Fun Family Travel Ideas for Summer Vacation 2014

Finally!!!  Schools out for summer, and it’s time for those lazy, hazy days of swimming, sun, and sleeping late.  It’s been a long winter for us here in the northeast, and we’re looking forward to our summer vacation and spending time together as a family.  If you haven’t made plans yet for your summer adventure, it’s not too late.  Keep reading below for some of our family’s favorite summer vacation activities, and for even more ideas for summer fun, check out this rundown of the best summer family vacation ideas from our friends at Taking the Kids.  Don’t see your favorites listed?  Please leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.  Happy summer everyone!

Summer Swiming at Keuka Lake, NY


Kids are drawn to sandy beaches like moths to a flame, and no matter where you are in the United States it’s not too far of a drive or flight to your sand castle.  Popular beach vacation spots include:

Atlantic Ocean

Rehoboth Beach, DE – boardwalks, bikes, birds, and tax-free outlet shopping

Myrtle Beach, SC –go for the beach, go for the golf & attractions, something for everyone in the family

Fort Lauderdale, FL – 23 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, coral & artificial reefs make a divers’ paradise

Sanibel Island, Florida

Gulf of Mexico

Sanibel Island, FL – shells and wildlife sanctuaries create a serene retreat on the Gulf of Mexico; click here for a recap of our visit to Sanibel.

Padre Island National Seashore, TX – nature preserve and nesting habitat for sea turtles

Pacific Ocean

Santa Monica Beach – steps away from Los Angeles and home to an iconic amusement pier

Laguna Beach – seals and dolphins play in the surf near this art community

Mission Beach – 100th anniversary of San Diego’s Oceanside playground

North Coast

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a sight to behold as miles of sand dunes pile high on the shores of Northwestern lower Michigan.

Of course this doesn’t include Hawaii’s world class beaches which I have yet to visit.  Need to get there someday.

Collecting shells on Sanibel Island, FL

Theme Parks

There’s always something new added to theme parks around the country to keep us coming back for more.  Some of 2014’s headliner attractions include:

Universal Orlando – eat at the Leaky Cauldron, hop aboard the Hogwarts Express, or Escape from a dragon in Gringotts at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Walt Disney World – heigh ho! You’re home from work on summer vacation, so take a ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Six Flags: Great America Goliath will be the tallest, fastest, and steepest wooden roller coaster in the world

Schlitterbahn Kansas City – higher than Niagara Falls, Verrückt Meg-a-Blaster will send riders 65 mph on this water slide.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

National Parks

Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine – oh say did you know, it’s the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem written by Francis Scott Key in this star-shaped fort in Baltimore Harbor.

Yosemite National Park – celebrates its 150th birthday with reenactments, concerts, festivals, as well as a new museum exhibit, Yosemite, the Grand Experiment, featuring paintings, prints, artifacts, and souvenirs from the parks beginnings.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – the most visited national park in the country has a district specifically designed for kids to jump into activities such as: using clay to make Cherokee-style pots or an introduction to traditional blacksmithing bend a piece of iron into a triangular dinner bell.

Keuka Lake, New York

Remember, if you need some additional suggestions, see this roundup of the best summer family vacation ideas from our friends at Taking the Kids.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.