- The best family vacation ideas build memories that can last a lifetime. But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing family vacations everyone will love.
- This list of family vacation ideas pulls from the first-hand experiences and favorite vacation memories of our team of family travel experts.
- We’ve organized the best family vacations into categories such as all-inclusive family resorts, theme park vacations, cruise vacations, and other family fun.
Jump to any section below to explore our list of the best family vacations selected by our experts.
The Best Family Vacation Ideas:
- All-Inclusive Family Vacations and Resorts in the U.S.
- All-Inclusive Family Vacations and Resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico
- Family Cruise Vacations
- Theme Park and Water Park Vacations
- National Park and Camping Vacations
- Staycations and Road Trip Vacations
- Group Tours and Guided Family Vacations
All-Inclusive Family Vacation Ideas and Resorts in the U.S.
All-inclusive resorts make the best family vacations because they take the stress out of the vacation-planning process. You probably picture tropical vacation spots when you think about all-inclusive family vacations, but there are some great resorts here in the United States as well. These are the best family vacations in the U.S. where everything’s included.
1. Sandpiper Bay All-Inclusive Resort by Wyndham
Port St. Lucie, Florida
A lot of resorts claim to offer something for everyone in the family. But Florida’s Sandpiper Bay All Inclusive Resort by Wyndham (formerly called Club Med Sandpiper Bay) actually delivers on the promise. It has multiple pools, water sports, golf, a spa, private beach access, and kids clubs for different age groups.
The Mini Club is for ages four to 10 and Latitude 27 keeps tweens and teens ages 11 to 17 busy. There’s even a “Pajama Club” in the evenings. Better yet, this one of the rare truly all-inclusive resorts in the country.
Florida’s Atlantic coast beaches are 10 minutes away, and the resort offers an activity-rich experience that includes tennis, volleyball, jet skiing, and swimming. Should you ever want to leave the all-inclusive oasis, Sandpiper Bay’s Port St. Lucie location puts you just two hours from Disney World and Universal Orlando. It’s just an hour from Palm Beach.
- Explore More: Florida All-Inclusive Resorts
2. Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, New York
With its jaw-dropping location on the shores of Lake Mohonk, Mohonk Mountain House is the perfect New York vacation destination for families who love swimming, kayaking, and row boating. Surrounded by of acres of woodland, the resort is an especially good choice for hikes and picnics during fall family vacations when the weather is crisp and the leaves are changing.
At Mohonk Mountain House, you get an all-inclusive-like experience that covers three meals per day and most activities, though extras like horseback riding, rock climbing, and spa treatments are not part of the daily rate. It’s an easy driving destination for many families on the East Coast. The resort is just 90 minutes from New York City, three hours from Philadelphia, and 3.5 hours from Boston.
- Explore More: All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for Families
3. Grand Hotel
Mackinac Island, Michigan
A stay at the nearly all-inclusive Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island has been one of the most popular family vacation ideas in the U.S. for generations. This is a true throwback experience. Not a lot has changed on Mackinac Island since the resort’s grand opening in 1887.
Victorian homes, car-free streets, and horse drawn buggies are all part of the experience. But there’s a lot more to do here than marvel at the old-timey charm. Cycling the bike-friendly streets, playing mini golf, eating ice cream, and kayaking along the shores of the eight-mile island are all part of the family fun.
Summer events like the annual Fudge Festival (August) and Lilac Festival (June) keep families coming back to this Midwest family vacation destination. As for the Grand Hotel at the center of it all, its family vacation packages typically include resort amenities and meals (breakfast and dinner) in the nightly rate.
- Explore More: Family Resorts in the U.S.
4. Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa
On the island of Oahu in Hawaii, family vacations get a decidedly Disney spin at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. The resort’s mostly all-inclusive rates include nightly bonfires, character meet-and-greets, live entertainment, walking tours, ukulele lessons, a kids club, and a game room.
