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Whereverfamily.com Announces the Winners of the 2023 Wherever Awards

by Kimberly Inlander

Apr 19, 2023



WhereverFamily, Global Traveler’s sister web publication, is the trusted source for family travel, bringing readers daily content on all things family travel at a variety of budgets, destinations, familial configurations and much more. Readers from whereverfamily.com selected their favorites in the world of travel during the voting period, and now it’s time for fun and celebration as we announce those winners. Congratulations to all the honorees in the 2023 Wherever Awards, now in its sixth year!


Let’s start with the family-friendly skies. United Airlines wins Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airline for the fourth year, alongside its MileagePlus program, Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Flyer Program, also four years running. Air Canada reappears this year, taking home two honors: Best Family- Friendly Airline in North America, for five consecutive years, and Best Family-Friendly International Airline for a fourth year.



Next up, let’s take a look at the winning family-friendly hotels and resorts. Marriott Hotels & Resorts earns two nods this year: Best Family-Friendly Hotel Chain, second year running, and Best Family-Friendly Resort Chain, also for the second time. Best Family-Friendly Individual Hotel goes to Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, Canada. IHG One Rewards appears on the winners’ list as Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Stay Program, while Paradisus wins Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Hotel. Sonesta Hotels and Resorts takes home the Best Family-Friendly Pet Hotel accolade, and for kids clubs, the big winner is Terranea, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Best Family-Friendly Hotel Kids Club.


Moving on, we have three travel providers to recognize: Best Family-Friendly Vacation Company goes to Hilton Grand Vacations, National Geographic Family Journeys takes the Best Family-Friendly Domestic Tour Company award, and Best Family-Friendly International Tour Company is National Geographic Vacations.


Grab the fam and sail away with our next round of winners — cruise lines. For the second consecutive year, Celebrity Cruises wins Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line, while Regent Seven Seas earns Best Family-Friendly Multigen Cruise Line. MSC Cruises Junior Club takes home Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line Kids Club.


Now, let’s take a look at the award- winning, family-friendly co-branded credit cards: United Explorer Card from Chase, Best Family-Friendly Credit Card, six years running ; Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase, Best Family-Friendly Credit Card Rewards Program, also a six-time winner; and Royal Caribbean Visa Signature, Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line Credit Card.



Where to go with your family? Four-time winner Tahiti was chosen Best Family- Friendly International Destination. Domestically, Charleston, South Carolina, is Best Family-Friendly Domestic Destination for the third year in a row. Aruba wins Best Family-Friendly Caribbean Island, besting a three-time winner. In the Northeast, Ocean City, Maryland, wins Best Family- Friendly Beach Town, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, for the second consecutive year, while Virginia Beach takes an honor for the fourth time as Best Family-Friendly Beach, Southeast. Three Florida cities represent Best Family-Friendly Beach Towns based on location: Amelia Island, best in the east, with Tampa Bay in the west and Pensacola Beach in the panhandle. Gulfport, Mississippi, is Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Gulf Coast; with other domestic winners including Galveston, Texas, Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Texas, for the second year in a row; Santa Monica, California, Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, West; and Lanai City, Lanai, Best Family- Friendly Beach Town, Hawai‘ian Islands, a two-time winner. Greece secures its spot as Best Family-Friendly Multigen Destination of the Year.


Whereverfamily.com added categories this year to the Wherever Awards, acknowledging the best college and sports towns and cities around the country. Here’s our inaugural class of winners: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, takes two as Best Family-Friendly College Town, East, and Best Family-Friendly College Sports City/Town, Large; Best Family-Friendly College Town, South, is Tampa, Florida; Lawrence, Kansas, wins Best Family-Friendly College Town, Midwest, and Best Family- Friendly College Sports City/Town, Mid-Sized; and Best Family-Friendly College Town, West is Tempe, Arizona. For Best Family-Friendly Sports City/Town, Large, we have Houston, Texas, and as Best Family- Friendly Sports City/Town, Mid-Sized, the winner is Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rounding out this category is South Bend, Indiana, home of Notre Dame, as Best Family-Friendly College Sports City/Town, Small.


