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The Best US Cities To Visit When Traveling With Kids, According To Travelers
When traveling with kids, you have to consider many of the same things you do when traveling with adults. What are their ages, interests, personalities? Do they enjoy the great outdoors, or are they the “let’s build a fort in the living room and play video games” type? Are they living with mental or physical challenges?
Finally, being Black children, how are they going to be regarded by the locals in the cities they’re visiting? And what can their parents do to help them navigate racism if and when they encounter it?
Much like with restaurants and hotels, the internet provides a platform for us to leave good reviews when we’ve had positive travel experiences, and bad ones when the experiences, for whatever reason, weren’t so great. These can be instrumental in helping other travelers, whether traveling with kids or not, determine if a destination is appropriate for them.
TripAdvisor is perhaps the most widely used site for travel ratings, allowing visitors to leave anywhere from 1 to 5 stars and a summary of their experience.
Based on reviews from Trip Advisor, The Family Vacation Guide sought to answer the question- what are the best cities in The United States for travel with children? The 100 biggest cities in the country were analyzed and narrowed down t o 20, based on the amount of family-friendly hotels, restaurants, and attractions that were rated highly.
Some of the cities that made the list are surprising, others not so much. Here are the top seven on the list:
1. New York City, New York
It makes sense that the most populous city in the US is top of the list.
There’s something in New York for everybody, from beautiful parks to museums, restaurants to shows. You won’t be able to see them all in one visit, or even a lifetime.
If your kid has paleontologist goals, a visit to the Natural History Museum is a must, with its lifelike recreations of dinosaurs and other pre-historic creatures.
If he’s a budding artist, he might like The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) or The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), but these may be better suited for older children and teenagers.
There are museums that specifically cater to small kids like The Children’s Museum of Manhattan and The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, which not only allow young visitors to touch the exhibits, they encourage them.
The Family Vacation Guide notes that there are “143 family attractions and 30 family friendly restaurants” in New York, with top ratings on Trip Advisor. Moreover, “95% of the city’s family-friendly hotels”earned 4 or 5 stars, so you won’t have any trouble finding perfect accommodations.
2. Orlando, Florida
Two words: Disney. World. It’s been a draw for children and even some adults for years.
Looking for a fun place to cool off that isn’t so touristy and expensive? There’s Aquatica, home to Riptide Race, two giant slides allowing riders on tubes to zip through loops and dips into the pool below. If your kid is a real thrill seeker, check out Breakaway Falls, another popular attraction at the same park, with some of the tallest drop slides in the city.
If you’re looking for a place to chill while the kids make sandcastles, beaches are never far away. It is Florida, after all.
Orlando has “209 family-friendly hotels, 66 attractions and 18 restaurants” with top mar ks on Trip Advisor.
3. San Diego, California
San Diego is a surfer’s paradise, so if your child is down to catch some waves, there’s plenty of options for that, especially along La Jolla Shores.
What you might not know, however, is that this city is steeped in Black history, from the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, to Casa del Ray Moro (House Of the African King) which houses treasures from the continent.
The city is home to “120 family-friendly hotels, 58 top-rated kids attractions, and 22 top child-friendly restaurants,” according to Trip Advisor.
Also, you can’t really go wrong with the weather- even in the winter, it’s mild.
4. Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii, like Florida, has no shortage of pristine beaches which are sure to delight the entire family.
Trip Advisor states Honolulu has “51 family hotels and resorts, 90 five-star kids attractions and 13 top-rated child-friendly restaurants,” so you’ll be able to tick all the boxes easily.
Swim with the dolphins, go to Magic Island Lagoon (a peninsula with shallow, tranquil waters and soft sand for toddlers to play) or visit the Honolulu Zoo.
5. Los Angeles, California
Your kids might press you for pictures with one of the costumed characters on Hollywood Boulevard, and you may roll your eyes, but go along with it. They’ll only be children once.
You’ll find “84 top-rated family hotels, 60 five star kids attractions and 24 top-rated child-friendly places to eat” in The City of Angels.
Head to Echo Park Lake on a nice day for a picnic, a pedal boat ride, and fishing. Also, Griffith Park, known for its famous observatory, offers rides on ponies of various speeds and locomotive rides.
6. Miami, Florida
Miami has “64 top-rated family hotels, 61 top kids attractions and 24 five-star family-friendly restaurants,” according to Trip Advisor.
Aside from the great beaches here, Mommy Poppins highly recommends the Miami Zoo, “the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States with a variety of species not often seen in other American zoos.”
If you’re looking for something both you and your older child can enjoy, how about a speedboat ride in downtown Miami? This is a way to enjoy thrills and sightseeing, as the vessel rips through the water around 40 miles per hour. Bring a bathing suit, or clothes you don’t mind getting wet.
7. Las Vegas, Nevada
Known mainly as an adult playground, Las Vegas also offers plenty for kids, and rounds out the top seven cities on the Trip Advisor list.
Take your pick of shows such as Cirque du Soleil, with its death-defying acrobatics, dazzling costumes and engaging storylines. Some of their shows are better for kids than others, so check in advance.
There’s Hershey’s Chocolate World, which needs no explanation.
If your kid is a proud “blerd,” they’ll love the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., featuring the costumes and props/weapons of Iron Man, Captain America and other characters. Even dedicated DC fans will have to admit this is a cool place (and that Marvel is the superior franchise, for Black Panther alone).
Families can ride the High Roller Observation Wheel, to enjoy views of The Strip from nearly 600 feet in the air. And it moves slowly enough so as not to scare the smaller kids.