Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Top U.S. spots for family fun

By Katia Hetter, CNN
updated 6:55 PM EDT, Wed March 20, 2013
Yellowstone National Park is the top favorite family destination, according to a FamilyFun magazine survey. Yellowstone National Park is the top favorite family destination, according to a FamilyFun magazine survey.
HIDE CAPTION
FamilyFun travel awards
FamilyFun travel awards
FamilyFun travel awards
FamilyFun travel awards
FamilyFun travel awards
FamilyFun travel awards
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • National parks and other nature-focused U.S. destinations are family favorites
  • FamilyFun magazine surveyed 2,000 parents for family-friendly destination rankings
  • Parents chose top spots in their part of the country: West, Midwest, South and Northeast
  • Yellowstone National Park tops the lists

(CNN) -- Spread across nearly 3,500 square miles and home to some 60 animal species and almost half of the world's geysers, visitors could explore Yellowstone National Park for weeks and not see everything in the country's first national park.

Parents seem to agree the park in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is a don't-miss spot in the United States: Yellowstone was named the top "favorite family destination" and top "nature escape" in FamilyFun magazine's first travel awards.

FamilyFun surveyed some 2,000 U.S. moms with children ages 3 to 12, asking the adults to rate 360 popular destinations. The destinations were divided into regions (West, Midwest, South and Northeast) with parents voting within their respective geographic area. Fun, accessibility and affordability were key elements of the survey.

"Most families only have a few weeks of vacation each year, so the choice of where to go and what to see really carries a lot of weight," said Ann Hallock, editor-in-chief of FamilyFun magazine. "The great thing about our list is that the winners in each region are chosen by families who actually live there, so you know you're getting the real scoop on what's going to be fun."

10 budget all-inclusive resorts

Favorite family destinations

It's not just Yellowstone. Parents are focused mostly on nature, according to their Top 10 picks. Coming in second place is Acadia National Park in Maine; third place is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and fourth place is Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Rounding out the top 10 are Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota; Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan; Yosemite National Park in California; Disney's Magic Kingdom Park in Florida; Glacier National Park in Montana; and Pearl Harbor Visitor Center/USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.

The magazine also announced winners in other categories. Here are the top three spots in those areas:

Top nature escapes: Yellowstone National Park, Acadia National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Top tourist attractions: Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center/USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii and the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York.

Top tourist towns: Mackinaw City, Michigan; Monterey, California; and the Lake Tahoe region in California and Nevada.

Top museums, zoos and aquariums: Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington; Omaha, Nebraska's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium; and the Saint Louis Zoo.

Top amusement parks: Disney's Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, Disneyland in California and Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Indiana.

Top family resort: Walt Disney World Resorts hotels; Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach in Hawaii; and Loews Coronado Bay in California.

Beyond Disney: Best family cruises for 2013

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN recommends
updated 11:53 AM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
Are abandoned buildings urban blight or historic relics? Photographers love them, in either case.
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The lush Emerald Isle is easy on the eyes.
updated 1:49 PM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Usually, a ride on an elevator involves pushing a button and zoning out until the ding for your floor. It's so much more on these lifts.
updated 8:17 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
From swimming pool slides and oversized LEGO stations to Plinko walls and Wii consoles, hotels all over the world have committed to having fun.
updated 5:25 PM EST, Fri January 17, 2014
Earth never stops surprising us. Every corner of the planet offers some sort of natural peculiarity.
For 24 hours, we made the world's busiest airport our destination and found a world unto its own. Join us on our journey. What you see will surprise you.
updated 3:21 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
Some roadside attractions have become kitsch institutions. You might even make a trip just to see them.
updated 11:27 AM EST, Mon February 4, 2013
Check out daily travel photos from CNN.com readers and share your best shots.
updated 10:02 AM EST, Thu January 2, 2014
The coasts get all the glory in the United States, but there's something fun to do in each and every state. Yes, every state.
updated 3:34 PM EDT, Tue August 13, 2013
Beaches along the coasts of the United States call to shoreline explorers year-round.
updated 9:01 PM EDT, Fri July 27, 2012
When five teenagers sat down and posed for a picture at Copco Lake in 1982, they didn't plan on making it a tradition. But that's what it became.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT