Discover new destinations and make memories you’ll cherish forever with these summer family vacation ideas. These destinations cater to all kinds of families, whether you’re looking for a sunny escape to the Caribbean, an adventure to the Last Frontier, or an extraordinary encounter with wildlife.
Go snorkeling amongst tropical fish and unwind on pristine, white-sand beaches. Discover some of the most historically significant sites in the U.S. Get up close to animal species not found anywhere else in the world.
These are some of the most fun places to go in the summer with your family.
Experience Mexican culture and traditions on a trip to the island of Cozumel. This idyllic destination is an ideal choice for families who love participating in water sports, relaxing on white-sand beaches, and swimming in warm Caribbean waters.
Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts can explore Cozumel’s colorful marine world. Head to the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, where you’ll be able to see animals endemic to the island both on land and in the sea. Snorkel around coral gardens that extend throughout the park, and see what kind of tropical fish you find along the way.
Read: Best Family Beach Vacations in the World
Little ones will enjoy a day at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, a fun-filled destination where parents can relax under the sun while the kids are entertained by twin towering water slides, a floating park full of bouncing trampolines, pedal boats, and a pirate ship.
For an unforgettable experience, head to the island’s dolphin aquarium, where your family will learn all about these gentle marine mammals and even be able to shake fins, share a hug, or even kiss the dolphins. You’ll soon see why Cozumel is one of the best Caribbean islands for families.
If you’re looking for a different summer family vacation idea, trek through the jungle and explore ancient Mayan ruins and carvings at San Gervasio, a former Mayan shrine to Ixchel, the goddess of birth and fertility.
Charleston, South Carolina
Frequently landing on lists of the most beautiful places in the United States, Charleston, South Carolina is a charming Southern city surrounded by two rivers and a picturesque harbor. You’ll find it hard not to pull out your camera and take a photo on every block.
Charleston is known for its robust cultural experiences, and there are a number of museums that are worth visiting. Kids will enjoy the South Carolina Aquarium, which has kid-friendly exhibitions, interactive displays, and huge tanks full of sea turtles, sharks, and other marine animals.
If your kids are into science and art, or just like to play around, take them to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, where there’s a pirate ship, water lab, and art studio.
Lovers of history can take a lovely 40-minute ferry out to Fort Sumter National Monument, the site where the first shots that sparked the American Civil War rang out. Learn more about this pivotal moment in history, and leave some free time for everyone to see the giant cannons and relics.
Explore antebellum culture and history at Boone Hall Plantation and the Charleston Tea Plantation, where you can see thousands of tea bushes and the stately mansion from the comfort of a trolley tour.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Charleston
One of the most fun places to go in the summer with your family is The Bahamas, where there are plenty of water sports, parks, and beautiful beaches to keep everyone in the family happy.
Snorkel or scuba around The Bahamas’ diverse underwater ecosystem. Depending on where you go, you’ll have the chance to swim with sea turtles, admire coral reefs filled with tropical fish, and spot stingrays in the distance.
At Blue Lagoon Island, kids can play with dolphins and sea lions, while parents can spend time at one of the island’s white-sand beaches while sipping a tropical cocktail.
In Nassau, the whole family will love spending a day at Atlantis. At the Aquaventure Water Park, there’s something for everyone to stay entertained. Get your blood pumping by riding on one of the park’s nine water slides, including one that plunges down seven stories, enjoy a trip through the lazy river, and let the little ones play in the splash zone.
Take some time to explore its marine exhibits, where you’ll be able to witness the ocean’s most fascinating animals. See the exhibit dedicated to the legend of Atlantis, and learn about marine predators like barracudas, stingrays, and piranhas. At the underwater tunnel, you’ll see sharks swimming overhead.
Read: Where to Go This Summer
One summer family vacation idea is a trip to Boston, a city filled with rich historic and cultural treasures. Learn all about the Revolutionary War by embarking on the Freedom Trail, a guided tour where you’ll visit many of Boston’s most important landmarks including the Paul Revere House, the U.S.S. Constitution, and Old North Bridge, where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired.
Have lunch at Quincy Market in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, where food stands serve New England specialties like clam chowder and lobster rolls. In the summer, the streets of Quincy Market host performances including musicians and magicians that will keep children entertained.
Baseball fans won’t want to miss heading to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and one of the most famous sports stadiums in the country. Catch a game or simply take a tour, and don’t forget to buy one of their signature baseball caps.
Hop on board a Boston Duck Tour, a boat that travels on land and sea. Visit locations like Boston’s Seaport District, Financial District, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the West End, and later enjoy views of the city from Boston Harbor, the site of the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
The Galapagos Islands
Nature and animal lovers looking for a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation should look no further than the Galapagos, an archipelago of protected islands near Ecuador that are full of stunning flora and unique wildlife.
Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, whose studies in the region helped develop his theory of evolution. Discover a number of endemic species including Galapagos penguins, land iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and Darwin finches during your travels around this eco-paradise.
Spending the summer in the Galapagos with kids is particularly memorable as each island offers its own unique experience. Visit the black beaches of Santiago Island, walk on top of hardened volcanic lava, or dive into the ocean, where you’ll see a number of fish and maybe some Galapagos fur seals in the distance.
To complete your Galapagos Islands vacation, visit Isabela Island’s breathtaking volcanoes and saltwater lagoon that make for ideal backgrounds for a family photo you’ll want to frame back home. In Santa Cruz Island, spend a day at a pristine white-sand beach, or play with the colorful flamingos that call the island home.
Key West, Florida
The island of Key West is a fun and quirky destination that has a little bit of everything for all ages to enjoy.
With some of the best diving and snorkeling spots in Florida, Key West offers plenty of opportunities to see marine wildlife. Take a boat out to Key West’s coral reefs and shallow sandbars teeming with tropical fish, or kayak through the area’s mangroves, where you’ll spot birds and other local wildlife.
If you’re looking for activities that don’t involve water, book lovers can pay a visit to the Ernest Hemingway House. The literary hero’s former home turned museum is a great place to learn more about the author’s life and work. Your family might even encounter one of the six-toed cats that like to roam the property.
Teach the kids about geography by taking them to the Southernmost Point of the United States, a popular landmark where everyone can pose for a photo next to the colorful striped buoy that marks the spot.
It doesn’t get more family-friendly than Alaska. With breathtaking natural beauty, adventurous sports and activities, and wildlife you have to see to believe, Alaska is one of those destinations that leaves an enduring mark on everyone that visits.
Discover the majestic wonder of Alaska’s glaciers and the awe-inspiring rivers of ice that sparkle in shades of blue and white. One of the biggest attractions is Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in North America and one of the few glaciers in the world that is still advancing. Your kids will be amazed watching the glacier calving, when chunks of ice dramatically detach from the wall of the glacier and drop into the water below.
Head to the charming fishing village of Ketchikan, home to the world’s largest collection of Northwest totem poles, and the Misty Fjords National Monument, a striking landmark where you can stare in awe at lush fjords, 1,000-foot waterfalls, and sea cliffs.
Visit Denali National Park, a vast expanse of rugged terrain spanning over six million acres. At Denali National Park, you’ll see all kinds of wild animals in their natural habitat, such as grizzly bears, moose, endangered birds, and wolves. Plus, you’ll also spot the magnificent Denali mountain, North America’s highest peak.
Alaska has so many fun places to go in the summer with your family, where you can embark on whale-watching tours and fishing expeditions, try dog sled racing, and go mining for gold.
The paradise of Bermuda is famous for its pink-sand beaches, pristine blue water, and of course, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.
There are over 300 shipwrecks all around Bermuda, and visiting one of these underwater landmarks should be at the top of the list of things to do with your family. Explore two of the island’s most famous shipwrecks: the Montana, which sank in 1863; and the Constellation, which collapsed almost one hundred years later in the exact same spot. Snorkel around the wreckage and discover an underwater world full of colorful fish and exotic marine wildlife.
Head to the most popular beach in Bermuda, Horseshoe Bay, where the pink sand and gentle, shallow water is perfect for little ones to splash around and build sandcastles. Teens, meanwhile, can go swimming and explore the bay’s many inlets and caves.
For an educational experience, head inland and visit the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, where you’ll see the North Rock Marine Exhibit, which is the world’s most spectacular living display of coral. Other exhibits feature sharks, lionfish, exotic birds, and reptiles.
More adventurous families can visit the Crystal Caves. Once you descend down its many steps, marvel at the reflective pools of azure water and the thousands of stalagmite and stalactite formations above.
Read: Bahamas vs. Bermuda: Which Should You Visit?
Savor the glitz and glamour of the Cayman Islands during a vacation to Grand Cayman, a haven filled with beautiful beaches, world-class shopping, and marvelous marine wildlife.
Lounge on the impeccable sands of Seven Mile Beach, a beautiful stretch that actually spans five-and-a-half miles and the kind of place you picture in your mind when imagining a tropical paradise.
Head to Stingray City, a must-visit destination during any trip to Grand Cayman. Dip into the shallow sandbar and experience an up-close encounter with stingrays in their natural environment.
At the Cayman Turtle Centre, you’ll be able to see turtle hatchlings and pet yearling turtles, hand-feed birds, meet crocodiles, and bathe in a freshwater pool with waterfalls and slides.
Admire the island’s diverse flora and fauna at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Stroll through its lush gardens, count the colors at the Floral Colour Garden, and spot reptiles at the blue iguana captive breeding program.
There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy in Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory island that lies in the middle of the Caribbean.
Explore the wonders of El Yunque Rainforest, which spans over 29,000 acres and is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service. Take the family on a hike around its many winding paths and see hundreds of plant and animal species.
Later, cool down by dipping into one of the natural pools in the area, most of which are surrounded by breathtaking waterfalls, like La Coca Falls that was once believed to be the fountain of youth.
Young kids obsessed with pirates and buccaneers will love walking through the old town of San Juan. Learn all about Puerto Rico’s battles against Spanish, English, and Dutch invaders during a tour around Fort San Cristobal and walk on top of the large walls of the fortified city.
Then, head to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a fortress that dates back to the 16th century which was once considered unconquerable.
If you’re looking for a spectacular natural attraction and a memorable summer family vacation idea, stop by Cueva Ventana (Window Cave) in Arecibo. Step into this limestone cave, where you’ll see pre-Columbian petroglyphs and stone engravings. The real showstopper comes at the end when the cave opens up to a natural window frame that provides an unbeatable view of the island’s rainforest.
Read: Best Hikes in Puerto Rico
For an extra dose of adrenaline, sign up for a zip-line adventure that takes you through the lush trees and mangroves of Puerto Rico, or head to Escambrón Marine Park, where you can you kayak, snorkel, or scuba dive and see yellowtail snappers, turtles, and its “Fish Protection Wall.”
Read: Best Beaches in Puerto Rico
If you’re intrigued by this list of fun places to go in the summer with your family, an easy way to explore these destinations and more is by traveling on one of our award-winning cruises, which are also full of fun activities for the kids.
On a family cruise, spend your days swimming together in the pool and admiring the surrounding ocean views. Sign them up for Camp at Sea, our fully customizable onboard kids program, where they’ll be entertained with art, recreational, culinary, and STEM activities. Make dinner an unforgettable experience with Le Petit Chef, a 3D interactive dining experience. Enjoy a number of exciting shore excursions in every port and make unforgettable memories with your family.
Visit our website and start planning your next fun family cruise vacation today.