A father with his daughters during a hike in Yellowstone, one of the best family vacation spots

31 Family Vacation Spots to Discover in Summer 2023

I’m an expert traveler and mom of five with recommendations on some epic family vacation spots to discover in summer 2023 and beyond! 

This round-up features several family vacation ideas, including popular cities, charming towns, and national parks throughout the US. I also share a few hidden gems and destinations abroad that I highly recommend. 

Plus, I give helpful family travel tips to make your vacation a success! 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

31 Best Family Vacation Spots

Orlando, Florida

Spend a few days exploring the theme park capital of the world.

A boat on the water at the Universal Studios Orlando
Orlando is home to several huge theme parks and resorts (photo: Mia2you / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Orlando Hotels on Booking

Theme parks are one of the best things to do in Orlando! Families can build a Disney World itinerary, and check out Universal Orlando or SeaWorld Orlando as well. You’re also about an hour’s drive from the beach if you need a day to relax and reset. 

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Admire gorgeous scenery, geothermal activity, and an abundance of wildlife. 

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Yellowstone Hotels on Booking

Gaze upon amazing mountain views and see the legendary bison that roam Yellowstone National Park, one of the best US national parks. You’ll get beautiful scenery here, along with fascinating volcanic activity. Don’t miss iconic sites like Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring! 

Monterey, California

Visit one of the best aquariums in the U.S. and see creatures in the wild.

Blue sky under the rocky coastal area in Monterey, California
Save time to just walk along the shore and admire the view!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Monterey Hotels on Booking

Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the best in the country! I love the sea otter exhibit, and there are vantage points where you can try to glimpse otters outside in the bay. Enjoy the beaches near Monterey as well, and head to Point Lobos to spot sea lions and investigate tide pools. 

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Enjoy an affordable beach vacation with the family.

Aerial view of a pier in Myrtle Beach during sunset
Myrtle Beach is a beautiful scene at sunset

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Myrtle Beach Hotels on Booking

Looking for cheap family vacation spots? You can’t go wrong with a trip to Myrtle Beach. Beach vacations allow older siblings and adults to relax with a good book or a walk, while younger kids can build sandcastles and explore the tides. 

The Myrtle Beach area also has the Wonderworks Science Center and Brookgreen Gardens if you want a day that’s less sun-intensive.  

Denver, Colorado 

Explore nature, learn Wild West history, and engage in a variety of entertainment. 

People outside the Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
Broncos fans outside of Empower Field at Mile High
Bison wandering at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Bison at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge 

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Denver Hotels on Booking

There are plenty of things to do in Denver, no matter your family’s interest! Hike in the green foothills, bike along the river, and see bison backdropped by the Mile High City skyline. 

Visitors can also engage in plenty of cultural experiences. Sample tasty dishes at some of the best Denver restaurants, catch live performances, and learn about the city’s rough-and-tumble history at one of many Denver museums

San Diego, California

Witness exotic animals at a popular zoo and frolic on the sandy shore.

A giraffe and people on a vehicle wandering in San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is fascinating for all ages (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse San Diego Hotels on Booking

Explore Balboa Park in San Diego and take in the animals at the San Diego Zoo. You can also go whale watching, visit the beach, or try a number of other things to do in San Diego

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Admire the grandeur of this impressive formation and try hikes for all levels. 

Travel Lemming editor, Abigail Bliss admiring the view in Grand Canyon National Park
Travel Lemming editor Abigail at Grand Canyon National Park

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Grand Canyon Hotels on Booking

Find a hike for any ability at Grand Canyon National Park, one of the best places to visit in Arizona

Flat, easy hikes are found along the rim. There are also trails to the bottom of the canyon — but be prepared with your Grand Canyon essentials and in shape for a strenuous hike! Visitor and nature centers, as well as ranger talks, will keep the entire family engaged. 

Playa del Carmen, Mexico 

Surf, snorkel, and see unique wildlife on a family-friendly vacation in the Riviera Maya.

