Map of the United States of America with the American flag--30+ best family vacation destinations featured on A Mom Well Traveled Blog

30+ BEST Family Vacation Destinations to Visit in the USA

When it comes to planning family vacations it can seem like a daunting decision. With so many destinations in the United States to choose from it can feel like a never ending task. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list, with some friends, of best family vacation destinations to visit in the USA.

Easily find the best family vacation destinations near you, as I’ve divided everything by regions. Now what’re you waiting for? Let’s help you plan your next great family vacation!

30+ BEST Family Vacation Destinations in the USA


Discover the best family vacations destinations within the southeastern USA. With its warm hospitality, historic sites, and stunning coastlines, the Southeast offers a blend of cultural experiences and outdoor adventures. From the magical world of Disney in Orlando to the historic streets of New Orleans, discover a plethora of family-friendly destinations that embody the unique spirit of the region. Whether you’re seeking thrills at theme parks or relaxation on the beach, the Southeast has something for every family member to enjoy.

1. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee is the perfect lesser-known destination of the best family vacation destinations in the USA! Aside from the beautiful weather, there is a variety of excursions that everyone in the family can enjoy.

The downtown area is quaint and easily walkable. We loved visiting the Tennessee Aquarium which is
situated right on the riverfront. The Aquarium is made up of two different exhibit buildings, an outdoor plaza, and an IMAX theater making it a complete experience. Also in the downtown area is the Creative Discovery Museum. This incredible children’s museum offers tons of interactive exhibits that will keep families playing and learning!

Aside from the downtown area, your family will love a trip up Lookout Mountain! Be sure to take the
Incline Railway for a thrilling way to scale the mountain. Once you reach the top you will be delighted
with panoramic views of the Tennessee Valley. You can also make the short walk down to Point Park
which is part of the National Park system. Or make your way to Rock City where you’ll have views of
seven surrounding states. And no trip up Lookout Mountain is complete without a visit to the fabulous Ruby Falls!

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring or Fall
  • Nearest Airport: Chattanooga is situated perfectly between both Nashville (BNA) and Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Chattanooga Downtown

As experienced by Tina of The Southern Travelista

View of downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee

2. Asheville, North Carolina

Some of the best things to do while you are visiting Asheville include The Biltmore Estate, where you’ll be captivated by the sheer magnificence of the largest privately owned home in the United States. You can choose to tour the estate’s exquisite gardens, home, and many hiking trails.  

In addition, you will also find a ton of kid-friendly hiking trails in the area that lead to waterfalls, providing ample opportunities for family escapades and nurturing a deep appreciation for the outdoors.

If you love waterfalls, take a drive to Dupont State Recreational Forest, which is about 50 minutes away from Asheville, to see three incredible waterfalls, including Triple Falls, which was featured in the movie The Hunger Games

Another fantastic waterfall would be at a stop along your drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you’ll find a stunning waterfall called Crabtree Falls. There is a little bit of a hike, so this might not be great for small children. Crabtree Falls also is home to a popular camping area with 71 campsites.  

Finally, the Western North Carolina Nature Center stands as a remarkable educational experience, allowing youngsters to engage with native wildlife within an interactive environment. You will find black bears, red wolves, otters, and more!

There are so many more things to enjoy in Asheville, from outdoor adventures like zip-lining and whitewater rafting to museums, incredible food, and even scenic drives. This is why Asheville is one of the best family vacation destinations and should be on your list of cities to visit.

As experienced by Sarah Murphy of Explore More NC

The Biltmore Estate located in Asheville, North Carolina

3. Outer Banks, North Carolina

For one of the best family vacation destinations, head to the beautiful Outer Banks in North Carolina. Composed of a long, thin chain of islands, the Outer Banks starts at the Virginia-North Carolina border and runs nearly to North Carolina’s border with South Carolina.  

The summer is the perfect time to experience all that the Outer Banks has to offer from nightly showings of the outdoor historical drama, The Lost Colony, to shopping in Ocracoke, one of the best towns in the Outer Banks for families. Of course, the warm weather makes for perfect days on the many beaches here: relax by the ocean, or try your hand at surfing! 

You should also visit one or more of the famed Outer Banks lighthouses: Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. For a small fee, you can climb to the tops for spectacular oceanside views. 

Another must-do for kids is sand sledding on the massive dunes in Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Kitty Hawk (pictured). For fewer crowds and cooler weather, be at the park right at opening time.   

  • Best Time to Visit: July
  • Nearest Airport: Norfolk International Airport (ORF)
  • Where to Stay: Sanderling Resort or Vacation Rentals

As experienced by Natalie Vereen-Davis of Camping Kiddos

Sand sledding sand dunes in Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Image provided by Camping Kiddos

4. Orlando, Florida

Of course, Orlando had to be on the list of best family vacation destinations to visit. After all, it is home to, “The Most Magical Place On Earth.”

