Tonya Topel, Travel

Best Family Vacation Destinations

As most parts of the Northeast are emerging from winter and into spring, families have shifted into planning for summer vacations. To help ease the dilemma of spending hours of planning and researching the top spots for taking the family, the top five U.S. vacations spots have been compiled below.

Sedona, Arizona

For the active family looking to enjoy amazing scenery: Sedona, Arizona ranks high for outdoor enthusiasts, while also providing fun activities for children. Families with younger children can explore the junior ranger programs to help educate children on nature. When you’re ready to take a break from long days out on the hiking trails, experience nature by participating in a guided Jeep tour.

TIP: Make the trip interactive and have your older children participate in the Sedona photo challenge!

New York City

For the exciting, big-city buzz, check out New York City. New York City offers a little bit of everything for everyone in your family. Even if you have been before, your biggest challenge will be trying to fit everything you want to do in during your stay. From museums, to the World Trade Center Memorial, NYC provides an endless amount of things to do and every possible food option. If you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with dollar-slice pizza!

TIP: Plan your “must dos” before arriving and factor in transportation.

Winona Lake, Indiana

If a relaxing lakefront getaway is what you’re looking for, spend a weekend in Winona Lake, Indiana. A picturesque area that is great for a family on a budget, Winona Lake offers a quiet, small town feel, while providing families with shopping, great restaurants, biking trails, and family fun on the dozens of lakes.

You can take advantage of bike rentals, stand-up-paddle boards, and even wakeboarding if you’re feeling adventurous. In the evening, you can unwind at Cerulean Restaurant, a top-rated dining experience and beer garden.

TIP: To get the full lakefront experience, check out AirBnb for great rental options.

San Diego, California

If the West Coast is more your style, your family is bound to have a great time in San Diego, California. With nearly perfect weather, amazing views, and great hiking options, San Diego provides families with variety and fun. Families can easily spend a full day at the San Diego Zoo, and after you have spent the day walking around checking out the animals, you can relax in Balboa Park by taking in the scenery and beautiful architecture.

TIP: Make sure to try a mission style burrito.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

If the ocean and seashell hunting is calling your name, the Outer Banks in North Carolina is hard to pass up. The Outer Banks ranks #6 on the U.S. News list of best affordable vacations. If you go the beach house rental option, you can enjoy amazing views and save money by cooking meals at home. Due to the popularity in the summer, traffic can get pretty backed up on Saturdays, so if you’re schedule is flexible, try to plan your trip around coming in and leaving during mid-week.

TIP: Don’t let a bad sunscreen early in your trip ruin a great vacation!

Tonya Topel is an avid traveler and licensed travel agent located in Kansas City, MO. Check more of her travel tips or follow her on Twitter!

Originally published at on March 30, 2018.


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