Exploring the most popular family vacation destinations to visit in 2023
Taking your family on vacation can be one of the most rewarding parts of being a parent, showing your children something completely different and opening their eyes to the wider world. Childhood family trips are some of the most memorable moments of our lives and can leave a lasting impact on young minds, which is why it’s worth putting some real thought into where your next family vacation will take you.
However, there are so many possible destinations to consider, each with its own unique attractions and appeal, that planning a family holiday can be a rather stressful process. Whether you’re planning on traveling within the USA with kids or taking your family abroad, the choice is almost endless.
When searching for the perfect destination for some quality time with the family, you should also consider how their interests match up with the activities available in each location. Will your kids enjoy a few days exploring the sights and museums of New York City? Or would they rather explore some of the country’s amazing natural wonders?
There are many different types of family holidays, but whichever one you choose, be sure to plan as much as possible. Taking kids on holiday is an extremely rewarding experience, but can also be quite stressful if things don’t go to plan. For instance, if you’re planning your first family camping trip, there’s a lot to consider aside from the location. From remembering all your supplies and equipment to having activities planned that will keep the kids entertained, there’s a lot of preparation involved to make things go smoothly.
To help you plan the best family vacation you’ve had to date, we’ve conducted a study to find out which locations and types of vacation are set to be the most popular in 2023. Whether you want to vacation abroad or explore the US, this study can provide plenty of inspiration for your next family getaway.
The top countries for family vacations in 2023
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 9.03
Spain is set to be the top country for family vacations in 2023, having received a fantastic Family Vacation Popularity Score of 9.03! Spain is one of the most sought-after countries for family vacations, with an average of 5,730 searches each month in 2022.
When it comes to vacations, Spain really does have something for everyone. The famous Costa del Sol has some of the most popular beaches and resort towns in Europe, while its major cities offer a wealth of cultural delights, such as the Museo del Prado in Madrid and Barcelona’s awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia.
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 8.98
Turkey is also an excellent choice for a family trip abroad, with a Family Vacation Popularity Score of 8.98. Interest in Turkey surged by a huge 322% in 2022 compared to the previous year, making this the perfect time to plan your Turkish adventure.
There are plenty of family-friendly activities to be had in Turkey, with the exquisite beaches that line the country’s shores attracting families from all over the world. More adventurous activities such as watersports and hiking can be found in abundance, while the sprawling city of Istanbul offers visitors some amazing cultural experiences including the iconic Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar market and the impressive Topkapi Palace.
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 8.93
Following closely on Turkey’s heels is the beautiful country of Italy, which received a Family Vacation Popularity Score of 8.93. Italy is a highly popular family vacation destination, with an average of 4,673 searches per month.
Italy is a country bursting with history and cultural attractions, from the ancient ruins of Pompeii to the grand Renaissance architecture of Florence. There are countless cities in Italy with magnificent museums, architecture and history to explore, though that’s not all the country has to offer. You might consider enjoying the quiet life in a Tuscan villa, exploring the winding canals of Venice, or sunning yourself on the luxurious Amalfi Coast.
The top global cities for family vacations in 2023
- Paris, France
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 9.03
The most sought-after city in the world for a family vacation is Paris, which received a Family Vacation Popularity Score of 9.03. While the French capital is widely known as being one of the most romantic cities on the planet, there is also a huge variety of things for families to enjoy.
Filled with sightseeing opportunities such as the grand Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, world-class museums such as the Louvre, and being just a short trip away from the magnificent Palace of Versailles, Paris is a city steeped in history and cultural attractions. On top of this, the city is also home to Disneyland Paris, Europe’s only Disney resort and one of the best vacation experiences kids can hope for.
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 8.62
The second highest-scoring family vacation destination is Dubai, which received a Family Vacation Popularity Score of 8.62. Dubai is one of the most modern cities in the world and is known for its luxurious shopping and incredible beaches.
There are plenty of activities available for families on vacation in Dubai. You could enjoy the spectacular view from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, take a camel ride into the desert, or let your kids have the time of their lives at the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark.
- Rome, Italy
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 8.22
Rome is the third highest-scoring family destination with a Family Vacation Popularity Score of 8.22. If your kids are history enthusiasts, then Rome is a surefire win due to the endless Roman ruins to explore in the city. Two of the most famous Roman sites to visit are the Colosseum, the huge arena where gladiators fought before crowds of thousands, and the Roman Pantheon, the grand temple where ancient gods were worshipped.
Aside from ancient Roman attractions, of which the list is near endless, Rome is full of beautiful places to visit such as the Vatican City, Piazza Navona and the city’s botanical gardens. Rome is also famous for its fantastic food, and offers a wide variety of Italian cuisine, with proper Roman carbonara being a must-try experience.
The most popular states in the US for family vacations in 2023
- Hawaii, US
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 8.37
Hawaii is the top US state for family getaways, earning a US Family Vacation Popularity Score of 8.37. The Hawaiian archipelago is the most remote US state, situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This gives the state a completely unique culture to experience and some of the best weather in the country.
