that checked all the boxes and left us with cherished memories for years.

Whether you’re a family of beach bums, nature enthusiasts, or city slickers, read on for our top 25 picks of family vacation spots in the US.

1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

What to Do

Ride on the scenic Grand Canyon Railway before exploring the South Rim and its collection of trails, lookout spots, and monuments. 

Visit popular attractions like Yavapai Point and Desert View Watchtower or learn about local culture and history with visits to Tusayan Ruins or Navajo Indian Reservation.

Where to Stay

There are several options for staying in and around the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon National Park. Choose from nearby luxury resorts, rustic lodges with Old West charm, or quaint bed-and-breakfast. 

Lodges like Maswik Lodge and Kachina Lodge have double beds, perfect for a family. You can also pitch tents at one of four campgrounds located within the park.

2. Yosemite, California

What to Do

Yosemite National Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Activities here include beautiful hikes, snowshoe walks, rafting, and rock climbing. The waterfall trails are particularly spectacular and a must-see for any visit. 

Other fun family activities include the crystal-clear rivers for kayaking, the museums that offer insight into Yosemite’s natural history, and picturesque biking trails that weave through forests.

Where to Stay

Tent camping is available all year round and is a cost-effective way to experience the national park atmosphere. 

There are also many resorts and hotels within and outside the park for those traveling with the little ones and those who want more amenities. They include Yosemite Valley Lodge, Ahwahnee Hotel, Rush Creek Lodge, and many more.

3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

What to Do

Beach vacations offer some of the best getaways for families. Myrtle Beach is a stunning coastal destination that welcomes families of all sizes. 

Spend time on the boardwalk, soak up some sun on the pristine beaches, or explore attractions such as Ripley’s Aquarium, Broadway at the Beach, and Myrtle Waves Water Park.

Where to Stay

For your stay in Myrtle Beach, you’ll find an array of accommodation options, from luxury beach resorts and beachfront hotels to condos and rental homes. 5-star rated accommodations include Dunes Village Resort, Dayton House Resort, and Coral Beach Resort & Suites.

4. New York City, New York

What to Do

New York City is a fantastic family getaway destination with endless activities. Kids can go ice skating in Central Park or stroll down the trendy streets of SoHo for great shopping and delicious eats.

View captivating city skyline views from The Empire State Building Observatory or take a wildlife boat ride around the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Where to Stay

With various lodging options, your family will find a great place to stay in NYC. Families will love hotels with spacious suites and kid-friendly amenities like The Edison Hotel or the Kimpton Ink48 Hotel on West 48th Street. 

For larger families who need more space, check out Airbnb listings in Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, and East Village neighborhoods. Options here often have plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax.

5. Sandusky, Ohio

What to Do

When planning a family trip, consider Sandusky, Ohio, as it has many exciting attractions for all ages. Most notable is the Cedar Point amusement park and resort, which features thrilling roller coasters, water rides, and a nearby zoo and marina. 

Visitors can also relax in indoor and outdoor spas at Kalahari Resorts or explore the waterfront village of Put-in-Bay.

Where to Stay

Families visiting Sandusky have plenty of accommodation options suitable for all budgets. Luxury resorts such as Kalahari Resort and Great Wolf Lodge offer excellent amenities like spas, pools, and game rooms for a fun and relaxing staycation. 

Otherwise, visitors can opt for vacation rental homes or quiet cabins along the shoreline with stunning views of Lake Erie sunset.

6. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

What to Do

Yellowstone National Park is a perfect family vacation getaway. As you explore the stunning mountains and meadows, take the kids on guided horseback rides. Or, hop on an old-fashioned stagecoach as you check out Yellowstone’s wildlife, geysers, and hot springs.

Where to Stay

When visiting Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, your family can stay in one of the charming rustic cabins or cottages around the park. 5-star rated accommodations include Roosevelt Lodge Cabins, Grant Village Campground, and many more. If your family enjoys camping, plenty of camping spots are available near gorgeous lakes and rivers.

7. San Diego, California

What to Do

San Diego is an amazing destination for the best family vacation getaway with something to offer everyone. Boasting year-round mild weather, endless outdoor activities like surfing and sailing, and numerous kid-friendly attractions like The San Diego Zoo and LEGOLAND. 

Families can spend days exploring Balboa Park, taking boat tours around the bay, or soaking up rays at one of the many beachside parks.

Where to Stay

Families will find many accommodations to suit their needs, from budget-friendly motels to luxury-inclusive resorts for every taste. Popular places to stay with family include Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Hotel del Coronado, and many more. 

Beachfront resorts also dot San Diego’s coastline, providing a picturesque respite from city life.

8. Washington, D.C.

What to Do

Washington, D.C., offers a variety of activities perfect for family fun. 

