Top 10 East Coast Family-Friendly Vacation Spots

Published: February 16, 2015

Traveling is no big deal when you're single and living it up, but once you put down roots and a family evolves, things get a bit trickier. My husband and I were determined that we would not lose our traveling itch once we had children. We were so naive then. Neither of us truly knew how much work packing up a family of 3, and adventuring away from home for an entire week would be. Not to mention, we didn't exactly know a lot of family-friendly destinations at the time. We were new parents. Tired, new parents, that were in need of a serious getaway.

One thing that makes it all easier,  is choosing a destination that is family-friendly. If you are going to pack your family up, and whisp them away, it better be to somewhere everyone will enjoy. Family-friendly destinations are great, because there is literally something for everyone. You're sure to please in places such as this. It can't hurt to have the whole family on your good side! There are obvious places that stand out, but I'll also include a few places that you may not even know exist! By the end of this list, you and your family will have plenty of options for your future vacay!

  1. Walt Disney World- Kissimmee, FL

    I don't think I would be American if I didn't list this classic vacation spot as my number one family-friendly spot. With 4 theme parks, and 2 water parks, amongst a scenic night life, there is plenty to do during your Disney World Vacation. Disney offers all inclusive vacation packaging, so once you're there almost everything is included. You can include anything from park tickets, meal plans, and special activities. Everything is specialized to your needs, during the planning process via .

  2. Carnival Cruise

    Carnival cruises are amazing! The good thing about cruises, are that when planning ahead you can find great deals, and also most everything is included! All of your meals, stay, gratuities, and housekeeping are included. You get free tea and lemonade with all of your meals, however soda and juice will cost extra. And the food, woah the food, it's absolutely amazing! All you can eat food from the time you wake up until you go to sleep! They also have kid camps during the day for ages 3 and up, so you can still squeeze some one on one time in with your spouse! If you are looking for a tropical vacation, or a destination somewhere other than what we have to offer in the US, cruises are the way to go!

  3. Destin, Florida

    If you are looking for a beach getaway, look no further than Destin, Florida. It is the ultimate family-friendly beach destination. Not only is this home to one of the most beautiful beaches, but there are also tons of water parks, and other activities to do. Play a round of mini golf before heading out to dinner, or spend the day with the family at Big Kahuna's Water Park! No matter how you spend your time, it will definitely be enjoyable!

  4. Glenwood Springs, CO

    If you are looking for some Rocky Mountain fun, you must try Glenwood Springs, Colorado! This is one of our favorite vacation spots. They have the largest natural warm springs pool in the US, and it is available to use year round! They are also home to some of the greatest ski resorts! If you head over during the winter months, you'll find lots of activities available including sledding and tubing! It's located 45 miles from Aspen, so take a day trip over for some shopping and great food. Our family loves the carriage rides available in Aspen. You can find them on almost any corner. Amongst all of the natural beauty, they are also home to a theme park. There is literally something for everyone at this great family-friendly spot!

  5. Orlando, FL

    With Disney sitting just down the road, people tend to forget about all of the wonderful things this city also has to offer. My favorite thing about this place, is that there are so many rental homes off the beaten path, that can actually save you a lot of money. We always rent a home with a pool for the week when we go down. It ends up being less expensive than staying at a theme park resort, and then we also have our own kitchen and pool for the week.

    There are literally so many things to do in Orlando! Here are some of my favorites:

    Universal Studios

    Sea World

    Pirates Adventure Dinner

    Ripley's Believe It or Not

    Wonder Works

    World's Largest McDonalds

    Wet n' Wild

    Orlando has so much to offer! If you haven't been with the family yet, you don't know what you're missing out on! Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

  6. Charlotte, NC

    This is one place I would have never guessed on my own. It wasn't until my sons 2nd birthday, that I realized what Charlotte has to offer. It's a place full of rich history and good times. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there! Carowinds theme park was a big hit with the kids! I didn't think there would be a lot our toddler could ride, but I was pleasantly surprised! He was able to ride several rides, as long as an adult was on board with him. They also have a water park inside. We could have stayed there all day! There are lots of slides, and kiddie play pools. We had a blast!

    After a fun day at Carowinds, make sure to have dinner at the Cajun Queen. They have seriously good blackened chicken. I was super impressed! The atmosphere was great, and they had live entertainment that my two year old loved!

    If you're a Nascar fan, then you'll definitely want to check out the Nascar Museum, or for something more educational try the Discovery Place. Are you a sports fan? Catch a basketball game at the Time Warner Cable Arena. No matter your interests, you will find something for everyone in Charlotte.

  7. Pigeon Forge, TN

    I use to visit Pigeon Forge, TN all the time as a kid. It was one of my parents favorite places to take us. Now I understand why! Besides the beautiful mountain scenery, Pigeon Forge has a lot to offer! If you are looking for some thrills, then head on over to Dollywood. The theme park, owned by the famous Dolly Parton herself, is home to plenty of rides and attractions, that are surely to keep everyone in your family occupied. There always seems to be some kind of festival going on, and it's good 'ole southern hospitality is sure to please!

    Pigeon Forge now also has a Wonder Works museum. That place always keeps us busy! My favorite thing to do there is the Hurricane Simulator. I never want to be stuck in a hurricane after that experience!

    Another favorite of mine, is the Titanic Museum. Go back in time, and relive stories of the "unsinkable" ship. The entire museum, is inside of a replica of the actual Titanic. You will see $4.5 million worth of artifacts recovered from the site of the sinking. If you're anything like me, you may need a few tissues for the walk through!


  8. Helen, GA

    I grew up not too far from this destination, so I spent a lot of time there as a kid. Helen is probably one of the coolest places I visited as a kid. Spend a hot summer day tubing down the Chattahoochee River, or head down to the Gold Mines of Helen and pan for gold.

    Helen is also home to the Babyland General Hospital. Ever wanted to know where Cabbage Patch Dolls come from? Here's your chance! If you have little girls, this is one place you can't miss! And did I mention admission is free?! What's not to love about a family-friendly FREE activity?!

  9. Washington, DC

    Feeling patriotic? Washington, DC may be the place for you and your family! If you are looking for a more educational vacation, then look no further than the home of our President! Not to mention, admission to the Smithsonian museums are free! Family-friendly and free always go hand in hand.

    Make sure to check out the Natural History Museum for some awesome photo opportunities. My kid loves the dinosaur display! Walk through the beginning of time, and see how our planet was before we were here.

    The National Air and Space Museum is also another don't miss! See some awesome aircrafts, and walk through the first commercial airplane! See how the art of flying all started, and experience it for yourself!

    For something more active, take a stroll down the National Mall. See the Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial up close and personal. It's quite a walk, so if you have young kiddos I definitely recommend a stroller! You can also see the Capital from the National Mall.

    What kind of person would I be if I didn't recommend a White House tour? Admission is free, however a little planning has to go into this activity. To take a tour through the White House you must submit a request through your states Member of Congress. You can submit your request up to six months in advance, and no less than 21 days. They offer the tours several times a week, based on the official White House schedule.


  10. Williamsburg, VA

    Williamsburg, VA is the perfect vacation spot for a family looking for a mixture of fun and education. Check out the local Colonial Williamsburg Museums one day, and spend a fun day at Busch Gardens the next. If you are staying during the summer, make sure to cool down at Water Country USA. This historical town also offers other activities such as mini golf and ziplining. There is so much to do on your vacation here! Lots of new memories on the horizon.

Ultimately, Walt Disney World is the most family-friendly vacation spot on the East Coast. With it's 4 parks, multiple waterparks, and classic night life, it's hard to beat! However, it does have some stiff competition! All of these places are wonderful family-friendly spots, that are sure to please even the most stubborn of vacationers! Each destination is different in it's own way, but each also offers great experiences for the entire family. No matter where you decide to vacation next, any spot on this list is sure to be a hit!