Thinking about loading up the whole crew for a getaway you can all enjoy? Browse the 10 best family vacation spots for a little inspiration for your next vacation!
We found destinations in the United States and abroad to help you plan a trip that appeals to kids and adults with plenty of things to do, places to see, and foods to try!
Looking for the Best Family Vacation Spots?
- The best destinations for families offer activities for all ages
- Discover spots from beaches to national parks everyone can enjoy
- Consider family size, activity preferences, and budget
Ahh, the family vacation – it’s a fun challenge to discover places that offer activities and attractions that can entertain the young and the old.
If you’re looking for the best family vacation spots to start planning your next trip, we’ve got you covered.
Before we dive into the list of the 10 best places for a trip the entire fam can enjoy, let’s talk about what makes a family vacation great.
When you’re looking for family-friendly destinations, you want areas that offer a diverse range of activities that appeal to both kids and adults.
That means incredible vineyards and adults-only all-inclusive resorts are out of the picture, but there are tons of places with a wider appeal that the entire family can get behind.
From sunny beaches with endless water sports and activities to natural beauty at some of our nation’s best national parks, it’s time to head somewhere new and exciting for your next family vacation.
Keep your family size, budget, and activity preferences in mind as you look at the list below.
We’ve ranked these spots in order of popularity, but you might find that your ideal destination is further down the list!
The 10 Best Family Vacation Spots in the USA
Ready to find the perfect spot for a family vacation that’s filled with new experiences everyone can enjoy?
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation with kid-friendly activities or an action-packed adventure that gets you out in nature, we’ve got excellent places to spend your getaway below.
US News ranked the top family vacation spots in the United States to see which destinations get the thumbs up from family members of all ages.
Check out the 10 best family vacation spots that offer tons of things to do for kids, adults, and everyone in between!
1. Orlando, Florida
Family-friendly theme parks like Disney World, Universal, Legoland, and SeaWorld are the major appeal of Orlando. With so many parks to visit, there’s something to interest every age group!
Explore Walt Disney World Resort to visit Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios over a few days for a chance to take in all the wonder.
At Universal, you’ll discover Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure (where you’ll find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), and Universal’s Volcano Bay water park.
If you’re planning on splitting your trip time between theme parks and the beach, you’ll only need to drive an hour or two to reach Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, or Daytona Beach.
The resort options are incredible in Orlando, and families find it convenient to stay right at the parks they plan to visit. Make sure to plan your visit during the best time to visit Orlando – between March and May.
Interested in visiting Orlando? Check out these helpful guides next to start planning your trip:
2. Yellowstone National Park
Can you see your family bonding over hikes, amazing natural wonders, and camping at Yellowstone National Park? This is a long-beloved favorite family vacation spot for a reason.
You’ll have the chance to see famous Old Faithful geyser ejecting boiling water 184 feet into the air with incredible force every hour or two.
But that’s not all this park has to offer families. About half of the world’s geysers are within the park, along with amazing hiking trails of all difficulty ratings to suit all abilities.
Stop and check out nearly 300 waterfalls surrounded by rainbow mists and spot wildlife like bison, wolves, and grizzlies at the Discovery Center (a surefire way to see them).
Make it a memorable trip for the whole family by pitching a tent and camping out for a few nights in Yellowstone. You’ll want to arrive sometime between June and September for the best camping weather.
Interested in visiting Yellowstone? Here are some guides to help you plan your trip:
3. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park in eastern central California is one of the best family vacation spots in America. It’s also one of the 23 most iconic places in America!
Bring the family to enjoy nearly 1,200 square miles of beautiful wilderness with amazing hiking trails, rivers, and campsites carved into the area.
Stand on the edge (but not too close, kids!) of rugged cliffs, check out majestic, thundering waterfalls, and take a raft down the powerful Merced River while you’re here.
You’ll walk beneath massive sequoia trees older than some cities, find cool spots to camp, and discover trails that are even more fun on horseback (with a guide).
A quick bus trip to Glacier Point rewards you with incredible vista views over the Yosemite Valley and there are tons of places to stay right in the valley so you’re never far from the fun.
Try to plan your visit during the best time to visit Yosemite – May through September – for the best camping and hiking weather.
4. Grand Canyon National Park
A visit to the iconic Grand Canyon National Park is something every family wants to do eventually – why not for your next trip?
Located in Arizona with major cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas a few hours away, GCNP is home to awe-inspiring rock formations and gigantic canyons carved into the stone over millions of years.
Choose your hike difficulty with trails from easy to difficult winding throughout the park and even down into the canyon.
The famous mule rides are thrilling for older kids (note the 4’9″ height requirement) and adults who want to experience the wonder of the canyon without the strenuous hike.
The Colorado River is prime for rafting and the Grand Canyon Railway makes a fun activity for all ages with great views along the way.
Park passes are good for 7 days here, but it’s a popular spot for camping and reservations need to made well in advance in the peak season from April to June.
Thinking the Grand Canyon is a prime spot for your family trip? Consider other fun activities in the area too!
5. Washington, D.C.
An educational trip that’s just as enjoyable for parents as it is for kids, traveling to our nation’s capital Washington, DC is a top-notch idea for a family vacation.
See the White House, Capitol, and Supreme Court to get a look at how our nation functions. Arlington National Cemetery provides a solemn remembrance of our military service members.
Everyone will be impressed by the exhibits in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, and National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.
The National Mall also features tons of free, kid-friendly attractions and monuments that can easily keep the family occupied and fascinated for the better part of the day.
Educational experiences are plentiful here, so stop by the FBI Headquarters for a tour and the National Archives where you can see the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution.
DC is very safe to visit for families, especially if you plan on hanging out in the main tourist areas. Just keep an eye on belongings to avoid being pickpocketed!
Think Washington, DC is a good spot for your family vacation? Check out these guides next:
6. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is listed as one of the 14 best lakes in the US and makes an incredible place for a family vacation. Water sports, hiking, and amazing scenery here will appeal to all ages!
Love being active? Hike to Eagle Falls, Emerald Bay State Park, or take a day trip to Yosemite. You might enjoy water skiing, wakeboarding, renting a jet ski, or going for a swim!
During the cooler months, you can take a snowshoe adventure in South Lake Tahoe and ride the Gondola at Heavenly to ski or snowboard.
Fun activities that are less strenuous include visiting the 1920s Vikingsholm mansion, Tallac Historic Site, Donner Memorial State Park and museum, and the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.
Your experience will be wildly different based on when you come to Lake Tahoe. Are you thinking about a fall/winter visit or spring/summer?
You’ll need to decide if you’re up for a snowy ski and snowboarding adventure or want to experience Lake Tahoe in the warm spring and summertime.
If Lake Tahoe sounds like the outdoor adventure destination for your family, check out these helpful guides next:
7. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
For coastal family fun and a wide range of things to do, look no further than Cape Cod! With lots to do throughout the year here, it’s a gem that everyone will want to visit again and again.
Head up when it’s warm to enjoy time on the beach building sandcastles, swimming, and collecting shells and sea glass.
The water is warmest in August when it nears 70F, so time your visit correctly if you want to swim!
Kids and adults will love playing mini golf, visiting Heritage Museums and Gardens, or wandering through Nickerson State Park.
Take in a drive-in movie, tour lighthouses, and go for a family bike ride at the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Don’t forget to dine on some local seafood while you’re here!
Stop by the Atlantic White Shark Center – it’s educational and fun, but beware, it can make ocean swims a little nerve-wracking afterward!
If Cape Cod sounds like the perfect place to bring the family, check out these guides to start planning your visit:
8. San Diego, California
San Diego is a great place to come for a family-friendly trip that offers something for all ages.
From educational museums and science centers to calm waters perfect for swimming, this place tops the list of the best family vacation spots.
The famous San Diego Zoo (ranked as one of the best in the nation), SeaWorld, and Safari Park are all kid favorites that parents can enjoy.
Spend a day or two at the beach for relaxing play time that rejuvenates you. San Diego’s beaches are excellent for families!
The Carlsbad Flower Fields in spring are a truly unforgettable sight with tons for kids to enjoy, too. Tractor rides, pick-your-own berries, Santa’s Playground, and short mazes are highlights.
The kids will beg to visit Legoland California, while littles will be amazed at the brand-new Sesame Place San Diego theme park based on Sesame Street.
Plan your visit sometime between March and May for the best weather for all the activities you’ll be packing into your trip.
Learn more about planning a family-friendly trip to San Diego with these guides:
9. Destin, Florida
Looking for a traditional beachy getaway with the whole family? Look past the quiet, secluded beaches that are every grown-up’s dream and head to the delightfully tourist-y Destin.
The sunshine, waves, and beach activities here are unmatched. You’ll experience near-perfect weather if you visit at the best time of year – usually April to June.
Nonstop fun is on the menu in Destin, with water parks, Gator Beach, Harborwalk Village, and the just-offshore Crab Island to entertain you.
Kids love the pirate ship cruises where they can blast other boats with water cannons! Snorkel or dive to see dolphins and colorful fish in their natural habitat.
Beachfront restaurants make dining a pleasure and the ultra-fine quartz white sand makes funny squeaks with every step you take.
Deep sea fishing, dolphin cruises, glass-bottom boat tours, and adventurous activities like parasailing and banana boat rides are always on the table.
If Destin sounds like the perfect beach vacation for your crew, check out these guides next:
10. Outer Banks, North Carolina
Relaxation, coastal vibes, and plenty of ways to get active on and off the water make the Outer Banks an ideal spot for a family vacation.
The Outer Banks are a chain of islands just off the coast of North Carolina. Miles of beaches stretch out along the coasts and lend the islands a more secluded feel than places like Destin.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, awesome lighthouses, the North Carolina Aquarium, and the educational Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum will keep everyone’s attention during your stay.
Consider taking a horseback tour, playing mini golf at a pirate-themed course, going on a dolphin cruise in Nag’s Head, and fishing off Jennette’s Pier!
Historic Corolla Park is educational and lets you stretch your legs. Then, take an ATV guided tour to witness Corolla’s Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs galloping over the sand.
Start planning your trip to the Outer Banks with these helpful guides next:
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have a few questions about the best family vacation spots to consider for your next trip? Check out the most frequently asked questions on the topic to learn more.
Where is the best place to vacation with a family?
Orlando, Florida ranks #1 on the list of the best family vacation spots in the US.
Home to many theme parks and top-rated resorts, the entire crew will enjoy rides, tasty food, unique shops, and seeing favorite characters walking through the park.
Which trip is best for family?
Family-friendly destinations have activities and options for people of all ages to keep the entire family entertained during the trip.
The 10 best family vacation spots on our list range from beaches and national parks to educational and historic destinations that combine fun and learning.
What is the number 1 vacation spot?
The number one vacation spot for families is Orlando, Florida on our list, but any place that sparks the interest of parents and kids could be the perfect spot to visit.
Consider your family's interests, budget, and activity level to land on the best place for your next family vacation.
Some love heading to a beachy coastal town while others love the rugged adventure of a national park!
What state is the most fun for kids?
Florida is always a fun state for kids, with many of the tourism activities centering on kid-friendly fun that parents can also enjoy.
From water sports and beach activities to pirate ship cruises and getting up-close with marine life at aquariums or on a snorkeling trip, you can't go wrong visiting Florida with kids.
How do you travel with a large family on a budget?
Bringing a large family on vacation while sticking to a tight budget might mean camping instead of hotels, heading to national and state parks where entrance fees admit everyone for several days, and bringing food you can prepare yourselves instead of dining out.
Make sure to check online for attraction coupons, ask about group discounts, and take advantage of free activities wherever you decide to go!
So, What Are the Best Family Vacation Spots?
The best family vacation spots offer a diverse range of kid-friendly activities that adults can also enjoy.
Orlando, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Washington, DC, Lake Tahoe, Cape Cod, San Diego, Destin, and Outer Banks are our top picks for family-friendly destinations.
While we’ve ranked these spots according to popularity for families across the U.S., you might find that your crew’s preferences and budget make certain locations more suitable than others.
For beaches, you can’t beat Cape Cod, San Diego, Destin, and the Outer Banks.
Lake Tahoe is a great place to hang out on the water or ski and snowboard in the winter!
A visit to Washington, DC is a rite of passage for many families and is a great way to learn about the history and significance of our country.
National parks reveal the natural wonders of different regions and can be very educational for kids and adults.
Visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, or Grand Canyon National Park to stay active while enjoying the great outdoors!
From beaches and theme parks to parks and museums, you can make your next trip a mix of fun and educational to keep everyone engaged on your visit.