Most kids love to see new places. We love adventures. We love to make new friends. We love family vacations. Here’s a list of the best family vacation spots in the USA to visit with your kids while they still want to take a family vacation with you and after you’ve figured out how to make traveling with them a breeze.
Traveling as a family will create memories that will last a lifetime, especially if you choose one of the best family vacation spots in the USA. There are so many fabulous destinations that you can choose from, but I have narrowed it down to the ones that your family will love the most.
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is always on the list of best vacation spots in the USA, because of the gorgeous views that can be seen at any time of the year. While you can hike many of the trails, you may prefer to go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, speed along the Grand Canyon Railway, or ride a mule along the North Rim.
Spending time on the Grand Canyon Skywalk is a definite must, because it takes you seventy feet out over the canyon. This is where you will see the best views around you, as well as four thousand feet below you.
2. National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C
The National Air and Space Museum is located within two buildings in Washington DC, but you will probably want to spend most of your time at the one in the National Mall. This huge building has dozens of airplanes on display, along with multiple exhibits that include everything you need to know about the different aircrafts over the years. Before you venture over to the space area, you must ride in one of the flight simulators, so you can see firsthand how difficult, yet fun, it is to fly!
When you finally reach the space area, you can see a spacesuit up close and even walk through part of a real space shuttle. Don’t forget to purchase a pack or two of the space foods at one of the gift shops. You can pretend you are an astronaut when you are eating them, and you will even be shocked at how wonderful they taste!
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone National Park is always going to be on the list of best vacation destinations, whether you are traveling with kids, alone, or with a group of friends! You will love hiking the trails, as you discover the rainbow-colored hot springs and much of the wildlife that lives within this park. Do not be surprised if you see an elk, grizzly bear, or elk blocking your path.
They will move eventually, but you may want to venture off in another direction. If you do not plan on staying in this park for very long, make sure you at least take the time to see Old Faithful. This ever-popular geyser routinely goes off like clockwork, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long to see it shoot up in the air.
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
The Sleeping Bear Dunes can be found along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and it offers extraordinary views along with a plethora of things that you can do with your family. The best time to visit this area is during the summer, because the weather is warm, and the sun is almost always shining.
Begin your stay with a stop at the Visitor’s Center and then tackle the infamous dune climb, hike the Alligator Hill Trail, or do a little kayaking. A few photo ops can be found at the covered bridge, the Lake Michigan Overlook, and the Dune Overlook.
5. San Diego Zoo, California
One of the best ways to get an idea of where everything is within this zoo is to take the thirty-five-minute guided bus tour. Your guide will share many of the insider’s tips with you, so you can wander through the zoo and see what you want afterwards.
Of course, if you get tired of walking to the play areas, animal encounters, animal exhibits, and shows, you can always hop onto the Kangaroo Bus. There are four different stops that you can choose from and you can hop on and off all day long.
6. Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Kids are not always thrilled to visit museums, but your children will be thrilled with what they will see at the Art Institute of Chicago. No child can resist the miniature dollhouse rooms over in the Thorne Miniature Rooms exhibit. There are sixty-eight in all and you may find yourself needing to purchase and create your own dollhouse when you return home.
Outside, near the steps of the Michigan Avenue entrance, there are two lion statues that are just waiting to be included in a selfie or two. An all-time favorite activity at this Art Institute though is the workshops that will have your little artists creating something unique out of anything from paint to woodblock prints.
7. Arches National Park, Utah
While you can walk through Arches National Park, the sheer size will have you driving along the main road and making stops along the way. Your kids will love spending time running around, but they will also be grateful to be able to sit and maybe even take a quick nap on occasion.
A few of the best spots to see inside this park include the Balanced Rock, the Double Arches, and Windows. If you really want to do a little hiking, the Park Avenue Trail is easy enough to do with kids and it is only two miles long.
8. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Big Island
There are five volcanoes on the Hawaii island, but only two of them, Kilauea and Mauna Loa are inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. These two volcanoes are very active, so be prepared to change your plans at the last minute if necessary. It is recommended to stop at the Visitor’s Center when you get to this park, so you can see if there are any sections that are closed.
