With traveling making a major comeback after more than a year of postponed trips due to COVID-19, families all across the country are finally putting fun family vacation ideas back on their radar. That being said, if you’re in need of a little inspo to help make this year’s vacation an especially epic one, you’re in the right place!
In this post, we’re exploring seven summer vacation ideas that the whole family will enjoy. So grab the kids and pack your bags because we’re about to dive in.
But First, Let’s Talk a Little Bit About the Benefits of Family Vacations, Shall We?
Do you remember that one summer vacation as a tiny tot that was etched into your mind as one of your best memories ever? Maybe it was a weekend at Disneyland or perhaps a week-long adventure at the beach. Now, consider this — are your little monsters making the same kind of memories?
Family vacations don’t just create lifelong memories, but they also break up the monotony of everyday life, opening your family’s mind to new and unforgettable experiences. What’s more, research shows that those who return from vacations are often happier and much more relaxed.
No surprise there as who wouldn’t come back from the most magical place on earth or playing in the sand and surf of Hawaii feeling especially chipper? However, the study found that these same individuals were also more productive and had closer family relationships. Pretty cool, don’t you think?
Here are a few other awesome benefits of taking your family on vacation:
Benefit #1: The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together
A family vacation is a time to unplug and get away from it all. Away from work, nagging bosses, long phone calls, the kid’s busy schedules, the daily to-do list, chores — everything. This is an excellent opportunity to spend time as a family and really get to know each other.
Family vacations provide more time to bond so you can spend quality time together without the daily distractions. Parents learn more about what their crazy kids like and don’t like, while kids learn that their parents are not so bad after all!
Benefit #2: Adventure Is Out There!
Family vacations offer excellent opportunities for fun adventures! By trying something new, your kiddos can gain a better sense of self. Plus, it can also help to build confidence.
A summer adventure with the family can range from camping and fishing to boating and mountain biking. Some adventures build motor skills, while others help expand social awareness. Either way, trying a new adventure with your favorite people is an incredible learning experience for everyone!
Some of the best attractions are natural ones. Try destinations like Niagara Falls State Park or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: hike trails and relax at the local campground.
Benefit #3: Slow Down and Appreciate the Little Things
Kids are naturally much more inquisitive than adults — which can really help you to open your peepers to what’s around you. Seeing kids react to the world’s most extraordinary sights (Grand Canyon, anyone?) makes you appreciate them even more. Plus, kids also have a tendency to ask many more questions, so by trying to provide them with a solid answer, the whole family can learn something new.
Simply put, family vacations provide a time when you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and slow down to really appreciate the little things with your tiny explorers —regardless of how little those “things” may be.
The Best Summer Vacation Ideas EVER
Betcha didn’t think family vacations provided that many benefits! From relaxation to bonding with the kiddos, a vacation with the family can be life-changing.
Now that you’re totally convinced you need to start planning a family vacation post-haste, here are seven summer vacay ideas that we’re sure your entire family will love:
1. Orlando, FL
Known for its many amusement parks, Orlando is often the first place that comes to mind when hunting for the best family vacation hotspots. Vacationers seeking the magical wonders of Disney will love Orlando’s four unique amusement parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
Also, under the Walt Disney World umbrella — as if those four parks weren’t enough— you will find two incredible water parks full of the best water slides, a myriad of kid-friendly hotels, two incredible entertainment districts, and more.
The Orlando fun doesn’t stop with Disney, though. If you’ve got aspiring superheroes or movie fans in the family, Universal Studios might be more up your alley! From the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, there is a whole lot of excitement to be had at this popular amusement park where guests “ride the movies.”
In Orlando, you will find hundreds of hungry gators at Gatorland and the largest LEGOLAND Park in the world. Basically, what we’re trying to say here is if you’re searching for a fun-filled family vacation where you’ll never run out of things to do — Orlando is where you need to be.
2. Outer Banks, NC
If your ultimate summer vacation with the family is one spent rocking comfy flip flops every day with sand between your toes, then head for North Carolina’s beautiful Outer Banks!
Almost completely free of fast-food restaurants and big box stores, Highway 12 links an impressive stretch of barrier islands where you are never far from a breathtaking sandy beach.
Walk with your little ones up the hill to the iconic windy spot where the Wright Brothers first flew, or let them play on the East Coast’s largest sand dune. Explore maritime history and watch your kid’s minds wander as they listen to unbelievable stories about shipwrecks, rescues, and even Blackbeard at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
Feeling more like South Carolina is the place to be? Try Myrtle beach!
3. The Florida Keys
Another great family vacation in Florida, the beautiful Florida Keys, is something everyone should experience at least once. Rent a Jeep, crank up the Beach Boys and leave all your worries at home as you and the kids take a tropical road trip. With its 42 long bridges, the 113-mile Overseas Highway suspends drivers in paradise for much of the drive to the Southernmost Point in the continental U.S., Key West.
