Had To Be There Blog

Vacations By Kelly

6 Family-Friendly Vacations

When most people think of "family vacations," one destination in particular comes to mind. Hint: it's mentioned in this list. But if visiting the House of Mouse doesn't appeal to you and your family, THAT'S OKAY! There are plenty of options, both within the US and internationally, that are perfectly appropriate getaways for the whole family. I've trimmed this list down considerably, but would love to hear about your favorite family vacation spot! Be sure to leave it for us in the comments below.


6) Orlando, Florida

Listen, I specialize in Disney Destinations so if you thought you were going to make it through this list without at least one Disney mention, you are surely in the wrong place! But good news - Orlando has SO MUCH more to offer than just the theme parks of Walt Disney World! If your family is a little older, and a is seeking a more exciting vacation, a visit to Universal Orlando may be just the ticket. Don't forget about SeaWorld Orlando to get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the aquarium. You can even arrange to swim with the dolphins! Looking to explore beyond Orlando? Great! Spend a day or two discovering Legoland with the kids! Or check out a jousting match at Medieval Times! Looking to add a touch of education to your vacation? Visit NASA'S Kennedy Space Center and try your hand at the astronaut training experience. Add some culture to your trip with a visit to the Orlando Museum of Art. While I personally happen to think that a Walt Disney World vacation is the ultimate family destination, I know it's not for everyone. The good news is, the Orlando area has so much to offer you can create the perfect vacation tailor-made to your family's tastes!


5) Jackson Hole, Wyoming

If you want your family vacation to have plenty of time to relax and unplug, maybe a trip to the theme parks isn't for you. But I have great news - you can find the quiet simplicity you seek without even leaving the country. Mosey out west to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Experience the authentic western cowboy way of life riding horseback a a dude ranch. Or crank things up a notch and learn to ski at Jackson Hole Montain Sports School. Off the slopes, you can try your hand at ice skating, snowshoing, and even tubing at Snow King Resort! And of course, no visit to the great state of WY would be complete without a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world, covering nearly 3,500 square miles of northwestern Wyoming as well as parts of Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone's South Entrance is approximately 90 miles north of the town of Jackson, making it an easy day trip - or longer!


4) Disney Cruises

I want to tell you this will be the last Disney Destination on my list, but I'm not going to lie to you. With Disney Cruise Line, your family with discover spectacular destinations, magical experiences and breathtaking ports of call. Enchanting locations include majestic Alaska, the tropical Caribbean, the blissful Bahamas, and more than 15 European countries. Take in a Broadway-caliber musical, enjoy an exciting fireworks show at sea, visit Disney's private island on select sailings, and let the kids be kids at a youth club while mom and dad check out the adults-only areas! A family vacation where there is truly something for everyone? Check!


3) Ocean City, Maryland

Really, this category could easily be any east coast destination with a boardwalk! Relax with a book on the beach and let the kids swim in the Atlantic Ocean all day. (Don't forget extra sunscreen!) Then take them to explore the boardwalk - with rides, food, and games this is a guaranteed crowd pleasure for every member of your family. There are lots of free things to do around Ocean City, which is ideal for families traveling on a budget. Check out the drive-in movie options at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center over the summer. No car? NO PROBLEM! Movies on the beach are also free and family-friendly! Fireworks, beach dance parties, sundaes in the park, family beach games, and even some museum programs are offered free of charge during peak summer months.


2) Adventures by Disney

I promise this will be my last Disney-related plug for this post. Adventures by Disney is the perfect way to explore the world with your family. Delight in a dream Disney family vacation and gain a lifetime of memories with Adventures by Disney — a leader in guided group travel. Let Disney do what Disney does best and be your STORYTELLER as they show you the way, taking you to the exciting destinations you want to visit. Itineraries are available on 6 of the world's 7 continents so there is no shortage in options! Packages include most meals and travel within the itinerary itself, as well as admission to some incredible excursions and experiences.


1) San Diego, California

I love love LOVE Southern California! We spent our honeymoon there and I swear if the cost of living wasn't so high, we may not have come home. I already promised not to mention the D-word again on this list, so let's steer clear of Anaheim. San Diego, California is consistently rated one of the top family destinations in America and it's no wonder why. Whether you are looking for theme parks, state parks, building sandcastles, exploring kid-friendly museums, or hiking trails, your family is bound to have a blast in San Diego! See the animals in action at the famous San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld San Diego, visit Legoland California, check out the museums in Balboa Park, embark on a San Diego Harbor Excursion, and so much more! Pack your shades and hit the west coast for the ultimate family vacation.


Kelly is an independent travel consultant and proud affiliate of Academy Travel and MickeyVacations.com, an award-winning agency with over 25 years of booking magical vacations! Academy Travel is a Platinum level agency with Universal Orlando and a Diamond level Disney EarMarked Agency, the highest travel industry designation bestowed by Disney Destinations. They are also a Travel Leaders Network-designated President’s Circle agency, which the highest possible recognition from the largest association of Travel Suppliers and Travel Agencies in the world.