Fun Day Trips for Families in Every State



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Quick Getaways

A great day trip can create a family memory that will last a lifetime, and it can also be cheap. We've got the list to fuel your fun, too. These options take you from city to country with destinations ranging from a space center to sculpture garden, retro railroad to interactive museums, and aquarium to amusement park. And we've also noted a nearby place to eat, so all you have to do is pick the day. But, before you go, double-check for any COVID restrictions. 

30 Under-the-Radar American Road Trips You Can Take in a Day

U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama


Destination: U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville
Want an out-of-this-world experience? This may be the place. Since 1970, the Alabama government-run institution is a showcase of the American space program. The rockets, achievements and artifacts can't help but spark the imagination of visitors of all ages.

Dine: Mars Grill

Keep the theme going with lunch at the onsite restaurant, where the menu includes family-friendly fare – think hot dogs, nachos, pizza, and the Mini Astronaut Meal. 

Related: The One Thing You Must Do in Every State 

Alyeska Resort Aerial Tramway, Girdwood, Alaska


Destination: Alyeska Resort Aerial Tramway, Girdwood
You don't have to ski to enjoy the scenic ride on this Swiss-designed tram, a quick trip that brings travelers to a viewing deck with awe-inspiring views of mountains, hanging glaciers, waterways, and wildlife. The observation deck is 2,300 feet above sea level, an ideal spot for a picnic or sunset — with telescopes ready for use.

Dine: The Bake Shop, Girdwood

Rated No. 1 in Quick Bites on TripAdvisor, this casual, veteran eatery is known for its pancakes, as well as bottomless soup — and famed sourdough bread.

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Bearizona Wildlife Park, Williams, Arizona
Jess S./Yelp


Destination: Bearizona Wildlife Park, Williams
Look out your own vehicle's windows to see everything from bison to bighorn sheep, wolves to bear cubs. This drive-through wildlife park — voted one of USA Today's 10 Best Drive Through Wildlife Parks/Readers' Choice — is all about "bringing the wild back to the West." With Birds of Prey shows, a Wild Ride Bus Tour, Keeper chats and more.

Dine: Canyonlands

The park's onsite restaurant offers 6,000 square feet of themed dining with "soaring canyon walls and ancient ruins" to echo the Southwestern spirit and a covered deck that overlooks both the jaguar exhibit and a 25-foot waterfall. Oh, and they serve food such as barbecue and salads, too.  

Related: Where to Safely See Wild Animals Up Close

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville
Melissa M./Yelp


Destination: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville
Encourage a love of art and nature at an early age with a trip to this world-class collection of American art displayed in an architectural treasure. There's year-round family programming including lectures, art-making workshops, films, and more, plus miles of trails. And the best? The permanent galleries and trails are always free.

Dine: Flying Fish, Bentonville

Reward the little ones for their good behavior in the museum with a fun lunch or dinner at this taste-of-the-bayou eatery, where adults will delight in Crispy Catfish Salad or Grilled Trout Almondine, while the Kids Boats feature catfish or shrimp (or burgers and chicken strips for the littlest landlubbers).

Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California


Destination: Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County
The giant sequoias will leave a big — pun intended — impression on the family. The photos will be keepers, too. Investigate the details online in advance, since the park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains offers a whopping 1,200 square miles of not only sequoias but also cliffs, valleys, waterfalls, and more natural wonders.

Dine: Curry Village

This seasonal food court of sorts is ideal for families, when you need plenty of options, from the Pizza Deck to the Meadow Grill and the Bar 1899. 

Related: Surprising Facts About America's National Parks

Downtown Aquarium, Denver
Downtown Aquarium/Yelp


Destination: Downtown Aquarium, Denver
The public aquarium in this entertainment/dining complex features more than a million gallons of underwater exhibits that highlight ecosystems around the world. There are more than 500 species of animals, interactive elements, and choreographed mermaid shows.

Dine: The Old Spaghetti Factory, Westminster

Kids do love spaghetti, so why not try this Italian chain that has been serving "Meals & Memories since 1969"? Treat the kids to the family fare surrounded by unique décor highlighted by an old-fashioned trolley car that you can eat in. The downtown location has closed but head less than 15 miles to Westminster.

Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut


Destination: Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic
Bet your youngster will never forget standing on the deck of a historic wooden whaling ship — or walking through a shipyard, learning how to tie nautical knots and the many other wonders they'll experience at this on-the-waterfront, hands-on destination that has delighted families for decades.

Dine: Sea Swirl, Mystic

It's a "Clam Shack off the Mystic River" — and that's pretty much all you need to know. This is a classic seasonal seafood stand where fried clams are king — but don't forget ice cream to end the meal. 

Related: Amazing Seafood Shacks Across America

Coastal Kayak, Fenwick Island
Coastal Kayak/Yelp


Destination: Coastal Kayak, Fenwick Island
Delaware and the water go hand in hand, so make your day trip in the First State an adventure-oriented one. For more than two decades, Coastal Kayak has been offering kayak, paddleboard and sailboat rentals along with eco-tours of the coastal region.

Dine: Jimmy's Kitchen, Fenwick Island
Prep for a day on the water with breakfast or brunch at this bright, family-friendly local favorite that offers plenty of sunny decor — and has one TripAdvisor reviewer saying, "Usually a line in season but worth the wait."

Related: Restaurants with Crazy Lines That Are Still Worth the Wait

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, Florida


Destination: Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
There's more to Florida than Disney ... and this destination is billed as a tropical paradise filled with hundreds of "the most beautiful winged creatures in nature." There are also plants, birds, waterfalls and trees featured in the climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat, complete with Learning Center.

Dine: Kermit's Key West Lime Shoppe

Promise the kids the famed Key Lime Pie — or ice cream — and they'll likely behave during the meal at this place that even has a koi pond, all complementing a kiddie menu featuring french fries served in "Kermit's Flying Disc."

Museum of Aviation, outside Warner Robins, Georgia


Destination: Museum of Aviation, outside Warner Robins
This major aerospace museum near Robins Air Force Base sits on more than 50 acres and includes four large buildings housing more than 80 historic U.S. Air Force aircraft, missiles, cockpits, and award-winning exhibits, plus the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. Kids will no doubt want to try the virtual reality simulator, which offers three different programs.

Dine: My Grandma's Empanadas, Warner Robins

The well-reviewed eatery is known for its local sourcing and adventurous seasonal fare — a great chance to introduce the kids to the idea of eating local (and trying something new). 

Related: The Most Patriotic Place in Each State

Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii


Destination: Poipu Beach, Kauai
Family blogger Where's Sharon says that "Hands down the best thing to do with kids on Kauai is to take them to Poipu Beach for a morning swim with the Hawaiian Monk Seals and the Green Sea Turtles." Poipu Beach is indeed known for great snorkeling, spotting sea life (don't get too close), sunbathing and simply enjoying the great outdoors.

Dine: The Fresh Shave, Koloa

Fully immerse your family in the Hawaiian experience by stopping by this fresh-spin on a local classic (no high-fructose corn syrup, dyes or artificial sweeteners), served out of a vintage trailer.

Related: The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Idaho Potato Museum, Blackfoot, Idaho
Kim K./Yelp


Destination: Idaho Potato Museum, Blackfoot
You can see that moment already — your entire family gathered around the oversize potato (complete with pat of butter) out front this quirky homage to the state's most famous product. Set in an old train depot, the museum traces the history of the spud, its growth and harvesting and the potato industry. And don't forget to buy potato keychains for everyone.

Dine: Rupe's Burgers, Blackfoot

Rupe's is the No. 1 restaurant in town, as voted by TripAdvisor — and need we even have to tell you to order french fries... or the noted cheese tots? Didn't think so.

Leaning Tower of Niles, Niles, Illinois


Destination: Leaning Tower of Niles, Niles
Just outside Chicago, visitors will find this half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Italian landmark. This version was completed in 1934 of steel, concrete and pre-cast stone and stands a soaring 94 feet tall. Donated to the YMCA in 1960, today it features fountains, a pool, and inspirational plaque. A sight to see, to be sure — and cheaper than taking the brood to Italia.

