Your 75 Best Family Vacation Destinations
We recently asked you to share your top family vacation destinations and once again you came through. We put together this list of 75 of the best family friendly travel spots from as near by as around the corner to as far off as South Africa. You're a well traveled bunch with some great ideas for where to head for family vacation fun, whether you have a weekend or a week.
Read about the best family travel destinations plus some great tips from our readers on why you should go (check out our Family Travel Guide for more great family vacation destinations):
1. New York City: Of course ,NYC came up as a top reader choice, no surprise to us. One reader gushed, 'New York City is amazing.... you have everything that you need within walking distance. Central Park, Central Park Zoo, catch a Broadway show (with discount tickets, of course) is great. Eat at the American Girl Store or a chicken kebob on a street corner. There is so much to do...New York City hands down the best place to go for a family vacation.'
2.3.4. The Adirondacks, New York: In some areas close to the Canadian border, paradise in the summer. Enjoy canoe rides through Saranac Lake's chain of water ponds, lakes and rivers, hiking, horse riding, trips to Quebec, berry picking, wildlife, fishing, swimming, barbecuing, and there are even North Country museums, art festivals and sport and outdoor events. In the winter there is downhill skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skidoos, and even dog sledding. In between, in the fall, there is the usual gorgeous leaf peeping, and spring offers a short bug-free season. Also home of Lake Placid, loved by our readers for all these reasons.
5.Lake George, at the foot of the Adirondacks, is a resounding favorite amongst our readers. It boasts great fishing, camping, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, boat rides/dinner cruises on steam ships, museums and a fort with cannonball launches, beaches, horseback riding, shows, wonderful hotels, shopping outlets, great food and it's not far to Six Flags Park. The 'Lake George Escape Camping Resort' was touted as especially fabulous, and reasonably priced.
6. Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, New York is low key, completely kid friendly and all-inclusive with free horseback riding every day!
7.Albany, NY, The New York State Museum, The Duck Ride and the horse races in close by Saratoga are all fun, and it's pretty close to the Berkshires, which offers lots of fun and cultural activities.
8. Hudson Valley. One reader is ready to try a family farm trip at Stone and Thistle Farm, complete with a stay in a yurt. Masker's Orchards, Warwick, New York for apple picking and then hiking the next day in Harriman State Park.
9. Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York is a reader (and Mommy Poppins) favorite. It's family friendly and lots to do all year round.
11.12. You just can't beat the Catskills for great outdoor family fun. Hull-O Farms has a mystery 15 acre maze and is quite charming. Also in the Catskills, East Durham has a Zoom Flume Water Park that is affordable and fun.
14.Fire Island, where I learned to surf, sort of, is great fun for families.
15. Montauk, NY is one of Long Island's best beach towns. The beaches are clean, the town perfect for strolling. Visit a bakery in the morning, play mini-golf, visit a lighthouse, eat clam chowder at Gossman's Dock and watch the fishing boats come in. They even have campgrounds on the beach.
16.17. The Jersey Shore ranks high on our list. Wildwood Crest, New Jersey has the shore and the boardwalk, which is wonderful at night with ice cream an amusement park and fireworks. Point Pleasant Beach wins us over with it's boardwalk, and boardwalk skee-ball as well.
18. You can also visit the boardwalk at Atlantic City. If you visit during the Thunder on the Boardwalk you can watch the military planes zoom overhead. Swim and play in the sand and enjoy the free show that you can see from anywhere along the beach. There are magic and circus shows, or ride the $2 jitney the length of the boardwalk if you get tired.
19. Or if you want to be close to Atlantic City (but not in the midst) you can stay at the Marriott in Absecon. It's a full service resort and spa with childrens' activities. Atlantic City is fifteen minutes away if you want to visit. For your quaint fix you can visit Smithville, a town two miles away, for breakfast, train rides and carousel rides.
20. Palisades Park, New Jersey: Nearly a staycation, the hiking and barbequing opportunities at Palisades Park are right over the George Washington Bridge.
21. Long Beach Island, New Jersey offers sand, water, great food, and a quick drive to Barnegat Light.
22. Ocean City, New Jersey has a reader rated 'most kid friendly beach'. It's a dry town, an advantage or disadvantage depending on the vacationer. It has lots of low key beach restaurants, an amusement park with lots of baby friendly rides, and mini golf.
23. Ah the Berkshires, Butternut Mountain is great for skiers of all levels and has a wonderful daycare for infants and young children in a log cabin. They even feed the kids snack and dinner. They also have tubing, and the hill is small enough that parents can sit at the bottom and watch their children slide down. The Comfort Inn in close by Great Barrington, MA caters to families. They show the Disney Channel in the common room and play family movies. The kids love the pool, and while they don't have a restaurant, there are many in the area and many families order in and hang out in the common area by the fireplace.
