Summer is right around the corner, and for those that haven’t planned their family vacation yet, now is the time! According to a recent AAA survey, over one-third of Americans plan to go on a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home. Family vacations are the perfect way to reconnect and spend quality time with loved ones while visiting a fun destination, but it’s important to choose the right destination along with the perfect property rental in order to ensure that everyone has a good time.
It might sound challenging to pick the perfect place that will make everyone happy, but we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 family destinations, ranging from tropical Hawaii to urban oasis Washington, D.C., in the United States that are great for groups of all ages. Once you check off one of the destinations on our list, you can refer to it when planning future vacations in the years to come—and continue to build precious memories with your loved ones.
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, consistently remains one of the most popular family summer vacation destinations in the United States. In addition to cultural and historical sites like the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor, it also has countless beautiful beaches, golf courses, first-class restaurants and hotels, and other fun things to see and do including the Honolulu Zoo, Iolani Palace, the Dole Pineapple Plantation and the famous North Shore, to name a few. From Hawaiian-style estates and beach cottages to high-rise condos in the city, there are a variety of property rentals to choose from to make your stay more enjoyable.
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2. Orlando, Florida
When planning the perfect family summer vacation, look no further than Orlando, Florida. This kid- and family-friendly town is home to many well-known attractions, including Universal Orlando Resort (home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter), SeaWorld Orlando, and of course, Walt Disney World. Go shopping at The Mall at Millenia and the Orlando International Premium Outlets, engage in a round of golf, and experience an educational afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. When searching for your vacation rental property, the options include expansive homes with swimming pools and condos in gated luxury communities.
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3. Yosemite National Park, California
Ranked by Travel US News as the No.1 best place to hike in the United States, in addition to being the second best affordable family vacation destination, Yosemite attracts close to four million visitors every year. It features close to 1,200 square miles of natural landscape that includes majestic waterfalls, Sequoia trees that are centuries old, as well as some of the country’s most unique rock formations. In Yosemite Valley, a seven-square mile area where most visitors go, families can visit famous landmarks like Half Dome and E Capitan, enjoy excellent hiking trails (guided tours and climbing lessons are also available) and stroll around Yosemite Villages, which has restaurants and stores. From rustic lodges to cabin-like apartments, guests can enjoy the mountain and outdoor experience while still having access to some of the comforts from home.
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4. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
With 20 different beaches to choose from, visitors are certainly spoiled for choice when vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard—an island located about eight miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Known as a summer getaway and playground to the wealthy elite and celebrities who own massive estates out here, Martha’s Vineyard is a laidback family destination that has stunning summer cottages and sprawling estates you can rent that are within close proximity to cute boutiques and restaurants.
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5. Atlanta, Georgia
Despite being a large, fast-paced city, Atlanta is one of the most family-friendly cities in the country. The city offers a wide range of activities and attraction, ranging from the Atlanta Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola to scenic Piedmont Park, the Fox Theatre, Turner Field and the local zoo. It also has a wide plethora of restaurants, bakeries and novelties like candy and ice cream shops to choose from, so you’ll never go hungry during your stay. Families can rent all kinds of properties here, including beautiful craftsmen homes in the residential neighborhoods to modern apartments and condos in the downtown area.
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6. San Diego, California
One of the top-ranked family destinations in the United States, San Diego is an ideal vacation spot due to its pleasant weather conditions accompanied by 70 miles of stunning coastline. In addition to its extensive beaches, San Diego is also home to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, the 1200-acre Balboa Park, Torrey Pines State Reserve, as well as the historical Gaslamp Quarter which has a fun nightlife and dining scene. It also has a popular surfing scene and includes the upscale towns of La Jolla and Coronado, which feature some of the city’s best views. Families enjoy renting a variety of properties here, from oceanfront homes to gated modern condos in the downtown area or close to the beach.
