Day and Weekend Vacations in the West

  • 01 of 10

    West Region

    Staring at the brochure rack in the hotel lobby gives you too many choices, plus a headache from trying to decide which destinations to visit. From frigid temperatures in Alaska to the tropical paradise that is Hawaii, find the best places to visit on your weekend vacation in the West.

    Alaska | California (A-M) | California (N-Z) | Hawaii | Idaho | Montana | Oregon | Washington | Wyoming

    Before your visit, check with the attraction for hours, prices and other up-to-date information.

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  • 02 of 10

    Alaska for Kids

    Your family will reach maximum fun level with all Alaska has for kids. Whether you brave the cold weather or prefer a roof and four walls around you, picturesque views, nature activities and indoor attractions have every type of traveler covered. Have you visited attractions in Alaska for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Alaska for Kids:

    • Alaska Botanical Garden
      This year-round botanical garden shows off 1,100 species of perennials and 150 native plant species on 110 acres. Located in...MORE Anchorage.

    • Alaska SeaLife Center
      Visit puffins, octopus, sea lions and more at Alaska's only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center. Fly, ride a train or drive to ASLC in Seward, Alaska, about 125 miles south of Anchorage.

    • Alaska Zoo
      Over 100 birds and mammals call this zoo in the hills of Anchorage home. You'll see everything from polar baears to foxes, yak to otters on the 25 acres of zoo property.

    • Eagle River Nature Center
      The beautiful scenery will delight adults. Kids will burn off some energy on the 10 miles of trails. Rent a log cabin or a yurt and spend the night! Located in Chugach State Park, about 40 minutes from Anchorage.

    • White Pass and Yukon Route
      Take in Alaska's beauty on a train ride that moves you past meadows, through the mountains and all the way up to 2,865 feet above sea level. Climb aboard in Skagway, Alaska.
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  • 03 of 10

    California for Kids (A-M)

    California is best known for its sunny weather and famous faces. But the state's diverse attractions and landmarks are what draw millions of people to visit each year. Have you visited attractions in California for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in California for Kids:

    • Alcatraz
      The island's best known for its famous inmates and rumors of impossible escape. Step foot onto the island and listen to an audio tour that features the sounds and stories of the prison. In San Francisco.
    • Bay Area...MORE Discovery Museum for Children
      Children learn while they play. This hands-on museum in Sausalito lets them explore unusual exhibits, such as a shipwreck, sea cave and their own version of the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • Disneyland
      Where else can you go on the west coast to meet the most famous mouse in the world? Located in Anaheim.
    • Fairytale Town
      Live out your favorite fairy tales and nursery rhymes at this 2.5 acre children's play park and outdoor children’s museum in Sacramento.
    • Fisherman's Wharf
      Shops, Ripley's Believe It or Not and the Wax Museum are a few places you can visit. But the real treat of Fisherman's Wharf is seeing all of the sea lions at Pier 39.
    • Golden Gate Bridge
      A perfect family picture spot. Drive, walk or bike across the six-lane suspension bridge in San Francisco. Or take a boat ride to look at the bridge from underneath.
    • Griffith Park
      Plenty of attractions sit inside this Los Angeles park's 4,210 acres. The Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles Zoo, L.A. Equestrian Center and Travel Town Museum are a small sample.
    • Hearst Castle
      This 165-room castle on 127 acres is so large, you have five different tours to choose from on your visit. Located in San Simeon, between L.A. and San Francisco.
    • Hollywood
      Hollywood is a hot spot recognized around the world. Families will enjoy finding their favorite celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, seeing the Hollywood sign and visiting the Hollywood Museum to check out TV and movie memorabilia.
    • LEGOland California
      This amusement park in Carlsbad has more than 50 rides with plenty of attractions that don't have a height requirement. Seasonal schedule.
    • Los Angeles Zoo
      Birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians and even plants from across the globe live on more than 100 acres.
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  • 04 of 10

    California With Kids (N-Z)

    The list of fun things to do in California with kids continues. Get the family ready for a day or weekend of fun exploring The Golden State. Have you visited attractions in California with kids? Rate your visit.

