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12 Best Towns and Destinations for Your Next Family Fun Vacation

Jul 22,2022read

Big tourist destinations make great vacations, but smaller towns and destinations are the perfect places for a family vacation. These towns are small enough to explore in a weekend, but welcoming and fun enough to keep coming back year after year. 

 

Here are some great towns to visit for your next family vacation.

1. Naples, Florida

a family frolic at the beach

Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

One of Florida’s most beautiful beach towns, Naples is a great place for fun for the whole family. The pristine, white sand beaches are welcoming and clean, and the town of Naples offers all the vacation amenities you could dream of. Get close to nature with a visit to Big Cypress National Preserve, or an airboat trip through the nearby Everglades National Park. Then, explore the city to visit their children’s museum, zoo and tons of restaurants and shops.

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico

 beautiful sunset in Santa Fe

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a playground full of family fun activities. A vibrant center of history and culture, spend your time in Santa Fe hiking in the Sangre de Cristo mountains or in the nearby Valles Caldera National Preserve. Soak up the history with town walking tours that will take you past the old mission, the Palace of the Governors, and the traditional Plaza, which was founded as a Spanish colony in 1610. As you make your way through town, do not miss the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which has interactive programs for kids, and the local market, which specializes in handmade goods made by members of the local native tribes.

3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

A beautiful mountain view in Yellowstone

Photo by Lucas Parker on Unsplash

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the country, and one of the most magical. With so much park to explore, your family will want to come back again and again. There are hikes for all levels to take you out into the stunning wilderness to see waterfalls, granite cliffs, canyons and lush forests. This is a great place to let kids explore and teach them about the wonders of the natural world. Kids of all ages will love watching Old Faithful and learning about what makes geysers erupt, and going on a wildlife spotting expedition with a junior park ranger tour.

4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Sunset on Myrtle beach

Photo by Kirk Van Nort on Unsplash

Myrtle Beach is a charming seaside town with tons to do for the whole family. There are white sand beaches with calm ocean waves, and the beaches all have great amenities to keep your vacation stress free. When you’re done exploring the beach, check out the elegant Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, the impressive fishing pier and the 187-foot tall SkyWheel that provides views of the whole Myrtle Beach coastline.

5. Yosemite National Park, California

a beautiful view along a creek in Yosemite

Photo by Rakshith Hatwar on Unsplash

One of the most beautiful spots on all of America, Yosemite National Park is a great place to get your kids out in nature. Yosemite is very accessible for families of all ages and abilities, with hikes from the iconic 15 mile Half Dome hike, to beautiful vistas like Yosemite Falls just steps off the road. Make sure to visit the Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove and stop by Tunnel View on your way in or out of the park. There are plenty of amenities in the park including camping, hotels, restaurants and stores, so your family can do Yosemite your way.

6. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

a wall with a Gatlinburg sign with a picture of a brown bear

Photo by A n v e s h on Unsplash

The quintessential mountain town, Gatlinburg is made for family getaways. There are shops for everything from homemade taffy to moonshine, as well as museums and even a theme park. Make sure to stop by the Gatlinburg Space Needle for 360 degree views of the Smoky Mountains. End your visit with hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or head off to nearby Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood, a Dolly Parton themed amusement park.

7. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Outer Banks beach shot at sunset

Photo by Jason Pischke on Unsplash

The Outer Banks is a beloved family vacation spot for beaches, beautiful scenery and friendly people. The Outer Banks are a string of islands off the coast of North Carolina, spotted with charming beach front towns and plentiful vacation rentals to stay for a weekend or even a month in the summer. The relaxed beach vibes are unmatched on the Outer Banks, but curious kids will also love visiting Kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers first took flight, or Roanoke Island to learn about the infamous Lost Colony. You can go light house hopping, shark tooth collecting, kite flying and so much more, so plan on coming back again and again to the Outer Banks.

8. Williamsburg, Virginia

a brown brick building in Williamsburg

Photo by Christian Alvarez on Unsplash

Colonial Williamsburg is a perfect place for an educational and fun family vacation. Kids can explore the town and learn what life was like in Revolutionary War-era Virginia. Interactive experiences like wine making and blacksmithing are fun for the whole family, and there are rotating exhibitions to visit and learn from. After you’ve had your fill of history, make sure to stop by Busch Gardens Williamsburg for classic amusement park fun.

9. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

a lighthouse in Cape Cod

Photo by Wei Zeng on Unsplash

Full of idyllic beach towns, Cape Cod is a great place to relax by the shore with your family. Towns like Chatham or Yarmouth have charming main streets full of local shops leading to a small town gazebo where live music is held every week. Public beaches dot the shoreline where tourists and locals alike play on the beach and collect sea shells. When you go, keep an eye out for seafood shacks on the beach, they have the best lobster rolls fresh from the ocean.

10. Durango, Colorado

A Durango view across a lake

Photo by Laura Seaman on Unsplash

Durango, Colorado is restored mining town in southwestern Colorado, full of the history of the Wild West. Once one of the hotspots of the Colorado silver mining, Durango’s economy crashed after the silver bust, and consequently a lot of the architecture was preserved as a ghost town. Now Durango is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, offering Jeep trails, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and more. Your family can try rafting the Animas River, or exploring the San Juan Mountains by foot or horseback. Durango is also not far from four corners, where you can lay down and be in four states at once.

11. Destin, Florida

a hand holds a Florida shaped magnet

Photo by Done By Alex on Unsplash

Destin, Florida is one of the most popular vacation spots on the Florida Panhandle. Founded in the 1850’s as a fishing village, Destin is now known for its beautiful bright white beaches, which bring families from across the country down to visit every year. Explore inland in nearby Henderson Beach State Park, which is home to rolling dunes, coastal scenery and plenty of unique Florida wildlife. Destin is also known for its golf courses, if the family (or part of the family) enjoys a round or two. You will want to stay on the beach all day, but be sure to check out the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, with charming shops and tasty restaurants for the whole family.

12. Bar Harbor, Maine

A Bar Harbor view

Photo by Sara Shute on Unsplash

Bar Harbor is one of the most popular destinations in Maine, and is perfect for a cool summer getaway with the whole family. This vibrant coastal town is known as the gateway to Acadia National Park, as well the ideal jumping off point for whale watching in Maine. Bar Harbor has it all, beautiful coastlines, rich culture and history and plenty of food and entertainment options. If you have a place with a kitchen, a do it yourself lobster feast is an easy and delicious way to experience all that Maine has to offer.

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