On your journey, be sure to stop at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. You can also book a fun reef fishing charter or hand-feed enormous tarpon from the dock in Islamorada at Robbie’s Marina. Once you’ve reached Key West, take the kiddos to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where they can pet cats with six toes. And, of course, you definitely don’t want to miss the epic sunset celebrations at Mallory Square.
Just don’t forget to bring BuzzPatch Mosquito Patches so that your little monsters don’t become a tasty snack for the winged critters —nothing puts a bigger damper on a fun family vacation than super itchy bug bites!
4. Yellowstone National Park, WY
Looking to bond with your loved ones? Look no further and check out the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Spend the evening sitting around a crackling campfire, sharing stories, roasting yummy smores, and searching the sky for shooting stars. Pitch a tent at one of the park’s many campgrounds and enjoy a picnic taking in the mesmerizing scenery. Yellowstone’s Junior Ranger program is truly a treat for the little ones as it teaches them all about the Old Faithful geyser and the park’s other natural features, such as hot springs and mud pots.
Are you an early riser? Pack a thermos with your favorite warm sip and head to Lamar Valley at sunrise for the best chance of catching a glimpse of Yellowstone’s wildlife. Home to bison, elk, wolves, and more, your kids will love learning about Mother Nature while taking in the fresh air.
5. Nantucket, MA
Ever been to Nantucket? Arguably one of the best summer vacation ideas for families, this tiny secluded island off Cape Cod is super easy to bike around, so you can enjoy this trip without needing to rent a car.
The beautiful island is loved for its quiet harbors, dramatic cliffs, photogenic lighthouses, and 19th-century mansions. Rent a house or stay at a local inn. Whip up a tasty dinner of fresh lobster, explore the sandy beaches, and discover everything the quaint town of Nantucket has to offer for a perfectly low-key getaway with the family.
6. San Diego, CA
One of the best places in the Golden State to stick your feet in the sand and still have access to urban adventures for the kids is none other than San Diego, California. Boasting year-round warm temperatures, the colorful city offers over 70 miles of dreamy coastline with fun options for everyone.
Take the kids to La Jolla Shores, where they can explore tide pools or take surf lessons. Animal lovers will want to check out the seals and sea lions at Shell Beach, where you can even hop on a whale-watching cruise or kayak with dolphins. Of course, you can’t miss a trip to Balboa Park’s many museums or the San Diego Zoo.
Around town, there’s plenty of things to do and so much tasty food that your little ones are sure to love. And for mom and dad looking for a little reprieve when the kids are fast asleep, there are more than 150 breweries, countless beer bars, innovative tasting rooms, and a beer culture that’s undeniably San Diegan —they don’t call San Diego the Craft Beer Capital of America for no reason.
Relax and enjoy a date with your sweetie; after all, hoppiness isn’t far from happiness in San Diego!
7. Niagara Falls, NY
Last on the list, but certainly not least, for an unforgettable summer vacation, take the family to Niagara Falls.
The most memorable way for the kiddos to see the whoosh, hear the pounding, and feel the iconic Niagara Falls spray their little faces is onboard the Maid of the Mist. This is an incredible cruise that will take you and your family right to the bottom, where you can experience Niagara Falls in its full glory.
Plan to return back in the evening when each night of the year you can see the beautiful falls illuminated in color. If you don’t mind getting wet, take the kids for an exciting white water jet boat ride through the Niagara Gorge.
Before heading home, be sure to stop at the Niagara Power Vista to learn how the falls generate power and find out who lived at Old Fort Niagara over 300 years ago.
Pro Tip: Mosquitos are notorious around Niagara Falls. Keep your little ones bite-free and happy with The Natural Path Co.’s Mosquito Patches. Infused with citronella and lavender essential oil, our mosquito repellent stickers provide a revolutionary, natural way to keep pesky mosquitos away from kids and adults alike.
Plus, our BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches are non-toxic, DEET-free, made with natural ingredients, and smell absolutely amazing. What’s not to love?
North America Vacation Locations
And there you have it — seven awesome summer vacation ideas for families!
Whether you’re looking to relax on a beach, ride a rollercoaster, or search the night sky for shooting stars, nothing beats spending quality time with the ones you love.
Just don’t forget to keep your little monsters properly protected from mosquitoes to avoid itchy bumps and irritated skin. While a vacation in the great outdoors is one that will be remembered for many years to come, getting attacked by mosquitoes can turn your fun summer into a total bummer.
Not a fan of all the icky chemicals commonly found in insect repellent? Don’t worry; we aren’t either — that’s why we created our effective yet safe mosquito patches made with only natural ingredients like citronella and lavender.
Say goodbye to mosquitoes the natural way and hello to our non-toxic and DEET-free mosquito repellent patches. Convenient, fun, and effective for up to six hours, BuzzPatch is designed to confuse the pesky pests and protect your kids for a bite-free summer vacation.
Vacations improve mental health among rural women: the Wisconsin Rural Women's Health Study | PubMed
San Diego Brewers on The Craft Beer Capital of America | San Diego Tourism Authority
Niagara mosquitoes positive for West Nile virus, public health reports | Niagara Falls Review