11 U.S. cities you didn't know are kid-friendly

Aug 30, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. ET
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This year, forget vacation destinations that bill themselves as kid-friendly. These 11 cities are well known for their grown-up appeal, but deliver all the fun your tiny tag-alongs desire.

We've only included U.S. destinations because, obviously, traveling internationally with children is dreadful.

1. Portland, Maine

Does your kid love adventure? Check out the wild trails located around Portland, or hop on a ferry to Peaks Island for small-town charm. Don't forget to seek out Maine's gorgeous lighthouses during your trip, too.

2. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois skyline

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Chicago is home to some of the best child-friendly museums and attractions in the world. Visit the Field Museum or Shedd Aquarium for awesome natural sights, or meander down to Navy Pier Park. Also, don't forget to load up on famous Chicago-style pizza to really please the kids.

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana skyline
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Skip Bourbon Street and show your children the historic side of this eccentric city. Hop on a real streetcar, sample delicious beignets and wander aimlessly through the city's above-ground cemeteries for a break from the ordinary. If your kid tires of history, you can always check out the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium.

4. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington skyline

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Did someone say Duck Tour? The waters around Seattle are perfect for ferry rides and other amphibious excursions with the kids. Of course, Pike Place Market is also delightful whether you're 8 or 80, and the waterfront ferris wheel and Space Needle are always a hit.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii skyline

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Hawaii can prove a little tricky with children, because some beaches just aren't safe for little ones. Honolulu, however, has kid-friendly beaches with safe options for snorkeling, and don't forget that many of the region's resorts have great childcare options if you need some adult fun.

6. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Sin City is surprisingly kid-friendly, especially for older children. Relax at the famous resort pools located off the strip, and check out awesome shows like the Blue Man Group and Le Reve. Beat the heat of the city by escaping for a day trip to the Grand Canyon or Lake Mead.

7. New York, New York

New York, New York skyline

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New York City is home to the American Museum of Natural History, and it rocks. Your kids will get lost in its IMAX movies and dinosaur exhibits — but don't forget there is great outdoor fun, too, at beautiful Central Park's carousel, puppet shows and zoo.

8. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas skyline

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Your children will remember the Alamo once they have a chance to see charming San Antonio. Visit the city's historic missions, float down the city's river and sample delicious Tex-Mex food. Don't forget that the best water park in the nation, Schlitterbahn, is just 30 minutes north of downtown.

9. Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

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A vacation to Williamsburg is like time travel. Fully restored Colonial Williamsburg boasts a layout and culture that rivals the original 18th century city. Your kids will have a chance to rub elbows with Thomas Jefferson, peruse historic shops and sample the foods and sights that built America.

10. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts skyline

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When you visit Bean Town, stay at the supremely kid-friendly Omni Parker House so you can walk to the Freedom Trail, Boston Common and the museums and historic sites near the city's center. Time it right, and you can escape the big city to pick blueberries at countryside farms.

11. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana skyline

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Surprisingly, oft-forgotten Indianapolis is a wonderful destination for a family vacation. Visit the largest children's museum in the world, or cruise around the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Need a break from museums? We hear the Indianapolis Colts are often a pretty good football team.

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