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The US’s Highest Rated Tourist Attractions

By James Brockbank
November 4, 2022
I Stock 1345207733 - Grand canyon
Grand Canyon - Istock/nycshooter

When you jet off on your vacation this year with the kids, you may have plans to visit a theme park or choose a more cultural attraction for the adults to enjoy. These trips can make your vacation extra special.

But which comes out as tourists’ favourite attractions when we dive deep into visitor ratings and reviews?

The Family Vacation Guide's latest research has us take a look at the US’s most popular attractions to reveal which are rated the highest based on TripAdvisor reviews.

From Walt Disney World to Central Park, here are the four highest-rated tourist attractions across the US.

4. Navy Pier

Navy Pier - Chicago
Navy Pier - Istock/ferrantraite

Chicago, Illinois (open year round)

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, located in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Navy Pier encompasses over 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibition facilities and is one of the top destinations in the Midwestern United States, drawing over nine million visitors annually. It is one of the most visited attractions in the entire Midwest and is Chicago's second-most visited tourist attraction.

3. South Street Seaport Historic District

Dante's Negroni Bar
Dante's Negroni Bar - Courtesy of Dante's Negroni Bar

New York City, New York (open year round)

On the East River. Under the Brooklyn Bridge. Downtown’s downtown. A historic neighborhood reborn. Cobblestones. Row houses. Waterfront views. Raw history imbued by contemporary culture.

The Seaport
has endured centuries of change. With The Howard Hughes Corporation as its steward, the neighborhood continues to evolve, with an eye on the future.

Home to rooftop extravaganzas. Hidden alleyways. The city’s largest outdoor bar. Its oldest lightship. Culinary experiences. Musical happenings. Art encounters. Year-round community programming. NYC history immortalized.

2. Faneuil Hall Market Place

Faneuil Hall Market Place
Faneuil Hall Market Place - Istock/DenisTangneyJr

Boston, Massachusetts (open year round)

Located in downtown Boston, steps away from the waterfront, Faneuil Hall is alive today as it was in 1742 when our nation’s fathers proclaimed it “The Cradle of Liberty.” Faneuil Hall Marketplace is actually four great places in one location – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market.

Over 70 retailers and 40 office tenants occupy the 200,000 square feet of retail and 160,000 square feet of space on Boston’s iconic mixed use festival marketplace.

Customers enjoy unique, locally loved, and nationally recognized shops while indulging in the worldwide cuisine at their restaurants, pubs, and in the world-famous Quincy Market Colonnade.

The cobblestone promenades are filled with the music and jaw-dropping routines of world-renowned street performers and musicians.

1. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord - Courtesy of thefamilyvacationguide

Concord, California (closed Nov - mid May)

Six Flags Hurricane Harbour in Concord, California, is ranked at the top of our list of the world’s highest-rated attractions.

Hurricane Harbor is Northern California’s biggest waterpark, so it’s easy to see why. In fact, it’s often regarded as one of the best waterparks in the state.

Hurricane Harbor sees over 32 million thrillseekers pass through its gates every year and has excellent visitor reviews (79%).

The fun-filled waterpark has over 35 world-class thrills, such as heart-pounding waterslides, the region’s largest wave pool, and Northern California’s longest lazy river, so there’s something for the whole family to enjoy and escape the Cali heat.

It offers great amenities for family and friends, with private poolside cabanas and picnic groves for birthday parties, family reunions, and get-togethers.

Six Flags suspended operations in March 2020 before opening its doors to visitors again in 2021. That was the first season for the waterpark to not operate since its opening in 1995.


Click here to see the full rankings and where the US attractions stacked up to the rest of the world.

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Top 5 Most Beautiful Beaches In The US

