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
Photo credit: Rudolf Balasko/iStock/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: benkrut/iStock/Getty Images
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
Photo credit:Beboy_ltd/iStock/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: Guy Vanderelst/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: ranplett/Vetta/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: Snap Decision/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: John Cabuena Flipintex Fotod/Moment/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: Brianna May/iStock/360/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: David Joyner/Vetta/Getty Images
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
Photo credit: John J. Miller Photogrpahy/Moment/Getty Images
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.
More from Travel
Flip-flop approved summer destinations
Road tripping down Route 66 with my 9-month-old baby
5 Ways people invade your personal space on airplanes