There are also special kid-friendly pools, lazy rivers, and a splash pad. With its abundance of offerings and plenty of fun add-ons like luaus and paddle boarding, there’s a lot to recommend this Disney spot in Hawaii.
- Explore More: Hawaii All-Inclusive Resorts
5. Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf and Beach Resort
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Like Hawaii, Puerto Rico is another passport-free family vacation idea with year-round warm weather. Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico borders El Yunque rainforest and is home to three lagoon-style swimming pools featuring a waterslide and waterfall to keep kids happy.
For the grownups, there are two golf courses and a full-service spa. You can also try your luck at table games and slot machines at the on-site casino. Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is not fully all-inclusive, but you can frequently find family vacation packages that come close. The meal plan package includes three meals per day, unlimited drinks (including alcohol), and a round of golf.
Even when the meal package is not offered, it’s possible to save money here with the resort’s other ongoing promotions. These include AAA and AARP discounts and a bed-and-breakfast rate.
- Explore More: Puerto Rico All-Inclusive Resorts
6. Woodloch Resort
With all the bumper cars, go-karts, splash pools, and a jungle gym, you’d be forgiven for thinking the kids club at Woodloch Resort is an actual theme park. The kid-friendly amenities at this family-run Poconos resort go way above the ordinary. Are tailored by age group, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If ever a resort were designed specifically to help families play together, it’s this one. Hayrides, pony rides, bumper boats, organized games, and bowling are among the fun things to do together with the kids. With accommodations ranging from adjoining rooms to multi-bedroom suites make it easy to configure your stay, and seasonal stay-and-play vacation packages help keep costs down.
- Explore More: Family Hotels with Kids Clubs
7. Hotel Del Coronado
Coronado Island, California
Family vacation ideas don’t get any better than a stay at a kid-friendly beach resort like Hotel Del Coronado. Located on California’s Coronado Island, it has been catering to families for more than a century. Both a National Historic Landmark and a thriving vacation destination, this kid-friendly beach hotel sorts its 901-plus guest rooms into different “neighborhoods,” including the original Victorian inn and luxury multi-bedroom residences done up in modern beach house style.
A private beach with food and beverage service ups the relaxation factor. If your idea of a good family vacation includes getting out of the water, surfing or stand-up paddle boarding lessons are available. An ocean-themed kids program for ages five to 12 leans into The Del’s location on the Pacific Ocean with fun and immersive educational experiences for children.
- Explore More: Beach Resorts in the U.S.
8. C Lazy U Ranch
World-famous C Lazy U Ranch is an all-inclusive guest ranch not far from Rocky Mountain National Park. It pairs classic dude ranch activities like trail rides with gourmet meals and kid-friendly amenities like a ropes course and zip line.
The ranch has seasonal children’s programming year-round for ages three to 17 that makes it an especially great pick for family reunions and family vacations where the adults can use a little alone time. Cabins can accommodate up to 11 guests.
- Explore More: Dude Ranch Vacations in the U.S.
All-Inclusive Family Vacation Ideas and Resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean
If you have a passport, your family vacation ideas list gets even bigger. From Caribbean family resorts to all-inclusive beach resorts around the world, here are our personally approved picks for family vacations with no surprise fees.
1. Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
The best thing about Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa on St. Lucia is the Splash Water Park. It’s the island’s largest water park with two giant water slides and a lazy river. But what makes Coconut Bay truly special are the separate family area (“Splash”) and grown-ups only (“Harmony”) with their own guest rooms and pools.
There’s also an on-site paintball facility, a kitesurfing and windsurfing center, a kids’ club, nine restaurants, and seven bars. And with adjoining rooms that sleep up to six, Coconut Bay is a great family vacation idea for larger families.
- Explore More: All-Inclusive Resorts for Families of 5+
2. Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya brings SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life in a five-star all-inclusive resort setting. Every room is a swim-up oceanfront suite at this beachfront resort. Family vacation highlights include character breakfasts, live shows and entertainment, and a six-acre outdoor water park. It’s also just 30 minutes from the Cancun airport.
