So you want to get the family out for a vacation? But, where are you going to take them? Sure, you could just go someplace warm, a place with a beach, a pool and room service. But, you’ve been thinking that you’d like your children to get a little bit more out of your family’s vacation. So, where are you going to take them?
Well, there are plenty of places throughout the United States and the rest of the world where you can take your children for a vacation (or even a day trip) that offer that extra wow factor. These are places that offer a good deal of fun, in some places a little history, and in most cases the opportunity to learn and grow. In fact, many of these places, while they’re sure to be enjoyed by the adults in your party, are best taken in by children, whose minds are still open to the mystery and wonder of the world.
So, pack your bags, load up the car, and come take a virtual trip to 29 places you have to take your children before they’re adults. Who knows? Maybe there are a few places on this list you haven’t visited yet yourself!
1. Disney World (Orlando, FL)
There are many who would consider a childhood without Disney World to be no childhood at all. So, take the kids and enjoy the looks on their faces as they meet all of their favorite Disney characters.
2. The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
There’s nothing else like it on the planet; it’s really as simple as that. Your kids might think it’s just a giant hole in the ground, but when they see it, they’ll realize it’s a whole lot more than that.
3. The Freedom Trail (Boston, MA)
You can bet that your kids will learn all about Paul Revere in school, so let them see where it all happened as you take a stroll through “The Hub”.
4. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, OH)
Hey hey, my my, rock and roll will never die. This destination is a treat for parents and kids alike, and paying it a visit will teach them (and you) to appreciate, in an entirely new way, rock & roll music and the artists who make it.
5. The Statue of Liberty (New York City)
Sitting in the Hudson and welcoming those who arrive to the United States, the Statue of Liberty is a landmark that every child should visit.
6. Redwood National Park (Crescent City, CA)
How big are the redwood trees? They’re huge. But, until you’ve seen them in person, you can’t fully appreciate their size. Your kids will be floored.
7. Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, FL)
What kid doesn’t dream of becoming an astronaut one day? At the Kennedy Space Center, your kids can learn all about space flight. Depending on when you go, you might even be able to witness a rocket launch!
8. Buckingham Palace (London, England)
Looking to do some travelling internationally? Then why not take your kids to see how royalty lives? Be sure to hang around long enough to see a changing of the guard.
9. San Diego Zoo (San Diego, CA)
It’s without a doubt one of the finest zoos in the world, and the beautiful San Diego weather simply can’t be beat. Your kids are sure to enjoy themselves, all while learning a few things along the way.
10. Yosemite National Park
Fictional home to Yogi Bear, this real-life national park is rich in natural wonders and is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the United States.
11. Sesame Place (Langhorne, PA)
This is one of those places you have to take your kids before they’ve outgrown Sesame Street, because seeing their faces when they meet Big Bird, Grover and Oscar the Grouch is priceless.
12. Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls, NY)
Kind of like the redwood trees in California, the scale of Niagara Falls is one of those things you simply need to see for yourself in order to appreciate it. Be sure to give your children that opportunity.
13. Washington D.C.
The White House, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian, the International Spy Museum – one could make a list of just the places in Washington D.C. that you need to take your kids.
14. Old Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA)
And, while you’re in the nation’s capital, why not take the drive down to Williamsburg, where your children can get a firsthand look at how Americans lived during colonial times, warts and all.
15. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Cooperstown, NY)
While perhaps flagging in popularity these days, baseball will forever be woven into the fabric of American life. This destination makes it clear why this is the case.
16. The Museum of Science (Boston, MA)
It’s important that children understand all of the science that makes their gadgets and gizmos work. No place illustrates this or captures young minds better than the Museum of Science in Boston.
17. Griffith Observatory (Los Angeles, CA)
Situated high up in the hills overlooking Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles, this landmark provides breathtaking views of the urban sprawl, showcasing just how big the world truly is. Plus, there are excellent shows in the planetarium to see!
18. The Mansions in Newport (Newport, RI)
“It’s just a house!” they’ll say. But once they set foot in the grand foyer of the Breakers, former home to the Vanderbilt railroad magnates, they’ll come to understand wealth and privilege in an entirely new way.
19. The Pyramids (Giza, Egypt)
You’ll need to get your passports in order, but the Pyramids are worth it. Your kids are sure to see them plenty of times in their textbooks, but nothing compares to seeing them with ones own eyes and walking in their shadows.
20. The Wright Brothers National Memorial (Kill Devil Hills, NC)
It may be hard for children to believe that there was once a time when there were no airplanes, let alone automated rovers on the surface of Mars. Teach them about the history of flight in the shade of this striking national memorial.
21. The USS Arizona Memorial (Pearl Harbor, HI)
Teach your children about Pearl Harbor and the history of World War II at this striking memorial that sits about the sunken USS Arizona.
22. Carlsbad Caverns (Carlsbad, NM)
There are plenty of caverns you can visit throughout the world, but there are few like Carlsbad Caverns. Just be sure to hold their hands when they turn the lights off!
23. Coney Island (Brooklyn, NY)
There was once a time when Disney World didn’t exist, but there was Coney Island. Steeped in history, this landmark attraction in Brooklyn is as strange as it is entertaining. Why not stop by for the annual hot dog eating contest on the 4th of July?
24. The Corn Palace (Mitchell, SD)
They say that there’s no much else to see in the middle of the country other than corn. So, why not pay a visit to the Corn Palace, which is entirely built out of, you guessed it, corn.
25. The Alamo (San Antonio, TX)
Remember The Alamo! At this historic location, you can teach your children about westward expansion and the price that was paid to build the country they live in today.
26. Gettysburg National Military Park (Gettysburg, PA)
The reverberations of the Civil War have been felt throughout the history of the United States, and this national park pays tribute to that war’s most infamous battle.
27. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
The MET is home to one of the most stunning art collections in the world. Even if your kids think museums are boring, they’re sure to find works of art here that capture their imaginations.
28. Lexington & Concord (Lexington, MA)
As the famous site of “the shot heard round the world”, this historic locations brings the origins of the Revolutionary War to life.
29. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Orlando, FL)
Harry Potter is a favorite of children and parents alike, and this amusement park brings those classic books of children’s literature (and films) to life.