Traveling the US With Kids – The Best Vacations in All 50 States

Searching for US vacation inspiration for your family? Don’t know where to head next? Discover the best family vacations in all 50 states to make your family traveling dreams come true!

Traveling the US With Kids - The Best Vacations in All 50 States

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Did you know that the US is home to the world’s largest cave? What about the continent’s tallest peak? Does zip-lining through beach dunes or spending the day at an interactive museum based on the life and work of Ben Franklin pique your family’s interests?

Maybe you’re looking for family friendly hikes with young children or the country’s best road trips! Wondering what National Parks are best for your summer vacation? Looking for holiday inspired getaways or trip ideas for your older kids? Or historic cities to reinforce what your children are covering in school?

From coast to coast, whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teens, you’ll love these top family vacation destinations across all 50 states!

Traveling Across America With Kids: What To See in All 50 States

Alabama

Gulf Shores

the best vacations in the US - gulf shores, alabama

Alabama’s Gulf Shores is one of the most popular family vacations spots in the Southern US. With beaches, dune zip-lining, golf, and waters ports, it’s the perfect getaway for outdoor families looking for some fun in the sun! Children of all ages will also enjoy the local zoo, water parks, and the National Wildlife refuge.

Alaska

Denali National Park

traveling all 50 states with kids -  alaksa

With the tallest peak on the continent, Alaska’s Denali National Park should be on every family’s bucket list. Junior Ranger programs with outside activities make the park appealing for children of all ages

Take An Alaska Cruise

Traveling to the most remote and vast of the 50 states is easy if you book an Alaskan cruise. Experience the glaciers, see the Northern Lights, and enjoy some of Alaska’s best cities, each full of fun and different activities for families.

Related: Cruising With a Baby

Arizona

The Grand Canyon

traveling all 50 states with kids -  grand canyon

Visiting the Grand Canyon is a great family friendly vacation you can take any time of year.  The Grand Canyon is located four hours from Phoenix or Las Vegas making it a quick drive so you can spend all of your time admiring the views of the Grand Canyon.  The South Rim is the most popular rim and has some of the best viewpoints along the way.  You can also do the rim walk which is a flat, paved walk from the visitor centre which allows you to see more of the canyon.

Tusayan is located six miles from the Grand Canyon entrance and is the best place to stay near the Grand Canyon.  You can also visit the museum there and the iMax theatre. // Recommended by Nicole from American SW Obsessed

Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park

traveling all 50 states with kids -  Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas is home to Hot Springs National Park and the nearby adorable downtown of the same name. Hot Springs National Park features numerous natural hot springs along easily walkable trails and a paved pathway. Families will enjoy touring the the visitor’s center, located in one of the original hot spring bathhouses, as well as the city’s downtown, featuring many family friendly restaurants and shops.

California

Carlsbad

the best vacations in the US - Carlsbad California

Heading to the San Diego area with kids? Then you can’t miss Carlsbad, California. Located 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, the coastal city of Carlsbad has many kid-friendly things to do. In addition to being home to Legoland California, Carlsbad’s western edge is also lined with some of San Diego County’s best beaches. As for Legoland, families will have a blast at the Lego-themed amusement park as well as visiting its adjacent aquarium and water park. After a day of fun at Legoland and the beach, head into Carlsbad Village for ice cream and dinner. Carlsbad is home to several family-friendly establishments, like Park 101, which has a common outside area with lawn games that kids will love playing in while their parents enjoy the many local brews on tap and upscale comfort food. // Recommended by Gina from Evergreen & Salt

Joshua Tree National Park

the best vacations in the US - Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a great family friendly destination in Southern California, best visited during the fall and spring months. In the north side of the park you’ll easily find the famous Joshua Trees – they look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book! There are also many natural rock formations in the park, like Arch Rock, Skull Rock and Split Rock, which don’t require long hikes and are perfect for everyone in the family to climb through and explore. You can make a day trip to Joshua Tree, but camping in the park for a few days is easy and a great way to see the stars at night.  // Recommended by Ale from Sea Salt & Fog

Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park

the best vacations in the US - Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is a great family friendly destination. Its ancient building and natural beauty awed us on our Colorado road trip. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site which contains the ancient dwellings of the Pueblo people. You can learn about the history of the area at the interpretive center where you are invited to explore the exhibits and watch a 30 minutes video introducing you to the park. There are also guided ranger walks to explore some of the only dwellings you are permitted to enter. However, for anyone with limited mobility or little ones, there are some great lookout points where you get a birds eye view of the dwellings carved into the rockface. It is a view you and your family won’t forget! // Recommended by Drink Tea Travel

Colorado Springs

the best vacations in the US - Colorado Springs

If you are looking for a hidden gem with beautiful nature, great food, and a lot of fun activities Colorado Springs is the perfect place for a family vacation. Colorado Springs is a bigger city with a small-town vibe. The best time to visit to make the most out of al the outdoor activities is spring, summer, and fall. There is something for everyone to do from toddlers to teenagers. You can visit the Garden of the Gods and take in the picturesque scenery, head to the top to Pike’s Peak, explore Red Rock Canyon and enjoy the activities, feed giraffes at the Cheyenne Zoo, Dinosaur Museum or take a day trip to the Royal Gorge Bridge.

You may not think the food is good, but you would be wrong. There are some amazing restaurants such as The Denver Biscuit Company, Korean Garden, and great pupusas from El Poblano Mobile (an amazing food truck).

If you are looking for a place with nature, good food, and family-friendly activities Colorado Springs is the place for you. Even if you decide to go in the winter, you will not regret taking your family to this hidden treasure. // Recommended by Cee from Itz a Family Thing

Connecticut

Mystic

Mystic Seaport and the famous Mystic Aquarium are only two of the many family friendly activities in this coastal Connecticut town. Nature and ocean centers, children’s museums, and the nearby Dinosaur Place offer thrilling hands on experiences for children. Plus, families will love the adorable but hip downtown area.

Related: Five Incredible Dinosaur Museums Around NYC

the best vacations in the US - The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village

Delaware

Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach earns a spot on our 50 states family traveling bucket list for it’s beautiful beaches, hip boardwalk, and the iconic Funland amusement park. With plenty of shopping, dining, and family friendly breweries, Rehoboth Beach is the perfect lowkey vacation for any family! Summers can get crowded, but if you can sneak in a weekend away before Memorial Day, you’ll have more of the beach to yourself!

Florida

Disney World

traveling all 50 states with kids - Disney World

What family doesn’t dream of traveling to Disney – it’s probably the most popular bucket list destination for families in all 50 states. Children young and old, and even adults, are intoxicated with magic in the happiest place on Earth. Surrounded by classic Disney characters, thrill rides, food, and entertainment, you simply can’t be sad at Disney World. I personally love visiting in the fall during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival for the extra special adult beverages. Summer in Florida is almost unbearably hot, holiday trips can get crowded, but truly, there’s no bad time to visit Disney.

Georgia

Atlanta

With the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta is a clear choice for family travelers looking for an accessible destination. Atlanta is flooded with history, museums, such as The World of Coca-Cola, nature centers, and outdoor activities. Families won’t want to miss Centennial Park. The 22 acre park, originally built for the 1996 Summer Olympics, is the perfect respite after exploring the nearby museums. Ride the ferris wheel (Sky View Atlanta) or stroll through the urban oasis. The park also hosts special events and shows.

Hawaii

Oahu

the best vacations in the US -Oahu

The Island of Oahu is one of the best destinations in the USA for family vacations all year-round with its temperate weather, picturesque beaches, and thrilling hikes. With lots of family hotels and resorts right on the beach, it is the dream family getaway.

Oahu is set up perfectly for families with many tours specifically for those with kids. One of the popular activities in Oahu is the short hike up to Diamond Head lookout or a snorkeling tour at Hanauma Bay. Enjoy a Luau at night and learn about the ancient Hawaiian culture, which will be a long-lasting and important memory for the kids.

