Best Family Vacations: 2014 FamilyFun Travel Awards

2013 Winners: Top 10 Family Resorts

Disney World

Photograph courtesy of Walt Disney World

1. Walt Disney World Resorts Hotels: Orlando, FL (Score: 92)

With more than 15 themed hotels whose whimsical styles range from African safari (Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge) to old New England seaside (Disney's Yacht Club Resort), the World offers something for every taste and budget. Extravagant pools, lush landscaping, and, of course, quick and easy access to the parks make for an unrivaled family experience. In the words of one Alabama mom, "As soon as you see the welcome sign, the magic begins."

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Photograph courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village

2. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort: Honolulu, HI (Score: 89)

This 22-acre oceanfront compound sits right on the legendary white sands of Duke Kahanamoku Beach, the widest in Waikiki and a perennial top 10 beach in America. Families love the Hilton's gentle, salt-water lagoon, five swimming pools (including a spectacular 5,000-square-foot activity pool dotted with waterfalls and slides), and surfing instruction. Then there's Waikiki's only outdoor luau, which opens with a conch-shell summons followed by hula lessons. "No stress, no worries," wrote a Washington State family. "The kids had a great time, and so did Mommy and Daddy!"

Loews Coronado Bay

Photograph courtesy of Loews Coronado Bay

3. Loews Coronado Bay: San Diego, CA (Score: 87)

Unexpected recreational opportunities at swanky, seaside Coronado Bay include an on-site surfing school. Guests not quite ready to hang ten might opt instead for a gondola cruise through the romantic canals of the Coronado cays (complete with serenading gondolier). The 439-room property also offers three outdoor swimming pools and bicycle, paddleboard, and wave-runner rentals. Families singled out as special the direct access to several miles of ocean and bay beaches at adjacent Silver Strand State Park. Cowabunga!

4. Smugglers' Notch Resort: Smugglers' Notch, VT (Score: 87)
5. The Hotel Hershey: Hershey, PA (Score: 87)
6. Kalahari Resort: Sandusky, OH (Score 84)
7. Northstar California Resort: Truckee, CA (Score 84)
8. Great Wolf Lodge: Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score 84)
9. Omni Mount Washington Resort: Bretton Woods, NH (Score 83) & Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain, GA (Score 83)
10. Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa San Antonio, TX (Score 83)

2013 Winners: Regional Favorites: The Midwest

Museums, Zoos, & Aquariums

1. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: Omaha, NE (Score: 92)
2. Saint Louis Zoo: St. Louis, MO (Score: 92)
3. Museum of Science and Industry: Chicago, IL (Score: 92)
4. The Field Museum: Chicago, IL: (Score: 91)
5. Shedd Aquarium: Chicago, IL (Score: 91)
6. Children's Museum of Indianapolis: Indianapolis, IN (Score: 90)
7. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Powell, OH (Score: 90)
8. Brookfield Zoo: Brookfield, IL (Score: 89)
9. Cincinnati Museum Center (Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Museum, and OMNIMAX Theater): Cincinnati, OH (Score: 88)
10. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: Cleveland, OH (Score: 87)
11. Center of Science & Industry: Columbus, OH (Score: 87)
12. City Museum: St. Louis, MO (Score: 87)
13. Fort Wayne Children's Zoo: Fort Wayne, IN (Score: 87)
14. Toledo Zoo: Toledo, OH (Score: 86)
15. Discovery World: Milwaukee, WI (Score: 86)
16. Chicago Children's Museum: Chicago, IL (Score: 86)
17. Milwaukee County Zoo: Milwaukee, WI (Score: 86)
18. Saint Louis Science Center: St. Louis, MO (Score: 85)
19. Lincoln Park Zoo: Chicago, IL (Score: 84)
20. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens: Cincinnati, OH (Score: 84)
21. Indianapolis Zoo: Indianapolis, IN (Score: 83)
22. Science Museum of Minnesota: Saint Paul, MN (Score: 83)
23. The Magic House: St. Louis, MO (Score: 83)
24. World Aquarium: St. Louis, MO (Score: 83)
25. Great Lakes Aquarium: Duluth, MN (Score: 81)
26. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory: Saint Paul, MN (Score: 81)
27. Minnesota Zoo: Apple Valley, MN (Score: 81)
28. Detroit Zoo: Royal Oak, MI (Score: 80)
29. Great Lakes Science Center: Cleveland, OH (Score: 80)
30. Madison Children's Museum: Madison, WI (Score: 78)
31. Minnesota Children's Museum: Saint Paul, MN (Score: 78)
32. Sea Life Aquarium: Kansas City, MO (Score: 75)
33. Greater Cleveland Aquarium: Cleveland, OH (Score: 75)
34. Sea Life Aquarium: Mall of America, MN (Score: 74)
35. Discovery Center Museum: Rockford, IL (Score: 70)

