We all should aspire to spend a little bit more time with family, more so if you have kids. Playing around, and spending quality time with your kids helps you gauge their personalities and shape their behaviors. To rephrase a popular religious cliché, a family that plays together stays together.
One thing that kids love is the outdoors, especially if they get to have a shared, engaging experience with other children. Well-organized outdoor festivals for kids offer that, and more. Without further ado, here are the 12 best festivals in the US for kids, and for the entire family as well:
American Folk Festival
Where: Bangor Waterfront, Bangor
When: 23rd – 25th August 2019
The American Folk Festival, as the name suggests, is a massive cultural event held every August with the key objectives of showcasing folk music, craft and dance. The festival is held in the small city of Bangor, Maine and features art, music and crafts from all the different cultures of America and a few international groups as well. It is one of the biggest summer festivals in America and its chilled atmosphere makes it great for families and kids especially who get to learn more about their country. What’s more, entry is free so you only budget for the travel, food, and accommodation.
Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival
Where: Clearwater Beach, Florida
When: 12th – 28th April 2019
The sand festival is a perfect example of event that combines excitement, art, music and outdoor adventure for the whole family. The kids will get a chance to play with sand, take pics with accomplished sand sculptors and get their faces painted, among other kiddish stuff. For adults, there’s a VIP Lounge Experience, Sand Bar and a full Dining Experience. Additionally, the whole family can enjoy some buskers as well as movies by the beach.
Electric Forest Festival: A Touch of Outdoor Adventure with EDM
Where: Double JJ Ranch
When: 27th – 30th June 2019
Electronic music festivals are not exactly the best places to take your children, but the Electronic Forest Festival is one with a difference. Its key pillars are charity, community and sustainability, which are some of the values you (presumably) want to inculcate in your kids. That the festival is held in an expansive ranch, which is mostly forest, makes it amazing for camping, not to mention uninhibited song and dance. This year’s edition will be headlined by renowned EDM stars Kygo, Bassnectar and Odesza, with cameos from Snails, Black Tiger Sex Machine, the String Cheese Incident.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Where: Ashland, Oregon
When: 1st March – 27th October 2019
The Bard is indisputably one of the greatest artists of all time, and he is widely celebrated among both the linguistic and theater worlds. In Oregon, they celebrate William Shakespeare in the form of an 8-month festival called Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The festival showcases various historical plays and theatrical performances by William Shakespeare and a bunch of contemporary writers and poets as well, held in 3 playhouses around the town. This year’s edition will feature plays like Macbeth, All’s Well that Ends Well and Alice in Wonderland. Take your kids and let them experience classic art in the outdoors.
Homer Soda Festival
Where: Homer, Illinois
When: August 2019 (Date TBA)
The Homer Soda Festival presents a cool, happy vibe with lots of free-flowing soda and food, making it one of the must-attend family festivals of the year. The festival is organized by the Homer Soda Company, who regularly partner with other companies to present a complete show. Activities normally include soda tastings and cheap soda sales as well as street food and bouncing castles. Live musical performances by child-friendly artists are also included in the activity list as are carnival rides for the whole family. Talk of events designed and organized with children in mind!
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: One of The Most Authentically American Concerts
Where: Fair Grounds Race Course, New Orleans
When: 25th April to 5th May 2019
Popularly known as Jazz Fest, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is arguably New Orleans’s biggest cultural event. The festival has taken place every year for 49 years – this year’s edition will be the 50th anniversary – and has been headlined by big names like Aretha Franklin and Sting. This year’s show will feature, among others, Ziggy Marley, Jerry Lee Lewis Aaron Neville, Boz Scaggs, and Galactic. Like most outdoor American concerts, Jazz Fest features lots of food and drinks and for the kids, bouncing castles and other kids attractions.
Where: Miami Beach Florida
When: 5th – 8th December 2019
The Art Basel is a series of festivals held thrice a year, in 3 different continents. There are shows in Basel, Switzerland (hence the name), Miami Beach and Hong Kong, China. The festival is one of the best culture, music and movie festivals in America and one you should look towards taking your kids. There, they will see hundreds of art galleries by artists from around the world, taste a diverse variety of food from different cultures, and most importantly, meet other kids from different countries and cultures.
Lightning in a Bottle
Where: Central California
When: 8th – 13th May 2019
Our list doesn’t feature a lot of west coast festivals mainly because most of them are primarily geared towards adults. However, Lightning in a Bottle is an event for the whole family. It is regarded as one of the major transformational music festivals in the West Coach and is regularly headlined by the world’s biggest electronic artists. Apart from the music, there’s nice food and of course, the opportunity to enjoy some of California’s most popular sights and sounds. This festival would be an amazing opportunity to instill on your kids the essential values of sustainability, tolerance, cohesion and peace, which are the key objectives of the organizers.
Where: Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds
When: 4th – 6th October 2019
It may not have a storied history like most festivals in the list, having been first held in 2015, but the Dirtybird Campout is without a doubt one of the best camping festivals 2019. First off, the venue provides the best background for a wonderful experience with all the trees, water springs, beautiful chirping birds and overall magnificent scenery. The music selection is also favorable as the organizers tend to include artists from different genres. You have probably taken your kids to summer camp and no doubt they will appreciate a few days of fall camp too.
Where: Jackson, Wyoming
When: 18th – 19th May 2019
ElkFest is an annual festival held in Wyoming to celebrate elks in particular and wildlife in general. It is one geared for children, seeing as it is organized by the Boy Scouts organization. There’s even a dedicated kids corner for all types of games and educational materials as well. The main event is the antler harvesting and auction, where some attendees, under the guidance of the Boy Scouts, harvest and auction elk antlers to international visitors with profits going for a good cause. Exactly the right event to attend if you feel your little ones need practical lessons on wildlife conservation and charity.
Where: Grant Park, Chicago
When: 1st – 5th August
Lollapalooza is one of the most famous and popular United States music festivals, mainly due to its musical diversity which makes it easier to sell to different markets. The festival has been headlined by major names in the rock, heavy metal, pop and hip hop genres, including Eminem, Arctic Monkeys, The National, Odesza and The Weeknd. What makes Lollapalooza great for children, in addition to the dozens of craft booths and colorful themes, is the free entry for all children below the age of ten. Oh, and the fact that things are cheaper in Chicago than other ‘party’ states such as California and New York.
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Where: Walt Disney World Resort
When: 6th March – 3rd June 2019
You have probably heard about the dozens of art festivals in South Florida, but it’s in Central Florida, Orlando in particular, where one of the most exquisite art festivals take place. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, curated by Disney, is the perfect definition of outdoor adventure. It showcases tens of flower species as well as colorful character-shaped gardens. Throughout the duration of the festival, Disney hosts a number of outdoor concerts featuring popular pop artists which your children will most definitely like. There will also be lots of play areas and exhibitions targeted to children especially.
In our world of indecency and immorality, finding the right place, leave alone event, to take your young ones is always a struggle. Nonetheless, we made sure to do the digging for you and let you on to some great American festivals that are suitable for kids (except toddlers, of course!) and parents too.
We hope you enjoyed the read and will enjoy the ride, whichever of the 12 festivals you choose to attend! What do you think of our list? Let us know in the comments.
Сatherine Wiley is a blogger and caring mom. She is an expert when it comes to writing awesome travel reviews and guides. Getting precious experience, Catherine is working on her website.