When the family’s with me on a trip my criteria for what the destination needs to offer is very different than when I’m traveling with my girlfriends or alone. Kids under the age of 10 need activity and that means that a one-dimensional destination isn’t going to cut it. We need things to do… brain stimulation, physical activity, fun… and if we don’t get it the vacation quickly goes downhill. When all else fails we turn to our tried and true. These 5 spots have proven their family-satisfying abilities:
1. Florida – Typically it’s Orlando but on a recent visit to Miami I fell in love with the southern city too.
What you get: Cities that recognize that families travel to them. Between children’s museums, entire areas dedicated to family experiences and yup, even the theme parks they offer the tried and true of a family vacation that focuses on together time. Peek at some of the fun we recently had in the sunshine state here .
2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – It’s the mini-golf capital of the world and folks here take the game so seriously they host the championships every year.
What you get: You’ll find plenty of places to improve your golf skills in big and little ways. Accommodations include larger family-friendly cottages and suites with kitchens that can make doubling up with another family easy and cut costs. We stayed at the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes when we visited with friends a few years ago and between the beach and fantastic game spots like the wand waving world of Magiquest, you’ll never hear “I’m bored.” Another plus: Most restaurants aren’t just family-friendly, they’re family – welcoming.
3. Williamsburg, Virginia – not your parent’s Pioneer Village
What you get: It’s a step back in time without the boring bits. Dramatic vignettes in the streets make visitors a part of the action and offer the back story to important moments in American History in a way that keeps kids and adults informed and entertained. Special areas for younger kids means they can learn what life was like for the pint-size pioneer set as well. Loved it.
4.San Francisco, California – Indoors and out
What you get: Strolls along the wharf, fresh seafood and kids activities that run the gamut from innovative children’s museums (where they can do everything from claymation to shooting their own video) to a visit to the infamous Alcatraz prison (for one of the best tours I’ve ever experienced.) And even thought the weather here is cooler than Southern California, it has plenty of fun neighbourhoods and parks that are both walkable and manageable with kids.
5. Stowe, Vermont – Outdoor enthusiasts meet small-town appeal
What you get: The Von Trapps – of Sound of Music fame – live here and that alone should give you an idea of what Stowe is like: Wholesome, family fun. Ice cream floats at a 50’s style soda shop, bike rides on well-paved trails and tennis lessons from a pro. Opt to stay at Smuggler’s Notch and you’ll also get family style summer or winter camp-like experience that will keep everyone happy.
Your turn. Have you got a favourite U.S. family travel spot? Add it in the comments below and save a parent some grief. :)
We are big family travelers and for March Break, we can’t say enough about Club Med Ixtapa! A place that everyone enjoys, you don’t need to think, you can join in when you want, the food awesome and you feel like you get a vacation yourself!
I’ve heard a lot of good things about that one! Also know the Club Med Sandpiper Bay is newly renovated. Haven’t had a chance to check it out yet but sounded like it was going to be fantastic too.
We’re going to Sandpiper Bay the first week in March! I’ll let you know how it is. I heard they don’t have a beach, or that you have to travel to a beach, but I’m looking forward to the baby stuff they provide (crib, stroller, high chair, babysitting, etc.)
Anxious to hear! Have fun. :)
On of my favorite family vacations growing up was our trip to the Everglades in Florida. Definitely a good variety with the jet airboats, canoe/kayak rentals and beaches!
Thanks Molly. I’ll add it to the list of places I need to explore.
I would love, love, love to spend spring break in San Fran with my kids. I really think they’d love it; great suggestions, Heather.
Thanks. My kids loved it. I’m hoping to get back there again soon. Wish you the same. :)
This list has some different from locations than I’ve seen elsewhere – nicely done. I would add that this year spring break is pretty late and Stowe likely be in the throes of mud season…but when spring break is earlier (March) there’s often great skiing.
Thanks Mara. :)
Hey i dont think these are the same locations!!!
Great Heather, Hawaii and Rocky Mountain are also good for family.
Branson, MO!! Awesome Family fun. Entertainment for every age!