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Summertime means the family weekend getaways planning commences!
The best family vacations in the US are jam-packed with fun things to do and exciting things to see.
If you haven’t started planning your next family trip in the US yet, this list will help you narrow down the choices. You may have to put up with a few “Are we there yet?” questions from the kids, but that’s just because they can’t wait any longer.
It’s easier than you think to take your kids on one of the best family trips in the US. If this isn’t your first rodeo, you know you need to choose a place with a lot of things to do so you can avoid the dreaded meltdowns and tantrums. We did the research to find the best family vacations in the US The places on our list are some of the best places to visit in the country, and both kids and adults will enjoy them.
Florida and California are obvious choices because they have many popular Disney properties. Parents can remember what it was like to be young, and kids can meet their favorite characters. If you want nonstop entertainment but don’t like amusement parks, we recommend Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri. In one day, you can hike, ride a tram, meet animals, and see a show. Going on an outdoor adventure or going to a national park like Yellowstone or the Smoky Mountains gives kids a chance to get back in touch with nature and burn off a lot of energy. We’ve added a dude ranch and a beach that not many people know about just for good measure.
10. Oahu in Hawaii
The long, rolling waves of Oahu’s Waikiki Beach are the best place to learn how to surf. Other family-friendly activities include paddling an authentic outrigger canoe or learning the graceful moves of hula.
On a Waikiki Trolley tour, you can see the most beautiful and important places on the island and swim with dolphins at Sea Life Park.
Families who want to get the most out of Hawaii should try to split their time between the busy city of Honolulu and a more relaxed area, like the north shore of Oahu or family-friendly Maui.
9. Tucson in Arizona
Families should go on a dude ranch vacation, and Tanque Verde in Tucson, Arizona, is one of the best. It has beautiful trails that wind through desert and mountain scenery.
This is a great place for kids who like horses to improve their riding skills. This is also a good place for kids who have never been on a horse before to learn how to ride. The kids’ club has activities every day, like horseback riding and arts and crafts. There is also a spa to help with aches and pains from spending too much time in the saddle.
In the city, you can find museums, coffee roasters, microbreweries, and a beautiful landscape with saguaros, barrel cacti, and prickly pear.
8. San Diego in California
Beach trips are some of our favorite types of family weekend trips, and San Diego’s got plenty of beach to go around!
With sunny beaches, amazing theme parks, and the world’s largest comic book convention, there are no bored kids in sunny San Diego.
Plus, the best activities for kids won’t make adults stare at their phones like a good Pixar movie. We’re sure that both kids and their parents will enjoy meeting exotic animals, splashing through water fountains, and looking up at huge Lego sculptures.
Stay away from louder crowds and enjoy the calm waves at Mission Beach, Coronado Beach, or La Jolla Shores with other families.
7. Los Angeles & Anaheim in California
This Southern California trip has things to do from Santa Monica to Anaheim, so it will take more than a weekend.
Want to find famous people? Book a Starline Tours Movie Stars’ Homes Tour or a backlot studio tour to see what goes on behind the scenes of a movie.
In Santa Monica, you can rent bikes to see the beach and the old-fashioned Santa Monica Pier, which has carnival games, a vintage carousel, and an aquarium. Then go south to Anaheim, where you can find fun places like Disneyland.
Looking for something other than Disney? Knott’s Berry Farm is a good choice for thrill-seekers (there are real roller coasters there) and fans of the park’s mascots, Snoopy and Peanuts.
Expect to spend some money while in Los Angeles – it’s not exactly our top destination for family weekend trips on a budget, but a trip here is definitely worth the cost!
6. Grand Canyon in Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the coolest places for kids to visit. It is one mile deep, 277 miles long, and can be seen from space.
From the top, you can walk, ride a bike, or ride a mule down to the bottom. Guided hikes are great for kids ages 6 and up. When you get out of Wi-Fi range, the kids might whine, but they’ll always remember hiking these trails.
Don’t miss the amazing Skywalk at Grand Canyon West. It sticks out 70 feet from the canyon rim, and there’s nothing but glass between you and the Colorado River 4,000 feet below.
5. Yosemite in California
Yosemite, in California’s Sierra Nevada, is known for its wide valleys, towering granite cliffs, giant sequoias, waterfalls, and lots of wildlife. In the 1,169-square-mile national park, you and your family can go hiking, swimming, rafting, and fishing, among other things.
Reservations for the 13 campgrounds are hard to get, and you need to book months in advance. However, Curry Village is open from April to October and has cabins and tented cabins that sleep up to six people and give you the camping experience without the hassle of setting up.
4. Yellowstone in Wyoming
There is no other place on Earth like Yellowstone National Park. The huge natural sanctuary (3,471 square miles of green!) amazes everyone who visits with its mountains, canyons, geysers, subalpine forests, and buffalo. Yellowstone’s wonders are for everyone, as there are both hard hikes into the backcountry and wooden boardwalks that people with disabilities can use. Plan a trip to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center if you want to see animals without having to hike.
It’s the perfect family weekend getaway for nature enthusiasts, and a great option for those looking for family weekend destinations in the Midwest!
Bring a tent and get here early to get the most out of the cheap campgrounds (seven are first-come, first-served and five require reservations). Put snacks and meals for the weekend in a cooler and put it in the car.
3. Branson in Missouri
In Branson, Missouri, you can have fun with your family without crowds or prices that keep going up.
Enjoy classic family fun in the great outdoors, like hiking and biking in Table Rock State Park or kayaking on Lake Taneycomo. Plan to spend some time at Silver Dollar City, which has rides, attractions, shows, and food for families of all ages and interests.
Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve is on a bluff with a view of the Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake. It has a cave and nature trail, a golf course, a natural history museum, four restaurants, a clifftop wedding chapel, and a cabin from the Civil War. It’s thought to be one of the best places to have fun in the state.
2. Destin in Florida
Destin is a great place for family fun in the sun. It is known for its fishing spots and long white sand beaches. Kids will love the calm beaches, especially along Henderson Beach State Park and the Shores at Crystal Beach Park, and the amusement parks. Big Kahuna’s has waterslides and a lazy river, and Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park has dolphins and penguins.
A boat tour is a must while in Destin. Destin has everything from dolphin-watching tours to pirate-themed cruises to high-speed racers and glass-bottom boats.
Destin is also a great choice for those looking for a quick weekend trip from Atlanta, and other cities in the southeast.
1. Orlando in Florida (Best for Family Weekend Getaways with Kids)
Disney World is a 43-square-mile resort complex in Orlando, Florida. It has four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), two water parks, golf courses, and 36 hotels. It is the largest resort complex in the world. Add a day or two at Universal Orlando Resort, where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is, to get the most out of a theme park. This is one of the best family weekend getaways for both kids and adults alike, there’s something here for everyone here!
Allow at least two days (multi-day tickets are best) and stay on-site. This will give you more time in the parks and early access to Fast Pass reservations, which are essential for skipping lines. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are set in the woods and have a frontier style. They can sleep up to six people.