Every year my husband and I sit down and plan our family vacation. Every year we ask the same question: where should we go?
If you are like us then vacation planning can be difficult.
To make that a bit easier for you, I have teamed up with Mykee. Mykee is a writer and mom of four who loves to travel. She created the website Traveling with Monkeys to share tips, tricks, and destinations for fun and meaningful family adventures. To connect with Mykee, follow her blog or find her on Facebook and on Instagram. (see bio below)
5 family-friendly cities in the U.S.
While traveling with kids is possible just about anywhere, it’s easier (and more fun!) in some places than in others. There are hundreds of family-friendly cities across the United States. What makes them right for you will depend on your family’s interests. To help you decide what’s right for you, we’ve compiled a list of 5 family-friendly cities and what makes them great.
San Diego | Families who love it all
With lovely weather year-round and lots of activities for kids, San Diego is an obvious choice for a family vacation. From sandy beaches and museums to interactive animal experiences and amusement parks, San Diego is the ultimate family destination. Spend a day relaxing with your toes in the sand or throw on comfy shoes and experience the adventures at Legoland, Seaworld, or the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park. Take an artistic stroll through the 1,200 acres urban Balboa Park or catch an educational IMAX experience at the Fleet Science Center.
Want some historic culture and authentic cuisine? Visit one of the many museums or 25 restaurants found within a one-mile radius of Old Town San Diego. With so much to see and do, you will find yourself coming back to experience what San Diego has to offer over and over again.
Seattle | Families who love nature and who love to learn
When you think of Seattle you may think of the overcast rainy weather, but did you know that this climate combination makes the eco-wonders of Seattle come to life? From in-city hiking and tide pool wading to Salmon bakes and beach fires, Seattle is an alfresco loving family’s paradise. If you don’t love the tepid outdoor temperatures, don’t worry, Seattle is a little haven for kids and adults who love to take their exploring inside. You have a myriad of options like the Pacific Science Center, the Museum of Flight, and the Museum of Pop Culture. Each museum will give you and yours hours of entertainment and hands-on ways to learn.
If you’re visiting Seattle in the summer, you’ll love the city’s cool 70-degree temperatures, which is ideal for sightseeing. You’ll have a chance to check out the famous Space Needle and the other unique buildings in town. You can have some fun at Pier 57 and get in some shopping and ride the Seattle Great Wheel. At the end of the day, you can sit down for a delicious meal. You won’t want to miss the city’s good eats and farm-to-table restaurant vibe.
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Salt Lake City | Families who love the mountains
Nestled at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Salt Lake City has a lot to offer traveling families. There is so much to do year-round in Utah, but it’s a particularly fun winter destination. Known for “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” it’s perfect for skiing, snowboarding, or sledding. Hit the slopes at one of the four local Ski resorts or visit one of the city’s many fun museums such as Discovery Gateway, Clark Planetarium, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, or The Museum of Natural Curiosity (slightly outside of the Salt Lake Valley but worth the trip). Go see the state’s most popular tourist attraction—Temple Square—while its grounds are decorated with Christmas lights (Black Friday to New Years).
If you visit during the summer, you can explore the Wasatch Mountains by camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing and more. There are a lot of fun free day hikes that are great for all levels of hiking abilities. Check out Ensign Peak or Donut Falls for simple but beautiful hikes that even little legs can handle. Other popular summer attractions include Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, and Lagoon, Utah’s amusement park.
New York City | Families who want to experience big city life
If you really want to experience big city life with kids, then New York City is your playground. From educational and historical experiences such as visiting the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island or wandering the corridors of the American Museum of Natural History, to sightseeing iconic landmarks like The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, or St Peters Cathedral, NYC has so much to do. If you’ve never ridden the subway, stopover at Grand Central Station or just head down one of the hundreds of stairs that will take you to the underground rail system. Catch your favorite sports game at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, or the Barclay Center. Wander the streets in Time Square or catch a Broadway show (Disney on Broadway offers family-friendly shows that everyone will love).
You won’t want to miss the world famous 843 acre Central Park that has a plethora experiences such as ice skating, boat racing, carousel rides, carriage tours, marionette shows, bike rentals, playgrounds, or the Central Park Zoo, to name a few. If you want to mix in a little more culture, check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art (it’s even kid friendly) or the Guggenheim Museum. Don’t forget to browse some of the best kids shops around such as the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center, M&M’s World on Broadway, or the iconic Macys Department Store.
Orlando | Families who love theme parks
Disney World. Need we say more? But honestly, even though the giant, world-famous park can keep you busy for days, there’s a lot more to do in Orlando than just Disney World. You can also check out Universal Studios (including the amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter), SeaWorld, and Legoland. Go park-hopping and you’re sure to have an exciting, memorable trip that your family will never forget. If that isn’t enough, there are also a number of kid-friendly hotels to stay in that will keep the party going all night long. Stay at any of the Disney Resort Hotels including Animal Kingdom Lodge where you’ll have the chance to see more than 30 species of animals right from your room!
The Hard Rock Hotel gives its guests’ priority admission to Universal Studios and it features a kids’ club, adult and children’s pools, and an adult fitness center. Want to mingle with everyone’s favorite overall wearing little yellow minions? Check out Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Need a break from all the thrills? Take a trip to the beach or visit the Kennedy Space Station for an out of this world experience.
There you have it, 5 of our favorite family-friendly cities in the United States. We hope you get a chance to visit the ones that match your family’s personality. Happy travels!
Drop a comment below and let me know which is your favorite city to visit and why.