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Are you and your family looking for a fun and memorable vacation this year that everyone will enjoy? Well, look no further! We have compiled a list of the top 10 best family vacation destinations in the US, from big cities to natural wonders. These timeless vacation locals have something for everyone in the family and are sure to create lasting memories.  

best family vacation destinations in the US

Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming 

As one of America’s first national parks, Yellowstone is truly a unique and fantastic place. It is home to many different species of wildlife, including bison, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves. There are also plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. Yellowstone National Park is one of America’s most iconic destinations. Yellowstone is a great park to explore with a private guide. We recommend a hiking and sightseeing tour, a white water rafting adventure, or a wildlife exploration tour. These tours allow families to make the most of their visit to the beautiful park. 

While there are options for places to stay within the park, many families will want to select their home base outside the park gates. The town of Jackson, Wyoming, makes a great jumping-off point to explore both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Jackson offers many accommodation options, including moderately priced and luxury hotels, condo properties, and vacation rentals.

Your family can explore by foot, bike, or even on horseback within the park boundaries. Just don’t forget to pack it in and pack it out, and of course, bring your cameras – you’ll want to capture the beauty of this place forever. If your family loves hiking, biking, and outdoor adventures, consider checking out why Costa Rica may be a great destination for your family. 

The Grand Canyon – Arizona 

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and it’s easy to see why. This massive canyon is truly a sight to behold. The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Its vast size and incredible beauty make it a must-see for any family vacation. 

There are many different ways to explore the canyon, such as hiking, rafting, or taking a mule tour. This natural wonder is truly breathtaking. Some of the best scenes can even be seen from above while skydiving over the natural wonder, or on an airplane tour. Plenty of guided tours are available, or your family can explore independently. Just be sure to keep an eye on the kids – there are no guardrails along the canyon’s edge! 

Although lodging options around the Grand Canyon are minimal, consider adding a few days and exploring other nearby towns and attractions such as Flagstaff, Page, Sedona and Scottsdale, Arizona. These cities have many secret hikes, and cultural attractions that are known to WOW any traveler. As with any adventure based trip, be sure you pack for the occasion.

best family vacation destinations in the US

Disney World – Florida 

Disney World is the ultimate destination for families with young children. With four theme parks, two water parks, and countless other activities, there is something for everyone at Disney World. Plus, who doesn’t love meeting Mickey Mouse and all their other favorite Disney characters? 

A trip to Disney World is a rite of passage for many American families. And for a good reason – it is the “happiest place on earth,” after all. From tram rides through Cinderella’s Castle to getting soaked on Splash Mountain, your family will create memories that will last a lifetime. 

Although park-hopper and multi-day passes are economical, consider a V.I.P. package if your family wants to experience Disney in style. While there are several options to choose from, the Disney Private Premium V.I.P. Tours allow the “plaid vests” to escort your group around the park celebrity-style. You will be allowed to use backstage areas and access the Lightning Lanes (expedited priority line at rides) while accompanied by your guide. Of course, this experience is not for the faint of heart or budget, as pricing runs from $425 to $850 per hour with a seven-hour minimum.

Charleston, South Carolina 

Charleston, South Carolina, is an excellent destination for families looking to enjoy all the city offers. Rich in history and culture, and there are plenty of activities and attractions for families to enjoy throughout Charleston. This kid-friendly city offers plenty of parks and playgrounds and is home to several important historical sites, including the Charleston Museum, the Fort Sumter National Monument, and the Battery. Explore the Fort Sumter National Monument with a ferry ride get the full experience. 

The city is also home to some of the best beaches in the country, making it a great place to relax and soak up the sun. Charleston is also a renowned culinary destination, and with so many great restaurants, shops, and hotels, Charleston has everything families need to make their vacation a success. The kids are sure to love a daytime carriage tour! And any foodie should plan on a culinary exploration tour. 

Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s fascinating past or enjoy its beautiful setting, Charleston will surely make your family vacation one to remember.

best family vacation destinations in the US

San Francisco – California 

San Francisco is a great city for families due to its abundance of kid-friendly activities. From exploring Golden Gate Park to riding cable cars, there is no shortage of things to do in San Francisco. Whether looking for cultural attractions, outdoor wonders, museums or theatres, you will find yourself spoilt for choice.

