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Ah, the life of a teen in the United States – a perfect balance of school, sports, sleepovers, and… screen time. Occasionally, there’s that rare occurrence called a family vacation, which may spark the ‘ol teen eye roll when the time presents itself. But not on our watch! Here is our guide to the top vacation spots for teens in the US.
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New York City, New York: For the Urban Trendsetter
The Big Apple is a great place to begin. They’ve seen it in the movies; now they can live it in real life!
In the end, this family trip is so much more than a vacation; it’s a confidence-boosting, cultural vacation that will equip teens with context for understanding history, literature, and art.
WHERE TO STAY IN NEW YORK WITH TEENS
We loved the Conrad New York Midtown. It’s centrally located, and there are plenty of suite options for privacy and comfort.
Orlando, Florida: For the Theme Park Enthusiast
Now that the kids are tall enough to ride the roller coasters on their own, everyone gets to choose their own good time. If that means mom and dad relax poolside with a drink while the kids make themselves dizzy on rides at amusement parks all day, hey, that is A-okay!
WHERE TO STAY IN ORLANDO WITH TEENS
We love Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The family suites are perfect for families with teenagers, offering little kitchenettes near the TV area for late-night snack attacks. There are two pools, a bowling alley, restaurants, shopping, an arcade, and several lounges!
Aspen, Colorado: For the Snow Bunny
Skiing, snowboarding, and cozying up in cabins with hot tubs – outdoor activities are as bountiful as the snow!
There are many ski resorts in Aspen, but one of the best places for teens is Snowmass Village. An awesome amount of the amenities are geared toward the teenage crowd – music and nighttime sledding, events and competitions, and a bustling downtown area all set with beautiful Snowmass Mountain as the backdrop.
Finally, be sure to come back in the warmer weather for mountain biking and hiking.
WHERE TO STAY IN ASPEN WITH TEENS
Viceroy Snowmass is an award-winning hotel right in the heart of all of the fun. Be sure to catch the winter wonderland party where the Norse god of snow is celebrated each Friday night all winter long!
Hawaii: For the Beach Bum (with a touch of adventure)
Known for its beautiful beaches – its sun, surf, and volcanoes. Say aloha, young friends, to paradise.
This is adventure central for teens who want to experience it all! In one short week, they can experience the best things that Hawaii has to offer- surf Oahu’s North Shore, hike volcanic landscapes, zip line over the lush rainforests of Kauai, snorkel in Molokini Crater and learn to hula dance.
WHERE TO STAY IN OAHU WITH TEENS
Our favorite is Disney’s Aulani in Oahu. There are five pool areas and a private beach that reflects all of the beauty of Hawaii and carries through the high standards of Disney Resorts.
San Antonio, Texas: For the Cowboy
Stay on an authentic ranch in the nearby hill country where Dad may be encouraged to embrace his inner cowboy. Not ready to wrangle cattle, but maybe ready to don a cowboy hat to the spa?
WHERE TO STAY IN SAN ANTONIO WITH TEENS
Then, bring the teens twenty short minutes from the San Antonio River Walk to the beautiful, secluded Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.
Nashville, Tennessee: For the Country Soul
Country music, historic vibes, and some of the best BBQ they’ll ever eat. Karaoke night, anyone? Mom’s rendition of “Jolene” is… unforgettable.
For live music, check out the renowned Grand Ole Opry or one of the many honky tonks on Broadway (Robert’s Western World is a fav). Be advised Broadway is a notorious spot for bachelorette parties. Anticipate questions and answers beforehand.
Plan a road trip (under four hours) to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With 800 miles of trails through the lush forests of the Appalachian Mountains, teens could spend weeks hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding the great outdoors and still have more to uncover.
WHERE TO STAY IN NASHVILLE WITH TEENS
The Hermitage Hotel is a breathtaking, historic hotel that is in the heart of the city.
