My Favorite Family-Friendly Destinations by US Region
As spring finally starts to amaze in full bloom, we here at the Cain household are planning our summer getaways with the kids.
Road trips are just the most inexpensive and easiest way for our family of 5 to travel and it helps us see so much in one trip, as opposed to by passing it all by flying. But when time is limited and we just want a nice getaway obviously flying is the best option.
Whatever form of transportation you choose to travel this season, I’ve put together a little list of our favorite places to visit, by train, plane or automobile to help you decide.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that visiting New York City should be on every family’s to-do list. We have visited many beautiful places in this country, but there’s no place like my hometown and the list of activities is endless!
For a short road trip from the city, we recommend visiting Hershey Park and Sesame Place, both in Pennsylvania. My kids, from the oldest to the youngest can’t get enough of either of these two places.
We absolutely love Washington, DC for its free museums and epic fireworks displays during the Fourth of July.
When thinking of the Southeast for families, most of us think of Disney in Orlando, FL. Of course, it remains one of the top destinations visited, and the very reason why most families might want to do something different. We like taking in the shops and restaurants in Winter Park and or taste the ethnic treats in the ViMi district. But if we want to escape from it all, we head over to Melbourne Beach, only an hour away from Orlando.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that New Orleans is a treasure chest full of family fun activities. From the Insectarium to The Audubon Zoo, we had a blast with our kids here – even in the dead of summer! Don’t miss out on the beignets…those unbelievably delicious beignets.
We have made the trip to Madison, WI from NYC by car a couple of times now. In 15 hours you and your family will find yourself in the land of cheese, as I like to call it, and lakes.
We of course love Madison, WI, the capital city, but we also enjoy going a little further north to Door County where you can camp and enjoy in a good ol’ fish boil, a Midwestern tradition of ceremonial proportions. In Door County the White Gull Inn and The Viking Grill are known to host the best of them.
Before making it as far as Wisconsin, you might want to consider giving the state of Ohio a look (about a 10 hour drive from NYC). I know – so many think it’s just a drive through destination, but turns out Ohio has tons to offer traveling families.
Destinations such as the new Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Soak City Water Park at Kings Island, and the new pre-historic-themed attraction Dinosaurs Alive! In Adventure Island, Cedar Point are sure to be a hit with the kids. Parents can enjoy the Valley Vineyards - southwest Ohio’s largest estate winery - as well as the many museums in the area.
Yellowstone National Park was our very first major family road trip and it remains my most suggested location to discover with your kids. A long road trip, especially from NYC, but worth every single day getting there, while there, and back. KOA Camp is located right on the park and you can go has light (with cabins and washing machines) or as rugged (with areas for tents and campfires), as you like.
Santa Fe, NM has tons to offer families as well, with picturesque sceneries and hiking trails along beautiful nature preservations make this family excursion a trip to remember.
If you want to venture even further west, I recommend a visit to Maui, HI. A family-friendly hotel option is the Westin Maui which offers mini 1 and 2 bedroom studios with full kitchens, as well as grilling stations and kids club. Plan on spending plenty of time at the beach and hiking, which is the best way to discover some of Maui’s most beautiful hidden treasures.