    Attraction in California With Kids:

    • Newport Beach
      Go whale watching, ride the ferry or relax on the beach. Newport Beach is a destination where you can park the car all weekend.
    • PCH Drive
      A drive up the Pacific Coast Highway may not sound like much fun with kids in the backseat, but...MORE there's plenty to see and do along the way. Wildlife, gardens and a stop at many famous attractions are located right on or near the PCH, which is more than 655 miles if you were to drive the entire route. Plenty of photo opportunities for families.
    • Sacramento Zoo
      New friends like the lemur, jaguar, bongo, zebra, wallaby and red panda are waiting for you to come visit them. The zoo covers 14 acres.
    • San Diego Zoo
      Over 4,000 animals are spread out over 107 acres. Elephants, polar bears, pandas, gorillas and almost any animal you can name make your zoo trip a full day. Day two can be spent at the zoo's neighboring San Diego Wild Animal Park to get up close and personal with animals from Asia and Africa.
    • San Francisco Cable Cars
      San Francisco is filled with activities to keep your family busy for weeks on end. If you only have a day or weekend trip planned, be sure to ride one of the many cable car routes to give the kids an unforgettable experience.
    • San Francisco Zoo
      Koala, kookaburra, otter, siamang and zebra are a few of the species you'll find at the San Francisco Zoo. Beautiful gardens are an added bonus.
    • SeaWorld San Diego
      Shows, rides and special exhibits are all a part of your day at SeaWorld. Get in the water with dolphins or beluga for a unique photo opportunity.
    • Tilden Nature Area
      Kids will be delighted to watch wildlife, walk across the 750-foot boardwalk and pet the farm animals inside the Little Farm and Nature Center. Located in Berkeley.
    • Universal Studios Hollywood
      What's it like to be in a movie? Find out at Universal Studios Hollywood. The magic is revealed as you take studio tours to learn about special effects, watch live action shows and see real movie sets.
    • Yosemite National Park
      Amazing views await at Yosemite. Waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife and the very best of nature's other offerings are all located within 1,200 miles of the Sierra Nevada.
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  • 05 of 10

    Hawaii for Kids

    A cold winter day in Hawaii is around 78 degrees, which is why Hawaii is a wonderful escape for kids and their families any time of year. Pack your tank tops and flip-flops to visit a pineapple plantation, explore marine life from a submarine and be a part of a luau, to name a few unforgettable moments of your vacation. Have you visited attractions in Hawaii for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Hawaii for Kids:

    • Dolphin Quest
      Now's your chance to swim with the dolphins. Sneak in a kiss, if...MORE you dare. Located on Hawaii's Big Island as well as Oahu.

    • Kauai Plantation Railway
      Ride through the farmlands and the fields as you visit a real working farm by train. Take the train tour only or add in a hike, lunch and orchard tour. For a night trip, you get both a train tour and a luau.

    • Maui Ocean Center
      Spend an afternoon feeling like you're underwater without getting wet. The largest collection of coral is on display as well sea turtles, sharks, sting rays and more.

    • Pacific Whale Foundation
      Make learning an adventure for the whole family. Take an ecotour to whale watch, swim with the dolphins or snorkel. Located in Maui.

    • Atlantis Submarines
      Dive into the sea aboard a submarine. Explore coral reefs and marine life through view ports on the sub. Various locations throughout Hawaii.

    • Honolulu Zoo
      Just look at the list of animals on the Honololu Zoo's official website and you'll want to schedule a trip to see them all. There are more than 1,200 mammals, birds and reptiles to visit.

    • Sea Life Park
      How will the kids react when a sea lion kisses them on the cheek? Want to see the kids dance with a dolphin? Sea Life Park is the ultimate marine adventure that literally puts you in touch with dolphins, sea lions and other aquatic life.

    • Luau
      Experience a Hawaiian tradition firsthand. Hula dancers, story reenactments, musical entertainment -- there are so many luaus offered, you'll have a hard time narrowing down your list.

    • Dole Pineapple Plantation
      The plantation has evolved from a fruit stand into a day's worth of activities centering around the pineapple. Features tours, a train ride and the world's largest maze.

    • Waikiki Aquarium
      Gorgeous exhibits of coral, jellyfish and other marine life are on display. Be sure to say "Hello!" to the Hawaiian monk seal while you're there.

    • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
      Two of the world's most active volcanoes are right here in one national park. You might get lucky on your visit and see an active volcano spilling lava into the ocean.

