5 Best Family Vacation Destinations From Milwaukee (2022)

Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

MKE With Kids is proud to be partnering with Mitchell International Airport (MKE) to spread the word about these top-notch family vacation destinations.

Families need a getaway like never before. After the last couple of years, a family vacation brings a welcome change of scenery, new memories, adventure, and bonding time.

These family-friendly vacation destinations are easy to get to from Milwaukee, with multiple nonstop flights from MKE.

Why choose Mitchell International Airport (MKE)?

  • Parking at MKE is easy, with plenty of short and long-term options available at affordable rates.
  • Security lines are generally shorter and flow steadily.
  • Easy to navigate, especially with little ones in tow.
  • Coat Check and Trunk-to-Terminal Service for cold-weather months.
  • Unlimited free Wi-Fi (Start up the Peppa Pig stat!)
  • Mamava Breastfeeding and Lactation Suites
  • Children’s Play Areas
  • Family restrooms
  • New and improved spacious baggage claim
  • Participant in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program 

5 Best Family Vacations From MKE

1. Orlando, Florida

Palm trees and skyscrapers in Lake Eola park in Orlando, Florida.
Palm trees and skyscrapers in Lake Eola park in Orlando, Florida.

With it’s open-air theme parks, expansive water parks and amazing attractions, Orlando is the ultimate family vacation destination.

Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit airlines all offer nonstop service from Milwaukee to Orlando.

You can plan an epic stay at Disney World, visit Universal Studios, make a splash at Sea World, or spend a day or more at the massive Lego Land theme park. Lego Land Florida is the first theme park resort to be officially designated as a Certified Autism Center.

Mel's Drive-in at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Mel’s Drive-in at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Orlando is also home to other lesser-known but popular amusement parks like Fun Spot America and Wonderworks. ICON Park, which has an aquarium, a wax museum, on-site restaurants, and more.

The Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit for families, where you can get up close with Space Shuttle Atlantis, relive the launch of the first crewed NASA mission to orbit the Moon in 1968, walk among the Rocket Garden, and more.

The shopping and dining opportunities in the Orlando area are seemingly endless. Some of the best options for families include the Disney Boardwalk, Universal CityWalk, Old Town, and Celebration Town Center.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Sports lovers can watch an Orlando Magic Game, or cheer on the Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Pride, the city’s women’s soccer team. Orlando is also the home of the USTA National Campus, the heart of American Tennis.

To start planning your trip, head to the MKE website.


2. Seattle, Washington

Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington.
Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington.

The iconic Space Needle and Mt. Rainier’s glorious peak will greet you when you touch down in this West Coast gem.

Alaska Airlines offers nonstop service from Milwaukee to Seattle.

Stroll through the Pike Place Market, where your kids will love watching the vendors toss around giant fish to expedite their sales. For a quirky stop, contribute to the ever-growing sticky and colorful gum wall (you read that right!).

Your kids will love taking a ride on the Great Wheel, and touring Theo’s Chocolate Factory where you’ll see how they make their chocolate from scratch. It includes a tasting, of course!

View of downtown Seattle, Washington.
View of downtown Seattle, Washington.

The museum scene is strong in Seattle, including the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Children’s Museum, the Museum of Flight, and the Seattle Art Museum.

Plus, animal lovers will love the Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Aquarium.

Take advantage of being on the water with a boat tour of Lake Washington, the Puget Sound, or the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (locally known as the Ballard Locks). Taking a ride on the Washington State Ferry is also a memorable experience.

Hiking options abound, as well. The Discovery Park Loop Trail is a good option for families. It’s 2.8 miles long with a moderate elevation change of just 140 feet. You’ll hike through forest and meadows and be rewarded with beautiful views. Evan’s Creek Preserve and Centennial Trail has ADA and stroller accessible trails.

For sports lovers, catch a Seahawks football game, Mariners baseball game, or Sounders soccer game.

To start planning your trip, head to the MKE website.


3. Washington, D.C.

Southwest flies nonstop from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C.
Southwest flies nonstop from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C.

For history buffs and curious school-age kids, the nation’s capital thoroughly delivers.

Even better, Southwest flies nonstop from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C.

Stroll through the majestic National Mall with its impressive monuments and memorials, tour the White House free of charge (they’re back!), and visit the solemn and moving Arlington National Cemetery.

Other must-visit museums and attractions include the Smithsonian and the National Museum of American History.

Kids will love the International Spy Museum where you can test your spy skills at seventeen different digital and physical interactive exhibits, and the National Building Museum, where they can learn about engineering and architecture, and build a LEGO Skyscraper.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in downtown Washington, D.C.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in downtown Washington, D.C.