Travel Lemming writer, Clara Kesseler admiring the beach at Hotel Riu Yucatan in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Hotel Riu Yucatan, one of many family-friendly resorts in Playa del Carmen

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Playa del Carmen Hotels on Booking

Have a tropical holiday full of family fun in Playa del Carmen! Relax on the beach, try family surfing lessons, or go snorkeling together. You can also check out the Croco Cun Interactive Zoo or visit Xcaret Eco Park. There are tons of things to do in Playa del Carmen!

Lava Beds National Monument, California

Explore lava tube caves and other nearby natural attractions. 

A staircase at the entrance of Lava Beds National Monument,
Lava Beds has lots to do, above-ground and below!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Klamath Falls Hotels on Booking

Explore Lava Beds National Monument, found on the border of California and Oregon. It’s a lesser-known monument featuring lava tube caves — my favorite is the ice floor in Skull Cave! 

You’ll also be close to Klamath Falls, which is a cute town to visit, and just a few hours from Crater Lake National Park if you want to take a family road trip

Niagara Falls, New York, and Canada 

See three impressive waterfalls spanning two countries.

Blue sky over the Niagara Falls from the Canada side
Niagara Falls is best viewed from the Canadian side!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Niagara Falls, Ontario Hotels on Booking

Get up close and personal with one of the best waterfalls in New York! You can view the falls from both the U.S. and Canadian sides, but the best view is from Canada. 

Adventure lovers can zipline above the falls or take a helicopter tour, or you can cruise near the falls and hike at the park. 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee 

Explore a Southern mountain town outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Blue sky over the city of Gatlinburg in Tennessee
Gatlinburg is full of family-friendly activities!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Gatlinburg Hotels on Booking

Visit the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the best places to visit in Tennessee! Gatlinburg has its own space needle, an aquarium, and lots of quaint shops and restaurants. You can also take a day trip to nearby Pigeon Forge to take in more of the region. 

Acadia National Park, Maine 

Check out New England’s only national park featuring rugged coastline and summit hikes.

View of the rocky coastal at the Acadia National Park
Enjoy coastal views and lobster in this popular national park

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Acadia Hotels on Booking

Take in the rugged beauty of Maine’s coastline with a drive along Park Loop Road. Or, get your legs pumping with a hike up Cadillac Mountain or to Jordan Pond. You can tailor your hiking trails to the people in your family with an unforgettable family vacation to Acadia!

Lake Tahoe, California 

Hike a nature trail, spend an afternoon boating on the lake, and end the day with casino fun.

View of a boy and a baby girl during a trip in Lake Tahoe
My family on a trip at Lake Tahoe

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Lake Tahoe Hotels on Booking

Choose from the many different activities at Lake Tahoe, one of the best family vacation destinations! Tahoe has boat rentals for a day of water skiing or parasailing. There are quieter nature trails and strenuous treks up nearby mountains. 

It has casinos where adults can unwind and gamble or grab a cocktail. In winter, it also has some of the best skiing in the country. There’s truly something for every family member to do at Lake Tahoe. 

Galveston, Texas 

Unwind by the beach or enjoy theme parks and aquariums.

A boy a a girl paddleboarding on a water in Galveston, Texas
My kids paddleboarding along canals near Galveston

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Galveston Hotels on Booking

Paddleboard the quiet waterways of Galveston State Park on a unique paddling trail. Or head to Moody Gardens to visit the aquarium, Rainforest Pyramid, or golf course. There’s plenty for family trips in Galveston, whether you want a slow time to hang with family or an active trip!  

Los Angeles, California 

Visit celebrity hangouts and hike in the warm LA sunshine.

The author's daughter smiling for a photo outside Griffith Observatory
My daughter at Griffith Observatory, a fascinating LA attraction

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Los Angeles Hotels on Booking

Thrill the family with rides and character meet-ups by planning a Disneyland itinerary! This iconic attraction is just a short drive from Los Angeles. 

You can also spend a day hiking Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park, and stop at the observatory. Head to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to find your favorite actor’s star. 

People of all ages love riding the 118-year-old Angel’s Flight funicular railway, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles

Bend, Oregon 

Relax in this Cascade Mountains town where biking, hiking, and rafting are popular pastimes.

