vacation ideas with kids

Vacation Ideas with Kids

Are you struggling to come up with some vacation ideas with kids? The school year is almost finished and it is time to start thinking about your summer plans for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and all other days in between.  

Your plans should include getting to new places and turn off the the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Disney Channel, and Netflix for a while (although I do like to binge watch like anyone else).  Planning a vacation with the kids can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be, when you have a list of the best places to vacation with kids.

Most families have heard of vacationing in Disney, Hawaii or Florida. However, we’ve put a list of places that you might not have considered. Let’s get started on some vacation ideas with kids!

What are some vacation ideas with kids?

Anchorage, Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula

Anywhere in Alaska will surely be a treat for your whole family.  Sure, it may not be known for amusement parks but the great outdoors  is where it is at.  From stunning views, to beautiful wildlife, great seafood, and plenty of midnight sun, you kids will be talking about this majestic place for quite awhile. To read more about our recent trip to Alaska with our kids, click hereClick Here to search for family-friendly hotels in Anchorage.

The views driving in Alaska
The views driving in Alaska is a vacation in itself

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Did you know that Wisconsin Dells is the Waterpark Capital of the World?  You betcha!  Don’t worry, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor water parks so if the weather is less than perfect it won’t ruin your plans.

Even the hotels have water parks so you don’t have to venture too far and won’t miss out on the fun.  Plus the town of Wis. Dells is loads of fun for those who like to shop.  Fudge shops, salt water taffy, lots of gift shops, and take a ride on the “Ducks” and view Lake Delton like the ducks do.  Click here to check out the family-friendly hotels in The Dells.

my family guide wi dells
Just one of the many water slides at the hotel

Breckenridge, Colorado and surrounding areas

Our family vacation to Colorado last summer was a great success with our kids.  Breckenridge has great summer activities on Peak 8 like a slide on rails, bungee jump, obstacle course, and more.  The best part is the Gondola ride to the top of Peak 8.  

Not too far from Breckenridge you can ride the rapids on the Arkansas River or visit some old ghost towns.  Golden, CO also has Heritage Square which was a huge hit with our kids.  It has rides for all ages like bumper boats, go-carts, kiddie rides, arcade, and so much more.  

Who says Colorado is only fun in the winter?  Click here to find family-friendly hotels in the Vail, CO and surrounding areas.

Visit the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, Colorado on your next vacation
Visit the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, Colorado on your next vacation

Las Vegas, Nevada

Believe it or not, Vegas isn’t just for adults.  There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do for the whole family.  Check out the numerous shows like Cirque du Soleil or a magic show by Penn & Teller. 

Strolling through the mega themed hotels is always a treat. Circus Circus is definitely a must stop to experience rides and attractions for most ages (36 inches and higher).  From junior rides to coaster rides, it will fill a provide a whole afternoon of fun.  

New York New York has a fun roller coaster that whips around outside near the strip, or munch on some New York style pizza or take a bite out of a Nathan’s hot dog.  The Venetian will even amaze a native Italian.  Take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal and soak in the views on this beautiful hotel and shops. 

If your legs are too tired, hop on the Fremont Street shuttle and check out the street performers, classic hotels, and of course the canopy of lights.

Austin and San Antonio, Texas 

The Lone Star state has plenty to offer to keep the family busy.  Start off in corky Austin and visit the SoCo (South Congress Ave) where the shops and food carts will keep your curiosity going for blocks.  

History buffs can make a stop at the Lyndon B Johnson Library (which is more of a museum than library) and find out what this President accomplished over 50 years ago.  If you prefer the outdoors, try kayaking on the Colorado River.  

At sunset you can watch the largest urban bat colony, over 1.5 million bats, make their way out from under the bridge to catch their evening dinner.  Something to be seen!  

If you have an extra day, be sure to make the 75 mile drive south to San Antonio.  This historic city is worth the day trip.  Take a free tour of the Alamo and find out why this church is such an important part of American history.  

Afterwards, take a quick stroll over to the Riverwalk and check out the shops or take a 40 minute river cruise and learn about the history of San Antonio.  Click here to view family-friendly hotels in the Greater San Antonio area.

san antonio with kids
Visit the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

Northern California

If you want to escape the city life and see what nature has to offer, make your way to the California Coast or visit the majestic Redwoods.  The California coast is rugged and beautiful and sunsets are amazing.  

On your way to the coast and Eureka experience the awesome Redwood Trees by visiting the Avenue of the Giants.  A great side road that takes you through some of the largest and oldest living species on the planet!  Click here to find family-friendly hotels in on the California North Coast.

vacation ideas with kids california
The California Redwoods are amazing giants.

New Orleans, Louisana

There is more to New Orleans than partying on Bourbon Street.  In 2018, New Orleans is celebrated its Tricentennial (300 year anniversary).  Needless to say, there is plenty of history to witness throughout your visit. 

One of the best stops is Mardi Gras World, located near the Mississippi River.  This huge warehouse is just one of several that holds the displays of the floats used during Mardi Gras. 

The street cars run on five different lines and are a fun experience to view several districts like the Garden District and Central Business District.  

If the kids need to run, check out City Park.  An amazing park with beautiful scenery and plenty to do.  Rent paddle boats, play on one of the several playgrounds, discover Storyland, go for a walk around Big Lake, and so much more.  If you need to cool off, head indoors at the The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

new orleans with kids
Take a tour of Mardi Gras World and you will never look at Mardi Gras the same.

Pigeon Forge – Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Located on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains are these twin cities boasting with family activities. From mini golf, water parks, indoor sledding, dinner shows, go-carts and so much more!

With its close proximity to the Smoky Mountains there is also plenty of hiking trails to keep all ages moving. Go camping, RVing or simply bring food for a picnic. There is plenty to see and do in this National Park.

Plan ahead to try and get the best hotel rates. This is a popular destination, especially on the east coast. Another piece of advice – try to make lunch or dinner reservations when you arrive in town. It’s not uncommon to wait over two hours to get seated.

If you and your family can’t find something to do here….well all hope might be lost!

great smoky mountains vacation with kids


Now of course there are many other destinations that are just as great as those listed above. Unfortunately we haven’t been to all the great destinations that America has to offer but this is a pretty good start.

What are some vacation ideas with kids that we didn’t mention?  Share your comments and experiences below for other families.

Have you cruised before? Check out other posts about cruising 20 Unexpected Costs of Cruising, 10 Best Reason to Cruise, 5 Tips to Consider before Cruising, 10 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Cruise, and 8 Reason to Cruise with Kids


  • Angie Surratt

    I'm the founder and publisher of My Family Guide. I'm a wife and mother of two. I've managed to visit all 50 states and travel to over 25 countries. Sharing my experiences, tip and tricks about my adventures.

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Not too far from Austin is the original Schlitterbaun water park that is magical! I spent a lot of time there as a kid in the summers. It’s well worth the short drive to spend the day playing in the water!


Not too far from Austin is the original Schlitterbaun water park that is magical! I spent a lot of time there as a kid in the summers. It’s well worth the short drive to spend the day playing in the water!


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