Ready for a fun-fueled family trip? Pack your sunblock, swimwear, and those all-important traveling snacks. Here are 20 of the best family vacation ideas in America for happy kids and even happier grown-ups. And once you decide on a destination, you can book all your tours, activities, and attractions right on TripAdvisor. Plus, our new 24-hour cancellation policy means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.
On June 29, 1957, Disney Production exercised its options to purchase all but AB-PT’s common stock outstanding. This allowed WDP to consolidate DLI into its 1957 annual accounting statements adding four months worth of net profits, $511K. In June 1960, Walt Disney Productions completed the purchase of AB-PT’s share of the company for nearly $7.5 million and its TV contract, and the theme park became a fully owned subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions.[CDL 6] The first Audio-Animatronic attraction, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, opened at Disneyland in 1963.
A room at this centrally located, Craftsman-style hotel guarantees you VIP-access to the California Adventure Park. By using the hotel’s private entrance, you can beat the morning crowds (sometimes by as much as an hour) and get back to your room with minimal hassle. Request a room with a bunk bed, which is arguably more fun for the kids and also clears space in the room for all of their stuff. Kids love the hotel’s three pools, waterslide, and the crafts offered at Pinocchio’s Workshop. Parents, meanwhile, appreciate the espressos at the Heartstone Lounge and the extensive wine list and regional cuisine at the Napa Rose restaurant. The children’s menu is unusually highbrow, offering dishes such as roasted chicken with lemon-whipped potatoes and Pacific salmon with basmati rice.
Two more hotels opened in 1973 at Walt Disney World: the Golf Resort and the Gold Resort;[CDW 9] Disney’s Village Resort hotel opened in 1974. Disney opened the Buena Vista Club golf club in Lake Buena Vista on November 22, 1974.[CDW0 1]:71 Lake Buena Vista Village, the shopping area, opened on March 22, 1975[CDW0 1] and was renamed Walt Disney World Village in 1977.:280 Celebrity Sports Center, Disney World’s training center, was sold on March 29, 1979.
On February 10, 2017, Disney revealed a deal to purchase Kingdom Holding Co.’s shares of Euro Disney S.C.A. as first step in purchasing the remaining shares held by others. Disney has offered about $2.12 a share, a 67% premium over the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange value as of February 9. The company expects the buyout and delisting to be finished by June. Plans are for the company to invest another $1.4 billion into Disneyland Paris after the buyout to counteract the recent Paris terrorist attack, which hurt a previous 2014 park hotel investment. If this buyout is successful, it would make the resort the only resort 100% owned and operated by Disney outside of the United States of America. On June 13, 2017, The Walt Disney Company reached the 95% threshold required for a mandatory takeover according to French law, owning 97.08% of Euro Disney S.C.A., paving the way for The Walt Disney Company to become the sole owner and operator of Disneyland Paris.
The Park Hopper Plus option can be added after the initial ticket purchase. For instance, if you buy a 7-day Park Hopper ticket and decide on the 5th day of your vacation that you’d like to visit the water parks, you can add Park Hopper Plus for $26.63. If you have a 7-day Base Ticket, you will also need to add Park Hopper, so the total upgrade will be $106.50. This will add the full 7 extra visits, which you can use within the 14-day period starting on the day you first started using the ticket, NOT the day you bought the ticket upgrade. Upgrades are allowed within the first 14 days (day of first use plus 13 days) OR before midnight on the day you use the last admission, whichever comes first.
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Located on the Italian island’s northwest coast, Palermo is the capital of Sicily. Founded by the Phoenicians and dominated through the centuries by the Greeks, Arabs, Normans, and Italians, the city was one of Europe’s most prosperous centers. Its diverse history is apparent today in its art, architecture, cathedrals, customs, language, and even its cuisine. Outdoor markets, crowded alleys, and street food such as arancine and panelle make strolling the city the perfect way to explore. Each July, Palermo celebrates the Festa di Santa Rosalia, the city’s biggest festival, honoring the saint for having saved the city from the 17th-century plague. This year’s 394th celebration begins on July 14 with a procession led by Palermo’s mayor with St. Rosalia’s relics carried in a decorated chariot. Fireworks, music, dance, food, and thousands of celebrants create an exciting event that should be on your travel wish list.
A family-friendly gem in Lower Manhattan. Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, and ferries to the Statue of Liberty are nearby. Subway just out the door. Standard rooms are comfortable and stylish or upgrade to a suite and enjoy extra space with separate sleep and living spaces. Glass-enclosed heated pool is very kid-friendly. Phone: 212-693-2001
What child wouldn’t want to go coconut bowling amid the Nemo-like landscape of the eastern Caribbean? The kids’ club here hosts this and more: from board games and craft sessions to family-friendly movie nights. We’re guessing The Little Mermaid features highly, as aspiring Aerials can also learn how to swim like real-life merfolk – complete with requisite tails. It’s enough to make you shake a maraca, which you can also do.