Visit iconic landmarks and attractions like the White House and the Washington Monument, or explore the vibrant and diverse culture of the city by attending events at Arena Stage or the Kennedy Center. 

Learn something new at one of many amazing museums, such as the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

Where to Stay

Enjoy upscale hotels near top attractions like The Hay-Adams or The Watergate Hotel, or stay in one of many budget-friendly spots such as Residence Inn Washington DC/Downtown or Courtyard Arlington Rosslyn. 

No matter your budget and preferences, there’s an accommodation to fit anyone’s needs.

9. Maui, Hawaii

What to Do

Looking for the best beach for a sunny family vacation? The sandy beaches provide the perfect backdrop for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and many other water activities. 

For those looking for adventure, Maui offers incredible hikes through the tropical rainforest of Haleakala National Park or luxury helicopter rides over its cliffs. And, of course, remember to visit the world-famous surf spot Ho’okipa Beach.

Where to Stay

On Maui, visitors can find the perfect accommodation option to fit their needs—luxury resorts with beachfront views that even offer kids’ activity centers and childcare services. 

In addition, smaller-scale boutique hotels and condos can be found in areas such as Ka’anapali and Kihei. No matter where one stays in Maui, it’ll be an unforgettable experience.

10. Niagara Falls, New York

What to Do

From the thrilling Cave of the Winds tour to Maid of the Mist boat rides to Prospect Point Observation Tower, Niagara Falls offers a variety of activities for families. 

Ride aboard Brock’s Monument Cable Car and get spectacular views from above. Go on nature walks at Niagara Gorge Discovery Center or take a free trolley ride through the city.

Where to Stay

Niagara Falls, NY, has many lodging options ranging from family-friendly hotels to rustic cabins and camping sites in nearby state parks. 

Visitors can stay in downtown establishments with views of the rapids, boutique hotels offering quaint amenities, or sprawling resorts with numerous attractions and dining possibilities. 

11. Acadia National Park, Maine

What to Do

Exploring Acadia National Park is a great way to spend quality time with family. Take a scenic drive along the famous Ocean Drive and stop to take in the picturesque views. 

Explore the trails or take an evening carriage ride under the stars. Boating, fishing, birding, and other outdoor activities await to invigorate your family’s vacation adventure.

Where to Stay

Accommodations run from cozy camping sites to prime hotel selections in Bar Harbor, just ten minutes from the park. High-end full-serviced resorts also offer discounts for families during peak seasons making this getaway easily affordable for all budget types. 

Enjoy amenities like dreamy marina views, children’s programs, and exciting evening entertainment shows.

12. Catalina Island, California

What to Do

Catalina Island is another popular destination among many families in the US for a vacation. Its crystal clear waters are ideal for snorkeling, kayaking, and glass-bottom boat tours.

Families can also take a Zipline tour of Descanso Canyon or explore the island’s eight distinctive towns on Catalina Island’s Explore Tour. 

Kids will love discovering the underwater diving museum and exploring the Landmarks Walk, filled with beautiful beaches, water parks, and trails.

Where to Stay

During your family vacation to Catalina Island, you can stay at one of their resorts, like the Pavilion Hotel or Hotel Metropole. Or, if camping is more your style, visitors have various campground options scattered throughout the front country and backcountry areas.

13. Outer Banks, North Carolina

What to Do

Enjoy the best family trip fishing on an Outer Banks charter boat, participate in some water sports with an estimated 115 miles of coast and sound front to explore, or visit one of the five lighthouses for history and stunning ocean views. 

During your time here, you can watch for Ocracoke ponies, world-famous wild horses that roam the island freely. 

Where to Stay

Choose from various accommodations, including beachfront hotels, resort condos, and numerous vacation rental homes. With endless options along the shoreline, you’ll find just the right place to spend your dream Outer Banks family vacation getaway. 

Some popular accommodations include Beachwoods Resort, Surf Side Hotel, and many others.

14. Orlando, Florida

What to Do

Orlando is an essential family vacation destination with plenty of activities. Visit the famous “Happiest Place on Earth,” Disney World, or have a thrilling experience at Universal Studios—home to Harry Potter World. 

Other must-dos in Orlando include soaking up the sun at International Drive’s SeaWorld Adventure Park, tour through Gatorland, visiting The Florida Mall, or taking a picture with life-size characters at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

Where to Stay

Comfortable stays for every budget, from all-inclusive family resorts to budget motels, Orlando offers ample accommodation options for families amid great food and shopping destinations. Best accommodations include Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort and Caribe Royale Orlando.