While, indeed, Orlando is home to many popular theme parks and Walt Disney World is the main reason people come to the area, there are still so many other sights to see.

Two of our favorite smaller theme parks include, Peppa Pig Theme Park and LEGOLAND Florida which are located in Winter Haven (about 30 minutes outside of Orlando).

In addition, Orlando is also home to many museums like the Orlando Science Center, which is perfect for kids! You could also head over to the coast to visit the Kennedy Space Center and potentially even catch a rocket launch.

Overall, Orlando has endless fun for everyone in the family. From natural springs to theme parks, or even taking a day trip to one of the many beaches nearby.

  • Best Time to Visit: January, February, October (for smaller theme park crowds/cooler temps)
  • Nearest Airport: Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Where to Stay: Gaylord Palms

As experienced by Brittney of A Mom Well Traveled

5. Clearwater Beach, Florida

If you want to experience an unforgettable beach family getaway, you’ll want to experience Clearwater, Florida. This beautiful destination is known for its stunning beaches and family-friendly atmosphere. The crystal-clear waters and powdery white sands make it a perfect playground for little ones. While you visit, don’t miss your chance to take on a mesmerizing sunset cruise, which is sure also to impress your kids as they often offer dolphin sightings.

Clearwater Beach itself is a haven for families, you can build sandcastles, splash in the gentle waves, and enjoy the warm sun. If your kids like to get up close with marine life, make sure to check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. In addition, kids can enjoy the interactive exhibits and animal encounters they offer.

Pier 60 is also a fun stop to check out. With entertainment, daily sunset celebrations, artisans, and a playground that’s ideal for little ones, we know that the whole family will love it.

As experienced by CS Ginger of Exploring the Gulf

Turquoise waters of Clearwater Beach, Florida. Photo provided by CS Ginger of Exploring the Gulf. Best Family Vacation Destinations in the US.

6. Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia, stands out as one of the best family vacation destinations in the Southeast! It offers a blend of outdoor adventures and festive experiences. If you’re seeking a memorable getaway summer and the holidays are both great times to experience the magic of this adorable Bavarian town.

In the summer, the Chattahoochee River becomes a playground for families. Tubing the Chattahoochee is easily one of the best things to do in Helen! It’s a thrilling family-friendly activity that lets you cool off while enjoying the picturesque surroundings of Alpine Helen.

Come Christmastime, Helen transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland! The town’s Bavarian-style architecture takes on a magical quality with charming holiday lights and decorations.

If you want to immerse yourself in nature, a visit to Anna Ruby Falls is a must! This family-friendly hike to the falls covers less than a mile on a paved trail, accommodating various ages and fitness levels. The sight of the twin waterfalls cascading down is a rewarding treat at the end of the journey.

Especially if you go around the holidays the best place to stay in Helen is in a cozy cabin! Bear Creek Lodge & Cabins is a great option. This spot is great even in the summer, located right on the Chattahoochee River and within walking distance of downtown Helen!

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer & Christmastime
  • Nearest Airport: Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Express Helen

As experienced by Destiny of Guided by Destiny

Buildings in Helen, Georgia, best family vacation destinations in the USA

7. Williamsburg, Virginia

With everything it offers, Williamsburg, Virginia, is one of the best family vacations destinations on the east coast.

Even if your kids aren’t interested in history, they will love Colonial Williamsburg. They’ll feel like time travelers as they walk through the largest living history museum in the world.

Plan at least two days in Colonial Williamsburg to enjoy it fully. There is a lot to see, with dozens of historic buildings and demonstrations (don’t miss the musket firing!). They also offer carriage rides and after-hours events.

In addition to the many things to do in Colonial Williamsburg, there are other fun, family-friendly historical sites to visit, like the Jamestown Settlement. Kids will love exploring the ships and learning what it was like for settlers in the late 1600s.

Of course, it’s not all about the history in Williamsburg. For a little bit of excitement, you’ll want to visit Busch Gardens amusement park. They have many fun roller coasters, family-friendly rides, and fun shows and entertainment.

As experienced by Lauren of Where the Wild Kids Wander

historic williamsburg, virginia--best family vacation destinations. Photo provided by Lauren of Where the Wild Kids Wander

8. Chincoteague, Virginia

Chincoteague is a captivating coastal town that promises a delightful escape for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers. Nestled along the eastern shore of Virginia, Chincoteague is renowned for its pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, and a unique maritime culture that beckons visitors year-round. There are plenty of things to do in Chincoteague for any family!  

Once in Chincoteague, the main attraction is undoubtedly the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you can witness the world-famous Chincoteague ponies, a wild horse population that has roamed the island for centuries. The famous book “Misty of Chincoteague” was inspired by these ponies. Nature enthusiasts can explore the miles of hiking and biking trails, observe migratory birds, and even take boat or kayak tours to see the ponies up close. While you can see the ponies all year, the annual pony swim is in July.

