Mid-West

12 of the Best Outdoor Water Parks in the US

If your kids love the adventure of amusement parks but are looking for a way to cool off this summer, an outdoor water park might be just the ticket for your family. We've searched out some of the nation's best to compile this list of our favorite family-friendly water parks with relaxing pools, splash pads for toddlers, and thrilling water slides and rides for teenagers.

From New England to Orlando to California, there are plenty of water parks from which to choose. At some of these water parks, visitors can ride the ups and downs of a water coaster, slip through a trap door on a drop slide and spin around an oversized funnel slide for maximum thrills. To truly chill, just pick up a tube and float down a lazy river or rent a cabana with poolside dining.

Have your heart set on a water park vacation but don't want to risk the weather? Check out our list of the 10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the US.

Family-Friendly Farm Stays: Meet the Animals and Work the Farm

Farm stays provide guests of all ages with a taste of farm life. Whether by milking cows and collecting eggs, or gathering fresh fruit from a pineapple plant for breakfast, families who choose to stay at a farm hotel, which might be cabin, house, or even a tent, will likely have more fun than Old MacDonald led you to believe is possible.

Time your farm stay with the kids for spring, summer, or even fall. Check out which seasonal activities might be going on before picking the dates of your farm vacation, as well as the location. We've rounded up 10 of our favorite farm "hotels" around the country, from Maine to Texas to California.

I've found that farmer-hosts have a strong desire to educate little farmers on how to live a more sustainable and balanced life. Unplug, relax, and enjoy the fruits of a hard day’s work around a campfire. Lessons learned on these farms will stay with you long after you return home. 

Find more vacation ideas and weekend getaways in our Family Travel Guide, or check out your local Farm Fun Guide for local petting zoos, harvest festivals, and pick-your-own fun.

Mall of America's Most Amazing Attractions for Kids of All Ages

Mall of America, located in the heart of the American Midwest in Bloomington, Minnesota, is nothing short of an indoor entertainment epicenter for kids. Sure, it has over 500 stores, but there’s way more to do than just go shopping at the country's largest mall (so big that it requires its own zip code: 55425).

From Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower to the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee, the Midwest is full of fun, interesting, and educational things that kids and their parents will love. Mall of America might possess a more commercial feel than some of the area's other travel destinations, but it also likely offers the most entertainment per square foot (5.4 million square feet to be exact) with some of the most popular kids' characters and brands on hand, including Lego, Nickelodeon, American Girl, and Paw Patrol. There's an indoor amusement park, aquarium, arcade, mini golf, and so much more, all within just a few minutes of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Read on to check out our list of the top 25 amazing things that kids of all ages can do at Mall of America.

Best Family Travel of 2018: Great Cities, Beaches, Hotels, and Memories

Our Mommy Poppins families really traveled this year! We scoped out some amazing cities with our kids in tow, from New Orleans to Santa Barbara, up to Vancouver and over to Chicago.

There were some epic science museums to explore, Christmas towns to make us cheery, gorgeous beaches, fun at amusement parks, and of course, a slew of entertaining family-friendly resorts, from Mexico and the Caribbean to Los Angeles and New England ski resorts.

So if you’re planning your next family vacation, take a look at our favorite destinations from the last year, including these warmer climates for February or spring break. In each profile, we highlight the most kid-friendly activities and events and let you know what to skip with toddlers or what to see with the teens.

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

20 Easy (But Gorgeous) Hiking Trails To Do with Kids and Babies

By Shanti Hodges

Looking for a hiking trail near you? Great walking trails top our picks for fun summer activities and fall outings with kids. A hike is an opportunity for quality family time, exercise for kids, and of course, discoveries small and large, from bugs to waterfalls.

These getaway-worthy, family-friendly hiking trails are just a sampling of my favorite trails, highlighted in my new book, Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures with Babies and Toddlers. As founder of Hike it Baby, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families get on the trail with kids, I’ve been fortunate enough to sample nature trails across the country, including at our best national parks and campsites, and even those extra-special, smaller local parks that often offer the best hikes for toddlers and families with little kids.

Now I’m sharing 20 of my favorites, from Connecticut to Florida to Washington state, that are perfect for your next day trip or family vacation. Most are easy loop paths, but I’ve included some moderate trails and top destinations, such as Mt. Rainer and the Badlands. Many of these hikes are FREE, too. The list also highlights family-friendly perks like bathrooms, and benches for a rest or a nursing mom.

30 Things To Do in Milwaukee with Kids

John Steinbeck once wrote that Wisconsin is full of surprises, and the state's largest city, Milwaukee, is no exception. With a cosmopolitan feel and midwestern charm, and just an hour and a half drive north of Chicago (plus one of the easiest airports you'll ever travel through), families looking for a new vacation spot should put Milwaukee high on their consideration list the next time they're planning a trip.

Check out our list of 30 fun and interesting things to do with kids in Milwaukee (plus five bonus spots if you're willing to drive a little outside the city). Whether you're looking for the arts or the sciences, a great day outside, soaking up the sun on the shores of Lake Michigan or a fun day in, sampling some of the country's best frozen custard, you'll find something for everyone in the family in Milwaukee.

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