Favorite Family Summer Vacation Spots

Discover 10 diverse destinations that are perfect for family vacations.

It’s family vacation time, which means making a plan that excites parents, teens and kids alike. From Honolulu’s gorgeous beaches to the living museum that is Rome, Italy, our list contains 10 of this year’s hottest domestic and international summer vacation spots – diverse and scenic destinations sure to inspire the entire family.

Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan at sunrise

Photo: iStock

New York

New York City has universal appeal. Its five boroughs offer the best of the best to the foodies, theatergoers, shoppers, sports fans and history buffs in your family. After visiting the Statue of Liberty and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and, if you’re lucky, taking in Hamilton on Broadway, treat the family to burgers and pancakes at Ellen’s Stardust Diner while singing waiters entertain you.

Sunset over the Tiber in Rome

Photo: iStock


A stay in Italy’s sprawling capital is busy and requires some planning, but little is more exciting than exploring this global star of art, history and architecture. Learn about the Roman Empire from ancient ruins like the Colosseum. Let your youngsters see how not-boring art and churches can be with a stop at St. Peter’s Basilica and at the Sistine Chapel featuring Michelangelo’s famed frescoes. Oh, and indulge in the world’s best pasta!

Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier at sunset

Photo: iStock

Home to the iconic Space Needle, Microsoft, the original Starbucks and a fascinating waterfront, Seattle is one Pacific Northwest city where everyone who visits wants to stay. Must-dos in this summer vacation spot include a wander through the popular Pike Place Market; a visit to the Pacific Science Center or Seattle Aquarium; and a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel (Ferris wheel) at Pier 57 for a breathtaking view of the city.

Lighthouse at Howth Head in Dublin, Ireland

Photo: iStock

Dublin, Ireland, may not be the first destination you consider, but its charm, Viking history and natural beauty make it a great option. It’s also something of a bargain when compared to other summer vacation spots in Western Europe. After seeing some of the main attractions—Trinity College and the Book of Kells exhibit—explore the city on foot or by bike and pop into a pub for lunch and a chat with friendly locals.

See Dublin and other highlights of Ireland and Scotland on a guided vacation.

Sunrise in Orlando

Photo: iStock

There is no question that Mickey Mouse is the star here, along with friends at Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld. So of course you must check out the latest and coolest at the theme parks. (Think Pandora—The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® or Volcano Bay™ water park at Universal Orlando® Resort!) But take a break from the theme park fun for a picnic at lush Lake Eola Park or to snorkel in the crystal clear waters at Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Aerial view of Cologne, Germany

Photo: iStock

Located on the Rhine river and dominated by a stunning medieval gothic cathedral that can be seen from throughout the city center, Cologne is one of Germany’s oldest cities and home to world famous museums, myriad historical treasures and a lively arts scene. Visit a traditional brewery or check out the Hohenzollern Bridge, where couples attach padlocks and toss the keys into the river to represent eternal love.

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu

Photo: iStock

When you hear the word Honolulu, you think of gorgeous Waikiki Beach with its famous view of Diamond Head. Make like the locals and take surfing lessons and hula dance and eat poi at a luau. Make like a tourist and visit the state capital’s important historic sites, including Pearl Harbor and downtown’s Iolani Palace, the only official royal residence in the United States.

View of Eiffel Tower from the Seine

Photo: iStock

First-time visitors to Paris should visit the iconic sites but not be overwhelmed by them. If you visit one monument, make it the Eiffel Tower. One church, make it Notre-Dame. One museum, the Louvre. But be sure to make time to experience what is arguably the world’s most beautiful, magical city. Between sumptuous meals, take a boat ride on the Seine or treat the kids to a traditional marionette show.

Set sail from Paris on a luxury river cruise.

Aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip

Photo: iStock

Though Las Vegas is best known for its 100 or so casinos, exotic hotels and glittery nightlife, there’s plenty for families with kids to do in the Nevada hotspot. There are zoos, arcades, aquariums, golf courses and quirky museums. And maybe the kids can tour Hoover Dam with grandparents while parents try their luck at a casino or take in a show.

Point Atkinson Lighthouse in West Vancouver

Photo: iStock

An active family might find Vancouver, where water and mountains can be viewed simultaneously, the perfect summer vacation spot. So might an urbane family looking for fine dining, a rich arts scene and a wildly diverse culture. Delivering on Canada’s reputation for friendliness, Vancouver highlights include Grouse Mountain, Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park horse-drawn carriage tours and Vancouver Art Gallery.

The experts at AAA Travel can help you plan a trip anywhere in the world. Call 877-396-7159 or contact a AAA Travel Counselor.

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Janice Yip-Hudson, AAA Travel Counselor, Daly City, Calif.

Today, people's lives are so busy. We're thinking three days ahead just to get through our to-do lists. I love helping my clients plan vacations where they have nothing to do but relax; where time stands still, and you're just on vacation.

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