Top 7 Summer Destinations for Your Family

skylift park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Summer is here, which means families are planning for their next getaway. Many families prefer to travel during summer because of warm weather, longer days, and to reconnect with family members. One report reveals that Americans will spend more than $100 billion on summer vacations this year. 

It can be overwhelming to choose the right summer destination for your family because of the wide variety of choices available. Whether you want a city excursion, to relax at the beach, visit an amusement park, or engage in outdoor activities, there is always something for your family. Here are 7 top summer destinations for your family. We developed the list after weighing factors such as activities and entertainment options, accessibility, and dining and accommodation options:

San Diego, California

pier in the bay of san diego california at sundown

San Diego is an ideal destination for families because they get maximum enjoyment and fun. It has tons of activities for families, including water parks, theme parks, and kid-friendly museums.

Hotels in San Diego offer numerous kids programs and amenities to keep your kids happy. The Hotel Del Coronado, for instance, has a kids program where kids engage in mermaid lessons, beach treasure hunts, and arts and crafts. Sounds incredible, right? 

And that is only the tip of the iceberg: you can also visit the many attractions in the town such as museums, parks, and zoos. Beach lovers get 70 miles of beach to enjoy the sand, sun and waves. You can choose between the many beaches in the town from Retreat to Mission and La Jolla. For sun-seekers, relaxation seekers, and outdoor lovers, the magnificent coastline is an excellent place to take a seaside stroll and soak in the sun.

Museum-filled Balboa Park is the perfect spot for history enthusiasts. For cruise lovers, you will be spoilt for choice with the many harbor cruises available. Extend the daytime fun to the vivacious San Diego nightlife especially near Gaslamp Quarter.  

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor is a serene paradise known for its coastal beauty. The town is a haven for people who like to hike, bike, boat, and marvel at the stunning scenery. You can swim at the freshwater beach at Echo Lake, which is also ideal for kids because of its calm waves. If you love excursions, Park Loop Road is an excursion in its own league. You can get behind the wheel and enjoy the 27-mile drive featuring dramatic cliffs and mountain forests.

Your family will really love whale watching and your kids will be delighted by the whales' antics. You can opt for a boat tour as you watch these lovely creatures slap their tails against the water and leap into the air. Bar Harbor's main street has shops, ice cream parlors, art galleries, and restaurants where you can chill with your family.

Don’t forget to visit Acadia National Park while in the town. The 47,000-acre park is a popular attraction in the town because of its woodland, glacier-scoured granite peaks, and rocky beaches. Here, you can have a great time hiking, camping, and getting coastal views. Remember to bring along your favorite merino wool socks that are perfect for keeping your feet dry during all your favorite outdoor activities.

Golden Isles, Georgia

If you have not yet made up your mind on your summer destination, the Golden Isles in Georgia is worth considering. Golden Isles is a great way to enjoy summer away from the crowd on an island. It has serene beaches and peaceful trails to offer you all the relaxation and outdoors fun you could hope for.

You can start by kayaking on St. Simon Island to view the scenic marshlands and tidal creeks surrounding the Golden Isles. Golf enthusiasts can perfect their stances and strokes at the green golf courses of Sea Island. They can also play golf as they enjoy the ocean views and tidal creeks.

Summer starts when you hit the beach. You can bask in the sun, swim, or take evening walks on Jekyll Island or at Driftwood Beach and Glory Beach. Also, be sure to do some hiking in Brunswick. Complete your visit to this amazing island with bird watching at Little St. Simon


With the average daytime temperatures between 70 and 800F, Boston is an ideal summer destination for your family. You get a good mix of the classic and the contemporary. You can visit classic sites like Paul Revere House and contemporary attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts. You can also visit the many breweries in the city or attend summer festivals like Boston Harborfest and Boston Pride.

With over 19.3 million annual visitors, Boston is an ideal place for all kinds of travelers from outdoor enthusiasts to food lovers and readers. Fenway Park appeals to baseball lovers while the Freedom Trail welcomes history buffs who can participate in scavenger hunts of historical sites. Boston does not leave food lovers behind either. The North End and Faneuil Hall Marketplace shouldn’t be missed. You can indulge in the delicious oyster shooters and New England clam chowder.

If you are a yoga lover, do not leave the city without a free yoga class at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. You really need a few days or even weeks to enjoy Boston's wealth of cultural and historical offerings.   

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

skylift park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Apart from hiking, you enjoy guided walks, picnics, horseback riding, river rafting, and picturesque drives. What more could you want? If you love panoramic views, Gatlinburg will not disappoint. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Space Needle, Aerial Tramway, and Anakeesta chondola offer you an opportunity to get a panoramic view of the city and the Smoky Mountains.

Gatlinburg is also home to many artisans like jewelers, painters, candle makers, and potters. Do not leave the town without purchasing a few quality craftsmen goods to remind you of this amazing destination.

The highlight of your visit to Gatlinburg will be the family fun activities and attractions. Kids can play in the magical treehouse village, zip lines, theme parks, amusement park, and even go ice skating. Your visit to Gatlinburg is incomplete without trying the adrenaline-pumping attractions like Gatlin's Escape Games. Your family works together to finish a challenge.

Portland, ME

 If you are looking for a laid-back vacation, then Portland, Maine is the destination to visit. Although many people do not consider Portland to be a big city, it has made a name for itself as a vibrant center. Apart from the thriving harbor and Maine topography, Portland has an incredible dedication to arts, remarkable museums, esteemed dining scene, and outstanding preservation of the historic Old Port. Portland is a unique Maine coastal town because of its secluded beaches located on Island shorelines and antique lighthouses situated on coastal bluffs.

Be sure to take a leisurely walk in the Old Port neighborhood. This is a relaxing walk as you meditate and clear your mind away from the noisy and busy urban life. The city also has plenty of charming boutiques and dining spots to give you a pleasant experience. You can even have a food tour in Portland to enjoy the world-class, mouthwatering seafood like the widely available lobster rolls. Do not forget to include a brewery tour in your to-do list in the town. No matter what you decide to do in this port hub, you can't resist its charm. It will soothe your soul.

Sonoma, California

This is an award-winning destination for food and drink. It offers a laid-back introduction to astral vintages and wineries. Sonoma is home to over 400 wineries, farm-to-table eateries, farmer’s markets, cider houses, distilleries, and specialty food. Its numerous wineries and distilleries have made people regard it as Napa's bucolic and more-relaxed sister

If you are a wine person, plan to visit several wineries–some even offer free tastings. After all the food and drink, burn some calories kayaking at Sonoma Coast Park or hiking at Jack London State Historic Park. If you want some adventure, you can visit nearby cities like Santa Rosa –enjoy the museums and buzzy restaurants – and Glen Ellen for a small town feel.

When many people hear the word "summer" the first thing that strikes their mind is a vacation. Most families and individuals plan for gateways during the summer to enjoy the great outdoor weather and have a little fun. As exciting as summer sounds, choosing the best destination for a perfect vacation is daunting and overwhelming. This article does the homework for you and presents our ideas for the top seven summer destinations for your family to turn your vacation into an epic experience. 

No matter where you choose to take your family on vacation this summer, you’ll want to bring light layers to accommodate various temperatures and activities. Our merino wool base layers are stylish enough to wear out to dinner but help keep your temperature regulated on those hiking trails. You can learn more about how to layer the right way by reading our Layering 101 guide. Before you head for your summer destination, check out Meriwool Layers for merino wool summer essentials.    

Author: Melanie Rainault