The town itself boasts a charming waterfront with seafood restaurants, local boutiques, and a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to indulge in fresh seafood delicacies like oysters while enjoying breathtaking sunset views. Relax at the nearby Assateague Island beaches for a day in the sun!

Chincoteague is a place where time seems to slow down, making it one of the best family vacation destinations for families looking to live in the moment.

  • Best time to visit: May- August
  • Nearest Airport: Norfolk International Airport (ORF)
  • Where to Stay: Refuge Inn

As experienced by Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Pony in Chincoteague, Virginia

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a vibrant city that is best known for its lively music scene, delicious cuisine, and a cultural heritage that is distinct from much of the US. Despite New Orleans’ reputation as a party city, there are still plenty of things to do here for families. 

At the top of the list of family-friendly activities is the Louisiana Children’s Museum. This museum features a number of interactive exhibits that are designed to make learning fun. 

The museum is located in City Park, another area that is great to spend some family time – all the attractions in the park were built specifically with little ones in mind. 

Finally, a trip to the city is not complete without a trip to Mardi Gras World. This unique attraction gives you a chance to see floats and costumes that are featured in the annual event.

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and Fall
  • Nearest Airport: Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY)
  • Where to Stay: Hotel Mazarin

As experienced by Christen of Travel Wander Grow

Canal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana--one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA. Photo provided by Christen of Travel Wander Grow

10. Louisville, Kentucky

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly getaway with beautiful scenery, unique history, and plenty of things to do, look no further than Louisville, Kentucky! Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, Louisville is one of the best family vacation destinations in the United States. Here, Southern hospitality meets urban flair with scenic beauty just around the corner. Plus, there are tons of family-friendly activities great for adults and their minis!

The best time to visit this charming city is in the fall. Louisville is full of some serious Halloween fun, like the annual Jack O’Lantern Spectacular with thousands of artfully carved pumpkins set aglow. Discover the country’s largest collection of Victorian mansions on a New York Times-recommended Old Louisville ghost tour

You’ll also want to explore Kentucky’s rich bourbon heritage along the Urban Bourbon Trail, with tastings and tours at famous distilleries like Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve.

But there’s more to this great state than Bourbon City! Experience the serene beauty of horse and bourbon country with a day trip to Bernheim Forest to meet the enchanting Forest Giants. While you’re there, stop by the James B. Beam distillery, and check out Forest Edge Winery, one of the best wineries in Kentucky, complete with a playground for the little ones!

  • Best Time to Visit: Fall
  • Nearest Airport: Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF)
  • Where to Stay: Galt House Hotel

As experienced by Sydney of Sydney to Anywhere

Downtown Louisville Kentucky skyline featuring Louisville Slugger Field--best family vacation destinations


Embark on an unforgettable family journey to the Northeastern USA. This captivating region effortlessly blends rich history with modern excitement. Wander through the bustling streets of New York City, where iconic landmarks await at every corner. Or explore the storybook charm of New England’s towns, enveloped in stunning fall foliage. With world-class museums, picturesque landscapes, and a melting pot of cultures, the Northeast offers endless opportunities for family bonding and discovery.

11. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Another family vacation destination to visit is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg is well known for being the site of a three-day battle during the Civil War, but it’s also a town that makes history fun for the entire family. Even better, there are lots of activities that are free and low-cost, so you won’t break the bank when visiting this small town.

Kids won’t have trouble paying attention when they’re sitting on the top of a double-decker bus while touring the battlefield, or climbing one of the three towers that offer spectacular views. (All of the towers are free, making this a great way to both understand the battlefield—and burn off some energy).

For some hands-on fun, the 1863 Children of Gettysburg Museum lets kids touch and participate in historic-related activities, like bandaging a wounded Civil War soldier. It’s free for children with a paid adult.

And for a non-Civil War activity, visit the Land of Little Horses and get up close to miniature horses. Great for kids of all ages.

  • Best Time to Visit: July 1-3 is the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg so there are large-scale reenactments that can thrill the kids.
  • Nearest Airport: Harrisburg International Airport (MDT)
  • Where to Stay: Gettysburg Hotel

As experienced by Jessica James of Past Lane Travels

Pennsylvania Monument in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania--one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA

12. New York City, New York

When looking for an all-round fun family vacation, there really couldn’t be a better location than New York City.

There are tons of family-friendly things to do, like visiting the iconic Statue of Liberty, picnicking in Central Park, and attending a Broadway show like The Lion King. Slightly older children may even love seeing one of New York’s famous observation decks and experiencing incredible skyline views of Manhattan. 

To add some education to your visit, there are several museums in New York, such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Sea and Space Museum. The museums are also a great escape for rainy days in NYC.

