School is on hiatus ’til fall, which means you’ve got approximately 10 weeks to keep the youngest members of your household happily entertained. Don’t worry: We’ve got your back with this epic list of the coolest activities for kids of all ages in every single state.
Alabama: Alligator Alley
Um, this might be the only place in the U.S. where your kids can safely hold an alligator. (There are 450 on site at this alligator rescue farm in Summerdale, and guided and self-guided tours are available.)
Alabama: Gulf State Park
Your kids will love having ample opportunities to unplug as they bike, swim, fish and camp in this gorgeous park on the Gulf of Mexico, complete with two miles of pristine beach. (Just be sure you make campground or cabin reservations in advance.)
Alabama: U.S. Space and Rocket Center
This museum in Huntsville has the largest collection of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world. It also has super-cool simulators like the space shot (kids can rocket 140 feet straight up in less than 2.5 seconds) and the G-force accelerator (so kids can experience three times the force of gravity).
Alaska: The Reindeer Farm
Sure, it’s not Christmas yet, but just picture the joy on your kids’ faces when they get to pet, feed and ask hard-hitting Santa questions of actual reindeer at this farm, located about 45 minutes northwest of Anchorage. (There are also picnic tables so you can pack a lunch and hang out all day.)
Alaska: Byron Glacier
Come on, where else in the U.S. can your kids get up close and personal with an actual glacier? OK, so it’s a mile-long hike, but once you arrive at this spot on the Prince Island Sound, it’s quite breathtaking. (And thanks to global warming might not be there that much longer, so go now!)
Alaska: Thunderbird Falls
This stroller-accessible hike in Anchorage is just one mile in length and—barring a few steep spots—is very family-friendly. Plus, the payoff is huge: At the end of the trail is a dramatic, 200-foot waterfall that will leave your kids in complete awe of a different mom: Mother Nature.
Arizona: Salt River Tubing
For kids ages eight and up, the Tonto National Forest (dubbed a “mini Grand Canyon”) is a sight to be seen, especially from the water. Pack a lunch and relax as you float down the refreshing mountain water stream.
Arizona: Museum of Natural History
In addition to an indoor, three-story Dinosaur mountain with a simulated flash flood, there’s air conditioning at this Mesa museum—a win-win for the dino-lover in your fam.
Arizona: Wet ‘n Wild Phoenix
Did we mention Arizona is hot during the summertime? Wet ‘n Wild is the ultimate cool-off zone, complete with epic water slides, a lazy river and more.
Arkansas: Arvest Ballpark
Home to Minor League Baseball team the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, this Springdale ballpark brings over 70 home games—not to mention festivals, fairs and family fun days—for kids to enjoy all season long.
Arkansas: Blanchard Springs Caverns
Some parts of these caves, located in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, took shape over 350 million years ago. Your kids will love peeping the rock formations (and tiny cave creatures like salamanders) as they tour the area. Bonus: The underground temp stays at a cool 58 degrees, perfect for summer.
Arkansas: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
This 450+ acre park in Eureka Springs is home to over 100 abused, neglected and abandoned big cats—bobcats, ligers, cougars and leopards included.
Steep entry fee aside, you really can’t go wrong planning a day (or week) long trip to the OG home of Mickey Mouse. (PSA: Don’t forget you’ve got California Adventure across the way.)
California: Safari Park
This 1,800-acre wildlife refuge operates next to and in partnership with the San Diego Zoo (another place worth visiting if you have time), but it’s the only spot where you can see animals ranging from cheetahs to lions to zebras roam free, from a safari tour.
California: Yosemite National Park
A national landmark since 1864, there’s no end to the kid adventures—including getting sworn in as junior rangers—that can be had within the park’s 1,200 square miles of valleys, meadows, wilderness and more. Just be sure to plan your visit (and book a campsite) in advance.
Colorado: Garden of the Gods
This popular park in Colorado Springs features breathtaking geological formations, plus rock climbing and nature trails. Just keep in mind that for summer, there’s not a ton of shade.
