All Ages

The Best Times to Travel to Popular Family Vacation Destinations

See recent posts by Courtney Elko


You have a location in mind for your next family vacation but you don’t know the best time to visit. We’ve taken away the guessing game of “when” for our most popular family destinations. Whether you want to avoid the crowds in Orlando or have a premium beach spot when Myrtle Beach is hopping, we’ve got you covered. Check out the best times to travel to popular family vacation destinations.

A rollercoaster at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.

Branson, Mo.

High Season: June through August and November and December are most popular at this four-season destination.
Avoid the Crowds: Enjoy all of the outdoor attractions and cooler temperatures in the spring.
Weather: Temperatures range from the 40s in the winter to the 90s in the summer.
Why Go: The warm weather is ideal for the outdoor theme parks and activities in Branson — Silver Dollar City, zip lining and the Branson Ferris wheel — that line the main thoroughfare. But the town comes alive for the holiday season as well.

Recommended Hotel: Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge

Gulf Shores, Ala.

High Season: Summer, as well as spring break, are the most popular times to go.
Avoid the Crowds: The fall and late-spring offer great weather, and vacation rentals and hotel rates are often discounted.
Weather: Temperatures range from the high 50s in January to the 80s and 90s in the summer months. Hurricane season runs from June through November.
Why Go: The sugar-white beaches and the Gulf of Mexico provide ample opportunities for relaxation. Build sand castles, go fishing or enjoy a family-friendly festival right on the beach in Gulf Shores.

Recommended Hotel: The Beach Club

An aerial shot of the beaches in Cancun, Mexico.

Cancun, Mexico

High Season: Most Americans and Canadians visit Cancun from November through early March and hotel rates are at their highest in December and January.
Avoid the Crowds: Low season in Cancun typically runs from May through November when the weather tends to be at its hottest, but families can find great deals on hotels. Families may want to avoid the spring break college kids visiting Cancun from mid-February through April and Easter Week, when many Mexicans go on vacation and many area restaurants and attractions are closed.
Weather: September and October are typically the rainiest months in Cancun and hurricane season runs from June through November. The average temperature year-round runs between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why Go: Beaches, water sports and all-inclusive resorts can be found in Cancun – enough said!

Recommended Hotel: Club Med Cancun Yucatan

Puerto Rico

High Season: For the most ideal weather, visit this popular family destination between December and April.
Avoid the Crowds: In the spring and fall, late April through June and October through early December, families will find less tourists in Puerto Rico, warm temperatures and discounted hotel rates.
Weather: Temperatures average about 85 degrees year-round in Puerto Rico. Hurricane season typically runs from about July through September.
Why Go: Visit Puerto Rico for its stunning beaches and historic landmarks. Old San Juan is a can’t-miss stop.

Recommended Hotel: San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Kayaking at Woodloch Pines in the Poconos, Pennsylvania.

Poconos, Pa.

High Season: The Poconos is popular year-round, with skiing, snow tubing and indoor water parks to enjoy in the winter and water sports and camping in the summer.
Avoid the Crowds: The fall is a great time to visit the Poconos, especially since the trees are changing colors. Camping is especially popular during this time.
Weather: Expect snow in the winter and humidity in the summer in the Poconos. Temperatures run from the 20s to the 80s on average in this popular family destination.
Why Go: There’s something for every age and interest in the Poconos, from indoor water parks to an all-inclusive resort (Woodloch Pines).

Recommended Hotel: Kalahari Resort Pocono Mountains

Orlando

High Season: The busiest time in Orlando is in the summer months and during school breaks, including Easter and/or spring break.
Avoid the Crowds: If you can pull the kids out of school, the best times to visit Orlando is when all the other kids are in school. Late August and September and October tend to be the best times with the fewest crowds.
Weather: Summers are hot and humid in Orlando. Temperatures range from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
Why Go: You know why Orlando is popular!

Recommended Hotel: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

A very family-friendly beach in Lake Tahoe, California.

Lake Tahoe, Calif.

High Season: Most people tend to visit between March and May and then again from September to December.
Avoid the Crowds: Lake Tahoe tends to be quieter between seasons in the fall and spring and prices are usually at a lower rate as well.
Weather: Temperatures range from the 40s in the winter when you can expect snow to the 70s in the summer when you can expect sun.
Why Go: Hiking, boating, fishing and skiing are great ways for families to spend time together in Lake Tahoe.

Recommended Hotel: Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

High Season: The summer months between June and August are the peak times to visit Myrtle Beach.
Avoid the Crowds: November through February can be a bit chilly in Myrtle Beach and you may have to avoid the beach — but the crowds are gone and the rates are low. If you want to visit when it’s a hint warmer, visit in September, October, May or late August when the kids are typically back in school and the temperatures are still great and prices are on the lower side.
Weather: Hurricane season runs from June through November. Temperatures range from the 50s in the winter to the mid-80s in the summer.
Why Go: In Myrtle Beach, families will love playing in the sand and ocean, hitting the thrill rides along the Grand Strand and attempting a few holes-in-one on the golf course or the mini-golf course.

Recommended Hotel: Dunes Village Resort

Palm Springs, Calif.

High Season: January through April are excellent times to visit this popular destination, when the desert heat is not too overwhelming.
Avoid the Crowds: Palm Springs is quietest in in the summer months, when most tourists avoid the area’s extreme heat.
Weather: There is little or no rainfall in Palm Springs and the humidity is always low, too. However, the temperatures can definitely climb. Temperatures range from lows in the mid-50s in January to highs over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August.
Why Go: Hiking and biking trails, full-service resorts, golf courses and mountain vistas fill your desert days in Palm Springs. Joshua Tree National Park is close by, too.

Recommended Hotel: Omni Rancho Las Palmas

Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Minneapolis, Minn.

High Season: This popular family destination experiences downright brutal winters, so most families visit between June and August.
Avoid the Crowds: The fall months offer colorful changing leaves, temperatures between the 50s and 70s and cheaper hotel rates. Springtime, when everything begins to thaw, is also a less crowded time to visit.
Weather: Temperatures can hit as low as the single digits in the winter and as high as the mid-80s in the summer.
Why Go: The Mall of America, theme parks, water parks, lakes, fishing and boating — there’s plenty to do in Minneapolis.

Recommended Hotel: The Westin Minneapolis

More From Family Vacation Critic:
The Best Family Vacations
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