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Best Family Summer Vacations

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, multi-generational appeal and kid-friendly accommodations, dining and lodging options. U.S. News kept these 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.

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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 around Waikiki, but splurging on a central hotel will help you save on transportation. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Honolulu - Oahu

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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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Yellowstone

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Why go: What better time to visit Walt Disney World than the summer, when they're out of school 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 long lines. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Orlando-Walt Disney World

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

Read On: Top Things to Do in Anaheim-Disneyland

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

Read On: Top Things to Do in Galápagos Islands

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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 be sure to make hotel reservations well in advance — you're not the only family looking to visit. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Diego

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

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Cod

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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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in London

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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 are ideal offer plenty of opportunities to get active. Be sure to check the websites of the major ski areas — they provide summertime entertainment, too, you know. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Lake Tahoe

#10
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Why go: While Charleston is more popular with couples, it also has plenty for the family to do. The town has a great children's museum and the Fort Sumter National Monument where the kids can play on replica boats and cannons. Plus, sandy strips like Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are only a short drive away. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Charleston

#11
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Why go: While the rest of America heads to Walt Disney World, skirt the crowds (and exorbitant prices) by heading to Tampa. Your kids won't miss Mickey once they've visited Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. Also check out the amazing wildlife at the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Big Cat Rescue. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Tampa

#12
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Why go: Vancouver is both fun and affordable — two essential criteria for a successful family vacation. The city features plenty of outdoor and adventure attractions, including Stanley Park, the Granville Island Kids Market and Waterpark and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Vancouver

#13
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Why go: Fort Lauderdale has recently made a large effort to shed its reputation as a party city by becoming more of a family haven. And so far it's been paying off, as it's now described as a toned-down version of Miami Beach. The shorelines are clean and family-friendly, and water sports abound. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

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