Clear blue sky over a mountain and the Lava Lake in Bend, Oregon
Lava Lake near Bend is a beautiful spot (photo: Daniel Shumny / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Bend, Oregon Hotels on Booking

Go mountain biking or hike through historic lava flow areas in Bend. Raft on the Deschutes River. Or head to downtown Bend and enjoy the boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants in town. And, of course, save some time to enjoy Bend’s craft breweries!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Be amazed by red sandstone formations and camp under starry night skies. 

The author's kids admiring the view in Bryce Canyon National Park
My kids taking in the otherworldly hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Bryce Canyon Hotels on Booking

Go sightseeing at Bryce, one of Utah’s best national parks! It makes a great family vacation spot, and you can adjust your hikes and exploring to suit the energy levels of your group. Camp in the park, or stay in nearby Panguitch.


Explore an island paradise featuring volcanoes, black sand beaches, and an incredible culture. 

View of the sunset from a pool area of a holiday home in Hawaiʻi
Hawai’ian sunsets can’t be beat!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hawai’i Hotels on Booking

Snorkel near the shore on the island of Hawai’i for an up-close look at the brilliantly-colored fish and sea life! You can also learn more about the volcanic activity — and cross a national park off your list — at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. 

See unique black sand beaches. And watch hula dances and learn about the importance of the different dances to Hawaiian and Polynesian people. 


Watch geysers, learn about geothermal activity, and soak in the Blue Lagoon.

Clear blue sky over the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Relax with a dip in the Blue Lagoon

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Reykjavík Hotels on Booking

Chase volcanic activity and geysers on a trip to Iceland! Iceland is a great destination for active families who want to hike and see the island. Be sure to catch a show featuring Icelandic horses, and spend some time at the Blue Lagoon as well. 

Washington, D.C.

Visit historic sites and see the seat of government on an educational family vacation. 

A statue outside the White House building in Washington, D.C.
Kids can see the places they read about come to life!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Washington DC Hotels on Booking

Bring history to life for kids who have studied America’s government! The many things to do in Washington, D.C. include places to learn and reflect on the United States and its history. 

You can see landmarks like the Washington Monument when you visit D.C. Head to the White House and the U.S. Capitol to see where government officials live and work. See the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream Speech.”

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Frolic at the Waterpark Capital of the World.

People enjoying their summer at the Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park
Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park at Wisconsin Dells (photo: Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Wisconsin Dells Hotels on Booking

Have hours of aquatic fun in Wisconsin Dells! You can spend the day at Noah’s Ark Waterpark near Lake Delton, or enjoy Great Wolf Lodge or Kalahari Resorts. Spend the day on Lake Delton or take a boat tour to see the rock formations on the Wisconsin River. 

US Virgin Islands

Engage in Caribbean culture and swim in unbelievably turquoise water — all without a passport. 

Scenic view at the Coral Bay at St. John in US Virgin Islands
Enjoy coastal views and a unique national park

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse St. Thomas Hotels on Booking

Head on a Caribbean family vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands! Families can snorkel and beach comb on these islands’ pristine beaches. Learn about Caribbean culture and don’t miss Virgin Islands National Park

New York City, New York

Explore the city that never sleeps, home to some of the most iconic US sites. 

The Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline
The New York City skyline is one of the most recognizable!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse New York City Hotels on Booking

Entertain the entire family on a trip to New York City! Visit family favorites like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Take some time for a sobering reminder at the 911 Memorial. 

See historic buildings like Trinity Church. Then walk through the cemetery to see the graves of figures like Alexander Hamilton. And, of course, save time for places like Times Square, Central Park, and experiencing a Broadway show! 

Mystic, Connecticut

Learn about maritime history in a charming East Coast fishing village.

View of ships at the seaport village of Mystic in Connecticut
The seaport village of Mystic is home to a famous whaling ship

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Mystic Hotels on Booking

Visit the historic buildings and landmarks in this fishing village to learn more about the Eastern Seaboard. The Mystic Seaport Museum is a key attraction. It’s a living history museum that resembles a 19th-century fishing village on the East Coast. 

San Francisco, California 

Walk the city’s famous hills, explore museums, and enjoy a massive ice cream sundae.

