You don’t have to leave the country to go on vacation with your family. In fact, a staycation might be just what you need after those busy months you have all been through.
Fortunately, the USA has many places to offer families who want some timeout doing something fun and interesting.
It does not matter whether you are looking to be at one with nature, or would like to seek some thrills at an adventure park – there are many fun ideas right on your doorstep.
Learn more about staycations and why your family should consider taking a staycation. They have become popular with parents, and for a good reason. If you’re looking for ideas for things to do with your kids, check out these summer bucket list ideas for families and our popular summer planner for kids.
In this guide, we shall take a look at 15 of the best staycation ideas for your family to do on your travels. You might just be surprised how many there are.
If you are looking for an affordable staycation, then you can’t go wrong with Ocean City. It is stated as one of the best places for a family vacation due to there being so much to offer.
As you go along the Ocean City Boardwalk, you will find thrill rides for everyone in the family, as well as places to eat and shopping opportunities.
Due to it being a fishing area, you can also eat fish, enjoy fishing, and buy from tackle shops. You can also find wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore, which is close by.
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. It is completely natural rather than man-made and stretches across 277 miles.
It is certainly a place you and your family will want to tick off the traveling bucket list. And while you might think it just involves you staring at the Grand Canyon – well, think again!
You can hike, camp, backpack, ride a mule, or even participate in whitewater rafting. There are also ranger programs that are free. This is a great way for your family to learn about the area in detail.
However, Arizona can get very hot in the summer, so always stay hydrated and never risk your life for a photo.
If you want a staycation with the family that involves sandy white beaches, evenings dining out, and fun activities for the kids, then Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is it.
It boasts 60 miles of beautiful coastline, which includes places to relax, eat, and enjoy entertainment. You will love to walk along the Grand Strand when your kids are not playing in the sand.
There are also thrilling rides, a theater, go-karting, mini golf, and even an aquarium – among so much more. Read this article to learn more about things to do in Myrtle Beach with kids.
For those who love adventure theme parks and music, then Branson is a top spot for families.
From famous music venues such as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater and Dolly Parton’s Stampede all the way to Fritz’s Adventure and Bigfoot Fun Park, you will all be spoiled for choice.
There is more, too, such as sailing across the Table Rock Lake, hopping onto the Scenic Railway, and checking out the Titanic Museum, among so much more.
If you want to travel to the oldest national park in America, then Yellowstone is it. It is also one of the most famous in the world, too.
This protected area is home to lots of wild animals. These include black bears, wolves, elk, bison, bald eagles, and antelope – just to name a few.
There are plenty of things to see here, from rivers and canyons to geysers that are still active. At Yellowstone National Park, there is the opportunity to camp, and also fish and enjoy some rafting.
6. Chicago, Illinois
If you want to go to the biggest city in the American Midwest, then Chicago is the place to visit. It is full of high skyscrapers and a photogenic skyline.
If you have some thrillseekers in your family, they will love the glass box on floor 103 at the Willis Tower. They will experience the city in a new way while being 1,353 feet up in the air.
7. Los Angeles, California
From Disneyland and Universal Studios to the Walk of Fame and Hollywood, there are many things to do in the City of Angels.
There is a vibrant nightlife, as well as plenty of different foods and cultures. You and your family will love exploring the famous sites.
As a tourist, you will find many things to participate in, such as guided tours.
If you are looking for the ultimate family staycation, then Orlando should be high on your list. Not only does it have attractions suitable for the very young to adult, but there is also just generally so much to do.
It has resorts, spas, sports, and beautiful scenery – as well as bars and restaurants. But it also has lots of things for your kids to do.
There is Universal Studios, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Peppa Pig theme park, Discovery Cove – and let’s not forget it is home to Disney World. Read this article to learn more about things to do in Orlando with kids.
We have created this Disney World Planning Guide with Printable Worksheets to help your family plan a fun, easy, stress-free, and magical vacation to Walt Disney World.
If you need to take an educational spring break staycation for the kids, then Williamsburg is a great option. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, though!
There are lots of historical sites referring to Colonial Williamsburg. Plus, you can take a horse-drawn carriage through the streets plus go to museums.
There are roller coasters galore at the Busch Gardens Williamsburg too.
If you and your family love the outdoors and want to switch off from technology for a few hours (if not days), then you will love Yosemite National Park, which is situated around 140 miles east of San Francisco.
It has wonderful views, waterfalls, and plenty of time to be together as a family with no distractions but nature.
There are huge sequoia trees, as well as fantastic views at Olmstead Point and the Tunnel View. You could also opt to ride bikes and camp under the stars.
Oh, and if your child is currently in the fourth grade, the park is absolutely free. Learn more about the Every Kid Outdoors program, where fourth graders and their families get free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year.
11. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg is a mountain town often referred to as a ‘gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.’ The reason for this is that you can access the park downtown.
There are many activities for the whole family in Gatlingburg, from hiking and trails to horseback riding and mountain biking. There are also lots of wildlife to see, as well as water sports too.
In Gatlinburg, TN, there are lots of activities to keep your kids happy, as well as galleries and art studios and the chance to see the whole area 407 feet high in the Space Needle. And don’t forget the popular Dollywood parks and resorts nearby in Pigeon Forge.
Read this article to learn more about the best things to do in Gatlinburg with children.
This national park offers over 700 square miles worth of trails, as well as views of glaciers and mountains.
You may also want to venture on the ‘Going to the Sun Road’, something the area is famous for. There are many wildlife, camping opportunities, and places to cycle in Montana.
13. New York City
There is plenty to see and do in the Big Apple for the whole family. Not only is it one of the most famous cities in the entire world, but it has a lot to offer the family.
As well as visiting well-known landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. When visiting New York City with children, you should also check out the Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, and of course, Times Square.
The Northeast has one national park, the Acadia, which is situated across Maine’s very rocky coastline.
It is a great family-oriented place to visit due to having lots of beaches, hiking opportunities, rocky areas, and trails. There is also a carriage system too, and you can go horseback riding.
You will also see Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain within the Atlantic Coast area.
If your kids love Disney, then you will want to treat them to a staycation in Anaheim, California. It is home to the very first Disneyland, which opened in the 1950s.
These days, you and your family can explore the full (over) 500 acres of Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland.
It includes a fantastic Star Wars-themed area, as well as a haunted mansion for children who like scary thrills. There are also places to enjoy food and plenty of photo-taking opportunities for your children.
So, were you surprised? As you can see, there are many things that you and your family can do on your next staycation.
Traveling across the USA doesn’t have to mean giving up the fun of being abroad – there are so many things to do which are right around the corner from you.
Whether spending time in Orlando to treat the kids or visiting the Grand Canyon National Park, you will find something to do.
Here’s to you having a happy and healthy staycation with your family!
For more about family travel, check out these posts:
What is a Staycation?
Summer Planner for Kids
What Is The Best Age To Travel With Kids?
Top Family Vacation Destinations in the US
Best Spring Break Destinations for Families
Best Fall Break Destinations For Families