Our Expert Guide to the Best Family Trips for Every Age & Stage


Tropical beach vacations, dude ranches, farm stays and theme parks—these amazing options and more make choosing the best vacation option for your family a tough decision (especially after forgoing family vacations for so many months). Leave the planning to our expert travel editors as we’ve got recommendations for the best trips to take with kids of every age. Scroll through and be inspired!

Best Vacations for Babies

photo: iStock

All-Inclusive Resorts with Baby Care

Traveling with an infant might not be at the top of your list for ideal vacations but who needs a vacation more than new parents? Many all-inclusive resorts know that parents just want to relax and they offer baby care in your room or onsite so that you can relax by the pool, enjoy a spa treatment or check out the buffet.

Some options we love: 

Read more about baby-friendly resorts here

Best Vacations for Families with Toddlers

photo: Disneyland Resort

Disneyland and Disney World

While it might seem like toddlers are a little on the young side for Disney vacations, there's something that's so magical about seeing this age when they meet their favorite characters like Cinderella and Mickey Mouse. If you can plan a Disney visit before your little one turns three you'll save big as kids under age three get in free. We've got loads of other tips to save your some money at Disney here

photo: iStock

Bring the Grandparents Along

There's nothing like a second set of hands that makes a toddler vacation more relaxing for everyone involved. We love traveling with toddlers and grandparents as simple things like beach days and walks are enjoyable for both of those ages. We've got lots of recs for the best destinations for multi-generational travel so check them out to see if one piques your interest. 

photo: Airbnb

Rent an Airbnb

Having a home base where you can cook meals and relax can be key when you are traveling with little ones who need naps. Airbnbs are a great option for families traveling with toddlers as it is much easier to get little ones to sleep when they can have their own space and you don't have to worry about waking them in a small hotel room. Check out this list of our favorite Airbnbs in every state as many of them come with cribs, high chairs and other toddler-friendly amenities. 

Best Vacations for Families with Preschool-Aged Kids

photo: Jillian G. via yelp

Destination Dinosaur

This age is typically when peak dino obsession hits so we love the idea of planning a trip totally devoted to dinosaurs. Pack your pint-sized paleontologists in the car and head out on a road trip to visit Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, or hit up the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. We've got a huge list of our favorite spots for dinosaur lovers, so check it out! 

photo: Kate Loweth

Travel by Train

How about a vacation where getting there is half the fun? Train vacations can be fun at this age because the kids will love spotting all the sights out the window as you go. Get the full scoop on our favorite train vacations and book your next family trip on the rails. 

If staying the night in a train caboose is more your speed, we've got you covered there as well. There are loads of train cars you can sleep in from a Northern California resort that's full of caboose rentals to a bed and breakfast in Minnesota where you can bunk down in a turn-of-the-century railway car. 

photo: Shannan Rouss

Family Farm Stay

Little ones will love a farm stay vacation because they can collect eggs, feed goats, pick veggies and get as dirty as they'd like. Parents will enjoy them too as they are already used to waking up with the roosters. 

Aloha from the Aulani Resort

If a Hawaii family vacation is on your family wish list, consider making the Aulani Resort your destination. There are so many reasons why an Aulani vacation is epic from the family spa treatments to the interactive luau to the Disney magic that you'll find throughout the resort. With resort amenities like in-unit washers and dryers and pack n' plays in the closet, you'll have everything your family needs for a relaxing stay. 

photo: LEGOLAND®

Make Your Way to LEGOLAND

This really is the most perfect age for a visit to LEGOLAND. You'll have some of the amusement park rides on a smaller scale for the kids to tackle, plus you can go when the big kids are still in school to avoid the crowds. Check out all our LEGOLAND tips here

Best Vacations for Families with Grade Schoolers

photo: iStock

Hit the Road

Once kids have passed the napping stage they are prime candidates for a family road trip. They can typically tolerate longer drives without having to make millions of pit stops and they actually enjoy the journey itself. Download a new podcast, stock up on snacks and you'll be on your way to some major fun. 

photo: South Dakota Department of Tourism

Educational Trips FTW

Kids in school love to learn. Build on that enthusiasm by planning your next family vacation to include spots that will make your kids smarter from historical monuments to places to learn all about fossils to observatories where you can learn about what's beyond our atmosphere. 

