20+ Unique Family Vacation Ideas and Itineraries

Are you looking for awesome family vacation ideas for your next family vacation? This list of family vacation itineraries will help you start planning your next vacation that your teens will love.

Planning a family vacation does not have to be a challenge. We love traveling with our teens for their unique perspective and the added excitement.

Exploring the many family friendly destinations in the United States has been one of my favorite things to do as a family. It has provided us with amazing memories and lots of quality time.

My all time favorite family vacation ideas with teens are theme parks and road trips!

Southern California Theme Park Itinerary The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore is a must do when visiting LA with teens that love to read!

Best Family Vacation Ideas with Teens

We have planned some epic road trips like our 9 day Southwest Road Trip and our Las Vegas Road Trip. We also love the theme parks and spend a lot of time at Universal and Disney World!

Below is a list of our picks for fun family trips with teens. Each one we have experienced as a family of five!

  • Southern California Theme Park Trip
  • Las Vegas 4 Day Itinerary with Stops at Hoover Dam and Zion National Park
  • 7 Day Walt Disney World Vacation
  • New York to Florida Road Trip Itinerary
  • 24 Hours in Tucson Arizona
  • 2 Days in New York City
  • Southwest Road Trip: New Mexico to California
  • Weekend in Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • 4 Day Pigeon Forge Itinerary
  • 2 Days in Jamestown New York
  • 6 Day Orlando Vacation
  • 2 Days at Watkins Glen State Park
  • Weekend Getaway to Pittsburgh
  • 3 Days in Carlsbad, California
  • Buffalo, NY Weekend
  • Tennessee Road Trip Itinerary
  • 2 Nights in Mystic, CT
  • Myrtle Beach Vacation Itinerary
  • First International Trip Itinerary: Iceland, England, and France
  • Cruise Vacations

We have done these trips and I recommend each of them for different reasons. Read on for details on how to plan, what to do, where to stay, and what to eat on these amazing family destinations with teens!

Quick Tips for Family Vacations with Teens

Let them be part of the planning process! Surprises are usually not great for teens. Give them advanced notice and talk to them about their schedule before planning a trip.

We have visited amusement parks, national parks, beach vacations, trips to Europe, cruise vacations, and more. We always have a great time and find lots of fun activities that are great for the whole family.

Plan a trip that aligns with your teens interests. If they don’t enjoy something at home don’t plan a family vacation around it.

Allow for down time and space for your teen during the trip to recharge. Everyone can benefit from an afternoon break.

Each itinerary below we have experienced as a family. I have also included a few ideas for trips we haven’t taken yet but are on our list.

I have done all the research for you! All you need to do is pick the trip that sounds best for your family, book it, and enjoy it!

A visit to the Hoover Dam during our Las Vegas trip.

Family Trip Itinerary Ideas

Most of these trips are great for kids of all ages. They include teen-friendly activities but also have things younger siblings can do.

I like to find activities that we can do as a family and that we don’t have to split up. The vacations where we can all be together enjoying the same activity are the best family vacations.

Southern California Theme Park Itinerary

We love visiting theme parks and had the best time during our Southern California Theme Park trip.

The plan was to fly into LAX to visit In n’ Out Burger, The Last Bookstore, and Funko Hollywood Store. We also spent a day at Universal Studios Hollywood.

We stayed at the Loews Hollywood Hotel which had views of the Hollywood sign and was a short drive to Universal. Be sure to purchase tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood before you arrive at the park.

Southern California Theme Park Itinerary Funko Hollywood Photo Ops
The Funko Store has so many fun photo-ops. Teens will love it!

After a couple nights in LA we drove to Anaheim to spend the rest of our trip at the Disneyland Resort.

Disneyland is so much fun! A great way to enjoy your trip is to stay within walking distance of the park.

We loved our stay at the Courtyard Marriott: Theme Park Entrance. There are two Courtyard Marriott hotels so be sure to check that you are staying at the closest one.

Read our review: Best Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel | Courtyard Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.

best good neighbor hotel disneyland courtyard anaheim theme park entrance water park view
The pool at The Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.

The hotel was a perfect place for our family and allowed us easy access to walk to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Be sure to purchase Disney tickets before you arrive!

Want more details about how we planned this trip read this article for the full itinerary: 9 Day Southern California Itinerary for Your Theme Park Vacation

Southern California Theme Park Itinerary Universal Secret Life of Pets
Secret Life of Pets Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

Las Vegas 4 Day Itinerary with Kids

Our Las Vegas 4 day itinerary was a mix of day trips and days on the strip. There are actually a lot of things to see and do in Las Vegas the are great for kids.

We also spent one day at Zion National Park which I highly recommend. We fit a lot of activities into a short time but it was a great way to see as much as we can during the trip.

If you are a parent of teens you know that vacation time becomes less and less available as they get older.

In Zion National Park we stayed at a Best Western that was within walking distance to the park and has a shuttle during the summer season.

