I am very privileged to get to travel a lot more than most folks. Part of that is due to my job, and the other part is due to my family. My dad was active duty Air Force for 30 years before he retired in 2007, so we moved around a lot. I was fortunate enough to see the world growing up, and I want my kids to have those same opportunities. While we haven’t traveled internationally with kids yet, we have traveled several times each year around the US with them. I’m declaring 2018 the year of family travel, and I want you to know the best places to travel with family this year.
Best Places to Travel with Family in 2018
All of the destinations I will mention in this article are places I’ve actually taken my family. I don’t like to recommend places we haven’t been simply because that’s not authentic to me. If you’re worried about how to travel with kids or wondering why you would even want to, this post is for you. Find out where the best places to travel with family are, and let me know if you go to any of them this year!
Alabama Gulf Coast
My home state beaches are a thing of true beauty. I’ve written about them several times here and on other websites, but they still don’t seem to get the recognition they deserve. The Gulf Coast is booming with fun activities, places to stay, and amazing local eats. We prefer to go to the beach and lounge, but, if you’re a more active family, you can drive a Catboat, kayak in the bay, paddle board, para-sail, and more! When everyone else is headed to Florida, turn your car slightly west and veer off in the direction of Alabama. Trust me. It’s worth your time.
Charleston, South Carolina
A different coastal town, but still a family favorite, Charleston has charm, nostalgia, and a great foodie scene. Visit the Market for a unique shopping experience, and then dine at any one of the great local restaurants on Broad Street. The South Carolina Aquarium and Charleston Museum are also family favorites. Of course, if you’re just looking for a warm, sandy escape, the beach is a hop, skip, and a jump away!
Tennessee Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge are all nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains and equally provide great family fun. Dollywood is an affordable, exciting theme park (and water park) that your family will want to return to again and again. No matter the season you choose to visit in, the Tennessee Smoky Mountains are truly beautiful. Fall is one of our favorite times of year to visit because the hills and valleys are colored so spectacularly!
Ok, you knew this one was going to be on here, didn’t you? I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite places in the world! Orlando is, of course, home to Walt Disney World, but did you know it’s also home to Universal Orlando and Legoland? If Orlando doesn’t scream family friendly, I don’t know what town does. We’ve got at least one Orlando trip on the books this year, and we hope to add more! Why do we keep going back again and again? We’ve got our reasons, but I’ll save that dissertation for another post.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Another great theme park, Holiday World, is located in the quaint town of Santa Claus, Indiana. We were invited to Holiday World last summer for a press trip, but my kids fell in love with it and have requested to go back this year! If you love Christmas, Santa Claus is the place for you. Visiting in the summer has its perks too! Add a two park admission to your Holiday World ticket and you’ll be able to try out their awesome water park, Splashin’ Safari, as well.
Mexico Beach, Florida
My final recommendation is, yet again, another coastal town. I’m sensing a theme here….but for good reason I assure you! I’m a beach girl by nature, so it makes sense I would recommend so many places with fantastic beaches. Mexico Beach is a small town 45 minutes east of Panama City Beach. There isn’t much to do there in the off season, so I highly recommend a summer or early fall visit. Plenty to see and do (or not do), but the crowds will not be a plentiful as other Florida beaches. Make sure to eat at Killer Seafood while you’re there!Wherever you roam in 2018, make sure you travel with family at least once! The memories you make will leave your children with stories to tell for the rest of their lives. That’s why we travel. Why do you travel?