Pick your own adventure with these top 10 places to go with kids in the US

Family vacations make the best childhood memories. Whether you’re a family who loves the thrill of rollercoasters or you prefer a more relaxed sun-and-sand type of getaway, creating special moments with your kiddos are priceless.

But how do you choose where to go? Well, we’ve done the research for you and found the best places to go with kids in the US. You don’t have to go far to have a magical experience. From watching the World of Color show at Disneyland to getting acquainted with the great outdoors at Yellowstone National Park, all across America you’ll find family-fun destinations.

Related: Top 5 best all-inclusive family resorts

All that’s left is for you to decide if you’re flying on a plane or going the traditional route with a good ol’ family road trip!

These are the best places to travel with kids:

1. Disney World or Disneyland

You can’t consider family vacation spots without considering Disney (I mean you can, but who wants to?). If your family trip is being decided by what’s closer to you, then maybe this is a winner. On one side of the US, you’ve got Disney World in Florida, and on the other you’ve got Disneyland in California. Both are great options. If your kiddos are still really young, you might opt for the smaller (but by no means less fun) Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. When they’re older you can recreate the Disney magic with more Disney fun in Orlando. And if you’re looking for insider information for all things Disney (discounts, where to stay etc) then check out the Traveling Mom blog.

2. Southern California

If Disney isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are still plenty of things to do in California. Bike along the beautiful Santa Monica Pier for sunset views that will rival any other. Go behind-the-scenes with your budding director and take a tour on Warner Bros.’ lot for some movie-making magic. Visit the world-renowned San Diego Zoo—get up close and personal with some very cute giraffes. Your marine biologist enthusiast will marvel at the underwater sights of SeaWorld. There’s also more low-key activities like visiting Knott’s Berry Farm or taking it easy on Coronado Island.

3. Yellowstone National Park

The natural beauty surrounding Yellowstone in Wyoming is pretty hard to beat. The national park is a natural sanctuary with over 3,000 miles of green! So, if you’re looking for a place to unplug and get some serious s’mores game on, then this is your place. Reserve a campsite and tell your kiddos all the mushy stories about how you and your partner first met (I’m sure your teenagers would love to hear all about it!). Or, bring along a printed list of jokes or even riddles to liven up the night. Don’t forget your camera for one-of-a-kind sightings of buffalo, geysers and more.

4. Washington, D.C.

If your kiddos love history (or just the “Night at the Museum” movies) then the District of Colombia, that’s a part of our 50 states without actually being a state (there’s some fun trivia for the trip!), is the place to see. Walk up the steps to the famous Lincoln Memorial. Talk about the Founding Fathers or, better yet, engage your children in conversation about any American history they’ve been learning in school. Did you know there are over 70 museums in Washington, D.C.? Some of them, like the Smithsonian museums, are also free!

5. New York, New York

Yes, the city that never sleeps does have great things to do for the whole family, from walking around Times Square and meeting Lady Liberty to discovering eats from all around the world (hey, there’s got to be something your picky eater will love!). But, it’s not all about the city. Baseball fans will love visiting Cooperstown and their renowned baseball museum. Not to mention Howe Caverns which is the state’s second most popular year round destination! And if you’re planning to visit during the fall, you might want to make time for a special road trip through the Hudson Valley for vibrant, colorful views.

6. The Grand Canyon

Whether you go with a guided hike, bike ride, or mule ride, each option will take you through the breathtaking views of the canyon. At one mile deep, 277 miles long, and a view that’s visible from space—the story of this adventure will give your kids an epic tale to tell their friends during recess. The Skywalk at Grand Canyon West is also a must-see. Although not exactly for the faint of heart, (hello, fellow fear-of-heights people) you might find yourself feeling happy you took a chance and stepped out on the glass floor that separates you and the Colorado River (by 4,000 ft!)—I know I was.

Related: Baby’s first flight: Don’t leave home without these 15 must-haves ✈️

7. Maui, Hawaii

For a cultural immersion with a side of relaxation and a sprinkle of sea turtles, the family-friendly island of Maui can’t be beat. There’s something to do here for the whole family. Want to go snorkeling? Check. Want to experience an authentic luau? Check. Want to learn how to surf? Check. Oh, and you don’t have to stay on one island the whole time either. Book a hopper plane and enjoy island-life a littler longer on Oahu’s famous Waikiki Beach.

8. Branson, Missouri

Off the beaten track lies Branson. Here, you can get away from sprawling crowds and hefty price tags. Check out Table Rock State Park for hiking and biking. Save some time for kayaking on Lake Taneycomo. The Ozark mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for the area. When the kiddos want a break from nature, take them to Silver Dollar City where there’s attractions, good eats, and rides. Plus. the World’s Largest Toy Museum!

9. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If the Smoky Mountains are calling your name, then book a ticket to Gatlinburg. This mountain town is actually the closest city to the Smokies. When you’re not exploring the national park, take some time to ride the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway or head the nearby aquarium. Neighboring Pigeon Forge is also filled with fun activities for the whole family, including believe-it-or-not attractions.

10. Ocean City, Maryland

Here, you’ll find bustling boardwalks and stunning beaches. It’s a super affordable top family destination spot. In the mood for seafood? Well, there are plenty of good restaurants serving the local catch. Plus, you can go fishing off the pier or take a fishing charter out to sea and let your little ones experience the thrill (and calm) of fishing. If your kiddos love horses then they’ll enjoy visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore, where there’s a population of wild horses.

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