8 Fantastic Tween Vacations Ideas in the U.S.

The best vacations for 10-12 year olds offer plenty of active options to keep busy, mixed with roomy accommodations for tweens to have some personal space.

Norman Rockwell once said that he loved to paint “tweens” (although he didn’t use that modern lingo) because they could be both deeply emotional and also equally “boisterous.”

As a mom of a now teen, recent tween, I agree that this is a great age, and truly a sweet spot for travel. Tweens in the 10 to 12 year old age range are old enough that they can try more challenging activities, but still young enough that they want to spend time with their parents – which isn’t always the case as they round the corner to high school!

I also loved traveling with my son during this age, since he still wanted to spend time exploring together, but he could experience things — like a water slide or arcade — on his own, without my having to stand over him.

The best vacations for this tween sweet spot offer choices with plenty of active options to keep busy (which I found was the key to a successful middle school vacation), mixed with roomy accommodations for tweens to have some personal space.

Here are some great tween vacation options around the country

Family Attractions and Wide Open Spaces for Tweens in Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia, is pretty much a perfect destination with tweens. They’ll be equally excited to interact with living history at Colonial Williamsburg as they are to rider the coasters at Busch Gardens.

After you’ve explored the area attractions, there’s still a whole vacation’s worth of fun to explore at Kingsmill Resort. The property is set on 3,000 acres along the James River, and there’s plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including outdoor pools and a lazy river, bike rentals, tennis, fishing, and kayaking. Plus, there’s a championship golf course with junior summer camps for kids ages 7 to 13, not to mention a million-dollar spa where parents can relax.

Another highlight of Kingsmill are the accommodation options. Instead of a hotel room, families can take advantage of multi-bedroom cottages and vacation homes offering plenty of elbow room for everyone.

Kingsmill Resort

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1247 reviews)

Tweens Can Ski and Play in Utah

Not only is the Montage Deer Valley located in one of the most beautiful mountain resort areas in the U.S. — Deer Valley, Utah— but the luxury property caters to families in a way that exceeds most ski areas, not just the west.

First, there’s Montage’s Paintbox winter program for ages up to 12, so tweens will be able to do all the offerings – combining cozy indoor activities such as crafts, movies, and games with outdoor snow fun ranging from snowshoeing to outdoor scavenger hunts. Then, there’s the summer fun of Camp Compass — with age separations up to 17 — with everything from SUP Yoga to cooking classes, fly casting to pizza parties — all without parents to cramp tween independence.

But don’t worry, there’s plenty of opportunity for family bonding here too. In the winter, there’s skiing and snowboarding; in summer, horseback riding, archery, golf, and hiking excursions are all possible to book for families with tweens.

Wrap up a day of family fun with game night at the onsite Daly’s Pub with darts, billiards, bowling, and an arcade, as well as tasty pizza, sandwiches, wings, and nachos. Then head back to spacious rooms that have two queen beds, fireplaces, and mountain views.

Montage Deer Valley

Top rated
Park City
9.2 Excellent (682 reviews)

Mountainside Resort in Vermont

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Mount Ascutney Resort is a mountainside retreat nestled in the green hills of Vermont and the perfect setting for outdoor family vacations. Families can go sledding, hiking, apple picking and even have a few snowball fights (depending what time of year you visit, of course).

Tweens and their parents (and siblings, too) can enjoy a wide variety of family-oriented amenities on property, such as fire pits; indoor and outdoor pools; basketball, tennis, and racquetball courts; a game room; and even a movie theater with free popcorn. Plus, just a short distance away, you can hike or bike at Mt. Ascutney.

Then, come back and relax in a spacious villa with separate bedrooms (a big perk for tweens), living/dining areas and a full-sized kitchen perfect to stock with late-night snacks. The resort’s farm-to-table restaurant, the Maple Kitchen, offers elevated comfort food, including cider-glazed ribs and decadent cheddar-stuffed tater tots, as well as craft beer, cocktails and wine for the adults.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Mount Ascutney Resort, an IHG Hotel

Top rated
West Windsor
9.0 Excellent (1188 reviews)

Disney's Tropical Resort in Hawaii

Nestled on the western shores of Oahu, Hotel Aulani Disney Resort & Spa is a tropical Hawaiian tween travel dream come true. First, there’s the Disney magic of it all, with nearly three dozen included activities, six pools, a beach, and live entertainment – including visits from Mickey and friends, who tweens may be surprisingly excited to meet. Villas here mean you can enjoy a Hawaiian vacation with plenty of room for all of you, plus a kitchen and washers / dryers (a nice perk for a longer vacation).