    • Polynesian Cultural Center
      Eight island villages and exhibits make up "Hawaii's #1 Paid Attraction." Activities teach the whole family about the Polynesian culture. A great place for kids to play games, make crafts and listen to authentic music.
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  • 06 of 10

    Idaho for Kids

    An Idaho vacation is a gateway to wildlife and stunning beauty. For a wet day or weekend trip, a variety of water parks are scattered throughout the state. Have you visited attractions in Idaho for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Idaho for Kids:

    • Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
      Over 600 square miles of lava fields make up this wonder that is also a great place to see over 350 species of plants, 160 species of birds and 43 mammals.
    • Hells Gate State Park
      Despite its devilish...MORE name, Hells Gate State Park is filled with heavenly scenery. It's home to the deepest river gorge in North America. Located in Lewiston.
    • Idaho Botanical Garden
      The former farm and nursery for the Idaho State Penitentiary spent 12 years unattended when the penitentiary was closedin 1973. It's since been transformed into 30 lush acres of cultivated gardens featuring various plants, flowers and sculptures. Located in Boise.
    • Tautphaus Park Zoo
      Experience daily penguin and pelican feedings, animal encounter shows and animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America. Seasonal schedule. Located in Idaho Falls.
    • Water Parks
      Idaho has many water parks to choose from all over the state. This list gives you their locations so you can find the closest one to you on our day or weekend trip to Idaho.
    • World Center for Birds of Prey
      Learn about various birds of prey through interactive shows and close-up encounters. Located in Boise.
    • Yellowstone National Park
      America's first national park covers three states -- Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Camp, boat, bike, hike, ride horses, picnic and more on close to 3,500 square miles.
    • Zoo Boise
      Zoo Boise started as a fluke when a monkey escaped from the circus and was left behind. Almost 100 years later, the zoo now houses everything from red pandas to snow leopards.
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  • 07 of 10

    Montana for Kids

    Montana is a perfect getaway fro kids who love cowboys, dinosaurs, flowers and more! The state offers families ways to connect with nature, learn about history and discover the place where the first T-rex bones were found. Have you visited attractions in Montana for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Montana for Kids:

    • Children's Museum of Montana
      Construct, dig, play and learn through hands-on exhibits for children. Located in Great Falls.

    • Cowboy Cookout and Horse Ride
      Top off your day...MORE horseback riding in Yellowstone with a cowboy cookout. Seasonal schedule.
    • The Montana Dinosaur Trail
      Unleash your child's inner paleontologist on this 15-facility dino trail. Collect dino icons, view fossils and see dinosaur replicas. Several locations in Montana where you can start your tour.

    • Gates of the Mountains
      Take a boat tour, picnic and enjoy the sights of the Gates of the Mountains. The canyon, rock formations and endless wildlife are located in Helena.

    • Glacier National Park
      Over 1,000,000 acres stretch between Montana to Canada. Explore lakes, various plants and animals in the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem." Also home to Hidden Lake Trail, a 1.5 mile hike rising to 7,050 feet, and Going-to-the-Sun Road, 50 miles of winding road into the beautiful mountains of Glacier National Park.

    • The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula
      Educational tours, an alien detention tour and a black bicycle corps are some of the exhibits you'll find here. Also features rotating exhibits. Located in Missoula.

    • Lewis and Clark Caverns
      Take a tour to see the limestone caverns, or stay above ground to walk the 9-mile nature trail. Cabins and campgrounds are also on-site. Located in Whitehall.

    • Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum
      Vibrant colors surround you with numerous gardens, a creek and a wildflower walk to explore. Plenty of walking to burn off kid energy. Located in Jefferson City.

    • Yellowstone National Park
      America's first national park covers three states -- Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Camp, boat, bike, hike, ride horses, picnic and more on close to 3,500 square miles.
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  • 08 of 10

    Oregon for Kids

    Oregon is a place for kids to explore a wide variety of terrain, weather and attractions. From the state's urban areas to its rocky coastline, you'll be able to choose activities that fit right into your family's idea of adventure. Have you visited attractions in Oregon for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Oregon for Kids:

    • Crater Lake National Park
      Stunning panoramic views for adults and energy-spending outdoor fun for the kids. The water is a gorgeous blue hue like you've...MORE never seen. Cliffs and a volcanic past have etched this beautiful national park into a perfect family destination year round.

    • Oregon Zoo
      Portland is where you'll find more than 2,000 wild animals living it up on 64 acres. Also houses a variety of threatened and endangered species.

    • Oregon Coast Aquarium
      Discover 500 species of animals through indoor and outdoor exhibits. Located in Newport.

    • Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
      This working lighthouse shined its first light in 1871 and was restored in 1996. Private tours offered when scheduled in advance.

    • World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
      Keep the kids busy in a 20,000 square foot museum that teaches the whole family why forests are crucial to our lives today. Learn how the forests benefit our habitat, recreation and water and step into forests from around the world.

    • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
      This one-stop attraction has it all -- a domed, giant-screen theater, planetarium, science playground, laser light shows and plenty of hands-on exhibits. Located in Portland.

    • Portland Children's Museum
      Dig, splash or climb, among other activities, over more than 50,000 square feet dedicated to helping children learn through experience. A special baby area means the tiniest explorers aren't excluded.
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  • 09 of 10

    Washington for Kids

    Washington is one of the most high-tech states in the U.S. The state's attractions are a playground for families any time of the year. Have you visited attractions in Washington for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Washington for Kids:

    • Children's Museum of Tacoma
      Plant a garden? Paint a masterpiece? Play at the Children's Museum of Tacoma while learning from temporary and permanent exhibits geared toward the young student.

    • Museum of Flight
      Flight fans can view over 150 historic air...MORE and spacecraft. Permanent exhibits include an Air Force One jet used during the times of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon as well as the Concorde, the world's fastest jetliner.

    • Olympic National Park
      Get outdoors to visit beautiful beaches and glacier-capped peaks in one national park. Spend a day in the rain forest valley to see a variety of plant and animal life.

    • Pacific Science Center
      An IMAX theater and planetarium are on-site. Exhibits showcase everything from a butterfly house to a trip back in time to see how the dinosaurs lived.

    • Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
      Travel to the Arctic Tundra to visit polar bears and reindeer. Head to Rocky Shores to hear the harbor seal and watch the tufted puffin. At the aquarium, you'll see marine life from the South and North Pacific swim as well as everyone's favorite: seahorses.

    • Seattle Aquarium
      Dive shows, coral reef displays, sea birds, marine mammals and more are part of your day at the Seattle Aquarium. Rotating programs teach the kids about certain marine life with crafts, hands-on activities, talks and more.

    • Space Needle
      No trip to Seattle is complete without standing on top of the 605-feet high Space Needle. It only takes 43 seconds to get to the top by elevator.

    • Woodland Park Zoo
      The zoo's residents include more than 1,000 animals, thousands of trees, and over 50,000 shrubs, herbs and plants. Located in Seattle. Seasonal schedule.
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  • 10 of 10

    Wyoming for Kids

    Wyoming sets the stage for natural fun for kids, whether you take part in a flurry of activities in the state's famous ski town or wrangle the Wild West. Have you visited attractions in Wyoming for kids? Rate your visit.

    Attractions in Wyoming for Kids:

    • Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede Rodeo
      Take in a rodeo every night of the summer. Located in Cody, the "Rodeo Capital of the World."

    • Buffalo Bill Historical Center
      Billed as "five museums under one roof," the museum chronicles the life...MORE of Buffalo Bill Cody, displays western art, teaches about Native American cultures, exhibits rare firearms and explores Yellowstone's ecosystem. The official site guides you to the front doors. Located in Cody.

    • Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
      Learn about the world's largest outdoor rodeo at this Old West museum. Western exhibits include old horse-drawn carriages and wagons, art and touring exhibits. Located in Cheyenne.

    • Grand Teton National Park
      Scenic drives, more than 200 miles of hiking trails, awe-inspiring wildlife and postcard perfect views give you plenty of photo opportunities with the family. Whet your appetite with this stunning photo gallery of Grand Teton.

    • Jackson Hole
      Most people think of Jackson Hole as a wintry destination for its outdoor fun in the snow. But Jackson Hole also has beautiful lakes, flowers and other nature activities that make it a prime location for a summer trip too.

    • Lander Children's Museum
      Put your hands on everything. It's encouraged! The children's museum in Lander puts kids in touch with exhibits designed for learning and fun.

    • Wild Mustang Tours
      This 110,000 acre refuge shows off wild horses, prairie dogs, antelope, golden eagles and coyotes in the middle of their natural habit. Located in Cody.

    • Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Dig Sites
      More than 200 displays are spread out over 12,000 square feet. See the skeletons of 20+ dinosaurs, fossils and other life forms. Located in Thermopolis.

    • Yellowstone National Park
      America's first national park covers three states -- Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Camp, boat, bike, hike, ride horses, picnic and more on close to 3,500 square miles.