Best Places to Visit in USA for Families

Family vacations are the best way to create lifelong memories, bond with one another and discover new cultures, experiences and even food. And, when traveling as a family, it is important to plan the itinerary in advance to make the most of the trip, while ensuring that there is something for everyone during the vacation.

And, one country that can offer you a huge variety of experiences for all ages is the United States. This vast country sees differences in climate, terrain, culture, food, attire and more. But, how do you get to see the best that the US has to offer on a single trip? Here are some must visit destinations to help you out.

Atlanta, Georgia

One of the major attractions of Atlanta is its Georgia Aquarium, where kids can see gigantic whale sharks. Other than this, The World of Coca-Cola is an engaging and interesting site to see interactive exhibits. You can also consider taking your family to various themed tours at film sites, visit Fox Theatre, attend an art festival at Piedmont Park or have an Indie Art Experience. If you want this vacation to be educational for your kids, you can visit famous museums, such as High Museum of Art, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and Martin Luther King Jr, National Historic Site.  

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Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is packed with colorful beaches, amazing museums, amusement parks and theme parks. If you think you don’t belong to the “Muggle World,” the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the right place for you! You can also walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, meet celebrity sculptures at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, visit Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Craft and Folk Art Museum and gaze at the stars at The Broad. If you love collecting old records and music pieces, you shouldn’t miss the Amoeba, the largest independent record store in the US.


Many might say that this is a great destination for couples, especially those celebrating their honeymoon. However, with ample fun-filled activities on offer, Hawaii is one of the most attractive destinations for family vacations. You can take your kids for helicopter tours over the beautiful islands, or try snorkelling, whale watching, sightseeing and camping. There are plenty of activities for adults too, such as golfing, ziplining, hiking, sunset cruises, horseback tours and windsurfing. You can also pamper yourself with spa packages and go shopping at the local farms.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix has a lot more to offer than just a resort life. You can take your kids to the Desert Botanical Garden and evoke their curiosity in nature or visit the great Musical Instrument Museum, which displays more than 15,000 musical instruments from all around the world. You can make this trip informative and fun-filled by visiting the Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum. For an adventurous day, go hiking on Camelback Mountain, Bobby’s Rock Trail or the Cholla Trail. Make sure you carry lots of water, nuts and sunscreen for your adventure.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando is known for its great outdoor activities, including some amazing amusement and theme parks. If you and your family seek an adrenaline rush, you must visit Revolution Off Road or Gatorland, where you can choose to wrestle with alligators. Fancy a Broadway production? You can fill your hearts with amazing plays and performances at the Dr. Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts. Other than these, there is the fascinating Discovery Cove, Lake Eola Park and, not to forget, the enormous ICON Orlando. If your kids fancy astrology, the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex is a must visit.

Disneyland, California

Now, this is one destination that every family with children simply must visit. Filled with fun activities, rides and attractive stalls, Disneyland will surely be a memorable experience for you and your kids. You can watch incredible stage shows, music shows and stunning fireworks. You can be a part of the alluring parades, meet your favorite Disney characters and see the Tower of Terror. There are various iconic rides, such as The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World and Splash Mountain. Make sure you get your stomach tickled by them.

The Grand Canyon

Filled with beautiful trails, ridges and rock formations, the Grand Canyon is an ideal destination for spending some quiet family time in the lap of nature. Some famous trails here include Bright Angel Trail, Rim Trail and North Kaibab Trail. The Havasu Falls, with their beautiful crystal-clear water, is a must see. If you wish to add a pinch of adventure to your holiday, go rafting on the Colorado River. You can also consider taking a helicopter, air or balloon tour around the Grand Canyon. And, make sure your camera is fully charged because you will get ample scenic views to capture.

Washington, DC

With plenty of attractions and easy transportation facilities, Washington, DC is another perfect family vacation destination. You can take the kids to the historic Glen Echo Park, stroll along the Mount Vernon Trail, visit the Natural History Museum or explore the bounty of nature at Wheaton Regional Park. You can also consider taking the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour to see the major attractions in a hassle-free manner. Moreover, you can visit all the Smithsonian Museums without burning hole in your pocket. Don’t forget to take your kids to the famous International Spy Museum and let them wander into the future.

New York City

How can you visit the US and not see the Statue of Liberty? A trip to New York City is a must and while you are here, explore Central Park in a horse-driven carriage, take your princess to the American Girl Doll House, learn cool architectural facts at the Empire State Building or go ice-skating at Bryant Park or Rockefeller Plaza. Other interesting things that you can do with your family are watching a Broadway Show, looking at the dazzling lights in Times Square, grab a ticket for The Ride and spend the day at One World Observatory. One of the best ways to spend the evening is to walk or cycle on the Brooklyn Bridge.


One of the most renowned themed parks in the US is Kids Castle, in Doylestown. Other attractive destinations to visit with your family in Philadelphia are the Smith Memorial Playground, Philadelphia Magic Garden, Philadelphia Zoo and Diggerland USA. You can turn this vacation into an educational yet fun one by taking your kids to the various museums, such as Fireman’s Hall Museum, Mutter Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Franklin Institute. If you are interested in live shows and performances, you can spend an evening listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra. Know more about marine life by visiting Adventure Aquarium and watch sharks and penguins play.

San Diego

Another popular family vacation destination is San Diego. You can take your kids to watch cute pandas at the San Diego Zoo, go for a safari at this zoo, visit LEGOLAND, learn about penguins and dolphins at SEA WORLD or have a fun-filled day in the Aquatica San Diego Water Park. The famous museums around the city include the USS Midway Museum, Fleet Science Centre, San Diego Botanic Gardens, Natural History Museum, Model Railroad Museum, Air and Space Museum and Museum of Man. You can also take a look at the past by visiting the Old Town and experience American history and culture.

New Jersey

The list of must-see places is incomplete without mentioning New Jersey. This is one place where you will get your fill of arts and crafts at Pencilworks Studio, Art Around the Corner, Fire me Up! Studio, Glassworks Studio, Pink Elephant and Wheaton Arts Centre. New Jersey is great for enhancing creativity in your kids while they are away from school. You can also take them to the bead craft or pottery studio and spend some quality time with your family. To learn more about aquatic life, you can take them to Adventure Aquarium or Liberty Science Centre. For an adventurous day, you can go kayaking in Beaver Dams and Pine Barron’s Canoe or go do some bird watching on a sky balloon tour. Don’t forget to go for laser tag and paintball games while you are in New Jersey.


Chicago is another cool city with various attractive destinations for a family trip. With plenty of museums, craft breweries and restaurants, there’s a lot for everyone! You can visit LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Botanic Garden, Lincoln Park Zoo and Maggie Daley Park. To fire the children’s imagination, visit Kohl Children’s Museum and to introduce them to art and history, take them to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and DuSable Museum of African American History. Don’t forget to take them to the beach and relax on the sands.

If you are visiting the US for the first time, you may consider hiring the best local guide to help you plan your itinerary and discover cost-effective ways to travel locally. Make sure you know about some basic cultural norms and etiquette to avoid hurting any sentiments during your holiday. Most importantly, don’t forget to take your camera and bring back a lot of exciting memories.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.