Most of the hotels have pools and many of the resorts have a kids club so there will never be a shortage of entertainment in the ‘Aloha State’ for your next family vacation. // Recommended by Jackson of Journey Era

Kuaui

Kuaui is the perfect paradise escape for adventure loving families. Sail the famed Nā Pali Coast, trek Waimea Canyon, play on the beach, or visit a coffee plantation. Moms – the coffee is free…we know you need it! Families will easily fill a week in Kuaui, and leave wanting to return for more. I know I personally cannot wait until we book a Hawaiian family vacation. // Find more of Kathy’s Kuaui travel tips and vacation itineraries at Tasty Itinerary

Idaho

Coeur d’Alene

traveling all 50 states with kids - coeur d'alene idaho

Known for water sports and trails, Coeur d’Alene should make any adventurous family’s list. Additionally, kids will love zip-lining through the forest, white water rafting, visiting museums, exploring downtown, and visiting theme parks. If that doesn’t perk your ears parents, the lake town is also known for it’s breweries.

Illinois

Chicago

If you’re traveling with dinosaur obsessed kids, you should know that Chicago’s Field Museum is home to the largest T-Rex in the 50 states (formerly in the world!). If that doesn’t pique your child’s interest, there’s the city’s Planetarium, two major zoos, the Shedd Aquarium, various parks and nature centers, and other science museums. Not to mention deep dish pizza…

Indiana

Indiana Dunes

traveling all 50 states with kids -  indiana dunes

Situated on Lake Michigan, beach families won’t want to miss 15 miles of protected shoreline in Indiana Dunes National Park. Hiking families will enjoy the rugged dunes, prairies, wetlands, and forest trails. Children will particularly enjoy geocaching, the Junior Ranger program, or simply playing in the sand along the seashore.

Iowa

Maquoketa Caves State Park

A little over an hour from Cedar Rapids sits Maquoketa Caves State Park. Families looking for an escape from the city or an exciting day trip will find enthralling hiking and rugged limestone caves. One of Iowa’s most unique spots, Maquoketa Caves offers a chance to step back in time geologically.

Kansas

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

traveling all 50 states with kids -kansas tallgrass prairie

With almost 11,000 acres, outdoors-y families won’t need to look too far to find wildlife, flowers, and picturesque scenery. The best time to visit is the fall, when the grass is tallest and can provide the most meaningful experience with the prairie. Kids will also love the old ranch and one room school. Tallgrass is about an hour and twenty minutes from both Topeka and Wichita, which offer a botanical gardens, zoos, museums, and small city vibes if you’re looking to book a bit of a longer vacation or find a “home base.”

Kentucky

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave features the world’s largest cave, measuring in at over 400 miles! In addition, the National park preserves over 50,000 acres of land. Walk or hike the 70+ miles of trails, navigate 20 miles of river, or camp above ground. Below ground, enter another world and explore a cave like no other. Options to tour the cave vary from basic to historical to physically demanding.

Louisiana

New Orleans

If you thought traveling to New Orleans was all about Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, and classic cocktails, you might be surprised to learn it’s one of the most family friendly destinations in all 50 states. Of course NOLA is a world famous party city, but it’s also super kid friendly. Children and families will love the aquarium on the Mississippi and the insectarium. There’s also the famous movie featured Carousel Gardens and the Louisiana Children’s Museseum, both at City Park, among other attractions. Younger children will love the park’s Story Land, featuring larger than life story book characters. And I’m sure little ones won’t put up a fuss for some famous New Orleans beignets. School aged kids will benefit from visiting the WWII Museum, which is one of the most comprehensive and well curated museums in the world.

Maine

Acadia National Park

the best vacations in the US - acadia national park

Acadia National Park in southeastern Maine is a favorite destination for families. Known for its natural beauty and variety of outdoor activities, there is no shortage of ideas when planning what to see in Acadia National Park. Easy mountain hikes, sandy beaches, ocean views and motor-free carriage roads for walking and biking make Acadia the perfect family vacation spot. Early risers can boast being the first in the country to see the sunrise as they sit atop Acadia’s Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard. Plan two to three days in the park to experience Acadia’s scenic surroundings. // Recommended by Deanne of Scenic and Savvy

Maryland

Ocean City

traveling all 50 states with kids - 
 ocean city, maryland

Ocean City, MD is a beach-y town with a wooden boardwalk, attractions, water sports, shopping, and dining. The popular Jolly Roger amusement park, which has been an Ocean City staple for years, entertains kids with their thrill rides and water slides. Families will also enjoy the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not museum, the boardwalk arcade, taking old-time photos, or noshing on donuts. Of course you won’t want to miss the beach or the many seaside cafés and breweries. Snag some salt water taffy to bring home, too!

Massachusetts

Boston

Most kids grow up learning about the American Revolution. What better way to reinforce education than taking the family to Boston to see the sites first hand. Follow the 2.5 mile footpath through downtown Boston, stopping at various points of historical significance. Climb the Old North Church, visit Paul Revere’s home, or climb aboard the USS Constitution. Though the trail itself is free, some attractions along the way charge admission. When the kids have had enough history, why not visit Fenway Park for a Red Sox game or one of the many museums or gardens the city offers.

Michigan

Northern Michigan

traveling all 50 states with kids -  sleeping bear dunes, Michigan

Northern Michigan refers to the northern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Most famously, visitors love traveling to Sleeping Bear Dunes, named one of the most beautiful places in all 50 states. The National Lakeshore is known for climbing dunes and trails along Lake Michigan. Additionally, families will adore Traverse City, known for its regional cuisine and wines, along with it’s small town vibes.

Minnesota

Minneapolis

If you need to convince you’re teenage daughters of taking a family vacation, their ears might perk up with Minneapolis and its epic Mall of America. Not just for shopping, the mall offers a Crayola Experience, the mirror maze, Fly Over America’s virtual ride above the US, a Nickelodean Universe, and an aquarium. Kids will also enjoy the hands on Mill City Museum, the sculpture garden, boating down the Mississippi, and exploring the city’s history. Outdoor loving families will enjoy the nearby Minnehaha Park on the Mississippi River, the waterfall at Hidden Falls, or the surrounding lakes.

Mississippi

Drive Natchez Trace Parkway

traveling all 50 states with kids - Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi

The parkway, which begins in Natchez, Tennessee, offers an exciting path to experience the state of Mississippi. Visit Natchez National Historical Park and the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture before driving north. Stop in Jackson for museums, the zoo, parks, and the nearby petrified forest. Other exciting stops may include Windsor Ruins, Cypress Swamp, River Bed, parks, and scenic spots.

Missouri

Mark Twain National Forest

Traveling through Missiouri’s Mark Twain National Forest may not be at the top of your family’s 50 states bucket list, but it offers a lot to do. Hiking, biking, camping, exploring, and more are tucked away into the forest and mountains. The National Forest itself is huge, but some highlights include Talking Rocks Cavern, a hidden blue hole, and Johnson Shut Ins State Park, which features beautiful rock formations and waterfalls. A bit farther north, visitors will find the giant boulders of Elephant Rocks State Park and the wondrous Onondoga Cave State Park. A short distance from the north end of the park is St. Louis. Why not stop to see the Arch and enjoy the city’s museums and food scene!

Montana

Glacier National Park

the best vacations in the US - montana

Anyone who enjoys traveling, with or without children, has Glacier National Park on their 50 states bucket list. One of the most picturesque places in America, Glacier National Park will wow even the smallest eyes. Above all else, families will love hiking through Glacier National Park. With plenty of hikes available, even young children will be able to traverse some of the easier trails. Kids will also enjoy visiting the Apgar Nature Center and learning about the park through hands on experiences.

Nebraska

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Known for their well preserved Miocene fossils, the Agate Fossil Beds and its visitor center will impress your little dinosaur lover. We personally seek out the best dinosaur destinations in the 50 states when traveling with out dino loving toddler. Agate is high on our bucket list! With short trails, children will love stepping back in time and experiencing the fossil beds, as well as earning their badge with the Junior Ranger program.

Nevada

Lake Tahoe

the best vacations in the US - lake tahoe

Lake Tahoe straddles the states of Nevada and California. This stunning natural region is a family-friendly vacation destination in the US for all seasons. From skiing, snowshoeing and dogsledding to canoeing and hiking, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Tahoe in summer, winter, spring or fall. 

