Your ideal family vacation destination needs to be the perfect combination of fun, relaxation, kid-friendly, and, of course, within your budget. This narrows down your options… to a whole lot of places! To make your trip planning a little easier, we’ve compiled the best family vacation spots in the US.
These five cities have everything kids and parents want from a vacation, from theme parks to the great outdoors. Check out our recommended family vacation destinations and start planning your next trip!
1. Branson, MO
Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Branson, MO is a family vacation dream come true. Whether you want a family-friendly night at the theater or a day full of incredible thrills, you’ll find it in Branson.
Branson attractions range from theme parks and extreme thrills to interactive museums and outdoor adventures. A few of the top attractions and destinations in Branson include:
- Silver Dollar City
- Titanic Museum Attraction
- Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure
- Branson’s Promised Land Zoo
- Adventure Ziplines of Branson
Or, if your family is into riveting entertainment, you’re in the right place. After all, Branson is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World!” And, if you happen to visit during the holiday season, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring Christmas shows at the city’s top venues. Some of the most popular shows include:
- Showboat Branson Belle
- Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction
- Acrobats of China
- Legends in Concert
- The Haygoods
Plus, Branson is home to affordable lodging options including those with indoor waterparks for the kids!
2. The Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
If your family is into the great outdoors, then you’ll agree the Smoky Mountains are one of the best family vacation spots in the US. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN are both filled to the brim with family-friendly activities and lodging opportunities.
To keep the kids entertained, head over to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Both theme parks boast a variety of rides, ranging in thrill levels to satisfy all ages. Or, if your kids would rather have a relaxing day, why not get a few rounds of mini-golf in before catching one of Pigeon Forge’s renowned dinner shows like the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show?
Plus, you can spend several days exploring all the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer. Whether you’re interested in white water rafting or trekking to the top of waterfalls, you’ll find it all in this 800 square miles national park!
Other top attractions and activities include:
- Outdoor Gravity Park
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- Ober Gatlinburg
- The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
As for lodging, save money by booking a cabin! Smoky Mountain cabins come with fully-equipped kitchens, allowing you to cook your meals and save money on food.
3. San Diego, CA
Once you breathe in the ocean air and take a look at the coastline views, you’ll understand why San Diego is among the best family vacation spots in the US. Who wouldn’t want to soak up the sun and the surf on a vacation?
San Diego is home to multiple beaches for your family to explore. Grab a beach chair, plenty of sunscreen, and head out to a budget-friendly day by the Pacific Ocean.
If your family wants to add a bit of adventure to your vacation, take a trip to theme parks such as SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California. You’ll encounter epic roller coasters, immersive rides, and more. Of course, if you’re looking to walk on the wild side, there’s always the San Diego Zoo!
San Diego is also home to several educational and hands-on museums, such as:
Depending on when you visit and where you choose to stay, San Diego lodging can be a bit pricey. To lower your travel costs, combine your theme park and attraction tickets with your choice of hotel for extra discounts!
4. Myrtle Beach, SC
Would you prefer a beachside family vacation on the East Coast? If so, Myrtle Beach is your spot! Complete with 60+ miles of coastline beaches, your family can spend the day playing in the waves, building sandcastles, and working on your tan.
Plus, with several of Myrtle Beach’s hotels, condos, and resorts located right on the beach, you’ll have easy access to the ocean day in and day out!
As for kid-approved attractions, there’s no shortage of fun in Myrtle Beach. Kids love visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach for an underwater exploration featuring more than 10,000 exotic species. Or, bring curious little ones to WonderWorks for endless interactive fun.
Other family-friendly attractions in the Grand Strand include:
5. Orlando, FL
What would a list of best family vacation spots in the US be without Orlando? Known for its abundance of theme parks and family attractions, it’s easy to understand why millions upon millions of families visit the city each year.
While Orlando may be one of the top spots, visiting requires excessive planning! From theme park tickets to flights and hotel rooms, there’s a lot to consider. Fortunately, the area also boasts a variety of free things for families to do, so you don’t break your budget!
Of course, Orlando’s top attractions are the theme parks. Orlando is home to notable amusement park destinations including:
- Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks
- Universal Orlando Resort
- LEGOLAND Florida
- SeaWorld Orlando
If you need a break from the theme parks, not a problem. Orlando has a variety of fun activities to enjoy, from museums to shows and everything in between. Be sure to visit Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk entertainment districts for even more family fun!
As for lodging, you name it, Orlando has it. You’ll be able to find everything from luxurious resorts to affordable hotel rooms.
The 5 Best Family Vacation Spots in the US
Are you traveling to any of the top family vacation destinations this year? Tell us about it!