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Best family friendly U.S. travel destinations

JessNYCA profile picture
July 10, 2013 · 713 Views

Photo by Jonathan Silverberg

This is a terrific time of year to travel with the family, especially after school vacations start to come to a close, as some of the best deals around are available before the holiday travel season kicks off.  Depending on where you’re located, how far you’re willing to travel and the size of your vacation budget, there are many wonderful family-friendly escapes all over the country. Here are some fantastic suggestions in different parts of the U.S. that make for enjoyable and memorable vacation spots.

WEST

San Diego, California: Southern California is the perfect place to visit during summer because the weather is tremendous, especially in San Diego. Sunny but not too hot, it’s so enjoyable to be outside and visit all of the wonderful attractions the city has to offer. Two family stops definitely need to be the world renowned San Diego Zoo and the famous Sea World, which kids absolutely love. Another fabulous place to take the family is the Maritime Museum, filled with historic aircraft carriers and submarines. And after you’ve seen the attractions, there’s nothing quite like hitting the beach. San Diego has some of the loveliest beach cities along the Pacific for some surf, sand and fun in the sun.

Los Angeles, California: Venture a little further up the coast and enjoy a visit to La La Land. Los Angeles has wonderful family attractions like California Disneyland Adventure ParkUniversal Studios Hollywood and The Getty Museum.

SOUTHWEST

Flagstaff, Arizona: There is simply nothing like an awe-inspiring visit to Grand Canyon National Park. Hike, camp out, white water raft or enjoy a guided tour with an expert. However your family decides to see the Grand Canyon, no doubt its breathtaking views will surely be a sight you won’t soon forget.

Phoenix, Arizona: Further south in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area there is also plenty for the family to see and do. Wear a visor, pack the sunscreen and take in views atop several of the city’s beautiful mountains, all of which have family-friendly hiking trails. About an hour outside of Phoenix is the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, one of the best wildlife parks in the country. Phoenix is also home to fabulous aquatic parks and fantastic family resorts for swimming, relaxing and of course, golfing.

SOUTHEAST

Sea Island, Georgia: If privacy, relaxation and long overdue quality time together is what your family seeks, then a stay at one of the beautiful cottages on Sea Island is just the right place for an escape. Located off Southeastern Georgia’s Atlantic coast, Sea Island inhabits five miles of pristine private beaches. It offers luxuriant, world class accommodations, fabulous golf courses, horseback riding, swimming, delicious dining and so much more. But above all, it affords you and your family a quiet, tranquil retreat in a beautiful backdrop in which to spend memorable, treasured time together away from the hustle and bustle of daily life back home.

Orlando, Florida: Every kid should get to see Disney World at least once! The most family-friendly park in the country, Walt Disney World has so much to see and do. Watch the fireworks in the fairytale-like Magic Kingdom, visit Future World in Epcot, hit up the water parks in Typhoon Lagoon and see exotic animals in the Animal Kingdom.

MIDWEST

Chicago, Illinois: There is an infectious energy buzzing in Chicago and so much to see and do. Take in a Cubs game at the famous Wrigley Field and partake in the singing tradition with the whole family during the seventh inning stretch. Tour Chicago’s fantastic Field Museum or see an amazing aquatic show at the famed Shedd Aquarium. The Lincoln Park Zoo is wonderful and so is the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier that overlooks Lake Michigan. One of the coolest things to do in Chicago is to take the family on the Architectural Boat Tour, which is a truly unique and beautiful way to view the city.

St. Louis, Missouri:  Known as the Gateway to the West, St. Louis is the quintessential Midwest town. The sights include a ride up the famous St. Louis Arch, a visit to the St. Louis Zoo, one of the best in the country and absolutely free. Plus, there is the St. Louis Science CenterThe Magic House and the Boathouse of Forest Park, where families can rent pedal boats and enjoy the warm springtime weather on Post-Dispatch Lake.

NORTH EAST 

Washington D.C.: Touring the many sights in our nation’s capitol always makes for some family fun. There is so much to see, do and learn in Washington, D.C. including visits to the SmithsonianThe White HouseThe U.S. Capitol BuildingThe Supreme Court and our national monuments and memorials such as the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the MLK Jr. Memorial and the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

New York City: Take a bite out of the Big Apple with the family and enjoy all this exciting, bustling metropolis has to offer. Visits to NYC are so much fun because there is so much to do and there is something for everyone. Start with the classic New York City tourist attractions like a visit to the Statue of Liberty or up to the top of the Empire State Building. Then perhaps enjoy some more cultural outings like touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the largest and most impressive museums in the world. Then hit the Guggenheim or Museum of Modern Art as well. Finally, hop the subway over to Times Square and get tickets to any of the amazing shows currently running on Broadway. Kid-friendly plays currently showing include “The Lion King,” “Cinderella” and “Matilda.” There is simply nothing like taking the kids to see their first Broadway show! And, of course, a stroll through the magnificent, scenic Central Park is a wonderful way to see the city also. Finally, foodies will rejoice at the amazing restaurant offerings. But be sure to grab a slice of NY pizza and some bagel and schmear when you’re not hitting up fancy restaurants.

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