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Epcot, Walt Disney World, Florida Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park Georgia Aquarium
Welcome to the guide to the top 100 family-friendly attractions in the United States!

On this list you'll find attractions ranging from amusement parks to beaches to museums to national and state parks. This list is obviously opinionated, but I believe it represents many of the best family-friendly attractions in the country. I've personally been to most of them. Take note that I have purposely excluded Alaska and Hawaii attractions since I haven't been to those states yet. I have also intentionally excluded ski resorts, indoor water parks (e.g. Great Wolf Lodge), and sporting venues (e.g. ballparks, football stadiums, etc.).

At the bottom of this page you will see a list of other top-rated attractions that almost made the top 100. If you see any glaring omissions on either list, please let me know via email.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons


Grand Canyon National Park - the most famous canyon in the world, with historic lodges, hiking trails, scenic vistas, and tourist services


Disneyland Resort, Anaheim - California's most famous amusement park
Exploratorium, The, San Francisco - an excellent science, technology, and art museum
Joshua Tree National Park - known for its iconic trees, cholla cactus gardens, and rock formations (which kids love climbing on)
Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park - one of California's best theme parks; features more than 40 rides and attractions
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey - this oceanside aquarium is consistently rated as one of the top 5 aquariums in the U.S.
Redwood National and State Parks - see and hike among the tallest trees on the planet; several state parks surround the national park
San Diego Zoo - easily the finest zoo in America (no other zoo even comes close); a sister safari park is about 1 hour northeast of the zoo
Santa Cruz - a medium-sized coastal city known for its beaches, seaside amusements, and its youthful spirit
SeaWorld San Diego - a major theme park and marine zoological park; features marine life shows and close-up animal encounters
Sequoia National Park - features the world's largest trees, including General Sherman; outstanding hiking trails
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia - a large and highly-rated amusement park with a staggering 20 rollercoasters
Southern California beaches - there are many outstanding family-friendly beaches in southern CA, including Mission Beach in San Diego
Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City - a large and famous film studio and theme park


Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango - one of the best scenic railroads in the U.S. (if not the #1 best)
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve - Colorado's most impressive sand dunes; the climbable dunes are framed by large mountains
Rocky Mountain National Park - one of the premier national parks in the U.S; features scenic drives, awesome hiking, and tons of wildlife


Delaware beaches (e.g. Rehoboth, Bethany, etc.) - the attractiveness of Delaware's beaches may surprise you; Bethany Beach is the most family-friendly of them all; Rehoboth Beach is better for older kids and young adults


Busch Gardens, Tampa - a huge and famous amusement park that also includes a zoo with more than 12,000 animals
Florida beaches (e.g. Clearwater Beach, Siesta Key, etc.)
Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island - one of the best space/NASA museums in the U.S.
Orlando-area water parks - there are a number of great water parks in the Orlando area, including some run by Disney and SeaWorld
SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando - a major theme park and marine zoological park; next to Discovery Cove and Aquatica (both run by SeaWorld)
Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando - includes 3 theme parks, including Harry Potter worlds (Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade) and Volcano Bay
Walt Disney World - the most famous amusement park complex in the world; features 4 major parks, many resorts, and other attractions


Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta - the largest and one of the very best aquariums in the U.S.


Silverwood Theme Park, Athol - the best theme park in Idaho and one of the highest rated in the U.S.; more than 70 rides and attractions


Downtown Chicago - downtown Chicago is clean, generally safe, and full of awesome museums, public parks, and playgrounds
Six Flags Great America, Gurnee - a large and famous amusement park with 17 rollercoasters; one of Six Flags' premier parks


Children's Museum of Indianapolis - arguably the #1 children's museum in the U.S.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus - Indiana's best amusement park, it has many great rollercoasters and a large water park


Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum, Hutchinson - often called "America's best space museum"


Acadia National Park - a beautiful coastal park with excellent hiking & biking; adjacent to Bar Harbor (Maine's best small town)
Southern coastline/beaches - although the water is chilly, southern Maine has several great coastal areas and beaches (e.g. Old Orchard)


Assateague Island National Seashore - a island w/wild ponies and beaches; two-thirds of this park is in Maryland and the rest is in Virginia
National Aquarium - often lauded as the best aquarium in the U.S. (some will say the Georgia Aquarium is better)
Ocean City Boardwalk, Ocean City - this 3-mile long beach boardwalk is one of the premier beach boardwalks in the Mid-Atlantic


Boston - one of America's most walkable cities; don't miss the Freedom Trail, Boston Duck Tours, and the Boston Public Garden
Museum of Science - arguably the best science museum in New England
Plimoth Patuxet Museums, Plymouth - one of several excellent living history museum in Massachusetts
Six Flags New England, Agawam - the largest theme park in New England; widely considered one of the 10 best Six Flags parks in the U.S.


Henry Ford, The, Dearborn - one of the finest museum complexes in the U.S.; see vintage signs, vehicles, railroads, historic village, etc.
Mackinac Island - take a ferry to visit a beloved island town; while there, rent a bike and cycle around the island


Mall of America, Bloomington - this remains the largest mall in the U.S.; the mall contains a theme park, 500 stores, and other attractions


Branson - a small city with an enormous amount tourist attractions, amusement parks, museums, and performance theaters
City Museum, St. Louis - the most insane children's playground on the planet; don't believe me? look it up using Google Images
Silver Dollar City - Missouri's best amusement park and Branson's #1 attraction; one of the very best children's amusement parks in the U.S.


Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha - one of the top 5 zoos in the U.S.; features more than 900 different species


Valley of Fire State Park - this state park includes the most beautiful natural landscapes in the state of Nevada; outstanding day hikes


Canobie Lake Park, Salem - an old-fashioned theme park with more than 85 rides, games, and attractions
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, North Woodstock - an extremely fun 0.75 mile trail passes through several boulder caves and a waterfall
Mount Monadnock State Park, Jaffrey - scramble up the most hiked mountain in New England; make parking reservations online in advance
Santa's Village, Jefferson - one of the best Christmas-themed amusement parks in the U.S.
Story Land, Jackson - an excellent children's amusement park; NH's best aquarium is next door to it
White Mountain National Forest - one of the U.S.'s finest national forests; 100s of things to see and 1,000+ miles of well-marked hiking trails


American Dream, East Rutherford - one of the largest malls in the U.S. includes an indoor theme park, water park, and skiing center
Ocean City - this family-friendly beach town has a great beach and an awesome beach boardwalk; packed with seaside amusements
Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari, Jackson - the largest amusement park in NJ and one of the top rollercoaster parks in the U.S.
Storybook Land, Egg Harbor Township - a children's amusement park featuring storybook-themed buildings and rides
Wildwood Boardwalk, Wildwood - perhaps the liveliest beach boardwalk in NJ


Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Chama - take one of the premier scenic railroad journeys in the U.S.
White Sands National Park - absolutely beautiful white dunes (made of gypsum); features several hiking trails; bring or rent a sled!


Bronx Zoo, Bronx - one of the best zoos on the East Coast; features more than 6,000 species
Lake George - a small lakeshore town with many family-friendly attractions and great water sports; Six Flags Great Escape is nearby
Manhattan/NYC Attractions - lower and central Manhattan is packed with literally dozens of 5-star rated attractions and museums


Carowinds, Charlotte - a large and outstanding amusement park; one of the best amusement parks in the U.S.; more than 55 rides
Outer Banks beaches


Cedar Point Amusement Park, Sandusky - arguably the world's best rollercoaster park (18 rollercoasters as of 2024)
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell - an excellent zoo with more than 10,000 animals
Hocking Hills State Park, Logan - Ohio's finest state park; features waterfalls (e.g. Cedar Falls) and striking geologic features (e.g. Ash Cave)
Kings Island, Mason - one of the best amusement parks in the U.S.; boasts world-class rollercoasters and thrill rides


Crater Lake National Park - visit the deepest lake in the U.S and one of the most pristine bodies of water on Earth.; gorgeous in all seasons


Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown - a large amusement park and water park with more than 60 rides and attractions
Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster - one of the finest kid-friendly amusement parks in the country; great for young children (under 8 I would say)
Hersheypark, Hershey - a world-class, chocolate-themed, family-friendly theme park with more than a dozen thrilling rollercoasters
Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg - an excellent amusement park with a variety of pay-as-you-go rides and attractions (free general entry)
Lancaster County (Amish/Dutch country) - an area renown for its pastoral scenery, excellent food, cultural sites, and many tourist attractions


Hilton Head Island beaches - Hilton Head Island has more than 12 miles of uninterrupted sand beaches; Coligny Beach is the most popular
Myrtle Beach - a small city famous for its beaches, golf courses, water sports, seaside amusements and many other tourist attractions


Badlands National Park - features outstanding prairie and badlands scenery; great wildlife watching opportunities (e.g. bison, prairie dogs)
Black Hills region - an area packed with attractions, scenic drives, national and state parks, and beautiful scenery; home of Mount Rushmore


Dollywood - the best theme park in Tennessee and one of the finest in the U.S.; features Appalachian-themed rides and attractions
Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area - the "Disney World of the Smoky Mountains" features literally hundreds of tourist attractions
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - the #1 most popular national park in the U.S. has awesome trails, scenery, waterfalls, & scenic drives


Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston - one of the most popular science museums in the US
Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort, New Braunfels - one of the very best water parks in the U.S.
Space Center Houston, Houston - one of the top space museums in the U.S.


Arches National Park - this park houses the largest concentration of natural arches in the U.S.; see world-class scenery on 5-star rated hikes
Bryce Canyon National Park - home of the most famous hoodoos in the world; there are many hikes to choose from, including a rim walk
Canyonlands National Park - the three districts of this park (Needles, Islands in the Sky, Maze) contain a lifetime of outdoor adventures
Goblin Valley State Park, near Green River- weirdly eroded rock formations that kids love to climb on and around; this is one of the best and most unique state parks in the world


Busch Gardens, Williamsburg - one of the largest and most famous amusement parks in the U.S.; includes 10 rollercoasters
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg - the largest living history museum in the U.S. has historic sites, costumed interpreters, and art displays
Shenandoah National Park - one of the best national parks in the East; famous for its scenic drives, waterfalls, views, hiking, and wildlife
Water Country USA, Williamsburg - the largest water park in the Mid-Atlantic; generally considered one of the best water parks in the U.S.


