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21 Best Family Vacation Spots in the US

It’s a big, wide country out there, as the United States is approximately 3.797 million square miles. You might be struggling to narrow down your options with so much beautiful country to explore.

That’s why I put together this list to showcase some of my favorite spots for families.

Adventure is calling, and your family will be ready to answer it with this exceptional vacation planning list.

Whether you’re ready to jet-set across the country or wish to keep it local, this collection of state vacation spots encompasses all climates, budgets, and activity types, from high-octane thrill rides to relaxing days spent lounging by the beach.

1. Orlando, Florida

With 74 million people converging on Orlando in 2023, it’s a popular spot for family vacationing. The city has over a dozen theme parks, but most visit for a chance to capture the Disney magic at Walt Disney World.

You could spend an entire vacation park-hopping between Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. If you slot time at Disney into your itinerary, be that the entire vacation or just a few days, don’t miss our article on what to take with you.

» MORE: What Can I Bring to Disney World?

Universal Studios is popular once the kids outgrow the Disney phase (provided they do!), and SeaWorld Orlando is another great theme park if you want big splashes and high-octane thrills at every turn.

Orlando may be one of the theme park centers in the US, but it has so much more to offer. An afternoon at the Orlando Museum of Art will allow everyone to come down off their adrenaline highs.

The Harry P Leu Gardens, a botanical garden, is a great place to visit when those Florida rains inevitably put a damper on your outdoor plans. The Orlando Science Center has a giant T. Rex fossil that’s not to be missed. It’s literally larger than life!

Orlando travel tips

  • Pack a poncho for the whole family. It rains frequently and without warning in Orlando, and you don’t want to be caught unaware.
  • Take it slow, as the humidity is a lot and can take time to adjust to.
  • Try to plan a vacation during the winter months. The kids are usually in school, so the theme parks might be less busy.
  • Buy theme park tickets before you arrive for fast, easy check-in.

2. New York City, New York

The Big Apple is a must-visit locale on the East Coast. It’s brimming with entertainment day and night, from historical sites to wide-open greenery and breathtaking skyscrapers aplenty.

You can reach the Statue of Liberty by ferry (fun fact: you can also access the statue from New Jersey). The spiral, double-helix staircase includes hundreds of steps. The crown alone has 162 steps to the top.

It’s a difficult walk with narrow, cramped conditions at times, so maybe wait until the kids are a bit older.

A day in Central Park will foster warm family memories. You can see Strawberry Fields or the Conservatory Garden, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, drink in the history at Bethesda Terrace or Belvedere Castle, or treat the kids to a day at the Central Park Zoo.

It’s worth visiting if you’ve never seen Times Square in person. Between the tall buildings and blinding lights of the skyscrapers, it will take your breath away.

The area is home to many larger-than-life stores, like Hershey’s Chocolate World, IT’SUGAR Times Square, the Disney Store, and M&M’s World New York.

New York City travel tips

  • Wear good shoes. Taxis and Ubers are expensive in the city, so you’ll probably walk unless the distance is too great.
  • You must have a reservation to access the Statue of Liberty’s crown.
  • The city comes alive at Christmas but draws big crowds despite the cold.
  • Chain restaurants contribute to the city’s charm, so don’t miss ‘em!

3. Oahu, Hawaii

A vacation to the Hawaiian islands is a dream come true enough, but the kids will want to do more than lounge by the pool, so how do you make memories that will last a lifetime?

Take ‘em to the beach if you want a cost-effective trip idea.

The area is home to:

  • Lanikai Beach
  • Kailua Beach Park
  • Waimanalo Beach
  • Waikiki Beach
  • Waimea Bay Beach Park
  • Sunset Beach
  • Kahana Bay Beach Park
  • Makapu’u Beach Park, among others.

If you’re into breathtaking sights beyond the sand and surf, visit the Koko Crater Railway Trailhead or Waimea Valley and its stunning waterfalls.

You can also enjoy the island’s rich cultural heritage at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri Memorial, or Polynesian Cultural Center.

» MORE: What to Wear on a Plane to Hawaii

Oahu also offers zip-lining with breathtaking views, snorkeling, hiking, boat tours, and sailing, so you can still entertain the kids whether your budget is a mile long or tinier. A luau is also a must before you leave.

