The Best Trips To Take With Your Grandchildren
These Vacation Spots are Grandkid-Approved
Georgia’s capital has long been considered the big city of the South, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Readers named Atlanta one of the South’s Best Cities this year, and we weren’t the least bit surprised. There’s so much to do with your grandkids, you might not be able to fit it in during one trip! The Georgia Aquarium is a must-see, plus there’s the World of Coca-Cola, the High Museum of Art, Centennial Olympic Park, the gorgeous Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the trendy Atlanta Beltline that not only offers outdoor activities but amazing dining options.
It’s easy to forget that this bustling theater hub in the Ozarks is actually a small town (and one of the best, according to our readers). With amusement parks, waterfront activities, and shows galore, you and the grandkids will never run out of things to do in Branson, and you might not know it’s especially magical during Christmastime.
Voted one of the best beach towns by our readers, Destin offers miles of fun along Florida’s stunning Emerald Coast. With water parks, an outlet mall, incredible dining, and beach activities like paddle boarding and parasailing, this gorgeous coastline has endless options for the grandkids to enjoy.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
If you’re looking for a Smoky Mountains getaway, there aren’t many places more kid-friendly than Pigeon Forge. Of course, it’s home to Dollywood, which has enough to do and see for multiple road trips. But there are always incredible outdoor opportunities to hike, bike, and more. Plus, new developments like The Island, an entertainment complex full of stores, restaurants, and music venues, and Pigeon Forge Snow, an indoor tubing winter wonderland.
Asheville, North Carolina
Although Asheville is a beer city full of awesome local breweries for an adults-only trip, it’s a great place to bring the kids, too. You can’t go to Asheville without visiting the Biltmore Estate, which is a once-in-a-lifetime event they’ll always remember. From Asheville, you can easily access the famously beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway for views and hiking or biking among the Smokies, or you can kayak and raft on the French Broad River. The North Carolina Arboretum makes for a gorgeous visit, and Asheville’s walkable downtown is perfect for easy access to shops and restaurants.
Orange Beach, Alabama
This Gulf Coast beach town is bursting with outdoor fun for the kids. Enjoy the white sandy beaches, ride the ferris wheel, see a concert, shop, and dine at The Wharf, and enjoy fresh seafood with a kid-friendly atmosphere at The Gulf. Head over to neighboring Gulf Shores to visit The Hangout or Lulu’s (as in Lucy Buffett, as in Jimmy’s sister) for kids’ games, great food, and live music, or Waterville USA for a day of waterpark fun.
A trip to Williamsburg offers an educational and beautiful setting. Colonial Williamsburg is the best place to learn something and have fun while doing it. Travel back in time to take carriage rides, visit historic sites, wander through museums, and watch colonial tradespeople perform their work, among other ample opportunities. Once you’ve gotten your history in, visit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum for a wacky good time, Busch Gardens Williamsburg for theme park rides, or take a river cruise to experience the city,
This coastal city is perfect for a Texas road trip with the kids. Visit Moody Gardens’ incredible pyramids filled with aquariums, zoos, theaters, museums, and a ropes course, and take a ride on an 1800s paddlewheel boat. If you thought that wasn’t enough, the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier has its own rides and amusements, stores, and restaurants. Adults will love the beautiful historic architecture and amazing seafood the city offers.
If you’re within road-trip distance of Helen, Georgia, and you’ve never been, you absolutely have to go and bring the grandkids. This tiny, authentic Bavarian village is like a nostalgic trip back in time, tucked away in the beautiful Georgia mountains. It’s famously popular during Christmas, and we’ll admit—the kids would adore a holiday trip here. But if you can’t swing a Christmas visit, Helen is beautiful year-round, and the shops, restaurants, and surrounding landscape offer adventure at every turn.
You might think the Nashville scene is only for adults (and bachelorette parties in particular), but there are tons of opportunities for kid-friendly fun. You have to make time for a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and visit historic RCA Studio B, where the likes of Elvis, Dolly Parton, and other favorites recorded countless songs. Depending on the weekend you decide to visit, there’s bound to be an arts festival or amazing concert to see, and you might catch a Nashville Predators hockey game or a Tennessee Titans football game. Nashville has grown into quite the foodie city, so the adults will be content with incredible dinners. Bonus: Kids would love a stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, especially during the holidays.
Every kid deserves a chance to explore our nation’s capital if possible. There are some experiences you truly don’t ever forget, and your first time to D.C. is definitely one of them. Of course, you have to see all the monuments (we know Honest Abe will be their favorite), the Capitol, the White House, and the Library of Congress, but that’s just the start. The National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the Newseum, the National Museum of American history, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery of Art, and the United States Botanic Garden are literally all worth seeing. Mount Vernon and the Arlington National Cemetery are both worth a short trip, and Georgetown’s famous architecture is a must-see. There are a million ways to experience D.C., and not one of them is wrong.
If you have an aspiring astronaut or kids who love science, Huntsville, also known as The Rocket City and the home of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, should be the start of your next family vacation. Earlyworks Children’s History Museum, the Alabama Constitution Village, and the Huntsville Museum of Art all offer ample educational and exciting experiences. Even if you don’t make it to all the museums, you have to promise us you’ll try Little Rosie’s Taqueria. You won’t regret it.
It wouldn’t be a list of great trips to take with kids if we didn’t include Orlando. Home of both Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando is bound to be an action-packed trip that the kids will remember forever. One of the most special memories a child can have is one from a first trip to Disney World, so who better to take him or her than the best grandparents in the world? Plus, Disney World and Universal Studios (plus its Wizarding World of Harry Potter) are fun for kids and adults alike, so you can create new memories with each repeat trip as the kids grow up to adults.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio’s famous River Walk is an attraction adults and kids can appreciate. Not only is it beautiful for a leisurely river cruise, it’s filled with amazing shops and restaurants to try via walking tour. To add in a little educational value to your trip, The Alamo is a free and interesting site to bring the kids that you absolutely have to see if you visit San Antonio. The Natural Bridge Caverns, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, The Whitte Museum, Morgan’s Wonderland, and the San Antonio Zoo or San Antonio Aquarium are all great options (among tons of others) for kids of all ages.
St. Louis, Missouri
You know you have to see the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but what else is there for kids to do? Let us tell you—tons. The City Museum is full of absolute wonder for kids and adults, and there’s also the Saint Louis Science Center, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, Myseum, and tons of other learning opportunities. Check out amazing animals at the Saint Louis Zoo and the incredible Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm. You can’t visit St. Louis without chowing down on some incredible barbecue.