These Are the Best Family Vacation Ideas for Your Next Trip (2024)

These Are the Best Family Vacation Ideas for Your Next Trip (1)

For the four in five parents who plan to take a trip with the kids in 2024, behold our heavily researched, expert-vetted list of the best family vacation destinations to visit now, many of which are winners of Good Housekeeping's 2024 Family Travel Awards. Many of these kid-friendly locations used downtime at the beginning of the pandemic to rethink, renovate or both. Some upgraded their pools, others refreshed guest rooms and many revamped their activities and amenities or rolled out convenient tech features. A few were even built from scratch in an eco-conscious way.

It's not lost on us that travel, like everything else, is getting more expensive, so we focused many of our picks on properties that provide great value. When we feature splurgy spots, rest assured they're worth every penny.

Whether you're looking to chill out at an all-inclusive resort, get active in the great outdoors, check out new attractions at a theme park, hit the beach or cozy up at ski resort, there's a destination or experience here to match every vacation vibe and party size. After all, bringing the grandparents comes with so many benefits, not the least of which is babysitting so you can score some much-needed time for an interruption-free dinner, spa treatment or romantic walk on the beach.

Use this guide to help narrow down your options, and then check out the Good Housekeeping Institute's tried-and-tested list of essential travel gear and accessories to get ready for your trip. You can also consult our guides on how to choose a family-vacation hotel as well as how to keep all ages entertained. Since the early bird gets the best deal, shore up your spring break and summer vacation plans now.

Mexico and the Caribbean

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Spend your days rolling in the waves, relaxing by the pool or enjoying quiet time (thanks to some superior kids' clubs) at these island resorts.

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya, Mexico

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With massive waterparks, daily slimings and Nickelodeon characters galore, the kids have it made at the all-inclusive Nickelodeon Hotels & Resort Riviera Maya, a Good Housekeeping 2024 Family Travel Award Winner. But grown-ups aren’t left out of the fun. Tequila tastings, spa treatments and romantic dinners can be on your agenda thanks to the supervised club for kids ages 4 to 12. And while you probably wouldn’t be booking a SpongeBob-themed room if you didn’t have the kids in tow, the decor is as mod and classy as it can be. All the accommodations are suites that sleep up to five and have two bathrooms. Suites have direct access to a pool from the balcony. (Yes, even on the top floor!)

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Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

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Winner of a 2024 Family Travel Award, Atlantis is a top choice for families of all ages looking for a mix of relaxation and adventure. Its adrenaline-pumping waterpark features high-speed slides, including a one-of-a-kind tube slide down a Mayan pyramid. Animal encounters, like getting up close to a dolphin, are thrilling in a different way. But on the other side of the massive resort, the beaches are super chill. The gentle water is just perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Supervised clubs for kids, tweens and teens truly wow, so adults can enjoy the casino and a meal at one of the resort's fine-dining restaurants.

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Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic

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Movies under the stars, trapeze lessons, windsurfing — with cool activities like these, kids will never want to leave this newish resort in the lush, away-from-it-all part of the island. Supervised clubs for babies through teens keep the good times rolling while you’re at the adults-only Zen pool or doing treetop yoga. (Yes, that’s a thing.) Solar panels, recycling, plastic-free water bottles and other sustainable initiatives are part of the eco-minded resort culture.

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Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Negril, Jamaica

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While this all-inclusive resort and 2024 Family Travel Award-winner caters to all ages, toddlers and preschoolers will be star-struck. Sesame Street characters entertain them with story times, dance parties and even puppet-making! That’s on top of the mini water slides, splash areas and a playground that makes little ones squeal with glee and wears them out, so they’ll hit the sack early.

Private childcare and supervised kids’ clubs (for babies through teens, including those with special needs) are an option when you want a spa treatment, a quiet dinner or just to read a book on the resort's idyllic 7-Mile Beach. All the rooms and suites got a glow-up in 2020, plus there are new villas with butler service (sign us up!)

