Top Family-Friendly Destinations in the United States

By Joe Baur,

It’s that glorious time of year when schools let out for the summer, and parents are forced to wrestle their sugar-fueled monsters into the backseat of their car for a family vacation. Looking into trivago user behavior, we’ve nailed down the most popular family-friendly destinations in the United States and followed up with some of their respective tourism organizations to help inspire your summer plans.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Sin City is no longer just an adult playground. Even the youngsters are able to find fun (of a more innocent variety, granted) in Las Vegas.

“From Red Rock National Conservation Area to the Hoover Dam, Southern Nevada is a welcoming destination with many attractions that appeal to every taste and price point,” says Jeremy Handel at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Visit Orlando

Did you know Orlando offers more lodging options than almost any other destination in the world? Given what’s in town, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

“Orlando, Theme Park Capital of the World, is the world’s leading family destination where families create memories that truly last a lifetime,” says Becca Bides at Visit Orlando. “With more than 100 world-class attractions that are continually expanding, there is something for every age to enjoy.”

Need some help tracking down your ideal family-friendly stay?

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

NYC Family-Friendly

Julienne Schaer, http://www.nycgo.com/

Being a world capital of culture, entertainment, and just about anything imaginable, New York City is a popular destination for families. From a visit to the Empire State Building and Gulliver’s Gate in Times Square to an evening stroll along The Highline, families would be smart to take a bite out of America’s Biggest Apple sooner rather than later.

Even better, NYC & Company just announced that Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will continue as the city’s official family ambassadors with travel itineraries created across the five boroughs that are representative of each turtle’s unique personality.

MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA

Myrtle Beach Family-Friendly

Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Some beaches attract the MTV Spring Break crowd, but not Myrtle Beach. This paradise is firmly a family-friendly destination.

“When you visit the Myrtle Beach area, you can create a vacation perfect for your family,” says Diane Charno at Visit Myrtle Beach. “If you’re looking to relax, spend a leisurely day along our beautiful beaches and try a variety of water sports, or lounge poolside at our many resorts and hotels.”

Diane points adventurous families toward the new Shark Wake Park for some wake boarding before heading over to Go Ape Treetop Adventures for some zip-lining across the forest canopy. For something a bit more cerebral, try WonderWorks, featuring over 100 hands-on exhibits that “will stimulate your mind and senses.”

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

Another shocker here. To quote one of your kids, “no duh” Anaheim is on the list with Disneyland calling the area home for over half a century.

And for what to do after you’ve Disney’d yourselves out…

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

You don’t need to be a researcher to find a full itinerary for a family-friendly trip to San Antonio. You can take in a kid-friendly show at The Magik Theatre, get active at The DoSeum, scream your head off at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and bounce around at Altitude Trampoline Park–just for starters.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Chicago Family-Friendly

Adam Alexander Photography

Chicago is the urban capital of the Midwest and it remains a popular destination for travelers looking for a taste of big city life. But it’s not all hustle and bustle in the Windy City. Between Millennium Park and the Lakefront Trail, there’s plenty of space for families to get a bit of green among the concrete.

“There are very few cities that can provide families with a combination of attractions, museums, and entertainment in the heart of a major urban environment surrounded by public spaces and parks – all within walking distance,” said David Whitaker at Choose Chicago. “With a constant change in programming throughout the year, there’s a new experience for our visitors every week in Chicago.”

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

Miami Family-Friendly

Provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau www.gmcvb.com

Like Vegas, Miami Beach is much more than the stereotype we’ve concocted in our imaginations. It’s not just gawkers flooding Muscle Beach or late night clubbing at The Birdcage with Starina and Agador, it’s a place for families to enjoy one of the country’s most diverse cities with no shortage of family-friendly offerings.

“With a year-round mild climate and unrivaled water access, Miami is the perfect international destination for families that like to spend their time enjoying the great outdoors,” says Jennifer Haz with the Greater Miami CVB. “For those families seeking a break from the heat, Miami has continued to evolve into an exciting family destination through the years with new attractions, most recently the highly anticipated $305 million Frost Museum of Science.”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

When you think of families and San Diego, the San Diego Zoo is the first thing to come to mind and, while it’s definitely a must-see, there’s a whole lot more in America’s Finest City.

“San Diego is the perfect destination for families because of its diversity of activities. There are the big attractions – like LEGOLAND California, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld San Diego – but there are also great museums, amazing beaches, and tons of outdoor activities. With so many options, every member of the family can find something to love, no matter what your age or interests are,” says Candice Eley at the San Diego Tourism Authority. “For families looking to save money, the best time to visit is October. That’s when the destination offers Kids Free San Diego, a month-long opportunity for kids 12-and-under to get in free at all the major attractions, museums and more.”

WASHINGTON D.C.

The nation’s capital is an obvious choice for a family-friendly vacation. It’s museums on museums on museums on museums here. But we’re not talking about some awkwardly forced, “Greatest Collection Of Chewing Gum!” museum. We’re talking about the National Museum of Natural History, the National Geographic Museum, the International Spy Museum, and far too many more worthy entries to list here. What kid wouldn’t want to visit the International Spy Museum?