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Best Family Summer Vacations

Choosing the right destination for your family's summer getaway can be difficult. It's a tradition, yet you want this year to be particularly memorable. You can ask: What city? What week? What hotel? And more. With these questions in mind, U.S. News Travel has ranked the best summer trips for the whole family. 

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Why go: The country's oldest national park never fails to impress visitors of all ages with its beautiful natural panoramas — including Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs — and fantastic hiking paths. Temperatures stay generally warm in the summer (this depends greatly on elevation so pack layers), and prepare for some tourist crowds. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Yellowstone

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Why go: What better time to take the kids to visit Walt Disney World than the summer, when they're out of school and the weather is warm and sunny? That said, you may want to consider Universal's Islands of Adventure, which now boast the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter — a sure hit with youngsters. Read More»

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

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Why go: If you're traveling with small children, head to Waikiki Aquarium to admire local Hawaiian monk seals and coral exhibits. Or venture to the famous Waikiki to sprawl across golden sand and swim in turquoise water. For a quick retreat from the beach, bring history-inclined youngsters to the majestic 'Iolani Palace. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Honolulu - Oahu

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Why go: "The Happiest Place on Earth," Disneyland has been awing children for more than 50 years. And while Mickey's playground garners most of the attention, Knott's Berry Farm and Adventure City also 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 — much better than any zoo — 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, and maybe the world. Outdoor pursuits remain at the center of parents' to-do list, including the beautiful Mission Beach. SeaWorld might be expensive, but travelers agree that the price is well worth it. After a day of fun outdoors, head to the Gaslamp Quarter for some excellent and eclectic eats. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Diego

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Why Go: Cape Cod's relaxed atmosphere and numerous beaches mean you won't be fighting with other travelers for primo sandy real estate. Older kids will enjoy boogie boarding on the Atlantic coast, while novice swimmers can splash around in the bay. Plus, the abundance of vacation cottages allows you to make yourself a home away from 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, where everyone will get a large dose of culture and history. 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: While Charleston is best-known for being one of the most romantic and mannerly cities around, it also has plenty for the family to do. The town is home to a great children's museum and other historic spots where the kids can play on replica boats and cannons. Plus, beaches like Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are only a short drive from downtown Charleston. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Charleston

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Why Go: While the rest of America dons Mickey Mouse ears and heads to Walt Disney World, skirt the crowds (and exorbitant prices) by heading to Tampa. Plus, your kids won't miss Mickey once they've visited Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. And for a more low-key family adventure, 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

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Why go: Fort Lauderdale has recently been making a large effort to turn itself from a Spring Break party city into 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; there are also plenty of ways to indulge the adventurous ones, with many opportunities for water sports. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

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Why go: Vancouver is both fun and affordable — two essential criteria for a successful family vacation. The city is also excellent for families seeking outdoor and adventure attractions, including the beloved Stanley Park and the popular Granville Island Kid's Market and Waterpark. The towering Capilano Suspension Bridge will also prove an adventure for children and parents. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Vancouver

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Why go: With its myriad of world-class attractions, from bustling Fisherman's Wharf to historic Alcatraz to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is surely an enviable family vacation destination. You won't want to miss the breathtaking views from Russian Hill or exploring the city by cable car. While San Francisco isn't cheap, you can save money on food and accommodation by staying on the city's south end. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Francisco

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