Oahu travel tips

  • The best time to visit the Hawaiian islands is between January and March. It’s winter, so the temperatures are milder.
  • You will need a rental car to get around on the mainland.
  • Make reservations for planned activities before you arrive. Hawaii is a major tourist destination, and places sell out or run out of availability.

4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The resort city of Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic Coast should go to the top of your travel planning list if you’re visiting the east coast. The Grand Strand stretches across South Carolina with over 60 miles of beaches. You’re sure to find your own corner of paradise.

The east coast is beloved for its boardwalks that accompany the beaches. New Jersey might get a lot of acclaim for its boardwalks, but don’t sleep on South Carolina!

The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk includes the SkyWheel Ferris wheel, the Family Kingdom amusement park, zip-lining, arcades, Ripley’s Moving Theater, and more snacks, food, and desserts than you can shake a stick at.

Although the city is known for its celebrity golf courses, I’d recommend Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur Goff for the kiddos. This themed, fun mini golf course will hold their attention from start to finish.

You can also plan time at the Hollywood Wax Museum or Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach. Prepare for an extraordinary night of entertainment at the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.

You and the family can stroll through Brookgreen Gardens, splash around at Myrtle Waves Water Park, shop at the Barefoot Landing mall, or see who’s the fastest at the Broadway Grand Prix go-kart track.

Myrtle Beach travel tips

  • As an east coast state, South Carolina gets chilly in the autumn and cold in the winter. Plan your trip for the summer for the best weather.
  • The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is open 24 hours a day.
  • Witnessing a sunrise on the beach is a free activity that will be the highlight of your trip.
  • Always wear sunscreen, as the area has about 200 sunny days per year.

5. Jackson, Wyoming

Let’s do a complete 180 and talk about a travel destination that comes alive in the winter, Jackson, Wyoming. This esteemed town is the home of Jackson Hole, which offers the Grand Targhee Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Skiers and snowboarders live for a trip to Jackson, as it has some of the crispest, whitest slopes this side of the country.

However, it’s not all about wintry sports here. Jackson won’t disappoint if you’re after a leisurely vacation.

Jackson Town Square is bustling but quaint, the National Elk Refuge will foster a strong appreciation of nature for the whole family, and Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone will check items off your bucket list.

If you’d rather take shelter from the cold, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is a spectacular way to spend an afternoon. Original Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol art are on display. You and the kids can watch live rodeo entertainment or a play at the Jackson Hole Playhouse.

Jackson travel tips

  • If you’re not into skiing, plan to visit in April, May, September, or October.
  • Pack more layers than you think you’ll need when hitting the slopes. The temps can drop as low as 30 degrees but are sometimes a balmy 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The rates to get into Grand Teton or Yellowstone increase exponentially in the summer, and the parks are a lot more crowded.

6. San Diego, California

Getting lost in San Diego is the best way to spend a vacation. This Pacific Coast city has continually warm weather, so it feels like summer never ends. Make a beeline for San Diego whether you want to shake up your family’s usual summer vacations or seek warmer climes in the winter.

The kids will love seeing their favorite animals in the flesh at the San Diego Zoo. SeaWorld San Diego is a great accompaniment to a day at the zoo, as your kids can view aquatic creatures aplenty here.

Try Sesame Place San Diego, Belmont Park, Inflatable World, or the Skytower if your kids want something a little faster-paced. You can round out your trip by shopping at Seaport Village or visiting the USS Midway Museum.

San Diego has no shortage of resplendent nature, including La Jolla Shores Park, Balboa Park, Cesar Chavez Park, Pantoja Park, and Waterfront Park.

Are you eager to visit the beaches in San Diego? I rounded up the best ones!

» MORE: Best Family Beaches in San Diego

San Diego travel tips

  • Although taking the trolley is quaint, driving or renting a car remains the best way to get around San Diego, especially if your travel destinations aren’t adjacent to one another.
  • The best times of year for a San Diego getaway are between May and November.
  • The trains here generally don’t run after five o’clock, so plan accordingly!

7. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Many people who end up in Gatlinburg are on their way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While I do recommend taking at least a day, maybe longer, to explore that park, Gatlinburg has so much to offer in its own right.