Tourist Towns

1. Mackinaw City, MI (Score: 89)
2. Duluth, MN (Score: 84)
3. Traverse City, MI (Score: 83)
4. Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score: 83)
5. Branson, MO (Score: 81)
6. Frankenmuth, MI (Score: 79)
7. Custer, SD (Score: 78)
8. Santa Claus, IN (Score: 76)
9. Lake Geneva, WI (Score: 76)
10. Green Bay, WI (Score: 71)
11. Dubuque, IA (Score: 70)
12. Lebanon, OH (Score: 65)
13. Rockford, IL (Score: 62)

Tourist Attractions

1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Keystone, SD (Score: 94)
2. Colonial Michilimackinac: Mackinaw City, MI (Score: 91)
3. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: Springfield, IL (Score: 89)
4. The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village: Dearborn, MI (Score: 89)
5. Fort Mackinac: Mackinac Island, MI (Score: 89)
6. Gateway Arch: St. Louis, MO (Score: 88)
7. Lincoln Home National Historic Site: Springfield, IL (Score: 86)
8. Soo Locks: Sault Ste. Marie, MI (Score: 85)
9. Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame: Green Bay, WI (Score: 84)
10. Living History Farms: Urbandale, IA (Score: 82)
11. Navy Pier: Chicago, IL (Score: 81)
12. Mall of America: Bloomington, MN (Score: 81)
13. Conner Prairie Interactive History Park: Fishers, IN (Score: 80)
14. Crazy Horse Memorial: Crazy Horse, SD (Score: 78)
15. Harry S. Truman Library & Museum: Independence, MO (Score: 77)
16. Circus World Museum: Baraboo, WI (Score: 75)
17. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World: Springfield, MO (Score: 75)
18. Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum: Hannibal, MO (Score: 69)

Nature Escapes

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI (Score: 94)
2. Black Hills National Forest, SD, WY (Score: 91)
3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI (Score: 90)
4. Badlands National Park, SD (Score: 90)
5. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, MN (Score: 88)
6. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND (Score: 88)
7. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area in Shawnee National Forest, IL (Score: 82)
8. Door County Beaches, WI (Score: 81)
9. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, IN (Score: 80)
10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH (Score: 78)
11. Lake of the Ozarks, Osage Beach, MO (Score: 76)
12. Mark Twain National Forest, MO (Score: 74)
13. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, KS (Score: 55)

Family Resorts

1. Kalahari Resort: Sandusky, OH (Score: 84)
2. Great Wolf Lodge: Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score: 84)
3. Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort: Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score: 82)
4. Great Wolf Lodge: Sandusky, OH (Score: 81)
5. French Lick Resort: French Lick & Baden, IN (Score: 79)
6. Kalahari Resort: Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score: 79)
7. Great Wolf Lodge: Traverse City, MI (Score: 79)
8. Tan-Tar-A Resort: Osage Beach, MO (Score: 76)

Amusement Parks

1. Holiday World & Splashin? Safari: Santa Claus, IN (Score: 91)
2. Cedar Point: Sandusky, OH (Score: 89)
3. Kings Island: Mason, OH (Score: 82)
4. Noah's Ark Waterpark: Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score: 82)
5. Silver Dollar City: Branson, MO (Score: 81)
6. Worlds of Fun: Kansas City, MO (Score: 80)
7. Michigan's Adventure: Muskegon, MI (Score: 79)
8. Six Flags Great America: Chicago, IL (Score: 78)
9. Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park: Wisconsin Dells, WI (Score: 77)
10. Nickelodeon Universe: Mall of America, MN (Score: 77)
11. Six Flags St. Louis: St. Louis, MO (Score: 77)
12. Water Park of America: Mall of America, MN (Score: 73)
13. Bay Beach Amusement Park: Green Bay, WI (Score: 73)
14. Adventureland Park: Altoona, IA (Score: 72)

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment