15 Summer Bucket List Destinations For Families

After traveling full-time around North America for 8 years and visiting 49 states (just not Hawaii!), these are our top picks to add to your summer travel bucket list!

Kid cliff jumping at Steel Head Falls

I have broken this down into 3 categories. National Parks, Beach Vacations and Cities. You can easily jump to the one that interests you or check out all 15 of them!

If you use Pinterest be sure to pin these posts to your Travel Summer Bucket List board!

National Parks

Picture of Yellowstone Bison.
Yellowstone National Park

Glacier National Park

There is something about the glacier blue water and the ruggedness of the park that has made it our favorite National Park in the US! We have visited with younger kids, older kids and grandparents and there is something for everyone.

You can do an easier hike like Trail of the Cedars or the more difficult (and one of our favorites) Grinnel Glacier. There are beautiful lakes and waterfalls to explore along with cool things to do outside of the park.

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of those places to visit at least once (and hopefully more than that!) during your life. It’s an amazing park that offers surreal views, constantly changing and surprising landscape and wildlife. There are so many great places to visit and things to do in Yellowstone National Park. 

Yellowstone National Park picture of Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic

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North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is one of the lesser visited National Parks in the US. I don’t know why?! There are over 300 Glaciers here! It was gorgeous and is definitely a National Park you should have you on your list. There are so many amazing things To Do In North Cascades National Park.

North Cascades is located in Washington State. If you want to make it a long trip you can also add in Olympic National Park in Washington and a stop in Seatle.

17 Amazing Things To Do In North Cascades National Park


The Redwoods are a combination of Redwood National and State Parks that spread all up the northern coast of California. This means there is a good amount of ground to cover and a lot of cool things to do in Redwood National Park. In our post we explain more about how the parks are setup and the things you don’t want to miss.

The Redwoods are so magical!! If you want to extend your trip look to do a Northern California Road Trip!

23 Magical Things To Do In Redwood National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park in Maine is a fun summer destination. From the incredible views in the park, the unbelievable hikes – climbing up the side of a mountain – seriously! To exploring Bar Harbor and the surrounding area. There are a lot of fun things to do for the whole family. Don’t forget to try the local lobster and go on a lobster boat tour!

Acadia National Park and Maine Content:

Beach Vacation

South Padre Island

Destin Florida

We have visited Destin, Florida so many times I have lost count – once we stayed for 2 months! It is one of our favorite places in the US to visit with the gorgeous beaches and fun family-friendly attractions. We keep going back because of all the awesome things to do in Destin, FL!

Water sportsgolffishingdolphin cruiseswaterfront dining, and amazing sunsets are just a few of the best things to do when you visit Destin!

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Gulf Shores

We have visited Gulf Shores in Alabama multiple times and each time we and had a jam-packed fun time filled with beautiful beachesdelicious foodrelaxation and amazing sunsets. There are so many awesome things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

You won’t want to miss visiting Gulf State Park, learning about the history and culture in the area and all the fun outdoor activities you can do. Gulf Shores is very family-friendly and affordable.

Gulf Shores Pinterest Pin with picture parasailing and picture of kid holding a baby alligator.

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South Padre Island

We planned to come to South Padre Island in Texas for 3 weeks and ended up coming back and staying for over 3 months! There are so many fun things to do in South Padre Island from amazing beaches and surfing, a fun nightlife, attractions for the whole family and an awesome vibe. When you come you won’t want to leave!

South Padre Island pin with picture of kid surfing and family next to a sand castle they built.

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Florida Keys

An awesome tropical vacation destination right here in the United States is the Florida Keys. It has such a Caribbean feel with the conveniences of being in the US.  The beaches are not the best but the water activities, sunsets and 100 miles to explore make a Florida Keys Road Trip a great summer vacation!

Mom and son in hammock looking at the ocean. Family on a banana boat in the Florida Keys.

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Oregon Coast

You may not think of the Oregon Coast as a beach destination but it is! Granted it isn’t the best for swimming in the ocean but the beaches are goregous and so much fun to explore. From hiking around the beaches to driftwood to tide pools.

Picture of the Oregon Coast water and beach

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Cities To Visit In The Summer

Kid Friendly Bend Oregon Breweries
Brewery in Bend Oregon

New York City, New York

Visiting New York City with kids is such a fun trip with all the educational opportunitiesbroadway shows and food exploration! Add in a few professional sports games, some shopping and a bike ride through Central Park and your whole family will be happy!

New York City with kids Pin. Picture of kid playing basetball and kids on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Visiting New York City With Kids [Itinerary Included]

Or plan a whole East Coast Road Trip!

Chicago, Illinois

When visiting Chicago with kids you won’t want to miss the museums (especially the Museum of Science and Industry), Navy PierMillennium Park to see the Bean, the Chicago Riverwalk, and do a food tour to try a variety of the delicious food!

Kids looking out hotel window at Navy Pier in Chicago

Learn more about visiting Chicago with kids here: 25 Fun And Exciting Things To Do In Chicago With Kids

Boston, Massachussetts

Boston has so much history to share while also having fun activities to do with your family. It is a very walkable city. You won’t want to miss the donut tour and eating in Little Italy when you visit!

Kids by Boston sign and in Salem with a witch statue.

Learn more about Boston and Salem here: 29+ Fun Things to Do In Boston With Kids [Including Salem]

Bend, Oregon

We almost bought property in Bend, Oregon that is how much we like it! From the breweries and cideries to the outdoor activities and river float there are so many fun things for the whole family to do in Bend. Plus drive a short ways and you have waterfalls to ride down, cliff jumping and amazing hikes.

Picture of a kid cliff jumping, Blockbuster and floating down the river.

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Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga has fun outdoor activities for the whole family. From the incline train to the underground waterfall and Rock City and rock climbing. Plus they have an awesome brewery and food scene.

Incline train and picture of kid at Rock City in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee articles:

There you have it! Where will you be heading this summer?!

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