15. Park City, Utah

What to Do

Park City is the perfect family vacation getaway, with various exciting activities. Families can take to the slopes for skiing and snowboarding, hit the trails for hiking and biking, explore caves at Historic Gate House, or cool off at the White Barn Family Aqua Park. 

Additionally, there are many different galleries and museums to discover. 

Where to Stay

Park City offers a range of accommodations, from lavish resorts and ski lodges to small rental cottages and rustic campgrounds. 

Vacationers can pick anything that suits their budget—from ensuite chalets with breathtaking views to comfortable motels in town. 

Some good accommodations include the Grand Summit Hotel and Sundial Lodge.

16. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

What to Do

Lake Tahoe is a family favorite with crystal clear waters perfect for boating, fishing, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and sailing. 

For an even bigger adventure, hop on the iconic gondola of Heavenly Mountain Resort and take in majestic views of snow-capped peaks, then experience downhill skiing in one of many ski resorts.

Where to Stay

Lake Tahoe offers many accommodations, from cozy mountain cabins and rustic beachside lodges to glamorous hotels like pools and spas. 

Experience nature by pitching your tent or parking your RV at campsites surrounding the lake; stay in a luxurious casino suite or escape the city noise with a tranquil bed-and-breakfast option.

17. Sedona, Arizona 

What to Do

Sedona is a picturesque destination for the ultimate family adventure getaway. 

Marvel in outdoor activities such as exploring red rock canyons, mountain biking, or Jeep tours through the magical landscape, or discover your inner relaxation from spiritual views and mesmerizing sunsets.

Where to Stay

Sedona offers lodging for all visitors, from camping sites to premium family resorts. In addition, luxury vacation rentals like the Foothills Vacation Rentals come with private pools and breathtaking vistas.

For nature enthusiasts, cabin retreats provide stunning stone fireplaces and nearby nature trails just minutes away.

18. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 

What to Do

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a nice destination for family getaways, with plenty of activities to entertain the whole family. 

Go exploring through the gentle waters on a kayak tour or take in miles of seashore from a bike ride down the beach. History buffs can explore the site where Spanish galleons sank hundreds of years ago or relax at local beaches.

Where to Stay

Regarding accommodations, Hilton Head Island is home to elegant resorts, quaint beachside villas, and condos with the amenities for an enjoyable stay. 

Experience world-class hospitality from top-notch hotels and lodgings like the Timeshare resorts while enjoying vast pools, nearby golf courses, and a unique coastal vibe.

19. Oahu, Hawaii

What to Do

Experience Oahu’s enchanting natural beauty with a family-friendly snorkeling excursion. Explore serene beaches, lush rainforests, and waterfalls. 

Enjoy high-end shopping in Waikiki and nightlife activities. Attend the USS Arizona Memorial tours and learn about the island’s World War II history.

Where to Stay

Stay at one of Oahu’s luxurious beach resorts along Waikiki Beach. Enjoy home comforts at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa while utilizing onsite amenities like swimming pools, spa services, restaurants, art galleries, fitness centers, and more. 

Or find an affordable vacation rental for less that offers all of the same luxuries without breaking the bank.

20. Estes Park, Colorado

What to Do

Estes Park, Colorado, offers many family-friendly activities. Every family member will find something enjoyable, from hiking the majestic Rocky Mountain National Park to exploring the Natural History Museum.

Remember to enjoy the Old West entertainment at Estes Park Theatre and rodeo, and check out vibrant downtown Estes Park for unique shopping opportunities.

Where to Stay

When visiting Estes Park, plenty of accommodations fit the whole family. Choose from various options, from luxurious cabins with breathtaking mountain views to cozy bed-and-breakfasts in quiet areas. 

Campgrounds also provide fun outdoor activities such as horseback riding, fishing, and biking trails, perfect for extended stays.

21. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 

What to Do

Wisconsin Dells is the ultimate among many family vacation destinations, offering unique attractions such as a scenic boat tour along the Wisconsin River, visiting ghost town US Route 12, parasailing over Mirror Lake, or taking a ride on the water slides at Mt. Olympus Water Park.

Where to Stay

For where to stay, visitors may choose from the wide selection of hotels & resorts located in Wisconsin Dells and its stunning landscape for amazing views all year round. Many choices are offered, ranging from rustic lodges to deluxe suites for more luxurious stays.

22. Malibu, California

What to Do

Malibu has scenic beaches, charming shopping, and great nature spots for hiking and whale watching. Visit the Malibu Pier or take a surf lesson from the pros in Surfrider Beach. 

Spend time at Malibu Lagoon State Beach, bicycle the winding trails of Topanga State Park, or explore Leo Carrillo State Park’s tidepools to see wildlife.

