Kids getting sick of school already? It’s a good time to explore some educational family trip ideas. There are just a few places in the U.S. that are as educational as they are fun. No matter what time of year it is, here’s a checklist of great places to take your kids while they’re still young.
The White House
Need we say more? Tours are for 10 or more, so plan ahead and bring the family. If you do take the tour, be sure to linger in the East Room, the largest room in the White House. Your kids will love the stories of Theodore Roosevelt’s children roller-skating in it, or of Abraham Lincoln’s sons harnessing a pet goat to a chair and going for a ride. For ideas about what to do with the rest of your time see our Washington, D.C. with Kids page.
Asked in the Forums: “Is it possible to get a tour of the White House without being with a group?”
One Response: “It is difficult to get White House tickets. And when you do, you will need to dress up, and prepare to leave all your belongings elsewhere. Heavy security to get in, and no purses/backpacks. Don’t be intimidated about calling your local representative’s office. That is how you will get tour tickets of the Capitol Building as well.” –advice from beentheretwice (view this thread)
Recommended Fodor’s Video
Virginia’s number one tourist attraction has you (and your kids) pinching yourselves to make sure you haven’t entered a time machine. Colonial Williamsburg, a careful, on-the-spot restoration of the former Virginia capital, gives you the chance to walk into the 18th century and see how earlier Americans lived. The fun of entering another time and place help disguise the very tangible educational benefits of walking in the shoes of the colonists. Our readers suggest visiting during Thanksgiving or Christmas to take in the holiday lights and decorations.
Asked in the Forums: “Which is the better time (in your opinion) to visit Williamsburg: in early November, with all the beautiful fall colors, or in December with the holiday festivities?”
One Response: “I would go in December to enjoy the holiday decorations. It’s difficult to predict fall color in that area, or any area for that matter; and as I recall, we had one year when we lived there that had no fall color at all, just rain and the brown leaves stayed on the trees until the first cold snap. Williamsburg is pretty, and atmospheric, in any season, so you can’t really go wrong, but December would be my choice. Enjoy!” –advice from NewbE (view this thread)
Kid-friendly nearby: Sal’s Restaurant by Victor
Grand Canyon National Park is a superstar — biologically, historically, and recreationally. Though traditionally a summer destination, consider taking your kids to see this natural wonder during the winter. Smaller crowds make it manageable, and you’ll have the rangers’ direct attention on educational outings.
Asked in the Forums: “Is January a bad time to visit the Grand Canyon?”
One Response: “Visited the Canyon in late January. Had snow flurries and cold temps, but that didn’t affect our visit. We were dressed for the weather ( and also bought a sweatshirt or two) and loved the experience. The air is clear and the views go on forever.” –advice from rncheryl (view this thread)
Family Trip Report: Spring break family trip by sms73
There may be no better place to bond with your family than Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills, host to dozens of great family adventures that won’t wound your wallet.
Asked in the Forums: “Is it worth going to see Mt. Rushmore?”
One Response: “Of all the family vacations we took when the kids were little, the Black Hills was our hands-down favorite. We stayed in a beautiful log cabin in Custer. Loved Custer State Park (begging burros! prairie dog towns! bison!), Jewel Cave, Wall Drug, the Badlands, Deadwood, Sturgis (right before the rally began, quite a sight), and of course Mt Rushmore was the highlight.” –advice from vivi (view this thread)
Kid-friendly nearby: Sylvan Lake Resort
Family Trip Report: Black Hills with kids by kansasmom
Between 1892 and 1924, approximately 12 million men, women, and children first set foot on U.S. soil at the Ellis Island federal immigration facility. By the time the facility closed in 1954, it had processed ancestors of more than 40% of Americans living today. If you visit New York City with your kids this is an absolutely essential stop. For ideas about what to do with the rest of your time see our New York City with Kids page.
Asked in the Forums: “How is it with strollers on city buses and the subway?”
One Response: “Getting around NYC with a 6 yr old and a 4 yr old in a stroller is NOT unusual – city kids are in strollers longer, because the parents want to be able to get places quicker than if you’re walking at a kids pace. So don’t feel that it’s all that unusual. I’ve known 6 year olds in strollers. And I really think if you avoid rush hours you’ll be fine – the subway is difficult with a stroller, but you can plan carefully using stations that have elevators and escalators, if you have too. It’s not fun, but it can be done.” –advice from mp (view this thread)
Family Trip report: Toddler’s 1st visit to NYC by Lee4