NYC during the holidays is a particularly fun time to visit New York as a family. If you’re lucky enough to be planning your trip during the festive season, make sure to go ice skating at Rockefeller Centre, visit the Christmas lights at Dyker Heights, and check out the window displays at Macy’s Department Store.

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring, Summer, Christmastime
  • Nearest Airport: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or LaGuardia International Airport (LGA)
  • Where to Stay: SpringHill Suites Manhattan/Chelsea

As experienced by Sam of Find Love and Travel

New York City sky scrapers--best family vacation destinations in the northeast, Photo provided by Sam Opp of Find Love and Travel

13. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park and the surrounding area is one of the best family vacation destinations in the Northeast, with something to offer everyone and an abundance of free and low-cost activities for kids.

Don’t miss hiking on Acadia’s miles of trails, many of which are suitable for kids under 10, swimming in the crystal clear lakes, and getting out on the ocean on a kayak or schooner ride.

In the nearby town of Bar Harbor, enjoy shopping, ice cream and looking for starfish at low tide on the walk to Bar Island. On a rainy day, you can check out the Dorr Museum of Natural History at College of the Atlantic or play a round of mini-golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf.

Entrance to Acadia is $35 for a private vehicle and all its occupants and is valid for seven days. A separate $6 fee and a reservation on are needed to drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard.

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer and early fall (June through mid-October)
  • Nearest Airport: Bangor International Airport (BGR)
  • Where to Stay: Bar Harbor Inn

As experience by Adrienne of Destinations and Desserts

Acadia National Park in Maine, fall foliage and water views. Image provided by Destinations and Desserts.

14. Jersey Shore, New Jersey

The Jersey Shore is one of the best family vacation destinations in the summer. The state has 141 miles of coastline, and you can find family-friendly entertainment throughout the various shore towns. 

Asbury Park is a highlight for many families. The Coney Island-like boardwalk offers games, whimsical amusements, music, restaurants, and counter service eateries. Mini-golf is a boardwalk favorite. The boardwalk also hosts several fireworks nights though out the summer.

Seaside Heights brings carnival games to the max. Despite being known for nightlife, this shore town offers lots of entertainment for children. Enjoy the classic soft-serve ice cream to finish off an amazing day at the beach.

Spring Lake can be enjoyed by families seeking respite from the world. This small town is quite nice, and families can enjoy a peaceful, undisturbed day in the sun.

Across the state, beach admission ranges $8-12, depending on the beach and day of the week.

Down the shore, many local businesses only accept cash, so plan ahead!

  • Best Time to Visit: June-September
  • Nearest Airport: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Where to Stay: Grand Victorian

As Experienced by Eleanor of Elevate Your Escapes

Steel Pier in Atlantic City on the Jersey Shore, New Jersey. Sunset views of the pier with the ferris wheel and more. Best Vacation Destinations for families in the USA.

15. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s blend of history, education, outdoor activities, and tasty treats creates an ideal environment for families to bond and explore together. With its wealth of kid-friendly attractions, Boston ensures that every visit will be filled with fun and enriching experiences for both parents and children, making it the best family vacation destinations.

Boston is famous for its Freedom Trail which is a 2.5-mile walking trail filled with historical sites. It includes historic houses, old burial grounds, a tall tower at the Bunker Hill Monument which offers panoramic views of the city and even a real warship called the USS Constitution Museum.

Boston also has some incredible green spaces like the Arnold Arboretum, which hosts a wide variety of plants, the Boston Common which is perfect for picnics and paddle boating, and the Esplanade along the Charles River which offers scenic bike rides and walks. 

The Franklin Park Zoo features some exotic animals and educational exhibits as well.  Boston is also a top-notch location for whale watching. Several tour companies operate out of Boston, harbor providing a thrilling and educational experience.

There are a lot of great eats around the city. The North End has some amazing Italian restaurants with the famous Mike’s Pastry offering delicious pastries, cannolis, and baked treats. Quincy Market is popular for the amazing food stalls that offer the best clam chowder and lobster rolls. 

  • Best Time to Visit: June-September
  • Nearest Airport: Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Where to Stay: The Bostonian

As experienced by Pri of Adventures for the Busy Soul


Discover the charm of the Midwest’s best family vacation destinations . Explore open prairies, iconic Chicago museums, and the calming Great Lakes. Create lasting memories in a region as warm as its people.

16. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

If you’re looking for one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA, then you cannot beat Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

After all, families will love doing an easy hike to Brandywine Falls and learning about the creation of the Erie Canal at the Canal Exploration Center. Afterward, kids can see the Erie Canal in action by walking or biking along the Erie Canal Towpath. 

However, the real highlight of any visit to Cuyahoga National Park is a ride aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. It’s an amazing, historic steam train that takes visitors through the park. In total, the ride is just under an hour long and gives you stellar views of the area. 

