By Family Vacation Critic

Family vacations typically trend toward theme parks and road trips to the same well-trodden destinations. Not surprisingly, Florida, California and New York have been holding steady as the top three most popular U.S. states to visit, according to a 2017 survey from the Family Travel Association and New York University School of Professional Studies. And national parks, a perennial favorite among families of school-aged children, are suffering from overcrowding drawing more and more numbers of visitors every year to the detriment of the parks' natural environment.

The answer? Think about the American destinations where you're less likely to find crowds and more likely to find hidden gems and cool experiences to share with your kids. These are the most underrated family vacations in the U.S.

2. Mississippi Gulf Coast

Instead of hitting up the overcrowded Florida beaches, consider visiting a more under-the-radar option in Mississippi, which is easy on the budget and every bit as exciting for kids.

Take your family on a shrimping trip in Biloxi, which will show you how shrimpers cast their nets for these tasty critters - there's nothing fresher than this. Visit the Infinity Science Center, with exhibits on space travel and local ecology, plus a Hurricane Prediction Lab. And don't forget to make plenty of time for the beach and exploring nature. The Pascagoula River Audubon Center and the Center for Marine Education and Research have hands-on exhibits for learning about the wildlife that live in this coastal region. You can also charter a boat for a scenic cruise, or go fishing off the pier or shore.

Recommended Hotel: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Biloxi 


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