5 family vacation destination ideas - United Hub

What type of family vacation is best for you?

By Bob Cooper, August 03, 2017

Families are as unique as fingerprints or snowflakes, so there's no single best family vacation destination. Instead, each family's vacation planner needs to figure out what kind of trip suits their family best based on the ages, interests and energy levels of family members — and then choose a destination to match. Here are five main types of family vacation destinations that can help you narrow it down.

Waikiki beach in Honolulu

Hit the beach

Beach vacations are a slam-dunk option for families with a wide age range. At the beach, grandma can enjoy watching her 3-year-old grandson play in the sand while an older child or teen tries standup paddle boarding with mom or dad. Some water sports are age-specific — teens gravitate toward Jet-Skiing and surfing while parents may prefer kayaking. But others are compatible for all ages, like snorkeling or heading out on the open water in a rented fishing boat or houseboat. Can't-miss family beach destinations include L.A., San Diego, Honolulu, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, but don't rule out cities on the Great Lakes, like Chicago, which boasts 27 beaches.

Family kayaking along the river

Head for the hills

Trips to the mountains are ideal for high-energy school-age kids who like outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, river rafting and fishing — as long as their parents do too. As documented in the 2005 bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, kids are spending less and less time in nature, so a vacation is the perfect time to reconnect to the outdoors Cities that are close to a multitude of mountain trails include Denver and Colorado Springs (near the Rockies), Reno (near Lake Tahoe and the Sierras), Knoxville, Tennessee (near the Great Smoky Mountains), Burlington, Vermont (near the Green Mountains), and Seattle and Portland (near the Cascade Range).

Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Sightsee in the city

The main advantage of visiting a big city as a family is the abundance of options — there are so many places to go and things to do, all within a few miles. Far from being "only for adults," large cities are terrific destinations for kids too. In almost every major city, parents can choose from a kid-friendly science or natural history museum (usually including a planetarium), a big zoo, a spacious city park with outdoor activities, an aquarium, a theme park or water park, and often a choice of beaches and boat rides. Which city is best? It depends. For museum lovers, it's Washington, D.C. For Hollywood lovers, it's L.A. For history lovers, it's Boston.

Cottage in Nantucket

Focus on family

Infants, toddlers and preschoolers can make travel extra difficult, but parents can minimize the stress by accepting that invitation from out-of-state relatives to "come visit any time!" Even if there's no guest room, visitors can stay at a nearby hotel, motel or vacation-rental cottage. They can then enjoy the hospitality of their hosts, who will probably insist on some home-cooked meals together — knowing that restaurants and 2-year-olds don't usually mix — and visits to the family-friendly local spots. The relatives may even offer to babysit the little ones so their parents can enjoy a rare date night.

Family in front of the Eiffel Tower

Venturing abroad

Traveling abroad can be adventurous, broadening and even life-changing—and that's equally true for kids. Parents who take their kids along to a foreign country are giving them a precious gift—an experience they will grow from, learn from and remember far more than a domestic trip. Older kids, especially if they're curious about the world, are best suited for such trips because they'll appreciate cultural differences more than young kids and the trip will leave more of an impression. Some of the safest and most family-friendly countries and regions worth considering are Costa Rica, Japan and Western Europe.

If you go

Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your family vacation destination on United Airlines.

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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