And while Cuyahoga Valley National Park is amazing at any time of year, try to visit during the third week of October so that you can your family can take in amazing fall foliage.

As experienced by Linda of Midwest Explored

Brandywine Falls located in Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio--one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA

17. Chicago, Illinois

With its vibrant cityscape, stunning parks, and endless kid-friendly activities, Chicago is the perfect destination to create unforgettable memories with your little ones.

Get ready to be amazed by the joy of Chicago’s lakefront parks! Explore the family-friendly fun and take in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan at Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, and Lincoln Park Zoo.

For a vibrant entertainment experience, head to Navy Pier, where you’ll find the Chicago Children’s Museum and a Ferris wheel offering stunning city skyline views.

Don’t forget to immerse yourselves in the wonders of museums like the Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium. And make sure to check out Grant Park and Welles Park in Lincoln Square for outdoor adventures.

Chicago is a great place for families to visit with kids of any age, during any season of the year!

  • Best Time to Visit: June-October
  • Nearest Airport: Midway International Airport (MDW) or O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Where to Stay: The Drake

As experienced by Brodi Cole of Our Offbeat Life

The Chicago Bean in Chicago, Illinois --best family vacation destinations in the USA

18. Omaha, Nebraska

If you’re looking for one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA, look no further than Omaha, Nebraska. This affordable spot in the Midwest offers family-friendly activities for kids of all ages.

Nebraska’s #1 tourist attraction lies just outside of downtown: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. It’s consistently ranked as one of the world’s top 5 zoos, and regularly competes for the #1 spot with the San Diego Zoo. You’ll want an entire day to see the highlights, but it can easily be a multi-day attraction, too.

While you’re in Omaha, check out the many museums and gardens, perfect for kids young and old. Downtown Omaha offers a fantastic family getaway, with interesting cobblestone streets and fun restaurants in the Old Market. 

There are also several free attractions downtown, including the Heartland of America Park, Gene Leahy Mall at the Riverfront (and an amazing play installation called the Arches Playground). Be sure to walk the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which is the first pedestrian bridge across a river and connects two states: Nebraska and Iowa.

Just about 30 minutes north of downtown Omaha is the fun and affordable Hitchcock Nature Center in the Loess Hills, Iowa. This is a great area to stretch your legs, go for a hike and see the local scenery. The Loess Hills are a unique land formation that stretches over 200 miles long, and are a geological wonder that were created during the last ice age. So fun! 

  • Best time to visit: May – September 
  • Nearest Airport: Omaha International Airport (OMA)
  • Where to Stay: Magnolia Hotel Omaha

As experienced by Nikki of Inspired Routes

Bob Kerry Bridge Troll in Omaha, Nebraska--best family vacation destinations in the USA

19. Branson, Missouri

Branson is a great family-friendly vacation destination. There are so many incredible things to do. You could spend weeks seeing everything that Branson has to offer. The list includes amusement parks, adventure sports, caves, shows, lakes, trails, museums, and waterparks.

Some of the most popular sights in Branson are Silver Dollar City, Showboat Branson Belle, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show, and Table Rock Lake. The Branson Landing has plenty of shopping and dining options to please every family member.

  • Best Time to Visit: Year Round, but the fall and Christmas seasons are extra special.
  • Nearest Airport: Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF)
  • Where to Stay: Grand Country Waterpark Resort

As experienced by Caitlin of Twin Family Travels

White River/Table Rock Lake Branson, Missouri

20. Saint Louis, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri is one of the best family vacation destinations in the Midwest for a family vacation as it has various outdoor and indoor attractions to suit all ages.

The iconic Gateway Arch is a must-see in the city, so don’t forget to take a family photo with this landmark as the background. After that, explore the interactive museum at the Gateway Arch and take a tram ride to the top for a panoramic view of the city.

One of the most popular family attractions in the city is the Saint Louis Zoo, and admission is free. The zoo is divided into several themed areas featuring different animals.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is another beautiful and educational destination. It has a children’s garden with interactive exhibits and play areas for kids. Another highlight is the Climatron, a dome conservatory that houses a lush tropical rainforest.

Other attractions the whole family will enjoy include the Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, and the City Museum. When it’s time to recharge, head to one of the family-owned restaurants in the Hill, a long-established Italian-American neighborhood, for a feast of pizzas, pasta, and other Italian classics.

  • Best Time to Visit: April-June or September-November
  • Nearest Airport: St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Where to Stay: Marriott St. Louis Grand

As experienced by Sophie of Delightful Travel Notes

Gateway Arch located in Saint Louis, Missouri--best family vacation destinations in the midwest USA


Embark on the best family vacation destinations in the Southwest. Marvel at the grandeur of the Grand Canyon and immerse yourselves in a world of natural beauty and adventure that promises unforgettable memories.