The author's son admiring the fireboat in San Francisco, California
My son admiring the fascinating fireboats

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse San Francisco Hotels on Booking

There are countless things to do in San Francisco, California! Explore a world-class zoo, try hands-on exhibits at the Exploratorium, and visit my husband’s off-beat favorite: the Cable Car Museum. Reward yourself for a day of tackling those hills with a sundae at Ghirardelli Square. 

Quebec City, Canada

Enjoy the feel of a European city in North America.

The Chateau Frontenac building from the outside in Quebec City, Canada
Chateau Frontenac looks like an Old World castle

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Quebec City Hotels on Booking

Explore Quebec City, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best places to visit in Canada! Admire breathtaking waterfalls and amazing suspension bridges. You can also enjoy beautiful parks in town and nearby, along with the beach at Baie de Beauport. 

Puerto Rico

Celebrate a variety of cultures in this Caribbean paradise.

Overlooking view at the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico
The El Yunque rainforest overlooking the Atlantic Coast

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse San Juan Hotels on Booking

Investigate the many things to do in Puerto Rico, one of the best family vacation spots there is! Make sure to take in San Juan’s historic homes and fortresses if your family loves history. Nature lovers should head to El Yunque’s rainforest for wildlife and waterfalls.

Chicago, Illinois

Spend time in the Windy City, full of cultural experiences and delicious eats. 

View of the stretchy cheese from a Chicago deep dish pizza
Chicago deep dish pizza is a must
People taking a photo with The Bean at night in Millennium Park
The Bean (Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Chicago Hotels on Booking

There are endless things to do in Chicago! Enjoy family activities like a river cruise, a visit to the Willis Tower Skydeck, or a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. 

See the Crown Fountain with its images of people spouting water at Millennium Park. And enjoy making faces in the mirror of the Cloud Gate sculpture, more commonly known as The Bean. 

London, United Kingdom

Bring storybooks to life as you tour palaces, abbeys, and a famous train station.

Colorful sky over the Palace of Westminster during sunset
The Palace of Westminster is one of several palaces in the area

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse London Hotels on Booking

Want to reconnect with your childhood? Experiencing the many places from children’s books and fairytales is one of the most magical things about London. 

Visit castles inhabited by monarchs for centuries. Drive by Big Ben and imagine Peter Pan flying overhead. Or catch a train at Paddington Station where one adorable bear got his name. London is the perfect spot for family vacations with so many wonderful things to do!

Prince Edward Island, Canada

Visit a historic village, go deep sea fishing, or enjoy the maritime towns.

A canoe on a coastline in Prince Edward Island, Canada
Red rocks, blue water, and a canoe in an idyllic PEI spot!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Charlottetown Hotels on Booking

Speaking of children’s literature, anyone who loved the Anne of Green Gables novels will appreciate a trip to Prince Edward Island. Visit the Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place and enjoy the sea by crabbing or spending a day at the beach. There are tons of things to do on Prince Edward Island and so many places worth visiting

Copenhagen, Denmark

Take in castles, a visitor-friendly energy plant, and one of the world’s oldest amusement parks.

Boats and colorful houses at the Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is a colorful family vacation spot!

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Copenhagen Hotels on Expedia

See the colorful houses, plentiful flowers, and green spaces that seem plucked straight from a fairy tale in Copenhagen! You can also visit Tivoli Gardens for theme park rides and beautiful gardens and architecture. CopenHill is an eco-conscious energy plant built with a ski run and climbing wall on the grounds.   

FAQs About the Best Family Vacation Spots

The author's kids on a beach during a family vacation
My family on a classic beach vacation

Where is the best vacation for a family?

The best vacations for a family include the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Yellowstone National Park, and Los Angeles. Each of these places has activities for all ages and interests. 

How do I make a perfect family vacation?

You can try to make a perfect family vacation by planning family vacations well ahead of time. Budget and research your family vacation destination. Consider reading tips on flying with babies or road trips with kids depending on how you’re traveling.

How do I decide where to take my family vacation?

You can decide where to take your family vacation by considering your budget and researching places your family has a personal interest in. The best family vacations have activities for the whole family. Destinations like Washington, D.C., and Grand Canyon National Park may resonate with your hobbies or what kids are studying in school.


I hope this guide to the best family vacation spots has inspired your next trip! Safe travels and enjoy making epic memories with your loved ones. 

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