San Francisco is home to some of the best family-friendly attractions in the country, including the San Francisco Zoo, the California Academy of Sciences and the Exploratorium. Although the city’s notable museums and theaters provide educational and entertaining experiences for all ages, its vibrant arts scene is home to hundreds of talented actors, from world-class theatre to street performers. 

While San Francisco is a renowned city for its picturesque views and unique architecture, it offers a plethora of outdoor activities for families with children to enjoy. San Francisco’s topography provides opportunities to explore different ecosystems and landscapes. Families can enjoy the city’s many parks, including Dolores Park, Glenn Canyon Park, and Washington Square Park. For a special experience, just outside of the city, bring your family on a tour to Muir Woods, and be amazed at the scenery. 

Iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf are must-see stops for first-timers and repeat visitors alike. Booking a tour of Alcatraz beforehand is important, it sells out! Families can also bond over fun activities such as hiking, biking, visiting the Haight-Ashbury district, or attending a San Francisco Giants baseball game. No matter what your family enjoys, the city has something for everyone and is the perfect destination for an unforgettable vacation.

Maui, Hawaii 

Who doesn’t love a tropical paradise? Maui offers pristine beaches, world-class resorts and some of the best Luaus in Hawaii. And don’t forget about Haleakala National Park – where you can take a sunrise hike to watch the sun peek over the horizon. Maui is the perfect place to create memories with your family that will last a lifetime. While Maui’s beautiful beaches are perfect for a day of relaxation, adults and children alike can try their hand at fun sports such as stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, or kayaking. We can help guide you in planning the perfect trip to Maui.

Maui’s stunning scenery is unlike anywhere else in the world, and you can explore it by hiking to Maui’s waterfalls or driving on the iconic Road to Hana. Maui is also home to many great restaurants and activities for teens and kids, making it the perfect Maui family vacation destination. For adventure lovers, check out the 13 best adventures in Hawaii. Whether you’re looking to relax or explore, Maui has something for everyone in your family.

Although all Hawaiian islands are unique, Maui offers the perfect place to unwind and relax, knowing you will create memories that your family will cherish forever. Although most luxury hotels provide kids’ clubs and fun activities for young children, families with teens might want to explore more adventurous options such as hiking, zip-lining, snorkeling and surfing. For families with younger children, a whale watching experience is sure to entertain the kids. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or spend a week on an action-packed adventure, Maui is the perfect destination for your next family vacation. Maui has many different styles of luxury hotels, some for adventure, others for relaxation. 

Glacier National Park – Montana 

Glacier National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States and one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Planning a family trip to any national park is sure to amaze the whole family. Its stunning scenery and many different hiking trails that make Glacier National Park a must-see for any nature lover. With its towering mountains, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder that Glacier is such a popular destination for families. However, Glacier can also be a bit daunting for first-time visitors. There are so many things to see and do, and it can be tough to know where to start. Luckily, a few simple tips can help make your Glacier experience unforgettable.

First, be sure to spend at least two to three days in the park. Glacier is vast, and you’ll want to give yourself enough time to explore all of its wonders. Second, take advantage of the park’s shuttle system, which is available fare-free along the Going-to-the-Sun-Road on a first-come, first-serve basis. Glacier has an extensive network of shuttles that can take you to all major sights. This is a great way to save energy and allows you to take in the scenery without worrying about driving. While most families opt to visit in the summer months, the hiker-biker season may be Glacier’s best-kept secret. It allows recreational access for hikers and bikers beyond vehicle gate closures on the Going-to-the-Sun Road before the road opens for the season. It is offered on weekends from May 7 until the day that G.T.S.R. fully opens. For the ultimate thrill, book a whitewater rafting adventure!

Finally, don’t forget to bring your camera, follow park rules and carry bear spray! Glacier is full of photo-worthy moments, but you never know when one of the park’s many grizzly cubs might peak out their head with mama just around the corner. You’ll want to capture as many memories as possible but also stay alert. Following these simple tips will make you have a fantastic time exploring Glacier National Park with your family.

best family vacation destinations in the US

Washington, D.C. 