21. White Sands National Park, New Mexico

White Sands National Park in New Mexico is one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA. 

The beautiful area around the white sand dunes attracts many people from all over the world every year for good reason.

Young and old love exploring the National Park and the many great activities it has to offer. Children love renting sleighs and racing down the dunes with them.

The visitor’s center and museum offer a small exhibition with lots of interactive information. It teaches children about the importance of the White Sands and all the animals and plants that live in it. A guided ranger walk is another great experience in the White Sands for young and old. 

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring or Fall
  • Nearest Airport: El Paso International Airport (ELP)
  • Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Alamogordo

As experienced by Sabrina of USAdventure

White Sands National Park in New Mexico, best family vacation destinations in USA, photo by Sabrina of USAdventure

22. Austin, Texas

Active families looking for the best family vacation destinations with plenty to do and see will want to check out Austin, Texas.

A variety of museums are sure to entertain all ages, such as the amazing Thinkery Children’s Museum, Bullock Museum for those who want to learn more about the Old West, and the delicious Museum of Ice Cream complete with a pool of sprinkles. The State Capitol Building also provides free tours with a healthy dose of Texas history.

Zilker Park is the perfect place to run off some energy and plan a picnic. Kayaks rentals line Lady Bird Lake, and in the summer, visitors can take to the water at sunset to watch millions of bats fly out from under Congress Avenue Bridge. A fantastic playground in the area is the Alliance Children’s Garden. Dessert at Amy’s Ice Cream afterward is always a good idea!

Breweries and outdoor eateries in Austin ensure that parents can eat a tasty, local meal and children can play on the outdoor playgrounds that are quite common. Consider checking out Central Market Café, Home slice Pizza, or Rudy’s BBQ. For a slightly further drive head north of Austin to Good Lot or Main Street Social for live music included too!

As experienced by Sierra of Very Truly Texas

23. Sedona, Arizona

With its endless outdoor adventures, Sedona, Arizona is one of the best family vacation destinations for families looking to get outside. 

Sedona is famed for its epic red rock walls and mesas, which stand in stark contrast to its green Ponderosa pine tree forests. The best way to enjoy the stunning scenery is to explore any of the incredible hikes in Sedona

For example, the Soldier Pass Trail is family-friendly and takes hikers past a massive sinkhole, a unique series of cascading pools in the desert, and tons of unique rock formations. Alternatively, the Birthing Cave is an easy hike that leads you to an enormous cave, whose walls are perfect to climb on and epic vistas of the surrounding mesas. 

If you’re visiting in the warmer months, consider a stop at Slide Rock State Park, which offers a natural waterslide, carved out of the slick rock, and several swimming holes to explore. You’ll have a hard time dragging the kids way from the park! 

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring (late February-early April)
  • Nearest Airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Where to Stay: The Hilton Sedona Resort

As experienced by Jess of Uprooted Traveler

Sedona, Arizona--best family vacation destinations in the USA


Experience the breathtaking beauty of the American West with these best family vacation destinations. From the stunning coastlines of California to the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, create lifelong memories as you explore diverse landscapes, iconic national parks, and a wealth of outdoor activities suitable for every family member.

24. San Diego, California

San Diego is one of the best family vacation destinations because it is incredibly kid-friendly and fun! Whether in San Diego or neighboring cities like La Jolla and Carlsbad, your kids will not be bored. 

While in San Diego, there are several major family-friendly attractions to visit, like LEGOLAND California, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, and SeaWorld. However, if your kids are interested in learning more traditionally, head to Balboa Park, where there are several museums, such as the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Model Railroad Museum.

During your trip to San Diego, consider heading about twenty-five minutes north to La Jolla, where there are several more exciting things to do. For example, your family might enjoy ocean-based activities like kayaking the La Jolla Caves, surfing, or building a sandcastle at the beach. These are just a few of the fun-filled family adventures awaiting you in La Jolla.

As experienced by Michelle Steinhardt, Founder of The Trav Nav

Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove, San Diego, best family vacation destinations

25. Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States, and one of the most beautiful family vacation destinations in North America with its crystal clear turquoise water and the surroundings of alpine mountains.

The year-round things to do with kids in Lake Tahoe for both summer and winter vacations easily makes it one of the best family vacation destinations.

There are stroller and family friendly trails, such as the East Tahoe Shoreline which allows you to walk along the east coast of the lake, taking in incredible views of the water and surrounding mountains. There are plenty of family-friendly beaches, such as San Arbour Beach, with activities such as swimming, kayaking as well as kid’s playgrounds. 

You can also book a boat tour from South Lake Tahoe and experience being able to see down to the bottom of the lake, even from the surface 100s of feet above.

In the winter, there are a number of ski resorts in both South and North Lake Tahoe with snow schools that can teach or improve the skiing and snowboarding skills of young children. 

