21 Best Family Vacation Ideas With Teenagers
It can be a daunting task to make adolescents excited about family vacations.
And then there’s the pressure of planning perfect vacations; having the right amount of family time while allowing them to have their kind of fun can be challenging!
Yes, your not-so-small ones are not little anymore, and they might not find the idea of a full-fledged Lampoon vacation appealing.
However, adolescence is when children are most curious and active, so if you can get them excited enough, you’ll have a terrific travel companion (pro tip: engage them in the decision-making and allow them enough time to bond and relax!).
Even with expert advice, it’s unlikely that your kid will become the ideal traveler overnight; yet, getting them to the right place will help them make strides along the way!
To help you out, here is our list of the top vacation places that appeal to you and your teenagers.
These holiday destinations are teen-friendly hubs with many teen-friendly activities, regardless of their interest! They include rock-and-roll emporiums, sporting facilities, stadiums, immaculate beaches for surfing, and hair-raising adventure parks!!
Continue reading for ideas on planning a family vacation with adolescents that everyone will remember for a long time!
- Honolulu, Hawaii
Suppose you’re considering where to take a teenager on vacation. In that case, Hawaii is a good spot that strikes the proper mix between a tropical paradise and a cosmopolitan city.
Around Oahu, there are plenty of teen-friendly urban and outdoor activities.
Try family-friendly activities like kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, or half-day tours that cover Oahu’s main sights (such as the Pearl Harbor Memorial). And also, visit the world-famous Waikiki Beach, where you can sip a mojito and work on your tan while the kids get their adrenaline pumping with surfing lessons from the locals.
The best option is to go outrigger canoe surfing instead, taking a page from the Hawaiian Royal Family!
- Long Beach, California
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When choosing a beach for a family vacation with teenagers, there isn’t much room for error!
Children can get close-up views of sea lions, tropical fish, and the entire marine flora, where they can even interact with sand tiger sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Signing up for one of the many Beach City Food Tours is another option for wholesome family entertainment; this one might be a hit with the whole family because, after all, who doesn’t like food?
Other options include a family Segway tour or a visit to Rancho Los Alamitos’ historic gardens and ranch home.
Consider taking a ferry cruise to Catalina Island for a fun day trip.
Long Beach is close to Los Angeles, so after enjoying your beach vacation here, travel to L.A. for more teen-friendly activities, including trips to Six Flags Magic Mountain and the breathtaking Universal Studios Hollywood!
- Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a no-brainer for fantastic family vacations with all the qualities of an adolescent vacation, as it is home to the best family-friendly activities!
Although they have outgrown Mickey and Minnie, these hair-raising roller coaster rides more than makeup for it.
You can take an airboat ride through the Everglades. For exciting activities like swimming with dolphins, parasailing, and jet-skiing, visit SeaWorld, Disney World Resort, and Universal’s Islands of Adventures.
It’s simple to write off Orlando as being exclusively kid-friendly, but the region is home to various teen-friendly activities. There are many places the adolescents will enjoy, like Gatorland to meet the ‘gators, Discovery Cove, K1 Speed for some wild go-karting, and iFly Orlando for the thrill seekers!
- Washington, DC
Washington, DC, is teeming with fantastic vacation spots and activities. It is home to some of the top museums in the world and some of the most well-known landmarks.
The guided Segway tours will likely be one of the most enjoyable experiences you’ll have on the books, and of course, selfies in front of the city’s various impressive monuments are a must!
You should visit the museums in Washington, like The National Museum of Natural History, National Geographic Museum, International Spy Museum (excellent for all the want-to-be 007s out there), and National Gallery of Art if you are a family of love museums.
If your teens are fascinated by the media, the Newseum is a must-visit, with exhibits and an interactive broadcasting studio.
After visiting the Newseum, it’s a great idea to browse the fashion-forward stores in Georgetown. At the same time, a beautiful night view from the illuminated Capital Wheel after dark is a fantastic way to cap off the day.
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is a beautiful location — firstly, it is a beach, and secondly, it offers a little something for everyone in the family.
