Family vacations are an essential part of family life. They’re an opportunity for you to reconnect with your nearest and dearest and spend some real quality time together. A good family-friendly vacation destination will allow parents the chance to relax and children the chance to play and have adventures. It doesn’t need to be totally child-focused, the emphasis here is on family, so there should be something for everyone.
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Yellowstone National Park
If you have energetic, active kids who love to explore, a vacation in Yellowstone, one of North America’s seven natural wonders, is perfect.
It’s especially good for those in the 7 to 12 age range. They’re old enough to go on hikes and carry their own bags, but not too old to be affected by teen grumpiness. The park has 3000 square miles of stunning cliffs, geysers, rivers, and valleys to explore. It’s also packed with wildlife, Hiking is an obvious activity, but it’s far from the only one. If your kids are curious about science, they’ll love to learn about Yellowstone’s 300 geysers. If they love wildlife, they’ll be keen to spot eagles, moose, bison, wolves, and bears. Head to Yellowstone in summer for camping and hiking, and in winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Anywhere in Hawaii makes for a fabulous family vacation. Surfing, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and plenty of fun.
It’s an easy-going, friendly place that welcomes kids and has a stunning backdrop of oceans and volcanic mountains. Maui is a particularly perfect choice for families, offering a great mix of things to do and see.
At 48 miles long, it’s big enough to offer plenty of exploration while being small enough that you can see all of it easily if you want to. There are 30 miles of beaches, with many of the most popular in the south. Wailea Beach is a great choice, with relatively calm waters that are safe for swimming and snorkeling.
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is a wonderful wilderness destination for families of all ages, from babies to teens. It’s a paradise for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors, with beautiful blue water surrounded by snow-capped peaks.
It has its share of casinos and glitzy hotels on the California side, but they can be easily avoided. Explore the lake shore, with its safe beaches and swimming. Hire kayaks and head out to see the lake from the water. Enjoy flat woodland trails for hiking and biking.
The Kidzone Museum in Truckee is a wonderful place for under-10s, with lots of activities and play areas designed to encourage imagination and creativity.
San Diego, California
San Diego makes for a brilliant family vacation for those who want to combine the beach with the city. It has 70 miles of beaches, year-round sun and a whole host of family-friendly attractions. Animal-loving kids will adore San Diego’s famous zoo and the San Diego Safari Park.
Younger kids will enjoy a trip to LegoLand. At Belmont Park, they can enjoy rides and ice-creams right on the beach. Or simply take a wander around Old Town San Diego, with its historic buildings, street entertainment, and living museum feel.
Puerto Rico is the obvious Caribbean choice for families.
That’s partly due to the practicalities because you won’t need a passport. But it’s more than that. It offers families much to see and do. The capital, San Juan, is steeped in history, with colourful Spanish-style houses, fortified walls, and some fantastic restaurants. The island’s interior is a rainforest playground, complete with zip lines and some incredible hiking and wildlife-spotting.
Back down on the coast, take a kayaking trip to the bioluminescent bay and see plankton sparkling in the water. Of course, you might just want to chill on the beach, in which case you won’t be disappointed. Think endless, palm-fringed golden sand: the essence of the Caribbean.
If you don’t want to pack much and have a little more money to spend, you could check out a resort. All-inclusive usually either market to families or as adults-only resorts. With your family, always look for the family-style vacation.
Florida has heaps to do for kids, with theme parks and beaches galore. Top of most children’s (and many adults’) Florida must-do list will be a trip to Disney World. It includes 40 square miles of themed rides, water parks, and resort hotels.
There are also golf courses and spas, perfect if you want a bit of me-time. The Legoland theme park is also worth a visit, especially for younger ones. At Busch Gardens, there are rides galore combined with a safari adventure. And at Universal Studios, you can ride through your favourite movies. You could easily fill a week in Florida just with its theme parks, but there’s so much else to see and do, especially on its legendary beaches.
Head to Okaloosa Island for oyster shacks and sand dunes, Clearwater for endless water sports, or bustling Daytona if you prefer a lively vibe. Whatever it is you want to do, Florida has a beach to match it.