With a great selection of family resorts like Northstar, Heavenly and Sierra, the top attraction in winter are the excellent ski and snowboard schools for kids. In summer, head to Emerald Bay beach for a paddle and a swim. There are also lots of hiking trails suitable for kids, such as Monkey Rock and Eagle Rock. // Recommended by Christina of Travel2Next

New Hampshire

White Mountain National Forest

traveling all 50 states with kids - White Mountains, new hampshire

Though White Mountain National Forest is big, so the suggestion seems a bit vague, it’s definitely not to be missed when visiting New England. For starters, if your family is into hiking, Mount Washington (the highest peak in the Northeast) is probably already on your radar. It is not an easy hike by any means, especially with children, but it’s doable if you’re experienced. Halfway up, Lake of the Clouds offers some of the most stunning views of the state! Alternatively, visitors can take the cog railway to the top of the mountain. Nearby towns such as Conway offer a quaint home base. Kids will love visiting the Conway Scenic Railroad, the indoor water park, and the nearby lakes and trails.

New Jersey

Cape May

Along the southern tip of New Jersey sits Cape May, a much more family friendly and normal alternative to the typical Jersey Shore. The Cape May Lighthouse provides scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean, once you climb the 199 steps to the top, while the town below offers restaurants, shops, and activities perfect for young families. Don’t miss the Cape May Nature Center, Beach Plum Farm, or simply playing at the beach. Easily extend your trip by taking the ferry over to Delaware to visit Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, which we’ll cover below.

New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the most intriguing US destinations, for both individuals and families.  The best things to do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park include hiking through other worldly formations, touring magical underground caves, and participating in unique geological learning opportunities for adults and children alike.

Carlsbad Caverns is an easily accessible destination, no matter what kind of traveler.  Accessing the Caverns can be done by either a short downhill hike, or by elevator.  There are easy, flat, self guided hikes of the “Big Room,” as well as challenging ranger led tours, and additional above ground hiking trails.

There are also nightly bat flight programs, an event where visitors watch resident bats emerging from the Caverns.  Carlsbad Caverns are also enjoyable year round, due to the consistent temperatures underground. // Recommended by Kristen of Yonderlust Ramblings

New York

New York City

traveling all 50 states with kids - new york city

Is there anyone that won’t get something out of visiting New York City? As a native New Yorker myself, I promise, New York City is a playground for children, as well as adults! It doesn’t need to cost a small fortune, either. I loved taking my kids to Central Park, visiting its playgrounds, and taking a ride on the carousel. Some other NYC favorites with kids include walking the Highline, visiting the American Museum of Natural History, climbing aboard The Intrepid, shopping at the M&M store, and, of course, eating pizza!

Long Island

traveling all 50 states with kids - 
Long Island

Long Island isn’t just the fancy Hamptons or Gold Coast Mansions. Growing up on Long Island, and having both of my kids there, has shown me just how much there really is to do on Long Island with kids. Find aviation museums, historic lighthouses, an aquarium, farmland, geological sites, a whaling museum, annual events and more. Of course there’s plenty of beaches and parks, too. My personal favorite is Robert Moses beach and lighthouse or spending a long weekend on Ocean Beach, Fire Island.

North Carolina

Asheville

traveling all 50 states with kids - asheville

Tucked into the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains sits the hip city of Asheville. Not just for adults, Asheville boasts plenty of museums, kid-friendly restaurants, and outdoor activities for families including chasing waterfalls and beautiful Asheville hikes. You can visit the famous Biltmore with Kids or ride the Smokey Mountain Railroad. If you’e searching for a fun, nature-inspired family getaway, look no further than Asheville, NC. // Christine at Uncorked Asheville can help you plan the perfect Asheville vacation

Pinehurst

the best vacations in the US - Pinehurst

Located in the Carolina Sandhills, Pinehurst, NC is best known for its world-class golf. Although it would make for the ultimate golf trip, this charming southern village is more than just a destination for a golf getaway. With its glorious sunshine, walkable design, and a wide range of family-friendly activities, Pinehurst is a year-round destination the whole family can enjoy.

While in Pinehurst soak up its rich history at the majestic, century-old Pinehurst Resort, indulge in the world-famous Carolina Dining Room’s breakfast buffet, browse the unique boutiques, and enjoy activities like horse-drawn carriage rides, lawn sports, ice skating, afternoon tea, and of course, golf. Parents, be sure to take advantage of the kids club and treat yourself at The Spa too! Golf aficionado or not, there’s something for the whole family in Pinehurst, NC.

