With so many places within our 50 states and our U.S. territories, where is the best place for your next family vacation destinations? We asked top family bloggers to recommend their best family vacation destinations in the U.S. for multigenerational travel.
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22 Best Family Vacation Destinations in the U.S. for Multigenerational Travel
Will your family travels include a summer road trip to a nearby national park or favorite U.S. city, a quick flight to another part of America, or perhaps one of our United States territories? Or perhaps you really want to challenge your multigenerational family to explore new parts of the United States? Step up your family vacation experiences with these top family travel bloggers chime in with their best family vacation destinations in the U.S.
I’ve got my favorite travel destinations, but don’t make me pick just one! (It would be like choosing my favorite grandchild!). So instead, I’ve listed mine along with recommendations from my family travel blogger friends. Read on my family travelers, go ahead and create your own multigenerational family vacation — but do share your favorite multigenerational travel destinations in the U.S.!
1. Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor, Maine
~ Contributed by Chelsea, Pack More into Life
When planning one of the best family vacation destinations in the U.S., it is often hard to find a place that will fit the interests of everyone. Acadia National Park and neighboring Bar Harbor in Maine are perfect for multi-generational families vacationing together.
Acadia National Park is absolutely stunning with cool weather even in the heat of the summer and features a loop road with flat trails to explore. Children can explore the tide pools while the older adults enjoy the views. Everyone can have a nice lunch at the Jordon Pond House with popovers and tea. Book a horse-drawn carriage ride to see the carriage trails and hidden bridges of Acadia.
Drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise before heading back to Bar Harbor where you can rent multiple rooms in a B&B or local hotel. There are plenty of restaurants to cater to everyone’s needs and the entire town is walkable with wide sidewalks and a wonderful shore path with amazing views.
You can see why Acadia and Bar Harbor are a perfect choice for a family gathering.
TravelingInHeels.com Tip: Consider an Acadia National Park weekend in the fall. The colors are spectacular!
2. Cooperstown, New York
~ Contributed by Kristin, Kids Are A Trip
One of our favorite spots for a multigenerational vacation is Cooperstown, New York. This charming town located in central New York sits on the shores of Otsego Lake and is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is perfect for multigen family visits since everyone young and old can enjoy the history of baseball. (If your family are huge baseball fans, consider a private tour to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.)
Another fun stop is The Farmers’ Museum which is a recreation of a 19th-century farm and village. Families can learn about life in rural New York during this time period, ride a horse-drawn cart, and even pet animals in the Children’s Barnyard. The Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard is another cool option, where families can tour the cider mill and enjoy over 40 specialty treats before feeding the local ducks and geese. You can also opt for a trolley tour of Cooperstown.
There are several homes available for rent in the area, which allow families to stay under the same roof. Another option is to stay at the luxurious Otesaga Resort, a historic resort in town. Be sure to have lunch at their Hawkeye Bar & Grill, where kids can play lawn games while parents enjoy the view and delicious food.
3. New York City
The best family vacation destinations in the U.S. would not be complete without adding New York City to the list.
So much to do and see, so much history — and people watching. Here are some tips to get you started:
- 5 Tips for Planning a Visit to New York City
- 8 Irresistible Reasons to Visit New York City
- 4 Best Walking Tours in New York City
- New York City at Night
4. Baltimore, Maryland
And this recommendation comes from me! One of Maryland’s largest cities, Baltimore is colorful and diverse. The city is known for its scenic and always busy harbor; quirky, distinct neighborhoods; and unique museums. Baltimore is Home of the Star Spangled Banner and so MUCH history. From Fort McHenry to the Star Spangled Banner Flag House, you and your kids (and grandkids) can learn something and have fun too by visiting the city’s must-see historical sites of the Star Spangled Banner.
TravelingInHeels TIP: Traveling with younger kids or mobility-challenged adults or senior family members? Book Baltimore’s Hop-on/Hop-off Historical sightseeing tour.
5. Perdido Key, West Pensacola, Florida
~ Contributed by Mary Beth, MB Sees
Perdido Key in West Pensacola, Florida, is an awesome multi-generational vacation destination! We went with babies to 70-somethings and rented a huge waterfront condo for the whole family to stay in.
This Florida beach paradise offered something for everyone… Lazy mornings on the balcony for my parents, overlooking the water with their coffees in-hand; games of cornhole in the sand for the older kids and my generation (aka. the kids-at-heart); a swimming pool for the toddlers and young kids; and white-sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico for all of us.
