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Have you ever considered taking a multigenerational family vacation? Contemplated setting out on a road trip with the grandparents, kids, aunts or uncles? Are the grandparents living the RV lifestyle, exploring the country and want you and the kids to join for a jaunt? If you are considering a multigenerational family vacation of the road trip variety across the southern United States, then here are some stops you should consider for cities to explore, things to do, and places to let the kids take in a bit of our country’s landscape or simply run wild and free!
Places to Visit on a Multigenerational Family Vacation Across the Southern United States
While Louisiana may be known for its wild Mardi Gras parades, the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, making a stop in this notorious city on your multigenerational family vacation can still be a fun experience for kids. Whether you chose to stay for a few days, or simply stop in for a bit of cajun fare, this bustling city has a multitude of activities, restaurants, and even historic landmarks perfect for a full day or week of things to do.
Places to Visit and Things to Do in Louisiana, particularly New Orleans include:
- Cafe Du Monde
- Emeril’s Kitchen
- Historic Carousel and Storybook Land in City Park
- Canal Street Ferry
- Steamboat Ride down the Mississippi River
- Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
- Audubon Zoo
- Louisiana Children’s Museum
- Music Box Village
Read More: What to See in New Orleans with the Family
Driving through Texas is oftentimes said to feel like a never-ending road trip. From fields full of longhorns to miles of windmills, this state will entail a lengthy drive, but there are plenty of places to stop and things to do along the way. While the big cities such as Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio may be a draw for many with their zoos, sporting events, museums, culture, theater, shopping, and nightlife, there are also plenty of smaller towns worth visiting if the big city lights aren’t your scene.
Tucked in between Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving is an up and coming Texas town making a name for itself in the music industry and as a suburban retreat for young professionals and families seeking to escape the big city sprawl. Ideal for a quick stop in Texas or even spending a few days, Irving has a huge music venue where families and adults will always be able to take in a concert, plenty of delicious food options, and even some outdoor entertainment in the way of gondola boat rides, paddle boarding and more.
Where to Stay and Things to Do in Irving, Texas include:
- Stay at the Texican Court Hotel
- Visit the Toyota Music Factory
- Big State Fountain Grill
- Dine at The Ranch at Los Colinas
- The Ruth Paine House Museum
- View the Mustangs of Las Colinas
- The Irving Marble Cow Statues
- Mandalay Canals Gondola Tour
- Hike or bike the Campion Trails
- Paddleboard in Lake Carolyn and the Mandalay Canals
New Braunfels, Texas
Tucked between cornfields in the hill country of Texas, this quaint little town is full of lush landscape, cool flowing spring-fed rivers, and natural beauty around every bend. Whether you are seeking a relaxing retreat at an artsy abode, or fun-filled waterpark family vacation this is the place to visit. Perfect for multigenerational families traveling together, in New Braunfels, especially near its iconic waterpark Schlitterbahn, you will find accommodations ranging from hotel rooms to condos, lofts, and even large houses within walking distance to many of the local attractions.
In New Braunfels you are sure to notice the historic German influence on the town. Established in 1845 by German settlers, this quaint Texas town is full of southern charm and old-world heritage. Many of the local shops, entertainment, and restaurants all have German names, and you may even visit when one of their German-inspired festivals, such as Wurstfest, a 10-day sausage festival, is happening.
Full of wildlife, gorgeous foliage, and historic charm, New Braunfels really is a welcome retreat from the busy cities and tourist towns for your next multigenerational family vacation.
Places to Visit and Things to Do in New Braunfels, Texas include:
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and Caverns
- Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort
- Tubing on the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers
- City Tube Chute on the Comal
- Dine at the historic Gristmill
- Live Music at Gruene Hall
- Shop the downtown town historic arts district
- Ride the railroad at Landa Park
- Visit the McKenna Children’s Museum
- Visit a local winery or take a craft beer tour
Read More: Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort Review
Known for its temperate climate and dry air, New Mexico is host to a whole range of multigenerational family vacation activities, especially those that get everyone outside together. Additionally, New Mexico is also a prime location for visiting the many National Parks and historic landmarks within its borders.
Whether you are searching for the laid back, eclectic atmosphere of Santa Fe with its art galleries, outdoor music festivals, and farmers markets, or the action-packed adventure of hiking, biking, rock climbing, white water rafting and more that can be found throughout the state, there is something for everyone traveling on your multigenerational family vacation.
Places to Visit and Things to Do in New Mexico include:
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- White Sands National Monument
- Aztec Ruins National Monument
- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
- Llama Trekking
- Whitewater Rafting
- Discover Astronomy and View the Stars
- Hot Air Balloon Rides
- Roswell UFO Tours
- Visit the Living Desert Zoo
Read More: The Perfect Babymoon to the Southwest
As you continue your westward journey on your multigenerational family vacation, Arizona and its diverse landscape has plenty of fun and educational activities for every member of your family. Home to the Grand Canyon and Biosphere 2, you will literally be able to cross off multiple bucket lists items in this state alone. Taking an Arizona road trip should definitely be part of your multigenerational family vacation, as you could easily spend weeks touring Arizona and all it has to offer.
From the mountains to the canyons to the desert, this incredibly diverse state is a sight to be seen. Multiple locations across Arizona have been deemed wonders of the world and are incredible to see, but also educational for children and adults alike. From southern Arizona and the Saguaro National Park to the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona, an Arizona road trip offers a host of activities both in and outdoors for a multigenerational family vacation.
Places to Visit and Things to Do on an Arizona Road Trip
Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
If you’re heading into Arizona from the east, start in the south and begin your Arizona road trip in Tucson at the Tanque Verde Ranch. This dude ranch in the desert is ideal for multigenerational families traveling together because it offers large family-style accommodations, on-site activities for everyone, and an all-inclusive package that includes all meals, snacks, entertainment, and virtually unlimited horseback lessons and rides.
Families never need to leave the property at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch and can participate in activities together or separately, while still being able to join one another for three gourmet meals daily. Located adjacent to Saguaro National Park, the Sonoran desert landscape here is a sight to be seen as you are surrounded by huge cacti and desert flora and fauna while overshadowed by the lush and verdant Rincon Valley Mountain Range.
Saguaro National Park
Make sure to check out the visitors’ center at Saguaro National Park before venturing off on the multiple trails for a few tips on hiking in the desert. Obviously the most important part of hiking in this National Park is to bring plenty of water, but the visitors center can also give you a bit of information on the creatures of the desert you may encounter as well.
The various cacti in the park, especially the mighty Saguaros are truly a majestic sight to behold. The information available about their history, growth, uses and actual makeup is incredibly educational and great for kids! At the visitors’ center, you can even watch videos from the nightly spy cams situated throughout the park that capture all of the active wildlife after dark.
Biosphere 2, Oracle, Arizona
Located between Tucson and Phoenix, a must-see on your Arizona road trip is the Biosphere 2. Deemed one of the wonders of the world, Biosphere 2 is a real-life biodome consisting of 7 distinct, experimental ecosystems housed under one roof. Designed to advance our understanding of living in and sustaining our environment, the Biosphere is an educational campus for training scientists and environmentalists, science education and public outreach to help us learn about, understand, and be able to undertake the challenges that affect our quality of life on this planet.
The experiments conducted here allow scientists to understand atmospheric changes on a grander scale and help to discover solutions for our future as a planet and species related to water, environmental and energy management.
Biosphere 2 consists of the following ecosystems:
- A Rainforest
- An Ocean
- A Mangrove Forest/Swamp
- A Tropical Savannah Grassland
- A Coastal Fog Desert
- Desert Hillside Shrubland
- A Model City & Urban Ecosystem
Home to the world-famous red rock formations, Sedona, Arizona is truly a hiker’s paradise. With a multitude of trails and rock formations to hike, bike or climb, ranging from easy to expert level, the experience, and the views are amazing! Outdoor enthusiasts could easily spend weeks hiking the trails around Sedona without ever tiring of the landscape and the varied terrain. Additionally, below all of these incredible bright red rocks, sits an eclectic, boho community of artisans giving the traveling family an opportunity to explore the villages and visit the community art galleries and shops, coffee houses, and trendy, organic cafes.
If visiting Sedona during one’s Arizona road trip, the place to stay is the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock. This upscale hotel features luxury accommodations, en suite fireplaces for the cooler nights, a large pool with kiddie play area, a golf course, spa, and more. This hotel also allows families to easily walk to the galleries, restaurants and local coffee shops throughout the surrounding Oak Creek Village.
Perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day of hiking, biking, or rock climbing, the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock provides all the amenities one needs when visiting Sedona in a tranquil and serene setting.
Places to Visit and Things to do in Sedona, Arizona include:
- The Village of Oak Creek
- Cathedral Rock Hike/Climb
- Bell Rock Hike/Climb
- The Courthouse Steps Hike
- Sliding Rock State Park
- Pink Jeep Tour
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Bearizona Wildlife Park
- Montezuma’s Castle National Monument
Home to the Grand Canyon Hotel and Railroad, Williams, Arizona is designed to be an old fashioned Arizona mining town. Full of tiny shops, diners, and nightly live entertainment in the streets, Williams is a fun place to stop and stay on your Arizona road trip. If you’re planning a visit to the Grand Canyon during your multigenerational family vacation, this should be your starting point. There is no better way to get to the Grand Canyon than a trip on the Grand Canyon Railroad. Forgo the lines, parking, and crowds by hopping on the train for an entertaining and relaxing ride in and out of the National Park.
The train ride into the Grand Canyon takes approximately 2.5 hours, but it is a comfortable and relaxing ride through the Arizona countryside. While onboard, the friendly train attendants serve snacks and drinks, including alcohol for the adults, the conductor walks through for a visit, and cowboys entertain you with their music. On the way home, there may even be a good old fashioned train robbery, so make sure to watch out, but don’t ruin the surprise for the kids!
Train tickets include entrance into the Grand Canyon National Park where the train depot is centrally located. Spend a few hours in the park before re-boarding to head back, stay the night in the park itself, or head to the various tour buses for guides around the canyon from the train depot.
Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park include:
- Get your Junior Ranger Badge
- Stamp your National Parks Passport
- Photograph the Canyon
- Visit Hopi House
- Enjoy the view from the porch of Bright Angel Lodge
- Check out the architecture of Mary Coulter’s (one of the world’s 1st female architects) Buildings at the Grand Canyon
After visiting the Grand Canyon and checking off your bucket list, the final destination to visit on your Arizona road trip is Page, Arizona, and its surrounding natural sites. Home to one of the most beautiful, easy to hike slot canyons in the United States, the location of Horseshoe Bend, and just outside of the beautiful Lake Powell, Northern Arizona is a beautiful mix of rock formations, cool flowing rivers, and incredible sunsets
Things to do in Northern Arizona:
- Tour Antelope Canyons
- Explore Glen Canyon Dam
- Visit Horseshoe Bend
- Explore Lake Powell
PLANNING A TRIP TO ARIZONA? HERE IS MORE:
Traveling cross country can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Vacationing with a large, multigenerational family is certainly far from a relaxing trip for two, but it has its benefits. Younger children will one day have the opportunity to look back and remember the times they spent with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins, while the older generation can be reminded of what a magical and fascinating place the world really is when viewed through the eyes of a child. The trials and tribulations of a multigenerational family vacation are memories that will never be forgotten; these are the family stories that will be shared for generations to come.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Why I Will Always Live Near My Parents.
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