A beach vacation is the perfect way to spend time as a family and is a great opportunity to reconnect and forget about the stresses life can bring. The combination of the sea and the sun is ideal for creating unforgettable memories you and your family can cherish forever. However, with over 1,000 beaches in the United States, it can be difficult to decide where to go. Florida alone, for example, has 189 beaches and 360 miles of coastline The Family Vacation Guide took a deep-dive into Instagram and Tripadvisor data to determine which beaches are the most beautiful, and which you absolutely cannot miss visiting. And it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that every single one of the country’s top 5 most beautiful beaches can be found in Florida.#5 Navarre Beach, FloridaNavarre Beach, Florida - Courtesy of visitflorida.com 8.37 beach beauty scoreNavarre, a compact beach community found just east of Pensacola at the far northwestern tip of Florida, beckons with 12 miles of pristine white shoreline. Nestled between Gulf Islands National Seashore and Navarre Beach Marine Park, this beach community offers solitude and simplicity. Its pristine beaches are named among the best in the nation year after year, and visitors compare crossing Navarre Bridge to transcending paradise time and time again. Relaxation is the main attraction in Navarre. Visitors can sun on the beach, swim in emerald waters, enjoy a picnic in the park or pedal along a scenic bike path.#4 St. Pete Beach, FloridaDon Cesar Resort on St. Pete Beach, Florida - Courtesy of doncesar.com 8.68 beach beauty scoreReady for a break? Kick back on the sandy white beaches of St. Pete, as the balmy waters of the Gulf of Mexico lap at your toes. With an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, St. Pete Beach is guaranteed to please. You can also find the architecturally and historically grand Don CeSar resort (Pink Palace - yes! it's really PINK) which is a must see! #3. Clearwater Beach, FloridaClearwater Beach, Florida - Istock/Morgan Somers 8.74 beach beauty scoreCompleting the top three Florida beaches is Clearwater Beach. This beach is a great place to go with the family. The amazing weather and white sandy beaches make it a wonderful option to explore. Its calm waters also make this beach a great place to jet ski or paddleboard, which could be a fantastic experience for you to share with your family.#2. Pensacola Beach, FloridaPensacola Beach, Florida 9.12 beach beauty scoreRunners-up on our list is Pensacola Beach, just eight miles along the coast. This beach in Florida also boasts beautiful sea and sand, which makes it a great place to make a sandcastle or two. After a busy day in the sun, you’ll want to put your head down on a comfy bed.#1. Panama City Beach, FloridaPanama City Beach - Istock/TerryKelly 9.52 beach beauty scorePanama City Beach has been crowned the most beautiful beach in the US. The mixture of white sand and blue clear water has this Florida beach topping our list, and after enjoying some of the best things to do in Panama City Beach with kids, you can round the day off with a phenomenal view of the sunset. This beach will certainly give you and your family that ‘wow’ factor. Methodology - To calculate which beach in the US can officially be crowned the most beautiful, they looked at Tripadvisor reviews and found the total number and percentage of reviews mentioning the word, ‘beautiful’. They also looked at how many times each beach had been hashtagged on Instagram, to create an overall score of how beautiful each beach is. To see the full rankings and article click here.

InspirationNational ParksFamily

Top Attractions in All 50 States

From north to south and from coast to coast, America is packed with diverse landscapes that are worth exploring for every type of traveler. Each state has its own culture and landmarks that make them unique. Courtesy of musement Outdoor enthusiasts have a plethora of places to choose from. National parks and outdoor attractions make up almost one third of the most popular attractions in the United States. From the greats like The Grand Canyon (Arizona) and the urban oasis Central Park (New York) to lesser-known gems like Blackwater Falls State Park (West Virginia) or the Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) and its beaches, you can get a taste of cultural activities while enjoying Mother Nature. Hersheypark: Hershey, Pennsylvania - Istock/ gsheldon Thrill seekers and families with young ones will be glad to see that ten states across the country have amusement/theme parks as their number one attraction. Snap pictures with Mickey and your favorite Disney characters at Walt Disney World (Florida) or Disneyland Park (California). Otherwise, you can escape to the east to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia). Got a craving for chocolate? Head to Hersheypark (Pennsylvania) and see what the hype is all about. The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas History buffs will be able to turn the clocks back at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (Michigan) where they can witness some of America’s most historical items, discover what life was like in the 1830s at The Alamo (Texas), or jump on board the World War II battleship turned museum at the USS Alabama (Alabama). Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium: Atlanta,Georgia - Istock/Gau Souza Animal lovers across the states have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best zoos and aquariums. From Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Nebraska) and its one-of-a-kind exhibits to the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium (Georgia), one of the largest in the world, to the west coast’s Oregon Zoo, the United States offers plenty to admire. Research done by Musement, the digital discovery and booking platform for travel activities and experiences around the world. To see the full list of all 50 attractions click here.

FamilyBudget Travel ListsTheme Parks

Most affordable water parks across the U.S.