There are dive bars nearby and locally-owned seafood restaurants with great food and great water views. Or, if you’re looking for a more refined atmosphere, downtown Pensacola is only 20-minutes away, offering a little more culture and a few upscale dining options. If you’re interested in a lazy day on the beach, Perdido Key definitely has that. Or, if you want something a little more adventurous, you can find powerboat and kayak rentals. I can’t recommend it enough for a great family vacation.
6. Walt Disney World, Florida
~ Contributed by Margie, DQ Family Travel
Visiting Disney World is a fantastic option when traveling with a multigenerational family. Because Disney has something for everyone, it is easy for all ages to enjoy all that Disney World has to offer.
By scheduling your Disney Fastpass rides in advance, every member of the family can ride major attractions without long wait times. When traveling with people of all ages, each person might enjoy something different. It is very easy to set up meeting points and times throughout the day for part of the group who may not want to ride a certain attraction or see a show.
Read More: Kids Top Picks: Walt Disney World
For those in the group that are older or have mobility issues, Disney World is very accommodating by granting free wheelchairs and allowing scooter rentals. It is best to stay on property at one of the value, deluxe, or moderate resorts so that everyone has access to free transportation and the entire group is “closer to the action.”
Disney World is truly a magical place, and when those memories are shared with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, it makes for a special vacation.
7. Add a Disney Cruise to Your Walt Disney World Vacation!
If you really want to step up your Disney vacation, add a Disney cruise. And yes, this does include international destinations, but if you’re in Florida, then a Disney Cruise makes sense, right?
My multigenerational family (Grammie, my daughter, and my 2 and 15-year-old granddaughters) started with 3-days in Walt Disney World, followed by a short cruise aboard the Disney Dream. And personally, I always love my Walt Disney World family vacations, but for the ages traveling on our multigen family vacation, the cruise was our favorite.
8. Cheyenne, Wyoming
Since moving to Denver over 30 years ago, I’ve road tripped my way 100 miles north to Cheyenne, Wyoming at least once every summer. My family and I have always enjoyed the small-town welcoming vibe, the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeos, parades, trolley rides, Western Art and more. Plus it’s a really cool town to visit any time of the year.
Read all about the 9 fun things to do with kids in Cheyenne.
9. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
When you’re all about the lake and white sand beaches…we go to Lake McConaughy for our multigenerational family vacation. Yes! For generations, families have flocked to the white sand beaches of Lake McConaughy, but “Lake Mac” is also outdoor adventures, scenic diversity, and a whole lot of family adventures. Read more about our family adventure at Lake Mac.
10. Winterset, Iowa
Yes, Iowa! As a native of Iowa, I couldn’t wait to get out of my state. And now I can’t wait for my next visit. One of my favorite family vacation destinations is still Winterset, Iowa, and since I’ve already written about their awesome pies, John Wayne and covered bridges, here is why you should visit Winterset.
11. Chicago, Illinois
~ Contributed by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler
With its glittering skyscrapers, world-renowned architecture, and epic food scene, Chicago is the perfect place for travelers of any age to explore. There are museums for everyone, from the world-class Chicago Children’s Museum to the International Museum of Surgical Science, designed for the science nerd in mind.
The city is famous for the Instagram-worthy Cloud Gate, a larger-than-life bean sculpture that perfectly reflects the Windy City’s iconic skyline, located in Millennium Park. This interactive park has a wading pool that was specifically designed without curbs so that individuals in wheelchairs can join in the fun, as well as ramps throughout the park, to make the park accessible to visitors of all abilities.
A river architecture tour is yet another multi-generational family-friendly activity, where visitors can marvel at architectural gems like the Wrigley Building and Tribune Building. It’s especially spectacular at sunset, while the pink and orange colors of the sky are reflected off the skyscrapers.
While there are plenty of fun activities that will keep both granddaughter and great-grandpa busy during the day, Chicago truly sparkles at night. If the whole family is still up for an evening out on the town, check out the Lion King or any number of Broadway shows at the Cadillac Palace Theater or the dozens of venues in the city’s Theater District.
If you’re in the mood for something more adult, the grown-ups can check out Second City, the world-famous improv troupe that was the launching pad for the likes of Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, or alternatively, one of the many burlesque performances in seedy speakeasies around the city. And no matter at the end of the day, there’s one thing that will surely bring the whole family together- the greatness that is Chicago-style pizza!
12. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Located 80 minutes from Chicago and 45 minutes from Milwaukee in the heart of Wisconsin, Lake Geneva is the perfect place for your multigenerational family vacation. From historic mansions to a cruise boat to dipping your toes in the lake, our guest author brings you these tips for taking the family to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
I may certainly be biased as I live here, but I love Colorado. From Denver to the Western Slope, and everywhere in between, Colorado is a great place for families to visit. Click the links below for more details on these destinations:
- Things to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado and stay at The Broadmoor
- Denver: So many things to see & do.
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Road Trip to Canon City
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Colorado Glamping: Snow Mountain Ranch Yurt
- Ride the Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad
14. Taos, New Mexico
One of our most recent epic road trips was to Taos, New Mexico, for a ski trip in a packed-to-the-roof 2018 Subaru Forester, this time with my multigenerational family of 5 (me, adult daughter and 3 grandkids, ages almost 4, 11, and 13). Want to know more? Read all about it here: 9 best things to do in Taos, New Mexico, with kids.
15. Zion National Park, Utah
~ Contributed by Jill, Let’s Travel Family
Looking for best family vacation destinations in the U.S.? How about a vacation idea involving some amazing beauty and only a few hours drive from a major airport, then check out Zion National Park. We learned that enjoying a trip with my mom along, allowed for making some fantastic memories together.
So, whether you want to take grandma on a road trip with your family, or fly grandpa into Las Vegas to meet you, Zion is a great destination to take a multigenerational family vacation. You can find some of the best hikes in Zion National Park all at different levels of difficulty.
The Riverwalk and the Pa’rus trail hikes are perfect for taking along a grandparent, as they are fairly flat and can accommodate a wheelchair or scooter if needed. Now, if your relative is able to do a little hiking, then try out the Lower Emerald Pool hike.
16. Palm Springs, California
~ Contributed by Carol, WanderingCarol.com
Palm Springs has something for everyone: great scenery, fun activities and a huge range of accommodation to suit every budget.
One of the most popular activities in Palm Springs for people of all ages is the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which combines habitat conservation, education and the chance to see desert wildlife. With 11 stops, the park shuttle can help family members with mobility challenges (and little ones with tired legs) get around, and strollers are available for rent.
Another great activity is the Aerial Tramway – the views as you ride up the side of Chino Canyon will awe everyone from toddlers to grandparents, and so will the tram itself. It’s the largest rotating tramway in existence. Up at the top, the cool pine forest of the San Jacinto Mountains is a different world from the desert down below, so make sure you bring jackets. You’d be surprised at the temperature change.
Relaxing at the pool is something the entire family can enjoy, and pools are what Palm Springs is all about. The largest pool area in greater Palm Springs is at the family-friendly Renaissance Indian Wells, a large resort located 15 miles from downtown Palm Springs. For something more boutique sized, the centrally-located Holiday House has a retro flair and a great location.
17. California’s Pacific Coast Highway
~ Contributed by Jennifer, Outdoor Families Magazine
If there was ever a reason to rent a convertible, this road trip is it. Driving along the California Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is perhaps one of the greatest road trips in the world.
Officially designated as a southern part of State Route 1—also known as Highway 1 CA, this stunning scenic road runs about 655 miles (1,055 km) beginning near Dana Point in the south and ending near Leggett, CA in the north.
Along this famous route, you’ll drive through big metropolitan cities and classic California beach towns, gliding by redwood forests, lighthouses, marine wildlife, farm-fresh foods, local wineries, roadside kitsch, and tons of outdoor adventure opportunities. Not to mention the unparalleled scenic views that will have you pulling over for extended ogling and impromptu photo ops, all along the Pacific Coast Highway.
This drive has something for everyone from family-friendly stops like the Santa Monica Pier and the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery, to grandparent-friendly stops like the Hearst Castle and the quaint antique shops of Cambria. Whether to decide to make your PCH road trip a weekend excursion, a quick 5-day drive, or a leisurely 10-day tour, spread on the sunscreen, put the top down, and go explore.
Read More: 4 reasons the West Coast is the Best Coast.
18. Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory
If I could live anywhere besides Colorado, I’d choose Oregon. While my Oregon grandchildren may sway that decision, this state truly is remarkable with so many family-friendly options that you’ll run out of time before things to do in Oregon.
