Top 8 Family Vacations in America

Family-friendly resorts provide a multitude of options so that parents can entertain their kids, relax with their spouses, and enjoy the fabulous North American outdoors. We've left no stone unturned as we unearthed these amazing resorts filled with off-the-chart family fun. Let the games begin!

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Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans)

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans)

Come face to face with an array of sealife at a 400,000-gallon water tank filled with stingrays, sea turtles -- and 17-foot-long sharks! They’re all part of the Gulf of Mexico exhibit at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. The aquarium showcases aquatic life throughout North and South America. 960 1280

Stephen Saks/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi, TX)

Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi, TX)

At the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, visitors can see the 2 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins -- Shadow and Kai above water … and below, courtesy of an underwater viewing room that features a 70-foot-long window.  960 1280

Philip Lange/ iStock/ Thinktsock  

Ripley’s Aquarium (Gatlinburg, TN)

Ripley’s Aquarium (Gatlinburg, TN)

In the heart of the Smoky Mountains, you’ll find Ripley’s Aquarium. The facility in Gatlinburg, TN, is home to 10,000 sea creatures, representing more than 350 individual species, such as giant stingrays, snappers and some very large sharks -- as long as 13 feet! 960 1280

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies  

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Kure Beach, NC)

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Kure Beach, NC)

It’s only fitting that the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher should be located near … Cape Fear! You and the kids will encounter plenty of fear-factor moments: Touch a live shark, discover North Carolina’s fiercest predator and come face-to-face with an alligator -- if you dare. 960 1280

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher  

National Aquarium (Baltimore)

National Aquarium (Baltimore)

You’ll find all kinds of fish at the Baltimore National Aquarium. Since it opened in 1981, the aquarium has garnered an astonishing collection of sea life: nearly 20,000 specimens representing 660 species. 960 1280

Richard Cummins/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Oregon Coast Aquarium (Newport, OR)

Oregon Coast Aquarium (Newport, OR)

Wow, are we underwater, Dad? It’ll feel like it as you and the kids journey through this underwater tunnel at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Cool views like this help explain why the facility in Newport, OR, has been ranked one of the top 10 aquariums in North America by Coastal Living magazine. 960 1280

Oregon Coast Aquarium  

Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA)

Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA)

This 5-acre site in Long Beach, CA, is home to the Aquarium of the Pacific. The little ones will enjoy plenty of interactive fun: Kids can pet sharks and stingrays, and feed nectar to parrots known as lorikeets. 960 1280

Pete Starman/ The Image Bank/ Getty Images  

Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA)

Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA)

Did you know that corals are animals, not plants? Your kids will learn these and other facts at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Coral Reef Kingdom. See them ooh and aww at the colorful ocean homes where these tiny animals live in colonies. Also check out the aquarium's other attractions, including stingrays, jellyfish and sea otters. 960 1280

Doug Steakley/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

New England Aquarium (Boston)

New England Aquarium (Boston)

These brave kids stick their hands in the “touch tank,” as stingrays glide through the clear shallow water. Kids (and adults) can touch various species of sharks and rays at Boston's New England Aquarium, including cownose rays, southern stingrays and coral catsharks. 960 1280

Brian D Cruickshank/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

The Florida Aquarium (Tampa, FL)

The Florida Aquarium (Tampa, FL)

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida is home to more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from around the world. 960 1280

Richard Cummins/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)

John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)

You’re looking at one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago houses more than 5,000,000 gallons of water in which 25,000 fish (and counting!) make their home. 960 1280

Charles Cook/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta)

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta)

How’s this for big: The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta contains between 100,000 and 120,000 fish and other sea creatures. One of the biggest reasons to visit is to see the aquarium’s whale sharks -- it’s the only institution outside of Asia to house this particular shark species. 960 1280

Barry Williams/ Getty Images  

Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga, TN)

Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga, TN)

Come face to face with sharks at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, TN. The captive sharks may look menacing but they're typically not a threat to humans. Unless, of course, you engage in some spearfishing -- fortunately, not an option at this aquarium! 960 1280

Stephen Saks/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Waikiki Aquarium (Honolulu)

Waikiki Aquarium (Honolulu)

Just what makes a fish a fish? Find out at the Waikiki Aquarium, the third oldest aquarium in the US. At the aquarium’s very official Fish School, kids as young as 5 can learn all about the many critters of the sea and their amazing adaptations to their environment. Don’t worry, though, it’s not all learn and no play -- the class includes a scavenger hunt among the exhibits.
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Waikiki Aquarium  

Newport Aquarium (Newport, KY)

Newport Aquarium (Newport, KY)

Sharks, sharks and more sharks! Sand tiger, sandbar, whitetip, blacktip reef and zebra -- see these intriguing shark species glide above your head in Newport Aquarium’s underwater tunnel. Also explore the aquariums additional attractions, such as the Jellyfish Gallery, Frog Bog (home to 20 species of exotic frogs) and Gator Alley, where visitors can stare into the eyes of Tut, their Nile crocodile.
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Kentucky Tourism  

New York Aquarium (Brooklyn, NY)

New York Aquarium (Brooklyn, NY)

See these cute black-footed penguins at the New York Aquarium, located on Coney Island. As the oldest continually operating aquarium in the US, the aquarium holds no shortage of marine mammals and aquatic life, from sea lions, otters and walruses, to cownose rays and moray eels.    960 1280