- Explore More: Mexico All-Inclusive Resorts for Families
3. Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort and Waterpark
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
At the all-inclusive Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort in Jamaica, it’s all about the water. The Jewel Lagoon Water Park has water slides, raft rides, and a lazy river with rock grottos and waterfalls. The pool and beach are a hit with the whole family, too. Evening fun includes live entertainment and drive-in movies.
- Explore More: Jamaica All-Inclusive Resorts for Families
4. Royalton Antigua, an All-Inclusive Resort and Casino
Five Islands Village, Antigua
Just a half hour from Antigua’s International airport, ultra-family-friendly Royalton Antigua is situated along a pristine private beach and shadowed by a dramatic 18th century fort. It’s a true luxury family resort with eight restaurants, five bars, three swimming pools, a spa, a special hangout areas for kids and teens, and some gorgeous overwater bungalows.
Daytime activities include kayaking, snorkeling, dance classes, beach volleyball, and tennis. Evenings end with live performances at an open-air theater.
- Explore More: Antigua All-Inclusive Resorts
5. Planet Hollywood Costa Rica Beach Resort
Culebra, Costa Rica
With its movie memorabilia, walk-of-fame, red carpet, and Stars Kids Club, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort in Costa Rica is a family vacation favorite for younger kids and teens alike.
Other popular amenities at this Costa Rica family vacation hotspot include multiple swimming pools, a splash zone, a spa, and seven onsite restaurants. The all-inclusive resort also curates special experiences such as zip lining, canopy tours, horseback riding, and water sports like snorkeling and sailing excursions.
- Explore More: Costa Rica All-Inclusive Resorts
6. Club Med Columbus
San Salvador Island, Bahamas
The beachfront Club Med Columbus (from the brand that pioneered all-inclusive family vacation ideas) is a favorite among active families. Here you can go kayaking or paddle boarding, learn to sail or windsurf, join a fitness class, or enjoy scuba diving all in the base price. Older kids and teens can break off from the family for a bit to enjoy organized events arranged by the resort.
- Explore More: Bahamas All-Inclusive Resorts
7. Holiday Inn Resort Aruba
Situated on a pristine strip of Aruba’s famous Palm Beach, Holiday Inn Resort Aruba‘s inclusive vacation package lets kids eat free. It also offers unlimited drinks and a $75 spa credit for the adults in the family.
You pay a reduced rate on kayak and paddle boat rentals, sunset cruises, and other activities offered by Pelican Adventures. The resort’s a la carte dining options and spacious rooms with ocean views are also popular for family vacations.
- Explore More: Aruba All-Inclusive Resorts
8. Ocean Club and Ocean Club West
Turks and Caicos
There’s plenty for families to do at the two Ocean Club Resorts. Stay at either Ocean Club or Ocean Club West to enjoy all the perks of both. Water-loving kids and parents will enjoy the shallow reefs of Grace Bay Beach, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. For the horse lovers in the family, there’s horseback riding on the beach.
- Explore More: Caribbean Family Resorts
9. Bocawina Rainforest Resort
Bocawina Rainforest Resort grants you an all-access pass to Belize’s Mayflower Bocawina National Park. You also get unlimited guided and unguided excursions there.
Resort activities include ziplining, waterfall rappelling, horseback riding, and cave tubing. All together, it makes this all-inclusive resort on Belize’s Caribbean coast one of the best family vacations for active and adventurous types.
- Explore More: All-Inclusive Family Resorts around the World
10. Sea Breeze Beach House by Ocean Hotels All Inclusive
On Barbados, Sea Breeze Beach House is an all-inclusive beachfront oasis perfect for family vacations with kids and teens. Three swimming pools mean there’s always something to do in the sunny weather. Its secluded bay makes snorkeling in the clear Caribbean waters safe and easy.
A stay at this resort also gets you access to its sister property, O2 Beach Club and Spa. There you can try out activities like aqua aerobics, beach cricket, and yoga.