photo: Kate Loweth

Visit a National Park

There are so many great national parks in the U.S. that you'll want to visit as many as you can while the kids are still young (and willing). Grade schoolers will love learning about the history in these parks and they have the energy to go on decently-long hikes as long as you bring enough snacks. If you've got a fourth grader, your whole family can get a free pass to all the national parks through the Every Kid Outdoors program.

photo: iStock

RV Camping FTW

While many families with babies and toddlers are brave enough to attempt the RV road trip, we think the grade school age is the best time to try it out. Kids are more willing to sit for longer periods of time and will actually enjoy the RV camping experience. This age is also prime time to try out a camper van because it's easier to share a smaller space with small kids instead of stinky teens. 

photo: Great Wolf Lodge

All Day at the Waterpark

This is the perfect age to book a family vacation at a waterpark hotel like Great Wolf Lodge. Kids will love the character encounters and there are tons of activities to keep the kids busy from storytimes to craft activities. Themed rooms will totally delight them and there are waterslides for every level of bravery. 

photo: Jeff Curtes/Squaw Valley

Make It a Ski Vacation

If you haven't taken your kids on a ski resort vacation, this is the time to do it. Grade schoolers can join group lessons to get the feel of the bunny slopes before they head out on more difficult terrain. You don't have to worry about leaving them for the day when they are with all their new friends! 

Trips to Take with Middle Schooler and Tweens

photo: Legacy Museum

Learn about Race

While it's essential to talk to kids about race at every age, middle schoolers can really understand the importance of the civil rights movement and how to respectfully explore other cultures. Plan a family road trip that includes stops where you can all learn a little bit about race in America. You'll be amazed at what important discussions these places bring to your family. 

photo: Juan Nino on Unsplash

Explore Your Home State

Middle schoolers have already completed their year of state history so they can likely school you in all that is important in your state. A family road trip is a fun way to delve further into your home state's history with a visit to the state capital and other historic spots along the way. 

Trips That Teach About Native American History

Whether you are planning a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian or to one of the other historical sites across the U.S., middle schoolers (and parents) can learn a lot about our nation's first people through presentations, artwork and documents. Spend some time studying the important indigenous people in our nation's history as part of your next family vacation. 

photo: Kate Loweth

Go International

Middle schoolers will love the adventure that comes with an international trip and there are tons of options for exploring family-friendly international cities. Learn about a new culture, try some local food and soak in all that the country has to offer. Bonus: they are old enough to carry their own luggage. 

photo: Giant Dipper

Big Roller Coasters Are Fair Game

Once they pass the height requirements, middle schoolers are at the prime age for a big coaster amusement park trip. The question is, are YOU ready? 

photo: Kate Loweth

Yee-Haw for the Dude Ranch Vacation

We love a dude ranch vacation for all kids but especially those tweens. They'll be old enough for longer trail rides and will have the focus that goes along with activities like skeet shooting and fly fishing. 

The Best Trips to Take with Teens

photo: Wendy Altschuler

Make It an Adventure Trip

White water rafting, ziplining, canyoneering and surfing—these adventure trips are perfect for families with teens as they'll love the thrill that comes along with new experiences. 

photo: free-photos via Pixabay

Go Big City or Go Home

While the business of the big city can be terrifying with little ones in tow, teens can totally handle the crowds, the noise and the traffic that comes along with a big city trip. They can also deal with the massive amount of walking that comes with a big city trip and can buy souvenirs with their own money. Win! 

photo: Dennis MInty/Adventure Canada

Hit the High Seas on a Family Cruise

Teens will love the freedom that a cruise offers as there are tons of ship-wide experiences that they can enjoy without parents coming along. Most large cruise lines offer a teen club where kids can hang out and tracking bands so you can find your crew when you need to. Even more fun for teens is an adventure cruise that combines shipboard entertainment with high adrenaline exploration on the shore. 

Take in the Beauty of Alaska

The epic beauty of Alaska is something that teens will especially appreciate. Fishing experiences, dogsledding treks and hiking for days are high on the list of what Alaska has to offer. Plus, teens can really understand what a big world we live in when they see the immenseness that is our 49th state. 

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