Travel Rankings & Advice

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, multigenerational appeal, 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 in 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: 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 across the board. Read More»

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

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377 163

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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Diego

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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 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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Galápagos Islands

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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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Anaheim-Disneyland

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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 offer plenty of opportunities to get active. Don't forget to check the websites of the ski areas: they provide summertime entertainment, too. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Lake Tahoe

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210 115

Why go: Cape Cod's numerous beaches means 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 vacation cottages galore you can feel more at home. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Cod

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299 183

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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218 109

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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Paris

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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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Seattle

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123 92

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. Good news is you'll never have trouble finding a spot on the golden sand. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Ocean City

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406 310

Why go: With its myriad of world-class attractions, from historic Alcatraz to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is surely 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 on food and lodging by staying on the city's south end. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Francisco

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