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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. Considering factors that make a family vacation destination stand out (including family-friendly resorts and hotels, attractions that appeal to kids and easy travel itineraries), U.S. News determined a list of recommended summer trips for the whole gang. Use this ranking to jumpstart your family vacation planning, and vote for your choice destination below.

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#1 Ocean City

#1 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Home to a wide beach, 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, though: Thousands of vacationers travel here during the months of June to August. Read More »

Ocean City boardwalk
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#2 Puerto Rico

#2 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Families seeking a mix of culture and adventure find Puerto Rico to be a top-notch summer trip. Pencil in some time to explore Old San Juan, lounge on the area's beaches, go for a hike through the rainforest and travel to the nearby islands. Read More »

Puerto Rico Skyline
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#3 Whistler

#3 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Often pegged as a wintertime-only retreat, Whistler offers ample activities to enjoy in the summer, too. Families can pack a picnic and head to Alexander Falls or enjoy a day of swimming, kayaking and canoeing with the kids at Lost Lake. What's more, families should be able to find deals and vacation packages from resorts and hotels. Read More »

Skiing Whistler Blackcomb
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#4 Niagara Falls

#4 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Niagara Falls is the quintessential family vacation. Kids and parents alike will enjoy the up-close view of the tumbling falls from the Maid of the Mist boat excursion or the Journey Behind the Falls tour. Meanwhile, the Aquarium of Niagara and the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory appeal to animal lovers. Read More »

Horseshoe Falls
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#5 Myrtle Beach

#5 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: This beach town caters to families with its lifeguard-patrolled sands and lodging options galore (think hotels, condos and vacation rentals). Myrtle Beach also offers family-friendly activities like mini-golf, the Ripley's Aquarium and the Family Kingdom Amusement Park. Plus, this laid-back beach is easy for East Coasters to travel to via car. Read More »

Myrtle's Morning Pier
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#6 New York City

#6 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: The Big Apple is a playground for children and adults alike. Families visiting New York in the summer can enjoy the outdoors with a bike ride through Central Park; shop at kid-focused stores like American Girl Place and The LEGO Store; and take in a classic Broadway musical. Parents can also introduce kids to the foodie mecca that is NYC. Read More »

Buzzing Times Square
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#7 Bahamas

#7 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: With family-friendly resorts, warm temperatures and fewer crowds in the summer, the Bahamas is a solid family vacation spot. Many island hotels feature kids clubs, water sports equipment for rent and massive pool and water park areas that appeal to kids. June is the best month to visit since hurricanes become more of a threat in the late summer. Read More »

Nassau Beach
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#8 Minneapolis - St. Paul

#8 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Summertime in Minneapolis is characterized by warm, breezy weather and fun, free festivals. Families can soak up the sun, check out the waterfall and go for a dip in the wading pools at Minnehaha Park. Plus, a day at the Mall of America (complete with the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park) will make it a vacation to remember. Read More »

Downtown Minneapolis
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#9 Vail

#9 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Adventurous families love Vail during its warmest months. Its mountains were made for hiking and biking, including exploring the spectacular scenery. Visitors can also get their adrenaline pumping on a whitewater rafting excursion or zip lining tour. Resorts and vacation rental options abound in this popular vacation destination, too. Read More »

Big Air in Vail
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#10 Virginia Beach

#10 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: With a beach, a boardwalk and plenty of affordable lodging options, Virginia Beach is a great summer travel destination for East Coast families. Parents and kids love relaxing on the sand, splashing in the water and biking along the 3-mile-long boardwalk. If it rains, families can tour the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Read More »

King Neptune
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#11 Hamburg

#11 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: One of Germany's best kept secrets, Hamburg is a fun European city full of culture. And the summer months are the best time to visit thanks to ideal temperatures. The whole family can enjoy attractions like the Hamburg Zoo, the water and light show at Planten un Blomen park and the beach along the River Elbe. Read More »

Dusk on the Canal
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#12 Boston

#12 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Boston is home to world-class museums – like the Boston Children’s Museum and the Museum of Science – that can keep a kid’s educational spark alive even when school's out of session. And a family vacation to Boston isn't complete without catching a game at the famous Fenway Park. First-time visitors might also want to do a Boston Duck Tour. Read More »

Boston Harbor
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#13 Portland, OR

#13 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Portland during the summer – the consistently warm weather makes exploring the city’s green spaces ever so enjoyable. Traveling clans will want to spend some time at Washington Park (home to the brilliant rose test garden, the zoo, a children's museum and playgrounds). Foodie families will also love the Saturday Market. Read More »

Portland in the Fall
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#14 Jackson Hole

#14 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: Boasting incredible mountain scenery, Jackson Hole is a great option for families who want to get back to nature. Adults and kids can hike through Grand Teton National Park (and keep an eye out for wildlife!) before setting up camp within the park. The area also offers horseback riding and river floating tours. Read More »

Jackson Hole Ranch
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#15 U.S. Virgin Islands

#15 in Best Family Summer Vacations

Why go: The U.S. Virgin Islands offer a beach retreat that's equal parts relaxing and adventurous. The islands are home to numerous beachfront resorts with organized kids clubs and activities, plus families can book snorkeling excursions and kayaking tours to explore the picturesque scenery. The beaches here are nothing to scoff at, either. Read More »

St. Thomas Cruise Harbor
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