Want to take your teenagers on vacation? But you do not want to listen to them cry and moan the entire time? Save yourself from the endless complaining by selecting a destination, they won’t rebel against!

At this point, I’ve traveled extensively with my teens and tween and unfortunately, I know firsthand how stressful things can suddenly become because they are not having a good time on the trip. There are few things worse than a moody teenager on vacation that does not want to participate in any of the activities.

For a while, I gave up and let my oldest kid sit in the hotel room while the rest of us had fun, but eventually, I realized I needed to change the type of trips we were taking. Our trips needed to be way more exciting and physically active, especially if they’ve been stuck in the car on a road trip. With these two things in mind, here are my picks for the top US vacation for teens and tweens.

Top 9 Destinations for Teens and Tweens in the United States


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Oahu is an epic place to take tweens and teens year-round. The weather is consistently good and there is much to do, especially if your family enjoys water sports. Some suggested activities in Oahu that teens will likely appreciate are:

If possible, I highly recommend staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa. This resort has a teen program that your kids will actually want to go to. They get to participate in physical challenges, take animation classes, learn to play the ukulele, have parties just for them, and more. While your kids are off doing their own thing, you have peace of mind knowing that they are safe and having fun.

See our Oahu Travel Guide to help you plan your entire trip!

Kauai, Hawaii is also fantastic if you want something less mainstream.

Vailimg 1946

Whether you visit in the summer or in the winter, tweens and teens will love Vail, Colorado.

In the summer, teens can zip line and adventure through multiple ropes courses at Epic Discovery up on the mountain. Plus, there are other activities like horseback riding, white water rafting, and mountain biking.

During the winter, tweens and teens can spend their time skiing and snowboarding across the massive mountain. Vail has free public transportation that’s easy to use, allowing kids to have a little independence roaming around on their own.

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See our Vail, Colorado Travel Guide to help you plan your trip or our 4-Day Vail Itinerary. Our favorite place to stay in Vail is Sonnenalp Hotel. 

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando houses many of the best roller coasters in the United States and has two extensive Harry Potter areas. Teens and tweens will love riding all the intense roller coasters. If your kids are like mine and want to ride the same roller coaster over and over, consider purchasing an Express Pass. This line pass will allow you to bypass almost every line there is in all three of the parks, which means there will be plenty of time to ride everything at least twice.

Recently, Universal Orlando added a water park, Volcano Bay. There are rarely any lines and you do not have to cart around your own raft or tubes for the slides. They’ve made using the water park easy, and with teens and tweens, the easier the better!

A nice plus is the city of Orlando because when you are done hanging out at Universal, Orlando has lots of other things to do. Kids of all ages will get a kick out of taking a Wild Florida airboat out on the swamps and seeing alligators. Oh, and there’s always Disney World

Las Vegas

Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is not somewhere most think to take teenagers, but it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States and there’s lots to do for all ages. Give the kids a thrill at the indoor skydiving facility or zip lining off the Rio casino at VooDoo Zip.

Other fun things to do include Gameworks, the massive indoor gaming facility, rocking climbing out at the Red Rocks, ATVing, and hanging out at some of the incredible hotel pools. The Wet N’ Wild in Las Vegas also has some extreme water rides. Teens will also like most of the Cirque Du Soleil shows in town. You can currently get Cirque Du Soleil discount tickets up to 50% off one of their shows in Vegas.

For more recommendations on planning a trip to Vegas with kids, see my article: Tons of Activities for Teenagers in Las Vegas.  Here is a sample itinerary: Five Days in Las Vegas with Kids, our extensive Las Vegas Travel Guide, and our hotel recommendations 11 Best Kid-Friendly Las Vegas Hotels.

San Antonio

San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas is jammed packed with activities. They have two major theme parks, Six Flags and Sea World, not to mention one of the most extensive water parks in the world, Schlitterbahn. The nice thing is, teenagers can basically run off and do their own thing in all of these theme parks. Even along the River Walk, kids can go explore all on their own. While they shop around, parents can take a break over a drink and enjoy the River Walk in a slightly more grown-up way.

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San Antonio also has a fantastic zoo, but you will want to skip it if the temperature is over 100 degrees outside. Instead, lather on the sunscreen and go float down the Comel River or Guadalupe River.

In San Antonio, I recommend staying at Hotel Emma.

Plan your entire trip with our San Antonio Travel Guide.

Panama City Beach

Bay Point Resort Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach

Another teen favorite in Florida is Panama City Beach. The beach has soft, powdery, white sand. It isn’t as big as many of the beach towns, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to do.

Go mini-golfing and go-carting, spend the day at the beach, or shop around at Pier Park. Spend one day bopping around Scenic 30A, where you will find tiny beach towns like Seaside or Rosemary. Renting some bicycles is a perfect way to explore this area. Another interesting spot worth venturing out to is Sandestin’s Baytowne Wharf. Here, families can indulge in boutique shopping, zip-lining, ropes courses, an arcade, and unique eateries.


Use our Panama City Beach travel guide to plan your entire vacation.

Bend, Oregon

Kayaking in Sunriver, Oregon near Bend, Oregon
Kayaking in Sunriver, Oregon near Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon is another destination that is fantastic in the summer and in the winter. Year-round they have some of the best off-roading in the state!

During the summer, families will get a charge out of kayaking, white water rafting, and hiking. If your kids have never white water rafted before, take them down the Big Eddy. They will get a small taste of major rapids without being tossed around too terribly. Nearby, in Sunriver, there is a small water park and a little village to shop in.

During the winter you can ski and snowboard on Mt. Bachelor, and there’s an outdoor ice skating rink in Sunriver.

Read our Bend, Oregon Travel Guide to help plan your family vacation. Tetherow Lodge is our favorite place to stay in Bend.


NYC with teens

There are a lot of things to do for this age group in New York City year-round. During the winter season, everyone can ice skate for free in Bryant Park and shop at all the little shops that are set up temporarily. Plus, you can witness the acclaimed Rockettes performing and many other Christmas shows.

All year long, visitors can enjoy the major landmarks and attractions here, like seeing the Statue of Liberty or visiting Ground Zero. Once kids are age 10 and up they are old enough to go through the September 11th Memorial, and old enough to appreciate, or at least sit through, a Broadway show.

We’ve been to NYC more times than we can remember. Check out our New York City Travel Guide to help you plan your own epic NYC getaway! I’ve also put together a 3-Day NYC Itinerary with Teens.

Palm Springs, California

Omni Rancho Las Palmas

Take teens on an adventure trip in Palm Springs with activities like four-wheelers or Jeep tours. Despite it being almost 100 degrees outside all three of my kids loved going on a Jeep tour of the San Andreas fault. Families can hike out at Coachella Valley Preserve or take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park to hike in cooler temperatures.

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I recommend staying at Omni Rancho Las Palmas near Palm Springs. They have several swimming pools and a lazy river.

Use our Palm Springs Travel Guide to help you plan your family vacation.


This list could undoubtedly keep going with the abundance of diverse destinations found across the United States, but hopefully, these 9 are enough to get you started on planning a successful trip with your teens!

For more ideas on places in the United States on vacation see our 22 picks for a spring break trip, Best Lake Vacations in the United States or our post on 13 Insanely Affordable Vacations in the United States.

Read Next:

23 Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families

12 Cool Hotel Rooms for Kids

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Get Travel Insurance

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on any trip. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance. We use Travelex or Safety Wing (often cheaper).

Book Flights

I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner!

Book a Place to Stay

I recommend using Expedia.com or Hotels.com for most hotel bookings. I prefer to book directly with Marriott when I stay there because of their excellent military discount.

If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.

Rent Clothes

Rent clothes for your trip with Travel Style Expert for only $50 a month! The first 30 days are free!

Choose Activities and Tours

To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available. Groupon also tends to have a lot of local travel deals.

When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals. If I am going somewhere in Mexico or the Caribbean I use Apple Vacations.

Rent a Car or Take a Lyft

More often than not Lyft is cheaper than Uber. Use my Lyft link for an $18 credit! For a car rental in any country, I recommend Hertz or Discover Cars.

Save Money on Gas

Upside, a free app gets you cash back on gas! Use promo code RV2Q2 to get an extra 15¢/gal bonus on your first purchase.

Get a Visa

I use iVisa to get all of my Visas.

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