Family Fun: The Top 10 Kid-Friendly Destinations in 2024

Orlando, Florida

With four major theme parks in the area, Orlando bills itself as the theme park capital of the world.​ Because those parks are always competing for the top spot in travelers hearts (and their wallets), there’s always something new to do.​

Disney is nearing the completion of Epcot’s multiyear makeover with the recent opening of Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana and the debut of an all-new nighttime spectacular called Luminous The Symphony of Us.​

In 2024, the focus will shift to Magic Kingdom, with the opening of Tianas Bayou Adventure. The attraction is expected to open in late 2024.​ Perhaps more important than any new attraction, beginning Jan.​ 9, 2024, a Disney World visit will feel much like it did before the COVID-19 pandemic.​ This date marks the end of theme park reservations and 2 p.​m.​ park-hopping restrictions , as well as the return of the Disney Dining Plan .​

Oahu, Hawaii

From swimming in the jewel-toned waters of the Pacific Ocean to hiking through lush green landscapes and experiencing Hawaii’s rich history and time-honored traditions, Oahu has so much to offer families in search of a tropical beach vacation.​

You are likely to stay at a resort with beach access, so let’s explore some of Oahu’s top attractions off the beach. If your kids are up for a hike, they’ll be rewarded with picture-perfect views and a peek into Hawaii’s military history on the Diamond Head State Monument . There is a small entry fee of $5 per person (free for Hawaii residents and children ages 3 and under).​

About 30 minutes away by car, you can visit Pearl Harbor .​ Here, you can visit the Pearl Harbor memorials, explore a large collection of aircraft in the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, discover the USS Bowfin Submarine and so much more.​ Guided tours and individual ticket packages are available.​

With six Jurassic Park films released in the past 30 years, your kids are likely as big fans of the franchise as you are.​ At Kualoa Ranch , you can visit some of the real-life filming locations from these films, along with other popular movies like Kong: Skull Island and 50 First Dates.​

If you are a Disney family through and through, there’s no better place to stay than Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa .​ You can spend your days swimming in the pool, snorkeling in the hotel’s private lagoon and playing on the beach or check out the Disney offerings like character meet-and-greets, animation classes or movies under the stars.​ Kids ages 4-12 can visit Aunty’s Beach House, a kids club included in the cost of your stay.​

Room rates start at around $569 per night when booked with cash or from about 336 if booked with rented points from a site like David’s Vacation Club .​

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort offers families direct access to Duke Kahanamoku Beach, but also has a smaller, calm lagoon that may be more popular with younger kids. This resort has five outdoor pools — some with waterslides — hula and lei-making lessons, fish feeding and luau feasts with traditional Samoan, Tahitian and Hawaiian dancing every Sunday through Thursday.

Rates at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort start at around $250 or 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night.​


Families who want to enjoy Arizona’s natural beauty and year-round warm weather have a lot of new options to choose from in 2024 when it comes to places to stay and play.​

In addition to timeless landmarks like the Grand Canyon , Monument Valley and Camelback Mountain, President Biden recently designated one million acres of land near the Grand Canyon as the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni, Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument , ensuring the land, which is home to several native tribes, remains protected.​ In addition, Chiricahua National Monument in Willcox, Arizona, may soon be Arizona’s newest National Park.​

Slated to open sometime in 2024, Mattel Adventure Park in Glendale, Arizona, will feature attractions based on favorite toys like Hot Wheels, Barbie and more.​ There will be an entire land themed to Thomas & Friends, two thrilling Hot Wheels roller coasters and a life-size Barbie Beach House with a rooftop bar and restaurant.

The Mattel Adventure Park mentioned above will be located at the also-soon-to-open VAI Resort .​ VAI will be the state’s largest resort, with more than 1,100 rooms and suites, a world-class concert venue and a 6-acre swimming complex with a sandy beach.​

In other recent opening news, the 141-room Global Ambassador Hotel opened on Dec.​ 6 at the crossroads of Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix. This luxury property has a world-class spa and fitness center, select guest rooms with views of Camelback Mountain and a climate-controlled pool.​ Room rates start at around $560 per night, and it will also be part of Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and Mr & Mrs Smith , beginning Jan. 1, 2024.​

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The Guanacaste province of Costa Rica is a destination where eco-conscious families can combine lazy days on the beach with outdoor adventures in the region’s lush, tropical rainforest.​

Playa Tamarindo — along with nearby beaches Playa Grande and Playa Langosta, is well-known for its surf-ready waves, even if you have little (or no) experience on a surfboard. A number of local surf shops offer surfing lessons on the beach, and many resorts have boards available to rent.​

For a break from the beach, you can explore the rainforest canopy on a zip line, go whitewater rafting on the Tenorio River or visit one of the area’s many national parks, including Rincon de la Vieja National Park, which is home to a volcano, hot springs and several hiking trails.​

Another popular activity for families is a visit to Diamante Eco Adventure Park, where you can soar through the rainforest on a zip line, splash around in a water park and get up close and personal with the local wildlife in the animal sanctuary.​

The all-inclusive Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica has a kids club, a lazy river and close proximity to the beach, making it a perfect home base for families who want to experience all that Guanacaste has to offer.​

Room rates start at around $422 or 25٫000 World of Hyatt points per night.​

Another great family-friendly option is the Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa. This resort has a kids club, a golf course and a spa, as well as several restaurants and bars.

Room rates at the Westin Reserva Conchal start at $549 or 40٫000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.​

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is a Spanish archipelago located just off the coast of Morocco.​ It’s a popular destination for families thanks to its year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and variety of kid-friendly attractions.​

One of the most popular things to do in Tenerife with kids is visit Siam Park, a Thai-themed water park with thrilling slides, a wave pool and a lazy river.​ You can easily spend an entire day here.​

Another must-do is a visit to Loro Parque, a zoo and marine park that’s home to a wide variety of animals, including dolphins, orcas, gorillas and chimpanzees.​ Kids will love the animal shows, and there’s also a playground and a splash park to keep them entertained.​

If you’re looking for a more natural experience, head to Teide National Park, home to Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak.​ You can take a cable car to the top of the volcano for stunning views or hike one of the many trails in the park.​

For a place to stay, consider the Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife, which has a kids club, a teen lounge and five swimming pools, including one with a waterslide. There are also plenty of dining options to choose from, so everyone in the family will be happy.

Room rates start at around $265 per night.​

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a must-visit destination for families looking for an unforgettable adventure. As America’s first national park, Yellowstone is a geothermal wonderland with geysers like Old Faithful, colorful hot springs, and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.

Start your adventure at the park’s most famous resident, Old Faithful, which erupts every 90 minutes.​ Then٫ explore the Grand Prismatic Spring٫ a vibrant hot spring with rainbow-like colors٫ and the Mammoth Hot Springs٫ a collection of terraced hot springs with unique formations.​

Yellowstone offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.​ Keep an eye out for bison, elk, wolves, and grizzly bears while driving along the park’s scenic roads.​ Remember to observe wildlife from a safe distance.​

For an immersive experience, consider staying inside the park at one of the historic lodges.​ The Old Faithful Inn, with its towering log structure and massive stone fireplace, provides a rustic and charming ambiance.​

Just outside the park’s entrance, the town of West Yellowstone offers a range of accommodations and dining options.​ The Yellowstone Historic Center provides insights into the park’s history and geology.​

Washington, D.​C.

The nation’s capital offers a wealth of educational and entertaining experiences for families with children of all ages.​ From iconic monuments and world-class museums to interactive exhibits and sprawling parks, Washington, D.​C., has something to spark every child’s imagination.​

Begin your exploration at the National Mall, a sprawling green space home to iconic monuments like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and World War II Memorial.​ Rent bicycles or scooters to navigate the mall efficiently and enjoy the fresh air.​

Immerse yourselves in history at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, home to fascinating exhibits on dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, and the natural world.​ The National Air and Space Museum will captivate aspiring astronauts and aviation enthusiasts with its impressive collection of aircraft and spacecraft.​

For a change of pace, visit the International Spy Museum, where kids can engage in interactive spy missions and learn about the tools and techniques used in espionage.​ The National Zoo, home to over 2,000 animals from around the world, offers a delightful opportunity to observe fascinating creatures up close.​

Consider a scenic cruise along the Potomac River for a unique perspective of the city’s landmarks.​ Many cruise options offer family-friendly amenities and entertainment, making it a memorable experience for all ages.​

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a natural wonderland that will leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages. With its towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees, Yosemite offers a breathtaking backdrop for family adventures.​

Start your exploration in Yosemite Valley, where you can marvel at iconic landmarks like Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Take a leisurely hike to the base of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, or embark on a more challenging trek to the top of Sentinel Dome for panoramic views.​

For a unique perspective, rent bicycles and explore the valley floor on paved trails, stopping at scenic viewpoints along the way.​ You can also enjoy a relaxing rafting trip down the Merced River, taking in the towering granite walls and lush scenery.​

Yosemite is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, mule deer, and a variety of bird species. Join a ranger-led program to learn about the park’s ecosystem and the importance of wildlife conservation.​

Consider staying at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel, for a luxurious and historic experience. Located in the heart of Yosemite Valley, the hotel offers stunning views and easy access to trails and attractions.​

Cape Cod

Cape Cod, a picturesque peninsula in Massachusetts, offers a classic New England getaway for families seeking a relaxing beach vacation.​ With its charming towns, pristine beaches, and abundance of outdoor activities, Cape Cod has something for everyone in the family.​

Spend your days lounging on the sandy shores of the Cape’s famous beaches, from the calm waters of the National Seashore to the lively atmosphere of Coast Guard Beach.​ Build sandcastles, search for seashells, or simply soak up the sun and enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze.​

For an active adventure, rent bicycles and explore the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a scenic paved path that winds through charming towns and picturesque landscapes. You can also embark on a whale-watching tour, where you’ll have the opportunity to witness majestic whales in their natural habitat.​

Indulge in the Cape’s culinary delights, from fresh seafood to homemade ice cream. Visit a local lobster shack for a taste of the region’s signature dish, or enjoy a sweet treat at one of the many ice cream parlors dotting the peninsula.​

For a dose of history, visit the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center, where you can learn about the region’s rich maritime heritage and the importance of preserving its natural beauty.​ Explore the historic lighthouses that dot the coastline, each with its unique story to tell.​

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is a natural wonder that will leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages.​ Carved by the Colorado River over millions of years, the Grand Canyon is a vast and awe-inspiring spectacle of colorful rock layers, towering cliffs, and breathtaking views.​

Start your exploration at the South Rim, the most accessible and popular area of the park.​ Take a leisurely stroll along the Rim Trail, stopping at various viewpoints to admire the canyon’s grandeur.​ For a closer look, embark on a guided mule ride down to the canyon floor or challenge yourself with a hike on the Bright Angel Trail.​

For a unique perspective, consider a helicopter tour over the canyon.​ Soar above the rim and witness the vastness and beauty of this natural wonder from a whole new angle.​ Alternatively, take a scenic drive along the Desert View Drive, stopping at viewpoints like Lipan Point and Moran Point for breathtaking vistas.​

The Grand Canyon is also home to a variety of plant and animal life.​ Keep an eye out for desert bighorn sheep, California condors, and a variety of lizards and reptiles.​ The park offers ranger-led programs and guided tours that provide insights into the canyon’s geology, ecology, and history.​

To fully immerse yourselves in the beauty of the Grand Canyon, consider spending a night at the El Tovar Hotel, a historic landmark perched on the South Rim.​ The hotel offers stunning views and easy access to trails and viewpoints.​

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply