The California Coast, Canada’s West Coast, Niagara Falls, New England and America’s Wild West – these are some of the top family road trips in USA and Canada. Which one will you choose?
I love a good road trip and my kids do too. We drove the California Coast, the Garden Route in South Africa, and along Northern Spain with our children, and we loved them all. Road trips and tours are a great way to explore many places on one trip – you will never hear the words – “I’m bored!”. I have teamed up with American Sky, who specialise in trips to America and Canada. I have chosen five of their top family road trips and tours in USA and Canada, that take in some of North America’s most remarkable cities and National Parks. American Sky has many more on its website and can tailor-make any trip to suit you, so if you fancy a trip to Chicago instead of California or New Orleans instead of Niagara, talk to the team in American Sky and they will design the perfect itinerary for you.
10 Nights Experience California Tour – Family Self-Drive from €1029pp Inc. Flights, Hotels & Car Hire
We did this exact trip with our children a few years ago and loved it. We cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, visited Universal Studios and managed to get some beach time in too! This itinerary starts in San Francisco where you will enjoy a two-night stay. Alcatraz is surprisingly great for kids, they will love going in and out of the jail cells and completing the treasure hunt to get junior ranger badges at the end.
After a busy few days, you will move on to Monterey, where you will stay for two nights in the 5-star Intercontinental The Clement Monterey. The pretty town of Monterey has an historic seafront with a miniature Fisherman’s Wharf. It is also home to one of the world’s best Aquariums.
You will then drive the Central Coast to Cambria. Drive through the Big Sur, over Bixby bridge and see the seals at the elephant seal rookery at San Simeon. There are thousands of seals playing right in front of you, it’s an amazing sight. From there you will drive to the upmarket town of Santa Barbara, where you will overnight, before moving on to Anaheim.
Anaheim is a great reward for the kids after the long drive along the coast. Disney has two parks here, Disneyland Resort and California Adventure, and don’t miss Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you have more time, talk to the team in American Sky about adding on some nights in one of the beach resorts. San Diego is a great option and it is also home to Legoland and SeaWorld. Read my blog for more info on things to do with kids in California.
Price includes flights, car hire, hotel accommodation, welcome pack with maps, and a day-to-day itinerary. Above itinerary is based on San Francisco 2 nights – Monterey 2 nights – Cambria 2 nights – Santa Barbara 1 night – Anaheim 3 nights, but this can be altered to suit your requirements.
13 Nights Family Self-Drive Canadian Western Wonders Tour, €1679pp Inc. Flights, Hotels & Car Hire
I can’t wait to drive along Canada’s west coast, it has been on my bucketlist for some time now, and I think it is a trip that is ideally suited to adults and children. The Rocky Mountains, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper National Parks are all world-class attractions in their own right, but to see them all together on one trip would be spectacular. This trip isn’t all about National Parks though, your journey starts and ends in two of Canada’s great cities, Calgary and Vancouver.
Your first stop is Kananaskis Valley, a place synonymous with adventure. Try white-water rafting, kayaking or paddle-boarding on the lakes, or explore the hiking trails on foot, horse back or with a mountain bike. You will then move on to the pretty town of Banff where you an take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, or enjoy many other outdoor activities, before driving Route 93 to Lake Louise, one of Canada’s most spectacular drives, through Banff National Park.
Lake Louise will surely be one of the highlights, its turquoise colour combined with snow capped mountains makes it one of the most photographed lakes in the world. Make sure you visit the Icefields Parkway and book an excursion to the Glacier Sky Walk too.
The UNESCO World Heritage town of Jasper is your next stop, where you have the opportunity to take a boat ride on Lake Moraine. Travel south to Harrison Lake before travelling on to Victoria, and possibly take a whale-watching trip. Your journey ends with a two-night stay in vibrant Vancouver.
Price includes flights, car hire, hotel accommodation, welcome pack with maps, and a day-to-day itinerary.
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9 Nights Family Self-Drive Exhilarating Ontario Tour €889pp Inc. Flights, Hotels & Car Hire
What child wouldn’t want to see Niagara Falls? Taking the boat ride to the foot of the falls will surely provide lifetime memories. What I love about this itinerary is that, unlike most road trips, you are only staying in three different hotels over nine nights, so there is plenty of time to enjoy each destination. Your journey starts in the lively city of Toronto, your home for three nights.
After a busy few days in the city, it is time to move on to the Blue Mountains for some outdoor family adventures. Take a gondola ride up the mountain, enjoy the Aquatic Centre and the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, or rent kayaks or paddle boards on Lake Huron. The beach is only a ten-minute drive away, so if you just want to relax and enjoy the sunshine, you can do that too.
Your trip ends with a two-night stay at Niagara Falls. There are so many different tours available. You can choose to play it safe with a cruise or go through the famous Whirlpool Rapids on the Wet Jet tour – suffice to say you will get soaked and plenty of family fun is guaranteed.
Price includes flights, car hire and hotel accommodation.View offer here
8 Nights Wild West Cowboys & Buffalos Tour from €2999pp Inc Flights, Hotels, Excursions, Meals.
Release your inner cowboy on this fantastic family adventure. Visit Yellowstone National Park, see Mt Rushmore and the native black bears. This is a premium guided tour with first-class accommodation and selected meals and excursions included. Your trip starts in Salt Lake City where you will overnight before travelling to Wyoming. Marvel at the Rocky Mountains and stop at the Oregon Trail Centre, before crossing into Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. Journey down Snake River, take a wagon ride and enjoy a traditional homestead.
Your next stop will surely be one of the highlights of the trip, Yellowstone National Park, where you will stay for two nights in the National Park Lodges. Both adults and children will love exploring one of America’s best-loved National Parks. Enjoy horse riding, visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Centre or try white water rafting.
The Wild West town of Cody is your next stop, home to the legendary Buffalo Bill. From there you will move on to Keystone where you can view the Crazy Horse Memorial. You will end this family adventure in the Black Hills of South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore, where a farewell dinner is organised with an American Indian dancer.
Price includes flights, hotel accommodation, tour guide throughout, eight breakfasts, two lunches and five dinners. Visits to the Oregon Trail Centre, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks; stay at the 320 Guest Ranch; view of the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore; visit to the Buffalo Bill Centre of the West and witness black bears in Bear Country USA wildlife park.
8 Nights Self-Drive Family Summer in New England: Mountain Tops to Lobster Pots from €2159 per Person Including Flights, Hotels & Car Hire
Combine the bright lights of Boston with the White Mountains of New England, over nine glorious days. Boston is the starting point for your family adventure. Take the world-famous Boston Duck tour. Kids will love this because instead of walking for hours to see the sights, the Duck Tour visits the city’s most popular sights on a WW2-style amphibious landing vehicle. If temperatures are high, why not take a boat trip from the harbour and go whale-watching – many different species of whales frequent these waters.
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After two nights in Boston, drive to New Hampshire’s White Mountains. You will be staying in American Mountain Club’s rustic Highland Center Lodge, where all meals are included for the next three nights. Enjoy hiking, rock climbing or swimming in this superb family holiday destination.
Your last three nights will be spent in the Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg. Visit some of America’s pretty coastal towns and sandy beaches. The kids will love the hotel’s summer camp, which includes wildlife demonstrations, hikes, golf and tennis clinics with a pro. Adults are well catered for too, with an onsite spa, a choice of water sports available and the wide selection of dining options.
Before you depart for home, American Sky has built in a shopping stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, into the itinerary. This is the ideal place to stop on your way to Boston Airport. One of America’s oldest cities also happens to offer tax-free shopping and some great waterfront restaurants.View offer here
Prices are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change. This post on the top family road trips and tours in USA and Canada was sponsored by American Sky but all views, as always, are my own.