Check out our family-friendly guide to the top vacation spots for teens in the US. These are sure to have the entire family smiling.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: For the Party-Goer
Sandy beaches, water sports, and beachfront activities galore. Myrtle Beach boasts a vibrant and diverse entertainment scene featuring amusement parks, mini-golf courses, and an iconic boardwalk with arcades.
The Grand Strand, as it is lovingly referred to, is made up of 60 miles of sandy beaches; the area’s mild climate allows for year-round enjoyment.
What’s more, there is a wide range of accommodations, from resorts to vacation home rentals to beachside campsites. This ensures that families can find the perfect place to stay.
WHERE TO STAY IN MYRTLE BEACH WITH TEENS
The Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean Enclave is a beautiful oceanfront resort that is just a short walk to the epic boardwalk.
New Orleans, Louisiana: For the Culture Curious
Jazz, Mardi Gras, and mouth-watering beignets. Navigate the French Quarter with a family map reading session. Lost is just another word for ‘unexpected adventure,’ right? By the same token, this is just a teen’s opportunity to show why their iPhone is not a useless piece of junk that turns them into an angry zombie – GPS! Sounds like quality time to me.
Known for its ghost stories and voodoo, New Orleans is the place to visit for mystery lovers. Be sure to explore some of the historic cemeteries in the area. This may sound morbid, but there are some excellent tours that will offer the kind of rich storytelling that New Orleans is known for.
WHERE TO STAY IN NEW ORLEANS WITH TEENS
We loved the Art Deco Higgins Hotel in the Arts/Warehouse District. It’s right across the street from the National WWII Museum, a technological wonder that brings many stories of the painful conflict closer to our hearts.
Las Vegas, Nevada: Not Only For the Gambler!
Neon lights, epic shows, and a hint of desert exploration. Plus, watch dad try to master the art of the slot machine. Spoiler: The house always wins.
There is honestly so much for teenagers to do in Las Vegas! Yes, age-appropriate things for them to do. Circus Circus Adventuredome is an indoor amusement park with roller coasters! Fifteen shark species wait to make visitors’ acquaintance at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is the ultimate selfie opportunity! M&M World is an attraction dedicated to everyone’s favorite chocolate candy.
Later, when everyone needs a break from all the glitz and glamor, take a tour of some of the coolest parts of Nevada on the way to Lake Tahoe. When the family is ready to explore the wondrous nature made in the desert, take a road trip to the Grand Canyon, which is only 2.5 hours away.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAS VEGAS WITH TEENS
Mandalay Bay is at the southern tip of the strip, so it’s a bit quieter. The massive pool will keep teens occupied the entire time.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: For the Nature Nut
The perfect place to begin exploring national parks is at the world’s first one – Yellowstone! Wildlife, geysers, and scenery that doesn’t need to be photoshopped make this destination a great family vacation. A great way to experience all that Yellowstone has to offer is by camping. Set up a tent for the whole family at one of the 12 campgrounds located within the park.
Furthermore, down any of the 900 trails in this park, one might find bears, wolves, bison, or elk. Exciting! Don’t worry; there are plenty of ranger-led programs, and those pros know exactly what to do with a bear on the trail. (We hope they do, at least.)
WHERE TO STAY IN YELLOWSTONE WITH TEENS
The Old Faithful Inn is located within the park and directly across from The Old Faithful Geyser. It will serve as an excellent starting point for all the adventures that the park offers.
Okay, we’ve covered our bases: cityscapes, beaches, snow, music, food, lights, and even the great outdoors. All of this makes the top vacation spots for teens in the US amazing trips for the entire family.
The elephant in the room is the looming threat (or promise!) of limited Wi-Fi. (Gasp!) But trust us, the world outside is in 4K Ultra HD with surround sound. No amount of YouTube videos can capture the majesty of a geyser erupting or the spectacle of Times Square at night.
Finally, parents, next time you announce a family vacation and your teen groans, just remember: the key to an unforgettable vacation lies in the balance. A bit of adventure, a sprinkle of relaxation, a dash of culture, and a hefty dose of humor.
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