This eastern Tennessee mountain town includes aerial views that will leave you astounded, from the Sky Lift cable car that takes you across much of the area to the Space Needle. This observation tower stands at a proud 407 feet.

Ober Mountain is another major attraction here. You can ski when the weather gets chilly enough.

Are you planning a visit in the spring or summertime? The mountain is home to the Ober Mountain Adventure Park, a theme park where you and the family will have a blast.

The downtown area is perfect for entertaining the kids. You can while the day away at the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum, Iris Theater, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini Golf, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the Guinness World Records Museum, or Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze & Ripley’s Candy Factory.

The Moonshine Mountain Coaster is inexpensive and fun. I also recommend the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, which features the class Batmobile from 1966!

Gatlinburg travel tips

  • Prepare to walk a lot, so pack good shoes!
  • Gatlinburg comes alive in the fall, and the temps are moderate, so try to plan your visit then.
  • The Gatlinburg Trolleys are available every day, even on holidays. They will add some charm to your trip, and better yet, they’re free!

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The biggest and best-known city in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia. Philly is a US cultural landmark, as it houses the Liberty Bell with its trademark crack and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed.

You can see remnants galore of the Revolutionary War. Independence National Historical Park and the Barnes Foundation must be part of your historic Philly tour.

Take some time to at least cross the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art if you don’t visit outright. These are the famous Rocky steps!

The Franklin Institute is a science museum that will expand the kids’ horizons. The Mutter Museum is full of scientific and medical oddities, although I’d recommend it more for older kids.

Family fun awaits at the Philadelphia Zoo. Wrap up the perfect summer day by strolling through Spruce Street Harbor Park. Its resplendent with multicolored LEDs that make you feel like you’re walking through a dream.

Philadelphia travel tips

  • Although it’s a major city, you should find it easier to get around Philly compared to NYC. That said, you can still do a lot of walking here.
  • Cheesesteak is the main food in this city, and it seems like nearly every restaurant specializes in it. Try to eat at least one Philly cheesesteak if possible!
  • Do you like ghosts and the paranormal? Philly is said to be haunted. You needn’t go to the Eastern State Penitentiary around Halloween when you can visit the Betsy Ross House or the Mutter Museum for some possible hauntings.

9. Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head is one of my favorite travel destinations in the US, and I’ve treated my family to it many times.

So what do I recommend you do here? Well, you can rent a bike and ride it along the beach, go zip-lining, do some bowling, or go horseback riding. I have plenty more suggestions in another post.

» MORE: Fun Activities for Kids in Hilton Head

Folly Field Beach Park is an excellent spot to open a big beach umbrella and lay out a blanket. Harbour Town Lighthouse is a tranquil and beautiful sight.

If you’re looking for yet more beaches, why not hit up Burkes Beach, Fish Haul Beach Park, or Driessen Beach Park?

This island has some awesome tours for seeing dolphins or riding in kayaks or boats as a family. If you have some room in the travel budget, I highly recommend these activities, as they can make your trip something truly special.

» MORE: Best Family Resorts in Hilton Head

Hilton Head travel tips

  • Hilton Head has perfect weather from April to May and September to October. The weather is still good into the fall, and you can enjoy lower rates.
  • The area is very bike-friendly, so if you don’t want to rent a car, you don’t have to.
  • Hurricane season begins in June and lasts until the end of November, so plan your trip with that in mind.

10. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the penultimate family vacation destinations in the US. The park’s geologic structures date back millions of years, and the viewpoints throughout the park will give you unique views.

I love Lipan Point since you can see the Colorado River and the canyon on a clear day. Try to get here at sunset or sunrise, as you will never see the sun from a better vantage point.

The Desert View Watchtower was a favorite of Mary Colter, an architect, while the Yavapai Observation Studio and Mather Point are photo-worthy spots to stop and catch your breath.

When you leave the park, spend some time in the area at the Yavapai Geology Museum, Kaibab National Forest, or the Grand Canyon Railway. You’ll deepen your appreciation of the area in a colossal way.

» MORE: Can You Drive the Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon travel tips

  • Check the Grand Canyon Park website before your trip. The park sometimes undergoes modified operations or has temporary closures, which could put a damper on your travel plans.
  • Plan to get to the canyon before 9:30 a.m., as it will only continue to get busier throughout the day. The next optimal time for a visit is any time after 4 p.m.
  • Reserve a spot if you plan to stay in the park, as the availabilities go fast.
  • Do not touch, pet, or feed the wildlife, and encourage your children to do the same.

