Plan Your Next Family Road Trip Across America Around These 49 Attractions
It's no secret that America is overflowing with things to do — it's a huge place! Planning a road trip across a few states — or even a vacation to just one city — can be daunting, so we've picked out a few of the more hidden gems across the United States for you to visit with your family. From sand sledding to cave mining, museums to farms, we've compiled 49 attractions all over the country that offer your kiddos unique experiences involving education, play, and simple, pure enjoyment.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Alabama)
If your little one wants to be an astronaut when they grow up, this is the perfect place to stop while you're in Alabama. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center holds a three-day space camp program for families to have an out-of-this-world experience!
Grand Canyon (Arizona)
There is so much to do at the Grand Canyon with kids — hiking, camping, and yelling at the top of your lungs to hear your echo, to name a few! — but one of the most fun things for your little one could be becoming a park ranger. Children ages 4 to 14 can participate in the various ranger programs until they get their badges.
Little Rock Zoo (Arkansas)
Kids can explore, learn, and play at the Little Rock Zoo through a number of activities, tours, and events. Feed penguins and alligators or go on a 45-minute guided tour to learn about your child's favorite animal.
Drive-Thru Tree Park (California)
Go for an afternoon drive with your family literally right through the California Redwoods at the Drive-Thru Tree Park. Drive your car directly under the Chandelier Tree, and take a photo of this unique experience that your kids will be talking about for years.
Great Sand Dunes (Colorado)
Visit the "world's largest sandbox" at the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, and witness some of the most beautiful scenery. Kids can climb the drifts and even try sandboarding or sand sledding!
Quassy Amusement Park (Connecticut)
The Quassy Amusement and Waterpark in Middlebury, CT, is a great way to spend a Summer day. There are rides and attractions for all ages, and it provides a slightly different experience than that of a major amusement park.
Dover International Speedway (Delaware)
Bring your little ones to see a real-life road race at the Dover International Speedway, then let them go wild in Monster FunZone, where they can find rides, bounce houses, rock walls, and even a giant monster!
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington DC)
At the National Air and Space Museum in DC, kids can explore a number of air travel exhibitions and learn about space research and milestones.
Kennedy Space Center (Florida)
Experience a real (OK, not real) shuttle launch and some astronaut training at the Kennedy Space Center, and stand right next to the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which is set up the way only moonwalkers would see her.
Centennial Olympic Park (Georgia)
Visit the Fountain of Rings at the Centennial Olympic Park to frolic through the water and witness a number of organized shows for free!
Barber Park Boise River Float (Idaho)
Take a scenic float on a raft through the Boise River in Idaho. Families can share a safe, fun, and sun-filled experience in the beautiful capital city.
The Field Museum (Illinois)
A real treat, the Field Museum in Chicago houses award-winning exhibitions from dinosaurs to mummies, as well as family programs like Dino Camp!
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (Indiana)
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is home to a number of amazing exhibits for kids of all ages. Visit the playscape, gawk at an amazing blown-glass masterpiece, experience China, marvel at nature and science, and more!
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden (Iowa)
Take a walk — or in the kids' cases, a run — through one of the most beautiful botanical gardens. Kids can take a gardening class or take part in Story Sprouts, where they can "explore the natural world through stories, songs, puppets, games, crafts, and more."
Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead (Kansas)
Visit a real family-farm environment at Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead where your kiddos can see nearly 200 animals, walk through flower and vegetable gardens, take a pony ride, and more.
Louisville Slugger Museum (Kentucky)
To awe your little one, take him to see the "World's Largest Bat" — a 120-foot, 68,000-pound steel replica of Babe Ruth's bat — at the Slugger Museum in Louisville, KY. Pint-size baseball fans can use the batting cages, climb all over a giant glove sculpture, and walk through the grand-slam gallery.
Portland Observatory (Maine)
Get views of Portland's busy harbor at this national landmark. It's the only remaining maritime signal tower, and it's a way to make history fun!
National Aquarium (Maryland)
Take your kids to the aquarium and bring them to the exhibit where they can actually touch the animals. No rules at this tank!
New England Aquarium (Massachusetts)
At the New England Aquarium, you can explore the secret world of penguins, visit the Amazon rainforest, touch a stingray, and even watch whales!
Brighton Imagination Station (Michigan)
The Imagination Station is a 10,000-square-foot playground where kids of any age can run and play using their imaginations to create fantasy lands within the wooden play structures.
Minnesota Children's Museum (Minnesota)
Visit the rooftop art park, where kids can participate in an outdoor art gallery, crawl into fun in the "Habitot," and discover a part of Minnesota up close with the Earth World exhibit — all at the Minnesota Children's Museum.
Gulf Islands Waterpark (Mississippi)
Spend a hot day at a water park fit for families with children of all ages. Slide, tube, and float your way through the attractions and enjoy the sunshine with your littles.
Children's Peace Pavilion (Missouri)
A unique museum for children, the Children's Peace Pavilion is aimed to "teach the concepts of peace through creative, fun, child-centered learning activities" and empower them to make peaceful decisions.