The Crater Rim Drive Tour is a self-guided tour that is very popular and one of the better stops is the Kilauea Overlook. The Thurston Lava Tube is another excellent attraction within this park, but please note that it is not stroller friendly therefore, you must plan on carrying little ones with you if they cannot walk too far on their own.
9. Georgia Aquarium, Georgia
The Georgia Aquarium in Georgia is huge, so you must plan to spend an entire day there, if not more. The six hundred thousand square feet of space has exhibits with a combined ten million gallons of both fresh and salt water.
You must plan your day carefully, especially if you are not going to be there too long. A few of the must-see animals and attractions include the beluga whales, touch pools, California sea lions, the dolphin show, African penguins, and any of the animal feedings.
10. Yosemite National Park, California
The Yosemite National Park was created millions of years ago by glaciers and you will stand there in awe as you look at massive cliffs and rock formations. Add in the Sequoia trees from a thousand years ago and the rushing waterfalls and you may never want to go home!
While you can explore as much of this park as you want, you will probably stick to the eight square miles that many other travelers do. Within the popular Yosemite Valley, you can hike along the trails to many natural monuments, including El Capitan and Half Dome.
11. Everglades National Park, Florida
Everglades National Park is one of the best family vacation spots in the USA especially if you are traveling there during the dry season, which is from November through March. It is during this time that the animals are out in full force, including the ones that arrive from other parts of the country for the warmer weather during this time of the year.
This park has more than one and a half million acres and you can access it from three different entrances. One of the best ways to see this park, and the wildlife that lives within it, is to take one of the airboat rides that are offered.
12. Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Texas
The Schlitterbahn Waterpark has two different sections and your family can easily go between the two all day long with the help of the free tram. Inside these New Braunfels parks, you will find fifty-one rivers, chutes, slides, and rides.
If your child is too young for some of the water rides, they can still play in many of the water playgrounds that accommodate even the youngest guests. A few of the all-time favorites at this park include The Falls, Sea Creature Cove, Kristal River, and the Blastenhoff Beach.
13. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
There are more than four hundred miles within the Mammoth Cave system, so don’t think you can see all the best areas in an hour or less! There is also more than four thousand years of history here and you can learn more about it during the Domes and Dripstones Tour.
If you are traveling with older children, think older teens, you all may prefer the Wild Cave Tour, because there are some dark areas to conquer along the way. Younger kids can always take the Trog Tour with two rangers and they will love exerting their independence because parents are not allowed to go with them!
14. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Denali is the highest peak in North America and this Alaskan destination will have you wanting more from the moment you arrive. It is best to drive through this park, but you can also take the hop on hop off bus that offers a narrated tour. It is important to note that you should visit this park during the summer months, because that is the only time that it is guaranteed that all the roads will be open.
As you are making stops, and even driving along, keep an eye out for moose, bears, wolves, and even caribou. You never know where you will spot a wild animal, so be cautious and prepared at all times! One of the best places to see the wildlife is the Polychrome Overlook. While at Denali National Park and Reserves, you must take the time to see a sled dog demonstration, tour the Visitor Center, and hike along the McKinley Station Trail all the way to Riley Creek. You may even want to sign up for a hike with a ranger, so you can see sights like Horseshoe Lake.
15. Outerbanks, North Carolina
If you are looking for a fabulous beach destination, you do not need to look any further than the Outer Banks in North Carolina. There is plenty of history in this part of the state and you can spend days seeing where the Wright Brothers took their first plane ride, Blackbeard lost his final battle, and the areas where a few of the more than three thousand shipwrecks are located.
There are numerous islands in the Outer Banks, so you will want to choose the one that is best for you carefully. While some people choose according to the nearby beaches, you may want to pick an island that is closest to the North Carolina Aquarium, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, or Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
These are the best family vacation spots in the USA, so planning your next vacation can be as simple as choosing one of these destinations and making plans. While you may not be able to see all these different destinations within the next couple years, you can easily start to slowly check them off your list. We hope these top vacation spots in the US will get you going on your next family vacation. Before you take off though, make sure you know what you need and also have chosen the best accommodation to make it a great trip for you and the kids.