We’ve spent a lot (arguably too much) time in our homes over the last two years. And if you have kids — we know there were times it was tough. Keeping the family entertained may have required lots of screen time and snacks that wouldn’t have been allowed before. But hey, you did what you had to do to. With school back in full-swing, the holidays approaching, and a dare-we-say sense of normalcy returning, it may be the perfect time for that family trip you’ve been dreaming of. We’ve put together a list for our top five favorite family destinations so you can stop dreaming and start planning!
It’s no secret the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, is gorgeous during the fall months with summer-like temps lingering typically. Families will love ambling through the produce and artisan goods stalls at Pike Place Market, which dates back to 1907. Make a day of heading up the Space Needle and checking out the colorful and awe-inspiring Chihuly Garden and Glass museum just next door. The Great Wheel, a Ferris wheel at Pier 57, is another family favorite. To catch some of the autumn hues this time of year, take a ferry ride to quaint Bainbridge Island or drive to one of Washington’s three national parks.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle
A family fall escape with hiking, pool time, animals and star gazing? Palm Springs checks all the boxes and then some. Our ideal game plan when in the desert is heading out for a hike in the morning hours and then returning in time for swimming (or hot tub!) come afternoon. Just a scenic hour away, kids will love scrambling up the rocks along the Hidden Valley trail at the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park. Don’t miss the fantastic non-profit Living Desert Zoo and Gardens either, where kiddos can see animals adapted for a drier climate such as rhinos, giraffes, zebra, gazelles and more. When hunger hits, take your brood to Tu Madres Cantina & Grill in nearby Indio. Chips and guac for the kids, and margaritas for Mom and Dad, means everyone is happy.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
Walkable, sunny and laidback, Denver, AKA the Mile High City since it sits 5,280 feet above sea level, is home to some fantastic family-friendly attractions. With its vast collection of dinosaur bones, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a must. Younger kiddos will LOVE the Denver’s Children museum hands on exhibits and truly unique 500 feet tall outdoor play structure; take older ones to the local outpost of the U.S. Mint. The family-friendly vibe extends to many of Denver’s eateries and craft breweries. Pop into Union Station for ice cream cones for the kids and beers for the grownups; afterward, hit Safta for cauliflower hummus, falafel and saffron rice (kids will loved the sheba smashed potatoes!). After a few days in the city, tack on a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, which claims fame to the highest road in the U.S.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Born
Bring the kids to Philly for a dose of history. With fewer crowds and cooler temps, the fall months are an ideal time of year to visit the city’s historic sites including the 2,080-pound Liberty Bell as well as the Ben Franklin Museum and Betsy Ross House. Especially impressive is the newer Museum of the American Revolution: you’ll want to opt for the 60-minute core collection guided tour to bring alive the exhibits. When you’re ready for a break, indulge in a cup of hot chocolate at Shane’s Confectionery, a charming and historic candy store with old-fashioned cash registers and pastel blue Chippendale-style cabinets. Rittenhouse Square, which has several outdoor sculptures and a central fountain, is also lovely for strolling.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia
A gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville in the fall months means stunning leaf peeping as well as fewer crowds at several family-friendly attractions. At the Western North Carolina Nature Center, see 60 animal species, including black bear, red wolf, gray fox and striped skunk, all native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Families with older children will love whitewater rafting along the French Broad River Gorge. Or look into Kid Zip, a zipline through Asheville Treetops Adventure Park, that’s designed specifically for 4 to 10 year olds!
Where to Stay: Kimpton Hotel Arras