Traveling with kids can be tricky. Figuring out the best vacations for kids under 10 can even be more challenging, especially if you have young children around the same age with varied interests.
As much as we all love Walt Disney World in our house, we often want to travel to new spots. The challenge though, becomes, where to go that will be fun for everyone in the family.
Over the last several years we’ve visited some great vacation spots that appeal to kids under 10, check out some of our top picks!
1. Explore the Grand Canyon with Kids
When my youngest was 7, we spent a week in Sedona at the Arroyo Roble Resort. It quickly became one of my most favorite travel destinations in the United States.
During our stay, we took a 2-day side-trip to The Grand Canyon and stayed at the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn, which was a fantastic kid-friendly hotel with tons to do!
The hotel is just a few miles from the South Rim entrance of The Grand Canyon. We walked the entire length of The Trail of Time geological timeline that taught us about the rock layers and my son earned his South Rim Junior Ranger Badge.
There’s definitely quite a bit of walking but it’s worth it for the views and educational component. We also rode the bus line to Hermit’s Rest and explored that area for a while.
A Vacation So Nice We Went There Twice
In 2021 we took the entire family (kids aged 23, 22, 21, and 10 at the time) to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Of course, we stayed at Arroyo Roble Resort for most of the trip, as we’re owners there (timeshare resort) but again took a 2-day side-quest to The Grand Canyon.
Oh, and we also visited Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma Well while we were there!
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This time, however, rather than staying “off-site” we opted for a cabin at The Bright Angel Lodge, which was beyond amazing.
Imagine waking up literally IN The Grand Canyon. I actually awoke to the sound of deer munching right outside our cabin window; definitely a once-in-a-lifetime moment!
I anticipate several more trips to Sedona because we love it so much (hence the reason we purchased at Arroyo Roble) but we’ve also planned one day to attempt hiking The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim.
I’ve been researching a lot about that over the last few months and intend to make it a reality once my youngest is a bit older.
2. Visit Pigeon Forge with Kids
Pigeon Forge is a great spot to take the family for a vacation. Kids under 10 will especially love visiting Wonderworks, the science-focused amusement park that is the perfect rainy day activity.
The complex features over 100 indoor hands-on exhibits like the Bubble Lab, Astronaut Training Gyro, and the Hurricane Shack. Kids will also love the Glow-in-the-Dark Ropes Course.
For families that like the idea of snow over actually living in a snowy climate, Pigeon Forge Snow is an indoor snow tubing facility that makes you feel like you’re at a ski resort, even in the middle of Summer!
Another fantastic attraction in Pigeon Forge is MagiQuest; truly my youngest sons’ absolute favorite. MagiQuest is a combination role-playing game and a scavenger hunt where players go on quests to find specific items throughout the playing area.
They use wands to cast spells and earn runes. This was one activity that the entire family enjoyed from my oldest adult kids all the way down to the youngest.
Finally, The Island Pigeon Forge is an entertainment complex that the entire family will enjoy. Whether you’re visiting The Great Smoky Mountains on your next vacation, The Island Pigeon Forge is perfect if you’re traveling with kids under the age of 10.
From the 2,500 sq. ft. Sweet candy shop, The Island Ropes Course, bungee jumping, and the complex’s focal point, The Great Smoky Wheel, there’s plenty to do here day or night.
3. Best Vacations For Kids Under 10: Gatlinburg Tennessee
Ober Gatlinburg is a fantastic spot for kids under 10. They’ll enjoy the indoor ice skating rink, miniature golf, bumper cars, a chairlift, alpine slide, tubing in the Summer, and a bunch more!
We like to stay in the heart of the downtown Gatlinburg area at Town Square Resort, another timeshare resort, and another one we visit repeatedly! Everything is literally right there or close by.
This allows us to walk to nearby, restaurants, and attractions like the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
Homeschooling families will appreciate the discount offered at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
We’ve taken advantage of it at both the Gatlinburg location and the aquarium in Myrtle Beach and it’s a fantastic deal, especially for larger families!
4. Visiting Massanutten Virginia with Kids
A week at Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, Virginia another of what we consider the best vacations for kids under 10. With so much to do, you’ll be scrambling to fit it all in.
We’ve enjoyed snow tubing, skiing, and ice skating here in the winter and horseback rides, golf and zip-lining and mini-golf in warmer months.
What’s great about Massanutten resort is that in addition to the outdoor pools, there’s an indoor waterpark that is perfect at any time of year. We’ve enjoyed magic shows and a family-friendly murder mystery dinner as well.
The resort also offers discounts to nearby Luray Cavern as well as a shuttle bus trip to Washington D.C. if there’s enough interest. We’ve been twice before and are excited to go again in the very near future.
5. Historic Jamestowne & a Powhatan Indian Village
I’m currently working on a Jamestown History Timeline and book list that will help you learn the truth about Pocahontas and this time period.
In the meantime though, I truly believe that experiencing living history at Jamestown (or any other museum) is one of the best ways a homeschooling family can spend their vacation.
For kids under 10, getting a true account of history through textbooks is challenging.
The experience of grinding corn and helping to carve out a canoe in the Indian village or planting tobacco trees on the Jamestown settlement side can truly bring history to life.
6. Plenty to Do on a Williamsburg Vacation for Kids Under 10
For someone who enjoys learning about Colonial life, Colonial Williamsburg is the perfect vacation destination.
If your kids are under the age of 10, rest assured, there’s something for everyone here. Not only will you learn about life in Colonial Times, but you’ll become part of history as you travel down the cobblestone streets to see what led to the Revolutionary War.
Beyond that, you’ll catch a glimpse of life prior to the revolution and what it may have been like to live under British rule. History comes alive through court proceedings, tours, and demonstrations that put you and your family in the heart of the action.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
This was probably my son’s favorite vacation when he was about 5 years old. There’s just something about cannons, muskets, and bayonets.
Coupling memories and photos from our vacation with what we’ve been reading have truly helped solidify his understanding of The Revolution.
When we visited The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, the facility was in the process of renovations. Now that it has been upgraded, we’re excited to get back.
Living History Makes the Learning Come To Life
UPDATE 2022: In the Fall of 2020 (yes, during the height of the pandemic) we took a trip back to Jamestown, and let me just say; the changes made are phenomenal. There’s so much to see and do; truly an interactive experience.
What made this trip back even better is that I had timed some of our homeschool read-alouds to coincide with the trip. At the time, we were making our way through the Stephen K. Smith series, The Virginia Mysteries.
These books really helped us during our visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg especially; I highly recommend them!
The museum covers the battles, culture, and people as well as the debates that lead up to The American Revolution.
Living history costumed performers share what led up to the Battle of Yorktown and ultimately the end of the war. The interactive exhibits, movies, and displays will give kids under 10 a better understanding of more difficult historical concepts.
One thing about incorporating living history and educational vacations is that they work well to help your child make connections. Seeing history in a tangible hands-on way makes the lessons on the page come to life.