24. Another beach destination dear in our hearts is Cape Cod. Build sand castles, collect seashells, have a lobster roll! You can even work with the National Marine Life Canter and help save the turtles.
25. In Mystic, CT, a town rich in history, you can visit the seaport and the aquarium.
26. Don't overlook Vermont, which has numerous lakes, hiking, and Okemo, a great mountain for skiing or snowboarding. You don't need a lift ticket for the beginner hill, and our son learned to snowboard there, with a free ride up the hill on the magic carpet.
28. Ogunquit, Maine, beach time, short trips to places like Old Orchard Beach, and lobster boats. For those rainy days we're told that local libraries have children's story hours and the town has the best movie theatre. The neighboring town of Wells also has a public library and theatres so when one town doesn't offer something, the other usually does!
29-35 In Pennsylvania your family can enjoy Elmo at Sesame Place, or visit Hershey Park (which has a great water park and rides for the kids). And Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster has a little amusement park for kids under 10. Also, the Bushkill Mountains are a great area for hiking. The Poconos round out the list of Pennsylvania offerings with Great Wolf Lodge, Split Rock, and other wonderful family resorts.
36.37. On Rhode Island, Newport and Block Island both have great beaches. Newport also has kid friendly mansion tours and boat tours around the harbor.
38. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is yet another great vacation spot.
39.40. Greenbrier State Park, Maryland is remote enough to feel out in the wild, but has bathrooms. So you can feel the outdoor freedom and still maintain creature comforts. Another great beach spot is Ocean City, Maryland. The beaches, hotels, food and shopping all get high marks. You can stay right on the boardwalk in a hotel or bed and breakfast, and enter a kite festival or sand castle contest. When you are done swimming you can go find one of the go kart places or mini-golf.
43. Washington DC is rich with parks, museums and wonderful sites. If you don't want to drive, the Bolt Bus and Mega bus are rumored to be affordable transportation, and with the same travel time as the train. Once there, you can rent bikes to get from monuments to museums (which are free).
44. And the Outer Banks of North Carolina has beautiful beaches and huge houses to rent that are great for large family gatherings.
45.46. Just a little further south enjoy the Wild Dunes, on the Isle of Palms just outside of Charleston, S.C., a private resort area with rental homes and a hotel. On the beach, bike rentals, tennis, golf, swimming pools and more. A wonderful place to just relax with family and friends. Plus Charleston is a short drive away and it is a super fabulous city. Or check out Edisto Island, South Carolina.
47. And for some ultimate beach action let's explore Florida. West Palm Beach has a great reputation for family fun.
48. Delray Beach, Florida has a quaint town with restaurants, art galleries, and has a non-tourist feel.
49. Marco Island, Florida has a beach that gets deep quite gradually, perfect when swimming with your kids.
50.51. Fort Lauderdale and Sanibel Island, Florida both make our list.
52. And Club Med Sandpiper in Florida has a kids camp, and pool.
53.54. Disney: Disneyworld and Disneyland, not surprisingly, were suggested by several people as places that can create some real magic for your kids, and make memories that last.
55. Head out west to Wyoming which gives Montana a run for it's money with it's wide open spaces.
59. Tulum, Mexico is a reader favorite as is
60. Isla Mujeres, which is quiet in all the good ways, and has the most beautiful, powder white sand beaches. Best of all, it hardly rains.
61.62.63. Ireland, Italy and Switzerland are European destinations that are well-loved as family destinations.
64.65.66. A little town on the St. Lawrence River, Contrcoeur, Quebec, in Canada offers swimming, sailing, hiking, biking and cultural events in Montreal. And if you are up for it, you could visit the other side of Canada and ski in Whistler, British Columbia.
67. South Africa, you could feed the giraffes, or pet the lion cub at an animal sanctuary.
68. Or travel to the wonderful island of Rhodes in Greece. Beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and lot's of kid friendly activities, what more would one need?
69. Enjoy the Adriatic Sea in Premantura, Istria, Croatia
73. Puerto Rico.
74. Atlantis in the Bahamas
The Cruise. Favorites include the Norwegian Cruiseline, with it's kids camp, fun activities, buffet style food and pool. Dress is casual. Carnival Cruise also has activities and a new destination to explore each morning. Both have a location where you can drop off your children and have some time alone. Carnival even has pajama party movie night, build a bear work shop, paint a t-shirt and many other activities. Royal Carribbean's Independence of the Seas, from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Haiti is also popular, with ice skating, 'flow riding', and rock climbing.
And ultimately, many of you found that location is second to being with family, one reader even creates magical travels experiences in her own living room, flipping through the Atlas and creating an igloo with an appliance box to visit Alaska. We love this kind of adventure too.