19 Best Family Vacation Destinations in the US in 2023

The United States offers a wide array of places to visit inside the country’s borders. From luxury and world-class dining to camping and hiking, the US has something for every family with kids. Take a look at only a few of the attractions the country has to offer as you choose your family vacation destination in the US .

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1. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park just celebrated its 150th year of being the first national park in the world. The Rocky Mountains house this national landmark with its 3742 square miles that are home to more mammals than the entire lower 48 states. Anyone who loves all things geography will awe at the fumaroles, geysers, and mud pots. Kids will love to see Old Faithful erupt and to visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. There is so much history to be learned and beauty to be seen.

Grand Teton & Yellowstone: 4-Day Nature Tour with Lodging

West Yellowstone: Yellowstone Park Tour with Local Guide

Grant Village: Yellowstone Lake Guided Sea Kayak Tour

2. Walt Disney World

Can you get any more family-oriented than Disney World? 2022 finds Disney World in Florida celebrating its 50th anniversary and is one of the best family vacation destinations in the US when you travel with kids! Along with the spectacular sites and rides, Disney will be adorning its parks with special lighting, statues, and projects to celebrate this anniversary.

Disney offers accommodations for any taste. You can experience the themed world that is Disney or you can rest in the lap of luxury at one of its many resorts. Disney has some of the best dining in the country as well as the most extravagant exhibits and thrilling rides housed inside its gates. It is a must-see!

3. Washington, DC

The nation’s capital is a world-famous stop in the US. This city is a sightseer’s paradise. Ensconce yourself in the history of the US by visiting all of the historical landmarks that explain how this nation came to be. The Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial are only a few of the spectacular monuments that speak the history of a nation.

While this may appear to be more of an educational trip, the entire family will be amazed to see how the US came to be. The key focal point for families is the National Mall where you will find many monuments, free attractions, and museums such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Also, no family trip would be complete without a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, International Spy museum or an escape room experience.

Washington DC: Museum of Natural History Tour for Families

4. The Grand Canyon

This is one of the best places to visit in the US with kids or without, and there is a myriad of ways to explore and enjoy it! The Grand Canyon certainly makes a stunning destination for your family vacation in the United States.

things to do with kids in the US

You can take a guided tour of the canyon, take one of the light, family-friendly hikes, experience the canyon from the Skywalk, or take a raft on the Colorado River. No one in your family will be bored on this trip! This is the place to come to be awed by nature and the spectacular sites that only the Grand Canyon can deliver. How about a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon or a tandem skydive?

Grand Canyon: The Ultimate Grand Canyon National Park Tour

5. Mt Rushmore, South Dakota

Nothing speaks America more than the faces of four famous presidents on Mt Rushmore. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln all adorn this majestic site. You can see the history of the US face to face in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Visit the sculptor’s museum where you can learn all about how they created the faces on the mountainside.

things to do with kids in the US

You can take multiple hikes, or take guided or self-guided tours. While you won’t be able to stay next to the monument, there are many options for lodging and dining close to the attraction.

6. San Diego, California

Family fun starts here with over 70 miles of coastline perfect for beach fun. Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Mission Beach are the best beaches for families due to the calm waters and laid-back crowd. Along with the beaches, San Diego has many attractions to please the entire family, and therefore easily qualifies as one of the best family vacation destinations in the US.

things to do with kids in the US

Visit Maritime Museum of San Diego, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. San Diego Air & Space Museum, Museum of Natural History and the The USS Midway Museum are also great ways to spend some quality family time.

San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

7. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Family fun awaits you in the mountains of Gatlinburg! The Great Smokey Mountains are home to this fun city and when you aren’t out exploring, there are a number of attractions to interest your family.

Dollywood is a must-visit with its famous rides and waterpark. Have a great time learning about the Titanic and venturing into Ripley’s Believe it or Not! You will also want to experience the most famous attractions, Gatlinburg Space Needle and the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. This is a sure bet for family fun!

Smoky Mountains Ropes Obstacle Course Adventure

8. Hershey, PA- the sweetest place on Earth

best family vacation destinations in the us

Chocolate lovers unite! Visit Hershey park which has numerous rides, a zoo, and a waterpark. Want to have a calmer time to unwind, visit Hershey Gardens where you can visit a kids-themed garden and a butterfly garden. You can also visit the Hershey Museum to learn about the history of the park and make your very own chocolate bar. Isn’t making your own chocolate always an amazing thing to do with kids?

