From Coast to Coast: America’s Best Family Vacation Spots in Each State

From national parks to trendy tourist spots to historic places to peaceful scenic beaches, the United States offers families dozens of perfect destinations for the perfect family vacation. Whether families are looking to relax and soak up the sun on a sandy beach, explore the best interactive museums, or seek out some of the most famous historic spots in the country, the possibilities are endless when planning a family vacation. Each state offers dozens of fun activities and sights for families to see, and the only question is, “Where do you want to go?”

Alabama | Gulf Shores

If a family vacation with activities on and by the beach sounds appealing, Gulf Shores is the place to be. Relax and spend time lying on the beach, get lost in family-friendly excursions like dolphin watching, paddle boarding, and parasailing, or get ready to shop ’til you drop.  

Alaska | Denali National Park

As a US National Park, Denali is home to more than 100 animal species, including grizzlies, wolves, and caribou. Visitors will spot all kinds of wildlife on a bus tour, and Denali also offers several trails, including kid-friendly routes, to catch a glimpse of different animals.

Arizona | Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is a bucket list item for visitors of all ages and is impressive to appeal to anyone who visits. The park offers several hiking trails and plenty of scenic vistas, so families can be as adventurous as they feel comfortable, all while appreciating the majesty of the Grand Canyon

Arkansas | Hot Springs National Park

This southern national park is a year-round destination but is a great family vacation spot in the summer. Visitors can tour historic bathhouses, hike scenic trails, photograph wildlife, and more. Hot Springs is also home to Arkansas’ only water and theme park and other great family activities, including an interactive science museum.

California | Disneyland

Visitors of all ages can embrace their inner child at this magical, family-friendly wonderland bursting at the seams with fun. Visitors can explore attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, meet classic Disney characters, ride thrilling roller coasters, and so much more. The only limit to fun is the imagination!

Colorado | Rocky Mountain National Park

Families who enjoy the outdoors will relish visiting this national park, which offers many memorable outdoor experiences. Families can hike several trails of varying difficulty levels, view the park from the Alpine Visitor’s Center, and explore paths that lead them past crystal-clear mountain lakes, mountains, and picturesque waterfalls.

Connecticut | Mystic Seaport

This coastal Connecticut village exudes small-town historic charm and provides an opportunity to see what a 19th-century seaport looked like. Families can marvel at hundreds of historic ships, bike or walk along the waterfront, and hear stories of the town from storytellers and talented artisans.

Delaware | Rehoboth Beach

Families who seek an oceanside vacation can explore this scenic Delaware city along the Atlantic Ocean. During the day, beachgoers can spend time by the water or walk the city’s famous boardwalk while enjoying their favorite vacation foods. After dark, the town comes to life with excellent dining options and nightlife.

Florida | Walt Disney World

The ultimate spot for a family vacation appeals to the kid in every visitor and invites them to explore four different theme parks, including Epcot and Magic Kingdom, and two water parks. The only question one might ask is what do I do first?

Georgia | Savannah

Savannah is consistently ranked one of the nation’s best cities (and one of the most haunted). The city greets visitors with a heaping dose of Southern hospitality. Savannah has something to offer every visitor, including museums and a historic district, scenic walking paths, arts and culture, delicious Southern food, and more.

Hawaii | Honolulu

Hawaii is kissed by the sun all year round, and families who want to spend vacation by the water can sunbathe, swim, play in the sand, and even surf. There are also opportunities to see wildlife, including whales, go on scenic hikes, and much more.

Idaho | Silverwood Theme Park

What was once a small local amusement park has grown into a sizeable regional destination with dozens of shows, attractions, and rides. Thrill seekers can ride a thrilling array of coasters, and the park also includes a lazy river, wave pools, raft slides, and a toddler play area.

Illinois | Chicago

Believe it or not, the Windy City is full of kid-friendly activities, making it a perfect family vacation spot. Families can see a menagerie of animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo, explore sandy beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan, see a baseball game at Wrigley Field, visit one of Chicago’s excellent museums, and more.

Indiana | Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Families looking for family fun can find something for everyone in Indianapolis, including racing, music venues, and art museums. One can’t-miss stop in Indy is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – the largest children’s museum in the world. It offers a variety of interactive exhibits, a five-level playground, an antique carousel, and much more. 

Iowa | Amana Colonies

This collection of seven historic villages in east-central Iowa offers family fun for all ages. Visitors can stop into quaint shops and find unique toys and gifts for kids, handmade chocolates, and even furniture. There are also hands-on activities, places to bike and hike, and even spots to paddle on the Iowa River.

Kansas | Wichita

In the heart of America’s Plains region is Wichita, a vibrant city boasting fun-filled festivals, outdoor attractions, world-class museums, and much more. Families can enjoy dining at one of Wichita’s top-notch eateries before exploring every exciting nook and cranny of the city.

Kentucky | Mammoth Cave National Park

This US national park is a perfect family-friendly destination with unique things to do and see. Families can select from one of the park’s many cave options, take off for a relaxing family hike, or stop into the visitor center to learn all about the park.

Louisiana | New Orleans

New Orleans might be best known for its adults-only fun, but it is also a great family vacation destination. From cultural events to museums to family-friendly attractions, you’ll find something to fit your tastes. Even a stroll in one of the city’s historic districts and tasting New Orleans cuisine will make visitors smile.

Maine | Acadia National Park

The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities to hike, camp, fish, bike, drive, and much more. Families can choose their favorite outdoor adventure and explore the park and its quaint surrounding towns.

Maryland | Ocean City

Through the years, Ocean City has earned a reputation as “America’s Greatest Family Resort”, and for good reason. It’s brimming with dining hot spots, special events, amusement parks, beaches, a nearly 3-mile boardwalk, and plenty more to give families all the ingredients for a perfect vacation.

Massachusetts | Cape Cod

One of New England’s most famous and scenic places, Cape Cod offers plenty for vacationing families to have fun. Visitors can soak up the sun on beautiful, sandy beaches, take a scenic drive, visit historic villages, experience the taste of the freshest seafood, and much more.

Michigan | Mackinac Island

A trip to Mackinac Island is one that families won’t soon forget. This resort-like destination is only accessible by ferry and is an ideal vacation spot for families. Visitors can rent a bike for a scenic view of the island, hike to Fort Michilmackinac, shop, dine, and, of course, sample the island’s famous fudge.

Minnesota | Mall of America

Vacationing families who want to “shop til they drop” can do just that at the nation’s largest shopping mall. The four-floor mall has more than 500 stores but also has rollercoasters, mini-golf, an aquarium, a movie theater, and plenty more for families to see, do, and experience.

Mississippi | Gulfport

On the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport offers visitors more than 20 miles of beautiful white-sand beaches, making it easy for vacationing families to have a beach day (or two). The city’s waterfront complex also allows access to a fish pier, a playground, a volleyball net, and more.

Missouri | Silver Dollar City

With dozens of unique shops, great restaurants, skilled craftsmen, and more than 40 rides and attractions, every family member can find something fun to do in Silver Dollar City. Thrill seekers can ride the Time Traveler, and visitors of all ages can enjoy the diverse selection of live shows.

Montana | Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is perfect for outdoor adventures and is known for its abundance of wildlife, picturesque lakes, and glaciers. Families can take a variety of short hikes, which offer incredible viewpoints to soak in the park’s majesty and beauty and where families can take photos, enjoy picnics, and more.

Nebraska | Omaha Zoo

Omaha, Nebraska, is home to one of the best zoos in the world and offers visitors a top-notch interactive experience where fun is around every corner. The zoo has more than a dozen main exhibits, including kids’ adventure trails, a gorilla valley, and a butterfly and insect pavilion.

Nevada | Las Vegas

There’s plenty for families to do in Las Vegas, a town with many bells and whistles. Families can enjoy top-notch live entertainment, arcades, a pinball hall of fame, and even some educational opportunities, making Vegas the perfect spot for a well-rounded vacation.

New Hampshire | White Mountains

White Mountains keeps families entertained with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy amusement parks, local parks, animal-viewing centers, and local trails offering opportunities for fishing, swimming, and more.

New Jersey | Atlantic City

Amidst a sea of casinos, Atlantic City offers plenty of indoor and outdoor attractions, plus an iconic boardwalk to entertain families. Families can soak up the sun on the beach, go on outdoor excursions like dolphin-watching tours, or visit one of many exciting indoor attractions.

New Mexico | Santa Fe

Santa Fe’s motto is “The City Different,” and families vacationing here will find an eclectic mix of cultures and plenty to do. Families can venture downtown to endless opportunities for shopping and dining. The Santa Fe Railyard brims with activities, including concerts, kid-friendly fun, and family parks.

New York | Niagara Falls

The majesty of Niagra Falls is unquestioned, but there’s so much for families to see and do around the falls. There’s plenty of awe-inspiring natural beauty, scenic hiking trails, and even the Cave of the Winds Hurricane Deck, where visitors are just 20 feet from the rushing torrents of the falls.

North Carolina | Outer Banks

The Outer Banks has long been a haven for beachgoers because it offers families a chance to spend quality time together on beautiful beaches. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit local attractions, go fishing, relax, or even participate in eco-tourism. A trip here can be as relaxing or busy as a family desires.

