Best Travel Destinations for Families

As things are opening up for safe travel again, we at WAYB are getting excited about scheming our next trips, and we’re guessing you are too! Whether it’s a day trip, a road trip, or a plane trip, we hope you and your family are planning some new adventures. We know there’s not “one way” to define the ideal vacation, so we’ve gathered together a diverse list of cool places to check out. Happy travels!

If you’re looking for family vacation ideas, a publication meant just for Parents is a great place to start. In “Best Vacations for Kids: Parents’ Travel Awards 2021,” Parents focuses on “Covid-Friendly” getaways for families looking to venture out safely after many months spent close to home. For Best Resort for Kids of All Ages, they nominated Smugglers’ Notch in Jefferson, Vermont, which offers activities like a hand-guided llama trek instead of simply exploring the woods alone (also an option!). Ziplining and disc golf were also highly recommended. They’ve organized their award winners into helpful categories like “Best Adventure Resorts for Kids,” “Best National Parks for Kids,” “Best Camping Trips for Kids.” so be sure to check out the whole list!

Condé Nast Traveler has all kinds of great vacation ideas for the whole family - and multi-generational families as well. Want to brush up on your Spanish while exploring the rainforest in a tropical paradise? Try Costa Rica! Want to keep it within the States? Mountainous Colorado Springs offers everything from rock climbing to cattle ranch drives to zip-lining over a stunning canyon. And as they cleverly put it, “No one could have dreamed up a better marketing plan for Wyoming than social distancing.” Speaking of National Parks, both Yellowstone and Grand Teton experienced spikes in attendance over the past year, so why not keep that momentum going? Check out the whole list of “The 20 Best Family Summer Vacations to Take.”

Travel + Leisure is big on reminding its readers to appreciate the year we’ve had together apart, and that after all we’ve been through, even the smallest, closest-to-home trip is something to be cherished as we jump back into the new normal. Just a bit to the north in Alaska you can explore everything from gold rush towns to the Alaskan Native arts scene. And if you’re in a more get-away-from-the-crowds mood, Alaska has some of the most stunning National Parks, such as Glacier Bay, Misty Fjords, and Kenai Fjords, all of which are accessible by boat. Explore these and more in “The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2021.”

In “Best Family Vacations in the USA,” U.S. News stresses the importance of picking the perfect locale, to satisfy even the most persnickety traveler. If you’re craving balmy weather and a beach vacation but don’t want to travel too far, San Diego offers warm sandy beaches and waves perfect for surfing. And once you’re done with the beach, hop over to Balboa Park to experience the world-famous San Diego Zoo, which is sure to be a hit for the whole family. On the opposite coast, the Outer Banks of North Carolina offer what U.S. News calls “a great place to relax on a budget.” Activity suggestions include a stroll along Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and a trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, where you’re able to climb the tallest sand dune on the Atlantic coast.

In “30 Unique Family Vacation Ideas for a Trip the Kids Won’t Forget,” Oprah Daily offers up everything from luxury destinations (Atlantis in the Bahamas makes a fan out of any age group with a 141-acre water park, kid-friendly restaurants, and a Kids Concierge) to more affordable options (Massanutten Resort in Shenandoah Valley, VA also has an impressive indoor/outdoor water park and sits on 6,000 sprawling acres of mountain land).

Time Out has a slew of fun, affordable, and safe family adventures to recommend. Standouts from their roundup include the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Sequoia & Kings National Parks in California. Another notable suggestion is Bandera, TX, where you can horseback ride, fish, play horseshoes, or just sit back and relax at the Flying L dude ranch just outside San Antonio. Explore the whole (frugal) list here: “Everyone will love these fun and cheap family vacations in the U.S.” 

If you’re looking to venture further afield, Town & Country serves up options from all over. Their list covers everything from hot air balloon rides in Mexico City to baby penguin-spotting in Antarctica. Check out their sprawling suggestions here: “The Best Places to Travel with Kids in 2021.”

We hope you have a blast planning your next big family trip. (We know we are!) And if you haven't already, sign up for WAYB’s emails to get more travel tips or follow us on Instagram.