Dine: Giordano's, Downtown/Central Loop
All that talk about Pisa will no doubt put pizza on the brain — and why not hop back into the Windy City proper to sample the classic deep dish pie in the heart of town?

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Pizza Joints Across America

WonderLab, Bloomington, Indiana
Nicole S./Yelp


Destination: WonderLab, Bloomington
The Museum of Science, Health and Technology will stimulate a youngster's brain, with more than 65 hands-on science experiences, but also bring plenty of laughs to boot. From the new Giant Xylo Pipes to the crowd-pleasing Bubble-Airium, there's no shortage of activities to fill a fun day.

Dine: Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream, Bloomington

If someone in your party is feeling truly hungry, they might want to try Bub's "Big Ugly," a genuine 1-pound beast of a burger that starts out at 22 ounces before cooking. Or your family could order one ($25) and make it a team effort to finish it off along with a variety of malts and shakes, and waffle fries. There are also several gourmet elk burgers on the menu if your brood is up for something a little different. 

Story City Antique Carousel, Story City
Eric B./Yelp


Destination: Story City Antique Carousel, Story City
Take the kids back in time, when pleasures were simple and a ride was not something that went at breakneck speed while flipping upside down. This 1913 carved wooden masterpiece, on the National Register of Historic Places, operates May to September in Story City Park North for free.

Dine: Pizza Ranch, Story City
Bring kids back to the present with a stop at this pizzeria where options reflect today's need for unlimited choices. Pizzas range from Stampede (everything) to Bacon Cheeseburger, Tuscan Roma to Chicken Broccoli Alfredo.

The Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, Overland Park, Kansas
Shawn D./Yelp


Destination: The Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, Overland Park
More than 85 percent of the TripAdvisor reviewers of this destination rated it "excellent." There are more than 250 animals, displays related to gardening, a Native American encampment, one-room schoolhouse and turn-of-the-century main street. Kids can milk a cow or ride a horse-drawn wagon, too. Season opens April 1.

Dine: The Upper Crust Pie Bakery, Overland Park

If the gardening display got you thinking about fruits and berries, take the family to "stop by for pie" at this well-reviewed bakery that uses family recipes. Cherry, blueberry, blackberry apple...

Related: 50 Under-the-Radar Restaurants with Amazing Homemade Pie

Mammoth Cave National Park, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky


Destination: Mammoth Cave National Park, Mammoth Cave
They don't call it "mammoth" for nothing — this national park offers an adventurous day below ground highlighted by Mammoth Cave, a long cave system filled with chambers and subterranean passages. Trails also take visitors to other natural features of the park.

Dine: Blue Holler Cafe 

This very reasonably priced local gem serves up all the usual diner fare like burgers and chicken strips, but it also boasts a batch of German classics, including schnitzel, currywurst, and bratwurst, and their desserts are described as out of this world. 

Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour
Victor M./Yelp


Destination: Cajun Encounters New Orleans Swamp Tour, Slidell
Tapped as the best budget option of this genre by TripSavvy, take the family on a two-hour tour exploring the Honey Island swamp in an open-air vessel. Kids hear about Cajun culture, swamp myths and may even spot wild boars and alligators. Remember, hands inside.

Dine: The Backyard, New Orleans

Head back into the city, an hour from Slidell. Kids will be keyed up — or tired — from the day. Either way, the casual food, picnic tables and playground here will likely avoid any restaurant tantrums.

Related: Best Cheap or Free Things to Do in New Orleans

Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor
Luciana L./Yelp


Destination: Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor
The largest children's museum north of Boston is all about being hands-on with exhibitions and activities related to animals, art, dinosaurs and fossils, books, music — and more. Tailor a day to your family's interests and timetable.

Dine: Texas Roadhouse, Bangor

Parents will gravitate to the hand-cut steaks, "fall-off-the-bone" ribs, and made-from-scratch sides at Texas Roadhouse, with kids and ranger meals also offering a child-sized version of steak and ribs (along with the expected mac and cheese, hot dog, etc.).

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum/Yelp


Destination: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels
A waterfront trip has a special appeal, and this St. Michaels museum is a charmer of a destination. Visit the permanent exhibits here, including the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, as well as a working shipyard, hear about the region's crabbing culture — and enjoy evocative bayside views.

Dine: The Crab Claw, St. Michaels
Follow-up the history lesson with a taste of Maryland crab at this casual, seasonal waterfront eatery where you can watch the boats bring in their catch from your picnic table on the deck. Be sure to call first, they reopen of the season around mid-March.

Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge
Tami C./Yelp


Destination: Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge
Step into New England's storied past with a day at this "living history museum" designed to recreate rural, 19th-century village life. Costumed staff, historic homes, trade shops, and a working farm offer options to fill several hours if not a full day.

Dine: B.T.'s Smokehouse, Sturbridge 

Old Sturbridge Village may be in New England, but there's hearty Southern style barbecue right around the corner at B.T.'s Smokehouse. Menu items range from brisket sandwiches and barbecue burritos to the Whole Hog platter and Andouille Dog Bites and hush puppies. 

Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners
Tony S./Yelp


Destination: Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners
It's always great to offer a glimpse into an area's history while on a family trip, so tap into Michigan's automotive pedigree with a visit to this 90-acre site where auto enthusiasts of all ages can tour one of the state's largest collections of classic and vintage vehicles. Be prepared to have the youngsters itching to get behind the wheel.

Dine: George & Sally's Blue Moon Diner, Hickory Corners

Continue the retro theme with this onsite, seasonal diner that offers nostalgia in both setting and selections. The restored building was moved here from its original Connecticut home back in 2004.

Jeffers Petroglyphs, Comfrey, Minnesota


Destination: Jeffers Petroglyphs, Comfrey
Petroglyphs, you'll soon learn, are ancient rock carvings — and there are more than 5,000 here, all set amid prairie grasses. The images depict not only people but also buffalo, turtles, and thunderbirds, telling stories of Native American ancestors and earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dine: The Ranch Restaurant, Fairmont

At the Ranch Restaurant, all-you-can-eat specials will fill the tummies, while a 3-D cityscape designed by artist Michael Garman will fill the eyes — and imagination.

Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport
Barnes R./Yelp


Destination: Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport
Kids just adore dolphins — they are celebrated along with sea lions, sharks, rays, and birds in this educational environment that offers up-close experiences through its Ocean Adventures Marine Park. IMMS is dedicated to not only public education but conservation and research, so a visit's a teaching moment, too.

Dine: White Cap Seafood Restaurant, Gulfport

Keep the day's theme going with a seafood meal here, a longtime local favorite that offers stunning sunset views over the Gulf of Mexico.

Worlds of Fun, Kansas City
Keven W./Yelp


Destination: Worlds of Fun, Kansas City
It's the classic family day trip — a giant amusement park, and this one has been welcoming guests since 1973. Today, it's 235 acres of rides and thrills for all ages, plus an adjacent Oceans of Fun water park.

Dine: Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, Kansas City
Follow up — or prepare for — a theme park visit with this destination, a kid-oriented eatery with a railroad theme, where diners have their food delivered the table by miniature train cars. Burger fans have their choice of more than a dozen different kinds.

Ringing Rocks, Butte, Montana


Destination: Ringing Rocks, Butte
Visit Montana shares that there's quite the landmark some 18 miles east of Butte. It's a geological formation of rocks that "chime" when tapped lightly with a hammer (bring your own). The ringing is believed to be the result of the rock composition combined with the way they have eroded over time. For those kids who like to pound something, this may provide hours of fun.

Dine: Sparky's Garage, Butte

From Southern-fried pickles to poutine, kids can step out of their comfort zone — or stick to a burger, while dining in the back of a Chevy truck, surrounded by all kinds of memorabilia at Sparky's Garage.

Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha
Brian B./Yelp


Destination: Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha
Omaha's Botanical Center offers two trips in one — visit the garden and purchase a tram-tour ticket to get an overview of the its 100 acres — and a stop a Kenefick Park, which pays tribute to the Union Pacific Railroad's role in the development of both the city – and the West. Kids will delight in the two vintage locomotives on display.

