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Are you sick of the beach, but desperately needing a family vacation? It can be hard to get creative with getaway ideas when Florida beaches and ocean waves are your go-to options. For some families, the beach is just not their ideal relaxation place. A non-beach summer vacation is better for families who need new scenery, activity, and a city to explore.

Look no further. We have some great, non-beach summer vacation ideas your whole family will get excited about.

Before you leave for vacation, here are 10 travel hacks for a smooth voyage.

6 Non-Beach Summer Vacation Destinations Your Family Will Love

Are you sick of the beach, but desperately needing a family vacation? It can be hard to get creative with getaway ideas when Florida beaches and ocean waves are your go-to options. A non-beach summer vacation is better for families who need new scenery, activity, and a city to explore.

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is a good centrally located area. For midwestern and southern families, this destination is a reasonable road trip away. If you haven’t been to St. Louis, it may not seem like a hotspot for activity. But it is! There’s so much to see and do. Visit City Museum, an outrageous combination of playground, architecture, and imagination.

Parents and kids alike will spend hours exploring this incredible, multi-storied funhouse. Or head to the Gateway Arch and get the best view of the city. Visit the zoo (free admission, with parking fees), the Missouri Botanical Garden, or catch a Cardinals game. On top of all the attractions, enjoy great barbeque and other southern cuisine!

Leavenworth, Washington

Stepping into Leavenworth feels a bit like a dream. With cottage-like buildings lining the streets and German inspiration all around, this quaint town is truly a getaway. Kindly dubbed, the “Alps of Washington”, this city is full of gorgeous views. The stretches of lush green surroundings and mountain peaks will beg you to go for a hike, take a bike ride, or do any number of the various recreational activities available in Leavenworth.

You can shop the boutiques, visit a number of restaurants with mountain views, and end the day by watching a production put on by the Leavenworth Summer Theater.

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Chicago, Illinois

The windy city has so much to offer your family this summer. You will not struggle to find activity with the various museums and attractions in Chicago. Pick from the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, or the Adler Planetarium. You can also visit the Brookfield Zoo, or for a free option, the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Always check Groupon or other discount sites before planning your visit – the featured deals vary, but you can often find great prices for Chicago attractions. For lodging, check out Freehand: Chicago, a hostel-like hotel that offers great accomodations at reasonable prices. They have rooms with bunk beds that would be great for families with multiple kids.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you and your family are looking to head east, check out Pittsburgh. It’s full of activity for all ages, and its website boasts its “KidsBURGH” appeal. There are multiple museums, including the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Visit Kennywood, a family-friendly amusement park full of roller coasters, games, and currently, Thomas Town, featuring your favorite little train.

While you’re staying in Pittsburgh, make sure you get the best view by riding the Duquesne Incline, a 140 year-old incline car that overlooks the city and its surrounding rivers.

6 Non-Beach Summer Vacation Destinations Your Family Will Love

National Park Camping Trip

Want an inexpensive, non-beach option for this summer? If your family is up for roughing it a bit, check out some of the country’s incredible National Parks. We’ve all heard of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier, but there are plenty of other great must see parks you can explore. Grab your tents and sleeping bags, take a road trip, and experience the beauty of these national parks.

Amtrak Trip

Finally, if you want a creative way to travel or a truly out-of-the-ordinary vacation, consider an Amtrak trip! You can get the basic experience by using the train to get you from point A to point B, or you can have a complete family vacation via the railway experience. Plus, Amtrak provides a great discount for kids – anyone under 2 is free, and ages 2-12 are half off! I can’t think of a more fun opportunity for your adventure-loving family.

With options like these, don’t settle for the beach. Especially if it’s not your favorite destination. Even if you love the sand and sun, try branching out this summer and give your family a new experience with these non-beach summer vacation destinations. 

Jess Lyons
Jess Lyons
Jess Lyons is a wife, mom, and Resident Director to 100+ college students. Her days are filled with dorm events and bike rides with her family, and she loves the overlap of it all. In her free time, you can find her reading a book or enjoying good food with friends.