Where to Stay

The coastal city of Malibu features seaside hotels with breathtaking views, upmarket resorts, and secluded inns tucked away in the hills. The luxury resorts offer access to activities such as swimming pools, spas, and beach volleyball courts. 

In contrast, motels provide basic services to those on a budget.

23. San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to Do

Encounter an amazing blend of old and new vibes on a San Juan Beach vacation. Stroll through cobblestone streets, relax on Condado Beach, or explore the El Yunque rainforest. Visit Castillo de San Felipe del Morro and the colorful houses of La Perla.

Where to Stay

Relax at gorgeous resorts full of amenities like family-friendly oceanfront suites, kid clubs, and massive pools amidst palm trees for a tropical getaway. 

Explore accommodations to fit your budget, like Airbnb options, hostels, and guesthouses near historical landmarks for a convenient staycation. The sky’s the limit for this Caribbean vacation destination! 

24. Branson, Missouri

What to Do

Branson, Missouri, is the ideal vacation destination for family-friendly fun, boasting activities such as iconic live performances at its numerous theaters, exploring Silver Dollar City amusement park, or hiking in one of its many nearby parks. 

Taste local craft ciders at cider farms and discover unique attractions like digging for prehistoric fossils.

Where to Stay

Families can find ample accommodations in Branson to suit all tastes and preferences. There are charming cabins, cozy lakeside villas, family-friendly resorts located near theme parks, and a variety of RV campgrounds like Mill Creek with beautiful lake views.

25. Williamsburg, Virginia

What to Do

Enjoy outdoor activities like water skiing and fishing on the James River or explore small-town charm at the Yorktown Battlefield. 

For a unique experience, learn colonial history while visiting Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement. Reach the top of the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse for amazing views of Chesapeake Bay.

Where to Stay

Staying in beautiful Williamsburg is easy, with countless lodging options available. For a hotel stay, choose one right in the historical city center where you can walk to all attractions or look into rustic cabins near Busch Gardens theme park. 

For a true luxe getaway, check out four-star resorts offering pools and spas nearby the James River Plantation Historic Site.

How Do I Take a Good Vacation With My Family?

A great family vacation combines relaxation and adventure. Look for vacation spots offering plenty of recreational activities, such as playgrounds or hiking trails.

For an adventurous twist, you could explore new sights and sounds by visiting museums, sampling local cuisine, or trying outdoor sports. There are endless family vacation ideas centered on having fun and creating lasting memories. 

From the beach to amusement parks to camping in nature—there’s something for everyone. Whatever destination you decide on will bring your family together for much-needed relaxation.

Pick and Explore the Best Vacation Spots in the US

Ultimately, the best vacation spots for families are more than just places for unwinding for a week or two.

These destinations come with a unique blend of adventure, relaxation, and plenty of time and space for bonding that they are sure to create lasting memories.

Just like adults, kids like reminiscing over the best times they’ve had, and with a well-planned vacation in a great spot, you’re helping them gather stories they can tell for the rest of their lives.

So why not take the plunge? Start planning an exciting family adventure!

Whether it’s a summer vacation filled with beach days and amusement park rides, a winter getaway spent skiing and building snowmen, or a spring break trip exploring new cities and cultures, there is a perfect destination for every family.


Where Is the Safest Place to Travel With Family?

Finland is the safest place to travel with your family because of its low crime rate and commitment to security. The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report consistently ranks this country amongst the highest for safety and security.

Where in Florida Is the Most Family-Friendly?

Naples, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, Clearwater, Orlando, and Tampa are some of the most family-friendly locations in Florida. Universal Studios offers a unique blend of entertainment and education for all ages.

Best Vacation With Toddler and Baby

The ideal vacation for a family with a toddler and a baby would be in a destination that offers all-inclusive accommodations and activities. Make sure to keep them fed and rested throughout the trip.

Best Family Vacations in the World

Safari in South Africa, Thailand beaches, Machu Picchu Peru, Dubai, Great Barrier Reef Australia, Galapagos Islands Ecuador, Iceland Northern Lights, Costa Rica rainforest adventures, Switzerland Alpine peaks and lakes, New Zealand adventure and nature tours. 

The choices are endless.

Best Vacation Spots for Young Families

Young families should look for family-friendly destinations that offer a variety of activities tailored to young children, like theme parks, aquariums, and zoos.

Some of the top family vacation spots include Orlando, Hawaii, San Diego, Disney World in Florida, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls in Canada, and New York City.

Beach resorts are also great for young families looking for fun activities like swimming and surfing and time to enjoy each other’s company.

This article originally appeared on Financially Well Off.


Christopher Alarcon started Financially Well Off to make personal finance more enjoyable. He's passionate about self-improvement, personal finance, and interviewing entrepreneurs.

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