Best kid-friendly vacation spots

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Travel experts say you should book vacations a season ahead. So, it’s time to start thinking about getting away for the summer. 

AAA breaks down the best destinations and attractions for families, depending on the age of the children.

Babies, Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers

Families with very young children need to look no further than San Diego for a family friendly destination and attractions.  AAA travel expert Megan Saxon says a short flight or drive is doable with small children.  Additionally, the theme parks in San Diego are stroller-friendly and cater to little ones.

Saxon says, "The San Diego Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country. You have Legoland which, for kids of that age, it's a great hands-on experience for them…it's very age appropriate."

SeaWorld also has a lot to offer babies and pre-schoolers. “The hands on experience, some of the little pools they have, they can interact with some of the marine life,” notes Saxon.

Finally, the beach is one giant sandbox for toddlers and is always a family favorite.

School-Aged Children

Anaheim and Orlando are both home to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland and Disneyworld. Both the drive to Anaheim and flight to Orlando are not too bad for school-aged children.
However, if you have already done Disney this year, you may also opt for an educational vacation.  An American history-themed vacation could bring your family to Washington D.C. or Gettysburg for all the monuments and museums.
Saxon has a third suggestion. "Another great idea is the US National Parks. We have a lot of great ones here in Arizona, but expanding from that, Yosemite is a great one. Up in Wyoming, they have Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Park. 12;18 There is some great wildlife, some great natural areas that you can take your family out and experience."


Good theme parks to take your teens include Six Flags or Universal Studios.

For a non-theme park trip, consider San Francisco which is rich in art, culture, food and history, with attractions like Alcatraz, Ghirardelli factory, Union Square, etc.

Several Age Groups

If the age range of children in your family spans the different categories, Saxon likes to suggest an all-inclusive beach resort.  She says these properties often cater to all ages, babies to adults, with features like kids’ clubs, teen offerings and babysitting services.

“The great thing about it, it’s all-inclusive. So you pay up front and you’ve paid for your entire vacation. There are no surprises.”