Our favorite American trips for the whole family
The United States are vast, diverse and characterful. In few other countries can you travel quite so widely and extensively, with such a differing range of regions to see and explore. The options for family vacations here are boundless. From sunshine to snow, there’s a huge helping of adventure at every turn.
With many of the Black Tomato team living and working in the US, this is a country we know and understand like our own backyard. In this, our ultimate guide to the best family vacations in the US, we’ll take you through some of our favorite resorts, road trips, experiences and educational encounters in America – each specially selected because they’re perfect for families and multigenerational travelers, both young and old.
So, if you’re in need of some luxury family vacation or family staycation inspiration for your next US adventure – whether it’s California or Hawaii, New England or Alaska – then read on below. When it comes to where to go, where to stay and what to do together, we’ve got you covered.
Or, if the US isn’t the right destination for your family, click here to explore more family vacation destinations.
In this guide we’ll be talking about:
Where to go for the best family vacation in the US
What to do on a family vacation
Planning an epic family road trip
California family vacations
A family trip to Hawaii
Coastal family vacations in New England
The best luxury family resorts in the US
Where to go on a family vacation in the US
There are multiple US states worthy of visiting on a family vacation, or family staycation. Over the years, our Travel Experts have explored and ventured through many with their own families. To name just a few favorites, here are some of the best locations for a luxury family vacation in the US:
California is a great state for families to vacation in. Home to beaches, national parks, Hollywood, and Disneyland, there’s plenty of family fun to be had in the golden state. There’s relaxation overlooking the ocean, sunrise hot air balloon flights, stargazing in Yosemite National Park, and tasting dim sum in the oldest Chinatown in North America. Put simply, there’s something for everyone.
Home to Yellowstone and the rugged mountains of Grand Teton National Park, the vast canyons and dense forests of Wyoming make the perfect backdrop to exciting family adventures. Whether you’re exploring technicolor hot springs and bubbling mud pots, witnessing grizzly bears in the wild or unwinding in your hotel’s warm jacuzzi – this trip is a great place to start as you discover the untamed spirit of the west together.
With diverse landscapes of winding river canyons, arid deserts and the Rocky Mountains, Colorado has so much to offer families vacationing in the US. This getaway , for example, will take you to wintry Aspen and Snowmass in the heart of the Rockies. Skiing with a two-time world champion on a private guided adventure and taking a family cooking masterclass with a leading chef are just two items featured on Colorado’s lengthy list of experiential offerings.
Dotting the Pacific Ocean with emerald-hued isles that feature wild coastlines with blazing volcanoes and beautiful beaches fringed by swaying palms, a family vacation in Hawaii can be a total reset. But it can also be jam-packed full of surfing, snorkeling, hiking and cultural encounters. With so many options, it’s whatever you want it to be.
From top to bottom, Alaska is jaw-droppingly scenic, and comes complete with a number of its own isolated luxury lodges. This adventurous journey is a perfect example of Alaska having it all – with a private heli-hiking tour lifting off from boreal forest into the mountains above and a visit to Kenai Fjords National Park to look out over the thousand-foot-thick ice of Harding Icefield, the nesting seabirds of the cliffs and the Wolverines that roam the shorelines. We can guarantee you’ll return home together having left no stone unturned.
Utah’s many national parks are perfect for reconnecting, taking some time together away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are otherworldly landscapes, plunging canyons and star-filled skies; it feels like a huge playground built especially for adventurous family travelers.
From Portland to Bend, you can take things at a slower pace in Oregon – enjoying some quality family time together amongst beautiful coastlines and forests. Climb atop mighty dunes for sweeping ocean views and head out to sea from Depoe Bay to search for the massive grey whales that call the area home – there’s scope for a luxury family vacation here packed full of those extra-special, extra-exclusive Black Tomato experiences.
What to do on a family vacation to the US
Another way to choose where to go in the US is through what there is to do there. You might follow your children’s interests, and build your journey around one of our Field Trip experiences – educational travel encounters that grant behind-the-scenes access, led by experts and insiders. Future scientists in the family? A guided tour around NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston will leave them with an enthralling understanding of NASA and its star-studded ambitions. If not, budding historians and sociologists might enjoy a trip to Atlanta to learn about the long march to freedom, spending the day with a guide who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement.
But really, there are no right or wrong answers to the questions of where to go and what to do on a family vacation in the US. If there’s something or somewhere you have in mind, simply ask. We’ll make it happen.