Dine: Azteca Restaurant, Omaha

Forego the basics and hit this casual Mexican eatery where burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas share space on the kids menu with chicken strips and fries.

Hoover Dam, Clark County, Nevada


Destination: Hoover Dam, Clark County
If you've already seen the natural wonder that is the Grand Canyon, consider a trip to the man-made Hoover Dam. It's an awe-inspiring destination built in the 1930s that continues to provide the chance to discuss everything from water storage to how power is generated. Expect lots of questions.

The Steamie Weenie, Henderson
If hot dogs are a family favorite, this is your place. Located in a retail complex in nearby Henderson, the Steamie Weenie offers traditional hot dogs alongside some wilder options, such as dogs topped with macaroni and cheese, watermelon barbecue sauce, grilled pineapple relish, or wasabi mayonnaise. 

Related: Famous Franks: 29 Best Hot Dog Stands Across America

Story Land, Bartlett
Story Land/Yelp

New Hampshire

Destination: Story Land, Bartlett
The sense of history is palpable at this amusement park that traces its roots back to 1954. Continually updated yet retaining its charming character, Story Land is a place designed for kids ... of all ages with shows, rides, dining, and play areas.

Dine: Dutch Village Ice Cream Shop at Story Land

Expect a bit of a mess at the Dutch Village Ice Cream Shop, since kids can create their own sundae (20 different toppings), a reward for a day of being good. (We can dream...).

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton Township, New Jersey

New Jersey

Destination: Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton Township
This 42-acre sculpture park, museum, and arboretum serves as a showcase of contemporary sculpture combined with programming for all ages. Founded by artist and philanthropist Seward Johnson, it features seasonal displays plus indoor galleries — it's a selfie-lover's dream.

Dine: Captain Paul's Firehouse Dogs, Lawrenceville

This seasonal/roadside-attraction type eatery is one that kids will simply savor — and it was founded by a retired fire-department captain and dedicated to first responders. Again, another chance to lunch and learn.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe
Darcy W./Yelp

New Mexico

Destination: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe
This one's for young art enthusiasts and parents who like a bargain. A glimpse into the world of one of America's most celebrated painters is free for visitors under 18. The museum showcases not only the artist's paintings, but also her creative process and the light and landscape that inspired O'Keeffe. 

Dine: Tia Sophia's, Santa Fe

Scrambled eggs in a flour tortilla for breakfast or tacos at lunch are kid-friendly homemade options at this veteran establishment.

Bronx Zoo, New York City, New York

New York

Destination: Bronx Zoo, New York City
A visit to New York City can extend far beyond the borough of Manhattan, and a family day trip to this world-renowned zoo should be on many a visitor's list. See everything from bears to giraffes, sea lions to frogs on more than 250 acres filled with naturalistic habitats, special exhibitions, and more.

Dine: Arthur Avenue, The Bronx

A walk or quick bus ride from the zoo will find adventurous families in the heart of the "Little Italy of the Bronx," where every step yields a different dining option or specialty shop.

Learning how to surf

North Carolina

Destination: Surf Camp, Wrightsville Beach
The whole family can join in a two-hour learn-to-surf clinic designed for those who've never tried the sport. Expect to be challenged, get wet, laugh — and maybe find a new hobby.

Dine: Fish House Grill, Wilmington

Recap the day over some seafood served on an outdoor deck along the Intracoastal Waterway.

World's Largest Buffalo Monument, Jamestown, North Dakota
World's Largest Buffalo Monument, Jamestown, North Dakota by Tourjamestown (CC BY)

North Dakota

Destination: World's Largest Buffalo Monument, Jamestown
Kids love wacky — and a stop at this, one of the Midwest's most popular roadside attractions (a 26-foot-tall, 60-ton concrete creation by sculptor Elmer Peterson) will yield plenty of conversation and some memorable photos. It's also adjacent to the National Buffalo Museum and the Frontier Village.

Dine: Pizza Ranch, Jamestown

This family friendly chain, which offers favorites including pizza and fried chicken, continues the day's theme with Old West-inspired decor.

Heavy Metal
Heavy Metal by Stephen Miller (CC BY)


Destination: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
Let your family rock out at this ode to the power of music. Families who visit the Hall of Fame often seem shocked that it's such a successful — and memorable — trip, one that inspires kids of all ages who already love or are developing a love of music.

Dine: Bearden's Diner, Rocky River

With history on the menu, this classic diner seems to be a fit for all ages, with burgers and malts among the favorites that also include a mini train that travels around the dining room.

Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur
Crystal C./Yelp


Destination: Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur
Take a trip into the Native American culture and history on this 109-acre campus that includes historical museums with interactive elements devoted to the Chickasaw tribal history, dance and language. Be sure to catch the welcoming film in the Council House.

Dine: Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies, Davis 

About 8 miles from the cultural center is the flagship location of an Oklahoma original with a unique menu, fried pies ranging from sweet blueberry to no-sugar-added pineapple and lemon cream pie to savory pies like Polish sausage and potato to pizza style, all priced under $5. 

Sea Lion Caves - Florence Oregon USA
Frank Fichtmüller/istockphoto


Destination: Sea Lion Caves, Florence
This privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary along the rugged Oregon coast is part of the Oregon/Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve efforts to protect local marine animals and their environment. As the animals are in nature, the site offers the chance to see them in their home environment of the cave or the rocky ledges out front.

Dine: Mo's Seafood and Chowder, Florence

Keep the aquatic theme going with a trip to Mo's, which is located literally on the water.  Famous for its chowder — which is available for carryout — Moe's also offers a raft of kid-size menu items ranging from fish and chips to clam strips. 

Related: The Best Seafood Restaurant for Takeout in Every State   

New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, New Hope, Pennsylvania


Destination: New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, New Hope
When you hear the locomotive start up, you're suddenly transported to an earlier time. This shortline/heritage railroad offers a selection of narrated scenic passenger journeys on tracks laid out in 1891, with themed events and specialty trips.

Dine: Nina's Waffles & Ice Cream, New Hope

Step up the traditional ice-cream stop on the way home with this gourmet option complete with hand-cooked Liege-style waffles.

Green Animals Topiary Gardens, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Mae R./Yelp

Rhode Island

Destination: Green Animals Topiary Gardens, Portsmouth
Wait until the kids start pointing out the different animals. Maybe a trip to a garden didn't sound so exciting but once there, you can bet they'll have fun among the green creatures that dot the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the country. This seasonal attraction of The Preservation Society of Newport County overlooks Narragansett Bay.

Dine: Foodworks Restaurant, Portsmouth

"Good food. Fine Hospitality." Breakfast all day. As one reviewer on its Facebook page noted, "Everything is wonderful."

Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center, Myrtle Beach
Kristopher R./Yelp

South Carolina

Destination: Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center, Myrtle Beach
A rainy day at the beach destination or a destination in itself, this three-in-one site offers the Hollywood Wax Museum, filled with photo ops; the challenge of Hannah's Maze of Mirrors; and Outbreak: Dread the Undead (for older or braver kids).

Dine: Bubba's Fish Shack, Surfside Beach

At Bubba's, order up a "Big Dawg" platter or two to share and the family will be happy.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota

South Dakota

Destination: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone
Quick, which presidents are depicted on this national treasure? Your whole family will be able to answer (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln) after the quintessential family day trip to this national park filled with history.

Dine: Carvers’ Café, Keystone
The food options are plentiful — and are oriented to "green" dining, where the emphasis is on Fresh Forward choices — at the onsite food options.

The Parthenon, Nashville, Tennessee


Destination: The Parthenon, Nashville
No passport required to see the showpiece of Centennial Park, a full-scale reproduction of the Greek architectural icon, complete with 42-foot statue of Athena. It's not just a sculpture, either, but also houses an art museum featuring 19th- and 20th-century works.

Dine: Burger Up, Nashville

Nashville Guru says of Burger Up: "This popular burger joint gets extra credit for placing its kids menus inside children's books." A family fave, especially the sliders, at two locations.

