The Best Family Vacation Destinations

Over Memorial Day, the traditional start to summer vacation, TSA saw a record number of passengers at airports across the US. This is a sure sign Americans are ready to get back to traveling after staying home during the pandemic. 

Are you feeling some wanderlust and are ready to start planning your first family vacation in a long time? You’re not alone. Vacation destinations across the country are seeing an uptick in vacationers, a happy sign things are returning to normal. 

Wondering about family vacation ideas, where you should plan your next trip? Read on for our list of the best family vacation locations you should consider. 

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is so much more than bickering politicians. In fact, it’s a treasure trove of activities and sites for families and many of them are free. 

You can spend part of a day walking the National Mall and doing a monument tour. If you feel sporty, rent a scooter for each family member and zip through the mall from location to location. 

Spend some time at the historic museums including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museum. Want to imagine life as a spy, try out the International Spy Museum. 

Want to add some culture to your kids’ lives, spend some time at the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery or the United States Botanic Garden. 

You could even spend the day at the National Zoo with its 1,500 plus animals to see. 

Colorado Springs, Colorado

With the perfect mix of outdoor activities and things to interest kids, you’ll love your time in the mountains in Colorado Springs.

You could drive to the top of Pikes Peak or take the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top. 

There are endless mountain trails for hiking if your family likes outdoor adventures. 

Want to venture into downtown Colorado Springs? Take time to enjoy the city life of art, culture, shopping, and a wide array of restaurant choices. 

Take a day trip across the state and visit Colorado’s version of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado National Monument.

San Diego, California

Not interested in mountains, then head to the always lovely weathered San Diego in southern California. With miles of endless coastline and picturesque beaches, you can visit San Diego’s Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Mission Beach.

You could spend several days wandering the San Diego Zoo and see the 12,000 animals of more than 650 species ready for your visit. 

Have a kid in your family who’s fascinated with ships and planes. They’ll adore San Diego’s rich military history. You could spend some time at the USS Midway Museum. 

Visit Old Town San Diego with its blocks and blocks of Victorian buildings with shopping and restaurants galore. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Every child should see and experience the Grand Canyon at least once in their lifetime. It’s more than just standing around looking at colored rocks too. The Grand Canyon, named a World Heritage site by UNESCO, is a sight to behold with a host of activities kids will love. 

Do you have a family of adventurers? Then you need to try:

  • Bright Angel Trail
  • Ride on the Grand Canyon Railway
  • Go on a mule ride along the North Rim
  • Check out the stunning red-orange views from the Grand Canyon Skywalk
  • Go white water rafting on the Colorado River

You can even get in some city time with a visit to Arizona’s Flagstaff or Phoenix hot spots.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Does your family like a slower-paced kind of vacation vibe? How about a vacation on the beach, with nothing but sand and beach. The Outer Banks in North Carolina are a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. 

Want to sprinkle in some history between sandcastles? Visit Kill Devil Hills the location where the Wright brothers took their first flight. 

Ever heard of Blackbeard, the famous pirate? Visit Ocracoke, where Blackbeard fought the last battle and where the Lost Colony disappeared.

You can spend time exploring the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and tire the kids out with plenty of sand dune climbing. 

If you have little ones, they’ll love the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island.

Chicago, Illinois

Want a more action-packed city kind of vacation? You and your kids will love some time in the Windy City, Chicago.

You can spend the day at the Shedd Aquarium or wander through Millennium Park. Visit the Navy Pier for views on the Ferris wheel or some educational fun at the Chicago Children’s Museum.

Want some real fantastic views? Head to the top of the Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower or the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the John Hancock Center.

Take in a baseball game at Wrigley Field and don’t forget to try some of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzas. 

Branson, Missouri

Branson is located in the foothills of the Ozarks and often referred to as the family version of Las Vegas. There’s something for every member of the family to do. 

The Silver Dollar City theme park has water slides and roller coasters for those high-adrenaline members of your family. Or try the White Water Branson water park and spend an afternoon floating along the lazy river. 

If you have a train lover, they’ll be delighted by the Branson Scenic Railway which takes you on a scenic ride through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. 

Ready for nightlife? Try one of the many shows or musical productions that gave Branson its claim to fame.

Start Planning Your Family Vacation

The hardest part of your family vacation won’t be getting everyone packed up. Instead, it might just be deciding which of these family vacation ideas to start planning.

If you want more vacation ideas or to keep up with the latest vacation ideas, be sure to visit our Travel News page. 

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