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Family Travel3-minute read

USA family trips worth waiting for

Planning a trip for the family takes time. Planning one that pleases everyone – from tiny tots to pooped parents – can seem like an impossible task. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you by rounding up the best family holidays for 2021. These five US cities have everything you need to captivate the whole brood, whether it’s unleashing the kids in a gargantuan adventure playground in the Big Apple, or tasting pastelitos in Little Havana. Time to gather the clan...

  • Photograph: AMNH-Roderick-Mickens

A close encounter with a T-Rex at the American Museum of Natural History


New York

New York, New York, so good they named it… well, you know. The city has a newfound appreciation for creating outdoor experiences that everyone can enjoy, while also celebrating its iconic landmarks from the Empire State Building to the new World Trade Center.

Why is it great for families?
Families are making the most of the city’s newest waterfront playgrounds and parks, while most kids’ dream lunch of a slice of pizza and an ice cream cone can be found on nearly every corner.

What to enjoy when you’re there
Hop aboard a ferry to Governors Island and make a beeline for The Hills, a 30-acre park that includes the city’s longest slide (no less than 57 feet) with amazing skyline views. Or send little explorers to The Yard, a 50,000sq ft adventure playground. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Empire-Fulton Ferry Park where the restored Jane’s Carousel’s 48 wooden horses give riders views of lower Manhattan, Dumbo and the East River boat traffic. Nearby is the Time Out Market inside Empire Stores, the restored warehouse that’s also home to Cecconi’s and Dumbo House. It’s the spot for a bento box, lobster roll or Pat LaFrieda burger. Kids of all ages won’t be able to resist the famous danceable Grand Piano from Big, which is back at the new FAO Schwarz in the Rockefeller Center.

Take off to New York

  • Photograph: Adobe Stock

Seagulls sun themselves on the rocks Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West, Florida


Key West

Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States and also a state of mind, as residents of the Conch Republic will tell you.

Why is it great for families?
While the town that inspired the song Margaritaville does attract sundowner-seeking types, it’s also a top family destination, where kids can bike on the quiet streets and watch brown pelicans swoop down to the water by the piers.

What to enjoy when you’re there
Cycle your way up Duval Street, around historic sites such as President Truman’s Little White House and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, with its resident six-toed cats. Then head over to the Southernmost Point buoy or Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, which has one of the island’s few Caribbean-style sand beaches. In the heart of Old Town Key West, Mallory Square is home to the Key West Aquarium with its moon jellyfish and shark exhibits, and be sure to grab a table in time to have a cocktail and watch the sun go down at Sunset Pier, the best view in town.

Take off to Key West

  • Photograph: Adobe Stock

Miami’s South Beach wins the colourful parasols award



This city on Florida’s Gold Coast is so much more than just glamorous South Beach, and vibrant communities from Cuban to Haitian to Venezuelan give it an international flavour unlike anywhere else in the US.

Why is it great for families?
Miles of golden sand beach, a subtropical climate and proximity to the Everglades National Park mean this a true ‘fun in the sun’ destination for all ages.

What to enjoy when you’re there
Every Miami neighbourhood has its own character. Grab a pastelito in Little Havana, just west of downtown Miami’s skyscrapers, or crack some stone crabs at the century-old classic Joe’s Stone Crab in South Beach after walking one of the best outdoor urban rambles, Lincoln Road Mall. Kids will love the colourful Wynwood Walls south of the Design District, where the walls are lined with the works of street artists from around the world. For real south Florida adventure, head west on the Tamiami Trail to see alligators in the wild while skimming across the water in an airboat tour.

Take off to Miami

  • Photograph: Matt Stroshane

The Millennium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge



Orlando is the most visited destination in the US. What brings 75 million visitors a year? Two words: Disney World. Also: Magic Kingdom. Harry Potter. Universal Studios.

Why is it great for families?
Orlando is home to around a dozen theme parks, so you will definitely run out of time before you run out of things for the kids to do. The city also has a healthy restaurant scene, particularly around the downtown core and nearby Winter Park Park (where The Ravenous Pig gastropub started the city’s culinary rise when it opened over a decade ago) and plenty of non-theme-park adventures, from bike trails to canoeing.

What to enjoy when you’re there
Star Wars fans will head straight to Disney’s latest and greatest experience: Galaxy’s Edge. Explore the planet of Batuu, fly the Millennium Falcon, and fight the First Order on Rise of the Resistance. Good luck resisting the power of the Porg when it comes to walking through the gift shop on the way out, though. Take the little ones to the Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall or rent a canoe or kayak and spend the day exploring the clear waters of Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Take off to Orlando

  • Photograph: Adobe Stock

Denver’s Union Station is a hub for restaurants, bars and shops



Whoever has a window seat will get a treat when landing at the Denver airport — glimpsing the white peaks of the Rocky Mountains rising from the flat midwestern plains. Here, they declare, is where the West begins.

Why is it great for families?
The Mile High City has a walkable downtown, a world-class zoo and museums, plus a new rail connection from the airport to the landmark Union Station in the heart of the city.

What to enjoy when you’re there
Visit the real Jurassic Park at Dinosaur Ridge, where the world’s first stegosaurus fossil was discovered and where visitors can walk alongside 250 iguanodon tracks. Ride a narrow-gauge mountain railroad at the Colorado Railroad Museum, and explore how the country’s westward expansion was aided by rail. Then dine at Union Station’s Sunday Vinyl, where you can watch trains arrive and depart while listening to records played on the bar’s turntable.

Take off to Denver