- Explore More: Barbados All-Inclusive Resorts
11. Club Med Punta Cana
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
At Club Med Punta Cana, tweens and teens ages 11 to 17 get their own vacation fun through Club Med Passworld. It’s a unique program that offers activities like horseback riding, water sports, archery, and a flying trapeze. Dance parties and outdoor movies on the beach add to the appeal. Even for hard-to-please teens and tweens will enjoy it.
Explore More All-Inclusive Vacation Ideas by Age and Interest:
- All-Inclusive Resorts for Toddlers
- All-Inclusive Resorts for Teenagers
- All-Inclusive Resorts Where Kids Stay Free
- All-Inclusive Resorts for Multigenerational Vacations
Family Cruise Vacations
Equal parts theme park and resort, cruises are popular family vacation ideas that all ages can enjoy. Here are some of the best choices for a family cruise vacation.
Family Vacations at Sea
Disney Cruise Line
Choosing the right cruise line for your family is the most important decision you can make. Disney Cruise Line has been the standard bearer for family vacation ideas at sea since its launch in 1998. Later this year he family-favorite line will debut a brand new ship, Disney Treasure, and a brand new private island destination, Lighthouse Point. Disney’s first private island, Castaway Cay, is another highlight for families.
Other Family Cruise Lines
Lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC are also good family cruise options. The most exciting family vacation at sea to come along in years belongs to Royal Caribbean, whose newest ship (Icon of the Seas) debuts this year and holds the distinction of being the largest cruise ship in the world.
It sails Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, features distinct “neighborhoods” for families traveling with kids and teens, and boasts the world’s largest waterpark at sea.
Explore More Family Vacation Ideas at Sea:
Theme Park Vacations
Disney Family Vacation Ideas
One of the most time-tested family vacation ideas, a theme park vacation is a surefire way to delight everyone in your family. Now more than 100 years old, The Walt Disney Company continues to innovate with new roller coasters, attractions, and hotels at its theme parks. These include the fully immersive Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios in Florida, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, and TRON Lightcycle/Run at Magic Kingdom.
For a Walt Disney World vacation in Orlando, book a stay at one of the Disney World Resort hotels to take advantage of special perks like extra time inside the parks. At Disneyland Resort, there are plenty of affordable and convenient hotels near Disneyland for families on a budget, many of which are within walking distance of the parks.
Explore More Disney Family Vacation Ideas:
Universal Family Vacation Ideas
Over at at Universal Studios in Florida, all eyes are focused on the development of Universal’s third Florida theme park, called Epic Universe, which is set to open in 2025 and is rumored to have a third Harry Potter theme park area to go alongside the two existing Harry Potter lands. Meanwhile, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster continues to thrill families and the new Minion Land recently opened.
Explore More Universal Family Vacation Ideas:
More Theme Park Vacation Ideas
Disney and Universal may have the biggest theme parks in the U.S., but they’re far from the only amusement parks worth planning a whole vacation around. Here are some other theme park family vacations consider.
Explore More Theme Park Vacation Ideas:
National Park and Camping Vacations
Dubbed “America’s Best Idea,” the country’s national parks are also one of the best family vacation ideas anywhere in the U.S., and their geographic diversity makes them an option for all four seasons.
1. National Parks to Visit in Spring
In spring, national parks tend to not be as hot or crowded, and National Park Week in April brings free admission on top of the nice weather. Some of the best parks to visit with kids this time of year include New River Gorge National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Everglades National Park, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
- Explore More: National Parks to Visit in Spring
2. National Parks to Visit in Summer
The summer months from late May to early September are peak season for many national parks. With kids out of school and family vacations in full swing, national park visitor numbers swell. But spacious parks like Kenai Fjords, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park do a good job of managing crowds and keeping the experience special.