Take some time to smell the roses at the United States Botanic Garden on the grounds of the Capitol (don’t miss the Children’s Garden!). Other parks you’ll want to visit include Yard Park along the Anacostia River, Georgetown Waterfront Park on the Potomac, and the magnificent Beauvoir Outdoor Playground, which you can visit on weekends.

Sports fans can cheer on the Washington Nationals baseball team, the Wizards basketball team, the Capitals hockey team, the Commanders football team, and the United soccer team.

To start planning your trip, head to the MKE website.


4. Phoenix, Arizona

Spring Brittlebush blossoms in the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix, Arizona.
Spring Brittlebush blossoms in the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix, Arizona.

There’s no better place to escape a cold Wisconsin winter than in hot and sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

American, Southwest, Spirit, and Sun Country all offer nonstop service from Milwaukee to Arizona.

You’ll want to spend plenty of time outside on your trip, and Papago Park is a great place to start. You can hike the red butte formations, including the iconic Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, plus access the nearby Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.

If your family likes adventure, you can opt for an ATV Desert Tour or a Hot Air Balloon Ride. There are also plenty of amusement parks, including Enchanted Island, Six Flags, the Golfland Sunsplash water park, and the LegoLand Discovery Center.

Take a step back in time in Frontier Town, located in Cave Creek, Arizona.
Take a step back in time in Frontier Town, located in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Wildlife opportunities abound in Phoenix. You can explore the OdySea Aquarium, the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, and Sea Life Arizona.

Another exciting destination is Butterfly Wonderland, an indoor, interactive rainforest habitat housing thousands of butterflies.

Cool off in one of the city’s world class museums. The Arizona Science Center, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum (American Indian Art), the Children’s Museum, and the Musical Instrument Museum, all have their home here.

A must-visit stop is Goldfield Ghost Town, a reconstructed 1890s town with gold-mine tours, Old West gunfights, a history museum & more.

Your kids will also love McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, a railroad park located in Scottsdale with a Magma Arizona Railroad locomotive, a railroad museum, three model railroad club, and more.

Old Town Scottsdale is a charming destination for dining and shopping, and you can also catch a professional sports game featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team, the Coyotes NHL team, or the Arizona Cardinals football team.

Phoenix is also a great jumping off point for some epic day trips, including Sedona, Saguaro National Park (home to the nation’s largest cacti), and the majestic Grand Canyon.

To start planning your trip, head to the MKE website.


5. Atlanta, Georgia

When choosing your next family vacation, don’t overlook Georgia’s largest and most vibrant city.

Atlanta is home to plenty of attractions the whole family will love, and Delta and Southwest fly nonstop from Milwaukee.

No visit to downtown Atlanta is complete without a stop in Centennial Olympic Park. You can ride the ferris wheel day or night for a beautiful view of the skyline.

Nearby, you can go behind the scenes at CNN, tour the World of Coca-Cola, and honor the late civil right leaders at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Explore the deep sea at the Georgia Aquarium.
Explore the deep sea at the Georgia Aquarium.

Other popular attractions for families include the Georgia Aquarium, the Legoland Discovery Center, Zoo Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia, the drive-through Wild Animal Safari, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.

Sensory-friendly attractions include Zoo Atlanta, with certified resources and accommodations for guests with sensory needs, and the Georgia Aquarium, which is designated as a Certified Autism Center. 

You can also take a step back in time at the Atlanta History Center and the Fernbank Museum of National History, and walk through Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Library and Museum.

Nature lovers will appreciate the magnificent Callaway Gardens and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Stone Mountain Park is another must-visit stop. The Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad circles the perimeter of the park, providing beautiful views of the mountain along the way.

Cheer on the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.
Cheer on the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.

Cheer on the Atlanta Braves, Falcons, Hawks, and United Soccer Team, and check out the College Football Hall of Fame downtown.

To start planning your trip, head to the MKE website.


Why MKE

Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is easy to navigate for families with kids.
Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is easy to navigate for families with kids.

Your family vacation starts early at the Mitchell International Airport, where there are many new dining and shopping options pre-security, as well as in the individual terminals.

Enjoy local favorites like Baron’s Beer Garden, Pizzeria Piccola, and Miller Brewhaus.

Stop by the beloved and quirky Renaissance Books for a huge selection of new and used books, with a great children’s section.

Don’t miss the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, a free aviation museum open 24/7, located just above the escalators from check-in. Your kids can learn about southeastern Wisconsin’s aviation and space heritage.

Visit Bronzeville Crossing, Miler: The Brewery Shop, and the Summerfest Marketplace for a Milwaukee-centric shopping experience.

To start planning your next family vacation, head to the MKE website.

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