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17 Family Vacation Spots Your Teens Won't Grumble About (PHOTOS)

The teenage years are a mixed bag. It's a time of rebellion, putting up boundaries, and battles of wills. For you, you realize how little time they have left in your care and you want to make the most of it ... until they make you so furious you hide in the bathroom and scream. Every day is a roller coaster.

But this is the time to make memories that will last when they're out on their own, to bond while you can still decide when and where you go as a family. These 17 destinations are sure to please all the hard-to-please members of the family. 

vacations teens will love

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1Mosquito (Bioluminescent) Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico

No, we’re not recommending a place that will swarm you with bug bites. Mosquito Bay is recognized as the brightest bioluminescent bay by the Guinness Book of World Records, and it’s something you can’t begin to imagine. The water glows a bright firefly green with every touch of your oar or hand. It is truly an unforgettable experience.

Image via Brian Nolan/shutterstock

2Ghosts of Charleston Tour, Charleston, SC

This 80-minute walking ghost tour through a beautiful city will please the most jaded teens. Tour guides expertly recount hauntings and supernatural events that have been documented since 1772. The highlight of the tour is indisputably the spellbinding Unitarian Church Graveyard, where guests claim to have been moved by spirits in “in visual, tactile, and auditory ways.”

Image via RTimages/shutterstock 

3The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, MA

In the early 1930s, Chester Lindsay Churchill, an architect, visited the headquarters of the New York Daily News where a twelve-foot globe in the lobby made a real impression on him. And thus the Mapparium was born. Originally called the “Glass Room,” this world-famous, three-story, stained-glass globe offers a three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935. Your teens will love the accompanying original presentation featuring an orchestration of words, music, and LED lights to “illustrate how ideas have traversed time and geography and changed the world.”

Image via Joseph Sohm/shutterstock

4National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TX

Your kids are living in a new era of a fight for civil rights, and this trip into history can offer inspiration and hope. There are no better words than from the museum itself: “Slavery. Separate but equal. Boycotts. Assassinations. Black power. This is the history of the uprising that pushed national and international civil rights forward.”

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5Salem Witch Museum, Salem, MA

Teenagers often think everything you do and say as their parents is unfair! Remind them of true injustice with a fun trip to the Salem Witch Museum. The museum’s main presentation brings the drama of 1692 to life through stage sets, figures, lighting, and a chilling narration. Witness the web of lies and intrigue based on actual trial documents.

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6Hawaii National Volcano Park

Teens are teetering between your house rules and the imminent control they’ll have over their lives when they leave for college. Remind them how amazing the forces of nature are with a visit to the Hawaii Volcanoes. “Each eruption is a reminder of the power of natural processes to change the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, and the sea that surrounds this volcanic island we call home.” If these impressive peaks don’t remind them that so many things are beyond our control, nothing will.

Image via Choose Chicago

7Millennium Park, Chicago, IL

All year round, this park offers art installations, outdoor concerns, film screenings, and family yoga in the heart of the Windy City. Millennium Park is over 25 acres of “awe-inspiring landscape, breathtaking architecture, and an iconic collection of public art” and a destination you surely won’t want to miss. Get your cameras ready for a shot in front of “The Bean,” where you’ll not only capture your own fun-house-like reflection, but also the incredible downtown Chicago skyline.

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8Coconut Grove, Miami, FL

Known as the “Magic City,” Miami has plenty to offer for a family vacation. Visit Coconut Grove, Miami’s original neighborhood, founded in 1873. This area features a distinct bohemian flair, honoring its founders' roots with an eclectic mix of pioneers, artists, intellectuals, and adventurers. Locals view the tropical oasis as an escape from the stress of city live. Enjoy the laid-back boutiques, eat at a charming sidewalk cafe, and gaze at the sailboats anchored in the bay.  

Image via MyImages - Micha/shutterstock 

9Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World (yes, World), Cedar Point is sure to bring a smile to your too-cool-for-parents teenager. They’ll be gripping your arms on one of the 18 thrilling roller coasters, including the Monster, the maXair, the Power Tower, and the stand-up coaster, The Mantis.

Image via Yosemite Park

10Yosemite National Park, California

It’s no secret that teens need a reminder that there’s more to life than the inside of their rooms. The majesty of Yosemite will strike them with awe. With its impressive peaks and waterfalls, your family can hike and sleep in nature and never forget a moment of the magic, even once they're back to their screens and friends.

Image via Allen.G/shutterstock

11Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH

Remind your kids how cool you can be with a trip to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Get up close to iconic memorabilia like Michael Jackson’s sequined glove or Mick Jagger’s most famous tour cape. But this museum isn’t all about the days of old; the new exhibit Right Here, Right Now highlights contemporary artistics your kids are rockin' today.

Image via stockphoto mania/shutterstock

12Dinosaur Valley, Glen Rose, TX

On the heels of the outrageous popularity of the film Jurassic World, there’s no cooler destination than a hunt for evidence of dinos. Long ago, dinosaurs left footprints in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean, which today can be found in the bed of the Paluxy River.

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13Niagara Falls, NY

Located on the border of the U.S. and Canada, America’s oldest state park is arguably its most amazing. Don’t miss the Cave of the Winds Tour or the Maid of the Mist boat ride to get a shot from the base of the Falls. Splurge on the food and the view from the Top of the Falls Restaurant, where Niagara Falls “fills floor-to-ceiling picture windows from every seat in the house.”

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14Grand Canyon, Arizona

This iconic American spot will remind your teens that they are a small blip in the universe (as opposed to thinking life begins and ends with them). It’s a perfect excursion to simply walk up and take some pictures, but those who plan ahead can enjoy a bike ride or tour by mule (which typically book one year in advance).

Image via Lorcel/shutterstock

15Yellowstone National Park

America’s very first national park spans three states -- Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Go to enjoy nature and spot bison, elk, bears, wolves, or bighorn sheep. Don’t miss Old Faithful, the cone geyser in Wyoming, who has been spouting off steam every 90 minutes since well before she was named in 1870!

Image via littleny/shutterstock

16Ground Zero, New York City, NY

Chances are you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers. Your kids, however, are too young to remember or weren’t even born yet, but they’re learning about it in school. Visiting the Ground Zero site and the museum will help them connect to their lessons and their country.

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17Lake George, NY

There’s no shortage of family-friendly activities in beautiful Lake George. Beaches, boating, farmers' markets, fishing, golfing, and camping -- you could spend a week and never run out of things to do. For the water enthusiasts who want a lake alternative, try Water Slide World to experience New York’s #1 wave pool.

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