In Las Vegas we stayed on the strip at the Flamingo. It is not the best place on the strip but it was within our budget and had space for our family of 5. It actually had bunk bed rooms which was convenient for us.

Visiting Vegas was fine with kids. We actually found ourselves wanting to explore outside the strip after one day of walking around.

There are a few things on the streets you may want to prepare your kids for but overall it felt safe and was easy to avoid.

Read the full itinerary: Zion National Park to Las Vegas Road Trip | Las Vegas 4 Day Itinerary

the bellagio in las vegas

Walt Disney World 7 Day Itinerary

I love visiting Disney World in Orlando Florida and we have visited for 2 days at Disney World all the way up to a 7 Day Disney visit.

If you are visiting Disney World for the first time or have a week for your family trip try to balance rest time and time at the parks in a week long vacation.

With teens they may want to sleep in and stay at the park later. Keep this in mind when planning. You may also consider time at one of the water parks or an evening at Disney Springs.

This amount of time will allow rest days and an opportunity to visit all four of the parks. If you are looking for ticket deals be sure to check out my partner for their latest theme park deals.

Read Our Full Itinerary: Disney World 7 Day Itinerary Planning Guide

cost of a disney world vacation for a family of five

NY to Florida Road Trip Itinerary

I have made the drive from NY to Florida numerous times as a kid as well as with my kids.

It usually takes at least one overnight to drive down, unless you have multiple drivers and can drive through the night.

The great thing about driving this route is you can decide to take a number of different routes to get from point A to point B.

Depending on where we want to stop along our drive we can customize our route to include unique stops.

One of my favorite stops was at Jekyll Island in Georgia. This place is a little off the highway but if you have time to stop it is totally worth it.

On this trip we made sure to stop at Buck-ee’s before continuing on to our final destination at Universal Orlando resort.

The best thing about this road trip is you can spend as little or as much time on the road stopping at unique places.

driftwood beach new york to florida road trip
Jekyll Island

Tucson Arizona in 24 Hours with Kids

Tucson, Arizona was added to a bigger trip we were on but it was a place I wish we had more time to visit.

The 24 hours we did have was a quick trip but we really enjoyed it. It was our first visit to Arizona and I need to plan a trip back.

Read What We Did: Family Activities in Tucson with Kids that Everyone Will Enjoy

New York City in 2 Days

New York City is one of those places that you can never really see everything. You have to pick and choose the attractions you want to do. We have done this trip twice.

Our second trip to NYC we stayed at the Westin and focused a lot of time around Times Square and Broadway.

We walked through Central Park and saw a Broadway Show. There is also a Harry Potter store, Nintendo Store, and numerous museums to visit depending on your interests.

The Westin Times Square is a great location because it is centrally located.

You may want to consider purchasing a CityPass that includes admission to several NYC attractions. They offer different packages and some of the attractions are Empire State Building, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, 9/11 Museum, and Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Read Itinerary: New York in 2 Days: Tips for First Time Visiting NYC with Kids

2 days in NYC ANHM

9 Day Southwest Road Trip Itinerary

This was one of our first really big road trip itineraries and it will always be one of my favorites.

We were able to visit 3 states, Disneyland, White Sands National Park, and the California coast. It was amazing!

This trip was a good example of planning things that work for our family. We knew we would want to spend more time at Disneyland with a mix of visiting other attractions.

When planning your trip do what is best for your family.

Read the Itinerary: Best Southwest Road Trip Itinerary

white sands national park dunes

Hershey, PA Weekend

We have visited Hershey, Pennsylvania numerous times over the years for their Halloween and Christmas events as well as different times throughout the year.

They have a Hershey Chocolate Tour at Hershey Chocolate World, Hersheypark, 3 Hersheypark resorts, and other family fun things to do.

Read Itinerary: Fun Things to Do in Hershey PA with Kids

hersheypark tips kissing fountain

4 Day Pigeon Forge Itinerary

Pigeon Forge is so much fun with the many kid friendly attractions as well as the proximity to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We really enjoyed hiking Clingman’s Dome and staying in a cabin. If we visit again I would include Dollywood into our visit.

There is so much to do with Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg being close distance to each other. Anakeesta is a place I highly recommend visiting with kids of all ages.

Read Our Itinerary: Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids (4 Day Pigeon Forge Itinerary)

bumper boats in pigeon forge tn.

2 Day Jamestown, NY Itinerary

Our weekend in Jamestown, NY was one of the most surprising weekend getaways we every went on.

We visited the National Comedy Center, spent time by the water, and explored Panama Rocks. It was a great place to visit for a family trip.

This is a great place to visit if you are local to Rochester, NY (like we are) and only have a night or two to get away.

Read Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Jamestown NY for a Weekend Getaway

view from harbor hotel jamestown weekend

6 Day Orlando Itinerary

Sharing an Orlando itinerary is difficult because I could come up with many different ways to spend your time in the central Florida city.

This was one of our first trips and we did a split stay at a few resorts. We have also done a quick weekend getaway to Orlando that was a lot of fun.

