10 Kid-Friendly Road Trip Destinations
Planning the best summer family vacation takes a lot of research. Check out our list of the best kid-friendly road trip destinations in the U.S.
June 1, 2022
With summer nearing, it’s time to plan your best summer family vacation. Road trips are a great way to expose your child to the country they live in and to have some affordable fun as a family.
The key to planning a successful road trip with kids is to make sure all that time they spend in the car is worth it. To make your planning easier, we researched the ten best places to center your next road trip around. All of which have such fun activities, your kids won’t mind spending a few hours in the car to get there.
When it comes to keeping your finances in check during a road trip, it’s important to budget in advance for expenses such as lodgings, activities, food and gas. For each location, we’re going to share a few tips on how you can save on your trip.
Let’s take a look at some of the best kid-friendly road trip destinations in the U.S.
1. Orlando, Florida
Highlights: Between Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, there is no shortage of family fun waiting for you in the Sunshine State. Check out the official Orlando tourism site for more fun activity ideas.
Ways to save: As convenient as it is to book a hotel room located on theme park property, you’ll pay a premium to be so close to the parks. Consider a vacation rental with a kitchen instead. You may save considerably on lodging costs and have the option to make your own food instead of buying overpriced snacks in the parks.
Why it’s great for kids: Many kids love theme parks, firework shows, parades and all of the fun activities that these famous theme parks can offer in one convenient place.
2. Orange County, California
Highlights: Driving is the best way to get around Southern California, which makes it a great road-trip destination. From beaches to mountains to Hollywood, you can see it all after a few hours in the car. You can learn more about everything Orange County has to offer here!
Ways to save: Enjoy free (or almost free) activities like sunny beach days, hikes and sightseeing in Los Angeles.
Why it’s great for kids: Disneyland is a popular destination for families, beaches are plentiful and there are lots of ocean-related activities to stay busy with.
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
Highlights: Exciting pools and water slides, bright lights, and family-friendly dining awaits in Las Vegas.
Ways to save: The hotel prices in Las Vegas can shoot up as soon as a conference or other major event rolls into town. Book early to lock in lower prices and avoid planning a trip during busier times of year.
Why it’s great for kids: At first glance, Las Vegas might seem like an adult-only hangout, but over the years Las Vegas has added roller coasters, water slides, and a slew of other fun activities for kids to enjoy.
4. The Grand Canyon
Highlights: Kids will love seeing in real life this awe-inspiring national park that they may have learned all about in school. The National Park Service shares all the important details you need to plan your trip on their website.
Ways to save: Bring your tent and camp instead of renting a hotel room to save some major cash on this trip.
Why it’s great for kids: Why not extend your Las Vegas road trip and head on over to the Grand Canyon (four and a half hours by car) for some fresh air and nature after indulging in Las Vegas? Kids will love to take in the impressive sites.
5. Nashville, Tennessee
Highlights: Stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in Nashville and then hop in the car the next day for a road trip to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge or to Graceland in Memphis for even more country music fun. Learn more about the adventures Nashville has in store here.
Ways to save: If you want to tackle a lot of different activities, see if you can get discounts by buying city passes that bundle together tickets for multiple attractions at a discount.
Why it’s great for kids: From yummy barbecue to great music to fun days at Dollywood, you can find activities to please the little ones and parents in Nashville and nearby cities.
6. Bloomington, Minnesota
Highlights: What’s waiting for families in Bloomington, Minnesota? The Mall of America of course!
Ways to save: The key to not overspending at the Mall of America — where there will be an endless amount of spending temptation — is to set a budget in advance and stick to it.
Why it’s great for kids: From roller coasters to zip lines to themed restaurants, kids will love checking out this massive mall that is so much more fun than the malls they are used to going to.
7. Washington, D.C.
Highlights: Between the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian museums and zoo, there is a lot of fun to be had in this seemingly serious city. The official tourism site of Washington, D.C. will walk you through all of the attractions you need to see.
Ways to save: Hotels in D.C. can be pricey, so book early or consider looking for a more family-friendly vacation rental. Don’t forget to visit the Smithsonian's National Zoo which is free to enter.
Why it’s great for kids: This is a perfect trip for the kids who just learned all about American history in school. Giving them a chance to conceptualize a lot of the history they learned will help inspire a love of learning and will create some great family memories.
8. Key West, Florida
Highlights: If your family prefers beaches to theme parks, skip Orlando and head straight to Key West for some fun in the sun.
Ways to save: This spot can get really expensive in the peak of tourist season, so consider going off season when the tourists have all gone home.
Why it’s great for kids: Key West isn’t short on sandy shores perfect for building castles, and fun aquatic activities like snorkeling.
9. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Highlights: Travelers craving a beach vacation will love that they can find what they’re looking for in Myrtle Beach. Check out this vacation guide to Myrtle Beach for ideas on how to pass the time!
Ways to save: There are plenty of pricey and memorable activities to choose from, so mixing those outings in with inexpensive beach days will help keep the costs of this trip down.
Why it’s great for kids: Similar to locations like Orlando, Myrtle Beach keeps family fun front of mind by offering a slew of activities like mini golf, medieval times-inspired dinners and laser tag.
10. Glacier National Park, Montana
Highlights: Stunning nature and plenty of wildlife to spot. Make sure you check out the National Park Service's guide to this park before packing up your car.
Ways to save: Staying in a hotel after a long day of hiking is very tempting, but camping will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on this trip.
Why it’s great for kids: Your little ones will love spending day after day in the great outdoors with you, taking in all of the stunning nature and wildlife that Glacier National Park has to offer.
Now that you know what some of the best summer family vacation spots are, it’s time to hit the open road! Are you waiting to pay down credit card debt before you can take your next family vacation? Tally† can help.
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