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30 Best Summer Family Vacations

Deciding where to take your family this summer can be overwhelming. Depending on how many children you have, you have to plan for at least three people. Manzanilla Sophia wants you to have a fun, relaxing summer with your family. Whether the kids are in summer camp and you’re planning a quick trip alone, or if the whole family’s going, we got something for you.

From Dinosaur fossils to beautiful waterfalls, we have a fun list for you regardless of what state you live in. Discover these hidden gems and plan an amazing family vacation with Manzanilla Sophia.

Looking for fun?

We have the best family vacation spots! We’ll briefly discuss our 30 favorite spots to visit with your loved ones. Pack a snack, gas up, and hit the road with your family or friends. Let’s review this awesome list of the best family vacation places for your summer!

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Summer at Yellowstone will be an amazing experience for your kids. If your family is ready to see some bison or elk, you should visit the Lamar Valley area. You’re bound to see wildlife here, where bison roams free all over. Check Artist Point to see an amazing waterfall and a rainbow if you’re lucky. You can then finish your day with a refreshing swimming session at the boiling river. Hot spring water mixes with the river here, creating a perfect lukewarm water to relax in.


Gulf Shores, Alabama

For our southern readers, we have something as well. Gulf Shores in Alabama is a family-friendly vacation spot known for its stunning white sandy beaches and warm, calm waters. Your family can enjoy building sandcastles, playing beach games, and swimming. There’s also a variety of water sports like boating, kayaking, and jet skiing, as well as fishing. Don’t forget about the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and the Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, where kids can learn while having lots of fun.


Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park offers awe-inspiring landscapes, deep canyons, cliffs, and stunning rock formations shaped by the Colorado River over millions of years. The park offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including hiking trails for all skill levels, backpacking, camping, river rafting, and mule rides. Your kids can also learn with the educational programs led by park rangers, where they can learn about geology, ecology, and the importance of conservation.


Custer State Park, South Dakota

Custer State Park in South Dakota offers families breathtaking landscapes, wildlife encounters, and many outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, fishing, and scenic driving are popular activities in the area. The park’s abundant wildlife includes bison, elk, and pronghorn. Family-friendly events and nature programs allow families to immerse themselves in nature and create lasting memories.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite offers many activities for families and their children. Get excited and visit one of the most popular parks in the USA. If your family is looking for unbelievable views, check Glacier Point. This great overlook offers incredible views of the park and half dome. Yosemite will be an unforgettable experience for your and your family.   


Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has stunning landscapes, including misty mountains and lush forests. This mountain range offers lots of hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Your family will be able to explore historic homesteads and participate in ranger-led programs to learn about the town’s culture and heritage. The park caters to families, making it an ideal destination for adventurous families.


Lake Powell, Utah

Enjoy boating, water skiing, fishing, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Powell. Exploring hidden canyons, hiking along scenic trails, and camping along the shoreline can make for great family adventures and bonding. The picturesque setting makes Lake Powell an ideal destination for family fun and outdoor enjoyment. 


Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs is a perfect destination for families seeking outdoor adventures. Surrounded by nature, this city offers many activities for all ages. Families can explore the Garden of the Gods, hike the trails of Pikes Peak, or visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. For thrill-seekers, there’s white-water rafting, ziplining, and mountain biking. Colorado Springs offers an unforgettable family vacation surrounded by fun and nature. Check it out this summer and make lasting memories with your loved ones. 


Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, located on the Gulf Coast, offers an unforgettable family vacation. Its pristine sandy beaches and calm waters provide a perfect setting for relaxation, swimming, and beach games. Families can also enjoy water sports such as boating, kayaking, and jet skiing. Explore the parks, wildlife, and natural beauty that Orange Beach has to offer. You can also find amusement parks and delicious food around the area. The kids will also love the science centers and interactive exhibits, making it a fantastic destination for a family vacation.


Navarre, Florida

Navarre’s stunning beaches and turquoise waters provide relaxation and joyfulness. Families can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. The area offers opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding as well. If your family loves nature, you can visit the Navarre Beach Marine Park, known for its diverse wildlife and hiking trails.


South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island is a fantastic vacation destination for families. Its beaches and warm waters create a perfect playground for your kids. Families can spend their days swimming and enjoying water sports like surfing, jet skiing, and parasailing. There is also fishing, dolphin-watching cruises, and nature walks at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. South Padre Island is the place to make fun memories and tighten your family bonds. 


Southern Utah

Southern Utah will leave you in awe with its stunning landscapes and natural wonders. The region is home to breathtaking national parks like Zion, Bryce, and Arches, offering lots of hiking and exploring. Visitors can also enjoy scenic drives, some of the best stargazing, and experience the rich Native American culture. Southern Utah is a captivating haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Your family will not be disappointed by a trip to Southern Utah. 


Redwoods, California

The Redwoods are a captivating destination known for majestic forests and towering ancient trees. The redwood groves provide a serene setting for hiking, camping, and immersing your family in nature. You and your family can enjoy the breathtaking views and hidden trails and witness the beauty of these ancient giants. The Redwoods offer an enchanting and unforgettable experience for the entire family.


Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a charming destination renowned for its therapeutic hot springs and rich history. Indulge in relaxing spa treatments, soak in the thermal waters, and enjoy the natural springs with your family. The city also has beautiful architecture, vibrant art galleries, and scenic hiking trails. With its blend of wellness and cultural attractions, Hot Springs provides a delightful retreat for families seeking relaxation and fun.


Fredericksburg, Texas

Visit Fredericksburg, Texas, this summer. Your kids will love the German heritage and Texas charm. Fredericksburg offers a range of attractions, including Main Street, delicious German cuisine, and the region’s rich history at the Pioneer Museum. From Fredericksburg, you can also enjoy the Texas Hill Country, known for its scenic drives and outdoor activities. With its unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, Fredericksburg is a captivating place to visit with the entire family. Do not forget to check Old Tunnel State Park during your visit to Fredericksburg.


Russell Cave National Monument, Alabama

Does your child want to be a Junior Ranger? If so, this is the place to visit. Enjoy the Cave’s Film and museum at the visitor’s center, where you can learn all about the cave. You can also take a hike, self-guided tours, have a picnic, and enjoy the nature the park has to offer.


Tallulah Falls, Georgia

Tallulah Falls is a scenic destination known for its breathtaking nature. A must-see is Tallulah Gorge, a stunning canyon with cascading waterfalls and hiking trails. Visitors can admire the views from various overlooks, explore the gorge floor, and even participate in rock climbing and rafting. The town also offers charming shops, local eateries, and a peaceful atmosphere, making Tallulah Falls the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Lost River Cave, Kentucky

Lost River Cave is a hidden gem in Bowling Green. The cave offers an underground boat tour, where visitors can glide through the river and marvel at the cave’s natural formations. Beyond the cave, your family can enjoy hiking and birdwatching. You can also visit the Butterfly Habitat, a serene garden filled with colorful butterflies that your children will love. Lost River Cave also hosts educational programs, making it an enchanting and educational destination for the entire family.


Santa Rosa Blue Hole, New Mexico

This Blue Hole is a natural freshwater pool with crystal-clear blue waters, making it a popular spot for scuba diving, free diving, and snorkeling. Divers are attracted to the Blue Hole’s impressive depth, underwater caves, and visibility that can reach up to 100 feet. This is a great place to enjoy swimming or explore the underwater and its natural wonders.

McDonald Observatory, Texas

Enjoy a fun weekend at the McDonald Observatory with your family. You and your family can attend stargazing programs, solar viewing, exploring exhibits, and twilight programs. There is also plenty of hiking in the Davis Mountains, nighttime telescope viewing, and the gift shop. Before you leave, check out the awesome dining at the on-site restaurant and its incredible views. It’s an educational and awe-inspiring experience for your family.


Petite Jean, Arkansas

At 1,120 feet above the Arkansas River Valley, Petit Jean Mountain is ready to blow you away with its amazing views. Enjoy hiking trails, camping, boating, and at Petit Jean State Park. Families can enjoy fishing on the lake, dining at Mather Lodge, exploring the Museum of Automobiles, and letting the kids have fun at the playground. It’s a perfect getaway for nature lovers and family activities.


Black Magic Canyon, Idaho

Black Magic Canyon in Idaho offers a unique and enchanting experience for visitors. This hidden gem showcases enchanting rock formations, narrow passages, and incredible geological features. Your family can enjoy exploring the canyon, hiking, and all the beauty of the carved rocks. Come and discover the magic of this natural treasure with your family.


Cave-In-Rock, Illinois

Cave-In-Rock in Illinois is a fascinating destination with a rich history and unique geological features. Your family can explore the massive limestone cave, which served as a hideout for outlaws in the past. You can also take a guided tour and learn about the cave’s history and witness its impressive size. Enjoy scenic views of the Ohio River and hike, have a picnic, and birdwatch around the cave.


Diana’s Bath, New Hampshire

Diana’s Bath is a magical destination for families seeking relaxation. These cascading waterfalls and pools create the perfect environment for swimming and exploring. The short hike to Diana’s Bath is family-friendly, and the tranquil atmosphere provides an opportunity to connect with your family. Pack a picnic, snap a few photos, and create lasting memories in this enchanting spot.


Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Bald Head Island is a captivating retreat for families seeking a peaceful coastal getaway. With no cars allowed, visitors can explore the island’s landscapes by golf cart or bicycle. Enjoy beaches, go fishing, and experience the iconic Lighthouse. Nature lovers can explore the island’s diverse habitats, spot wildlife, and participate in turtle nesting programs. The island also offers amenities like a marina, restaurants, and shops, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable family vacation for all.


Bishop’s Castle, Colorado

Bishop’s castle in Colorado is a castle handcrafted by Jim Bishop. Your family can admire the towering structure, which features intricate stonework, unique ironwork, and whimsical touches. Explore the towers, bridges, and hidden rooms, surrounded by mountain landscapes. Your family can also meet Jim and learn about the castle’s history. Bishop’s castle offers a one-of-a-kind experience that sparks imagination and showcases the power of creativity and dedication.


Jacob’s Well, Texas

Jacob’s Well in Texas is a natural wonder and a refreshing oasis for families. This spring forms a crystal-clear pool for swimming and snorkeling. Explore the depths of the well by going underwater into the cave system. You can take a guided tour or enjoy the surroundings. The area also has hiking trails, picnic spots, and wildlife viewing, making it a serene and captivating destination for your family.


Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Dinosaur National Monument is a prehistoric paradise for children. Let your kids enjoy the famous Quarry Exhibit Hall, where they can see hundreds of dinosaur fossils embedded in the rock. Take scenic drives through the park, go hiking to discover ancient petroglyphs, and enjoy picnics by the Green or Yampa Rivers. Junior Ranger programs and ranger-led activities offer educational experiences for kids. Immerse your family in the fascinating world of dinosaurs and natural wonders at Dinosaur National Monument.


Dauphin Island, Alabama

Dauphin Island is a coastal paradise perfect for summer. Enjoy miles of pristine beaches to sunbathe, swim, and relax. You can take the kids to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary to visit many bird species and embark on nature trails teeming with wildlife. Visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium for interactive marine exhibits and touch tanks. Fishing, boating, and dolphin-watching cruises are also popular activities in the area. Dauphin Island is the perfect spot for a relaxing and memorable vacation with your family.


Wilson Lake, Kansas

Wilson Lake in Kansas is a hidden gem for families seeking outdoor adventures. The lake offers activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming. Explore the many hiking and biking trails, have a picnic by the lakeshore, or enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Wilson Lake State Park is a great place for wildlife viewing. Enjoy an amazing weekend in Kansas at Wilson Lake with your family.


Manzanilla Sophia hopes this blog gave you a few ideas to plan your next family summer adventure. You can check our other blogs to find help on how to plan, organize, and pack for your summer adventure. Remember to always take Manzanilla Sophia with you when you head outside. Wind, light, dust, and pollen can hurt your eyes and disrupt your day. Keep your eyes healthy and happy with Manzanilla Sophia. 

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