comScore
U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Family Summer Vacations

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

School's out and workloads are lighter, making summer a prime season for family travel. Where your clan decides to go depends on factors like great weather, multigenerational appeal, kid-friendly accommodations, dining and lodging options. U.S. News kept these factors in mind as editors evaluated expert opinions and reader votes to come up with a list of recommended summer trips for the whole gang. Use this list to jumpstart your vacation planning, and vote for your choice destination below.

Change Ranking

Explore More Rankings


Honolulu - Oahu

#1 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Oahu can be both fun and educational, featuring museums, historic sites and beaches. Head to Waikiki Aquarium or venture to Waikiki Beach for a swim. Lodging can be pricey, especially in Waikiki, but splurging on a central hotel will help you save on transportation. Read More

Honolulu - Oahu View 26 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Yellowstone

#2 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: The country's oldest national park never fails to impress visitors of all ages with its unique features – including Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs – and fantastic hiking paths. Temperatures can vary greatly by elevation, so pack layers. And since summer is high season, expect heavier crowds. Read More

Yellowstone View 24 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Orlando-Walt Disney World

#3 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Summer is always a popular time to visit Walt Disney World – school's out and the weather is warm and sunny. Also consider a visit to Universal's Islands of Adventure, which boasts the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just be prepared for steep admission prices and long lines everywhere. Read More

Orlando-Walt Disney World View 22 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Lake Tahoe

#4 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: The mild summer weather is a big draw for many families looking to maximize the great outdoors. Hiking trails, beaches and the lake itself offer plenty of opportunities to be active. Don't forget to check the websites of the ski resorts: they provide summertime entertainment, too. Read More

Lake Tahoe View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

San Diego

#5 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: San Diego has emerged as one of the premier family destinations in the country. The 1,200-acre Balboa Park (home to the famous San Diego Zoo) is a great place to let kids burn off energy. Just book your hotel well in advance – you're not the only family looking to visit. Read More

San Diego View 28 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Anaheim-Disneyland

#6 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: "The Happiest Place on Earth," Disneyland has been wooing children for more than 50 years, and nearby Knott's Berry Farm and Adventure City deserve some kudos for family fun, too. Also, Anaheim's Southern California seat makes a trip to the beaches of L.A. or San Diego completely doable. Read More

Anaheim-Disneyland View 20 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Cape Cod

#7 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Cape Cod's numerous beaches means you won't be fighting for primo real estate on the sand. Older kids will enjoy boogie boarding on the Atlantic coast, while novice swimmers can splash around on the bay side. Plus, with vacation cottages galore you can feel more at home. Read More

Cape Cod View 23 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Galápagos Islands

#8 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: On this island chain, you can mingle with giant tortoises, iguanas, sea lions and penguins. Your kids will love these critters and you'll appreciate the numerous photo ops. To save some dough on your vacation, visit at the very beginning or the very end of the summer. Read More

Galápagos Islands View 21 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Seattle

#9 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Come summer, Seattle is an outdoor town. Families can spend time together exploring Discovery Park, the Space Needle and the colorful Chihuly Garden and Glass. You'll have to contend with some crowds, but the weather is so pleasant (think mid-70s) you won't mind. Read More

Seattle View 21 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Ocean City

#10 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Home to a sprawling beach, multiple mini-golf courses, plenty of ice cream shops and a lively boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland, is a summer family trip dream. Plan to book accommodations early: This season ushers in plenty of visitors.  Read More

Ocean City View 23 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

London

#11 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Although the city is on the pricier end, you (and the kids) will never be bored in London. Of course, there is Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station for wizard wannabes. But London is also bursting with other attractions, like the vibrant Portobello Road Market and the Tower of London. Read More

London View 32 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Paris

#12 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Looking to introduce a new culture to your little ones? Paris is full of educational opportunities with museums and larger-than-life landmarks. Plus, the kids will love this city's delectable chocolate croissants and melty ham and cheese croque-monsieurs. Read More

Paris View 28 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

San Francisco

#13 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: With its world-class attractions, from historic Alcatraz to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is an enviable family vacation destination. Children will especially enjoy exploring the city by cable car. San Francisco isn't cheap, but you can save money by staying on the city's south end. Read More

San Francisco View 36 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

Vote to Add

Charleston

Charleston

Belongs on List? Yes No

Tampa

Tampa

Belongs on List? Yes No

Vancouver

Vancouver

Belongs on List? Yes No

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Belongs on List? Yes No

Recommended Articles

Best Airfares