The United States is so vast and different making it a perfect place to explore as a family. From beaches to mountains, and deserts to green forests, the United States has a destination perfect for everyone. This is our USA bucket list to inspire family travel and create amazing family time memories.
This is an interesting time to be writing a USA bucket list. We are 6 months into 2020 and travel is not our biggest priority lately with everything that is going on in the world.
Our priorities have shifted to more family time at home, but it has also given us an opportunity to reflect on the travel we have done, dream about future travel, and talk about where we want to go next.
Our United States bucket list has family travel destinations we have visited, as well as places we plan to visit in the future.
21 USA Bucket List Destinations for Families
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is one of our favorite family travel destinations. We love it for the entertainment and magic you feel when you visit and the memories we have made there. Disney World is full of world class shows and attractions and we love visiting year after year.
Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida and consists of 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 1 entertainment district and over 30 resorts. It has the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon.
You can spend a couple days at the parks, or plan a full 7 day Disney itinerary to really immerse yourself in the Disney bubble. Disney World is best when you do what fits your family!
Walt Disney World Articles:
- Disney World FastPass Secrets and Tips
- Fun Things to Do at Disney World Besides the Theme Parks
- Best Disney Resorts for Kids on Any Budget
- Scroll through All our Disney World articles.
Northern California has Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, and an amazing coastal highway to discover as a family. I would recommend planning a road trip to include as many spots as possible.
I’ve also recently added Tenaya Lodge to our USA bucket list because it has all the amenities of a family resort and it is located 2 miles from Yosemite National Park.
They have standard rooms, cottages, and cabins that are perfect for families that want to experience the national parks and return to their resort at the end of the day. Guests can also purchase tours through the resort making this a perfect family resort, especially for your first visit to Yosemite!
Northern California Articles:
- 12 Epic Things to Do in Northern California from Crazy Family Adventure
- Visiting Yosemite with Kids from Have Diapers, Will Travel
- 3 Day San Francisco Itinerary from Nomadic Matt
There are two ways to experience Niagara Falls. You can see it from the American side or the Canadian side. Both have their pros and cons.
The American side gets you much closer to the falls but you have a side view of the American Falls. The area surrounding the American side is not as built up, but Niagara Falls State Park is really gorgeous. You can also do the Maid of the Mist which is a boat ride that takes you close to the falls.
The Canadian side of the the falls is very touristy but also gives you a wide view of the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. There are also many restaurants, hotels, casinos, and attractions on Clifton Hill. If you are considering a visit be sure to read up on what you need to cross the border.
Niagara Falls Articles:
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has always been on my radar but we have never visited. The pictures I have seen of Old Faithful, the thermal basins, and the natural wildlife has made me want to plan a visit soon.
Yellowstone National Park Articles:
I loved Southern California the first time I visited over 20 years ago. I couldn’t wait to bring my family there and last year we made it happen! Southern California has amazing beaches, museums, and family friendly destinations.
Southern California Articles:
- Unique Roadside Attraction in California: Cabazon Dinosaur
- West Inn & Suites Review: Awesome Southern California Hotel for Families
- LEGOLAND California Tips for a Great Visit
New York City
New York City offers so much for families. From the Statue of Liberty to the fun museums, there is something for everyone. NYC is the kind of city you don’t really need to plan for because you can discover so much just walking around and exploring.
We finally made our first visit in winter of 2021 and although we didn’t get to see everything, walking around was so much fun. Read our article: New York in 2 Days: Tips for First Time Visiting NYC with Kids
New York City Articles:
- NYC Travel Guide
- Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty from Smart Mouse Travel
- Guide to New York City with Kids from Skylar Arias Adventure
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains should be on everyone’s bucket list for the United States. They are breathtaking and you will be amazed at the beauty of the mountains.
We visited in summer and stayed in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Pigeon Forge is a short distance away and great for families that want to experience family fun attractions and the great outdoors.
The Great Smoky Mountains Articles:
- Best Thing to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains: Clingman’s Dome
- 23 Pigeon Forge Attractions for Families
- Pigeon Forge Vacation: Day 1-2
- Pigeon Forge Vacation: Day 3-4
One of our USA bucket list experiences as a family is to take a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway for a California Coastal trip. It always seemed magical to drive along the California coast stopping at the ocean towns along the way.
Pacific Coast Highway Articles:
- 10 Day California Road Trip Itinerary from Practical Wanderlust
- Best Places to Stop on a Pacific Coast Road Trip with Kids from GlobeTotting
Disneyland is the first Disney theme park and the only Disney park Walt Disney walked in before he passed away. We made our first visit to Disneyland last year and it was just as magical as you would expect. Visiting the park that Walt Disney walked in and imagined is an amazing feeling for any theme park fan.