There are myriad opportunities for tween exploration, where they can safely push their boundaries a bit, but in a safe environment. Rainbow Reef is an especially good option for ages 11 and up, since kids this age can snorkel with a rainbow of tropical fish without an adult (you can watch them through the viewing window if you don’t join in). Tweens can also set out to find “Menehune,” mythical creatures — numbering in the hundreds — that are hidden around the resort. There’s also a beach, lagoon, and lazy river, plus complimentary lessons in ukulele and hula – a great way to get ready for the KA WA’A Lū’au.

Aulani, A Disney Resort And Spa

Top rated
9.7 Excellent (844 reviews)

Beachside Fun for Tweens in Southern California

Want a vacation that feels like you’ve jetted off to an exotic island, but is still firmly planted in the continental U.S.? Then you’ll be happy to know that the Polynesian-themed Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa is easily reachable in San Diego, California.

There are tropical birds in residence, swaying palm trees, tiki torches, and plenty of beach fun, including beach chair service so you can order snacks and tropical drinks without leaving your lounger.

Tweens can explore the property with a scavenger hunt (after grabbing a complimentary cookie at check in) or take advantage of free beach game gear such as frisbees, corn hole, spike ball, and ladder ball toss. Warm evenings bring outdoor movies and Hawaiian nights with live music and hula lessons, and there’s always the large indoor arcade to check out. Bay Front rooms offer direct access to the golden sands of Mission Bay.

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

San Diego
7.9 Good (3250 reviews)

Soak Up the Sun With Your Tween in Southern Florida

For fun in the sun, Florida is always a good option. But you don’t have to hit the beach to dive into a warm weather vacation in Southern Florida.

Instead, head to the JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura, just a 30 minute drive north from Miami Beach for all the wet and wild fun your tween could desire.

The resort has its own massive Tidal Cove Waterpark with a lazy river, seven waterslides, and the first triple FlowRider surf-simulator in the country (which means brave parents can try to surf with their tween, should the urge strike). Poolside eats include fish tacos at Surf House Bar & Grill and gelato at Freestyle.

Kids under 15 can also tee up on the golf course for free in the afternoon with a paying adult, and can even get complimentary lessons. Parents can indulge in treatments at the luxe âme Spa & Wellness Collective. Queen/queen configured rooms and junior suites will give you all lots of room to spread out (there are one- and two-bedroom suite options as well).

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa

8.4 Very good (2706 reviews)

Lake Getaway With Your Tween in Texas

Hotel Lakeway Resort & Spa is the only hotel on the banks of Lake Travis in the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin, a perfect destination for a city break. It’s also an oasis for kids ages 10-12, with on-site activities such as a pool with an Adventure Water Slide and a location next to the burger and ice cream indulgences at Sunset Pool Grill. Tweens can visit the volleyball court or head to the marina for family lake fun, including water skiing, and paddleboarding.

For parents, a spa adorns the Lake Travis shoreline, featuring floor-to- ceiling windows in the relaxation lounges and couples treatment rooms that make it feel like you’re floating over the water. Wellness rooms are a good option for families with allergy concerns, so you can all breathe easy.

Lakeway Resort & Spa

8.4 Very good (2188 reviews)

Indoor Water Park Fun for Tweens in Michigan

When the weather turns cool and you need a place to chill with tweens, it’s hard to beat Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Michigan. The indoor waterpark and hotel is specifically geared at ages up to 13, so you don’t have to worry about rowdy parties of adults or older kids. The water slides are still big enough to garner an adrenaline rush and whoops of delight, and since tweens are the “big kids” here, they can handle pretty much every ride.

On the dry side of the resort, there’s a massive arcade, indoor mini golf, and 10-pin bowling, plus an interactive MagiQuest adventure (a slight additional charge) that my own tween son and his friend ranked as much fun as the water slides.

Food is of the basic pizza and burger variety — and lots of cupcake and treats — but there is a bar where adults can grab a more mature beverage. Another highlight: All rooms here are suites, with an array of configurations that allow you and your tweens to spread out into multiple sleeping and living spaces.

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City

Top rated
Traverse City
8.8 Excellent (2165 reviews)