Our Orlando itinerary should help you get started with what type of vacation you want to have and give you ideas for where to start.

Read the Itinerary: Orlando with Kids: 6 Day Orlando Itinerary

orlando itinerary with kids duplo village.

Watkins Glen 2 Day Itinerary

Watkins Glen State Park may be one of my favorite places to hike in New York state. It is so beautiful. If you want to avoid the crowds you should arrive early.

To do this you might want to plan a weekend getaway and stay close to the park. We stayed at the Harbor Hotel and it was a perfect location.

Read Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Watkins Glen (Family Weekend at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel)

watkins state park trail.

2 Day Pittsburgh Itinerary

Pittsburgh will always hold a special place for us because we lived there for a short time but we love to go back.

It is an awesome city to visit with kids because there are so many family friendly attractions. The best places to include when visiting Pittsburgh are Phipps Botanical Gardens, Andy Warhol Museum, and the Pittsburgh History Museum.

Read Our Itinerary: Pittsburgh Weekend Trip with Kids

things to do with kids in Pittsburgh

3 Night Carlsbad Itinerary

Carlsbad, CA is a great place to visit for families looking to visit Southern California. It has great beaches, food, and family friendly attractions.

Legoland California is located in Carlsbad making this a great spot for families. We stayed at the West Inn & Suites and it was a great location to see everything.

You can also take a day trip to San Diego or up North to Los Angeles.

Read Itinerary: Fun Things to Do in Carlsbad CA with Kids | 3 Night Carlsbad Itinerary

things to do in carlsbad day trip

Weekend in Buffalo Itinerary

Buffalo, NY is continuing to grow and has a lot of family friendly attractions. Combine this with a night or two at Niagara Falls, USA or Niagara Falls, Canada and you can have a great trip.

We love the food options in Buffalo and expect to spend a lot of time finding the best Beef on Weck or Wings. In Buffalo they are called wings, not Buffalo wings!

Growing up in Buffalo may make me bias but this is an underrated city that is worth the visit.

Read Our Itinerary: Best Fun Things to Do in Buffalo NY with Your Family

places to visit in buffalo embassy suites

Tennessee Road Trip Itinerary

For our Tennessee road trip we visited the first Kentucky Fried Chicken! Need I say more? This trip was packed full of unique places to stop on our drive to Pigeon Forge.

We also stopped at the Sign Museum in Ohio and the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. It was a great road trip that is easy to add different stops to.

Read Itinerary: 8 Awesome Stops for a Family Fun Tennessee Road Trip

2 Nights in Mystic Connecticut

All I ever knew about Mystic was from the movie Mystic Pizza, so I was excited to visit this small coastal town. If you are a fan of the movie you can visit the Mystic Pizza location for a slice.

What I discovered was a really cute town to spend a couple nights visiting. The highlight of our trip was the Mystic Aquarium. Plan to arrive early to avoid crowds.

There is not a beach in Mystic but it is a quaint town that was fun to visit.

Read Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Mystic Connecticut with Kids

mystic aquarium indoors.

Myrtle Beach Vacation

Most teens are very busy at home with balancing school, work, and after-school activities. A Myrtle Beach vacation is a great trip to relax and unwind.

We like Myrtle Beach because it is a good mix of beach time and family fun activities. There really are so many fun things to do in Myrtle Beach.

Renting a beach house is a great way to vacation with teens and even include grandparents. It is a great destination for a multi-generational trip.

best things to do in myrtle beach in april with kids

International Trip with Teens

We took our first international trip as a family this summer. Our trip took us to Iceland, London, and France.

It was truly a bucket list trip for us. In Iceland we loved taking a boat ride to see the Puffins. In London the kids loved trying new foods at the Borough Market, and in Paris we ate our weight in baguettes.

It was a memorable trip that I will always be grateful for. I wrote many posts sharing our itinerary in each destination as well as a round up of the entire trip. Check them out below:

family trip to london big ben

Take a Cruise

We have taken a couple Disney Cruises and have loved them, but we really like Disney. If you are not a Disney family consider Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise Lines.

The new ships coming out have been impressive with a lot of things to do for families. Usually ships have teen clubs and activities for older kids.

Read this post if you want more information on a Disney Cruise: Awesome Disney Dream Activities on the Disney Cruise Line

disney cruise island castaway cay

More Family Trip Ideas with Teens

We are not really great outdoors people but planning a trip that includes outdoor activities like hiking, water sports, adventure activities, and horseback riding can be a great time.

If you enjoy winter sports consider a ski resort. Most ski resorts have many inside and outside activities. One popular spot in the Northeast is Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont.

A summer road trip through Maine, like this summer Maine itinerary, is a great idea to explore the outdoors.

There are also all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean that may include a lot of activities and might be a great choice for your family.

Teen travel can be a really exciting experience when you let them help plan the trip. The best place for your trip will be the one that fits your family best.

I hope these ideas for our favorite family vacations with teens help you plan your next unforgettable trip that is unique to your family.

Read Next: 14 Tips for Family Travel on a Budget

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