Choosing where to go on vacation becomes that little bit more difficult when you have to think about keeping the kids safe, healthy, and entertained, and what makes a dream vacation for parents might have kids and teenagers rolling their eyes with boredom. Whether you're traveling with teenagers or little ones, and whether you want to stay in the USA or branch out and head overseas, we've got guidance and ideas to ensure you come home with great travel memories.
Best vacations for kids under 10
If your kids are under the age of 10, then you might have to take things a little easier when choosing a family vacation spot. You'll probably want a destination with safe beaches, kid-friendly food, and attractions that'll stimulate the little ones without tiring them out too much. Booking a vacation rental home in the US rather than overseas will cut down on both travel time and culture shock, and luckily, there's an incredible variety of kid-friendly options in the country, from beaches to theme parks to big-city delights.
Kid-friendly trips to Orlando
For both preschoolers and older kids, the major allure of Orlando is its theme parks, which range from the trusted favorites of Disney World and Universal Studios to lesser-known hits such as the Orlando Science Center and Gatorland, where young wildlife fans can come up close to a plethora of toothy reptiles. The city is also home to legions of family-friendly restaurants and malls, as well as an incredible selection of vacation homes, many of which come with good-sized gardens and pools.
Big-city charms in Washington, DC
Washington, DC may not seem like the obvious destination for younger kids, but a vacation rental in the nation's capital can be a fun and stimulating trip for your grade-schooler. As well as getting to see sights right out of their history books, they can also visit a host of hands-on museums, from the National Air and Space Museum to the International Spy Museum. Or they get can close to nature at the United States Botanic Garden and Rock Creek Park. After all those adventures, you'll find food from across the globe to tempt their tiny taste buds, too.
Walk on the wild side in San Diego
Families who opt for a vacation home rental in San Diego will be spoilt for choice when it comes to fun, child-friendly activities, thanks to balmy weather, a coast lined with incredible beaches, and plenty of wildlife watching opportunities. At pretty La Jolla Cove, little ones can frolic in the sand and watch sea lions in their natural habitat, while San Diego Zoo's lush green grounds are home to more than 3,000 animals from around 650 species. For an even wilder experience, head for San Diego Zoo Safari Park in northern San Diego County.
Best family vacations with teenagers
Teenagers can be much tougher to impress than younger ones when it comes to taking a family trip. Not only will you need a vacation rental that offers them their own personal space (perhaps with a few gadgets thrown in, too), you'll need to work hard on the activities front. Big, buzzing urban centers will impress reluctant teens, or you can opt for an active vacation full of hiking, biking, and high-octane fun. You can even go on a long-haul adventure, which'll give them plenty to talk about long after you fly back home.
Bright lights in New York City
When it comes to big-city excitement it doesn't get much better than New York. As well as checking out all the mainstream tourist fare, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, or a Broadway show, you can take your teen to some offbeat city haunts: a hip brunch spot in Williamsburg, perhaps, or vintage shopping in the East Village. And for an alternative look at that world-famous skyline, a sailing trip from Chelsea Pier would be just the ticket. There are plenty of suitably cool vacation rentals in the city, from downtown lofts to chic uptown apartments.
Getting outdoors in Colorado
Getting out into the great outdoors as a family can be a fantastic bonding experience, and there's a whole heap of high-adrenaline fun to be had in mountainous Colorado. The soaring Rocky Mountains are a fantastic place for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting, or you can choose to spend a day learning cowboy skills at a dude ranch. Once you're tired of the outdoors, Denver is on hand for urban adventures. On the vacation rental front, you'll find everything from getaway cabins in the hills, to modern villas complete with pools and game rooms.
Beachside living in Turks and Caicos
If you really want to get into your teenager's good books, then a vacation rental in the Caribbean can be an excellent choice. Turks and Caicos offers a laid-back tropical vibe and deserted beaches for the parents, while throwing in fun-filled water-based activities for the kids, too. Some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world takes place off these islands, and the jungle-filled inland will bring out your kids' inner explorers. Throw in an oceanside villa or condo rental and the whole family will be in beachside bliss.