Summertime is for family fun! So, load the whole crew into the car and set your sights on a family-friendly destination. And if fun is on the itinerary, you can’t go wrong with a trip to this area.
Before you plan your visit, check out some of our top picks for places to play, stay, and eat—and to have big-time family fun.
- When families come to this area, the first item on the itinerary is often Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. That’s because the park offers something for everyone—thrilling coasters for the older kids (and Mom and Dad!), kid-friendly rides for the youngsters, and a world-class water park that’s exciting for ALL ages!
- Santa’s Stables offers a more relaxing option for family fun. Skilled horseback guides will lead your group along scenic trails allowing you to take in beautiful views as you make memories. Have little ones in your group? They’ll love rides on Foxy the Pony!
- When you think Santa Claus, you probably think of toys. So, grab the kids and head to Santa’s TOYS. You’ll find thousands of specialty toys, including many STEM items that encourage learning. The kids can play while they browse—and you can do a little early Christmas shopping! (Hey, Moms: Evergreen Boutique & Christmas Shop is located nearby if you want to pop over to shop the unique seasonal décor and stylish women’s fashions!)
- Just in case toy shopping didn’t get the kids amped up enough, there’s always candy! Santa’s Candy Castle offers an amazingly huge selection of popular, old-fashioned, and hard-to-find candy, decadent hand-made chocolates, 35 flavors of hot cocoa, plus their famous frozen hot chocolate.
- Now that you’re energized from those sugary treats, it’s time for a visit to the Santa Claus Museum & Village. Learn about the town, take a family selfie with the historic 22-foot tall Santa statue, and then write a letter to Santa inside the town’s original post office (you’ll receive a letter back in December!).
- If outdoor fun is more your family’s style, you’ll want to spend at least a day enjoying all Lincoln State Park has to offer. Hike 10 miles of trails, climb to the top of the fire tower, rent a kayak or paddleboat and cruise around Lake Lincoln, or simply splash in the lake and play on the beach.
- And if you like to learn a little when you’re on vacation, Lincoln Pioneer Village & Museum is the place for your family. You’ll think you’ve stepped back in time when you tour 13 Lincoln-era replica cabins. Then head inside the museum for a history lesson about this area.
- Holiday Drive-In Movie Theater puts a fun spin on the typical family movie night. Grab some goodies from the concession stand (or bring your own treats), then cuddle up in the car to watch a double feature of family-friendly films under the stars.
Want More Family Fun?
If you’re looking for even more things to do, this area offers fun for golfers, wine lovers, shoppers, and sightseers, too!
Home Away from Home
- If you’re looking for more than just a place to lay your head, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort is a great choice. You can choose from a cottage, cabin, or rental RV—or bring your own camper or tent. But that’s not all! There’s an onsite swimming pool, splash pad, water park, fishing, paddleboats, gem mining, free mini-golf, planned family activities, and so much more. Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort is right next door to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari!
- Santa’s Lakeside Cottages is located near many of the area’s popular attractions. But they offer so many fun extras, you may not even need to leave the grounds! Five onsite lakes are stocked for catch-and-release fishing and the pool and splash pad allow for hours of fun. Kids and adults can take a tour of the grounds on the Reindeer Express Train and then visit Elf Park, which features wooden carvings, a reindeer feeding station, swings, and more.
- At Lincoln Pines Lakefront Resort, each cottage is named after something significant to Abraham Lincoln’s life and features a Lincoln-themed interior. But that’s just where the fun begins. Enjoy the lake, swimming pool, two playgrounds, basketball court, game room with arcade games… and so much more!
- Yes, Lincoln State Park is on this list twice. That’s because it’s a great place for families to play and stay! Charming, rustic cabins are available to rent, or you can claim a campsite for your own camper or tent.
Looking for a vacation rental or hotel?
See all places to stay in the area.
- Fun is right in the name of Frosty’s Fun Center. And for good reason. It’s a restaurant and arcade in one! With a menu of pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream and retro-cool décor, Frosty’s is sure to delight the young and young-at-heart in your family.
- If the family has worked up an appetite traveling from site to site, Fat Daddy’s Grill & Chill is the perfect roadside stop. With convenient walk-up and drive-thru windows, the restaurant offers a selection of burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream favorites. Enjoy your meal at the outside tables, or pack it along to the nearby Ohio River for a picnic with a view.
- Ice cream seems to be a common theme for family-friendly dining, so here’s another great place to try: S&S BBQ & Annie’s Ice Cream. Treat everyone to a cone or a unique flavored milkshake… but first try nachos, macaroni and cheese, and baked potatoes piled high with saucy barbecue pork.
- What kid doesn’t love tacos? Los Panchos offers tacos and a full menu of other Mexican favorites. But what really makes this restaurant a must for families is that your meal is served inside a genuine train caboose. You can chew chew in a choo choo!
Still hungry? Find even more great places to eat!
The fun doesn’t have to wait until you arrive here. Our Trip Planner tool is a fun and easy way to build your itinerary. You can browse all of the area’s attractions, add your favorites to the planner, and even email the itinerary to yourself and the members of your family!