11. Park City, Utah

Park City in western Utah is bordered by mountain resorts, including Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. The ski slopes at both parks are otherworldly and will make for quite a heart-pumping family vacay.

The 2022 Winter Olympics took place at Utah Olympic Park. The park is largely a training ground, but if you get a chance to pass it by, I recommend it!

Sink your teeth into the history of this city at the Park City Museum, explore the Kimball Art Center, and wrap up your week at the Park Silly Sunday Market. This street market has activities for children, live music, food stands, and wares for sale. It’s open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Park City Main Street Historic District dates to the 1800s when it was then a mining town. Today, it’s a shopping center with jewelry, grocery, gifts, books, and toys. You’ll also find plenty of eateries in the area.

Park City travel tips

  • Even if you’re visiting in the winter, it’s important to properly hydrate, especially when engaging in vigorous activity like skiing.
  • Do you want to see the backcountry? Schedule a dogsledding or snowmobiling tour.
  • Park City offers free transit, including municipal buses.
  • The best time of year to visit Park City is between December and March.

12. Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey is one of the sweetest spots in the country! Eastward of Harrisburg, Hershey is named after Milton Hershey, who owned a chocolate factory in the area. He created a community for his employees to live in.

Hersheypark has stood since 1907, but it wasn’t always a chocolatey theme park. It started as a green area that gradually evolved and today has a zoo and plenty of attractions and rides.

After you and the children have had your fill, set aside some time for the Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction, Hershey Gardens, the Hershey Story Museum, Hershey Theatre, or ZooAmerica.

You can also see a live Hershey Bears hockey game depending on the time of year you visit, or get up close and personal with Golden Eagles, falcons, and hawks during the Falconry Experience.

Hershey travel tips

  • Plan to visit Hersheypark earlier in the day, as it gets crowded later.
  • The park sometimes offers All-Day Drink Deals, perfect for staying hydrated in the hot Pennsylvania summer sun.
  • Hersheypark has a free app you can download for maps, ride and attraction information, and other important details to maximize your time there.

13. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Situated on the Wisconsin River, Wisconsin Dells is a picturesque city with natural landscapes and plenty of kid-friendly entertainment.

The Wisconsin Deer Park will start your day off right as you watch quaint deer interacting with each other. If you want to expand the roster of animals you’ve seen, venture over to Timbavati Wildlife Park.

Despite the name, the Wilderness Resort doesn’t have more animals. Rather, it’s a resort and indoor theme park. It’s the perfect place to stay if you want to make the kids smile the whole vacation long.

Alternatively, Noah’s Ark Waterpark will help you stay cool during the dog days of summer, as will Kalahari Resorts.

You can also entertain the kiddos at the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater, the Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Dells Boat Tours, or the interactive game center Wizard Quest.

Hop aboard the Great Northern Railway, a mini railway that will let you see a new side of Wisconsin Dells.

Rocky Arbor State Park will amaze with its tranquility and greenery, and it makes an ideal destination for when you want to get away from it all.

Wisconsin Dells travel tips

  • Stock up on summer equipment like water shoes, pool toys, and pool blankets if you’re staying at a water park resort.
  • Plan a trip for late spring or early fall. You can still visit the indoor water parks, and the outdoor weather is picture-perfect.
  • The Upper Dells is the more recommended part of the river, with bluffs and rock formations.

14. Cape May, New Jersey

New Jersey has no shortage of beach towns, but Cape May down on the southernmost tip of the state remains one of my favorites.

It has a little bit of everything, which is what makes it so wonderful. If you’re into Victorian history, the Emlen Physick Estate is a museum with an interior that dates to a quainter, simpler time.

Washington Street Mall is a three-block mini shopping district for pedestrians only that’s rife with shopping opportunities.

The Cape May Lighthouse is a beacon in the city, the Nature Center of Cape May showcases the beauty of this area, and Historic Cold Spring Village is another great history museum.

I especially recommend families spend an afternoon at the Cape May County Park & Zoo. It’s completely free, relying on donations to stay open. You can have a blast with the children even on a tight vacation budget.

