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Traveling with kids is, in a word, an adventure. It can be exciting, stressful, exhilarating, exhausting—pretty much all the feelings apply here. But, traveling with your kids is so important, and some of the best memories are often made on family vacations.
So if you’re looking to take a family trip but want to keep things domestic and venture to a new U.S. city, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cities that are surprisingly kid-friendly. Maybe you’d only think of these hot spots for a bachelor party or girls trip, but once you look a little deeper, these seven cities offer plenty of kid-friendly fun. So pack up the family, grab extra snacks, and make some new memories exploring these surprisingly kid-friendly destinations.
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If you’ve been to Bourbon Street or to a bachelor/bachelorette party in New Orleans, bringing your kiddos there might be the last thing on your mind. Surprisingly, New Orleans is actually a great place to bring your kids (and I can attest firsthand!)
Stroll around the French Quarter, indulge in fresh beignets, then head to the nearby Louisiana Children’s Museum or the Audubon Zoo for a day of fun and adventure. Let your little ones dance to the live jazz music on nearly every corner, take a steamboat ride along the Mississippi, or take a mule and carriage ride around the city.
For your stay, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is incredibly kid-friendly (and a super luxe option for adults, too.) At check-in, they give little ones an engaging scavenger hunt to complete during their stay, and even offer a kids menu on the room service offerings, too! For a more budget-friendly stay, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside is a great option, too.
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If you aren’t from, in, or around New York City, the hustle and bustle of The City That Never Sleeps might be a deterrent while planning a kid-friendly getaway. But it’s that vibrancy and on-the-go attitude that makes NYC a great place for children. Whether you catch a Broadway show, spend a day exploring museums, make slime at Sloomoo Institute, check out the playgrounds in Central Park or just let the city itself dictate how you spend your time, every child should experience New York City at least once in their lives. (Bonus points if you opt to visit during the holidays!)
While in Manhattan, call the Hard Rock Hotel New York home, perfectly located right between Radio City Music Hall and the Theater District in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Kids will love staying in the middle of it all and being amongst the rock n’roll decor, and parents will love the modern accommodations and maybe even a visit to RT 60 Rooftop Bar and Lounge on the 34th floor.
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There’s so much to see and do in Philadelphia—from the rich American history to incredible museums, parks, sports, and entertainment. And while many adults love it for its cuisine, nightlife, and bar scenes, Philly does a really great job in appealing to the under-18 set, too. The massive Philadelphia Zoo is a must-see, known for being the first zoo in the United States, while the Please Touch Museum encourages hands-on learning and play to keep your kids busy for hours. The Franklin Institute has a stunning planetarium, a giant heart exhibit, a brain-inspired obstacle course, and an IMAX theater.
Depending on the season you visit, catch a Flyers hockey game or a Phillies baseball game to round out your stay with exciting, major league action. Then head back to the Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing which overlooks the Delaware River and is less than a mile from the Liberty Bell. Plus, it has an indoor pool.
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Commonly referred to as Sin City or Adult Disneyland, Las Vegas is a hot destination for those who want to party, eat, gamble, and be entertained. But there’s so much more to it.
Take the whole family to Vegas for a different experience, and they’re sure to love the jaw-dropping decor unique to each large hotel along the strip. Pick a hotel with kid-friendly pools like Mandalay Bay which has a lazy river, and wave pool for those that meet the height requirement. Play in the arcade, Fun Dungeon, at the Excalibur, customize M&Ms at M&M World, and let your older teens experience extreme thrill rides at The Strat Hotel, Casino and Skypod. With seemingly endless options when it comes to food and sweets, if your kids love bright lights and high-energy fun, then visit and Viva Las Vegas!
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Outside of San Francisco, The Napa Valley Wine region is an incredibly popular destination for adults. But that area of California is also a great place to plan a family trip! Make San Fransisco your home base, and begin your stay with a hop-on hop-off bus tour to get your lay of the land. Kids will especially love the Exploratorium, a hands-on museum for kids, as well as The Aquarium of the Bay, home to walk-through aquarium tunnels.
The family can stay at the Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf located near the famed Golden Gate Bridge. With a variety of rooms for families of all sizes, it doesn’t have a pool, but its location can’t be beaten.
Oh, and while you’re there, force your kids to take a photo with the Full House house in the background for nostalgia (and Instagram) purposes.
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It may not seem like it on the surface but kids, too, can party in the city where the heat is on. Aside from its beautiful beaches (Crandon Park, with its carousel and train ride, are perfect for kids), amazing restaurants, and art scene, Miami is home to a bevy of kid-friendly activities.
Take your little ones to the Miami Childrens’ Museum, where they can learn through play exhibitions like a pet hospital, a bank, and a supermarket. Animal lovers will take to Jungle Island, a wildlife park that’s home to hundreds of animal species and features kid-friendly programming, animal encounters, and a playground. The Miami Seaquarium is another great kid-friendly option, giving kids an up-close look at amazing sea life.
For a kid-friendly stay, Fontainebleau Miami Beach is super popular, and a great choice for families with shallow splash pools for littles and a kids club for 4-12 year olds.
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Nashville has exploded as a bachelor and bachelorette party destination in recent years. Games of the local NHL team, the Predators, are known for their raucous atmosphere, earning the city the nickname of “Smashville.” But Nashville is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and is a great destination to go for a family vacation.
The 200-acre Nashville Zoo features over 2,700 animals from all over the world, and kids can also enjoy a petting zoo, playgrounds, and a splash pad for when the weather requires some cooling down. The Adventure Science Center is another great (indoor!) option for kids interested in science-focused, hands-on exhibits. And we haven’t even mentioned the music. “Music City” has no shortage of live music—the city is home to a number of kid-friendly establishments that feature live bands and performances. Take your little country fans to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for a day well spent. Then, return back to the family-friendly Conrad Nashville, with an ideal central location, art collection with local and regional artists, and rooftop pool terrace with cabanas for rent.