I love to travel. And I think it’s absolutely true what they say, that “travel is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer”.
Some people assume that when you start a family, your days of adventure are in the past, and while it’s true that you must make slightly different choices, your adventures are often only just beginning. Traveling the world, or even exploring your own country, has a huge number of benefits, from experiencing different cultures and ways of life to learning about the history of the world – I can’t recommend enough, taking a break from your daily routine and creating magical memories as a family.
I’ve put together a list of some of the best family friendly destinations in the United States and what makes them unforgettable places to visit.
Las Vegas, Nevada
You might be surprised to see Sin City on this list. Vegas is better known for its real money poker tournaments at some of the world’s most renowned casinos and its adult nightlife than for family friendly activities, but the truth is, it’s a hugely diverse city with plenty to do.
The Adventuredome at Circus Circus is an indoor theme park with rides and attractions for all ages. The minigolf and rock climbing wall are particularly good if your kids are the active types. If you’ve got a good stomach for heights the High Roller Observation Wheel is a 550-foot-tall Ferris wheel with great views of the Las Vegas Strip as the neon lights begin to illuminate.
Visit the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage to see dolphins, white lions and other exotic animals before attending the free nightly spectacle of The Mirage Volcano erupting on the hour from 8pm. For more underwater antics, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a magical experience for kids (and adults of all ages), and no trip to Vegas would be complete without seeing the famous Bellagio Fountains water show.
Washington D.C. is a great city to visit with your family. It’s an educational trip that will give you a deep understanding of American history, with the Smithsonian Museums, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the National Mall all at your fingertips.
The Smithsonian Museums are a great way to learn about various topics from science to art to American history. The National Mall is also a fantastic walk where you can take in the many monuments and memorials that are spread throughout the area.
For kids in the mid-elementary grades, Planet World at the historic Franklin School is an immersive language experience that’s always a hit. Watch books come to life before your very eyes and discover how humans began to talk, before heading to Old Ebbitt Grill in Metropolitan Square for classic American fare and a great kids menu.
New York, New York
Youngsters often love visiting New York, especially for the first time, to see, in person, locations from their favorite movies. Taking a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a must and dive back into Times Square in Manhattan after sunset to see the billboards come to life.
You’re spoiled for choice with quality museums in the Big Apple: the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan are all engaging trips. You can also visit Central Park which has playgrounds, a zoo and a lake for boating.
Coney Island in the south of Brooklyn offers an amusement park, beach and an aquarium. And Broadway has a number of great shows for all the family. I can heartily recommend The Lion King, Wicked and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
San Diego, California
San Diego offers a perfect blend of outdoor activities and cultural experiences that make it ideal for families. The beautiful beaches and parks, such as La Jolla Cove and Balboa Park, offer plenty of space for kids to run around and play.
The 100 acre San Diego Zoo and Safari Park is home to over 600 species of animals and is consistently ranked as one of the best zoos in the world – if your little ones love nature, creepy crawlies or apex predators, it’s not to be missed. Additionally, the USS Midway Museum which is situated on an impressive aircraft carrier is a great way to learn about American history and the role of the military in our country.
There’s an endless list of exciting experiences to be had here in the United States and I’ve barely scratched the surface with the places featured here. When you’re planning your next family vacation, make sure you don’t overlook some of the magnificent times to be had here on your doorstep.