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7. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
One of the most popular East Coast family summer vacation destinations in the United States, Myrtle Beach is known for its clean beaches, a wide variety of amusement parks, outlet malls, and 60-mile stretch of beaches. Other fun attractions include Ripley’s Aquarium and the Broadway Grand Prix, in addition to being home to over 100 golf courses. Other entertainment options include the Alabama Theatre and the Carolina Opry, which can be great fun for the entire family. Rental options include a variety of luxury condos, townhomes and waterfront properties that offer stunning views.
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8. Vail, Colorado
This is an ideal year-round family vacation destination. If curling up with your family in a cozy cabin or mountain estate while enjoying the beautiful outdoors appeals to you, then Vail is the ideal family vacation destination. Did you know that it was also the preferred vacation spot for former President Gerald Ford and even celebs like Will Smith? Despite being known for skiing and snowboarding, it is a fantastic place to come enjoy fresh mountain air in the summertime. It also has an abundance of luxury hotels, restaurants, and spas, so there are plenty of things to do if someone in your family doesn’t love the outdoors. It is within close proximity to other beautiful destinations like Beaver Creek, and you can choose from activities such as hiking and swimming in nearby spots like Holy Cross Wilderness Area and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.
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9. Glacier National Park, Montana
Located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, Glacier National Park is a family-friendly vacation destination that has an abundance of fun outdoor activities, among them river rides and rafting, stargazing at Logan Pass, fishing, paddle boarding, going horseback trail riding (minimum age requirement of seven to participate), as well as hiking on the various trails (they have more than 700 miles of hiking trails to choose from). Montana has a diverse range of properties for rent, from ranches and cabins to charming country homes for the family.
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10. Chicago, Illinois
Known as the “Windy City,” Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and is home to notable attractions that include the Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and Grant Park, to name a few. Families who vacation here can also check out famous skyscrapers including the Willis Tower and Tribune Tower, catching a game at Wrigley Field, and spending an afternoon shopping along The Magnificent Mile—a section of Michigan Avenue stretching between Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River that is home to high-end retailers, luxury hotels and top-end restaurants. The types of accommodation available in Chicago range from gorgeous high-rises with stunning city views to brick townhomes on residential streets with lots of character.
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11. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Canyon attracts on average 4.5 million visitors per year and measures approximately 277 moles in length and is up to 18 miles wide. Popular with families, sightseers and hikers, the Grand Canyon is home to sunning ridges, rock formations and gorges, along with numerous biking trails and even river rafting activities. Recommended trails include the Rim and Bright Angel trains on the South Rim, and people also like to hang out in Grand Canyon Village, which has some of the bet lookout points in the park and are within close proximity to some of the hotels and lodging. Properties available to choose from include charming lodges and cabin-like properties, as well as luxury glamping tents.
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12. Outer Banks, North Carolina
If you’re looking to unwind and spend some time by the water with your family, book a cottage or beachfront house in Outer Banks, North Carolina. According to the U.S. News & World Report travel rankings, Outer Banks is ranked as the No.6 in best family beach vacations in the United States. Famous for approximately 3,000 shipwrecks that you can explore while scuba diving, there is much to do here in the way of adventurous activities, from fishing and wildlife watching to spending time at the beaches, mini golf courses and the North Carolina Aquarium. There is also a lot of interesting history surrounding this area, which include it being the place where the pirate Blackbeard fought his last battle and where the mysterious Lost Colony that disapopeared.
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13. Austin, Texas
A colorful and eclectic city, Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and has more live music venues than any other place in the world. In addition to its busy music and nightlife scene, Austin is also an outdoor town with an average of 230 sunny days each year. Also named one of the best places to live in America, Austin offers visiting families a range of activities including the Blanton Museum of Art, the Texas State History Museum, the University of Texas at Austin, Zilker Park, and a fun music scene on 6th Street.
