Photo Credit: Hernán Piñera

Traveling is one of the best ways to enjoy time together as a family. No matter what ages your children may be, the vast majority of vacation destinations boast plenty of family-oriented activities and attractions to enjoy. Some people do base their travel around family destinations, but you can easily find places in just about any region or area if you are willing to look. In fact, some of the best and most memorable family activities and attractions are those that aren’t all that well known.

From chartering a boat and going on a seafaring adventure near Folly Beach, South Carolina to strolling along San Diego’s Mission Beach boardwalk, there is coast to coast fun to be had for families of all shapes and sizes. If you’re planning an itinerary and need to keep everyone in your family unit occupied and happy along the way, keep your eye out for off the beaten path types of family fun. Some of the greatest fun that all of you will have together will be at attractions that are a bit less busy – and a lot more fun!

You’d be hard pressed to find a vacation destination that didn’t cater to families in one way or another. If a place has a dearth of family-oriented fun, it just isn’t going to draw in as much tourist money as other places. However, finding truly worthwhile and enjoyable family attractions can be a bit trickier. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, check out these top ideas:

Charter a Boat – Folly Beach, South Carolina

Sure, the kids – and the grownups – will probably spend most of their time splashing in the surf and frolicking in the sand when vacationing in Folly Beach. Still, taking a break from all of that fun in the sun can be quite welcome – and chartering a boat is a great way to do so. Whether you scout for dolphins or hunt for unique seashells, everyone can get in on the fun as you explore the waters off of the shores of Folly Beach. Be sure to stop by and get a closer look at famous landmarks like the Morris Island Lighthouse to put the icing on the cake of your boating excursion.

Stroll Along The Mission Beach Boardwalk – San Diego, California

San Diego’s Mission Beach Boardwalk is a spectacular place to bring the whole family when visiting the area. One of the main highlights of exploring this pleasant spot is Belmont Park. Belmont Park is an old-style amusement park that harkens back simpler times. Older folks will be able to reminisce about the good old days, and the kids will be charmed and entertained by the low-key amusements here. All around, you can’t beat a visit to Belmont Park when in San Diego.

Explore Baytowne Wharf – Destin, Florida

Even the most avid beach fans will eventually grow weary of being out on the water and in the sand. Why not break up their day in Destin with a visit to nearby Baytowne Wharf? This place has been designed with families in mind, providing a compact and pleasant place to stroll around on a nice day. Ice cream shops and nice restaurants are well represented here, making it easy to keep even the fussiest little ones placated and happy. The scenery is also topnotch, and in many ways it’s fun to just walk along and people watch. However you spend your time there, Baytowne Wharf is a must-see family attraction.

Tour the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden – Las Vegas, Nevada

In recent years, Las Vegas had worked hard to shed its naughty, adults-only image. However, many parents just don’t see the town as being all that kid-friendly, and tend to avoid it. If you are planning to be in Las Vegas with the little ones, though, there are plenty of things to do. One of the more unusual and enjoyable ones is a tour of the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden. In the factory, you can watch how these delicious chocolates are made and try out a few for yourself. In the cactus garden, the family can check out many different kinds of cacti without having to make a foray into the desert.

See The March Of The Peabody Ducks – Orlando, Florida

As fun as it they may be, Orlando’s theme parks can begin to wear on even the most enthusiastic child. If your little ones need a break from all of the excitement, try heading over to downtown Orlando to take in a most unusual sight: the march of the Peabody ducks. Twice a day, ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando are paraded down a red carpet to the big band tunes of John Philip Sousa. Parents will get a chortle out of this, and the kids will absolutely adore it.

Go Horseback Riding On The Beach – South Padre Island, Texas

Families with older children will thoroughly enjoy the unique experience of riding a horse along the beach – something that can be arranged over on South Padre Island in Texas. Several local companies offer these excursions, which can help the participants create some truly wonderful memories. From the back of a horse, the shores of South Padre Island take on a whole new appearance; kids adore animals, too, so this is a doubly great option. Instead of laying on the beach all day, try to get out there and do something different with horseback riding on the beach.

Things to Consider

Parents know their own children the best, so don’t just take someone’s word for it that any given attraction will be perfect for your family. Just about anywhere you go, you’re going to have many options when it comes to family fun; turn to something a little bit different, and something that will truly engage and entertain your kids – and yourself. When the whole family has a blast, a vacation is that much more enjoyable. Explore a few of the more offbeat and unusual places along the way, and everyone will look back on the vacation fondly and happily for years to come.