Whether you plan to see the sights or spend most of your time on the beach, you'll never forget your time spent in the summer sun with your loved ones. These five destinations make our list of the best summer vacation spots for families because they offer amenities and activities for members of all ages.
Visiting The Grand Canyon
When you arrive at the Grand Canyon, you'll immediately see why it's a dream destination for many families. Despite the awe-inspiring views, it's possible to do this trip on a budget, thanks to the relatively low cost of national park entry. You can save even more money if you don't mind camping and rely on the free shuttle bus service to get around the expansive Grand Canyon area. Some cool things to do with kids include taking a railroad ride to the Canyon's South Rim, visiting the geology museum, joining the Junior Rangers, and even conquering more accessible hikes.
Visiting Niagara Falls
Experience this breathtaking natural wonder when visiting Niagara Falls, New York. Your family will get up close to not just one but three incredible waterfalls. Take the Maid of the Mist boat tour, and go at night for the bonus of a fantastic light show. Opportunities for bird-watching, biking, and hiking abound in the surrounding state parks and preserves. Just 20 miles away in Buffalo, you'll find much more to do and see, including the Buffalo Zoo and the famous waterfront Canalside area for shopping, dining, and attractions.
Visiting The Florida Keys
With more than 125 miles of islands to explore, the Florida Keys could be your perfect tropical family vacation. While you're there, soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal clear Atlantic. To get away from it all, spend some time in Dry Tortugas National Park, which you can access only by boat or plane. When you're ready for more activity, check out the Key West Shipwreck Museum, the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, or the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada. You can also take a train tour of the historic Key West area, spend the day on a fishing boat, snorkel the coral reefs and see some tropical fish, or take a few scuba diving lessons.
Visiting Southern California
Southern California has so many options for family fun that you'll want to plan more than one visit. Start with San Diego for a beachside getaway that's never boring, with easy access to world-class attractions like the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. You can hang with Mickey and the gang at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim. See the stars in Los Angeles by taking a tour of Hollywood or spending time at Griffith Park's iconic observatory, where you'll also find miles of scenic hiking and biking trails for the active members of your crew.
Visiting The Outer Banks, NC
If you haven't experienced the Outer Banks, you're missing out on one of the best family vacation bargains on the East Coast. This gorgeous chain of barrier islands offers affordable lodging, tons of local history and culture, lots of lighthouses to visit, opportunities for adventure--and, of course, the beach. Pro tip: Gather a group of your nearest and dearest and rent a gigantic house with amenities like game rooms, beachside kitchens, and Olympic-sized swimming pools. While there, don't miss the snorkeling, shopping, and seafood, with some of the freshest catches available anywhere.
Put this list in your back pocket and pull it out when you need fresh inspiration for your next family vacation.