Cape May has many beaches, including Poverty Beach, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Madison, Jefferson Street, Steger Beach, Windsor and Broadway. You can stretch out on the sand, splash in the surf, and stare at the clear, blue sky.

» MORE: Family-Friendly Beaches in New Jersey

Cape May travel tips

  • Plan a getaway to Cape May from May to September. You can also visit into October if it’s a warmer-than-usual autumn.
  • You can walk through much of Cape May, and some areas only allow foot traffic. However, if you want to see the whole area, you should rent or bring a car, as some spots are further from others.
  • You can swim in the ocean in Cape May, but check that a lifeguard is on duty for your safety.

15. Branson, Michigan

Families love Branson. This city is steeped in history yet has enough modern attractions that it could become your new favorite family-friendly vacation destination.

Silver Dollar City is a theme park that harkens back to the 1800s. Fritz’s Adventure is another theme park in the area, or you could ride the Branson Ferris Wheel or the Runaway Mountain Coaster at Branson Mountain Adventure Park. The park also has zip-lining.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is one big photo opportunity, so make sure your phone is charged, as you’ll take snapshots of the kids with their favorite wax figures all day.

Beyond the Lens! Branson has more than 100 interactive exhibits, including Flyride, VR games, and plenty more.

The Aquarium at the Boardwalk and the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure are great complements if you want to incorporate animals into your vacation plans.

I also recommend Dolly Parton’s Stampede, a dinner theater, and the Titanic Museum.

Branson travel tips 

  • While Branson is a fantastic summer city, it’s also very vibrant in the winter, especially around Christmastime.
  • The city doesn’t have public transportation, so plan to drive or take an Uber.
  • The Runaway Mountain Coaster lasts about eight minutes if you brake often, so make sure to have another activity planned in case this one goes fast.

16. Outer Banks, North Carolina

I’d also suggest visiting North Carolina’s series of islands known as the Outer Banks. I’ve taken my kids many times, and we always have incredible experiences.

If you have toddlers, I’d suggest flying a kite at Kitty Hawk Kites, playing at the Outer Banks Playgrounds, witnessing majestic dolphins during Captain Johnny’s dolphin tours, or visiting the Outer Banks Aquarium.

» MORE: Top Toddler-Friendly Activities in the Outer Banks

If you have older kids, why not take a bike ride or plan a relaxing day swimming and lounging at the beach? My favorite beaches are Duck and Southern Shores among the Northern Beaches.

» MORE: Outer Banks with Kids (Top Activities and Places to Visit)

Outer Banks travel tips

  • The weather here is mild between September and December, so you can visit even outside of the traditional beach season and still have an amazing time.
  • Hurricane season in the Outer Banks is between June and late November, so check the weather before booking your flight.
  • The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is 70 miles and considered the prettiest on the island.

17. Washington, DC

As the nation’s capital, Washington, DC is a top place for families to visit who want to steep themselves in the history of the country. The neoclassical buildings and monuments here make this a special slice of the country.

You can tour so many historic buildings during your trip, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, the National Mall, the Washington Monument, the United States Capitol, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

For a change of pace, treat the kids to a visit to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the National Gallery of Art, or the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The International Spy Museum is sure to be a hit. If the name alone doesn’t get the kids excited, wait until they see its sharp, angular exterior. Dig deep into the history of espionage in this one-of-a-kind museum that will undoubtedly put a great capper on your vacay.

What about the White House? Tours are available, but you must usually reserve them well in advance. At the very least, you can marvel at its exterior, but if you can go inside, that’s even better.

Washington, DC travel tips

  • Many monuments in DC don’t look that big until you’re trying to traverse them. The National Mall is especially guilty of this. Pack good walking shoes and take frequent breaks when traveling with young children.
  • DC is hotter than you might have guessed, and it can get very crowded in the summer. I’d suggest going in the spring for the cherry blossoms. However, if you insist on traveling in the summer, stick to indoor, air-conditioned buildings.
  • Guided tours will help you see everything on your itinerary, so take advantage of them if you have the budget!

