Top 10 Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

by | Oct 3, 2023 | Destinations, Family Adventures, Traveling with Teens, USA

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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.




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! 

From the Empire State Building, Broadway, Times Square, and Central Park, there are a bazillion Insta-worthy spots in New York City.


Next, watch them try to keep a straight face as Dad haggles with street vendors. “Two for $20? How about two for… free?” 


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.



We loved the Conrad New York Midtown. It’s centrally located, and there are plenty of suite options for privacy and comfort.


NYC view of Broadway - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

If this can’t tear a teen away from their phone, I’m not sure that anything will. Shutterstock


Orlando, Florida: For the Theme Park Enthusiast

Universal Studios and Disney World are teen dreamlands. Who am I kidding? These theme parks, water parks, and all-inclusive resorts make the best family vacations for all ages. 

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!



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!


DON’T MISS: Why the Disney Wish Cruise is a Teen’s Dream Come True


Simpson family riding roller coaster - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

Bart approved = teen approved. Shutterstock


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



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!


three young skiers jumping for joy - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

There is no way a parent over the age of 40 is jumping for joy in their ski boots at the top of a hill. Shutterstock


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



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.


photo being taken of a girl on a beach - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

Just a girl on the beach watching the water… and posing for her followers. Shutterstock


San Antonio, Texas: For the Cowboy 

The Alamo, the River Walk, the Missions National Park, a Japanese Tea Garden, the Spurs, and Ghost Tours – a place as varied and eclectic as a teen’s interests and moods. 

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? 



Then, bring the teens twenty short minutes from the San Antonio River Walk to the beautiful, secluded Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa


colorful umbrellas and shops along the river - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

It’s all fun and games until mom has two margaritas and falls in the river. Shutterstock


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. 



The Hermitage Hotel is a breathtaking, historic hotel that is in the heart of the city. 


Night scene of Honky Tonks in Nashville, TN. - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

Yes, those signs do read “Good Time Bar” and “Mushroom.” Maybe avoid these until the teens are 21 or 31. Shutterstock



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.



The Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean Enclave is a beautiful oceanfront resort that is just a short walk to the epic boardwalk. 


Selfie of two friends on the beach - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

Beach selfie for the win. Shutterstock


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. 

Finally, finish each evening with live jazz on Frenchmen Street, a tamer, teen-friendly version of Bourbon Street



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.


brass band in new orleans jazz club - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

Live music that will make teenagers love jazz? Where do we sign up? Shutterstock


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. 



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. 


DON’T MISS! For Family Fun, Here Are The 5 Best Pools in Vegas For Kids


Kids jumping into pool - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

Vegas for the ultimate pool party. Shutterstock


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.)



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.


family posing for picture next to large yak - Vacation Spots for Teens in the U.S.

This doesn’t feel safe. Shutterstock


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. 




Steffy McCourt is a mom to three active and awesome boys, two budgies, one cockatiel, and a mischievous corgi. Currently an ELA Teacher On Special Assignment in Plymouth, Michigan, she also writes for parenting magazines, education websites, and meditation apps. She has an MS in Educational Leadership from Butler University and a BA in English from Indiana University.