Planning a family trip can be painful if you don’t know where to begin, especially when you — the adult — want to have fun too. But, you might be surprised by how enjoyable some major U.S. cities and national parks can be for the whole family, even if you’re pushing around a stroller.
To ease the pain of finding a destination for your next family getaway, we asked over 1,000 people which U.S. destinations offer the best family-friendly vacation, and ranked the top four results. We kept in mind that every family is different, so whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in a state park or want to check out historical sites, we have you covered. Whether it’s a day trip or a weekend getaway, all you need to do is book the trip, pack your bags, and hit the road.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the oldest, one of the most famous, and largest national parks in the country, and it ranks as our most kid-friendly destination. Spanning over 3,500 miles and three different states, Yellowstone offers some truly fun experiences for you and your kids. You may already know about the park’s world-class hiking trails, or famous geysers that blast water over 100 feet above ground, but this famous destination offers much more.
While there are many outdoor activities, why not use this as an educational opportunity for your kids? Sign them up for the Junior Rangers or the Young Scientists program led by a real Yellowstone park ranger. They’ll go on a hike to learn all about Yellowstone’s history, plants and ecosystem along the way.
If you’re a family of adrenaline junkies, and the kids are burnt out on hiking, consider signing up for the Zip N’ Dip package. This guided adventure comes with a white water excursion down the Gallatin river, and an exhilarating bird’s eye perspective of the park as you soar down a zipline.
Top Family Activities in Yellowstone National Park
- Junior Ranger Program
- Visit Old Faithful
- Horseback Riding Tours
- Swim in Boiling River or Firehole River
- Drive Yellowstone Loop Road
Ready to book a trip? See available Yellowstone rentals in Montana.
San Diego, California
If there’s a true one-size-fits-all destination for any family to enjoy a visit, San Diego fits the bill. Whether you and your kids adore animals of all kinds, get a charge from roller coaster and thrill rides, or simply want to lounge on the beach, you can’t go wrong with this Southern California gem of a city.
With year-round ideal weather, San Diego is a great place to visit any time of year, and with 70 miles of beautiful coastline, there’s possibly too many activities to experience and sights to see. You could visit the world famous San Diego Zoo, get up close and personal with seals that San Diego is so well known for on the San Diego Seal Tour, or explore and admire the legendary Legoland California. While all the above could be fun for the entire family, you can also get a taste of the trendy brewery scene (and bring the kids along too) via one of the several San Diego brewery tour companies.
Top Family Activities in San Diego
- San Diego Zoo
- Hike Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
- LEGOLAND California
- Mission Beach Boardwalk
- Explore Old Town
Sold on visiting California’s Beach City? See available rentals in San Diego.
Want to immerse your family in American history, and modern sciences — and do it on a budget? No other city boasts as many places and attractions that interest young, curious minds – and no other has so many sites that are completely free.
The nation’s capital is also very easy to navigate and get around with kids. With the small purchase of a SmarTrip card, you have access to all of the city’s subway and bus systems. D.C.’s Metro subway system is one of the best in the country, and for only $1, you can catch a circulator bus that takes you to some of the capital city’s most kid-friendly destinations — including the Smithsonian museums of the National Mall, memorials surrounding the man-made Tidal Basin reservoir, and the Capitol building. You can buy a SmarTrip card at any Metro station.
Top Family Activities in Washington D.C.
- Visit one of the many local Smithsonian Museums
- National Gallery of Art
- United States Botanic Garden
- Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion
- Glen Echo Park
Feeling patriotic? Find available rentals in Washington D.C.
Grand Canyon National Park
If Yellowstone is already crossed off your bucket list, the Grand Canyon is more than a decent alternative for a family vacation. With four major rims, and over 1,900 square miles, an adventure in the Grand Canyon is the journey around the behemoth natural wonder. It’s all about stopping along the way around to take in the desert’s iconic red rock scenery.
If you’re worried about the Arizona heat, the Grand Canyon’s position at 7,000 ft above sea level makes for a high-desert climate. This means hot summers, cold winters, and mild spring and fall seasons with snow year-round in some areas. So if you want to avoid the large crowds, consider visiting in the spring, fall or winter, but be prepared for extreme snow and ice conditions on the road in the winter.
Top Family Activities in Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon Railway
- Annual Star Party
- Grand Canyon Skywalk
- Junior Ranger Program
- Hike Bright Angel Point Trail
Ready to marvel at geological history? Find rentals near the Grand Canyon.