If you have kids, especially the younger they are, it’s important and sometimes challenging to find family-friendly vacation destinations. You need places with a wide range of activities that appeal to all ages, a variety of dining choices, and reasonable lodging. Following are 13 of the most family-friendly destinations to plan a vacation in the U.S.
1. Scottsdale, Arizona
East of Phoenix, Scottsdale is a growing city with plenty going for it. Families will enjoy the amenities of numerous spa resorts and golf courses. Museums and the town’s old-town section keep its Western spirit alive, and nearby mountains and desertscapes offer scenery and adventure.
2. Grand Rapids, Michigan
The second-largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids is the economic and cultural hub of western Michigan, and it’s also one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest. Rich culture and history awaits any family coming for a visit. Parents will appreciate all the breweries, but there are still plenty of fun things for kids to do.
3. Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Named for a 3.5-mile section of rapids on the Mississippi River, Grand Rapids has evolved into a thriving community. All year long, there are festivals and other events sponsored by the city and local organizations. There are scenic byways and historic mines to discover, the Grand Rapids Speedway to enjoy, and so much more to see and do.
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis has all of the cultural and recreational opportunities you’d expect of any large city, but this city comes with a unique twist that family members of all ages will love: seven miles of glass-enclosed skyways span the downtown area, making exploration easy and fun.
5. Oahu, Hawaii
Home to the state capital, Honolulu, Oahu is one of the largest and most beautiful of the Hawaiian islands. Travel to and from the state isn’t cheap, but once you’re there, you’ll find plenty to keep the family happy and busy. Some top highlights include Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, and the Punchbowl, which is a crater that was transformed into a cemetery.
6. Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is in Lake Huron between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Mackinac Island State Park, which may be best known for Arch Rock, a limestone formation, covers most of the island. You can also visit Fort Mackinac, founded in 1870. Travel to and from the island is only possible by boat or plane.
7. Seattle, Washington
The Emerald City is about a lot more than tech and the music scene. Fun and informative museums abound, kids will love the Artists at Play Playground with its rope ladders and tube slides, and, of course, there’s the Space Needle. On sunny days, Mount Rainier and the coast aren’t far away from Seattle.
8. West Yellowstone, Montana
Most of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, but this town is in Montana and serves as one of the principal gateways to the park. On the drive along the Madison River into the park, there are often bald eagles perched in trees, and then you reach the Loop Road that leads to so many wonders. In and around town, there are museums, safari parks, and blue-ribbon trout fishing.
9. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
To clear up a common misconception, Jackson is the town and Jackson Hole is the long valley that runs between the world-famous Teton Range and the Gros Ventre Range. While Jackson itself is nowhere close to anyone’s idea of a cheap place to stay, there are affordable options in nearby communities. No matter where you make your base, you’ll have access to world-class scenery, hiking, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, and more. In town, enjoy the dining, shopping, and museums.
10. Orlando, Florida
Orlando was pretty much made for family vacations, and it needs no introduction. Draws like Disney World, the Epcot Center, and others have thrilled generations of families and will continue to do so. And although Orlando isn’t on the coast, the coast is never far away in Florida.
11. Washington, D.C.
Perhaps no other city in America is as much of a hub of history as D.C. is. In the city and the surrounding region, there’s so much to explore about our country’s history from its colonial days on. Then there’s the world-famous Smithsonian with all its separate museums, the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and so much more. When you need a break from all that history, you’ll enjoy the thriving restaurant and nightlife scene, or you can escape the city confines for pockets of wilderness such as Great Falls Park and Mason Neck.
12. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
One of the best times to visit Williamsburg is when one of the kids is studying colonial history in school. Old Town Williamsburg brings those days back to life with skilled reenactors, and Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America, isn’t far away. When the kids get antsy, take them to Busch Gardens, filled with rides and a theme of the Old Country.
13. Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks consist of some of the loveliest barrier islands on the entire east coast. Increasingly strong tropical storms and hurricanes are threatening the long-term survival of these delicate ecosystems, so experience the magic here while you still can. The towns have plenty of family-friendly things to do, but the main attractions are the miles and miles of pristine beaches, particularly around Cape Hatteras National Seashore, also home to a historic lighthouse that tried to help ships navigate an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
The Best Oahu Itinerary for Families
Vacationing in Hawaii is a bucket list for many people and rightly so since it’s such an amazing place! There is so much to do there that unless you’re staying for months, you simply won’t be able to fit it all in.
Whether you’re looking for a 5 day Oahu itinerary or a 7 day Oahu itinerary, you can use this as a guide to get a great idea of what you could plan each day.
Here’s Why Scottsdale May Be the Most Family-Friendly City in America
Scottsdale may well be the family entertainment capital of America. We recently visited the area with our kids—three teenagers and a nine-year-old—and can say without a doubt Scottsdale has plenty to offer that kept each of us happily entertained. Here’s what you need to know.
We Spent Three Days on Mackinac Island and This is What it Was Like
Stepping onto Mackinac Island feels like entering a storybook setting. It has a Norman Rockwell meets Disneyland’s Main Street type of feel, which had us immediately enchanted, soaking in the nostalgic charm and timeless beauty around every corner.
Recently, my family and I were invited to come and experience what Mission Point Resort has to offer on Mackinac Island. Not having been before, we weren’t sure what to expect of an island where cars weren’t allowed, but we were (very!) pleasantly surprised by the charm and quaintness the island offers.
Here’s what it was like to spend a few days in this laid-back Michigan town.
How Much Is a Trip to Hawaii For a Family of 4: How to Cut Expenses In Half
Aloha! Hawaii is always an ideal vacation location, evidenced by the 1.7 million people visiting each year. So whether it’s summer, spring, winter, or fall where you are, it’s always a great time to go to the islands.
The weather is perfect, the scenery is top-notch, the people are friendly, and the islands offer non-stop activities for vacationers. There’s only one question to ask: Can you afford a trip to Hawaii?
Southwest to Maui: How to Fly to Hawaii for Free
Is Hawaii on your bucket list of places to go on vacation? You’re not alone! Each year, almost 10 million people visit the Islands, but as I’m sure you know, it’s not cheap. Good news, though. I’m going to share with you how you can fly on Southwest to Maui and any other Hawaiian island for free!
Featured Image Credit: Karee Blunt | Our Woven Journey
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.