18. Williamsburg, Virginia

One part of the Historic Triangle with Yorktown and Jamestown, Williamsburg was once the Virginia Colony’s capitol until 1780. It’s still alive with history to this day, so you’ve come to the right place if you and the kids want to learn more about the fabric of our country.

The historical landmarks and museums don’t stop, from Governor’s Palace to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, Historic Jamestown, the Jamestown Settlement, and the George Wythe House.

Art museums such as the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Dewitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum make nice bookends between your historical tour.

Williamsburg also has plenty of fun attractions that kids of all ages will adore, such as the aptly-named water park Water Country USA and Busch Gardens Williamsburg with its sprawling, looping coasters.

You can even get a bit of shopping done at Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square or the Williamsburg Premium Outlets.

Williamsburg travel tips

  • Colonial Williamsburg is open every day of the year, so you always have that to fall back on if your other travel plans change due to weather or closures.
  • The weather in Virginia can be rather erratic, so dress in layers so you can add or remove them as needed.
  • The spring and autumn are recommended times to visit, but the water parks and theme parks operate most in the summer.

19. Bar Harbor, Maine

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Acadia National Park is Bar Harbor, a Maine town situated on the Mount Desert Island. You can view the majesty of Cadillac Mountain from your vantage point, and you can possibly spot nearby Cranberry Islands too.

Acadia is the big sticking point around here. It’s a 47,000-acre park with mountainous regions, beaches, and woodlands. You can view animal species like seabirds, bears, whales, and moose in their natural habitats at the park.

Outside of Acadia, Bar Harbor has enchanting scenic spots like the Thunder Hole, the Shore Path trail, and Frenchman Bay. Schedule an afternoon with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., where you should spot some aquatic fins emerging from the water.

The 1932 Criterion Theater has a rotating calendar of live events, so if you can check one out, I say go for it.

Bar Harbor travel tips

  • August is the best month to visit Bar Harbor but be aware the temperatures will be hot. However, you can do the most outdoor activities.
  • Buy a park entrance pass if you’ll spend time at Acadia National Park.
  • You can reserve a spot on Cadillac Mountain to sit in your car and look at the sights.

20. Niagara Falls, New York

The New York side of Niagara Falls is most known and best loved for those iconic, eponymous falls, but you can plan a whole vacation here with how many extra activities await you in the vicinity.

For instance, you can check out the Cave of the Winds, a cave hidden beyond Bridal Veil Falls that’s only 100 feet wide. You and the family can take an elevator into the cave and explore it with a tour guide.

Journey Behind the Falls near Horseshoe Falls is another experience that lets you venture deeper into Niagara Falls. You’ll cross through tunnels that are more than 100 years old.

As you look overhead, you can see Niagara Falls’ rushing water as it flows over the entrance of the cave.

Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole State Park are great places to fall in love with the beauty of New York while you let your troubles melt away.

The Niagara Skywheel will take you way up into the sky so you can see over the Falls in a way you never could on foot, even if you climbed to the highest peak. 

» MORE: Road Trip from New York City to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls travel tips

  • Bring a raincoat and rainboots, as you will get wet!
  • Summer brings with it temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s but many crowds. However, I’d recommend wearing warmer clothes since the winds the falls generate make it feel colder.
  • Ride a bike through for a different kind of experience at Niagara Falls.

21. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Have you always wanted to take the family to Dollywood? You must visit Pigeon Forge. This theme park created by country legend Dolly Parton features the singer’s prized memorabilia in an onsite museum, amusement rides, and a water park.

However, fun-loving families don’t have to stop there. The Island in Pigeon Forge has a hotel, amusement rides, restaurants, and shops, so it’s an all-in-one family experience. You could spend your whole vacation right here.

However, then you would miss the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, Outdoor Gravity Park, the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster, TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena, and the Crave Golf Club.

Pigeon Forge has yet more curiosities, from the Alcatraz East Crime Museum to the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show and the Comedy Barn Theater.

Pigeon Forge travel tips

  • U.S. Route 441 conveniently contains most of the tourist attractions in this part of Tennessee, which makes getting around easy.
  • Pigeon Forge is best visited in the spring or fall. The cooler temperatures (but never too cold) and thinner crowds will allow you and the family to see and do everything on your travel itinerary.
  • Kids under three years old can ride the trolleys for free. It’s $1 to $3 for older kids and adults.