At any time of year, be sure to take a walk around Heavenly Village and take part in kid’s activities, such as mini-golf and a kid’s bungee trampoline. Ride the Heavenly Gondola which brings you to stunning panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

As experienced by Kristin of Tiny Footsteps Travel

View of Lake Tahoe --Best Family Vacation Destinations in the West, USA, photo by Kristin of Tiny Footsteps Travel

26. San Fransisco, California

San Francisco makes for one of the best family vacation destinations in the West. You should plan to spend 3 or 4 days in San Francisco to explore this city with kids. 

Apart from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and other sights that are on offer, there are many things to do together as a family. A visit to California Science Center is something to definitely put on your itinerary with kids. This science center has a planetarium, a natural history section, an aquarium and a rainforest! You can easily spend 3-4 hours here.

Strolling along the touristy area of Fisherman’s Wharf would be fun. Kids would be delighted to see the antics of sea lions at Pier 33. A stop at the famous Ghirardelli store in this area to get an ice-cream would always go down well. Another fun activity center close by is the Exploratorium. Their exhibits and activities would delight and interest the kids of all ages.

In addition, San Francisco has great street art and lively cafes that would be interesting for teens and older kids.

As experienced by Shweta of Zest in a Tote

27. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is home to some of the most incredibly curated activities for families with some of the top museums in the world, as well as, big name attractions that kids will love!

Disneyland is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles as a family and makes this part of California one of the best family vacation destinations. Even if you only have one day in Disneyland, you can still experience a lot. Some of the best things to do are visit the newly revamped Toon Town, try blue or green milk in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, say hi to your favorite heroes at Avengers Campus, and interact with Crush from Finding Nemo at Turtle Talk with Crush.

Beyond theme parks, families will love interactive museums like the California Science Center, Griffith Observatory, and the Huntington Library and Gardens.

  • Best Time to Visit: Year Round, Winter (fewer crowds), Spring (best weather)
  • Nearest Airport: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Where to Stay: Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel

As experienced by Alanna of Periodic Adventures

Disneyland California castle located in Anaheim--best family vacation destinations

28. Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado is one of the best family vacation destinations due to its unique blend of outdoor adventures and captivating cultural attractions.

There are a variety of child-friendly things to do in Denver such as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Denver Art Museum. The city’s downtown area is pedestrian-friendly with numerous parks, the Denver Zoo, and the aquarium.

Located just 1.5 hours from Denver, its proximity to the Rocky Mountains offers a plethora of outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and camping–perfect for families that love to explore nature and national parks.

Once your family has explored all there is to see in Denver, you can also take a few day trips to the surrounding areas. Some of the most popular include the Red Rocks, Gardens of the Gods, and Cave of the Winds.

If your family enjoys thrilling outdoor pursuits, immersing in art and science, and simply strolling in vibrant urban parks, Denver is one of the best vacation destinations!

As experienced by Pafoua at Her Wanderful World

Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park located outside Denver, Colorado--best family vacation destinations in the USA

29. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is definitely one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA as there is a lot to see and do to keep the little ones entertained, from incredible geysers to cool wildlife in the park.

Two great places to check out wildlife with the family are Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley. There are over 200 different species of animals in the park so you will be sure to see something cool. We have seen bears with cubs, bison, elk and foxes before in Yellowstone (all from a safe distance of course!)

In addition, it’s also recommended taking kids to see the Old Faithful geyser while in Yellowstone as it can impressively reach a height of 135 feet! It erupts approximately every 90 minutes. To help plan your visit, you can see the next approximate eruption time on the Yellowstone app.

If going on a romantic getaway to Yellowstone be sure to visit the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. It is also a place the kids will love seeing due to all the different colors. You do need to be mindful however to watch the kids closely if you take them here as not all dangerous areas are blocked off.

  • Best Time to Visit: Fall (smaller crowds)
  • Nearest Airport: West Yellowstone Airport (WYS) or Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)
  • Where to Stay: Under Canvas West Yellowstone

As experienced by Bett of Couple Travel The World

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

30. Canon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach can easily be seen as one of the best family vacation destinations, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest! There are so many things to do in Cannon Beach with the whole crew.

A visit to Canon Beach wouldn’t be complete without visiting the iconic Haystack Rock. It’s a towering 235 feet tall and visitors can walk right up to it during low tide.

The best time to visit is in the summer, when most (if not all) of the outdoor activities nearby are all at their peak. This includes coastal hikes to Indian Beach, walking along the shoreline to discover tide pools by Haystack Rock, and finding the hidden waterfall near Hug Point. It’s a great spot for young kids to get dirty, be curious, and explore the natural world!

As experienced by Emily of The Mandagies

Canon Beach, Oregon--best family vacation destinations in the USA, photo by The Mandagies

31. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park is a wonderland when you’re looking for the best family vacation destinations. Located a few hours northwest of Seattle, kids will love taking the ferry and then driving up the Olympic Peninsula.