North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

the best vacations in the US - Theodore Roosevelt National Park

As National Parks’ popularity skyrockets, it’s tricky to plan a peaceful vacation in nature these days. Luckily, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is still secluded, and the perfect spot for a family vacation.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in the rugged Badlands, and has tons of family friendly hiking and camping. Wind Canyon Trail and the Petrified Forest are some of my favorites. Roosevelt also had a cabin in the area, which you can visit at the South Unit Visitor Center! Kids in particular love the cabin tour. 

The South Unit is outside a cowboy town called Medora, and the North Unit is about an hour Northwest. Both have bison, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, and pronghorn. The South Unit also has herds of feral horses and elk, while the North Unit has Bighorn sheep, moose, and the park’s resident herd of Longhorns. The abundance of wildlife is what most family’s love most about their visits! // Recommended by Kaisa from Glam Granola Travel

Ohio

Cleveland

Along Lake Erie sits Cleveland, Ohio. Visitors will find a ton of entertaining activities for children, from the Cleveland Zoo, to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There’s also the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nearby, families will enjoy visiting the Cleveland Botanical Gardens or the lake beaches for a relaxing afternoon.

Oklahoma

Visit Oklahoma City

the best vacations in the US - oklahoma city

Oklahoma City is a great place for family vacations. There are great festivals and events in OKC held throughout the year that are perfect for families traveling together, from arts festivals in the summer to holiday events in December. For sporty families, you can attend Oklahoma City Thunder Games, our professional NBA team, or experience professional soccer at an OKC Energy match. There are also frequent collegiate sporting events in the metro area that are great for the whole family, especially in the college town of Norman, a suburb of Oklahoma City that is home to the OU Sooners football team. There are also great places to hike, paddle board, and kayak throughout the year. // Recommended by Stephanie from Oklahoma Wonders

Oregon

Bend

traveling all 50 states with kids -  bend, oregon

About three hours from Portland, Bend Oregon offers a hip and fun alternative for visitors. Families won’t want to miss the Sun Mountain Fun Center, which offers indoor and outdoor sports, or discovering wildlife and nature at the High Desert Museum. Naturally, there’s plenty of hiking and outdoor activities in Bend. Bend is also home to numerous breweries, many of which are family friendly. If you’ve been following our little traveling family for a while, you know that family friendly breweries, wineries, and distilleries are something we seek throughout the 50 states!

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

the best vacations in the US - philadelphia

One of the best destinations in America for a family city break is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city is full of history, personality and family fun. There are so many things to do in Philadelphia like The Franklin Institute, an interactive science museum designed in the spirit of Benjamin Franklin. You can easily visit Adventure Aquarium which is across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ.

Families also love immersing in the history of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, The Constitution Center and the Betsey Ross House which are all within a few blocks in Old City. And nothing beats a Philadelphia water ice and a soft pretzel after a day of history, museums and family fun. // Recommended by Derek of Robe Trotting.

Rhode Island

Newport

The coastal Rhode Island town of Newport is known for its beautiful harbor and Gilded Age mansion, like the famous Vanderbilt home, The Breakers. Children absolutely can visit the summer “cottages” of Newport, and will enjoy seeing how the Vanderbilt children, and others, lived and summered. Walking the cliff walk, where you can see many of the homes, also offers stunning views of the ocean and beaches along the way. Other indoor activities, such as the Audrain Automobile Museum and Newport Indoor Golf, as well as outdoor excursions, like boat tours and fishing, will get families excited for a vacation to Newport.

South Carolina

Charleston

the best vacations in the US - charleston

The southern coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina is the perfect place for a family vacation, whether you are entertaining kids or taking a mother-daughter trip away. Whether your family is made up of beach bums, history buffs, shopaholics, or foodies, Charleston has something for everyone.

Since Charleston is located just off the Atlantic Ocean, there are many great beaches nearby to explore. Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began, is also located here, and worth a visit. The Historic Charleston City Market is great for shopping, and the mix of southern food and fresh seafood is always delicious. With its southern charm, great location, and family-friendly activities, Charleston is the perfect spot for a memorable family vacation. // Recommended by Jordan of The Solo Life

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a fantastic destination for a family vacation, as there are many different activities for all ages to enjoy! Some of the best activities to do as a family in Myrtle Beach are mini-golfing (there are so many fun courses in Myrtle Beach), visiting Alligator Adventure – which has over 200 different types of animals to see, and visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach. Ripley’s is a very interactive aquarium that was one of our best “rainy day” activities in Myrtle Beach! Our teenagers will say that parasailing is their favorite thing to do in Myrtle Beach, though.  