Colorado: Santa’s Workshop
Visiting Santa in July feels like a misnomer, but it’s actually the perfect time of year for a Christmas-centric theme park filled with a range of outdoor rides. And, hey, if you happen to get a pic with Santa at this Cascade hot spot (located 20 minutes from Colorado Springs), you can nail down your holiday card four months in advance.
Colorado: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
Located in Estes Park, this campground—named after cartoon character Yogi Bear—is right in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. And while your kids can get their fill of nature, there’s also lots of other activities on site including a heated pool, mini golf, a game room and more.
Connecticut: Mystic Aquarium
In addition to beluga whales, African penguins and sharks, a special exhibit on dinosaurs—featuring 12 animatronic creatures—just recently opened.
Connecticut: Lake Compounce Theme Park
It’s a summer throwback—take your kids to the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. (Complete with its own kiddie coaster and antique carousel.)
Connecticut: Southington Drive-In Movie Theater
Speaking of throwbacks, your kids will love the thrill of seeing a movie outdoors from the comfort of your car. The summer lineup was just released with films ranging from The Sandlot to The Princess Bride.
Delaware: Air Mobility Compound Museum
This free museum at Dover Air Force Base showcases some of the U.S. Air Force’s largest (and no-longer-in-use) aircrafts. Watch your kids lose their minds as they get to know the ins and outs of aerodynamics while walking all around these massive planes.
Delaware: Gardens at Winterthur
This museum/library/garden is home to one of the biggest collections of Americana in the U.S. It also features 1,000 kid-friendly acres of outdoor space including an area called the “Enchanted Woods,” which gives kids an opportunity to explore the world of fairies with attractions like the Troll’s Bridge.
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach
Known as one of the top beaches in the country, this shoreline features more than just sun and sand. Along the boardwalk, there’s bumper boats, a water slide, lazy river and more.
Florida: Disney World
Ten bucks says your kids will be more thrilled by the monorail than the actual rides.
Florida: Captiva Island
You’ll love the pristine beaches, but your kids will love the one-of-a-kind beachcombing. (This island off the coast near Fort Myers is ranked one of the best in the country for finding pretty shells.)
Florida: The Kennedy Space Center
It’s the launch center of human spaceflight. And if your kids are lucky, they might be able to catch an actual rocket liftoff. (There’s currently one scheduled for July, FYI.)
Georgia: Lanier Islands Water Park
This Paradise Beach theme park puts water activities at the forefront. But it’s not just for the older kids: The Family Fun Zone includes a wave pool with “wiggle waves” and mini water slides.
Georgia: Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Located on Jekyll Island, this education center is focused on the rehabilitation of sea turtles in the wild. Oh, and there are also alligators.
Georgia: The Georgia Aquarium
It’s the world’s largest aquarium (located in Atlanta) with over ten million gallons of water and 100,000 animals on site—whales, jellyfish and puffins galore.
Hawaii: Honolulu Zoo
This 42-acre zoo features tons of species indigenous to Hawaii, like the short-eared owl and the Hawaiian goose. It also features twilight tours (perfect for older kids).
Hawaii: Dole Pineapple Plantation
Come to this Honolulu homage to the pineapple for the Dole Whip (a part of every tour) but stay to get lost in the botanical pineapple maze. (Seriously, it’s huge!)
Hawaii: Lydgate Beach Park
This Kauai-based beach in the city of Kapaa is a local favorite and features two enclosed swimming areas, both protected by boulders, so it’s easy for your kids to safely splash about. It’s also right across the street from the Kamalani Playground, should they need to blow off a little steam.
Idaho: Silverwood Theme Park
This amusement park in Athol is home to the first-ever inverting roller coaster (FYI, kids need to be 48 inches tall to ride), but it’s also got a lazy river, carousel and Ferris wheel.
Idaho: Bruneau Dunes State Park
As long as the temps aren’t too hot, let your kids run in—and surf—the sand dunes at this state park and campground, located just 45 minutes outside of Boise.
Idaho: Discovery Center of Idaho
For an afternoon when you need AC, head to this STEM-focused, hands-on science center in Boise, complete with a null