While most tourists come to the Sunshine State to get away from the snow and indulge in the beautiful sandy beaches, there’s actually more to Florida than just our infinite sunny days. With endless history, some of the best-kept secrets are the spots that many seem to skip over altogether. So next time the clouds open up and the rain starts falling, escape the present and enjoy the past with some of these must-see museums around Florida.
Beginning in 1958 with the contracting of Economics Research Associates (ERA) to find a location for another Disney resort, Disney Productions moved beyond a single park. ERA recommended Florida; another study in 1961 named Ocala or Orlando in Florida as possible locations. In November 1963, Walt Disney made a trip to Florida for final site selection.[CDW 1]:333, 334 In 1962, Disney Productions purchased Celebrity Sports Center (opened on September 17, 1960, in Denver, Colorado) from its owners, including Walt Disney, Art Linkletter, and John Payne, to use as a staff training center for its second resort. In 1963, Roy made plans to buy from 5,000 to 10,000 acres (2,000 to 4,000 ha), which was carried out in 1964, amassing 27,443 acres (11,106 ha) by October 1965.[CDW 2][CDW 3] Plans for the Florida project that would eventually become Walt Disney World were announced to the public in November 1965.[CDW 3] Legislation forming the Reedy Creek Improvement District was signed into law by Florida Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr. on May 12, 1967, allowing Disney to build the infrastructure for the second park.[CDW 4] Ground breaking followed for the future Reedy Creek park on May 30.[CDW 5] In Roy O. Disney’s last act as CEO in 1968, he officially named the second park Walt Disney World.[CDW 1]:357
Construction on Hong Kong Disneyland began on January 12, 2003, then opened September 12, 2005.[CDC 16] Groundbreaking occurred at Hong Kong Disneyland in December 2009 for a three land expansion: Mystic Point, Grizzly Gulch, and Toy Story Land.[CDC 17]
Disney Transport also operates a fleet of watercraft, ranging in size from water taxis, up to the ferries that connect the Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Disney Transport is also responsible for maintaining the fleet of parking lot trams that are used for shuttling visitors between the various theme park parking lots and their respective main entrances.
Gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, crystal and thousands of priceless artifacts discovered by America’s most famous treasure hunter are showcased here in jaw-dropping displays. It took Fisher and his team 16 years to locate the main treasure of the doomed Nuestra Señora de Atocha, so not only is this treasure worth seeing, you’ll be inspired by Fisher’s persistence. melfisher.org
It’s one of the world’s great wine capitals, and like any great vintage, Mendoza is only getting better with age. Start your tasting tour in the Uco Valley, where Casa de Uco’s vineyard-view eco-villas will debut this year. Head down the road to to Vines of Mendoza’s Winemakers’ Village for small-production wines from the likes of Corazón del Sol and SuperUco, and to dine at winery Bodega Monteviejo, where renowned Spanish chef Nadia Harón cooks up Mediterranean-tinged fare inspired by the wines. In Maipú, wineries like Club Tapiz and Trapiche are giving visitors a true taste of the local terroir, using produce grown on the vineyard grounds in their restaurants. Back in town, plot your return trip over a pie at Francis Mallman’s year-old pizzeria, Orégano. With new direct flights from Lima, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo, and low-cost carrier Norwegian Air plotting dozens of new routes, tacking a Mendoza stop on to your next South American itinerary will be a breeze. —Sorrel Moseley-Williams
The 1-Day Ticket: Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is valid for one admission to any one of these 3 parks on a date that is valid for the ticket type (Peak, Regular or Value). This ticket must be used on or before December 31, 2019 and is not valid at Magic Kingdom park.
Change is afoot in town, too: There are new tasting rooms from Barons, Bledsoe Family, and Nocking Point, and a historic building is set to open as the Penrose Walla Walla Hotel & Spa next year. —Christopher Tkaczyk
For families with young children, the Upper West Side bordered by Riverside Park and Central park is an excellent choice, with many playgrounds and scenic paths for strollers in both parks and good public transportation facilities if you need them. The Excelsior is ½ block from Central Park, as is a New York branch of the La Quinta chain. The Hotel Beacon, midway between the parks, has kitchenettes in every room. If the wedding location makes the East Side more convenient, you could consider the Courtyard New York Marriott near Carl Schurz Park on the East River or the boutique Hotel Wales near Central Park. No hotels have dedicated play spaces, but many do offer cribs and high chairs for families. Ask when you book.
Head to Universal Orlando for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, which is part of the action at Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™. Then, experience wild thrills and complete relaxation at Universal’s Volcano Bay™.
