2020 Family Travel: The Best Family Destinations on Forbes’ List

What does your 2020 family travel look like?

Do you even know yet? Some people have their whole year’s worth of trips planned out as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Others, like myself, might be thinking more short term. In fact, our family almost always plans one trip at a time. And we leave lots of wiggle room to see where the year takes us.

When I’m starting to consider destinations for our family, I love to look at where other travel experts recommend. My favorite list to follow is the one put out annually by Forbes. They typically do a nice job selecting a variety of locations and explaining the unique reason that place made their list.

Last year’s list only included 14 destinations. I found myself agreeing with so many of their selections! (For example: South Dakota made the 2019 list. It was, hands down, one of our family’s favorite places that we’ve ever visited!) We even made a point to re-visit 3 cities from the last year’s list: Charleston, SC; Winston Salem, NC; and Baltimore, MD.

Charleston, Baltimore, South Dakota and Winston Salem- Forbes top travel destinations

Naturally, as soon as Forbes published their 2020 list, I had to check it out and start planning!

The first thing I noticed about this year’s list is that they included 25 destinations this year!

(Incidentally, this makes me so happy. In 2018 there were 10 US cities on the list. Then in 2019 they included 14. And now it’s up to 25! I guess I’m not the only one that has trouble narrowing down a list. It’s also fitting because I feel like the more places you cross off, the more you want to travel more!)

I also noticed that our family has visited almost every destination on the list!

While I can certainly agree with their choices, I wanted to point out a few of my favorites for 2020 family travel:

St. Louis, Missouri

The Gateway Arch National Park

Since she was 5 years old my (incredibly well traveled) daughter declared St. Louis her favorite city. In fact, our whole family really loves it! We’ve returned several times since our first trip, and the city hasn’t lost any of it’s initial appeal.

Highlights include the FREE zoo, City Museum, The Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium. In December 2019 the city opened it’s first aquarium in Union Station. Read more about why you should start planning your trip: 5 Reasons To Take Your Kids To St. Louis. 

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth Bay right next to the Plymouth Rock marking where the Mayflower landed.

Our family stumbled on this charming little town by accident. On a drive from Boston to Cape Cod we literally passed the exit sign on the interstate. My children had just wrapped up an American History unit and couldn’t believe that they would be able to see the spot where the Mayflower landed!

Our detour lasted several hours as we explored the area and ate an amazing lunch overlooking Plymouth Bay.

I’ve included this destination on my list for two reasons. First, we loved Plymouth and plan to return for a longer stay. And secondly, it’s located in between two of our other favorite destinations- Boston and Cape Cod. You could easily build a family vacation out of exploring these 3 stops!

Scottsdale, Arizona

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, AZ

This city wins every award imaginable! Best places to live: Scottsdale. Most affordable places to travel: Scottsdale. Best spas in America: Scottsdale. Best places to visit: Scottsdale. You name it, and Scottsdale makes the list!

I promise I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon, I truly love the place!

Aside from the amazing weather and beautiful scenery, I enjoy how many things there are for children to do in Scottsdale. Kids will especially love the Botanical Garden, Railroad Park, Butterfly Wonderland. For more to do in Scottsdale, check out: 5 Things To Do In Scottsdale, AZ With Kids.

Orlando, Florida

De Leon Springs State Park Near Orlando FL

Please do not automatically assume I’ve chosen this destination based on the theme parks! Of course, I do love all things Disney! And I also really enjoy SeaWorld, Universal and LegoLand. However, there is SO much more to Orlando!

Orlando is full of great food, incredible shopping, beautiful parks and some great sporting events.

It’s also very centrally located close to several beaches. And the weather is perfect pretty much year round. Our family truly loves Orlando! For more to do in the area check out: 10 Things To Do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks and How To Experience Orlando Like A Local.

Southern Utah

Southern Utah was named one of the top destinations for 2020 family travel.

Until we visited Southern Utah last summer, I had no idea how much I was going to love it. In fact, the only reason we REALLY even traveled to the area is because it was along our route.

But, not being one to miss anything I did a little research and found some awesome National Parks to visit. The landscape of these parks is stunning. We also thought the town of Moab was ridiculously fun and we look forward to returning to this area soon!

Honorable Mention Destinations: Denver, Colorado; Greenville, South Carolina; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Where will your 2020 family travel take you?

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