Family Fun in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory
The family fun starts in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory. Located just outside of Portland, this region is loaded with outdoor adventures, from hiking its forested wilderness with alpine lakes and rushing rivers to tasting the Willamette Valley’s renowned wines. With my multigenerational family of 8 (kids ages 2 – 15 years), The Territory overflowed my bucket list!
We started with the perfect accommodations: a secluded Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals lodge on five private acres – with our back deck providing a scenic view of Mt. Hood’s perpetually snowy peak. For me, this was the best as I am unable to travel to see my 4 Oregon grandchildren as much as I would like. Starting and ending each day together at our rental home was the crème de la crème of our multigenerational family vacation. And the view of Mt. Hood from our back deck – priceless.
My grandkids love animals, so we included a visit to Marquam Hill Ranch on 18 acres in Molalla and home to more than 80 alpacas. We also visited Rosse Posse Elk ranch, learned about elk, and these animals are massively tall. My granddaughter toddler experienced her first petting zoo. She giggled as the pig followed her. We also rented our first pontoon boat at Get & Go Promontory Marina.
Hawaii isn’t just a place for adults to enjoy a romantic holiday (although that’s pretty awesome too!). Anyone of the Hawaiian islands might just land at the top of your list of the best family vacation destinations in the U.S.
19. Maui, Hawaii
This Hawaiian island offers its fair share of beaches, pools, underwater fun, and educational experiences including these top things to do in Maui with kids. Luaus, surf lessons, waterfall hikes, and whale watching will quickly become a favorite for all ages.
20. Oahu, Hawaii
~ Contributed by Melissa, The Family Voyage
We had a wonderful experience vacationing with both grandmas on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It’s an amazing place for multigenerational travel because there’s a huge diversity of activities to suit different interests and physical needs.
The grandmas in our family aren’t big on beach time, so we were able to work in just a few days interspersed with other activities. Hanauma Bay was an ideal place for them as first-time snorkelers. Oahu offers fascinating historic buildings like Iolani Palace, stunning botanical gardens like Waimea Valley and wonderful cultural experiences like the Polynesian Cultural Center. Hawaii is a bucket-list destination for so many Americans, and sharing it on a multigenerational trip was a truly special experience.
It’s easy to find a wide range of places to stay on Oahu as well. We stayed in a large Home Exchange house on the Windward side of the island in Kaneohe. It provided enough space for the whole family to spread out and a quiet environment away from the tourist hustle and bustle of Honolulu, while at the same time giving us convenient access to so many of the island’s best offerings.
21. The Big Island of Hawaii
Hawaii topped the travel bucket list of my two teen grandkids, and along with their parents, we (Grammie & Papa) made their wish come true, with a spring break vacation near the lively center of Kailua-Kona, the west coast of The Big Island of Hawaii. So many awesome memories, including the Legends of Hawaii Luau at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Captain Cook Dinner (Sunset) Cruise to Kealakekua Bay, exploring the small towns, and hanging out together at our Hawaii vacation rental via VRBO.
22. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands – U.S. Territories
~ Contributed by Melissa, The Roaming Family
Are you ready for an international feel to your best family vacation destinations in the U.S.? There’s more to America than its 50 states. There are five major U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The United States Virgin Islands consists of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. Our favorite for multigenerational travel by far is St. John. It’s the smallest of the 3 islands and accessible by a 2-hour flight from Miami followed by a 45-minute boat ride.
With 60% of the island designated a national park, this little island is a tropical paradise. Not only does it have a rich cultural history (think sugar plantations and Petroglyphs created by Arawak Indians), but it also has a ton of activities suitable for both young and old.
Water Activities in St. Thomas
Water activities such as snorkeling, SCUBA and sailing reign supreme on the island, but there are a plethora of land activities to choose from, as well. Hiking, horseback riding and renting a jeep to explore the island are our favorites things to do.
Our extended family’s favorite place to stay is Caneel Bay, which was sadly destroyed in the hurricane and is rebuilding. However, The Westin and Gallows Point are open and ready for business. Another popular option for extended families is villas located throughout the island. Destination St. John Rentals has plenty to choose from. Looking for something more rustic? Check out Cinnamon Bay Cottages and Campground.
Whew, that’s quite a list of amazing multigenerational family travel destinations. Did we miss your favorites? Please share with us in the comments below.