Plan an epic family road trip
One of the most exciting ways to travel through the US together is on an epic family road trip. From coast to coast, America is defined by its roads – from winding desert passes to famous, storied routes. To explore the country via its highways and byways is to see it at its most authentic; to see America at its best. We understand that with so many routes and states to choose from, planning a US family road trip can be overwhelming. But, fear not – that’s where our Travel Experts come in.
Traveling this way, there’s freedom to explore and a choice of which routes to take – and you get to see places along the way you wouldn’t ordinarily catch a glimpse of. Road trips are also more flexible than time-bound flights, ferries and trains. After all, who doesn’t love a more relaxed, easy-going approach with more quality time, less airport time? Family road trips with younger kids are great for sneaking in naps in the car between all the excitement.
For its dramatic coastal scenery and quirky cities, we’re loving Oregon right now. On this ultimate short break to the Beaver State, you’ll tackle precipitous coastal roads and raucous sea mammals whilst also indulging in gourmet local cuisine. Or, if you’re after the drive of a lifetime through the heart of Western USA, this epic family road trip through Utah, Colorado and Wyoming should do the trick.
Our five bespoke, multi-destination ‘Remarkable Drives of Discovery’, created with our friends at Auberge Resorts, can also be adapted to suit families of all shapes and sizes. For example, this ten-night road trip around Utah, Colorado and New Mexico – traveling from the height of the Rockies to the depths of the Rio Grande – is packed full of mountains, flavors and adventure, making for a fantastic family getaway.
California family vacations
Packed full of iconic road trip stop offs, we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: California is an excellent place for US family vacations.
Just one of many options for a California family vacation, this soulful, all-encompassing Californian trip will have you exploring like locals and experiencing stunning landscapes together – and can, of course, be adapted to fit your family’s wants and needs. Beginning in San Fran and ending in the City of Angels, this is an iconic US family road trip – with scope for a cycling tour over the Golden Gate Bridge, a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Napa Valley, and catching sight of migrating whales from a private zodiac boat in Big Sur. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
An unforgettable family vacation in Hawaii
The original island paradise, there’s something magical about Hawaii; it has an enchanting quality that keeps us coming back time and again. And from swimming with manta rays to helicopter rides, water sports to beach relaxation – it’s no surprise that Hawaii is so often a winning destination for US family vacations.
With a perfect balance between exhilarating adventure and chilled out beach time, this trip to the blissful islands of Maui and Kauai can be easily adapted for families.
Hawaii is also home to one of our most outrageously energetic Field Trip experiences – designed especially for families. Known locally as the ‘sport of kings’, Hawaiian surfing is more than a sport – it’s a way of life. On this experience, together you’ll hit Hawaii’s surf with a grand master as your expert guide and tutor. It’s a history lesson, but with an extra dose of adrenaline thrown in. So, travelers – get stoked.
A coastal family vacation in New England
Home to six states, each with their own delightful character, New England is certainly not short of charm. Summer is a great time to visit, but so is fall – to catch the region’s famous fall colours, dappling its landscapes with rich hues of burnt orange and deep auburn.
Jam-packed full of exciting escapades and seaside stop-offs, this coastal family road trip is an adventure in every sense of the word. In Boston, you’ll spend the day at sea, hauling lobsters off the back of a boat with seasoned lobstermen, and to cook them for dinner later. On Nantucket Island, you’ll take a private tour and learn all about its original native American inhabitants, the Wampanoag people. In Cape Cod, you’ll go whale watching off the coast of Chatham. Witnessing a 50ft 66,000lb humpback breaching out of the water right before your eyes is something you and the kids won’t forget in a hurry.
The best luxury family resorts
The US is home to a number of our favorite luxury resorts, perfect for traveling families. Family-friendly resorts and hotels with features like interconnecting rooms, bigger family suites, and even private accommodation for bigger multi-generation families, can make traveling together all the easier.
Looking out across the dramatic Kohala Coast, Mauna Lani captures the true spirit of Hawaii. From both rooms or suites the views are transporting, looking to either the mountains behind or the ocean in front – but the bungalows are even more ideal for families, offering increased privacy with their private beach access, multiple bedrooms and private pools. Over in Utah, Sorrel River Ranch is another family favorite, with Sorrel River’s 160-acre perimeter of green pastures to head out and explore together.
In California, Rosewood Miramar Beach is one of America’s finest beach getaways. The rooms and suites here benefit from private patios and terraces with stunning views over the ocean or into the gardens. We also love The Resort at Paw’s Up in Montana for family breaks. Its beautiful location makes it the ultimate outdoor playground for children and adults of all ages, with 100 miles of walking trails, 10 miles of the Blackfoot River and 37,000 acres of land to roam.