Just in time for National Waterpark Day (July 28), vacation rental marketplace HomeToGo is making a splash by releasing its 2022 Water Park Index to help travelers identify the top water parks to visit this year. From Florida to California, from pulse-pounding to placid, they’ve done a deep dive into the best water parks that America has to offer. Most Affordable States to Make a Splash: Water parks in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, California and Illinois climb to the affordable peak of this year’s ranking.Best States for Water Park Enthusiasts: California reigns supreme with the most water parks on this year's ranking (11), followed by Texas (10) and Florida (9). The average total cost per day among the featured water parks in California is $138.06, compared to $132.96 in Texas and $139.16 in Florida.Average Entry Prices: This year’s average entry cost is $39.82. The water parks with the cheapest entry costs are Buccaneer Bay and Sun-N-Fun Lagoon both in Florida, which both cost $13 per adult.The tallest waterside in the country is Thrillagascar at DreamWorks Water Park in New Jersey (Ranked #32), which stands at 142 feet tall and reaches free-fall speeds of +60 mph and features the world's biggest indoor wave poolThe largest water park in the U.S. is Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells (#44), with a total of 51 waterslides, 2 wave pools, 2 lazy rivers, and 6 additional attractions. Rankings are based on cost of parking, entry, locker and nightly accommodations. 3. Buccaneer Bay - $91.02Weeki Wachee, Florida Buccaneer Bay - Courtesy of floridastateparks.org Buccaneer Bay, located within Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, is the perfect place for families to spend a hot summer day. This water park is Florida’s only spring-fed water park and is home to a variety of different attractions including waterslides, sandy beach area, lazy river float ride, beach volleyball court and legendary mermaid shows in a submerged theater. On top of this, the water park is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery due to its unique location. This water park offers food and beverage options for guests who need to refuel and hydrate, as well as covered picnic pavilions for those who would like to bring their own snacks. 2. Splash Kingdom Oasis - $90.46Shreveport, Louisiana Splash Kingdom Oasis - Courtesy of hometogo Splash Kingdom Waterpark in Shreveport, Louisiana is a water park for the entire family to enjoy and embrace the family tradition of taking trips together. With more than 15 rides and attractions to choose from, people of all ages can come to this fun oasis and never worry about running out of things to do. On top of this, guests can enjoy food and drinks for whenever they get hungry or need to quench their thirst after a long day. Guests can also expect a multitude of different aspects of entertainment, with events being held that showcase music, movies and more. 1. NRH2O Family Water Park - $87.99North Richland Hills, Texas Thunder - Courtesy of NRH2O Family Water Park NRH20 is a 17-acre water park filled with plenty of fun and excitement for guests to enjoy. This water park is home to 14 attractions along with food and beverage amenities. With a great balance between thrilling waterslides and kid-friendly attractions, this water park is welcome to all ages looking to let off some steam and just have fun. NRH20 is known for its friendly environment, relaxing atmosphere, and reasonable prices. Located in North Richland Hills, Texas, the water park’s popularity has flourished within the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Click here to see the complete list of top affordable water parks and the methodology for the rankings.

FamilyTheme Parks

Did you know - Land of Oz!

Autumn at Oz September 9th-11th, 16th-18th, & 23rd-25th at Land of Oz - Beech Mountain, NCCourtesy of Land of Oz Travel Over the Rainbow to Beech Mountain, North Carolina and celebrate Land of Oz's annual Autumn at Oz Festival - one of the world’s largest Wonderful Wizard of Oz events! Experience the magic of Oz during this three-weekend event where the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion are ready to perform for you on your journey to meet the Wizard! Keep a lookout for the Wicked Witch and her Winged Monkeys, plus other favorite characters from this classic story! Visit the Gale farm in Kansas, experience the twister, meet Glinda in Munchkinland, and follow the real yellow brick road to Emerald City where the Wizard grants everyones' wishes - right before your eyes! Courtesy of Land of Oz Shop unique craft & memorabilia vendors, enjoy delicious varieties of food and beverages, get your face painted, and watch live performances. Plus, there are plenty of photo-ops along the way including our Over the Rainbow Observation Deck - one mile high in the sky! Enjoy the magical Land of Oz on the site of the original 1970's theme park where the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. Courtesy of Land of OzIn the Land of Oz:Don't wear your high heel ruby slippers - Oz has uneven paths, ramps and stairs and therefore is not wheelchair or stroller friendly. The weather in Oz (Beech Mountain) can be cold and blustery, so be prepared for the weather by dressing in layers and wearing comfortable shoes. It is also suggested that guests bring a jacket and an umbrella just in case.You can get to Oz by bus or scenic lift ride (additional cost). The lift ride from Beech Mountain Ski resort will give you amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. General Admission Tickets: $55.00 + Taxes & Processing Fees​ Children 2 & Under are free.

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