Pack up the kids & go: Most popular family-friendly vacation spots

Published March 2021


For the past year, where a family resides has become the backdrop for so much more: our regular ol’ homes have doubled as schools, offices, restaurants, gyms, and where a majority of daily activities play out. If you’re a parent who’s grown tired of your own four walls and are looking for a safe family getaway, you’re not alone. Reservations with kids across Vacasa’s top 10 states are up an average of 35 percent this year, as are new bookings in general, indicating consumer confidence in travel on the rise.

To help parents plan a well-deserved family vacation, we looked at Vacasa data to uncover five destinations* that have seen the biggest year-over-year jump in reservations with kids—plus one that’s popular for both kiddos and dogs. Because picturing your little ones playing on the beach while you enjoy a break from the norm seems pretty great, doesn’t it?

Backyard of a vacation home with an outdoor pool and tropical trees in Key West, FL

1. The Florida Keys

Featured vacation home: The Southernmost Comfort House in Key West, Florida

Coming in at #1: Key West. Turns out, sun-seeking families are already booking getaways in the Florida Keys 77 percent more than last year. The Keys are home to the only living-coral barrier reef in the continental United States, offering aquatic animal encounters and snorkel adventures at the area’s state parks. Or, if you’re traveling with young kids, look into current safety protocols and availability of a glass-bottom boat tour: no swim lessons required!

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2. Wisconsin’s Northwoods

Featured vacation home: Ojibwa Waters in Eagle River, Wisconsin

Close behind at #2, with a 72 percent jump in family stays this year, the Northwoods of Wisconsin is a year-round outdoor playground. A popular road trip destination for many Midwest families, the Northwoods boasts thousands of acres of hikeable forest and plenty of lakefront beaches, providing a launch point for freshwater fishing, canoeing, or even a relaxing pontoon cruise through the Minocqua chain of lakes.

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3. Oregon Coast

Featured vacation home: The Surfbird in Pacific City, Oregon

At the #3 spot, family bookings on the Oregon Coast have increased an impressive 57 percent in 2021. Though you may not get a tan on this beach vacation, the Oregon coastline is dotted with charming towns and historic lighthouses, and has miles of sandy beaches that make it a castle builder’s dream. But don’t forget to pack a kite—and a windbreaker—for those often gusty spring and early summer days.

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4. Texas Hill Country

Featured vacation home: Tanglewood Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas

With a 53 percent year-over-year spike in reservations with kids, Texas Hill Country landed at #4 as families flock to areas around Austin and San Antonio. While nearby Fredericksburg is home to the scenic orange hills of Enchanted Rock (also one of Texas’s best spots for stargazing!), waterfront destinations line the banks of the Upper Colorado River. Search for a vacation rental in Kingsland, Lago Vista, or Burnet with dock access for ultimate kayaking and swim-in/swim-out convenience.

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5. Western Washington

Featured vacation home: Jaeger in Westport, Washington

Bringing it back to the West Coast for #5, family bookings along the Evergreen state’s beaches are up 50 percent this year. From Long Beach up to the Hood Canal and the San Juan Islands, the blue but chilly waters of the Pacific and Puget Sound are the perfect backdrop for kids to explore the interrupted stretches of coastline. Picky eaters be warned, though: seafood is a star attraction here, whether you’re digging for clams, pulling up crab pots, or ordering fish and chips at a waterfront walk-up.

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6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Featured vacation home: Chez Zelda in the Pines in Oaks Bluff, Massachusetts

Rounding out the list is a New England vacation spot that’s popular with the whole family (four-legged members, too). Oak Bluffs, a main town on Martha’s Vineyard, is up an astounding 300%+ when it comes to reservations with both kids and dogs this year. Take a family stroll through historic Cottage City, lined with colorful Victorian-style cottages, followed by a scoop of ice cream from Mad Martha’s. Plus, the local beaches here can’t be beat—just keep in mind that dogs are not allowed on public beaches from May 15 through September 15.

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Photo credit: Montoya Hudson, The Spring Break Family

*Methodology note: the destinations were determined by looking at the number of unit nights booked with kids in 2021 compared to the same time last year, with a minimum of 500 room nights booked.

And, as always, when traveling to a new place, remember to research and be aware of closures in the area and local COVID-19 regulations.