5 Family Amusement Parks That Are Perfect for Group Travel

One of my favorite aspects of social media is how connected it allows us to be with one another. It offers us an inside look into pictures and videos of our friends, sharing their milestones, family vacations, birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. Still, it’s always a good idea to make time to catch up with family and friends in person — and one of the best ways to do that is during vacation!

If you are planning a vacation with your family and another family, I have rounded up five of my favorite amusement and theme park destinations that are perfect for your crew to connect with each other! These destinations make planning a large group trip much easier because your accommodations, dining options and entertainment are all in one place. 

Great Wolf Lodge: Grapevine, Texas

There are 19 Great Wolf Lodge locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. We are lucky to have one just a few miles from our home in Texas. If you are planning to check out the location in Grapevine, fly into Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport; the waterpark is a 25-minute drive away from there.

What to Do: Great Wolf Lodge is a large hotel with both indoor and outdoor waterparks. The indoor waterpark is open year-round. The outdoor waterpark is massive with different pool areas, lazy river, obstacle courses, water slides and hot tubs. Life jackets are available and suggested for guests less than 48 inches tall, as well as weak and non-swimmers. If you and the kids need to take a break from the water, you can head over to the arcade, Build-A-Bear Workshop, XD Theater, the ropes course and many other activities found here. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and treat yourself to the Fitness Center and Spa.

What to Eat:  The lodge is all about family, so every restaurant takes family-friendly to a new level!  Don’t miss things like the character breakfast at The Loos Moose Cottage or grabbing a bucket of food inside the waterpark.

Where to Stay: Staying at the lodge is the only way to access the waterpark and other attractions. Our favorite room is the KidCabin Suite, which offers three twin bunks inside their own “cabin.” It is rare we find a hotel room that can comfortably accommodate our family of five without someone sleeping on a sofa or floor, and this suite does the trick.

What Age Kids to Bring: This destination is perfect for any age. There are plenty of splash areas in the waterpark to keep even the most adventurous toddler/preschooler engaged. There are height requirements on the larger slides, but plenty to do for those who don’t qualify. If babies are involved, I would recommend renting a cabana to have a place to get away without leaving the waterpark.

Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Orlando, Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge feels like it is a secluded safari destination, but in reality, it is in the middle of all the action at Walt Disney World!  I visited a couple of years ago and loved how the lodge had something new to discover around every corner. To kickstart your travels, fly into Orlando International Airport to pick up your rental car. The theme park is about a 30-minute drive away.

What to Do: There are over 30 species of African wildlife just outside the lodge’s door. You can see zebras, giraffes, gazelles, flamingos and more. The hotel pool is massive and has a waterslide, too.

What to Eat: There are several on-site restaurants and lounges; The Mara and Sanna are great because they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lodge also offers room service, which is great if your group wants to enjoy a big in-room feast together or a late-night snack.

Where to Stay: The lodge has suites that can fit an entire family, with bunk beds for the kids. If you are looking for accommodations that allow one large group to stay under the same roof, there are also villas available with more space and a kitchen.

What Age Kids to Bring: There is something for someone at every age at Disney! When we travel with kids to theme parks, it’s always nice to spend the morning at the park when it’s cooler, go back to the room for a nap after lunch and head to the pool later in the afternoon. When traveling with multiple families, the rest time is always important!

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge


Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center: Denver, Colorado

We are planning to vacation here later this summer with another family. It all started when I was at a convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Tennessee with another mother. We looked around and saw how many activities our kids would enjoy at the resort and decided to connect at the newest Gaylord Resort in Colorado over the summer. To get to the Gaylord Rockies Resort, fly into Denver International Airport. The resort is a quick 17-minute drive away.

What to Do: The resort has an indoor and outdoor waterpark, along with additional family entertainment such as an escape room and mini golf.

What to Eat: There are multiple on-site restaurants and bars. You can’t beat starting the morning off at The Cocoa Bean for a great cup of coffee and catching some poolside dining at the Arapahoe Spring Bar & Grill for lunch or dinner. Gaylord Hotels has an “Extraordinary Kids” program that includes a special kids’ menu with a healthy twist.

Where to Stay: The resort has a variety of hotel rooms available and the amenities and waterparks are only accessible to guests.

What Age Kids to Bring: Because the waterpark is more pool-based with less splash areas for younger kids, this would be a better fit for kids over the age of four.


Legoland Castle Hotel: Carlsbad, California

If you are meeting another family with small children, Legoland California is one of my best recommendations. We have spent as long as a week and had plenty to do! Families can settle into a rhythm of visiting the park early and riding their favorite rides first.  As the weather warms up, you could meet at the Legoland Waterpark or head back to the hotel pool (or room for a nap).  Not only is this an amusement park, but there are Lego building classes and educational fun for all ages. You can begin your vacation to Legoland by flying into San Diego International Airport. The park is roughly a 50-minute drive from the airport.

What to Do: Legoland California features a theme park, water park and Sea Life Aquarium. Legoland Castle Hotel has a large pool area and nightly children’s activities. The hotel has character Meet & Greets, Lego building competitions, and other great things to do as a small or large group.

What to Eat: The Legoland Castle Hotel includes a full hot breakfast with your stay. There is an on-site restaurant in addition to the Burger Stop, Ninja Kitchen and other great restaurants available throughout Legoland Park. 

Where to Stay: We chose the Legoland Castle Hotel because it is the newest of the hotels attached to the park. Staying at one of the park hotels offers exclusive early access to the park, which gets you into the park at least 30 minutes before the park officially opens to the public. Visitors can also choose a themed room that best fits the family: Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard.

What Age Kids to Bring: Legoland guests skew younger than the other theme parks because most of the rides are appropriate for younger kids (and not scary). I would recommend visiting before kids are over the age of 12 unless you have a rabid Lego fan.

Legoland California Legoland California


North Texas Jellystone Park, Burleson, Texas

This destination is on our list to visit in the future. It is a campground where you can choose stay in a tent, RV or a cabin. If traveling with multiple families, this place is great because each family can choose how rustic or pampered they want to stay. The park also offers catering for groups!  Fly into Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport, where the drive to the park is about 45-minutes away.

What to Do: Jellystone Park has swimming pools, laser tag, an escape room, paintball, an art zone, fishing, an outdoor maze, train rides, scavenger hunts, a climbing area and a variety of other sports and games. It is right next door to the Pirate Cove’s Water Park.

What to Eat: This is a destination where you need to bring your own food. The park doesn’t have a restaurant, unless you head over to Pirates Cove Waterpark, but does have an ice cream shop, Kountry Kreamery, and convenience store, Ranger Station, that has grilling items, drinks and snacks. For groups, the park does offer catering, so this could be a great option if you don’t want to cook for a lot of people.

Where to Stay: The park has something for everyone! Choose to stay in a primitive tent site along Buffalo Creek, an RV site, or if traditional camping isn’t for you, you can stay in the Farmhouse, Bunkhouse or one of the Family Cabins.

What Ages Kids to Bring: There is something for everyone here!

Family Scavenger Hunt

As a way to have both families involved in the fun of traveling together, here is a Vacation Photo Scavenger Hunt to do during your trip!  This may be a good opportunity for some friendly family competition.

Download & print by clicking here

I hope you are inspired to start planning a joint vacation with another family (or two) to deepen your connection! 

Vacation Stories

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About the Author

Holly Homer

Holly Homer runs the blog “Kids Activities,” which aims to provide inspiration and realistic ideas to moms for more family fun. As a mom to three boys, Holly finds time to conquer both passions of blogging and parenting with ease.