Related: America's Most Iconic Buildings and Monuments

The Alamo Museum, San Antonio, Texas


Destination: The Alamo Museum, San Antonio
Learn all about "The Mission. The Battle. The Legend." at this historic site that offers many free and family friendly activities, along with more in-depth guided tours. And for kids with short attention spans, digital elements bring it all in focus.

Dine: Magic Time Machine Restaurant, San Antonio

Costumed servers. Funky surroundings. A salad bar nestled into an old Roadster. Need we say more about the Magic Time Machine

Related: The Oldest Building in Each State

National History Museum of Utah
Wen H./Yelp


Destination: National History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City
The museum's permanent exhibitions appeal to a variety of tastes, touching on Sky, Native Voices, Life, Land, Gems & Minerals, Past Worlds, and more. There's also special programming, events, and an upcoming exhibit on "Yellowstone: Invisible Boundaries" opening June 29.

Dine: Bruges Waffles & Frites, Downtown Salt Lake City

French fries and dipping sauces — you know kids are going to be into that. This chain, with Utah locations, also features sandwiches and Belgian-style waffles. 

Buttermilk Falls, Ludlow, Vermont


Destination: Buttermilk Falls, Ludlow
A day outdoors in scenic surroundings is what this destination offers, ideal in all seasons with its series of waterfalls. Think warmer weather for the swimming holes that put thoughts of the town pool right out of mind.

Dine: Goodman's American Pie, Ludlow

Good ol' wood-fired pizza will do it every time. Add in nearly 25 toppings and you're bound to please everyone at the table at Goodman's

Related: Beyond Niagara: Beautiful Waterfalls in All 50 States

Bluebird Gap Farm, Hampton
Rose M./Yelp


Destination: Bluebird Gap Farm, Hampton
For a low-key, noncommercial outdoor day, visit this family-friendly destination where some 150 animals — horses and chickens to llamas and peacocks — find a home over 60 acres. Little ones can also tour the antique display barn, walk the grounds, hit the playground, visit the garden/arboretum or simply have a snack at an old-school picnic table.

Dine: The Barking Dog, Hampton

Keep it casual at this waterside stop where hot dogs are king.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington


Destination: Pike Place Market, Seattle
A shopping destination, a cultural landmark ... Pike Place Market is one of the city's best-known destinations and a city day trip where you can easily spend a few hours. Kids will delight in the Gum Wall (yes, it's what you think) and the Giant Shoe Museum, while you'll have no shortage of stimulating sights throughout your visit.

Dine: Pike Place Chowder

Warm up the group with award-winning soups here that echo the waterside setting.

West Virginia State Museum at The Culture Center, Charleston, West Virginia

West Virginia

Destination: West Virginia State Museum at The Culture Center, Charleston
Cultivate local pride with a trip to this museum designed to explore the state's cultural and historic traditions, from history and culture to art and nature — all under one roof.

Dine: Spring Hill Pastry Shop, South Charleston

Add a sweet note to the day with a splurge at this shop "where taste and design make the difference." The "hot dogs" are actually a pastry served plain or with chocolate drizzle, no mustard in sight.

Arena Cheese, Arena


Destination: Arena Cheese, Arena
Have you heard about the state's love of cheese? Join in the cheesehead movement with a visit to the home of the original "co-jack" cheese, a site easily recognized by the oversize mouse out front. A viewing area allows visitors to watch the artisan cheese maker at work — and you can bring home (edible) souvenirs.

Dine: Grandma Mary's Café, Arena

This place gets points on its name alone but old-fashioned favorites, from tater-tot casserole to goulash, turn up as specialties at Grandma Mary's.

The Nelson Museum of the West, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Diane C./Yelp


Destination: The Nelson Museum of the West, Cheyenne
Kids want to be a cowboy or cowgirl? Fuel their imagination at this ode to Western culture, filled with exhibits that spotlight everything from wildlife to fine art to ... outlaws. Good behavior will be encouraged.

Dine: Shari's, Cheyenne

If you're way too early or running late, no matter as this is a 24-hour, family friendly eatery where every choice can be followed with a classic slice of pie.

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