Family trips to Hawaii should definitely include some time on the fantastic beaches, where there are plenty of water sports to enjoy with your kids. No trip to Hawaii would be complete without an exploration of the state capital, Honolulu, as well as a visit to the nearby Pearl Harbor Museum. Hawaii is also home to some fantastic wildlife, as well as two stunning national parks, giving nature lovers plenty to explore.
- Texas, US
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 7.61
The second most popular US state for family vacations is Texas, which earned an overall score of 7.61. Texas is the largest state in the country, and therefore has a huge amount of family-friendly attractions and activities to enjoy.
The island city of Galveston offers excellent beaches as well as the famous Moody Gardens, home to all manner of creatures from sharks to tropical butterflies, as well as free-roaming monkeys and sloths. There are also plenty of great family attractions in the major cities of Texas, such as The Alamo in San Antonio and Houston’s Space Center.
- Florida, US
Family Vacation Popularity Score: 7.55
Florida is the third most popular US state for family vacations with an overall score of 7.55. If your kids like theme parks, then a trip to Orlando should definitely be on the table. The city is home to a huge number of theme parks including Walt Disney World Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and Universal Orlando Resort, which also includes the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
A family trip to Florida could also include a trip to Miami to enjoy some Cuban culture and cuisine, or a visit to Daytona Beach to check out the attractions at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk or the NASCAR races at the Daytona International Speedway.
The top cities in the US for family vacations in 2023
- San Diego, California & Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
US Family Vacation Popularity Score: 8.37
Two locations are tied as the most sought-after US cities for family vacations, as both San Diego and Myrtle Beach top the table with US Family Vacation Scores of 8.37. California’s San Diego boasts an excellent climate which makes it a great choice for a beach holiday, while also having some great sights to see such as the expansive San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum and many other museums and galleries.
Over on the East coast in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is a much smaller vacation spot, which can be a blessing when vacationing with kids as they can be overwhelmed and stressed out if they’re not used to big cities. Despite being a smaller location Myrtle Beach is brimming with family-friendly activities including plenty of excellent resorts. No trip to Myrtle Beach is complete without some beach time, but family holidaymakers should also enjoy the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, the boardwalk arcades, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the iconic SkyWheel, one of the country’s largest Ferris Wheels.
3. Washington DC, District of Columbia
US Family Vacation Popularity Score: 7.71
The third most popular family vacation destination in the US is Washington DC, which received an overall score of 7.71. A trip to the nation’s capital is a great way to entertain the kids and educate them about the history of the United States. The city is full of important national landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, to name but a few.
There are also loads of kid-friendly museums to explore including the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum complex, which is home to the National Zoo and 21 museums including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of American History. That’s not to mention some of the other great educational institutions in the city, such as the International Spy Museum and the National Building Museum.
The most popular types of vacations in 2023
Vacation Type Popularity Score: 9.44
The type of vacation with the highest popular interest is a cruise, which received a Vacation Type Popularity Score of 9.44. Cruises are a great way to relax and unwind while getting the chance to experience numerous different locations along the way.
Cruise ships have a huge variety of entertainment available, so you don’t need to worry about the kids getting bored, and there are many family-friendly cruises available from all the major cruise lines.
- City Break
Vacation Type Popularity Score: 9.24
City breaks are the second most popular vacation type, with a popularity score of 9.24. City breaks are great for their ease and flexibility, as there are so many ways to make them your own and you can even squeeze one into a weekend without having to book any annual leave.
Cities have so much to offer families, from cultural attractions like museums and galleries, to entertainment such as theater and shows. Many major cities have their own zoos and aquariums for the animal lovers in the family, as well as beautiful parks and botanical gardens to explore. Simply encountering the buzz of different cities, as well as their different cuisines, architecture and atmospheres can be a great experience for kids that opens their eyes to the diversity of the world.
Vacation Type Popularity Score: 8.37
In third place, with a Vacation Type Popularity Score of 8.37, are beach vacations. When it comes to childhood vacations, there’s nothing more quintessential than a trip to the beach. These holidays are great for all the family, whether you’re building sand castles, enjoying the water, playing some volleyball or just soaking up the sunshine.
We wanted to find out which destinations in the US and overseas will be the most popular in 2023, as well as which vacation types are set to take the year by storm.
To find this out, we put together long lists of potential destinations, including countries, US states and both global and US cities. We then used Google Keyword Planner to find the average monthly search volume that each location had for 2022 when searched for as a family vacation destination.
From these results, we took the top 50 countries, global cities and US cities, as well as all 50 US states, and calculated the change in monthly searches from the previous year, both as a simple figure and a percent difference.
We then went to Instagram and collected the number of vacation-related posts for each location, and combined this data with the 2022 monthly searches, annual change and percent difference to produce an overall Family Vacation Score. We used this score to rank the locations in each category, revealing the top 20 in each section.
This process was repeated with 50 different types of vacation, revealing those that could be the most popular in 2023.