Dinosaur Trail (Montana)
If you dare, drive along the Dinosaur Trail and visit one (or all!) of 14 dinosaur-themed museums aimed especially at the little paleontology-lover. Explore a part of ancient Earth and see some of the greatest paleontological finds of the last century.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Nebraska)
At Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, your kiddos can take zoo "Ed-Venture" classes, take a backstage tour of the exhibits, and feed live animals.
Cirque du Soleil (Nevada)
You may think that Las Vegas is just for adults, but you're wrong! There are plenty of things for kids to do, and perhaps the coolest attraction to include them in is Cirque du Soleil. Your kiddos' jaws will be on the floor as they watch the performers in awe — it'll be an unforgettable night for the whole family.
Pick-Your-Own Farms (New Hampshire)
New Hampshire is full of pick-your-own farms where you and your family can pick anything in season from strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and peaches to pumpkins and Christmas trees.
Field Station Dinosaurs (New Jersey)
Blending into New Jersey's natural backdrop is a trail of life-size dinosaurs, a thrilling and educational scene. Kids can take workshops, play games, and participate in activities to learn all about the dinosaurs, then go on an expedition through the field to see each and every one of them.
Albuquerque BioPark (New Mexico)
The ABQ BioPark is your family's one-stop shop for everything animals. Visit the zoo and see the gorillas, stop by to see the jellyfish swim at the aquarium, take a beautiful stroll through the botanical gardens, and go hiking, boating, or fishing at the beach.
Children's Museum of the Arts (New York)
It's no surprise that there are tons of things to do in New York for families, but the Children's Museum of the Arts is a perfect place in the busy city to let your kids be kids with hands-on art programs.
Transportation Museum (North Carolina)
Take a train ride, then visit one of the four large exhibits that the North Carolina Transportation Museum has to offer. Kids can get a glimpse into a real locomotive repair shop and learn about the history of the railroad.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a great way to get your kids out in the open air on some awesome terrain in honor of one of America's presidents.
Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park (Ohio)
Even in the dead of Winter, your kids can enjoy the wonders of a water park at the Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park. Kept at 84 degrees, this indoor park is the perfect place to bring your kiddos any time of year.
Orr Family Farm (Oklahoma)
At this adorable family farm, kids can take a train ride through the fields, play barnyard games, play with and feed the animals, and even milk Bessie the cow!
Oregon Coast Aquarium (Oregon)
Children of any age can learn about the mysteries of the ocean at this aquarium, which is internationally known for its educational programs and amazing exhibits.
Please Touch Museum (Pennsylvania)
"Don't touch that," are three words that your child won't hear at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The museum targets children 7 and younger but is awesome for kids of all ages to engage in "purposeful play."
WaterFire (Rhode Island)
Experience WaterFire, a unique urban experience that creatively transforms Providence, RI, with torch-lit vessels and over 80 bonfires.
Carowinds (South Carolina)
Get the experience of a day at the amusement park with a flair of Southern hospitality at the "Thrill Capital of the Southeast," the Carowinds. There are thrill rides, family rides, a waterpark, and even live entertainment — basically, there's something for everyone!
Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
At this National Park, your kids can — wait for it — walk the moon! The natural stone formations at Badlands National Park create an effect that is compared to the terrain on the moon, and its unique formations hold fossilized mammal remains — all in all, this park is the coolest for outdoor explorers.
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies (Tennessee)
This aquarium in Tennessee contains a number of unique programs like penguin painting and splashing around with stingrays. Perhaps the coolest program, the aquarium sleepover allows your kids to sleep under the watchful eyes of sharks and have pajama parties with penguins.
Children's Museum of Houston (Texas)
At this amazing children's museum, kids can invent, play, discover, build, learn, and explore. At the How Does It Work? exhibit, they can learn about electricity and the speed of sound, or at the Eco Station, they can get educated about environmental issues.
Thanksgiving Point (Utah)
Thanksgiving Point is full of stuff to do for families, from a movie theater and golf course to gardens and farms. There are two museums on the property, as well as places to eat and shop, making it a truly versatile space for all types of family fun.
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures (Vermont)
Let your kids get a new perspective with ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, where they can fly across on a zip line over the trees and cross bridges in the sky.
Clemyjontri Park (Virginia)
This park is truly special. It allows children of all ages and abilities to play not just side by side but together. It accommodates all physical levels, teaches colors of the rainbow, and has signs with words, pictures, and braille, so that every child is included.
Seattle Space Needle (Washington)
View Seattle from 605 feet above the city in the Seattle Space Needle. You can eat dinner at 500 feet or go straight up to the observation deck (a 41-second ride) and view the Emerald City from above in all of its glory.
Seneca Caverns Tours (West Virginia)
Let kids feel the power of discovery underground with a cave tour of the Seneca caverns, as well as gem mining for minerals and gems within the dirt, mud, and rocks of the caverns.
Lambeau Field Stadium Tour (Wisconsin)
Whether your little one is a football fan or not, Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, is an exciting tour experience for the whole family. Learn about the stadium's history, visit the Packers' hall of fame, and don't forget — when in Wisconsin, you have to wear your cheesehead!
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
Check out the world's largest collection of geysers — including Old Faithful — and have your kids participate in the Youth Scientist Program at America's first national park, Yellowstone!