Disney World has been an all-time favorite destination for families for years. With so many attractions, rides, shows, and restaurants, there is always something different to do and that's what makes Disney such a popular vacation destination for kids and parents alike.
While Disney will always be considered the ultimate family destination, it can get pricey. From hotel costs, food in the park and even park tickets, it can cost an average of over $300 per person when spending just three days in Disney World.
There are so many sights across the U.S. that parents should consider if they don't want to do the typical Disney vacation. Forget going on slow rides and waiting in long lines in the heat and try and see some of the nation's natural surroundings. Check out Oahu, Hawaii's stunning beaches and parks or watch a traditional Hawaiian luau. Looking for surf, sand, and sun for the entire family? Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand, where families will find 60-miles of white sand beaches and loads of activities on the boardwalk is another terrific and fun-filled family option.
Here are 5 destinations in the U.S. kids will love that are not Disney and may just be a lot more fun.
Hawaii is a great vacation destination that will keep both kids and parents happy and active. Oahu has numerous activities for family bonding, and while beaches are an obvious must-do, there are a bunch of other fun things to try.
Families should consider checking out Kualoa Ranch, an area of 4,000 acres of natural beauty. Families can go on horseback riding tours of the beautiful ranch, take a kayak adventure, and even see where many famous films like "Jurassic World" were filmed. If families are more adventurous, there is also a jungle jeep expedition tour where visitors will be taken into lush rainforests and multi-passenger ATV tours for even more excitement.
Families will also find the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, the Pacific Aviation Museum in Oahu. Of course, no trip is complete without enjoying a traditional luau.
San Diego, California
There is so much to do in San Diego, California that families might need to take off a couple of more days just to experience it all. If parents are looking to get their kids more involved in the outdoors then San Diego is a great vacation destination.
San Diego features 70 miles of stunning coastline, numerous hiking trails, state parks, museums and plenty of family-friendly attractions. With comfortable and warm weather in a beautiful California setting, parents will want to take their kids outside and explore every part of it. Kids will love heading to La Jolla Cove where they can spot majestic sea lions and other wildlife. Families can even rent snorkel gear to see plenty of plant and animal life in the waters and even swim near sea turtles. If snorkeling isn't your thing, there are bikes families can rent, kayaks and paddleboards.
The San Diego Zoo is a must-see, but families should also check out The San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This 1,800-acre zoo allows visitors to get up-close to animals like rhinos, giraffes, and buffaloes on a Caravan Safari. During warm days, children can get in their bathing suits and cool off in animal-shaped fountains.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Many people consider the Grand Canyon in Arizona one of the seven wonders of the natural world. However, some families brush off the idea of taking the kids to see this stunning canyon, believing there isn't much to do, only realizing they were very wrong.
Kids will love the Grand Canyon National Park's Ranger Program where they'll not only learn about the canyon and its history but participate in exciting activities to earn their badges. Families can also bond with one another by taking bike rides along the rim of the Grand Canyon, seeing the wonderful sights, or hike a trail that's suited for parents with young children.
For families considering going to the Grand Canyon in June, there is an annual Star Party on the North and South Rims where amateur astronomers set up telescopes to watch the night sky. Kids can see the planets, stars, and galaxies thanks to these powerful telescopes.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Not only is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina a great beach destination for the entire family, but it is also a lot more affordable compared to the thousands of dollars you'll be spending at Disney World.
The main attraction in Myrtle Beach is the 60-mile strip of white sand and stunning coastline where families can have fun-filled beach days building sandcastles, swimming, fishing, and where parents can soak in the sun. Families will also find a ton of activities on the boardwalk from arcade games to the infamous SkyWheel, which offers amazing views of the beach.
There are a bunch of kid-oriented attractions here too, including WonderWorks, which is known as the "amusement park for the mind." Here kids will learn a bit of science while having fun with over 100 hands-on exhibits, check out an indoor rope course and learn about natural disasters.
Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah is perfect for families that love the outdoors, especially the snow. A family ski vacation makes for a perfect bonding experience, and even when you're off the slopes, families will find plenty of things to do together here.
There are many indoor kid-friendly options to do in Park City. Consider art classes at Kimball Art Center where parents and their kids can mess around with clay during a pottery class or paint and draw if the clay isn't your thing. Families traveling during specific holidays like Valentine's Day or Easter will find fun-filled themed classes.
If families are traveling in late December through late February, a must-see attraction is the Ice Castles. Kids will be surrounded by a world of ice caves, frozen waterfalls, and can even race down ice slides. Families will feel like they are in a winter wonderland.