Julie Larsen Maher/WCS  

Downtown Aquarium Denver

Downtown Aquarium Denver

Yes, even mermaids live at the aquarium … or at least put on a good show. At Downtown Aquarium Denver, see live mermaid performances in the Under the Sea exhibit. Also check out the aquarium’s exhibits spanning barrier reefs, rainforest, wharf and desert habitats. 960 1280

Downtown Aquarium, Denver  

Downtown Aquarium Houston

Downtown Aquarium Houston

Houston’s 6-acre Downtown Aquarium is home to a veritable who’s who of aquatic animals: Electric eels, nurse sharks and stingrays are among the 200 diverse species of underwater life found here. In between exploring exhibits like the Louisiana Swamp (yes, alligators live here) and the Rainforest, unwind at the aquarium’s Dive Lounge. 960 1280

Downtown Aquarium Houston  

Hiking in a Local Park

Hiking in a Local Park

There’s no better way to see America than through the eyes of our national and state parks. Even the youngest family members can set off on a family-friendly hike at a local park.
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Jack Affleck / Getty Images  

Pumkpin Picking Perfection

Pumkpin Picking Perfection

You know fall is in full swing when Halloween season comes around. Head to a local pumpkin patch to pick out a winner, perfect for decorating and carving. 960 1280

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images  

State Fairs and Amusement Parks

State Fairs and Amusement Parks

The season for state fairs continues well into fall. Grab the kids and head out to a fairground near you for family fun. You can also head to a nearby amusement park for one more spin on the Ferris wheel. 960 1280

Lumigraphics / Getty Images  

Museum Madness

Museum Madness

Check out family programs at local museums for a day of culture and fun. Cool exhibits expose kids to culture, art, history and science outside of the classroom. 960 1280

Corbis / VCG / Getty Images  

Sports, Sports and More Sports

Sports, Sports and More Sports

As they say, "the family that plays together, stays together." Set up a day of family yard games or head to a local stadium to take in one of your hometown’s professional sports teams. 960 1280

Jason Lugo / Getty Images  

Apple Picking Adventure

Apple Picking Adventure

Bring the family together with an apple-picking excursion at a local orchard. Fill up a bushel of crunchy, ripe apples perfect for apple pie or homemade applesauce. 960 1280

ericmichaud / Getty Images  

Animal Adventure at the Zoo

Animal Adventure at the Zoo

Head to the nearest zoo for an amazing animal adventure. An African safari may be out of the budget (and out of your zip code), but you can get close to extra-large animals at a local zoo. 960 1280

Christopher Allan / Getty Images  

Camping Under the Stars

Camping Under the Stars

Enjoy a night in the great outdoors, camping under the stars in your own backyard or a local park. But if you can’t escape the light pollution of the city, head to a local planetarium or observatory to get a glimpse at the universe. 960 1280

Aleksandar Nakic / Getty Images  

Wet and Wild Water Play

Wet and Wild Water Play

Don’t pack away that swimsuit just yet, there is still more splashing and fun to be had. Visit an indoor water park or hotel pool for some wet and wild adventures. 960 1280

Aleksander Rubtsov / Getty Images  

10 Photos
The Great Vermont Corn Maze

The Great Vermont Corn Maze

What makes a corn maze great? A 32-foot underground tunnel and a 30-foot cabin cruiser that "sails" on top of the corn. This third-generation dairy farm unveils an entirely new maze design in North Danville, Vermont, each year. 960 1280

Robert Lyons Photography  

Sever's Corn Maze

Sever's Corn Maze

Self-proclaimed the "Midwest's original corn maze," Sever's is now in its 16th year, and offers Pumpkin Blasters and pumpkin patches in addition to its twisted 14-acre maze. 960 1280

Social Media Breakfast, flickr  

Kraay Family Farms

Kraay Family Farms

The only "tech" that usually comes with a corn maze is a flashlight -- but not at this Alberta, Canada, farm. The Kraay family has been crafting corn mazes since 1999 and this year they earned the Guinness World Record for the Largest QR code. Of course, you need a smartphone and a plane to test it out. 960 1280

Reuben Kraay  

Treinen Farm

Treinen Farm

Wisconsin's largest corn maze is 15 acres (14 and a half football fields) of twists, turns and dead ends. 960 1280

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch  

Happy Day Farm

Happy Day Farm

This "New Jersey Grown" maze offers 10 acres and lots of games to entertain the whole family in Manalapan, N.J. 960 1280

Happy Day Farm  

Connors Farm

Connors Farm

The Connors Farm's haunted corn maze in Danvers, Massachusetts, embraced a spooky "Witches of Salem" theme this year. 960 1280

  

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

Families can spend about an hour in this mind-bending corn maze, exploring over 2.5 miles of paths and scenic bridges with the help of two Maze Masters and clues. 960 1280

Cathy Kornfield  

Queens Country Farm Museum

Queens Country Farm Museum

Don't let its size fool you. With just three acres in Floral Park, N.Y., Queens Country Farm Museum designed a tightly-wound 45-minute maze. Afraid you're not up to the challenge? There are clues in nine hidden mailboxes and corn-styled phones to "tele-stalk" staff for help. 960 1280

Skyviews Survey Aerial Photography  

Long and Scott Farms

Long and Scott Farms

You don't have to be up north to get lost in a spooky maze. People in Mt. Dora, Florida, reap the benefits of warm weather and can enjoy this 10-year-old maze until December. 960 1280

Long & Scott Farms  

Richardson Farm

Richardson Farm

Not too many farms can handle four separate mazes winding through 33 acres of corn. With 24 hidden checkpoints and three wooden bridges, the possibilities are endless at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Illinois. 960 1280

Richardson Farm  

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