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A family feeds giraffes at a nature preserve in Palm Springs, California

A Family Adventure in the United States

Discover theme parks, beaches, zoos and more for your family-friendly trip.

Whether you’re traveling with a few or the whole crew, the USA is the perfect place for a family getaway. In this article, we’ll provide helpful destination ideas, suggestions and inside looks at planning a vacation that’ll make everyone happy.

A family participates in a character meet-and-greet at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Make it Magical

Disney Parks in the USA are world class for a reason - from daring roller coaster rides and magical shows to gentler experiences for the little ones, there’s something for everyone in the family.

Built in 1971, Walt Disney World Resort (located in Orlando, Florida), consists of 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you’re planning a family vacation to span multiple days inside the parks, you won’t run out of exciting things to do here.

If you’re choosing between parks, there are a few key differences you should know. Most folks will tell you that the most significant difference between parks is size: Disneyland Resort (located in Anaheim, California) is a 202-hectare entertainment complex, whereas Walt Disney World sits on a whopping 11,137 hectares.

Disneyland was Walt Disney’s first ever theme park. If history and legacy is your thing, it’s an absolute must visit. Located about an hour from Los Angeles, Disneyland makes up just one element of a larger California vacation experience for many travelers.

Still can’t decide? Consider where you’ll be traveling from – the two parks are on opposite US coasts.

A bike ride through sunny Palm Springs, California

Girls’ Trip

Looking for the perfect place to visit with the women in your life? Consider Palm Springs, California. The warm, dry climate and sunny skies make it the perfect place to recharge and connect to those who mean the most to you. Self-care is what Palm Springs does best: you’ll find no shortage of spas, yoga studios, pools and yummy restaurants in the downtown area. Connect with nature in Joshua Tree National Park, enjoy the luxury golf courses, take in the iconic architecture and do a little shopping!

Strolling past Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Kid-Friendly Philly

When it comes to attractions specifically for kids, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, often abbreviated to just Philly, may take the top prize on our list. The Philadelphia Zoo and Adventure Aquarium make for a whole day of enjoyment for the family. When you’re ready for more adventure, discover the many unique stops, such as The Franklin Institute, Legoland Discovery Center and the Please Touch Museum, that make Philadelphia a legendary locale for museum-hopping. With great shopping, fascinating history and a food scene to match, this East Coast gem will capture the hearts of the whole family.

Skiing Heavenly Mountain in Lake Tahoe, California

Keep the Fun Going

If you’re looking for a destination that’ll keep your family active and busy, look no further: The USA has plenty to choose from.

The USA’s ski season tends to fall from November through April, and there are dozens of world-class resorts to choose from. Park City, Utah, provides top amenities and all-level skiing for the whole family, but that’s not the only premier ski destination in the USA: Keystone, Aspen and Vail, all in Colorado, are also excellent picks for an all-around great time. Families with young kids will appreciate the bunny hills of Lake Tahoe, California, and advanced skiers love the terrain of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Traveling with more of a beach crew? From the turquoise waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands to the laid-back vibes in California, there’s a beach town for every kind of group. For a charming little beach town that feels like a well-kept secret, visit Ogunquit, Maine, in the summer. Enjoy the nautical charms of Cape Cod, Massachusetts as you slurp down oysters and embark on whale-watching excursions.

A family plays in the surf at Ferry Beach in Saco, Maine

Getting Started

From coast to coast, the United States is full of destination options for your group getaway. Chat with your family about priorities and top attractions – it’s hard to pick, but many destinations offer a wide range of things to do. Getting around the USA is easy with rental cars, so consider booking a family trip with a couple of cities. (It can be hard to appease everyone. By traveling through multiple cities on a road trip, you can schedule a theme park day for the kids, a sightseeing day for grandma, etc.)

Once you have a few destination ideas in mind, sit down with the family and review our Visit the USA blog posts about those locations – odds are, we’ve covered them. Wherever you choose to travel, you’re bound to have an unforgettable time together.