9. Myrtle Beach, South Caroline

best family vacation destinations in the us

Myrtle Beach is a beach vacation perfect for a family. Visit the Boardwalk for rides and attractions to make your kids squeal with delight. Enjoy Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, Broadway Grand Prix, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, and several themed mini-golf courses. There are accommodations for every need but book early as this is a very popular vacation spot.

Myrtle Beach: Motown Tribute Show – Motor City Musical

Myrtle Beach: Charles Bach Wonders Magic Show

10. Branson, Missouri

best family vacation destinations in the us

This is the vacation for a family who loves all things music! See live shows at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater and Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Be adventurous with rides at Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park, Silver Dollar City, Fritz’s Adventure, and Bigfoot Fun Park. There is even an aquarium to enjoy! This is a true family vacation spot!

Branson: Dancing Queen, The Ultimate 70s Show

Branson: Titanic Museum Attraction Advance Purchase Ticket

11. Niagara Falls, New York

best family vacation destinations in the us

Niagra Falls is actually made up of three different falls, American Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Take the family on a ride to see the falls up close and personal on the Maid of the Mist. Visit Niagara Falls State Park with kids which is the oldest state park in the United States!

You can venture away from the falls to Buffalo, NY, just a quick 20-minute trip to enjoy Buffalo RiverWorks, Buffalo Zoo, and Delaware Park. This is a bucket list vacation! With so many stunning things to see and do with kids, it sure makes a perfect family vacation destination in the US.

Niagara Falls, NY: Half-Day Small-Group Sightseeing Tour

Niagara Falls, USA: Canadian and American Deluxe Day Tour

12. Denali National Park, Alaska

best family vacation destinations in the us

How would your kids like to visit and hold husky pups and learn about dog sledding? Take a trip to Denali National Park and they can! You and your family can also take a train ride to see the scenery as you travel to Fairbanks or Anchorage. What a great alternative to family vacations!

Denali 75-Minute Flight Experience

Denali Geocaching Treasure Hunt Tour with Meal

13. Santa Claus, Indiana- America’s Christmas Hometown

best family vacation destinations in the us

You guessed it! This is a Christmas-themed family vacation destination! Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is a fantastic amusement park the kids will enjoy. Take some time to visit the Santa Claus Museum and Village, just one of the other Christmas-themed attractions that will make your kids feel the magic of the holiday no matter when you are there.

14. Bloomington, Minnesota

best things to do in united states with kids

Home to the Mall of America where your kids can enjoy Nickelodeon Universe, an indoor amusement park! The Mall of America also has other kid-friendly attractions such as Crayola Experience, Flyover America Ride, and Sealife Aquarium.

15. Williamsburg, Virginia

best things to do in united states with kids

Historic Williamsburg is a great vacation to combine fun and education. There are many museums, attractions, and events for all ages to enjoy. For a break from the historic area, you can travel to nearby Busch Gardens for some amusement park fun!

Williamsburg: Haunted Ghosts, Witches, and Pirates Tour

16. Destin, Florida

Head South for some fun in the sun in beautiful Destin! Destin is known to be the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village! There are so many more things to do as well such as Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Crystal Beach, and Henderson Beach State Park. Let your unforgettable family vacation include dolphin spotting, boat tours, and pirate cruises!

17. Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks has some of the most beautiful beaches with calm waters and laid-back crowds.

Take your kids to see Kill Devil Hills Beach where the Wright Brothers took their first flight or to the Lost Colony to see where they disappeared or to see where the famous pirate, Blackbeard, fought! Be sure to visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island, climb the highest dune at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, or search the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Outer Banks: Full-Day Offshore Sport Fishing Charter

18. San Antonio, Texas

This city has so much fun for you and the kids. Your kids will love to learn about the rootin’ tootin; times of the Alamo at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park or be delighted with the dinosaurs and mummies at the Witte Museum. Visit the tranquility of the River Walk and the San Fernando Cathedral, SEA LIFE Aquarium or the 700 species displayed at the Antonio Zoo & Aquarium.

River Boat Cruise and Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass

19. Park City, UT

Is your family filled with sports enthusiasts? A visit to Park City will delight the fans of the winter sports and the Winter Olympics. Visit the Utah Olympic Park and see the highest Nordic ski jump in the world. Take a trip to Woodward Park City to experience snow tubing, BMX, skateboarding, and a multitude of trails. Discovery Zone has activities for all ages with ziplining, biking, hiking, and a playground.

Private Guided Fly Fishing Adventure

And with that, I finish the list of some of the best family vacation destinations in the US. I hope some of them inspired you to travel and visit these wonderful places with kids. Happy travels!


Expat Parenting Interview Series: read interviews with expat moms in various countries, who share they travel, life and parenting stories abroad.

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