5 of the Best Places To Visit in the US With the Kids

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Updated on March 11, 2024 by
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Family vacations carve out unforgettable moments, from the first enchanting encounter with Mickey Mouse to the shared joy of unhurried days at the beach or vibrant splashes at a water park. However, zeroing in on the perfect destination can be a daunting task. To ease your planning, we’ve curated a selection of destinations that cater exceptionally well to families.

Featuring both renowned and under-the-radar gems like San Diego, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, the quaint Empire, MI, innovative Huntsville, AL, and the expansive Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, our guide aims to simplify your search. Whether your family delights in engaging museums, outdoor adventures, or theme parks, our roundup promises a memorable getaway tailored for every taste.

But before you go on your adventure, it’s best to find the best place to buy USD if you’re coming from a different country to save money on currency conversion fees. By doing so, you can spend more on the actual trip with your kids!

San Diego: Where Sun Meets Fun

Best Time to Visit: September through November

San Diego serves as a sunny paradise for families, brimming with attractions that cater to both young explorers and adults. At the San Diego Zoo, families can marvel at diverse species ranging from the elusive red panda to majestic polar bears. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps expands this adventure beneath the sea, where outdoor tidal pools offer a hands-on learning experience not to be missed.

A short drive north leads to the ultimate playground for LEGO enthusiasts – Legoland California. Here, the family can engage in unique interactions, like trading mini-figures with the park’s friendly staff. For those craving a dose of adventure, San Diego’s coastline offers beginner-friendly surf lessons near the picturesque La Jolla, ideal for making lasting memories together.

Pro Tip: Planning your visit in October leverages the “Kids Free San Diego” promotion, where children enjoy complimentary access to attractions, meals, and stays at select establishments, amplifying the joy without stretching the budget.

Indianapolis: Kid-Friendly Museums and Indy 500 Thrills

Best Time to Visit: June through August

Indianapolis is a treasure trove of family-friendly destinations, blending educational opportunities with sheer fun. At the heart of its appeal is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the largest of its kind globally, where interactive exhibits and dynamic displays promise to captivate young minds for hours on end.

The Rhythm! Discovery Center adds a unique beat to the city’s offerings, as the world’s only interactive drum and percussion museum. For those seeking outdoor adventures, Frank’s Paddlesports Livery Co. offers the chance to glide along the serene waters of central Indiana’s White River via kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard.

A thrill not to be missed is Speedway Indoor Karting, featuring a European-style, multi-level go-kart track just a stone’s throw from the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its fascinating museum. Perfect for families with children over 8 years, it’s an unforgettable way to experience the racing world’s excitement.

Note: Ensure your children meet the age requirement for go-karting to enjoy this unique experience fully.

Washington, D.C.: Immersive History and Family Fun

Best Time to Visit: March through May

Venture into the heart of American history with a family getaway to Washington, D.C., where historical narratives are vibrantly brought to life. A hop-on, hop-off bus tour stands as an adaptable introduction to the city’s landmarks, tailor-made for families eager to explore at their own rhythm. Notably, entry to the Smithsonian and national museums is complimentary, offering rich, educational experiences without straining your wallet. However, some venues may require advanced ticket bookings.

Immerse your family in the realms of aviation and anthropology with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum, where weekly story times ignite young imaginations every Thursday at 11 a.m. Subsequently, a trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History can unravel the mysteries of human evolution.

For children fascinated by the world of espionage, the International Spy Museum presents a specialised 90-minute tour designed for families, perfect for nurturing budding secret agents. To balance the cognitive stimulation, the National Zoo and National Arboretum offer spacious environments for children to expend energy and engage with nature.

Los Angeles: Sun, Stars, and Endless Fun

Best Time to Visit: September through November

Los Angeles weaves together the allure of golden beaches, iconic theme parks, and the glitz of Hollywood, offering an urban adventure that’s unbeatable for families. Santa Monica Pier, with its charming beachside amusement park, is a quintessential stop for those seeking the sun and sea, coupled with thrills and chills.

For a dose of movie magic and adrenaline-packed rides, Universal Studios Hollywood is an absolute must-visit. Here, families can immerse themselves in the enchantments of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and jump into action with their favourite characters at Super Nintendo World—all conveniently close to downtown LA, surrounded by ample accommodations and dining options.

Yet, the jewel in LA’s crown for many remains Disneyland in nearby Anaheim. This legendary theme park continues to be a pilgrimage site for families around the globe, inviting them to step into a world where fairy tales come to life, and adventure awaits around every corner. Disneyland not only promises unforgettable memories but also serves as a testament to the enduring power of imagination and wonder.

Essential Tip: Leverage the slightly cooler weather and lower crowd levels of the off-peak season to make the most of your visit, allowing more time for rides, attractions, and those priceless family moments.

Maui, Hawaii: A Paradise for Family Adventures

Best Time to Visit: October and November

Maui, with its serene beauty and relaxed pace, stands out as a premier destination for families seeking a blend of adventure and relaxation in Hawaii. The Maui Ocean Center offers an intimate encounter with marine life, featuring touch tanks that allow children to interact directly with sea creatures.

Embarking on snorkelling expeditions from Wailuku presents a unique opportunity to observe sea turtles and vibrant fish in their natural environments. On land, the Ultimate Air Maui Trampoline Park promises exhilarating indoor fun, while the Maui Golf & Sports Park caters to competitive spirits with its challenging mini-golf course and entertaining bumper boats.

For those inclined towards natural wonders, Haleakala National Park reveals the awe-inspiring sight of an active volcano — an early morning drive to witness the sunrise here is not to be missed, provided you book the necessary $1 reservation.

Travel Tip: Start your Maui adventure in Wailuku, conveniently located about 10 minutes from Kahului Airport, making it an ideal first stop. For accommodations, consider Wailea — home to luxurious resorts like the Andaz Maui at Wailea and Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, roughly 40 minutes from the airport. Alternatively, the Hana-Maui Resort on the island’s lush east side offers a picturesque retreat for families.

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