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Destinations for Family-Friendly Senior Grad Trips

by Teresa Bitler

May 10, 2019

Monkey Business Images – Dreamstime.com


More and more high school seniors are taking epic trips with family or friends after graduation. Celebrate your senior’s success with a family-friendly senior trip to one of these fun-packed destinations.


New York City

What teen wouldn’t want to explore the Big Apple? Wow them with the must-sees: the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and Times Square. Then, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. (Tip: The 9/11 Museum may not be suitable for younger family members.)


No visit to New York City would be complete without catching a Broadway play or, if family members are 16 and up, being part of a live studio audience. Another option? Tour the film sites of some your family’s favorite shows with On Location Tours. When everyone works up an appetite, grab a slice on a New York pizza tour.


San Francisco

For a West Coast destination, try San Francisco. The family can walk or ride rented bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge, get locked up at Alcatraz Island, explore exotic shops in Chinatown and chow down on sourdough bread and fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf. After, head to Pier 39 to discover the laser-dodging 7D Experience, escape Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze and soar over San Francisco on The Flyer flight simulator.


Nature and science lovers will love San Francisco. Don’t miss the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum where you can easily spend half a day, or the California Academy of Sciences, home to an aquarium, planetarium, four-story living rainforest and natural history museum.



If your senior is a thrill seeker, take them to Orlando. Walt Disney World alone boasts four parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom — and two waterparks. Universal Orlando Resort is home to Universal Studios, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Jurassic Park-themed rides. Even SeaWorld Orlando has rollercoasters and a flight simulator.


For a change of pace, venture beyond the amusement parks. You can see thousands of alligators and crocodiles at Gatorland or encounter them in the wild on a swamp boat tour. Not far away, have a blast at the Kennedy Space Center learning about space flight and maybe even watch a launch.


Washington, D.C.

There’s more to Washington, D.C. than the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. Some of the nation’s best museums are here. Check out the National Air & Space Museum, home to the original Wright flyer, Spirit of St. Louis and Apollo 11 command module. Or, see the flag that inspired our national anthem at the National Museum of American History. There’s even an entire museum, the International Spy Museum, dedicated to spies.


Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Photo: Erik Lattwein – Dreamstime.com


While in D.C., spend some time exploring the city’s neighborhoods, starting with Georgetown. M Street is lined with boutique shops and brand-name retailers, including some of your teen’s favorites like H&M and Forever 21. Or, head to nearby Mount Vernon, our first president’s estate.



Have a teen who wants to travel internationally? Plan a senior grad trip to London to see some of Europe’s most iconic sites, including Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben and the Coca-Cola London Eye. If your family likes sightseeing, add the British Museum, House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to the itinerary.


Most teens will also enjoy shopping for high fashions on Carnaby Street or searching London’s vintage shops for one-of-a-kind looks. And, Harry Potter fans will want to explore Harry’s London, then head to WB Studio Harry Potter World to see the sets, props and costumes used to make the movie.


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