Family Vacations & Vacation Ideas
Your family vacation
When the carpools, gymnastics meets and chapter tests subside, a family pauses for a much needed breather. Thankfully, the best family vacations aren't one-size-fits-all, from all-inclusive family vacations to city adventures. Whether a summer vacation or long weekend is on your radar, we've got family vacation ideas for the stroller set, tweenage years and beyond.
Thank Uncle Walt for spawning arguably the best family vacation spot on the planet with Walt Disney World, Epcot, Magic Kingdom and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter within shuttle distance. No city does it better for rides, princesses, water slides and fireworks by the horizonful. And if there's any doubt that you have to be 5 to enjoy the magic, just look to the grandmas sporting mouse ears.
Nothing against New York, but Chicago stands just as tall for its family vacation appeal. Take the tykes to architectural gems Cloud Gate ("The Bean") and Crown Fountain, whose rotating digital faces spout water onto kids squealing with delight. Finish the day with a honking slice of deep-dish pizza or prowl neighborhoods from South to North for global bites – even for the most finicky of eaters.
The Happiest Place on Earth is about to get happier. With the addition of Cars Land to Disneyland's California Adventure, Anaheim fuels its lure as a family vacation destination. If the kids have outgrown the teacups, hit Knott's Berry Farm for rides so-chilling-you-might-want-to-keep-an-extra-pair-of-underwear-on-hand.
The best family vacations need not be bound by a strict itinerary, especially in a city as cuddly and historic as Boston. Introduce your tiny patriots to the Freedom Trail, a 16-mile red-brick path along historic sites, take a duck tour on the Charles River, and to channel your inner Kennedy, head to the Cape for a clambake.
Now here's a city with a million family vacation ideas. Pint-sized power brokers will go snapshot happy with all the monuments, dinosaur replicas and art museums in their midst. And who knows, there's always the possibility of stumbling upon the presidential cavalcade, or even the chief himself.
You might ask: Why leave the continental U.S. when plenty of good beaches exist stateside? For one, if you're a U.S. citizen, you don't need a passport to Puerto Rico. Mini-adventurers will also appreciate all the opportunities to commune with Mother Nature, from whale watching to underground river tours.
Contrary to singles' belief, Cancun is far from being just a spring breakers' magnet. All-inclusive family vacations are staples at Cancun megaresorts whose pristine grounds dazzle with lagoon-style pools, kids clubs and outdoor activities.
Come family vacation time, the kids crave water play and the parents long for local culture. In this center of paradise, they can take it all in – the rainbows, waterfalls and monstrous waves along the North Shore. Don't end this vacay without a visit to Pearl Harbor or a carbtastic Hawaiian plate – complete with a scoop of macaroni salad.
Next to Orlandoans, San Diegans might be the most spoiled when it comes to family vacation ideas. With year-round sunshine, postcard-perfect beaches and kid-friendly attractions such as Balboa Park, SeaWorld Adventure Park and the San Diego Zoo, the SoCal city knows precisely how to keep boredom at bay.
While some historical towns use relics and buildings to teach visitors about the past, this family vacation spot continues to live it. Details are a labor of love for this birthplace of American Colonialism, where you'll still find silversmiths, apothecaries and politicians (Hello, Thomas Jefferson) pushing their wares.