There’s so much to do here, from hiking in the mountains and seeing wildlife to going to the Pacific Ocean and walking along the beach. The park even has one of the few rainforests in the country, so you’ll want to stop at the Hoh Rain Forest during your visit.

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer & Fall
  • Nearest Airport: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Where to Stay: Dungeness Bay Cottages

As experienced by Marissa of Road Trip Wanderers

Waterfall in Olympic National Park in Washington State. Photo by Marissa of Road Trip Wanderers

32. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu is one of the best family vacation destinations in the USA due to its diverse activities, beautiful beaches, historical sites like Pearl Harbor, and family-friendly attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, and Dole Plantation.

The landscape in Oahu is very diverse offering opportunities to explore lush rainforests, volcanic craters like Diamond Head, and scenic viewpoints.

With warm weather year-round, Oahu offers fun outdoor adventures like snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing, and hiking.  

  • Best Time to Visit: Year Round, April-June or September-December for lesser crowds
  • Nearest Airport: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Where to Stay: Disney’s Aulani Resort

As experienced by Kim of Traveling Swansons

Beach in Oahu, Hawaii--best vacation destinations for families, photo by Kim of Traveling Swansons

33. Skagway, Alaska

Skagway is a tiny town of about 1,000 but explodes with about a million tourists in summer. If you’re traveling to Skagway with children, this town offers numerous kid-friendly activities and is truly one of the best family vacation destinations.

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway offers a scenic ride into the Yukon in Canada in vintage carriages.

Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive the Klondike Highway to Emerald Lake, with many fantastic stops. Along the way, your children will enjoy visiting Tutshi Sled Dog Camp and seeing Carcross Desert, the smallest of its kind globally.

In Skagway, popular tours include gold panning, zip lining at Grizzly Falls, suitable for children six years and up, or the Sled Dog and Musher’s Camp.

The Klondike National Historical Park runs a ranger program if kids want to earn their badge. By visiting the Junior Ranger Activity Center, they can complete a range of tasks while learning the history of Skagway.

  • Best Time to Visit: May through September
  • Nearest Airport: Juneau International Airport (JNU) From Juneau, you can take a smaller plane to Skagway or travel by ferry.
  • Where to Stay: Historic Skagway Inn

As experienced by Karen of Forever Karen

The train in Skagway, Alaska--the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. View picturesque mountains and scenery. Best family vacation destinations in the USA.

Best Family Vacation Destinations: Conclusion

As you consider the best family vacation destinations across the USA, remember that each region offers a unique tapestry of experiences for families to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, cultural immersion, or serene natural beauty, the diverse landscapes of the USA provide an array of options to suit your family’s preferences. From coast to coast, these destinations promise not just a vacation, but a journey filled with cherished moments that will be talked about for generations.

What has been one of your best family vacation destinations in the USA?

Save the BEST Family Vacation Destinations in the USA on Pinterest!

*This post contains affiliate links meaning at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.*

Leave a Comment

The Comments

  • Alicia
    September 6, 2023

    I was fortunate enough to go on several of these family vacations as a child, including Chicago, Orlando, Branson, Denver, and more. I think my favorite was Williamsburg. We still talk about much we enjoyed that trip!

    • Brittney
      → Alicia
      September 6, 2023

      So fun! We hope to take our daughter to a lot more destinations as she gets older, so she can appreciate the history and enjoy everything. My husband and I are visiting Colorado for the first time in a few weeks!

  • Sharyn McCullum
    September 6, 2023

    So many fabulous places to holiday in the USA. I’m ticking them off my bucket list slowly.

  • Hannah
    September 6, 2023

    What a great list of amazing holiday destinations. I reckon my favourites are Boston, Chicago, and Chattanooga! I’d love to visit the Outer Banks one day – it’s firmly on my list.

    • Brittney
      → Hannah
      September 6, 2023

      Boston is definitely one of our favorites and we’ve been several times!

  • Carolina
    September 6, 2023

    My mom and I happen to travel quite often and we’re planning on doing a trip somewhere on the East Coast (Yellowstone and Maine are definitely on our bucket list!). Thank you for sharing so many options!

  • Hannah
    September 6, 2023

    What a great list! I’ve been to several, but still have a lot to try. Somehow I grew up in Washington and STILL haven’t been to the Olympic National Forest. I guess this is my sign! 😉

    • Brittney
      → Hannah
      September 6, 2023

      As a Floridian, I’ve yet to see so much of the west, but I’m really hoping to soon! Can’t get over all of the beautiful scenery.

  • Lindsey
    September 7, 2023

    This looks like a great list for intergenerational travelers!

    • Brittney
      → Lindsey
      September 8, 2023