Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
We are so lucky in America that we don’t even need to go overseas to experience some incredible scenery and attractions. In just 6 hours, you can fly from one side of America to the other, making all 50 states accessible and ideal for family travel.
Some areas, however, stand out above the rest, and if you’re looking for an American family-friendly vacation destination, then be sure to consider these 15 locations that everyone in your family will love.
Of course, one of the ultimate family-friendly destinations is Disneyland. And as Anaheim in California is home to Disney’s very first amusement park, it’s made its way onto this family-friendly vacation destination list as what kid doesn’t love Mickey Mouse?
Aside from the Disney parks, however, Anaheim also plays host to Knott’s Berry Farm and the world’s largest wooden roller coast, shopping opportunities at CtrCity Anaheim, and restaurants and breweries that will leave your mouth watering long after your vacation is over.
Branson, Missouri, is one of the best destinations for music-loving families. The Missouri city is famous for its musical entertainment as tourists and locals alike can enjoy music in venues like Dolly Parton’s Stampede, the Grand Country Music Hall, and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater.
But even if your family aren’t huge music fans, Branson has plenty of attractions to please everyone in the family. From the Aquarium at the Boardwalk and the rides at Silver Dollar City to the Bigfoot Fun Park and the Branson Scenic Railway, with so many attractions on offer, you’ll really have trouble fitting them all in.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod has always been a popular family-friendly tourist destination as the Cape Cod National Seashore provides families with 40 miles of coastline where kids can run, swim, and build sandcastles.
With walking and cycling trails, mini-golf courses, and even a dedicated children’s museum, Cape Cod is a great option for families in search of some relaxation.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
There is no better way to get out in nature than by visiting one of America’s National Parks. And up there as one of the best—and most famous—is the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. While visiting the Grand Canyon, your family can get involved with hiking, camping, and white water rafting, all while taking in the incredible scenery that towers all around you.
Honolulu in Oahu is one of those destinations that caters to all types of people, making it a great family vacation spot. Beachgoers can soak up the sun on Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach, and Kailua Beach. History buffs can learn all about Pearl Harbor at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Those who prefer to be active on vacation can hike the Diamond Head State Monument. And even shopaholics are covered, as Honolulu has plenty of shopping malls to explore.
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Family vacations don’t need to break the bank, as even a trip to a lake—like Lake Tahoe—can create some unforgettable memories that you and your little ones will remember for a lifetime. Lake Tahoe is not only one of the most beautiful lakes in the US, but it also has some great attractions for families to enjoy. Whether you decide to swim in the azure waters, hike one of Lake Tahoe’s stunning hiking trails, or kayak to the lake’s hidden covers, you’re guaranteed to have a fun-filled vacation that is completely budget-friendly!
You can even visit Lake Tahoe in the winter and ski at one of the many ski resorts.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach stretches down 60 miles of South Carolina’s coastline and has become a popular vacation spot for families thanks to its sunny weather, clean beaches, and family-friendly entertainment. Myrtle Beach provides visitors with water sports opportunities, the upside-down world of WonderWorks, entertaining dinner shows, the Broadway Grand Prix, and even a Ripley’s Aquarium, amongst many other things.
And if that wasn’t enough, even Dad will enjoy his time at Myrtle Beach as the area is home to 90 golf courses—plus incredible mini-golf courses for the kids to get involved with!
North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway in New Hampshire is a destination that you can enjoy all year round. In the summer months, families can get their adrenaline pumping at Storyland or Santa’s Village, hike, kayak, or canoe down North Conway’s waterways, or climb aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad to enjoy North Conway from a different perspective.
Come fall, North Conway—and all towns in New Hampshire—completely transforms as the leaves on the trees change to beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. And even in the winter, families can ski and snowmobile in North Conway’s nearby ski mountains.
Okay, Orlando may be the best destination for families, as not only does it have year-round warm weather, but it is known as the theme park capital of the world. Orlando is home to Disney World and its four separate theme parks, Disney World’s two water parks, Universal Studios and Volcano Bay, SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, LEGOLAND Florida, and the Peppa Pig Theme Park—there really is an option for all age groups!
Outside of the theme park bubble, however, Orlando also has some calmer attractions like airboat tours through the Everglades, soft sand beaches, the Central Florida Zoo, WonderWorks, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks in North Carolina is another budget-friendly family vacation destination, as the barrier islands are home to stunning beaches and multi-bedroom vacation homes.
With 100 miles of coastline to explore, museums to learn all about the area’s history, aquariums, history trails, and the Atlantic coast’s tallest living sand dune, the fun is endless on the Outer Banks islands.
San Diego, California
Another great California destination for families is San Diego. And San Diego has plenty of beaches, green spaces, and museums to explore. While visiting San Diego with your family, you can enjoy the world-famous San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Belmont Park, and the Birch Aquarium. Or you can take a scenic train ride or spend a couple of hours at The New Children’s Museum.
Sandusky, Ohio, is packed with kid-friendly activities, including the indoor Castaway Bay Waterpark, the Cedar Point amusement park, and the Kalahari Waterpark. Plus, once you’ve finished up testing your limits on water rides and roller coasters, you can feed the deer at the Lagoon Deer Park, relax on the beaches of Kelleys Island, and learn all about Sandusky’s maritime history in the Sandusky Maritime Museum.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Established in 1872, Yellowstone was the world’s very first National Park, and still, to this day, it is a popular choice amongst families who love being in the great outdoors. Yellowstone is the perfect place to hike, camp, and wildlife spot as the area is home to wolves, bison, bears, and elk. Exploring Yellowstone’s active geysers, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic canyons will be just some of the highlights of your trip.
Washington, D.C., is a great destination for families who want to learn more about America. With so many incredible landmarks like the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial, you can delve deeper into the history of the United States and the presidents that led it through times of hardship.
You can also learn all about natural history at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the tradecraft of espionage at the International Spy Museum.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The final family-friendly US vacation destination is Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Dells is the waterpark capital of the Midwest, and if that doesn’t draw in families, I don’t know what will. Home to 20 indoor and outdoor waterparks, families can splash about for days on end.
And for families who don’t enjoy getting wet, Wisconsin Dells offers the chance to marvel at oddities at Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, ghost hunt at the Ghost Outpost Haunted House, and even kayak down the Wisconsin River.
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