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Vacationing was so easy when you were single or even when you were just a couple. Once the kids come along, travel can get a bit more complicated. This doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun for the whole family. We’ve traveled extensively with our kids and have come up with our 10 top family travel destinations that we think you should consider.
List of 10 Top Family Travel Destinations
- Orlando, Florida
- Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Washington, DC
- London, England
- Williamsburg, Virginia
- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
- Hilton Head, South Carolina
- Paris, France
Top Family Travel Destinations
When you think of Orlando, the first place you think is most likely Walt Disney World. Well, that’s technically in Kissimee, Florida, but nevertheless it is on everyone’s list of top family travel destinations. Aside from Disney (which we LOVE), there are a number of other parks worth exploring while in Orlando.
Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure are other great theme parks to explore, especially if you have a Harry Potter fan in the group. You’ll find rides geared toward popular movies, like Spiderman, Men in Black, Dispicable Me and of course, Harry Potter. If you have younger kids, there is also an entire section geared toward Dr. Seuss. Save $53 on Universal 2-Park 2-Day Park to Park, get an extra day!
With the addition of Volcano Bay, you can also immerse yourself in a water fun paradise with slides and more!
Sea World is another fun place to check out with the family. Not only does Sea World have hands on aquatic life experiences, but it also has roller coasters and it’s own water park, Aquatica, that just happens to be my personal favorite. Don’t get fooled into thinking Sea World is just looking at dolphins and whales. It really has a lot more to offer!
While not in Orlando proper, LEGOLAND is just a short drive away and so worth the trip! Your kids don’t have to be little to enjoy all this park has to offer. Yes, it has tons of LEGO themed places to explore, but it also has some really fun rides & roller coasters. Skip the lines and save money on Legoland Florida tickets!
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks are a set of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina that happens to be one of the top family vacation destinations when it comes to going to the beach on the east coast. You can spend an entire week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and never get bored.
Besides the beautiful beaches, you will also find a water park, several lighthouses to explore, wild horses on Corolla, deep sea fishing excursions, and the historic Wright Brothers site of the first flight. Your kids will certainly thank you for taking them to such an amazing vacation destination.
If you are nervous about traveling overseas with the kids, you can rest assured that they will love Copenhagen. Copenhagen is one of our top family destinations for a number of reasons. It is one of the easiest European cities to navigate and offers many activities and experience that kids will love, including Viking Museum, Hans Christian Andersen House and Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
There is even a Legoland (Billund) that you can visit while you are staying in Copenhagen. This is the first Legoland resort and it doesn’t disappoint! It is the perfect way to spend the day with your family!
If you are looking for a tropical getaway that will give you much more than just traditional beach time, Cozumel is the place. I’ve been to Cozumel three times and each time I go, I find something different about it that I love. While you might think Cozumel is the place for partying, it is much more family friendly than you realize.
Playa Mia Grand Beach and Water Park Day Pass
Playa Mia is a HUGE all-inclusive waterpark that sits on the beach. You’ll find waterslides, kids splash zone, and a floating waterpark that is in the ocean! You can snorkle, kayak and even jet ski. There is so much to do here that your kids will NEVER want to leave!
If your family watches Amazing Race, you will not want to miss out on Amazing Race Cozumel. This adventure is one of my top things to do in Cozumel as a family because it gets you to explore the city while having the time of your life!
While you will definitely want to take in the major historical landmarks and museums while in the Nation’s capital, there are plenty of other things you can do with the kids that they will really enjoy.
International Spy Museum is not your typical museum. Here, you find the world’s largest collection of international espionage artifacts and gives you a first hand glimpse into the life of a spy. Kids can take part in Operation Spy, an immersive experience where they become a secret agent gathering critical intelligence in order to escape from a high-security compound.
If you have never been to a wax museum, you’ll find that your kids will enjoy seeing their favorite celebrities over at Madame Tussauds. Also there are 45 likenesses of the Presidents of the United States.
As you know, Washington is full of history and this makes it the perfect place to go on a ghost tour! The entire family will enjoy listening the stories on ghosts while taking a stroll to famous landmarks!
While you might think London is like any other big European city, think again. This has always been a favorite with my children (so much so that we’ve gone three years straight) and with so much to do and see, it is easy to see why. While my husband and I love museums and learning about history, the kids can get very bored of it. That is why we always mix in some fun. These are some of their favorite things in London.
