With spring break in the rearview mirror and summer vacation nearly upon us, June is the month that many families begin travel planning in earnest. It also marks the beginning of the busiest and most expensive travel season, meaning there are fewer deals on hotels, vacation rentals and flights at the best family vacation spots. Fortunately, that’s not the case everywhere, and with a little know-how you can still enjoy cheap family vacations in some of the most popular places to visit in the U.S. and around the world.
This year, the best family vacation ideas for June span the globe from coastal New England to the waterpark capital of the world. Here’s where to go in June to get a head start on your summer travels.
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As the third largest city in the U.S. and a staple of Midwest family vacations, it’s no wonder Chicago offers endless entertainment options for young and old. While you might save a bit more by visiting in the spring or fall, June offers a perfect balance between good weather and affordable prices. To snag the best deals, book as far in advance as possible and purchase tickets for any major attractions at the same time.
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Take advantage of June’s pleasant weather (daytime highs reach into the upper 70s Fahrenheit) and make Pier Park at Navy Pier your first stop. Right on the harbor, you can reach new heights on the climate-controlled Ferris wheel, take a spin on the Wave Swinger, ride the 1920s-inspired carousel, or navigate the 4,000-square-foot funhouse maze. While at Navy Pier, take the little ones to explore the Chicago Children’s Museum and its Art Studio, Tinkering Lab, Dinosaur Expedition and Story Hub for a toddler-friendly vacation experience you’ll enjoy as much as the kids do.
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From there, the Museum Campus is only a 45-minute walk along the water – passing Millenium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago – and provides a full day’s worth of activities, including the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium.
2. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
With its cute seaside villages, rustic seafood shacks and picturesque lighthouses, millions of visitors flock to Massachusetts’ Cape Cod every summer. But June isn’t nearly as busy as July and August, which means you can enjoy slightly lower prices and fewer crowds while still taking advantage of the early summer weather. Average temperatures hover in the 70s during the day and the 50s at night, so bring your beach essentials when visiting.
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Among the top things to do in June on the Cape are catch a flick at Wellfleet Drive-In Theater, grab a scoop of homemade ice cream at the Cape Cod Creamery, visit one of the many lighthouses or windmills, see authentic pirate treasure at the Whydah Pirate Museum and get a front-row seat to humpbacks on a whale watch tour. And don’t miss the Cape Cod Children’s Museum, with its 20 interactive exhibits, or the Cape Codder Water Park with its 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor fun.
3. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
With a slew of outdoor waterparks, indoor waterparks, amusement parks and an exciting downtown, Wisconsin Dells caters to families and has been welcoming travelers of all ages for generations. June is a great time to visit “The Waterpark Capital of the World” because everything is open and the weather is still accommodating for outdoor fun. The average high temperature is 75 degrees, though rain is a possibility this time of year.
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When it’s time to get your feet wet, there are plenty of water parks to choose from, including Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park with the country’s first rotating waterslide, wave pools and water fortress, plus rollercoasters and go-karts; Noah’s Ark, America’s largest waterpark with 20 different slides; and the new Land of Natura, a natural adventure park featuring the country’s biggest floating water park and North America’s longest canopy tour.
Of course, the Dells is more than “just” its water parks and some fun things to do with kids in June include participating in a performance at Circus World, encountering hundreds of kinds of animals at Timbavati Wildlife Park, or sinking a hole-in-one at the mini-golf adventure park Timber Falls Park.
With balmy weather, sparse crowds,and good deals on flights and hotels, June is a particularly good time to visit Barbados. Yes, it’s the start of hurricane season in the Caribbean, but the island is at a low risk for storms. June is also the beginning of the Crop-Over Festival, which originally celebrated the end of the sugar cane harvest and now takes place over three months and features dance competitions, soca or calypso music and local food and crafts.
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The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and makes an ideal jumping-off point to explore the small British-influenced island. Start your family travel adventures here by diving underwater aboard the Atlantis Submarines Barbados to explore the natural reef or a shipwreck. Kids must be three feet tall and advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended.
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve provides the opportunity to see a range of animals in their own habitat, including monkeys, tortoises, parrots, iguanas and more. The tour is self-guided and most animals roam free.
The island’s beautiful Caribbean beaches are a major draw for visitors and some family-friendly spots include Bathsheba Beach, Folkestone Marine Park (ideal for toddlers) and Carlisle Bay.
Sugar Bay Barbados is the kind of kid-friendly family resort where parents can relax and kids can have fun. The all-inclusive resort has a Creche and Kids Clubs for kids (four months to 12 years old) and offers entertaining activities under close supervision by experienced nannies. For families on vacation with teenagers, the Teen Clubhouse is a popular spot for kids over 12. Adults can sample local rum drinks at one of the resort’s five on-site bars.
Known for the iconic Sydney Opera House perched over its harbor, Sydney attracts families throughout the year. Though winter in Australia technically starts in June, it’s an ideal time for North American families to visit. Temperatures are mild (average highs are in the 60s) and so are the crowds. And as for the prices, you’ll score good deals on airfare and lodging when you visit in June, too.
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Since the weather is still pleasant, you can enjoy many of the city’s famed outdoor attractions, including the Taronga Zoo Sydney, Luna Park amusement park, Royal Botanic Gardens and a Sydney Harbour Cruise aboard a tall ship. Adults and kids will both enjoy a day spent at Darling Harbour, which features the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Chinese Garden of Friendship, the Powerhouse Museum, a Ferris wheel and a children’s playground.
Those who want to reach new heights can tackle the Bridge Climb, which offers incredible views from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (kids must be at least eight years old) or get 360-degree views from the Sydney Tower Eye (kids under three are free). Advance bookings are highly encouraged.
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