Go to Broadway at the Beach for some overwhelming outdoor shopping, or climb to the very top of the SkyWheel for stunning city views and a spectacular light show.
Visit Ripley’s Odditorium for all the interesting, odd, and sometimes spooky things; booking tickets in advance will help you avoid the lines is a great idea!
Go-karting is a superb idea for adrenaline-pumping, energy-burning family fun, as is going to one of the many water parks, especially if you’re traveling with a teenage son at the Broadway Grand Prix.
You can relax on the lazy river at Wild Water and Wheels while the kiddos ride the speed slides!
- Cape Canaveral, Florida
Florida Space Coast is one of the best vacation spots for teens following Sheldon Cooper, which is quite similar to Orlando but with the added science factor.
Watch a live rocket launch for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take the family on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center, or sit comfortably in a helicopter to explore delightful views at Port Canaveral!
The beautiful coastline is also a wonderful place to spend time.
You may acquire your surf gear at the world-famous Ron Jon Surf Shop of Cocoa Beach and hit the waves, where you might even be lucky enough to see manatees and sea turtles.
After all that surfing, you are sure to have an appetite, so fill up at one of the many mouthwatering restaurants along the Cocoa Beach pier.
- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
With its vibrant, dynamic selection of restaurants that can satiate a wide range of appetites, preferences, and tastes, Gatlinburg is a perfect holiday destination for families because the area radiates nothing but “positive feelings”!
Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to explore its 800 miles of hiking trails and stunning scenery. The park also offers horseback riding and fly fishing opportunities.
Don’t forget to snap a family picture in front of the mossy waterfall or the beautiful scenery from the Clingmans Dome observation tower.
Even better, take advantage of even more breathtaking sights by riding in a helicopter—there are lots of excellent tours offered by dependable operators that you should explore!
Gatlinburg is a fantastic holiday destination for tweens, teens, parents, and everyone in between since it offers a perfect blend of city life and outdoor adventure.
- San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a fun city because it has many inspiring attractions like SeaWorld and the Natural Bridge Safari Park.
There is also the Barney Smith Toilet Seat Art Museum for teenagers who enjoy oddball things, and for creepy stuff, there is Ripley’s Haunted Adventure.
With San Antonio’s “hop-on, hop-off” trolley rides, you can immerse yourself in the local culture while also visiting landmarks like the Alamo and other locations in the King William historic district.
Spending quality time walking along the San Antonio RiverWalk with the family is the best experience to look for the city’s vibrancy with the family.
Take your kids to the K1 go-karting arena or the Extreme Escape Live-Action Activities for some speed-karting and entertaining yet challenging games if they’re adrenaline seekers!
- Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva is a fantastic vacation spot if your kid is the next David Blaine.
The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, to watch thrilling live performances filled with mind-blowing illusions and tricks, is one of the main attractions in the area.
The lazy river and the indoor and outdoor pools at Timber Ridge Water Park are great for a relaxed afternoon.
If you want more thrill, try one of the park’s exciting coasters and 35-foot water slides.
If your teenager is an active type, the Lake Geneva Canopy Tours has a tonne of zip lines and rope walks that will delight them!
Relax by the lake or go for long, quiet walks with your family if you can’t keep up with all the energy-sapping activities or want to spend some time alone. Even better, spend some retail therapy time in one of Lake Geneva’s many stores.
Take your teenage daughter downtown for some shopping and quality mother-daughter time.
- West Yellowstone, Montana
West Yellowstone, a little town with countless options to explore Yellowstone National Park, attracts millions of people every year.
You kick the rapids off your bucket list by scheduling a river rafting trip on the Yellowstone River or taking part in zip lining with the Yellowstone Zip-Line Tours.
Try seeing bears, watching geysers, relaxing in hot springs, or climbing to waterfalls if that still isn’t exciting enough for you. If your teenagers enjoy adventure, they’ll adore Yellowstone!
To get close to the local fauna, go to Hayden Valley, trek the Elephant Back Mountain Trail, or visit the Old Faithful Geyser, which sprays water up to at least 180 feet every 35 to 60 minutes.
The Mammoth Hot Springs is another must-see in the region; due to its resemblance to sheets of snow, you might even think you’re in Antarctica!
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Dells is the favorite family spot, Also known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World. It contains many adventure parks, such as the Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Timber Falls Adventure Park, Circus World, and Timbavati Wildlife Park, and the list seems endless.
You may experience the natural splendor of this area while zipping through the woods or taking a boat tour to admire the rock formations in Dell’s downs the Wisconsin River.
In addition, you could visit places like Wizard Quest, Wild Fun Zone, Knuckleheads Trampoline Park, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, and the Terrific Wolf Lodge, the latter of which is a great place to combine entertainment and quality lodging.
- Charlotte, North Carolina
The Carowinds Amusement Park area is like a home for the most thrilling and terrifying roller coasters in the world, along with Carolina Cyclone, Intimidator, and the Afterburn. Do not let Charlotte’s pleasant weather and gorgeous blue skies mislead you into thinking it is low-key.
Visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center with its zip lines and rope courses for exhilarating entertainment.
Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame for interactive recreation.
To learn about the city, take a Chartolle City Tour; these tours allow you to see famous sights like the BB&T Ballpark, the Bank of America Stadium, and the stunning 4th Ward buildings.
There is a Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte; reserve a room for family-friendly resort entertainment, with indoor rides of more than 80,000 sq. ft. and attractions like the 1000-gallon tipping bucket!
Another fantastic place to go with over 15 attractions is big air Charlotte, Charlotte’s leading trampoline park, including a Ninja Warrior course and Virtual Reality experiences.
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is the best choice if your family includes teenagers and younger children. It’s one of the best sites to visit if you want to combine learning with enjoyment.
Visit the Gettysburg Battlefield, the Shriver House Museum, and the National Military Park to learn everything there and to know about Gettysburg’s part in the Civil War, or take a tour bus to see all the main tourist sites.
Another fascinating historical place where you can immerse yourself in 19th-century Gettysburg and discover the struggles of both soldiers and civilians throughout the war is the Rupp House.
You can also learn about the conservation work made in the region at the Rupp House.
Additionally, Gettysburg is known for its creepy locations. Scare the kids, especially the “I’m-too-cool-for-you” teens, with a ghost tour!
- Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek is all about being “family-friendly” and offers a variety of activities for families to enjoy, including ice skating, cross-country skiing, and ski lessons.
With the excellent instructors at the resort, the whole family can improve their skiing lessons or spend quality time together around a rental fire pit!
The three main wintertime attractions are Haymeadow Park, Red Buffalo Park, and Thursday Night Lights, the latter of which is a fantastic way to cap the day with lights and fireworks.
Anybody would be impressed by these pyrotechnics, regardless of how “cool” your teen pretends to be!
The EpicMix is another fun family destination where you can race your friends and have family photos taken.
But as a winter wonderland, don’t dismiss Beaver Creek.
Enjoy outdoor activities like horseback riding and hiking on the lovely green hillsides at Beaver Creek, which is perfect for summer and winter vacations.
- Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, humming with life and activity, is located east of Sandusky along the lovely Lake Erie shoreline.
If they are fans of good music, this place will surely be one of the best vacations for teens.
Summer beach parties hosted on Lake Erie’s shores make Cleveland’s entertainment and music scene vibrant.
Take your teenagers to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to see Elvis’ motorcycle and other rock relics, or take them for a free visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see paintings by Warhol and Caravaggio to boost the cool quotient in their eyes.
With all of its NASA exhibits and interactive activities, the Great Lakes Science Center is a success for science lovers.
Other enjoyable vacations are the WhirlyBall Laser-Sport, Get Air Cleveland, and Fun ‘N Stuff Amusement Park.
- Cooperstown, New York
If you are considering where to go on vacation, Cooperstown in New York is the only place you need to consider visiting if you have a teenager who adores sports.
Cooperstown is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, a must-see for sports enthusiasts with its interactive exhibitions, unique events, and exclusive VIP museum tours.
Families also love the activities like hiking and biking around Glimmerglass State Park. You can also visit a lovely country house there. To round off your trip, you can rent a boat and sail over the stunning Otsego Lake.
You can also visit the Farmers Museum, Cooperstown Bat Company, Barnyard Swing Mini Golf, and Fun Center.
Visit Schneider’s Bakery and fill your face with their mouthwatering pastries!
- Park City, Utah
Park City is a destination that athletic, active families will love for some fantastic mountain biking, skiing, and moose-spotting.
Take a guided mountain tour or try zip-lining and bobsledding at the Utah Olympic Park.
A visit to the Red Rock Brewery in the downtown area would also let you eat some delicious pizza and burgers.
Teenagers find Park City appealing because of the abundance of lovely cabins with hot tubs, outdoor decks, and scenery that will generate a good amount of “likes” on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, the latter of which any teen would love to see. It’s hard to pass on what you like!
The region is also known for escape rooms, each more difficult than the last, so parents and teenagers will have their brains put to the test!
- Huntsville, Alabama
“The Rocket City” might not seem like a vacation destination, but it is the place to go if you want to view loads of really cool rockets and NASA memorabilia and have the chance to visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to see a space shuttle.
Take your teen to the lovely Huntsville Botanical Garden, where you can also take part in enjoyable activities like night hikes to find fireflies and cooking morels over fires for dinner if your teen is interested in ground-level science.
There are numerous free teen hangouts in Hunstville, like the Altitude Trampoline Park, the Rocket City Arcade, and the Huntsville Skate Park, if your adolescent is like any other.
The Hunstville Escape Rooms are a fantastic way to enjoy yourself like Sherlock Holmes!
- Sandusky, Ohio
When visiting Sandusky, if your teens are roller coaster lovers, they have options according to their desire because Cedar Point Amusement Park has rides for every speed preference.
Both fantastic ideas are about renting jet skis to explore Lake Eriein uniquely or staying on the traditional road by strolling along the Sandusky Bay Pathway.
Visit the Manor Thrill Center, where there is creepy entertainment, and observe how the typically “too cool” children react when they arrive.
Even better, arrange a vacation for the youngsters to the Lake Erie Fear Fest in October and let the kids dare!
You may also check out the museums in Sandusky for fun, such as the Maritime Museum of Sandusky and the Merry-Go-Round Museum.
Enjoy a visit at the Great Wolf Lodge for first-class accommodation and entertainment, or take a segway trip to discover Sandusky.
- Glen Rose, Texas
The beautiful Glen Rose area is certainly for families. Dinosaur Valley State Park has everything for dinosaur lovers in the 1500-acre space: rocky hillsides, hiking and bikeways, and even preserved dinosaur footprints.
For more dinosaur-related entertainment, including a trail lined with replicas of ancient species and a wealth of knowledge about these mysterious creatures, you can also pay a visit to the nearby Dinosaur World.
Visit the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center while driving around the park to see more modern species. You’ll pass parrots, gazelles, bison, and giraffes along the journey.
Glen Rose might not be as popular with the older kids, but if they share Ross Geller’s passion for dinosaurs, they will undoubtedly love this vacation spot!
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic must be your top pick if you’re considering traveling to one of the Caribbean countries.
Punta Cana is one of the core destinations to travel to with your teenagers in tow because it is a place of an excellent beach holiday, including pristine shores lined with lovely palm trees, sun-kissed crystal waters, and perfect weather.
There are many all-inclusive resorts in the area, so you won’t have to pay extra for the kids’ parties and extracurricular activities.
With various action-packed sports like sailing, windsurfing, tennis, archery, and required beach parties at the end of the day, Club Med Punta Cana is a fantastic hub for teen-friendly entertainment.
The hotel offers a circus skills course where visitors can learn trade tricks like stilt dancing, trapeze flying, and even building human pyramids!