Top 10 Must-See Attractions for Kids in the US

By: Stuart Smith
Scott Milless /

For fun and educational experiences, these 10 family-friendly destinations are sure to be the highlight of any vacation, and will create life-long memories for your children.

Consider taking your kids to one of these fun-filled attractions on your next trip!


1. Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist has been bringing tourists up close to the magnificent Niagara Falls, on the New York-Ontario border, since 1846. The half-hour boat tour operates mid-April through mid-October, with departures from the Canadian and the American sides of the falls. Fares include a souvenir rain poncho to keep passengers dry as they pass through the mist created by the thundering falls.

Maid of the Mist


LEGOLAND parks offer the rides and amusements of a traditional theme park with a LEGO building blocks theme. There are two LEGOLANDS in the United States, LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, and LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven. The parks include water rides, games and shows. LEGOLAND California has a LEGO-themed hotel and an aquarium within the park. Both parks operate year-round.


3. SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego theme park has rides, shows and exhibits with a sea-life theme. Featured attractions include interactive experiences with dolphins and Beluga whales. The park has a variety of dining options and a kennel for families that travel with pets. SeaWorld San Diego operates year-round.

Sea World San Diego

4. Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove in Orlando, Fla. is an all-inclusive theme park that offers interactive experiences with tropical fish and exotic birds. The park restricts daily admissions to 1,300 guests, and reservations are required. Admission price includes breakfast, lunch, use of snorkeling equipment and floatation devices, towels, sunscreen and beach chairs. Guests receive a souvenir snorkel and passes for unlimited admission to nearby Seaworld and Aquatica parks. Discovery Cove recommends calling at least one month in advance for reservations.

Discovery Cove


5. Coney Island

The New York City neighborhood of Coney Island has more than 50 different rides and amusements operating daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and on weekends Labor Day to Columbus Day. Attractions include roller coasters, bumper cars and arcades. Fireworks shoot off every Friday night through the summer.

Coney Island

6. San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is home to 3,700 endangered animals and also boasts a botanical collection of more than 700,000 exotic plants. The zoo offers guided tour bus rides through its 100-acre site, and has a gondola ride for aerial viewing. San Diego Zoo is one of four zoos in the United States that has pandas on display.

San Diego Zoo

7. Cedar Point

Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio on Lake Erie is best known for its roller coasters, four of which are over 200 feet tall. The park also features family and water rides, live entertainment and a variety of dining options. The publication Amusement Today voted Cedar Point “The Best Amusement Park in the World.” The park is open daily mid-May through August, and on weekends in September and October.

Cedar Point

8. Blizzard Beach

This Disney water park in Bay Lake, Fla. has a ski resort theme, with chairlifts bringing riders to the summit where they can choose a ski trail or bobsled run waterslide for a trip down the mountain. There are also wave pools and floating rivers for the less adventurous. Picnic areas are spread throughout the park.

Blizzard Beach

9. Museum of Science Boston

The museum has over 500 interactive exhibits and is home to the Hayden Planetarium. The Musuem of Science’s simulator experience allows visitors to experience a submarine dive into the Bermuda Triangle, a ride through the solar system, and a walk in space. The museum is open year-round with expanded hours during the summer months.

Museum of Science Boston


10. Disney World, Florida 

Walt Disney World Resort, just outside of Orlando, is a group of theme parks, including Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center, two water parks, and two dozen themed resorts. The resort is the most-visited amusement site in the world. All-inclusive packages are available for family vacations.