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The 15 Best Vacation Spots in the U.S.A for Families to See

Family travel isn’t just about crossing destinations off a bucket list; it’s about creating bonds that are strengthened with every mile traveled and every new sight seen. From the spontaneous roadside picnics to the awe-inspiring moments standing before natural wonders, family travel is a journey of connection, growth, and love. It’s in the simple moments of togetherness, like watching a sunset over a new horizon or sharing stories around a campfire, where the true magic of family travel resides. Here are the 15 best vacation spots in the U.S.A., where adventure knows no bounds and family is the ultimate destination.

1. Folly Beach, South Carolina

‎Folly Beach Fishing Pier
Credit: Depositphotos

Escape to the laid-back charm of Folly Beach, a barrier island boasting pristine coastlines and Southern hospitality. Stay at the Tides Folly Beach Hotel for modern comfort and oceanfront views. Enjoy surf lessons, fishing charters, and the oceanfront heated pool. Explore Center Street for souvenirs and casual dining. Venture to the 1000-foot Folly Beach Pier for stunning sunrises and sunsets. Don’t miss shell hunting and dolphin watching during low tide, and ask the hotel for a tide chart for optimal beachcombing with the family. With its relaxed atmosphere and abundant activities, Folly Beach promises a memorable getaway for all.

2. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

San Antonio, Texas, is steeped in rich history and offers an array of free and educational attractions for visitors of all ages. While the historic Alamo remains a top draw, exploring the scenic river walk with its vibrant street performers and live music adds to the city’s charm. Discover green spaces like Brackenridge Park and cultural institutions such as the San Antonio Museum of Art. Indulge in Tex-Mex cuisine, a local favorite. With its blend of history, nature, and cultural experiences, San Antonio promises an enriching and enjoyable trip for everyone.

3. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Credit: Zstockphotos/Depositphotos

Gulf Shores beckons with its pristine white sandy beaches and inviting Gulf waters, offering plenty of cost-free delights. Explore Gulf State Park’s scenic trails for hiking and biking, and indulge in fishing and wildlife sightings. Families can enjoy dolphin cruises, water parks, and miniature golf for summertime fun. End the day with a scoop of Matt’s Homemade Alabama Ice Cream, a sweet reward for beachside adventures. With its blend of natural beauty and family-friendly activities, Gulf Shores is a gorgeous place.

4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Credit: Depositphotos

Jackson Hole offers year-round appeal for families seeking adventure and natural beauty. Winter brings world-class skiing, while summer offers stunning vistas and outdoor activities. Nestled amidst lush wilderness, the valley is a gateway to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, ideal for exploring nature’s wonders. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, and marvel at the diverse flora and fauna.

For a change of pace, explore the town of Jackson with its galleries, shops, and restaurants. Whether you’re drawn to winter sports or summertime exploration, Jackson Hole promises unforgettable experiences for families seeking outdoor thrills and cultural delights.

5. Maui, Hawaii

Credit: Depositphotos

A trip to Hawaii offers unforgettable experiences for families. Older kids can snorkel among aquatic wildlife and learn to surf at beginner-friendly spots like The Cove or Launiupoko. With miles of beaches, lush rainforests, and breathtaking cliffsides, Hawaii embodies the postcard-perfect paradise. Stay at a family-friendly beach resort on Maui, indulging in island life with leisurely days and local explorations. Discover vibrant shops, scenic hikes, and the Maui Tropical Plantation for a tram tour amidst tropical fruits, vegetables, and flowers. 

6. Dollywood, Tennessee

Credit: Depositphotos

For an action-packed trip, Dollywood in Tennessee is a must-visit destination. Nestled in the heart of the state, this iconic theme park boasts over 40 attractions, ranging from thrilling roller coasters to refreshing water rides and entertaining shows. What’s more, there are plenty of free activities to enjoy, such as exploring the majestic Eagle Mountain Sanctuary and delving into the rich history of Southern gospel music at the Museum and Hall of Fame.

Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or cultural experiences, Dollywood offers something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, indulge in delicious treats, and create lasting memories with family and friends at this renowned theme park in Tennessee.

7. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls
Credit: Depositphotos

Niagara Falls, a captivating destination in upstate New York, beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its awe-inspiring natural wonders. Visitors can freely marvel at the majestic falls, where the waters of the four Great Lakes converge into the Niagara River Gorge. For a closer encounter, venture to the Cave of the Winds, offering a remarkable journey behind Bridal Veil Falls. Additionally, Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the U.S., boasts abundant trails and picturesque picnic areas for exploration. 

8. San Diego, California 

San Diego
Credit: Depositphotos

In sunny San Diego, families can bask in the California sunshine while enjoying the sand and surf at family-friendly waterfronts like Mission Beach, Coronado Central Beach, and La Jolla Shores. For accommodation, the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa provides a perfect blend of kid-friendly features and adult amenities. With water access, three pools, and spacious 500-square-foot rooms, it offers plenty of space to relax. Kids will delight in taking the hotel ferry to and from San Diego’s attractions, adding an extra element of fun to their stay. 

9. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard
Credit: Depositphotos

Martha’s Vineyard, a charming island seven miles off Cape Cod, entertains families with its diverse landscape and quaint towns. With six distinct towns and abundant natural beauty, including shoreline, ponds, forests, and farmlands, there’s plenty to explore. Accessible via a 45-minute ferry ride from Woods Hole, visitors can opt to bring their car or travel without one.

While the Martha’s Vineyard bus system offers transportation around the island, having a car or sturdy bike provides the flexibility to explore at leisure. Whether strolling along picturesque beaches, exploring historic towns, or immersing in the island’s natural wonders, Martha’s Vineyard promises a memorable and enriching family adventure.

10. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Fishing Pier In The Outer Banks
Credit: Depositphotos

So, have you heard about the Outer Banks? It’s been a hotspot for East Coasters for ages, but lately, it’s been getting even more buzz thanks to that Netflix show everyone’s talking about. During the day, you’ve got all sorts of family-friendly beach fun to enjoy, from swimming and picnicking to kayaking and sailing. And don’t forget about those classic East Coast lighthouses – like the Currituck Beach Lighthouse – or those massive sand dunes to explore.

Now, when the sun goes down, gather the crew and head over to The Blue Point for some seriously tasty Southern cuisine and the freshest seafood around. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a memorable family vacation, doesn’t it?

11. Washington, DC

Washington D.c.
Credit: Depositphotos

Washington, D.C., is jam-packed with awesome free stuff to do, which is perfect for big families looking to save some cash. You’ve gotta check out the National Mall – it’s a must-see! And don’t forget about all those Smithsonian Museums like the National History Museum and the Air and Space Museum – totally free! Plus, there’s the Botanic Gardens, Library of Congress, Arboretum, and National Archives Building. If your kiddos aren’t into history, no worries – you can bike around the Mall or Dupont Circle, or even take a spooky ghost tour. Loads of fun for everyone!

12. Catalina Island, California

Avalon, Ca
Credit: Depositphotos

Forget hopping on a plane to the Caribbean – Catalina Island, just 22 miles off Long Beach, offers a secluded island getaway with endless possibilities. Whether you crave adventure or relaxation, Catalina has it all. Experience the thrill of zip-lining high above, or explore the mountains in a biofuel-powered Hummer. For a more laid-back vibe, unwind at Descanso Beach Club while the kids play in the waves. As night falls, Hermit Gulch Campground in Avalon offers a DIY camping experience, or opt for the comfort of Hotel Atwater. 

13. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

Lake Tahoe
Credit: Depositphotos

Have you ever thought about checking out Lake Tahoe? Whether you’re hanging out on the California side or chilling in Nevada, there’s heaps to do. Picture this: crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing—all totally free! And don’t forget about the epic trails for hiking or biking around the lake, offering killer views all around.

Oh, and there’s more! You’ve gotta swing by the Tahoe Science Center for some cool insights into the lake’s ecosystem. And if you’re hitting it up in winter, get ready for some epic skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing action. Lake Tahoe’s got it all, so what are you waiting for?

14. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans
Credit: Depositphotos

New Orleans, a city bursting with vibrancy and culture, attracts visitors with its eclectic charm and diverse attractions. Stroll through the historic French Quarter, immersing yourself in its rich history and lively atmosphere. Explore renowned landmarks like the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo, where fascinating marine life and exotic animals await. And let’s not forget about the food – New Orleans is a culinary paradise, offering mouthwatering delights like beignets and po’ boys that won’t break the bank. 

15. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Credit: Depositphotos

Albuquerque is known as the “Land of Enchantment” for good reason – there’s something for everyone! This, in particular, is a gem with easy access to stunning national parks like White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns, plus unbeatable mountain views. Want to dive into history and culture? Swing by the Albuquerque Museum or the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center for some fascinating insights. Oh, and don’t miss Petroglyph National Monument, where you can see ancient etchings on volcanic rock.

For breathtaking views, hop on the Sandia Peak Tramway or take a hot air balloon ride with Apex Balloon Rides. And for a nostalgic stay, check out the El Vado Motel along Route 66. 

Great Vacation Spots For Families

Washington D.c.
Credit: Depositphotos

So, there you have it – the 15 best vacation spots in the U.S.A. for families to explore! From the sun-soaked beaches of California to the charming streets of New Orleans and the majestic landscapes of New Mexico, there’s a little something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or just some quality time together, these destinations promise unforgettable memories and endless fun. 

10 Fun Countries to Enjoy With Your Family Without Breaking the Bank

Halki Greece
Credit: Depositphotos

We all need a break from life now and then. Even kids crave an occasional escape from the stresses of schoolwork to head on a grand adventure someplace new and exciting. Finding inexpensive, family-friendly destinations often involves a balance between affordability and offering engaging activities. Here are ten destinations for fun family time without killing your savings. 

10 Fun Countries to Enjoy With Your Family Without Breaking the Bank

The 13 Most Fun Beaches in South Carolina for Families

Myrtle Beach
Credit: Depositphotos

Are you planning to swap your daily grind for the soothing sounds of waves, the sun kissing your skin, and endless family fun in the sand? Well, beachgoers, get ready to surf through the top 13 beaches in South Carolina for families! 

The 13 Most Fun Beaches in South Carolina for Families

Originally Published on

Steve Cummings Journalist, Traveler, and Personal Finance Enthusiast

Steve Cummings is a traveler, writer, and personal finance enthusiasts that has taken an adventure to leave his home country to travel and live around the world with his family. Through many years of learning he seeks to help those to save more and travel better. He has been featured in MSN, The Associate Press Wire, and various other content outlets with his writing and publications through his website The Frugal Expat. In the last six years, He has traveled to all seven continents, over 30 different countries, and has lived abroad learning and teaching others about good financial habits and travel hacks.

As an ex-English Teacher, he hopes to provide good tips and education on money and travel to help people think outside the box and achieve the impossible.

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