No trip to Myrtle Beach would also be complete without spending some time on the beach! For this reason, it’s best to visit Myrtle Beach in the late spring and summer months. I also highly recommend staying at a hotel or resort right along the Atlantic Ocean for easy beach access.

South Dakota

Badlands National Park and Black Hills National Forest

traveling all 50 states with kids - Badlands

South Dakota’s Badlands are rugged and beautiful, offering some of the most interesting landscapes and rich fossil beds. Within the 240,000+ acres and its trails, visitors can see bison, sheep, and other prairie animals roam free. Nearby, visitors will also enjoy Black Hills National Forest for more hiking and animal sightings. Within the forest find Bear Country, a drive through wildlife park, the wild western town of Deadwood, as well as the famed Mount Rushmore. Combining the two destinations makes for the perfect outdoor family adventure.

Tennessee

Nashville

traveling all 50 states with kids -  nashville

Nashville isn’t just for Bachelorette parties…it’s a fabulous destination for families looking for fun and culture, too! Children will love the interactive exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame, climbing at SOAR Nashville, and visiting the city’s many parks and nearby recreation areas. Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is a must visit as well; it’s one of the best zoos we’ve been to!

Texas

San Antonio

traveling all 50 states with kids -  San Antonio

When we first visited San Antonio, we assumed we’d be enthralled by the Alamo and enjoy tacos and margaritas along the famous Riverwalk. Within a day, I was blown away by just how much there is for kids to do in San Antonio. From the hands on Doseum, to the cultural Witte Museum, to Lego Land, museums and indoor activities can easily fill a week’s vacation. Of course there’s the San Antonio Zoo, though, along with taking a boat ride down the Riverwalk and the nearby Natural Bridge Cavers. Since our first visit, San Antonio became one of our favorite family spots that we enjoy traveling to repeatedly.

Utah

National Parks Loop

traveling through Utah's National Parks is a must when visiting the 50 states

Visiting the national parks in Utah makes a great family vacation for those who love the great outdoors.  There are several iconic national parks in the state with family-friendly hikes.  Start with Zion National Park.  The whole family will LOVE hiking the Narrows.  The hike is actually in a river, between the towering walls of a narrow slot canyon.

Continue on to Bryce Canyon National park.  Sandstone spires (called hoodoos) fill the bowl-shaped canyon and hiking down among the hoodoos to Queen’s Garden is a challenging but manageable hike for the whole family.

Finally, you can’t miss Arches National Park.  There are multiple hikes, including the amazing Devil’s Garden Trail.  There are several segments starting easy for young kids and progressing to more challenging for more adventurous kids (and adults!).  The more advanced part of the trail goes along the top of narrow ridges and ends at the beautiful Double O Arch.  The parks are best visited in late spring/ early fall to skip the extreme heat of summer. // Recommended by James Ian of Parks Collecting

Vermont

Green Mountains

Vermont’s sprawling Green Mountains are famous for winter mountain sports. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing at one of the many resorts, such as Stratton or Mount Snow. During the warmer months, most of the snow trails make for challenging, but exhilarating, hiking. Nearby, Somerset Reservoir is perfect for lake sports and relaxation, while the small town, such as Dover and Wilmington offer quaint shopping and dining. To the north sits Manchester, VT, known for Equinox Mountain and Hildene, the Lincoln Family summer home.

Virginia

Shenandoah

traveling all 50 states with kids - Shenandoah, virginia

We’ve been traveling through the Shenandoah Valley for years, and it never gets old; it’s still one of my favorite places not just in the 50 states, but in the world. As I mentioned above, we love finding family friendly wineries and breweries and Shenandoah definitely has its fair share! We love Veritas and Barren Ridge, particularly. Shenandoah has more than booze, though. Kids will love outdoor sport and activities at Wintergreen Resort, hiking the many trails, or visiting Luray Caverns. During a recent trip, we stayed at an adorable AirBNB between the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville and enjoyed hiking and various viewpoints on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Washington

Seattle

Confession: I want to take my kids to the Seattle area after watching one too many episodes of Blippi! The Pacific Science Center, the Hands On Children’s Museum, and Boehm’s Candies are all on our radar after watching the popular hyper-active man child. Of course there’s also the Space Needle, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier, and the nearby Snoqualmie Falls. We’re itching to visit San Juan Island, as well.