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RELATED: 20 Best Caribbean Resorts for Families to Visit

Fairmont Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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When it comes to baby and kid gear, this luxury resort has you covered. Need a bottle warmer? They got it. How about a step stool for a toddler to reach the sink? Yours for the asking. With these worries aside, you can concentrate on the beauty of the surroundings (the resort is surrounded by a lush mangrove forest) and incredible bucket-list activities, like kids’ carnivals and night kayaking. All the rooms have received a glow-up and there's a sleek new beach club to boot.

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Rock House Resort, Turks & Caicos

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Your family may never leave the water at this Mediterranean-inspired oasis, which opened in May 2022. In addition to a full kitchen and roomy living room, many of the villa-style accommodations feature a spacious private pool. (Yes way!) And if your crew ever tires of it, fun awaits at the resort’s oceanfront infinity pool and stretch of white sand beach, which is exclusively for resort guests. Just note that while a cliffside setting makes the resort incredibly picturesque, it’s impossible to navigate with a stroller — so bring the tweens, teens and even grandparents if they don’t have trouble climbing stairs.

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Embassy Suites by Hilton Aruba Resort

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A brand that's popular with families because it offers separate sleeping spaces for kids and adults, Embassy Suites recently opened a location in Aruba. (Pinch us now.) The 330-suite hotel boasts a kids' pool and playground and is just steps away from the iconic Eagle Beach. A breakfast buffet (with made-to-order items) is included in the price, which is already a value. Rooms also feature a kitchenette, so you can stash drinks and snacks and save your budget for the island's many incredible water activities.

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New England Cozy

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Lakes, lighthouses and hiking trails make New England a great place to visit in almost any season.

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Quisisana Resort, Lovell, ME

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Kids will get a digital detox at this all-inclusive lakefront resort, but they’ll be too busy playing to miss their devices. Without TV or a Wi-Fi signal in the comfortable, air-conditioned rooms and cabins, they’ll be fully immersed in the slew of included activities — from paddle boating to tennis to sandcastle-building. They might even learn to kayak or catch their first fish.

At night, music fills the resort. Broadway-style shows, held in a new outdoor theater, entertain all generations. There’s something about the fresh air and a choice of lollipops that keeps most kids from getting too wiggly, and the caliber of the performances is at least on par with good community theater.

The three included daily meals — with menu items like lobster rolls and Maine blueberry pie — will leave your crew’s bellies happy and full. And if you do need Wi-Fi occasionally, you can pop in the main lobby for a signal. Shh: The kids will be fine without it.

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Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, ME

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Open from May to October, this nature-focused retreat provides a refuge from city life. Yoga sessions in the garden, a shed filled with arts and crafts supplies for kids, guided nature walks and outdoor art classes are easy-going yet exciting at the same time. Cottages with fireplaces foster togetherness, and complimentary breakfast arrives at your door every morning so there's no need to rush out for coffee.

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Smugglers' Notch Resort, Jeffersonville, VT

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Nestled in the Green Mountains, this resort is just as fun in the summer months as it is during prime ski season. Besides eight heated pools (some with waterslides!), the action-packed lineup of family activities has plenty to do whether you’re traveling with a toddler, teen or both. Sing-a-longs, magic shows and scavenger hunts keep little ones entertained while older kids will welcome the chance to take a guided hike, design and launch a water rocket or play glow-in-the-dark volleyball. A GH 2024 Family Travel Awards winner, condos at this property accommodate up to five bedrooms, making it possible for extended family and friends to stay together.

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Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club, Brewster, MA

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Beach, pool, eat, repeat — that’s how your crew will spend laid-back days at this Cape Cod gem. The private beach has gentle surf and at low tide, kids can spy little sea creatures in the tide pools. When the tide changes, head to the heated outdoor or indoor pools. Outdoor movies are the perfect wind-down to bedtime. And if you can pry the kids out of the water, activities like scavenger hunts, curated by the resort’s new director of fun (for real!) await. Just make sure to stay in the “mansion” section of the resort because that’s the part with private beach access.

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Sebasco Harbor Resort, Phippsburg, ME

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Kids will never forget sleeping in a lighthouse next to the ocean. The resort’s 1945 lighthouse contains recently renovated guest rooms with amazing views, sea breezes and conveniences like a fridge and microwave. The lighthouse rooms are also near the resort’s iconic oceanfront saltwater pool, which recently got a makeover. A vintage bowling alley, weekly pirate cruise and old-school kids’ club add to the New England charm.

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Bluebird Cady Hill Lodge, Stowe, VT

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A fantastic value, this new '70s-inspired cozy lodge is perfect for families who want to explore Vermont's Green Mountains. The scenic trails of Cady Hill Forest are just steps away and downtown Stowe is about a 10-minute walk. Two- and three-bedroom cottages at Bluebird Cady Hill Lodge have plenty of space for families and a kitchen to boot. A game room, fire pits for s'mores roasting and a pool make hanging at the lodge a nice respite in between nature activities.

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California Dreamin'

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Choose your Cali adventure: You can find bustling cityscapes, tranquil trails, stunning beaches and even a fairytale castle.

Los Angeles, CA

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Tweens and teens won’t roll their eyes if you suggest a vacay in L.A. — where, trust us, they’ll ask you to eat at In-N-Out-Burger (look cool and say you already had it on the list). Some more must-dos: Visit the Griffith Observatory for the out-of-this-world exhibits and a stellar view of the Hollywood sign, and if you're an outdoorsy family you can hike down from the observatory to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and famous TCL Chinese Theaters.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, where anyone 17 and under gets in free, is conveniently located near the classic La Brea Tar Pits and the cool LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Some outdoor shopping at The Grove L.A. and a beach day in Santa Monica with a spin on the iconic wheel at the Santa Monica Pier will get you more well-deserved parent cred. Or, you can take a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood, where, for now, you can find the only Super Nintendo World open in the United States. Stay at The Garland in North Hollywood, a Good Housekeeping 2024 Family Travel Awards winner. It has a swanky trolley that transports guests to and from Universal, as well as other kid perks like dive-in movies and a retro-chic family suite with bunk beds.

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San Diego, CA

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Can’t decide between heading to the beach or exploring a big city? San Diego has the best of both worlds, with near-perfect weather to boot. Make your home base a beach resort like the Kona Kai San Diego Resort & Spa, San Diego Mission Bay Resort or, if you're bringing a big group, Shore House at Del, a Good Housekeeping 2024 Family Travel Award winner. Intersperse oceanside fun with short drives to the city’s famous zoo and museums in Balboa Park. Plan to spend at least a half day at Liberty Station, a cultural attraction that has many places to eat and shop. New stores and restaurants are open at Seaport Village, which has a classic carousel for kids to ride.

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RELATED: The Best Things to Do in San Diego With the Whole Family

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Monterey, CA

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The number one reason to book a vacation in this coastal town: the aquarium. Yes, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is that good. It levels up the typical touch tank experience by letting little kids crawl through tunnels surrounded by tropical fish displays and use squirt toys to learn how animals stand up to big waves. There’s even a padded zone with eye-level exhibits for toddlers! And the whole family will be wowed by the aquarium’s newish exhibition, "Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean." Some of the creatures in the 21 live exhibit areas are newly discovered and haven’t even been named yet. Mind blown! Stay at the hotel next door, InterContinental The Clement Monterey.

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Disneyland Resort and California Adventure, Anaheim, CA

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If you're looking for a Disney trip with young kids, Disneyland may have the edge over an Orlando vacay. Here are some reasons why: You can get on more rides without as much walking in California, so that means fewer tired and cranky kids. Summer weather is also usually better in Anaheim than in hot-and-humid Florida. And rides like Radiator Springs Racers, which looks like it’s right out of the movie Cars, are Cali-exclusive. The new Villas at Disneyland Hotel offer options that sleep up to 12 guests plus the decor is whimsical.

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These Are the Best Family Vacation Ideas for Your Next Trip (2024)

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