Family Travel Bucket List in the United States
While family trips may not always feel like a breezy vacation, travelling with your family is a chance for bonding over new experiences and forging new memories together while exploring the world. Whether you’ve got energy-filled toddlers, bright-eyed kids 👧👦, or teens who you swear were babies 👶 just yesterday, a family trip is a special break from your daily routine to focus on growing even closer as a family and having fun. Of course, some vacation spots are more family-friendly than others, so we’ve rounded up our top 10 family travel bucket list destinations in the United States that are sure to excite every member of the family.
Los Angeles is a playground for kids and adults alike! Disneyland is the ultimate magical family vacation destination for all ages. Watch your kids’ eyes light up in wonder as they walk down Main Street U.S.A, fly through the twists and turns of Star Tours, soar on Dumbo’s Flying Elephants and watch the fireworks display over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Get ParkHopper passes to make the most of your visit, especially if you’re short on time, to explore Disneyland and California Adventure in one day. 🎪Older kids will love the adventurous, heart-pumping rides like the Incredicoaster and Guardians of the Galaxy, and no visit is complete without a classic Dole Whip or churro. Want to bring extra magic? Splurge for a character meal to dine with your kids’ favourite characters! 🌴
There’s more to Los Angeles than just Disney though. Get your amusement park fix at other family-friendly spots like Universal Studios Hollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm, or opt for a relaxing day at the beach. Malibu Beach, Santa Monica Pier & Beach, and the Venice Beach Boardwalk 🏖 have everything you need to enjoy the warm, Californian sunshine year-round.
Whether you prefer a snowy, winter escape or a sunny summer outdoors among the mountains, Park City will take your family trip to new heights… literally! Ready to hit the slopes? Stay at a ski resort for extra convenience and ski-in, ski-out access (because let’s be honest, dressing your kids in those warm layers takes time!), and take advantage of kids’ ski lessons while you enjoy some adult-only runs. Snowmobile tours, snow tubing and sleigh rides are other adventurous options before warming up by the fire with hot cocoa and extra marshmallows. If you’re visiting in the summer, soar through the aspen trees on a zipline, race along the Alpine Coaster and Alpine Slide, or try mountain biking with trails for riders of all levels. When you’re ready to slow down and relax, meandering down Main Street among the quaint, historic buildings in search of coffee and tasty treats is the best way to spend quality time with your loved ones.
The concrete jungle is packed with excitement for families of all ages, with endless activities, food and new experiences to discover on every block. Opt for a more local experience at Domino Park, which overlooks the Manhattan skyline in the hip neighbourhood of Williamsburg, or take advantage of an early morning stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge for a bagel and coffee at Jane’s Carousel. Spark your family’s historical interest with a visit to the Statue of Liberty 🗽 and Ellis Island, or spend a few hours in the American Museum of Natural History. Take the subway to the end of the line to visit Coney Island 🎢 🎡 for a Nathan’s hot dog 🌭 and adventure at Luna Park, and if you’ve got a mini-Eloise in your family, afternoon tea at The Plaza hotel is a must. 🚕
Adventure awaits in sunny San Diego! Legoland is just 30-minutes outside of the city, and we’ll keep it a secret if you’re even more excited than the kids to indulge in this nostalgic pastime. With more than 60 rides, attractions and shows, as well as a water park for hot summer days, prepare to spend a full day building and exploring. For the animal-lovers in the family, the San Diego Zoo 🐵 is rated one of the most impressive zoos in the world that will captivate every visitor, big and small. Over 3,500 animals call this zoo home, and it’s a pioneer of open-air, cageless exhibits made to recreate the animals’ natural habitats. The only trouble will be deciding which animal to see next! The mermaids and mermen in the family will love SeaWorld 🐳 to say hello to dolphins, penguins, sea turtles, sea lions and more, along with educational presentations.
Seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time is an unforgettable experience for all ages. Whether you choose to fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix, the Grand Canyon National Park would be a spectacular family road trip. 🏕 Depending on the time of year, don’t be surprised to see snow on the ground at the top of the canyon. The elevation and surrounding ecosystem make for the most unique and expansive terrain. There are many safe but adventurous ways to take in the landscape while you are there, such as biking around the rim, going for a guided geology hiking tour, rafting down a calm section of the river, or going to a desert star party at night. While you are exploring Arizona, be sure to take a day trip to Sedona to witness the magnificent red rock and desert vortex. 🌵
Located in Jackson Hole Valley is the town of Jackson – a small yet trending destination for all ages to enjoy the surrounding beauty. The peaks of Grand Teton National Park create a stunning wall of summits within the valley creating one-of-a-kind photo opportunities no matter the weather. 🏔 Take the family to Snow King Mountain Resort where you can enjoy many thrilling activities together such as skiing, hiking and zip-lining! ⛷🏂 While you are in the area, take a short day trip to Yellowstone National Park and visit Old Faithful – one of the world’s most predictable geysers, erupting every 44 minutes to two hours since the year 2000.
While many families’ trips to Orlando stop and end at theme parks like Walt Disney World, 🏰 there’s so much more to be explored in this magical city, roller coasters aside. Classic American entertainment can be found in Old Town, and find the perfect blend of fun and learning at the Orlando Science Center and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Ready to escape the hustle and bustle? Just 20 miles north of the city is the beautiful Wekiwa Springs State Park, where you can rent canoes or kayaks and spend a few hours exploring the beautiful nature to be found in Florida. 🚣 If your little ones have magic coursing through their veins, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando should be on your list too!