Washington DC

traveling all 50 states with kids - washington DC

Obviously not technically one of the 50 states, we couldn’t forget about traveling to Washington DC. Visiting America’s capital is a must, at least once. When my husband lived in Virginia, we frequently visited DC. After countless trips, we still haven’t exhausted the many museums, monuments, and restaurants available. I personally think, as a former military spouse, that visiting our war memorials is an absolute must. You can decide when you’re children are ready for the visit, as it all depends on age/maturity, but its certainly one of the most impactful trips you will make. Of course the many museums provide a similar experience, especially the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Though our toddlers aren’t quite ready for that kind of trip, it’s definitely on our radar.

West Virginia

Drive Eastern West Virginia

traveling all 50 states with kids -  eastern west virginia

Eastern West Virginia is an absolute must for outdoor families. Blackwater Falls, for example, offers hiking, waterfalls, and cabin lodging. A bit further south sits Monongahela National Forest, popular for everything from hiking to skiing to camping. Avid golfers will already have The Greenbriar in White Sulfer Springs on their bucket list, as well. Visitors will also find quaint lodging and dining. Situated closely to Shenandoah, eastern West Virginia is a great add-on to your Virginia vacation.

Wisconsin

Door County

All families love good food, scenery, a great shopping atmosphere, and accommodations. Door County, Wisconsin has everything that your family can wish for. There are plenty of things to do in Door Country Wisconsin for a family getaway!

First and foremost, is tasting the amazing food. Everything that you eat will be like tasting a home-cooked meal. Second would be witnessing the beauty of nature.  Indeed Door County is heaven for outdoor lovers, from hiking to kayaking to swimming, you’ll be spoiled with activities to do with your kids. The scenery that you witness in Door County is like a painted landscape portrait.

The shops you will see have Christmas decorations all year long. It’s perfect to go Christmas shopping with the family, no matter what time of the year. The people of Door County are very friendly and welcoming, thus it will be hard to leave! // Recommended by Paulina from Paulina on the Road

Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park

traveling all 50 states with kids - yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is a must-see for any outdoorsy family. It’s best to visit in July or August when all roads are open and the threat of snow is lowest; keep your eyes peeled in the park for bears, bison, wolves, and more. Everyone needs to see the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs rock formations, and Lower Yellowstone River Falls. Kids will love completing the junior ranger program while they’re there; add on a special treat by joining in the Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout! If you need more hike ideas, check out this list of top ten Yellowstone hikes for families before you go. // Recommended by Stephanie of Explore More Clean Less


Have You Ever Considered Traveling to All 50 States?!

Visiting all 50 US states is one of our long term traveling goals! Why not turn this post into the ultimate bucket list and make it yours, too!

Our family loves traveling America: we’ve been to over half of the 50 US States and our children have been to about a quarter of them. Each time we visit a new state, we’re surprised to discover more landscape, history, and activities that wow our children. There’s no shortage of exciting things to do in our own backyards.

What’s our one rule for traveling to all 50 states?

Simply put, to count a state off of our bucket list, we have to do something unique. Yep, that’s it!

Staying overnight is not a requirement, but we often do because there’s simply so much to see in the USA. Some of our favorite family memories, though, are from simple day trips, like visiting Natural Bridge Caverns outside San Antonio or the many afternoons we spent in New York City when we lived in New York.

I certainly hope that this comprehensive list has inspired you to see more, if not all, of our states.


Where does your family love to visit in the US? Is there anything we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments if you want to visit every state, where you’ve been, and where you’re itching to go next!

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Traveling the US With Kids - The Best Vacations in All 50 States

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1 Comment

  1. September 25, 2020 / 12:20 am

    We are hoping to make it to all of them by the time our kids graduate high school! Great list!

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