With classic attractions like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean as well as a second theme park, California Adventure, a visit to the Disneyland Resort is a great USA bucket list spot for families.
- Disneyland and California Adventure One Day Itinerary
- Tips for Your First Visit to Disneyland
- How to Use Disneyland MaxPass
From the Alamo to the San Antonio River walk, there is so much to see and do in Texas. I would love to plan a Texas road trip where we visit the state and stop at family destinations along the way.
- 3 Day Itinerary for Austin from TravelingMom
- Texas Road Trip Itinerary with Kids from Suitcase and a Map
I had not idea what to expect when we visited Tucson, Arizona. I grew up in the Northeastern United States, and seeing all the cactus stopped me! I was in awe of how they were everywhere!
It was really incredible to experience the United States in a different way and I wish we had more time to spend there. Fortunately we did get to visit Old Tucson, a working film studio, as well as the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Tucson, Arizona Articles:
- 24 Hours in Tucson, Arizona with Kids
- 6 Things to Do at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- What to See at Old Tucson in Tucson, Arizona
Utah looks amazing! The hikes and landscape make it a must on our family bucket list. We have never visited but would love to check out Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.
- Things to Do in Utah with Kids from Traveling Monsters
- Southwest Road Trip through Utah and Arizona by The Traveling Child
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
We love theme parks and visit them often as part of our family vacations. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort is one of the best themed land at any theme park we have visited.
Even if you are not a big Harry Potter fan you can appreciate how immersive the lands at Diagon Alley at Universal Studios and Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. The attractions are high tech and innovative and you feel as if you have stepped into the story.
Universal Orlando Articles:
- 70 Things to See and Do at Universal Orlando Resort
- Universal Studios Itinerary
- Islands of Adventure Itinerary
Hershey, PA is the town where Milton Hershey created Hershey chocolate. Everywhere you visit in Hershey has a chocolate influence, and it really is a fun place to visit with kids.
There is so much to do in Hershey. There are great restaurants, attractions, and accommodations. We love to stay at a Hershey resort during our stay and visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, the largest Hershey store in the world, and spend time at Hersheypark.
Hershey, PA Articles:
I think Hawaii is on most USA bucket lists and I agree! Hawaii is a tropical paradise with so much to experience. We have yet to visit but would love to experience the culture and amazing sights.
- Best Hawaiian Island for Kids from Global Munchkins
- Tips for Planning Hawaii with Kids from Y Travel Blog
We have visited Washington D.C. as a family for a quick one night stay during our road trip to Myrtle Beach. It is a great place to visit for families of school aged kids. You will do a lot of walking during your visit so be prepared.
One perk of visiting is the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall do not charge admission. This allows families to visit many places and stay on budget.
Washington D.C. Articles:
- Tips for Visiting Washington D.C. with Kids from Undercover Tourist
- 3 Days in Washington D.C. with Kids from Tips for Family Trips
Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona. This is destination that has been on our list for a few years now, we were just waiting for the kids to be a bit older before we started planning a trip. Hopefully we will visit soon!
Grand Canyon Articles:
Take a USA Road Trip
A USA road trip is high on our United States bucket list because it allows you to visit multiple destinations at once and see so much more around the US. The last few years we have planned road trips that allow us to see and do things all across the United States.
We have planned road trips from our home in New York as well as flown into cities to experience new destinations. The best part about a road trip is it gives you the flexibility to create an itinerary that works best for your family.
USA Road Trips:
- 9 Day Southwest Road Trip
- 8 Stops on a Tennessee Road Trip
- Where to Stop on a Road Trip to Myrtle Beach
Alaska is part of the US that I never really thought I would visit but in the last few years I have thought of more ways to make it happen. I would love to experience the nature and stunning views that you can only see in Alaska and hope to visit as a family.
Although we are not very outdoorsy, Montana is high on my list to visit. We may not want to camp, but we can appreciate the natural beauty and wildlife and would love to plan a visit in the next few years.
White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument was one of my favorite places we have ever visited as a family. Located in New Mexico it is an incredible National Park with sand dunes that you can sled on.
It was unlike anything we have ever seen before and watching the sunset over the sand dunes is a family memory I will never forget.
White Sands National Monument Article:
The United States is a vast and interesting country and I am sure our USA bucket list will grow as we discover new and exciting places to explore. I hope it has inspired you to plan your next USA adventure.
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