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8 family vacation ideas your teens won’t say suck

When your kids were little, it was much easier to plan where you were going for vacation. They didn’t have a say. Now that your children are teenagers, they have a thought about everything you decide, and mostly, that it’s lame. To keep your street cred with your teens from dropping to sub-zero temps, we put together some family vacation ideas that your kids won’t be able to roll their eyes at.

Family packing up the car for a vacation.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do I choose a family vacation destination?

  • Create a budget and plan everything around that.
  • Talk about ideas with your teens and give them options.
  • Don’t forget to consider logistics and travel times.
  • You can always ask friends/other parents for ideas.

Every family is different so there isn’t one formula to find the perfect destination for your family. The start should be your budget and go from there. Then sit the kids down and ask them where they would want to go. Explain how travel and travel times would work for all suggestions and see what works best for everyone. If the kids don’t want to be in the car for 15 hours driving, and you can’t afford plane tickets, then that can narrow down your options.

But getting your teens’ input is extremely important. If they don’t feel like they had a say, they feel forced. If they feel forced, they feel miserable. If they are miserable, you are miserable. Let them speak.

How do you make a family vacation fun?

Boxes to check

Give yourself enough time

If your teen never gets ready in under an hour, don’t get upset, plan for it. Screaming “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go” at home doesn’t work, and on vacation, it will definitely kill the mood.

Don’t fight the phone

Your teenagers will be on their phones. Accept it. But set boundaries on when they can be on them. Give them times they can stare at the screen all they want as long as they know for a certain time they need to be present for family time.

Pack it all

Just bring it if you can. There’s no need to start an argument with your teens for not bringing sunscreen when you know they wanted to pack more shoes.

Read the room

Know when it’s time to switch it up. If your teens are bored out of their minds and you can change gears to do something else easily, do it. They will appreciate that you noticed.

Parents: take your time too

Yes, the family vacation is bonding time, but just like with all parenting, if you (and your teen) don’t have some downtime away from each other, there will be too much tension.

What is the most popular family vacation destination?

  • Disney is king
  • New York is always in style
  • Tropical is a solid win

We know travel hasn’t been common in the last few years. But Florida always seems to reign supreme as the most popular place for the family to go. Orlando and Disney can’t seem to be beat as the most visited place. With New York, the Bahamas, and Hawaii climbing the ladder of family-friendly spots, there are plenty of opportunities for your teens to find some fun away from the most famous mouse.

A family taking a break during their hike.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Where should I travel with my teenager?

Teenagers care about the hot spots. What’s trending. What’s the best for Insta sessions. Here are eight family vacation ideas with teenagers that will please everyone.

College tours

Hear us out. If you have teens who are talking about college choices, make a vacation out of that. If they have a few choices within a few hours of each other, you can spend a couple of days at each one. Your teen will be so excited to check out the campus and you’ll be so excited your teen is having fun. Relive those college days.

Water parks

Yes, beaches are lovely, but who likes sand everywhere? How about some amazing waterparks? The Midwest has some of the best water parks and they are all close to major cities so you can do other things as well.

Foodie tours

Do your teens love seafood? Take them on a tour of the East Coast. Do they love more healthy, fresh cuisine? California can help with that. Who would say no to a vacation built around delicious food?

Amusement parks

Yes, obviously Disney is a favorite. But the country has other parks, and if you have the means to travel the world, there are some pretty spectacular spots. And since you can spend days at just one park, it takes the stress away from having to find other things to do.

Resort life

Take a time out for yourself while keeping the teens in paradise. Get an all-inclusive resort so you don’t have to argue over anything because it’s all right there and it’s all included. Teens also feel a sense of independence when they don’t need to be next to the parents all day.


It’s trendy. It’s Insta-worthy. Outdoorsy teens who don’t want to do a bunch of physical activity will love to glamp it up. And parents will enjoy the slower pace and actual face time with the kids.

Walk on the wild side

Have an adventurer? A wildlife vacation for the animal-loving teen is the best idea. Everyone loves to look at gorgeous creatures and no one can resist an adorable baby animal.

Take the train

Cruises are so overplayed. Don’t worry about baggage fees, falling asleep while driving, or road rage, and have a mini-vacation while getting to your destination. It’s like two vacations in one.

No family vacation will be perfect but your teens will get excited about these options. Any of these teenage-friendly vacation scenarios will turn your kids into your travel buddies. Any of these pretty amazing family vacation ideas will have your teens happily filling up their Insta feed in no time. They’ll also have you feeling like you deserve parent of the year for your impeccable choices.

Editors' Recommendations

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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