If you and your kids are always looking for the next incredible hike, the next gorgeous swimming hole, or the next cool camping experience, look no further. These 20 vacation destinations are perfect for families that love to spend time outdoors, explore nature, and find adventure.
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
When it comes to adventure destinations, the Grand Canyon tops the list. Most people know that you can go hiking around the Grand Canyon, but you can also do a variety of other exciting activities, including biking, camping, rafting, taking a helicopter tour, and riding a mule!
2. Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai, nicknamed “the Garden Isle,” is known for its lush rainforest and gorgeous views. Kauai has gorgeous hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and amazing rivers. This is the perfect place to go if you want to explore pristine beaches, go kayaking through the rivers, go zip-lining through the forest, and soak up the stunning landscape.
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone is a perfect family vacation destination. Kids and adults alike will love checking out the dramatic canyons, beautiful hot springs, and one-of-a-kind geysers. Parents will adore the stunning vistas, while kids can participate in junior ranger programs. Plus, you can do all sorts of other activities, including camping, fishing, hiking, boating, biking, and horseback riding.
4. Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
You don’t have to go out West to enjoy the great outdoors! Nantucket, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts, is home to beautiful beaches, small-town charm, and delicious cuisine. While you’re there, you should definitely plan to spend some time at the Nantucket Whaling Museum (where you can see a skeleton of a 46-foot whale!), as well as the Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum. And make sure to rent a bike and go explore all the incredible lighthouses!
5. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, is full of exciting things to do. In addition to the usual camping, hiking, and backpacking, you can also go on guided tours, go fishing, go horseback riding, and stargaze. Yosemite is also known for its incredible rock climbing.
6. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park is a great vacation destination for those looking for outdoor adventure. Not only can you go camping, hiking, birdwatching, and exploring, you can also do an auto-tour, complete a GPS adventure, and visit a fossil prep lab.
7. Big Sur, California
Known for its hiking, camping, and beachcombing, Big Sur also has a number of other fun activities you can take part in. Check out Pfeiffer Keyhole Rock at Pfeiffer Beach, take photos of the Bixby Creek Bridge, and soak in the beauty of McWay Falls.
8. Denali National Park And Preserve, Alaska
Although Denali is open year-round, it’s best to go in the summer, when you don’t have to deal with extreme weather. Denali has six campgrounds, which makes it ideal for camping and backpacking. While there, you can explore the Savage River, search for wildlife, and explore the tallest mountain in North America.
9. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Located in central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is a park like none other. It’s home to Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. While there, you can go on guided tours of the mysterious caves and even check out the Diamond Caverns. There’s also Dinosaur World, which is a kid-friendly attraction that features lifesize replicas of dinosaurs!
10. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, straddling the border of California and Nevada, is located among the Sierra Nevada mountains. The area is known for its incredible beaches and beautiful ski resorts, so make sure to choose your season wisely! Lake Tahoe is also a great place to go kayaking and canoeing. If you don’t want to hike, but still want to see the gorgeous views, check out the aerial tram and heavenly gondola.
11. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is truly gorgeous. Located in Southwest Utah, Zion National Park is known for its steep red cliffs. While visiting, you should make a point to visit the Narrows, the Emerald Pools, and Angels Landing.
12. Glacier National Park, Montana
Like other national parks, Glacier National Park is known for its hiking, camping, boating, biking, and fishing. What makes this park special is its incredible glacier-carved peaks and valleys. While there, you have to drive the Going-to-the-Sun road, take the Red Bus tour, spend time on one of the lakes, and check out Goose Island.
13. Telluride, Colorado
Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Telluride is a former Victorian mining town. Nowadays, it’s home to some great ski and golf resorts. You can’t go to Telluride without visiting Bridal Veil Falls, Town Park, or Bear Creek Trail.
14. The Adirondacks, New York
There are tons of things to do in the Adirondacks. From boat tours to camping to visiting vineyards/breweries to ropes courses, the Adirondacks truly have something for everyone. Make sure to check out the treetop Wild Walk, Whiteface Mountain, Lake George, and the Ausable Chasm.
15. Sedona, Arizona
If you go to Sedona, Arizona, there are a few things you absolutely have to do: visit Red Rock State Park, hike the Cathedral Rock Trail, visit The Vortexes, and go on a Jeep tour! The whole family will have a great time in this gorgeous destination.
16. White Mountains, New Hampshire
The White Mountains of New Hampshire are the most rugged mountains in New England. This area offers tons of fun activities for people of all ages. From zip-lining through the trees, to riding scenic railroads, to checking out the Flume Gorge, a trip to the White Mountains will be fun for the whole family.
17. Niagara Falls, New York
This list truly wouldn’t be complete without Niagara Falls. While most people go just to check out the waterfall, there are also great areas to walk and hike nearby. Plus, you can go directly into the falls on the Maid of the Mist. And make sure to take a quick trip over to the Canadian side — that’s where you can get the best view!
18. Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Although some people know the Poconos for their skiing and winter activities, the Pocono Mountains have much more to offer. In the summer, you can visit adventure parks, go river rafting, and check out waterfalls. In the fall, you can drive through the forest as the trees change colors.
Whether or not you are able to travel this summer, you can still find ways to adventure with your family. Visit local parks and campgrounds, find swimming holes or rivers nearby, and make sure to enjoy one another’s company!