Mount Rainier National Park - famous for its gorgeous mountain scenery, waterfalls, historic lodge, world-class hiking, and wildflowers
Olympic National Park - one of the most diverse national parks in the U.S, with beautiful mountains, beaches, rainforests, and more


Washington D.C. museums - there are dozens of world-class museums in the city, including the Smithsonian museums; best for older children


Water parks of Wisconsin Dells - there are more than 20 water parks in this touristy town (Noah's Ark is generally regarded as its best)


Yellowstone National Park - features world-famous geothermal attractions, giant waterfalls, and tons of wildlife; this is my absolute favorite national park in the U.S.

Maggie Daley Park, Downtown Chicago, IL
Maggie Daley Park in downtown Chicago, Illinois

top of the City Museum, St. Louis, MO
top of the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri

Crater Lake National Park, OR
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Hershey's Chocolate World beside Hersherypark, Pennsylvania
Hershey's Chocolate World beside Hersherypark, Pennsylvania

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana

Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan
Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mall of America, Minnesota
Mall of America, Minnesota

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls, New York

southern NJ beach
southern NJ beach

Little Island, New York City
Little Island, New York City

Redwood National Park, California
Redwood National Park, California

Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida
Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada


Here are some additional top-rated family-friendly attractions in the United States. Each of these attractions almost made the top 100 list above. Please email me if you see any glaring omissions from this list.

Alabama - Gulf Shores / Orange Beach
Arizona - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Arizona - Chiricahua National Monument
Arizona - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (including Horsehoe Bend)
Arizona - Kartchner Caverns State Park
Arizona - Mattel Adventure Park (opening in 2024)
Arizona - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Arizona - Papago Park, Phoenix
Arizona - Slide Rock State Park, Sedona
Arkansas - Crater of Diamonds State Park
California - Alabama Hills
California - Death Valley National Park
California - Jelly Belly Factory Tours
California - LEGOLAND California
California - Yosemite National Park
Connecticut - Lake Compounce and Crocodile Cove
Connecticut - PEZ Visitor Center
Delaware - Funland
Florida - Destin
Florida - Discovery Cove
Florida - Everglades National Park
Florida - LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
Florida - sea-shelling boat tours on the Gulf coast (e.g. near Marco Island)
Georgia - Six Flags over Georgia
Idaho - Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Illinois - Casey
Illinois - Starved Rock State Park
Kentucky - Mammoth Cave National Park
Kentucky - Red River Gorge Geological Area
Maine - Baxter State Park
Massachusetts - Cape Cod National Seashore beaches
Massachusetts - Hancock Shaker Village
Massachusetts - Old Sturbridge Village
Massachusetts - Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
Massachusetts - Walden Pond State Reservation
Michigan - Frankenmuth
Michigan - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Michigan - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Minnesota - Minnesota's Largest Candy Store
Missouri - St. Louis Zoo
Montana - Glacier National Park
Nebraska - Fort Robinston State Park
New Hampshire - Mount Washington Cog Railway
New Hampshire - Polar Caves Park
New Hampshire - The Flume / Franconia Notch State Park
Nevada - Cathedral Gorge State Park
Nevada - Meow Wolf / Omega Mart
New Jersey - Grounds for Sculpture
New Mexico - Bandelier National Monument
New Mexico - Carlsbad Caverns National Park
New Mexico - Meow Wolf
New York - Coney Island
New York - Howe Caverns
New York - Lake Placid / Adirondacks
New York - LEGOLAND New York Resort
New York - Niagara Falls (best if you also include the Canadian side of the falls)
North Carolina - Chimney Rock State Park
North Carolina - Pisgah State Forest (including Slide Rock)
North Dakota - Medora Musical
Oregon - Columbia River Gorge
Oregon - Bend
Oregon - Sisters / Oregon coastline
Oregon - Tillamook Cremery
Pennsylvania - Erie & Waldameer Park & Water World
Pennsylvania - Sesame Place
South Dakota - Storybook Island
South Dakota - Storybook Land
South Dakota - Wall Drug
Texas - Tennessee Aquarium
Texas - Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Texas - Six Flags Over Texas
Vermont - Ben & Jerry's Factory
Vermont - Stowe
Virginia - Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Virginia - Luray Caverns
Utah - Pioneer Park, St. George
Utah - Snow Canyon State Park
Wisconsin - Devil's Lake State Park
Wyoming - Cody Night Rodeo
Wyoming - Devil's Tower National Monument


In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any link to read reviews and/or purchase these books on (affiliate).

Fodor's Bucket List USA (1st edition; 2021)
Moon USA State by State (1st edition; 2021)
Your Guide to the National Parks (3rd edition; 2022)
Road Trip USA (9th edition; 2021)

As an Amazon Associates affiliate, this website contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any products after clicking any link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I only endorse products that I have used or come recommended by trusted peers.

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