Do you feel them already? The waves of trip-planning anxiety lapping against the shores of your mind? It takes some serious planning to find a family-friendly vacation spot and, as you know, it’s all in the details. The perfect trip inspires relaxation in your spouse and jealousy among your Instagram followers. It also must keep the kids interested, excited, and engaged (to keep them from arguing, wandering, or breaking things by accident).
It can’t be anything you’ve done before because that’s just BO-RING. So, where will you go and which activities will you plan? You’ll find that our family-friendly vacation ideas below venture slightly off the beaten path (no suggestions of Orlando or the Grand Canyon in this post). Whether you’re dreaming of a workout for your mind or your body, planning one of these trips will prove you’ve got what it takes to plan a top-tier family vacation.
Find an Outdoor Adventure
Select one of these fully-interactive, family-friendly vacation destinations and you’ll keep the whole crew moving and entertained throughout your stay.
Winter Park, Colorado
It may sound like a seasonal vacation spot, but Winter Park has year-round activities for the whole family. Of course, there’s skiing and snowboarding during the winter, but you can branch out and try moonlight snowshoe tours, ski bike tours, ice skating, tube rides, dog sledding, and snowmobiling as well. In warmer months, try a mountain e-bike tour, the alpine slide, disc golf, mineral panning, white water rafting, or horseback riding.
Where to Stay: After a full day of action, you’ll need a place to crash and rejuvenate. We recommend the Best Western Alpenglo Lodge. With eight restaurants within three blocks and free breakfast each morning, feeding the family won’t be a problem.
Crystal River, Florida
If hiking and climbing aren’t your family’s cup of tea, Crystal River could be the place for you. In fact, one of the main attractions here is underwater! The chance to snorkel with gentle manatees brings swimmers of all ages to this spot. But that’s not all you’ll find. Golf courses, paddling trails, kayaking, fishing, and a coastal heritage museum will keep the days and nights busy for the entire family.
Where to Stay: A great spot to catch some rest and relaxation after floating with a herd of sea cows is at the Holiday Inn Express Crystal River. With both a pool and fitness center, you can warm up and cool down from your activity-filled days.
The natural beauty and wonders of the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg draw active families to play year-round. Not only will you find hundreds of miles of mountainous hiking trails, but whitewater rafting and fishing with difficulty levels suitable for the whole crew are also available. Within a few miles, you can explore zip-lining and kayaking or Pigeon Forge and Dollywood.
Where to Stay: Book your room at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort and your villa will include a fully equipped kitchen and in-unit washer and dryer. There’s also an indoor and outdoor pool, indoor splash water feature, and off-site excursions for any age group.
Try an Adrenaline-Fueled Amusement Park
Is your family fueled by adrenaline and adventure? If roller coasters and water slides are what bring your family together, try one of these vacation locations.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Located on the Wisconsin River, Wisconsin Dells is known for its glacier-carved rock formations and its indoor and outdoor amusement parks. With five water parks to choose from, you’ll always find water slides to conquer no matter the season. Other activities include golfing, gaming, museums, tours, spas, sports, and a vibrant downtown area full of shopping and restaurants.
Where to Stay: The Springhill Suites Wisconsin Dells offers only suites with space for the entire family to kick back and relax. Stay connected with friends and followers by uploading all your vacation pics using their free Wi-Fi.
With chocolate-scented air blowing your hair back as you plunge down a roller-coaster, you’ll wonder why you’ve never been to Hersheypark before. Hershey is a place unlike any other and was designed to enrich the lives of those who worked at Milton Hershey’s chocolate factory. The park itself began as a green space for the community and grew into an all-out amusement park that now includes a zoo.
Where to Stay: When you visit, stay at Springhill Suites Hershey Near the Park. It’s listed on TripAdvisor as one of the top 10 family-friendly hotels in the U.S.
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, is one of the top roller-coaster destinations in the United States. Enjoy the trek to the southern tip of Lake Erie to what is known among enthusiasts as the Roller-Coaster Capital of the World. From slow and steady to adrenaline-pumping, each roller-coaster is sure to please someone in the family. Cedar Point isn’t the only thing to do in Sandusky; you can check out the lake, visit islands, and discover history.
Where to Stay: With waterfront views only minutes away from the amusement park, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky is a top choice for family-friendly vacations in the area. Free breakfast and Wi-Fi will help keep everybody’s priorities fulfilled.
Visit Something Historical
Choosing a location that will enrich minds young and old is another option for a perfect family-friendly vacation.
The New England city of Boston is packed full of historical locations. Among the most famous are the Old North Church, the Boston Tea Party Ships, Battle Ship Cove, and the Paul Revere House. However, history exists in Boston beyond the Revolutionary War with Fenway Park and the hallowed halls of Harvard. Boston is steeped in layers of history just waiting for your family to peel back.
Where to Stay: The fully heated pool and rooftop bar at Residence Inn Boston Back Bay/Fenway provide an incredible view of the historic city and Fenway Park next door.
Known for its monuments and museums, Washington, D.C. is full of educational and historic opportunities for the entire family to explore. There’s more to do than a family could ever accomplish in one trip.
You’ll spend days cruising from one metro stop to another visiting the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, the International Spy Museum, National Mall, and all the monuments and memorials. See where history is made with a tour of Capitol Hill, or stand at the gates of the White House and imagine being President.
Where to Stay: Just three blocks from the McPherson Square metro station, the Homewood Suites by Hilton Washington, D.C. Downtown will serve as your home away from home. Every morning, you’ll start off with free breakfast, and Monday through Thursday you can get a complimentary light dinner.
Whether your family is interested in the stories of the Civil War, learning about real pirates in the South, visiting the beach, or boating with dolphins, Savannah offers it all with Southern charm. The Children’s Museum and the Georgia State Railroad Museum will keep young learners entertained while the cannon firings and weapons demonstrations at Fort Pulaski will amp up the adrenaline.
Activities abound to keep your family entertained in the heart of the South. As the setting of the famous novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (which is based on a true story), you’ll also find a tour or two of famous spots mentioned in the book and movie.
Where to Stay: The sweltering heat of the summertime will drive you to the rooftop pool at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Savannah Historic District/Riverfront should you choose to stay there. Located minutes from the heart of downtown, the hotel is near shopping, restaurants, and attractions. The all-suite hotel offers luxury and space to relax in while enjoying Savannah.
Where Will Your Family Vacation?
Family vacations are about making memories that will last forever. Picking the right location doesn’t have to be a stressful process. If this list didn’t include the right adventure for your family, find one among this guide to destinations in every state.
At Roomkey, we’re dedicated to putting you first and making your hotel search as streamlined as possible. With us, there are no gimmicks or tricks, just straightforward options to help you book your hotel room directly with the brand of your choice. Visit roomkey.com today and start your search for the perfect family-friendly vacation destination.