16 Kid-Friendly Vacation Destinations for the Best Summer Ever

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Bucket List Worthy  

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When the bell finally rings on that last day of school, kids across the country will be searching for something to do. Beat the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ blues of those long summer days with an unforgettable summer vacation. These kid-friendly destinations — near and far — are guaranteed to make memories that will last well beyond the first day of school in fall.

#1. Stay in a Treehouse, Takilma, Oregon

Instead of building a treehouse this summer, plan a vacation to go stay in one. The Out ‘n’ About Treesort features 14 treehouses that are accessed by a variety of ladders, bridges, stairs and ropes. Other fun activities at the Treesort include zip lines, ropes courses, rafting and a wide variety of family-friendly outdoor excursions.

Photo credit: Nicolas Boullosa
Photo credit: Nicolas Boullosa

#2. Atlantis Resort and Casino, Paradise Island, Bahamas

The Atlantis Resort and Casino is one of the best resorts in the world for kids and adults to run wild. This massive tropical resort features 11 pools, seven water slides, 38 restaurants, miles of private beach and the world-famous Mayan Temple’s Leap of Faith slide, which drops 60 feet into a tunnel submerged in one of Atlantis’ shark and sea creature-filled lagoons.

Beach of Atlantis the Palm hotel, Dubai, UAE

#3. Explore the City, Berlin, Germany

Pack your bags and head to one of Europe’s most kid-friendly cities — Berlin. Rent bikes for the whole family and tour the city on two wheels, or head to Germany’s very first zoo at feeding time to admire the nearly 18,000 animals that call the Zoological Garden home. With its massive playgrounds, museums, aquariums and tons of other kid-friendly sites, your entire family is guaranteed to fall in love with this capital city.

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#4. Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

The Tanque Verde Ranch resort is more than just a cowboy and cowgirl experience for kids, it’s a relaxing, upscale resort for adults too. With a variety of kids programs featuring arts and crafts as well as horseback riding, swimming and tennis lessons, you can spend a day at the spa, relaxing by the pool or out for a hike with the adults knowing that your kids are having a great time too.

Photo credit: Patrick
Photo credit: Patrick

#5. Niagara Falls, Niagara, Ontario

Niagara Falls is one of those summer vacation destinations your family can visit every year yet experience something new every time. Walk or drive across the border to Niagara Falls State Park in New York and hop aboard the soggy Maid of the Mist boat or explore the falls up close on the Cave of the Winds tour. The Niagara Scenic Trolley, Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, Niagara Aquarium and a variety of other park features are available for visitors who opt to stay dry.

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#6. Hit the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida

While your kids may be begging for a trip to Disney World in Orlando this summer, there’s a different Florida destination that offers just as much fun for you as it does for your kids. St. Augustine’s breathtaking beaches can easily fill long summer days with fun in the sand and sea, but the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve and the town’s historic district will keep everyone entertained when you’ve had a little too much sun.

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#7. Take in the Culture, Barcelona, Spain

Families who visit Barcelona often find that the city is far more kid-friendly than they imagined. From the city’s Magic Fountains to the Tibidabo Amusement Park, cable-car rides, the Barcelona Aquarium and simply majestic walks through the Gothic quarter, family-friendly excitement is spread throughout the city.

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#8. Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Virginia

When you’re looking for a kid-friendly resort that offers non-stop fun from the moment you check in to the day you check out, there’s no place better than Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. Opt for the budget-friendly Ultimate Family Fun package and your whole family will receive access to all of the resort’s pools and outdoor activities (including stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking) as well as tickets and shuttles to Bush Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA and Colonial Williamsburg.

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#9. Get Outside, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

There’s no better place to let your kids indulge in the excitement of the outdoors than the beaches, mountains and trails of Vancouver Island. With family-friendly outdoor activities ranging from horseback riding and hiking to bumper boats, skate parks, zip lines, corn mazes and tons more, you’ll never hear complaints about boredom on Vancouver Island.

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#10. Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Cape Cod, Massachusettes

The Wequassett Resort and Golf Club is an independently owned resort Cape Cod’s Pleasant Bay that caters as much to kids as it does adults. The resort’s Children’s Center offers exciting activities for kids ages 2 to 12. With a huge outdoor playground as well as an aquatic playground and fun activities like sailing, swimming and tennis lessons, parents can spend some time in the spa, on the golf course or enjoying a romantic dinner without a worry.

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#11. Live the Fairytales, Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a budget-friendly European city with a historical charm that appeals to kids and adults alike. Prague’s fairytale-like architecture, castle tours, world-famous Astronomical Clock, statues and bright city lights make for a fascinating combination of old and new that’s exciting for everyone — young and old.

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#12. Cowboy Up, Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is the perfect combination of easy-going country life and city excitement, and this once podunk little town is now known as the ideal family-friendly city. With exciting activities for the whole family like floating the Elbow River in an inflatable boat, exploring the Bow Habitat Station, picnicking in one of Calgary’s gorgeous public parks or attending the world-famous Calgary Stampede, you’re bound to make lasting memories in Calgary.

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#13. Circus Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada

Thought Las Vegas was a no-kids-allowed kind of town? Believe it or not, Sin City is actually overflowing with thrilling attractions for the entire family. Circus Circus is a family-friendly Las Vegas resort featuring daily live entertainment, a massive carnival with 200 carnival and arcade games and the unforgettable Adventure Dome indoor theme park. And exclusively for the parents, Circus Circus offers four full-size Las Vegas casinos open 24 hours a day.

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#14. Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California

This world-famous San Diego hotel has been named the west coast’s best beach resort for a number of reasons. Breathtaking private beaches, convenient access to downtown San Diego and a seaside bar are some of the attractions for adults, but kids love Hotel del Coronado as much as their parents. With special accommodations for kids and teens including the Kidtopia play room, a spa and salon just for teens and available surf lessons, your kids will be begging to return to this San Diego staple every year.

Photo credit: SD Dirk
Photo credit: SD Dirk

#15. Indulge in French Culture, Quebec City, Quebec

You don’t have to book plane tickets halfway around the world to get a taste of true European culture. Quebec City’s picturesque cathedrals, cobblestone streets and tasty cafes will transport you to France — but much closer to home. Your whole family will enjoy the artists performing on the street in Quartier Petit-Champlain as well as the city’s countless other indoor and outdoor venues including the Aquarium du Quebec and the adventurous Canyon Sainte-Anne just 30 minutes from the city.

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#16. Aulani Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

The Aulani Resort and Spa on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is the only Disney resort that’s not linked to a theme park. This stunning resort offers all of the frills that adults love coupled with white sand beaches, gentle ocean waters and nine separate swimming pools including a private reef for snorkeling. Aulani is the ultimate kid-friendly vacation destination offering so many amenities you may want to plan a two-week stay to enjoy them all.

Photo credit: Yasa_
Photo credit: Yasa_

 

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a freelance writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves.

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