When it comes time to plan your next holiday with the kids, think of these five family-friendly U.S. vacation destinations. They’re all fairly easy to get to, thanks to nearby major airports, and offer hotels and resorts with family amenities in all price ranges.
1. San Diego
Families flock to San Diego for its year-round sunshine and pretty beaches. Between San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California, and SeaWorld, there is also a long list of things to do for kids in San Diego. If theme parks aren’t your speed, that’s okay because the 70 miles of coastline is free to explore, and it also happens to house tide pools, a seal rookery, and clear water for snorkeling.
Orlando’s reputation as the theme park capital of the world automatically tells you that it’s popular with families. You can spend a full week alone at the Walt Disney World parks. Plus, there’s also the Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando parks. If you’re looking for things to do besides theme parks, there is plenty between museums, a trip out to the Kennedy Space Center, airboat tours of the everglades, and the attractions on International Drive.
One way to escape Florida heat while thrilling the kids is by booking one of the many water park hotels like Coco Key Resort and Water Park or The Grove Resort and Water Park.
Maui is a popular choice for families who are visiting Hawaii for the first time. It offers plenty of things to do for all ages throughout its diverse regions. You can spend time lounging on the popular Kaanapali beaches, drive the remote and scenic road to Hana, snorkel the crystal clear water, or watch the sunrise from the Haleakala volcano. You can stay in touristy areas with plenty of budget-friendly condo hotels with kitchens or opt for quieter luxury resorts with kids’ clubs to keep young ones entertained while parents golf and spa.
4. Huntington Beach
It’s called Surf City U.S. A for its famous surf culture thanks to waves near the pier and renowned competitions held there — a draw for surfers in the family. Huntington Beach (or H.B.) is famous for its enormous sandy beach, which is the perfect setting for quintessential SoCal beachgoing. Fortunately, several family-friendly resorts like the Waterfront Hilton can be booked right across the street from it, so it’s convenient to run back and forth to your room if kids need to take naps.
You can take a break from the beach to explore the rest of Orange County, which is also home to Disneyland Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm. It’s also easy to take day trips to Catalina Island or even nearby Los Angeles.
5. New York City
It’s a big and busy place, but there are loads of family activities in New York City. The conservation-minded Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, and you can spend the day there enjoying the animals. It’s also fun to take a trip out to see the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island before catching a kid-friendly Broadway show like Matilda.
Don’t miss the world-class museums that are far from boring. The massive display of dinosaur bones and mummies inside the American Museum of Natural History should not be missed. If the weather cooperates, bike rides and rowboats are fun Central Park activities. Some hotels will pack picnics for you to take into the park, but with all of the amazing places to grab pizza slices and hot dogs, you can easily bring your own.