- Explore More: National Parks to Visit in Summer
3. National Parks to Visit in Fall
When kids go back to school and cooler temperatures arrive, the crowds thin out at some of the country’s most beloved national parks. Crisp autumn weather makes for more pleasant hikes, and the shorter days make it easier to catch the sunset at parks like Yosemite, Zion, Great Smoky Mountains, and Badlands National Park.
- Explore More: National Parks to Visit in Fall
4. National Parks to Visit in Winter
Winter in the Great Outdoors might not be one of your top family vacation ideas, but maybe it should be. Many of the top national parks in the U.S. are located in deserts and tropical locations, making winter a prime season to visit places like Death Valley and Saguaro National Park. And if you’re a family that loves winter sports, both Grand Teton and Acadia National Park reveal whole new sides of themselves in the winter months.
- Explore More: National Parks to Visit in Winter
5. More Family Vacation Ideas in National Parks
One of the best-kept secrets of America’s national park system is the hut-to-hike hiking trips through Montana’s Glacier National Park, which consists of two dramatic backcountry lodges (Sperry Chalet and Granite Park Chalet). Hut-to-hut hiking offers family-friendly amenities like hot meals and comfortable beds without the need to carry heavy overnight gear like tents or sleeping bags on your day hikes. And in terms of spectacular mountain views, it rivals the Swiss Alps for sheer natural beauty.
Licensed tour operator Glacier Guides offers guided hikes through Glacier National Park that are geared toward families with kids ages 10 and up. For outdoorsy families looking for a significant upgrade from tent camping, this hut-to-hut experience is one of the best family vacation ideas in the country. Glacier Guides’ backcountry family vacation packages include a three-day Granite Chalet trek and a six-day hut-to-hut adventure that features horseback riding and an optional half-day whitewater rafting trip.
Nationwide, fourth graders are eligible for a national parks pass through the Every Kid Outdoors Program. The pass grants entry to all children under 16 in the group and up to three accompanying adults. You can also use recreation.gov to find a campsite in or near a national park or to get a permit.
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You don’t have to travel to popular family vacation spots like Washington, D.C. or San Diego to have a great time with the kids. Sometimes it’s easier (and a lot less expensive) to let the family vacation come to you. Instead of searching for cheap flights and then choosing between a hotel and vacation rental for accommodations, you can turn a week at home into one of your best family vacation ideas ever.
Taking a staycation doesn’t have to mean just staying at home and doing nothing. Instead, treat it like an opportunity to transform your home into a family vacation destination.
Have a nice big backyard? Pitch a tent and sleep under the stars. Roast marshmallows over a fire pit. Set up an outdoor movie screen and introduce your kids to a favorite childhood movie on the big screen.
Take day trips to museums, aquariums, botanic gardens, or a state park or local park. Head to your local children’s museum if your kids are younger. Explore local beaches and turn your staycation into a family beach vacation. Blow up an inflatable pool and turn your backyard into a homemade splash pad water park.
And if the biggest barrier to your vacation is expensive airfare for the whole family, book a vacation rental or find a hotel deal within driving distance, making a road trip part of the experience. Most of all, treat your staycation like a real vacation. Turn off your work email notifications. Change up who cooks dinner or let the kids choose their favorite takeout food.
Take a lazy afternoon and read a book. Make breakfast for the whole family. Relax screen time restrictions for the kids. Play a board game. Spend a day doing outdoor activities and hanging out together. Family vacations at home are only limited by your imagination.
Family Road Trips
You may not remember every family vacation you went on as a kid, but you probably remember at least one road trip. That’s because there’s something quintessentially American about the family road trip experience. It’s practically a rite of passage for many families.
What makes a road trip one of the best family trips isn’t just the scenery or wherever your ultimate destination may be. It’s also a chance to spend hours at a time together—in the car, at roadside attractions, at rest stops and restaurants. Telling bad jokes, playing car games, forcing your kids to listen to “real music” for a change: It’s all part of building memories they’ll remember when they have their own kids.