If your kids love Harry Potter, a must do is the Warner Brothers Studio Tours. It is by far my favorite Harry Potter based experience in the world.
Those looking to take in an afternoon tea should do their homework and look for one featuring Disney themes! There is a Mary Poppins, Beauty & the Beast, and we’ve even seen an Aladdin afternoon tea experience! Kids will enjoy the whimsical flair while adults will appreciate the delicious sandwiches and tea cakes.
Have a mischievous kid? Take them to the Clink Prison Museum, England’s oldest prison. You’ll find a history of the prison system as well as some popular torture devices.
London has some of the best theater experiences in the world and many are geared toward families! If you get the chance to go to London, don’t miss on taking in a show with the family! You’ll find great deals on afternoon matinees.
Take a walk back in time when you visit Colonial Williamsburg! Kids are going to enjoy this living museum and exploring what life was like for people living during this time in history. Guides are in period costume and present the history in such a way that is entertaining and informative.
Nearby is the Jamestown settlement where kids can once again take part in learning about history first-hand. You will learn about the real Pocahontas (not Disney version) and be able to explore while talking with historical figures and tradespeople in period dress to learn more about the James Fort.
There are many wonderful kids programs that change daily, but one thing they can do anytime is hunt for artifacts while learning about excavation and research.
A trip to Williamsburg isn’t complete without hitting Busch Gardens. This colonial themed amusement park is just the way to spend the day! Known for its roller coasters, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has it all! While many rides are thrilling, Busch Gardens also has sections for smaller children that focus on their favorite Sesame Street Characters!
If you head to Williamsburg in the summer months, you will want to also take time to visit Water Country USA. This is Virginia’s largest water park and it has all the bells and whistles! There are several family water slides and plenty of places for kids to splash about!
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Tucked in the Smokey Mountains is Pigeon Forge. This mountain town is perfect for families who love to be in nature as there are plenty of hiking trails and scenic mountain views. You will find plenty of wildlife, waterfalls and wilderness to explore while vacationing here.
Pigeon Forge is home to Dolly Parton and became known for having one of the most popular theme parks in the United States, Dollywood. Part theme park, part water park, Dollywood is a family favorite! You’ll find plenty of rides for the entire family to enjoy including one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the eastern United States.
One thing everyone seem to enjoy while in the mountains is Gem Mining. You will find no shortage of them in Pigeon Forge.
For dinner, consider going to Dolly’s Stampede where you can dine on country fare while watching an entertaining cowboy show. I guarantee that your kids will finish their meal and be kept entertained the entire meal!
Hilton Head, South Carolina
If you are looking for a true beach experience for your family, nothing quite beats Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Apart from spending time building sandcastles or exploring the nearly 50 scenic miles of public bicycle paths & nature trails, there is a ton of things to do with your kids!
It doesn’t have to be a rainy day at the beach to enjoy The Sandox, interactive children’s museum! This is not your typical museum. Kids will be able to delve into imaginative play by building a house, being a teller in a bank, or pretending to pilot a plane! The possibilities of creative play are endless in this amazing space!
You’ll definitely want to stop over to Harbour Town for some shopping and snacks. While there enjoy the Gregg Russell Playground. You’ll find that this isn’t your average playground with a tree house, swings, slides and plenty of jungle gym to explore!
When we think of Paris, many of us think of a romantic getaway for couples. While Paris is the city of love, it is also one of our top family travel destinations. Paris has wonderful museums that caters to kids and one of the most popular theme parks in Europe.
When it comes to museums, Paris doesn’t disappoint. You will find that nearly EVERY museum in Paris has a kid friendly tour. These private family-friendly museum tours make each museum an exciting experience for kids, while allowing parents to see all of the major art pieces.
The Gourmet Chocolate Museum in Paris is going to be something EVERYONE is going to want to experience in Paris! During this 1.5-hour self-guided tour, you are going to not only learn about chocolate, but get to taste your way through chocolates 4000 year history. There is even a scavenger hunt for kids to complete!
If you really want to get your kids excited about going to Paris, tell them that you are taking them to Disneyland Paris. A cross between Disneyland California and Disney World in Florida, this park is pretty spectacular. It is a great way to spend the day letting loose after visiting all the popular Paris tourist attractions. Find our why we love Disneyland Paris.
Are you trying to decide on a trip for your family? We think that you will be pleased with any of the places on our list of top Family Travel Destinations!