Disney had plans to build a Disneyland in Sydney, Australia, between 2007 and 2008 with the proposed name “Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour”, but the concept was abandoned due to mixed responses in the New South Wales Government.
In December 1998, Walt Disney Attractions added Disneyland Paris, Disney Regional Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering to its portfolio, which already held Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland. Chairman Dick Nunis retired at the same time. On October 31, 1999, Walt Disney Attractions, Inc. was merged into Walt Disney Attractions, LLC.
The gold standard of Florida’s historical museums. Among the rotating artifacts on exhibit connecting Florida’s past and present: a 12,000-year-old mastodon skeleton discovered in nearby Wakulla Springs, dugout canoes thousands of years old, gold and silver coins from a Spanish shipwreck, a replication of a Florida steamboat, and a “Tin Can Camper” from the 1920s. All this and roughly 45,000 additional treasures. museumoffloridahistory.com
With Magic Your Way Tickets, you first choose the number of days you want on a Base Ticket that allows you to enter one major theme park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom) each day. (You can leave and enter that same park multiple times on the same day.) You can add optional features at extra cost if you like, specifically Park Hopper (the ability to visit more than one park per day) or Park Hopper Plus (extra admissions to water parks and other activities other than the four main parks).
White-sand beaches run the length of the 96-acre Kamalame Cay private-island resort. If your kids aren’t smitten with the place from the moment they hop off the private ferry from Andros, the fresh homemade cookies laid out each afternoon should do the trick. Villas are pricey, but a good choice for multigenerational stays. Alternatively, the all-inclusive Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros has 21 beachfront cottages.
Jump up ^ “The Panama Canal Museum in Seminole, FL, closed on July 31, 2012”. The Panama Canal Museum has transferred its collection to the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL,. Panama Canal Museum. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
Thanks to its 1,000 acres of barrier island beach, this resort offers opportunities to explore all year round. Visitors can take a tour of the salt marsh onboard the Cloister Belle—a restored antique yacht—rent bicycles for an island history tour, or go horseback riding along the south end of Sea Island beach (riders must be at least 10 years old). Back at the 1928 Mediterranean-style resort, parents can relax at one of the four swimming pools, in the overstuffed chairs in the luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, (63 new rooms are set to open in April 2016), or at the new two-story spa with its own indoor forest and lagoon. For after-dinner entertainment, there are family movie nights at the 100-seat resort theater and Gold Brick Sundaes at the Wonderland Ice Cream Parlor. Repeat guests dream about the chocolate-butter-pecan topping.
The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city. That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall. The shiny new InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf offers access to the development’s new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants — which include projects from area chefs like Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and wunderkind Kwame Onwuachi. This is also set to be a banner year for culture: the Freer and Sackler galleries, sister museums that champion Asian art, recently reopened after a 20-month renovation, the National Gallery of Art will host the first-ever show dedicated to Cézanne’s portraits from March to July, and the Kennedy Center continues its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip. —Brooke Porter Katz
Holiday Weekends: During most times of the year, you can get away with last minute vacation planning, but major holidays like New Year’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Christmas often mean sold out airline seats and hotel rooms, so it’s a good idea to do your research and reservations ahead of time. People often postpone trip planning because it’s difficult to decide where to go and what to do. Browse our ideas by month section which includes suggestions for every month of the year as well as Valentine’s Day, Mothers & Fathers Days, fall foliage trips, 4th of July events and other trip ideas for families and couples.
Begin your Peru Family Adventure in the historical center of Lima, once a Spanish colony, and show the kids around the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History, where tools, textiles and other Incan artifacts date back to 1,000 B.C. Next, fly to Puerto Maldonado, known as the gateway to the Amazon. Guides will take you via motorized canoes into the jungle and explain the medicinal plants and wildlife you’ll see. Later, you can look for llamas and alpacas in a small village, and shop for hand-knitted items and locally-crafted ceramics. The “lost city” of Machu Picchu, with some 200 ancient homes and temples, is the highlight of the trip. Return via Cuzco, if the family wants to zip-line, mountain bike or hike.
The extra cost on top of the base-price ticket is $58.58-$66.03 for a 1-day ticket, depending on which park and what season (Value, Regular or Peak); $69.23 for add-on to 2- or 3-day tickets; or $79.88 for add-on to any 4-day or longer ticket. This works out to a little over $11 per day on a 7-day ticket.
Visitors may want to return to the Belgian capital in 2018 to visit two cutting-edge museums. The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art opened in the once-infamous Molenbeek district’s old Belle-Vue brewery this past spring, to showcase contemporary art from around the world. There’s also the Citroën Cultural Centre, a new collaboration with Paris’s Centre Pompidou, which will launch its first exhibition in May. The edgy JAM Hotel, an industrial-chic property with exposed brickwork and concrete beams housed in a former art school, is the perfect place for culture-lovers to stay. Don’t leave town without paying homage to Belgium’s UNESCO-recognized beer culture at youthful breweries like Brasserie de la Senne or Brussels Beer Project, both of which are shirking brewing traditions in favor of more experimental microbrewery techniques. —Meredith Bethune
Overnight Trips with Kids: Most kids love to travel. Teach them to pack their own bag and allow them to participate in choosing the next destination by asking about their favorite things to see and do. While some romantic inns require guests to be over a certain age, most hotels and resorts not only welcome kids but also pamper them with special gifts and amenities. If you want to bring your family dog or pet with you, it’s a good idea to research any additional fees and restrictions ahead of time, especially if you have to fly to get to your vacation destination.
This upscale modern resort tucked in the scenic Marin Headlands, has an unusual pedigree: it was once an army base. The guestrooms are located in former officers’ residences, and open up to wide green spaces with plenty of room for playing tag, tossing Frisbees, and flying kites. No matter how you choose to keep yourself (and the kids) occupied, you’re always within view of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are miles of hiking and biking at nearby Golden Gate National Park, and many of the trails are easy for even tiny trekkers. Right next door (in the same cove as the resort), is the Bay Area Discovery Museum, with its Imagination Playground full of foam blocks for creative building, a 2.5-acre outdoor, interactive exploration area, and the new FabLab, a high-tech maker-space for kids opening in May 2016.
A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
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Move over, Croatia. Long overshadowed by its neighbor to the northwest, Montenegro is ready for the spotlight. The ancient city of Kotor is already attracting plenty of visitors, like the celebrities vacationing at luxurious boutique hotel Forza Terra, just outside the medieval walls, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of cruisers who’ve arrived with companies like Viking, Celebrity, and Princess. The swank marina Porto Montenegro is thriving in the formerly sleepy coastal town of Tivat, and the complex’s Regent hotel unveiled an expansion in 2017. Nearby, luxury development Luštica Bay is slated to open this summer, with plans for villas, a golf course, and a five-star Chedi hotel. Further west on the Bay of Kotor’s jagged coastline is the site of the country’s most anticipated arrival, the One&Only Portonovi, which will be the brand’s first European outpost when it opens this summer. Plans for the resort, situated on a 60-acre site overlooking the Adriatic, include 140 villas and residences, a tennis club, and a spa. —Meredith Bethune
Is there a bullet-proof baby-listening system? Is babysitting available day and night? Is there a fantastic crèche that nurtures and inspires? Qualified staff? Your peace of mind – and their wellbeing – is paramount.
Our family of 4 is visiting from Australia in April 2017 & would welcome any suggestions of a good area/hotel for us. Our kids are boy 21 & daughter 17 so we definitely need 3 beds and would really like kitchenette (refrigerator at the very least). An area with a bit of groovy nightlife for those of us over 21 is what we are after, but not too far from a good subway station.
East End is a quiet alternative to buzzy Seven Mile; it’s also more convenient to better-known dive spots. Roomy and affordable, Turtle Nest Inn & Condos has one- and two-bedroom units with full kitchens; some have washers and dryers.
Three great hotel with interconnected (adjoining) rooms are the DoubleTree Suites – Times Square, Hilton Times Square, and StayBridge Suites. One other idea you might explore is an apartment. Booking.com has a list of furnished apartments available for short-term stays. As does furnishedquarters.com. A variety of neighborhoods will be available so you can decide which is closest to the sights you hope to see. Just be sure you are close to public transportation. For seeing the sights with a minimum of walking, the hop-on, hop off bus may be a good option, especially given your range of ages. It will take you to most of the city’s main sights and leave it to you where you choose to get off and how long you want to stay. That said, it can be hard to get back on the bus and get a seat from a non-Times-Square stop.
Day Trips with Kids: While day trips with kids require more planning and packing of all the essentials especially with babies and toddlers in tow, they offer an easy and affordable way to get away and have great experiences together as a family. Go apple picking at a nearby farm, go on a short hike in a state park and stop at a kid-friendly restaurant on your drive back.
Yellowstone is a massive, nearly 4,000-square-mile park that hosts more geothermal features, including hot springs, mud spots and geysers, than anywhere else on Earth. Here you can be mesmerized by most famous, Old Faithful, which shoots steam as high as 185 feet into the sky every 90 minutes, along with many other lesser-known geysers, mud pots and brilliant multi-colored hot springs like Grand Prismatic Spring, named for its striking array of colors that match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism of orange, yellow, red, green and blue. The park is also famous for its wildlife, with an abundance of bison, elk and Bighorn sheep, along with wolves and bears. By staying just outside the park, you’ll find multiple budget-friendly options, like Kelly Inn West Yellowstone.