North Dakota | Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Nature enthusiasts will love everything about this park, which offers opportunities for scenic drives, scenic hikes, wildlife viewing, and incredible views of Painted Canyon and the Little Missouri River. Families can embrace a sense of freedom and explore the best of the Dakota Badlands.

Ohio | Cedar Point

With dozens of rollercoasters ranging from kid-friendly to more advanced, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, is the ultimate family vacation spot for thrill seekers. But Cedar Point is more than coasters, offering live performances, petting zoos, character interactions, and two waterparks next door.

Oklahoma | Tulsa

For both youngsters and youngsters at heart, Tulsa, or T-Town as some call it, offers visitors a chance to explore sights like the Tulsa Zoo, the Tulsa Botanic Garden, and the Gathering Place, an award-winning riverfront park offering must-see attractions for visitors of all ages. 

Oregon | Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is the perfect spot for families looking for natural scenery as well as historic sites. Visitors can take the scenic Rim Drive to look out from a scenic overlook and take beautiful photographs of the lake, the surrounding landscape, wildflowers, and more.

Pennsylvania | Hersheypark

The chocolate dreamland of Hersheypark has been a family destination for decades. The amusement park spans more than 100 acres and is open seasonally from May through early September. The 70+ rides in the park are strategically placed so families don’t have to split up. Families can also enjoy their fair share of sweet treats.

Rhode Island | Newport

Newport is the perfect destination in the warmer months for families who want to craft a unique adventure. Families can enjoy helicopter tours, sailing excursions, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, sightseeing, and much more.

South Carolina | Myrtle Beach

Families who love the beach can spend hours swimming in warm ocean waters, building sandcastles, and frolicking in the sand in a place that’s less crowded than big beach towns like Miami. But Myrtle Beach offers plenty more in the way of attractions, including ziplining, seaside shopping, mini-golf, live entertainment, and much more.

South Dakota | Mount Rushmore

As one of the most popular historical sites in the nation, Mount Rushmore is a must-visit spot for those who love history. The carved faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt are a sight to behold, and there is also lots to do nearby.

Tennessee | Dollywood

Pigeon Forge is home to activities and sites of all kinds, but the Dolly Parton-inspired Dollywood theme park easily stands out among the rest. It welcomes almost three million guests a year and features a variety of events and activities year-round, including rides, live entertainment, crafts, and much more.

Texas | San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio is a town steeped in rich tradition, and families who visit the iconic River Walk are encouraged to start traditions of their own that can be passed down to future generations. The River Walk features unique restaurants, historic sites, and one-of-a-kind events that turn it into a place of celebration.

Utah | Zion National Park

A trip to Zion can be absolutely special for families of all kinds as they explore and learn about the park. Families can hike one of the park’s easy trails and bring along a picnic lunch. They can also participate in a ranger-led program to see the park’s many wonders.

Vermont | Stowe

Nestled way up in New England, Vermont has many great towns to explore. But Stowe, which sits near Mount Mansfield, is a town for all seasons. It’s one of New England’s top skiing destinations in winter. In the spring, summer, and fall, Stowe offers lots of space for outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, and scenic drives.

Virginia | Virginia Beach

Families who love being by the water will love Virginia Beach, which offers the perfect backdrop for a family getaway. Families can spend time on sandy beaches, enjoying the Atlantic surf and scenic coastline. The city also has a water park, aquarium, and lots more to do away from the shoreline.

Washington | Seattle

Whether families consist of tiny tots or teenagers, Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, is the perfect place to explore. The city has a host of museums, ranging from interactive museums to ones specializing in pop culture and airplanes. The city also has an excellent aquarium and zoo that are perfect for family trips.

West Virginia | Harpers Ferry

Families in search of adventure can find it in spades in Harpers Ferry, which offers a relaxed atmosphere, natural beauty, and lots of history. Downtown Harpers Ferry is brimming with historical attractions and lots of shopping and dining options. Many outdoor activities are nearby, including tubing, kayaking, and rafting. 

Wisconsin | Wisconsin Dells

With nearly 100 attractions, four local state parks, and more than 100 restaurants, every family member can find something to do and enjoy. Kids of all ages can spend the day at an outdoor waterpark or playground, and families can see the wonders of the Dells on a double-decker boat tour of the Wisconsin River.

Wyoming | Yellowstone National Park

As the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone has remained a popular tourist destination for families who love the outdoors. Yellowstone spans more than 2 million acres and features geysers, including Old Faithful, mud pots, hot springs, and more. Visitors can also keep their eyes peeled for diverse wildlife, including bison, bears, and elk.

Make Your Next Family Vacation Your Best One Yet

With a little imagination, careful planning, and plenty of enthusiasm, the next family vacation may be your best. The United States offers both seasonal and year-round spots for a memorable family vacation, and adventure awaits from coast to coast! This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

Leave a Comment