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Private Group Tours and Guided Family Vacations
Like all-inclusive vacations, there’s something liberating about family travel adventures where a small group tour company handles all the details of your family vacation. It’s especially welcome when you’re dreaming of a family vacation to someplace you’ve never been before. Here are a few family vacation ideas that are perfect for small groups led by professional guides.
Explore the Mysteries of Egypt with Adventures by Disney
Family vacations don’t get any better than an overseas trip with Adventures by Disney, the small-group tour operator known for its authentic experiences, attentive guides, and kid-friendly activities. And family vacation ideas don’t get any more big-ticket than Adventures by Disney’s 10-day Egypt vacation.
Imagine exploring the world-famous Valley of Kings, standing in awe before the Great Pyramid at Giza, visiting the Temple of Isis at Philae, snorkeling in the Red Sea, sailing the Nile on a felucca, shopping at a 700-year-old night market, and learning to cook traditional Egyptian dishes in a chef-led class.
Now imagine it all without any of the hassles or hangups (or whining) you might expect on even the best family vacations. That’s part of the magic of traveling with Adventures by Disney. This year, these Egypt family vacation packages start at $8,549 per child and $8,999 per adult, a true bucket-list family vacation with a price tag to match.
Discover Paris and Normandy with G Adventures
Cross Paris and Normandy off your family vacation ideas bucket list with the nine-day France Family Journey small-group tour from G Adventures and National Geographic.
Tailored to families looking for unique bonding experiences, this kid-friendly trip takes in the history, art, and culture of France with visits to iconic monuments in Paris, cave dwellings in the Loire Valley, the gardens of Versailles, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont-Saint-Michel. Plus, you’ll learn about World War II history and get an in-depth look at D-Day where it happened on the beaches of Normandy.
National Geographic Family Journeys from G Adventures are meant to bring families together on active vacations in some of the most impressive family vacation spots in the world. Each of these family vacation ideas is designed with kids as young as seven years old in mind, and each itinerary is infused with National Geographic’s unique sense of appreciation for storytelling, wildlife, culture, and history.
Bookings are open for June and July family vacations this year, with per person prices starting at $3,899; and June, July, and August tours in 2025. Other National Geographic Family Journeys from G Adventures include bucket-list family vacation destinations like Iceland, Japan, South Africa, Peru, Costa Rica, Morocco, and Vietnam. In the U.S., family vacation spots include Yellowstone and Alaska.
Enjoy a Taste of Thailand with Intrepid Travel
If a long-tail boat trip through the canals of Bangkok sounds like a great family trip idea, the Thailand Family Holiday from Intrepid Travel might be the perfect family vacation idea for you. On this 12-day kid-friendly family vacation package, you’ll discover the markets of Bangkok, visit rescued elephants at a nature park, explore the history and ruins of Ayutthaya, and see up close how others live on an overnight homestay with a local family.
One of the best parts of small-group travel on family tours like this is traveling with other families. With Intrepid Travel, the typical group size is about 10 people made up of three to five families (defined as any group with at least one child under the age of 18). Often the kids will form their own groups during a trip, giving parents a chance to rest or socialize, too.
Intrepid’s Thailand Family Holiday is available to book on multiple dates this year and even 2025. Prices start at $1,841 in both this year and early 2025 (slightly less for kids). The minimum age for children is five years old, and there’s a 10 percent discount for children 17 years and under.
Travel from Machu Picchu to the Amazon with Intrepid Travel
Speaking of Intrepid, families with budding adventurers will love exploring Peru’s cultural and biodiversity on the company’s Peru Family Holiday. In addition to exploring the Sacred Valley, you’ll visit Machu Picchu for a once-in-a-lifetime experience your family will never forget.
The trip’s price tag of $2,759 per adult includes hotels, transportation, and breakfast each day, plus three lunches and two dinners. It costs slightly less for kids under 17.
At FamilyVacationist, we’re parents and travel experts who use our real-world, real-person travel expertise to help you make great decisions about travel. Here’s why that matters.