Among people who plan to travel 83 percent will be traveling with family, and 90 percent of those traveling with family will keep their trips domestic, according to a recent TripAdvisor survey. What follows is the top 10 destinations where these travelers have the best-rated options for entertainment, dining, and accommodation. This ranking was released as TripAdvisor’s inaugural Traveler’s Choice Family list, compiled based on user reviews from TripAdvisor.com. The 10 destinations were determined based on the number of recommendations of users who traveled with family.
For each destination, we’ve included the top-rated attraction based also on user reviews—resulting in numerous instances of lesser-known attractions outranking the destination’s most famous ones—and provided an overview of the other popular activities for families.
1. Anaheim, California
Top-rated attraction: Flightdeck Air Combat Center, a flight simulation center for kids and adults from age 13 up.
By comparison, Anaheim was once a sleepy southern California town of orange groves, but it began transforming into a Fantasia for families when the Disneyland Resort opened in 1955.
Now, Disney is the city’s primary employer and Anaheim is synonymous with Mickey-themed entertainment including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure and more, but it’s not the only game in town. There’s also Adventure City, a small amusement park for smaller kids, K1 Speed Indoor Karting, Hobby City Doll and Toy Museum, and the Old West –themed Knott’s Berry Farm Park including Camp Snoopy park for the younger ones, as well as Soak City Water Park by Knott’s.
For more adult-friendly shopping dining and entertainment there’s Downtown Disney, Block at Orange, Westfield MainPlace mall, and Anaheim GardenWalk, which includes a bowling center. Family-oriented dinner shows include Medieval Times and Pirates Dinner Adventure, and the local sporting options include the Anaheim Ducks, formerly the Mighty Ducks NHL team, and the LA Angels of Anaheim.
2. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Top-rated attraction: Bigfoot Zipline, a 2-hour ride for nearly all ages of gliding on cables above oaks and northwoods pines.
Set in the dells of the Wisconsin River, this little town has been a summer fun destination for 150 years, and is now claims the title of Water Park Capital of the World. Families can go kayaking, rock climbing, jetboating and jetskiing, and take one of the popular amphibious Duck tours. Wisconsin Dells is home to the country’s largest outdoor water park, Noah’s Ark, and the largest indoor water park, Wilderness Territory.
Less active activities include Rick Wilcox Magic Theater and Wizard Quest virtual game. Adult diversions include golf, Ho-Chunk Casino. For a throwback semi-indoor/ semi-outdoor night, try the popular Big Sky Drive- in movie theater.
Top attraction: The beach and boardwalk
Located in the southern part of the Jersey Shore, the peaceful beach community (and dry town) Wildwood Crest is the more family-friendly alternative to the adjacent parts of the Wildwoods (Wildwood and North Wildwood, which come closer to living up to the “wild”). Visiting families stay in any of numerous midcentury modern or “doo wop” motels or in vacation or seasonal rentals.