Our nation’s capital is an excellent destination for families who want to learn more about American history. There are many different museums and monuments to explore, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Lincoln Memorial, and

Washington, DC, is a great family vacation destination for many reasons. Our nation’s capital is home to dozens of world-class museums but perhaps none so well known as the Smithsonian Institution. With 21 museums and the National Zoo, this Institution is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex. Its galleries cover everything from art and history to science and nature. And the best part is that admission to all Smithsonian museums is free! For the ultimate experience, book a private tour of the Smithsonian Institution.

Also, consider visiting the National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art if your schedule allows.

After you have had your share exploring the museums, there are also plenty of other Washington DC activities for families to enjoy. Make sure your itinerary includes visiting monuments and memorials. Families with younger children will enjoy exploring the city’s parks and riding on the Metro.

In addition to the cultural and historical attractions, Washington, DC, is a very safe and clean city, making it an ideal place to vacation with children. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Washington, DC, is one of the country’s most popular family vacation destinations. So whether you’re looking for educational fun or just some memorable family time together, consider planning a capital adventure.

Sanibel Island, Florida 

Sanibel Island, Florida, is a great place to take the family on vacation. There are plenty of things to see and do that will keep everyone entertained. As the island is home to miles of beautiful beaches, one of the most popular activities is shelling. Sanibel Island is world-renowned for its shells, and families can spend hours combing the beaches for the perfect souvenir.

There are also several nature parks on the island, where families can hike, bike, and enjoy a relaxing picnic. For those looking for a more active vacation, plenty of water sports are available, from kayaking and paddleboarding to jet skiing and parasailing.

Families with children who enjoy wildlife sightings will be pleased to learn that the island is also home to over 230 different species of birds. And be sure to visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, where you can explore one of America’s largest nature preserves. Covering 6,400 Acres of undeveloped mangrove ecosystem, the refuge is home to over 250 species of animals, including alligators, turtles, and manatees. There are also many hiking trails and a boardwalk that goes through the refuge. This refuge was created to safeguard the extraordinary wildlife habitat of Sanibel Island and protect the endangered and threatened species that depend on the island for survival. 

Other fun activities for families include visiting the Sanibel Lighthouse, built in 1884 and still in use today. Visitors can take a tour of the lighthouse and learn about its history.

If you’re looking to get out on the water Sanibel Island is a great place to go saltwater fishing. You can fish from the beach, pier, or boat. Many charter companies offer fishing trips, but if you prefer to observe marine wildlife from a distance, consider taking a dolphin cruise. Sanibel Island is home to many dolphins, and cruises leave from several locations on the island.

No matter your interests, Sanibel Island has something for everyone in the family.

best family vacation destinations in the US

The Smoky Mountains, Tennessee/North Carolina 

The Smoky Mountains are a favorite vacation destination for families who love the outdoors. There are hikes for all skill levels, whitewater rafting adventures, and even an amusement park (Dollywood!) nestled in these majestic mountains. And don’t forget about Gatlinburg – where you can explore shops and restaurants before taking a scenic ride up into the hills on the Aerial Tramway.  

Of course, the true star of the region is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the park is home to various plants and animals and some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. Visitors can hike through dense forests, explore cascading waterfalls, or enjoy fantastic views from one of the many overlooks. The park also has jeep tours for families who want to see it all!

The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is in late spring or early fall. During these months, the weather is milder, and the crowds are smaller. However, even during peak season, the Smoky Mountains National Park is a top-rated destination, so be sure to plan your trip well in advance. Whatever time of year you choose to visit, you will have an unforgettable experience in one of America’s most beloved national parks.

These are just a few terrific family vacation destinations in the US for 2023. Additionally, if you are considering a trip abroad, check out our top family vacation destinations across the globe for 2023. Don’t be afraid to travel the world as a family! We promise, all the international family vacation myths can be debunked. Start planning your next family trip today!

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Boutique Travel Advisors is a full-service, luxury travel agency. We specialize in creating bespoke itineraries for discerning clients around the world. Please visit our website or call 480-787-1477 to speak with a dedicated travel expert. 

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