Looking for the perfect family vacation destination? A place that lets you relax, unwind, reconnect with your loved ones, and make memories that last a lifetime? Well, our country has a wealth of locations that offer just the right combination of nightlife, attractions, accommodations, and activities for the perfect family vacation. Here are five:
The Smoky Mountains
Few destinations offer the mix of family activities, incredible scenery, and world-class lodgings as Gatlinburg, Tennessee and nearby Pigeon Forge. Situated at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park – America’s favorite national park – Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge host multiple attractions including the Dollywood theme park, mountain coasters, lofts and ziplines, tubing, restaurants and funky museums, and year-round family themed festivals and events. With nightly family-friendly comedy, magic, and music shows, an evening on the town in Gatlinburg means no sitter needed.
The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area has a wide variety of lodgings including the many hundreds of luxury cabins nestled into the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg cabins come in sizes from one to twenty bedrooms and offer just the right amount of room for family time together and private time as well. Cuddle by the fire, stargaze on the porch or relax in the hot tub while the kids keep busy in the game room. Most cabins come with fireplaces, hot tubs, fully-equipped gourmet kitchens, multiple televisions, pool table, arcade games and WiFi Internet. All cabins come with great scenery and views of the Smoky Mountains.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The largest concentration of indoor and outdoor water parks on earth earned Wisconsin Dells the title of “Waterpark Capital of the World.” Water parks aside, Wisconsin Dells has plenty of other attractions that make it a great family vacation destination. If you prefer to stay dry on your trip, Mount Olympus Theme Park, Timber Falls Adventure Park, and Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park offer more traditional theme-park fun. There are also several go-kart tracks, three different zip line tours, horseback riding, and lots of miniature golf to keep the family busy for even the longest vacation. For nighttime fun, area theaters host all sorts of family-oriented entertainment. Get up on stage and compete against your friends and family at Dell’s Game Show & Comedy Club. Enjoy a 90-minute magic show with the kids at the Rick Wilcox Theater. Dell’s Lumberjack Show offers a mix of traditional lumberjack competitions and extreme sports that the whole family will get a kick out of.
Lots of outdoor activities, a wide range of attractions, and nightly performances by some of the world’s best Country Music Stars make Branson, Missouri, a great place to vacation with the family. Outdoor fun in Branson includes horseback riding, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, zip-lining, canoeing, and rock climbing. Silver Dollar City, a theme park of the 1880s, boasts the world’s steepest, tallest, and fastest spinning roller coaster called Time Traveler. Other Branson attractions include Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Branson’s Promised Land Zoo, Bigfoot Fun Park, lots of miniature golf, several go-kart tracks, and Branson Mountain Adventure Park – home of the Runaway Mountain Coaster.
Along with world-class Country Music entertainment, Branson also features a wide variety of family-oriented dinner shows. Jecobie Roberts mixes hypnosis and comedy in the Comedy Hypnosis Dinner Show. The Always Country, Definitely Gospel show blends gospel with country music through the vocals of Faith’s Journey. The world’s most visited dinner attraction – Dolly Parton’s Stampede – is a “don’t miss” Branson attraction.
A total of fourteen amusement parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, make Orlando, Florida, a perfect family vacation destination. Disney World alone has four main parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom – and two water parks – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Not quite as large, but almost as popular, Universal Studios draws millions of visitors every year as well. Part theme park and part aquarium, SeaWorld Orlando features a mix of water rides, aquatic shows, and themed areas like Sesame Street Land. Along with Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, the Orlando area also has a variety of other attractions. The biblical museum and theme park – The Holy Land Experience – for example, brings the Bible to life with behind the scenes tours, shows, and exhibits. The Orlando Science Center houses lots of hands-on exhibits, including a planetarium, as well as an Imax 3D theatre.
Kid-friendly museums, lots of sightseeing tours, and a world-class zoo make our nation’s capital an excellent family vacation destination. Getting around Washington, DC is fun and easy thanks to hop-on-hop-off tour buses. Tours stop at Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, the Capitol Building, and most other major attractions. The attraction-rich Washington Mall features eight major historical monuments, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials. When your feet get achy, or the kids get cranky, take a cruise on the Potomac. Several companies operate tours along the river that provide a unique view of our nation’s capital. Washington DC also hosts the sprawling Smithsonian Institution. More than a museum, the Smithsonian includes the National Museum of American History, a planetarium, the family-friendly National Air and Space Museum, and the National Zoo.