Let’s take a moment here to acknowledge the winning airports in this year’s survey: Besting a three-time winner, Orlando International Airport earned Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airport accolades; its international counterpart is Istanbul Grand Airport, Best Family-Friendly International Airport for the second consecutive year. Miami International Airport takes home its third nod for Best Family-Friendly Airport Dining, as does three-time Best Family-Friendly Airport Shopping winner, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.


Drumroll please for this year’s last three winners: Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, as Best Family-Friendly Amusement Park; Zoombezi Bay in Columbus, Ohio, as Best Family-Friendly Waterpark; and Sixt, Best Family-Friendly Rental Car Company.


This year, in addition to the Wherever Awards, we acknowledge family travel providers leading the way in the industry. Our Family Innovators of the Year accolades recognize a leader among airlines, hotels, resorts, rental cars, travel providers and destinations. Congratulations to this year’s honorees!


Virgin Atlantic aims to keep children happy in flight with tailored amenities such as kids’ menus, family entertainment and in-flight children’s games. Its fun and funky attitude with unique seat colors and lighting also appeals to the younger set, and that’s why the airline was named Family Innovator of the Year, Airline.


Hyatt delivers amenities for kids of all ages, from infant to teen. Camp Hyatt brings destination-based activities and age-appropriate experiences, and larger suites and villas can accommodate families of all sizes, earning Hyatt the title of Family Innovator of the Year, Hotel.


With two kids clubs, one for younger children and one for older kids and teens, as well as babysitting services, complimentary cribs, kids-stay-free promotions and connecting rooms and suites for larger families, it’s no wonder Dreams Resorts & Spas is Family Innovator of the Year, Resorts.


To make car rental stress-free for families, Hertz, Family Innovator of the Year, Rental Car, offers a range of child safety seats, a special Family Collection of cars that have 5-star NCAP safety ratings, and more.


Norwegian Cruise Line has been named Family Innovator of the Year, Travel Provider, for the strides it has made in the last year in the realm of family travel, as well as its freestyle dining system that accommodates even the pickiest of little palates.


A destination with mainstream appeal, Nashville, Tennessee, offers abundant options specifically for family travelers, with family-friendly programming, seasonal offerings, kid-pleasing dining and interesting attractions. Nashville, Tennessee, is this year’s Family Innovator of the Year, Destination.


Congratulations to the 2023 Wherever Awards winners!


Whereverfamily.com conducted a survey of its readers Dec. 6, 2022–Feb. 28, 2023, with open-ended questions for the best in many categories important to the family travel market (including multigenerational families). This survey was conducted online at whereverfamily.com/ wherever-awards and emailed during the period in question. Only those questionnaires where more than 50 percent of the questions were answered were counted. Those with less than 50 percent answered were discarded. Employees of the magazine or individuals associated with the travel industry could not participate.




Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airline
1. United Airlines
2. Delta Air Lines
3. American Airlines


Best Family-Friendly Airline in North America
1. Air Canada
2. United Airlines
3. American Airlines


Best Family-Friendly International Airline
1. Air Canada
2. TAP Air Portugal
3. United Airlines


Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Flyer Program
1. United MileagePlus
2. American Airlines AAdvantage
3. Air Canada Aeroplan


Best Family-Friendly Hotel Chain
1. Marriott Hotels and Resorts
2. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
3. Hilton Hotels


Best Family-Friendly Resort Chain
1. Marriott Hotels & Resorts
2. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
3. Meliá Hotels International


Best Family-Friendly Individual Hotel
1. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada
2. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
3. Four Seasons Resort Seychelles


Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Stay Program
1. IHG One Rewards
2. Marriott Bonvoy
3. Sol Melia Rewards


Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Hotel
1. Paradisus
2. Hyatt Ziva
3. Club Med


Best Family-Friendly Pet Hotel
1. Sonesta Hotels and Resorts
2. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
3. Kimpton Boutique Hotels + Restaurants


Best Family-Friendly Hotel Kids Club
1. Terranea, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
2. Sea Island, Georgia
3. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas


Best Family-Friendly Vacation Company 
1. Hilton Grand Vacations
2. Marriott Vacation Club
3. Disney Vacation Club


Best Family-Friendly Domestic Tour Company
1. National Geographic Family Journeys
2. Adventures by Disney
3. REI Adventures


Best Family-Friendly International Tour Company
1. National Geographic Vacations
2. Lindblad Expeditions
3. Adventures by Disney


Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line
1. Celebrity Cruises
2. Disney Cruise Line
3. Royal Caribbean


Best Family-Friendly Multigen Cruise Line
1. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
2. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
3. Azamara


Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line Kids Club
1. MSC Cruises Junior Club
2. Disney Cruise Line Oceaneer Club
3. Royal Caribbean Adventure Ocean


Best Family-Friendly Credit Card
1. United Explorer Card from Chase
2. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
3. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card


Best Family-Friendly Credit Card Rewards Program
1. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
2. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card
3. Delta SkyMiles American Express


Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line Credit Card
1. Royal Caribbean Visa Signature
2. Celebrity Cruises Visa Signature Card
3. The Carnival Mastercard


Best Family-Friendly International Destination
1. Tahiti
2. Italy
3. Costa Rica


Best Family-Friendly Domestic Destination
1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. Savannah, Georgia
3. Arizona


Best Family-Friendly Caribbean Island
1. Aruba
2. Dominican Republic
3. Jamaica


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic (Maine–Maryland)
1. Ocean City, Maryland
2. Kennebunkport, Maine
3. Southampton, New York


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Southeast (Virginia–Georgia)
1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
2. Savannah, Georgia
3. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Florida (East)
1. Amelia Island, Florida
2. West Palm Beach, Florida
3. St. Augustine, Florida


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Florida (West)
1. Tampa Bay, Florida
2. Sarasota, Florida
3. Marco Island, Florida


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Florida (Panhandle)
1. Pensacola Beach, Florida
2. Apalachicola, Florida
3. Seagrove Beach, Florida


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Gulf (Alabama/ Mississippi/Louisiana)
1. Gulfport, Mississippi
2. Orange Beach, Alabama
3. Dauphin Island, Alabama


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Texas
1. Galveston, Texas
2. Seabrook, Texas
3. Corpus Christi, Texas


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, West Coast
1. Santa Monica, California
2. Laguna Beach, California
3. Monterey, California


Best Family-Friendly Beach Town, Hawai‘ian Islands
1. Lanai City, Lanai
2. Waikiki, Oahu
3. Kailua-Kona, Big Island


Best Family-Friendly Multigenerational Destination of the Year
1. Greece
2. Ireland
3. Italy


Best Family-Friendly College Town, East
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. Boston, Massachusetts
3. Princeton, New Jersey


Best Family-Friendly College Town, South
1. Tampa, Florida
2. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
3. Raleigh, North Carolina


Best Family-Friendly College Town, Midwest
1. Lawrence, Kansas
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Madison, Wisconsin


Best Family-Friendly College Town, West
1. Tempe, Arizona
2. Seattle, Washington
3. Boulder, Colorado


Best Family-Friendly Sports City/Town, Large
1. Houston, Texas
2. San Diego, California
3. Seattle, Washington


Best Family-Friendly Sports City/Town, Mid-Sized
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
2. Cincinnati, Ohio
3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Best Family-Friendly College Sports City/Town, Large
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. San Diego, California
3. Seattle, Washington


Best Family-Friendly College Sports City/Town, Mid-Sized
1. Lawrence, Kansas
2. Durham, North Carolina
3. Ann Arbor, Michigan


Best Family-Friendly College Sports City/Town, Small
1. South Bend, Indiana
2. Bloomington, Indiana
3. Stillwater, Oklahoma


Best Family-Friendly Amusement Park
1. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
2. Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
3. Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania


Best Family-Friendly Waterpark
1. Zoombezi Bay, Columbus, Ohio
2. Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts, South Padre Island, Texas
3. Great Wolf Lodge


Best Family-Friendly Rental Car Company
1. Sixt
2. Hertz
3. National Car Rental


Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airport
1. Orlando International Airport
2. Tampa International Airport
3. Chicago O’Hare International Airport


Best Family-Friendly International Airport
1. Istanbul Grand Airport
2. Hamad International Airport, Doha
3. Incheon International Airport


Best Family-Friendly Airport Dining
1. Miami International Airport
2. Hamad International Airport, Doha
3. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport


Best Family-Friendly Airport Shopping
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
2. Orlando International Airport
3. Miami International Airport


Family Innovators of the Year

Virgin Atlantic


Dreams Resorts & Spas




Norwegian Cruise Line


Nashville, Tennessee


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