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This quirky city likes to keep it weird! Austin truly shines with loads of outdoor space, live music 🎷and most importantly, BBQ. Enjoy the weather while the kids run free at Zilker Park, watch the famous bats fly at sunset from South Congress Bridge, cool off with a chilly dip in Barton Springs Pool, or take a short hike up Mount Bonnell for stunning views. Don’t leave without sampling mouth-watering BBQ from Stubb’s or Franklin’s, and if you like options, head to The Picnic which hosts a collection of top-notch food trucks that the city is famous for. 🚚
After just a few minutes of watching the kids splash in crystal clear waters as palm trees sway overhead (preferably with a fresh Mai Tai in your hand), we guarantee Maui will become a beloved beach vacation for the entire family.🏄 The local goodies alone are enough to warrant a trip: pies from Leoda’s, shaved ice from Uluani’s, and fresh Dole Whip to name a few. Adventurous older kids will love a catamaran trip to Molokini to snorkeling, or a trip to Haleakalā National Park — at sunrise if you can bear the early wake-up call! Most of all, plan for plenty of relaxation on the many beautiful Hawaiian, white sand beaches and end one of your days with a sunset luau. If you are looking for an ultra-luxurious place to stay, the Grand Wailea Resort boasts one of the best lazy rivers in the country. 🌴
The famous Music City is bursting with rich history, beautiful landmarks, and of course, live music! 🎺🎷 All ages and abilities are welcome at the Wildhorse Saloon for complimentary line dance lessons, so don’t forget to pack pint-sized cowboy hats and boots for horseback riding. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has interactive, kid-friendly exhibits, or enjoy the beautiful Tennessee weather with an afternoon in the Bicentennial Capitol Park. There’s a variety of state parks surrounding Nashville, but our top recommendation is Lost River Cave’s historic underground boat tour. Four hours East of Nashville lies the Great Smoky Mountains. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains and offer unique forested scenery, forming the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.
Lake Tahoe has been a beloved family destination for generations, and with glittering blue-green water, towering mountain peaks and plenty of sunshine, it’s easy to see why. Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities, or visit Taylor Creek for easy nature trails. The Squaw Valley and Heavenly ski resorts 🏂⛷ offer stunning panoramic rides up the mountain even in the summer, or simply relax at one of the many kid-friendly beaches, such as Sand Harbor, King’s Beach, and Meek’s Bay (but get there early as parking fills up quickly). There are also plenty of hot springs in the area if you are looking to enjoy a natural wonder. If you feel like taking a 4-hour detour South, you can take your family’s breath away with the stunning scenery at .
The nation’s capital city has a wealth of museums, and many have a plethora of kid-friendly attractions and children’s museums that will keep them entertained all day long; we love the National Museum of Natural History with science experiments for teens & tweens, the International Spy Museum where you can take part in an Undercover Mission, and of course, the Smithsonian. If you are looking for a natural escape, the U.S. Botanic Garden offers a scavenger hunt! Take the Old Town Trolley Tour 🚃 or the open-air, double-decker Big Bus tour for a bird’s-eye view of the city and its many monuments. Book your trip during spring to visit the world-famous cherry blossom trees as they paint the city pink. 🏛
This gem of a town nestled off the coast of Cape Cod is a National Historic Landmark — yes, the entire town! — where the pace of life is slow and the sea breeze is salty. 🏖 Walking or biking along the boardwalk to Brant Point Lighthouse is a wonderful activity where you can wave to the incoming ferry boats or hop on the water yourself on the popular Ice Cream Cruise 🍨 around Nantucket Harbour. Pack a picnic to watch the sunset from Makadet Beach, or if it’s a rainy day, get hot cocoa from Handlebar Cafe, ☕ where the baristas add hearts to your foamy drinks.
Is there anything cuter than toddler-sized rain boots and raincoats? 🌧 Seattle is a stunning city rain or shine, and it’s packed with family-friendly activities for all ages. Explore Pike Place Market, which retains its charm despite being a popular tourist destination; kids will love contributing their sticky addition to the famous Gum Wall nearby. Take the long ride up to the top of the Space Needle for panoramic views, which may inspire you to visit The Museum of Flight. On a sunny day, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and grab a scoop from Mora Iced Creamery 🍦as you stroll the quaint streets. If you are feeling adventurous, head out on a Washington State road trip to The Great Wolf Lodge – a water park featuring waterslides, a pool area, and fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Just a hop, skip and a jump outside of Savannah, these charming barrier islands make the perfect weekend getaway for the whole family. The stunning soft sand beaches are the main draw of Hilton Head, but don’t miss a climb up the Harbour Town Lighthouse, playing at the Gregg Russell Playground treehouse, and a concert under the ancient, moss-draped Liberty Oak. Then, head to Tybee Island in Georgia where you can play on the beaches, paddleboard, kayak, surf, and more. Explore Fort Pulaski National Monument for a taste of history, or surround yourself with nature on the uninhibited Little Tybee Island.
This spectacular alpine city is a year-round destination, where the surrounding Rocky Mountains are stunning from summer to winter. In the summer, ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola to the top of Vail Mountain to Epic Discovery, where you can enjoy the views from the exciting alpine coaster or zip line, or wind down in the Nature Discovery Center. Colorado boasts some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world for all ages and abilities. In the wintertime, drop the snow bunnies off at ski school while the adults enjoy a few runs down the mountain, and then warm up with hot cocoa around the fire.
Don’t forget to capture the magic of family togetherness with a Flytographer shoot in these bucket-list family vacation destinations! Our friendly local photographers are excited to meet you and offer their favourite insider tips in the city to make your trip even more unforgettable.