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14. New Orleans, Louisiana
Known for its history, food and culture, New Orleans has beautiful European architecture, Creole cuisine, a flourishing jazz and rock ‘n’ roll scene, as well as its annual Mardi Gras celebration. When visiting in the summer with family, be sure to go to the French Quarter, which is home to the city’s colonial heritage and beautiful historic buildings. Many guided walking tours are offered here, where you can learn about everything from the food to the ghosts that supposedly haunt parts of the town. You can rent a stunning historic home or a more modern apartment or condo, depending on what you’re looking for. The Garden District is another scenic place to go for a walk, as well as museums like the National World War II Museum Backstreet Cultural Museum, and the Chalmette Battlefield. The St. Louis Cathedral is a stunning landmark that also happens to be the oldest cathedral in the country, and City Park is a great place to take the family and see the 12-acre botanical garden, Storyland and Train Garden (both for kids), as well a golf course, soccer fields, and more recreational facilities.
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15. Portland, Oregon
The pedestrian- and family-friendly town of Portland makes for a great summer vacation destination. It has a diverse food scene, more than 65 craft breweries, abundant biking and biking trails (Forest Park alone has 70 mile of trails), as well as water sports offered along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. From cute craftsmen homes in pleasant neighborhoods to condos and apartments downtown, Portland has plenty of rental properties to choose from so that your family will feel at home during your vacation here.
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16. Washington, D.C.
From free museums and The White House to a free national zoo, Washington, D.C. is an extremely kid- and family-friendly city. Get the kids excited about learning by taking them to places like the Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Air, or take them on a variety of free walking tours as well as on a carousel ride at the National Mall. Other popular attractions include the Smithsonian museums, Lincoln Memorial, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the U.S. Capitol, and if you’re visiting in March or April, go see the beautiful cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin. The properties available for rent in Washington, D.C. range from classic brick townhomes on walk streets to modern condos and apartments with an urban feel.
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17. New York City, New York
Despite being a busy urban metropolis, New York has lots to offer families in the way of fun and entertainment. It has many charming neighborhoods that each have their own unique character, among them trendy East Village and colorful Brooklyn with their iconic bakeries, boutiques and coffee shops to fashionable SoHo and Fifth Avenue with upscale shops. Book a high-rise apartment or townhome in the city so you can easily access downtown sites like Central Park or Times Square, catch a show on Broadway and take the family to see the art collections at the MoMa and the Met.
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18. Lake Tahoe, California
Families enjoy going to Lake Tahoe, which welcomes as many as 200,000 tourists on some weekends. Located along the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe boasts miles of hiking trails, an array of outdoor and water-based activities, as well as some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. Fun family activities include hot air balloon rides, scenic cruises across the water, gondola rides, golfing and more. Visitors can rent variety of cabins and lakefront properties during their vacation here, and Lake Tahoe is also three-and-a-half hours away from San Francisco, which offers a bustling cityscape featuring shopping, dining and other urban activities.
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19. Williamsburg, Virginia
Known for its historical charm, Williamsburg is a novelty within itself. Families enjoy an educational experience during their stay here, which offers living history museums, Colonial Williamsburg (the equivalent of a theme park for history fans), the Busch Gardens, the Jamestown Glasshouse, and a huge water park known as Water Country USA. The downtown area was restored in the 20th century, and guests also have the option of renting a variety of modern condos, historic homes and mansions during their stay. The nearby towns of Yorktown and Jamestown are charming places to visit as well.
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20. Las Vegas, Nevada
Despite its reputation as “Sin City”, Las Vegas is actually quite a family-friendly place that offers a plethora of activities for kids, teens and adults. One of the biggest draws here are the performances and shows, ranging from dazzling Cirque du Soleil productions to magic and comedy shows that appeal to multigenerational audiences. There are numerous hotels like Circus, Circus that cater to the younger crowd with attractions like Adventuredom—a five-acre theme park that includes fun rides and games that guarantee fun for all ages. There are also an abundance of other activities and museums in Vegas as well that offer educational opportunities combined with fun, ranging from Mandalay Bay’s shark reef aquarium and The Venetian’s gondola ride to the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Accommodations include high-rises on The Strip as well as luxury homes with pools in gated communities if you want more space.
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