Family vacation spots can be the same year after year, but it’s easy to mix up your travel routine with a little research. If you’re stuck in a rut of visiting the same destinations over and over, read on for some new choices for the best family travel destinations in the United States and beyond. The first decision to make is what kind of vacation you want to plan: relaxing or adventurous? Cultural or full of outdoor fun? A road trip of a lifetime or a cruise vacation? No matter which kind you choose, an affordable family vacation can be right around the corner with a little preparation and research.
The best family vacation spots are the ones that both allow parents to relax and provide entertainment for kids. For this reason, beach getaways are very popular. If you’re looking for an affordable vacation, choose an all inclusive destination such as a resort where parents can enjoy the relaxing beach and kids will keep busy with scuba diving, water skiing, and building sand castles. Some of the top all inclusive resorts are located in the Caribbean, along the Mexican coast, in Florida, and beyond. These are also considered the best family travel destinations because they offer a range of accommodation. Beyond all inclusive resorts, there are many more affordable options for families on a budget including resort vacations and beyond.
Another way to add value to a trip is to choose vacation rentals. This is one of the best tactics for trip planning for an affordable family vacation in any location. Families who choose an outdoor adventure vacation often choose rentals. The added convenience of a kitchen, outdoor living space, and a barbecue can enhance a family trip. Planning your own meals and preparing snacks for a hike can help keep the cost of a trip down and also provide healthy choices for your family. Whether you choose a cozy cabin rental in Lake Tahoe and spend your days white water rafting, fishing, and hiking or head into the Adirondack Mountains for a rental on a lake, a vacation rental will ensure that your family has everything they need to relax.
Some of the top family vacation spots are also close to home. No matter what part of the country you’re from, you might be surprised at the choices for nearby vacations. In the northeast section of the country, an affordable family vacation can be planned in many places along the coastline. From the beaches of the New Jersey Shore to the quaint villages of Cape Cod, some of the best family travel destinations are just a short drive away. Cook fresh lobsters in your own kitchen at a vacation rental in Martha’s Vineyard, go sailing in Nantucket, or stroll along the unspoiled beaches of Maine.
Family Beach Vacations
Family Beach Vacations
The great thing about beach vacations is that there are simply so many destinations; you can either travel halfway around the world or take a short road trip or plane flight, and it won’t be too difficult to find a terrific beach. One of the best family beach destinations is surely Florida, as there are both beaches and theme parks to entertain you, so it’s also possible to split a vacation between time on the beach and time spent on roller coasters. Siesta Key, Sanibel Island, Pensacola, and the Florida Keys are among the destinations known for their amazing beaches and warm water, and it’s possible to take a day trip to Orlando to visit Disney World, or if you’re already in the St Petersburg-Clearwater area, a short drive to Tampa to visit Busch Gardens.
If you’re looking for less crowded destinations, then there are plenty of more low-key beach options around the US than what you’ll find in Florida, many of which have great family vacation deals during beach season. Pismo Beach in California and the Santa Monica area both have great beaches, while Cape Cod in Massachusetts and the coastal islands in Georgia have their share of less crowded beaches and fun things to do. If you’re looking for a way to split time between the sea and the water slides, Myrtle Beach South Carolina is one of the best places to go. The Oregon Coast, such as Cannon Beach and Lincoln City, have terrific beaches and kid-friendly destinations like the Newport Aquarium, and their prices are likely to be lower than the better-known resort destinations.
Family Cruise Vacations
Family Cruise Vacations
Dozens of cruises leave every day from ports in Florida such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Port Canaveral. Many of these cruises are bound for destinations relatively close to home, such as the Caribbean and Mexico, and because of the close proximity, it’s possible to make this type of trip into a cheap family vacation as well. It’s even possible to begin family cruise vacations with a few days at Disney World before the ship disembarks. Once you’re at sea, the cruise ships themselves typically have plenty of kid-friendly attractions, such as swimming pools and kids clubs, and cruise lines such as Disney, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean are known for being especially family-friendly. Popular destinations for these cruises include the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the US Virgin Islands, though these are far from the only choices.
If you live closer to the West Coast, then a trip leaving from Florida might not be the best choice for family cruise vacation, but the options for trips to Alaska and Hawaii are plentiful as well. Many Alaska cruises leave from either Seattle or Vancouver BC and include shore excursions near glaciers and in some of the most beautiful towns in the US. Hawaii cruises typically depart from Southern California, and as it’s a longer sail, there is plenty of time to relax on the ship before getting to popular tourist destinations on the Big Island, Maui, or Oahu.
If you have extra time for a family cruise getaway, there are destinations farther away that can be fascinating as well. Cruises along the coast of South America, past the Brazilian beaches or the coast of Chile, as well as trips through the Mediterranean Sea have been popular among cruise passengers for years, and the options for family cruises are growing here as well. If you’re interested in seeing the South American rain forest or the archaeological sites in Italy and you have a little time and extra cash to spend on your family vacation, these cruises are well worth looking into. You can even book a trip that goes through the Panama Canal.
Family Vacation Ideas
Family Vacation Ideas
When thinking about the best family vacations, many travelers gravitate toward white-beaches and crystal blue waters of the resort destinations, and while this used to be considered more of a romantic getaway than a family trip, there are now resorts that cater specifically to guests with children, which makes a family vacation in Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Mexico all the better. Resorts such as Amaryllis in Barbados, FDR Pebbles in Jamaica, and the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island typically include kids clubs, childcare, and other activities to keep the younger ones entertained when they’re not exploring the beaches or snorkeling with the rest of the family.
If you’re really looking to travel on a tight budget, there are entertaining destinations spread across the United States, and many of these are vying to be considered the best cheap family vacation idea. Destinations such as the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Giant Sequoias and Yosemite in California, and the Appalachian Mountains in the Eastern US all have beautiful scenery, great camping options, and cheap hotels that make visiting the areas among the best family travel ideas if you’re trying to save money.
Visiting amusement parks can be a great cheap family vacation idea as well, as in addition to the large and well-known destinations such as Disney World and Disneyland, there are dozens of smaller parks scattered around the US, which makes it likely that you live within a one- or two-day drive of one of them. Busch Gardens in Tampa or Williamsburg, Cedar Point in Ohio, and Noah’s Ark Water Park in the Wisconsin Dells are among the most popular theme parks to visit, and between discount admissions and budget hotels, it’s possible to make a trip to one of them a very cheap vacation.
Family Vacation Packages
Family Vacation Packages
Easily among the top family vacation package destinations are theme parks, particularly Disneyland and Disney World. Smaller amusement parks around the US, such as Cedar Point in Ohio or Noah’s Ark Water Park in the Wisconsin Dells, now offer package deals that can include lodging and discount admission, nothing quite rivals the Disney experience. Disney vacations have been popular among families for decades, and with so many resorts on-site, it’s possible to have your whole vacation center on having fun at the park. The Walt Disney World Resort brand, for instance, offers great places to stay at both parks, as well as family travel packages to help park guests save on admission.
The Caribbean is one of the top family vacation package destinations, even if you don’t arrive via cruise ship. While some resorts are adults only or cater toward couples on honeymoons, there are plenty of kid-friendly resorts as well; just be sure to do your research. Resorts such as Amaryllis in Barbados, the Club Med line, and FDR Pebbles in Jamaica are all among the great options for families, as kids clubs, activities, and even child care are often included in the all inclusive rate. Hawaii has fewer options for all inclusive family travel packages than other destinations might, but it’s still worth checking into what kind of package deals the resorts can offer to help save money.