There always comes a time of year when you need a break from the city, work, or personal obligations. That tells us it’s time to take to the road and get away from responsibilities. It’s always fun to go somewhere new, try something different, and relax. However, depending on your personal situation, it might be hard to take that vacation right away. Or, you might have to include your family in the plan, which can cause a variety of funny or stressful situations. Until you can book your time off, we’ve picked out the 40 best family vacation movies perfect to get you in the spirit. This way, you can use cinema to take your mind off of life and participate in a weekend away on the big screen.
We’ve included an array of vacation-style situations, from the heart-warming to forgotten luggage chaos, and beyond. Each movie listed comes complete with how you can watch it, whether that be Netflix, HBO Max, or only available by renting.
40. Roman Holiday – Paramount+
Considered one of the most romantic getaway films, Roman Holiday features the perfect pairing of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Hepburn plays a touring princess that finds herself exhausted from her European tour and needs to get away for a bit. Peck plays American reporter named Joe who saves her from the streets of Rome until he realizes that he can get an exclusive story on the Princess and save his career. Only one thing gets in the way: his newfound feelings for the Princess.
39. The Parent Trap – Disney Plus
Sometimes you can meet amazing people and experience the unexpected while on a trip. And for two girls, that’s exactly what happens during their summer away from home. They discover that they are identical twins who were separated by divorce. Intrigued, they concoct a plan to get their parents back together and switch places after summer camp ends. But they’ll have to act fast because there are already new suitors that could destroy their plans. This is definitely one of the best vacation movies that will warm your heart.
38. National Lampoon’s European Vacation – Max
Starring Chevy Chase, Dana Hill, and the rest of the Griswald family, this vacation movie hits all the awful and funny elements of family travel. In this European adventure-come-chaotic nightmare, expect the usual antics that make National Lampoon’s movies a guilty pleasure.
37. What About Bob? – Apple TV+
In What About Bob? Richard Dreyfuss plays a psychiatrist hoping to finally take a relaxing vacation with his family. What he didn’t count on was that his crazed patient, played by Bill Murray, would be joining him on his trip to a country home. And it isn’t long before Murray works his charismatic magic on the family, turning Dreyfuss into a frustrated mess of a man who drops his professional demeanor. A strange but ultimately hilarious film for the quirky duo of Dreyfuss and Murray.
While playing an obsessive-compulsive neurotic patient, Bill Murray tracks down his psychotherapist during his family vacation, thereby opening a pandora box and releasing all sorts of trouble for Richard Dreyfuss.
36. Force Majeure – Hulu
This 2014 comedy-drama follows the marital tension, which is an outcome of a devastating avalanche, during which the husband, Kristofer Hivju, priorities his escape over his family’s safety while vacationing in the French Alps.
35. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Hulu
In what seems to be a sheer miscommunication, the decision to return his father’s gifted “souvenir” from his Antarctic adventures proved costly for Thomas Popper Jr. as he received a shipment of penguins. Starring Jim Carey, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is one of the best vacation movies on this list if you’re looking for something to watch with young children.
34. Frankie – Hulu
A terminally ill French actress’ decision to spend her last vacation with her large family in Portugal proves counterproductive. Her relatives bring their own insecurities with them, making the visit less than relaxing. It’s a deep story with a serious side, but worth a watch for the scenery and storytelling.
33. The Anderssons Hit the Road – Apple TV+
The Anderssons embark on a road trip across Europe to collect a signature on a painting that can fetch them millions. If you and your family are planning a vacation to Europe any time soon, this is the movie to watch. It’s a Swedish film, so you should note that there are subtitles in English available for this option.
32. A Christmas Story – Prime Video
Presented in a multitude of vignettes, the film is about a young boy who is hopeful of getting an air rifle as his Christmas gift. It features Ralphie’s struggles to make it to Christmas day with his glasses and hopes intact. To revisit the holiday spirit, this movie is always a great watch. It’s only available for rent this time of year.
31. What’s Cooking? – Tubi
On the menu in this 2000 drama-comedy, there are uninvited guests, outrageous conversations, sibling rivalry, etc. You are invited to the Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by four diverse families who each have their unique way of cooking and their own set of problems.
30. Johnson Family Vacation – Max
To make amends with his separated wife and spend time with his adorable kids, Nate Johnson convinces them to take a trek from California to Missouri, where they encounter various eccentrics along the way.
29. RV – Apple TV+
Things don’t go as planned for Bob Munro & his dysfunctional family when they decide to rent an RV for their road trip to the Colorado Rockies. Starring Robin Williams and Cheryl Hines as the parents, you will not be able to stop laughing at everything that manages to go wrong on this family trip.
28. Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation – Prime Video
This vacation’s itinerary consists of fun-filled surprises for Mr. Hobbs who finds that his wife has invited their extended family on a peaceful vacation that he had planned. Starring James Stewart, this 1960s film will take you back and time and provide a funny outlet to your vacation blues.
27. Judy Moody and The Not Bummer Summer – Tubi
After getting abandoned by her friends, who refused to spend their summer vacations in Judy’s manner, she has to now spend her holidays with her irritating brother and Aunt Opal. Starring Heather Graham, this movie is based on the popular book series Judy Moody.
26. The Great Outdoors – Apple TV+
A quiet weekend of fishing for Ripley (John Candy) and Connie turns turbulent when Connie’s unpleasant brother-in-law, Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd), crashes at his Wisconsin lakeside cabin. Craig disrupts the family vacation and puts both families at odds with each other. It’s written by the great John Hughes, so if you’re an 80s fan, this is a must-watch.
25. Little Miss Sunshine – Disney+
This 2006 comedy-drama features a family who decides to travel across the country to help their daughter fulfill her desire to participate in a beauty pageant. The journey is filled with endless surprises, which will make you laugh and cry. It even won two Oscars, so you can guarantee it is worth a watch.
24. Us – Prime Video
While on vacation in Santa Cruz, the Wilson family is caught unaware when attacked by a family of four, who look very much like them. This is a horror movie and rated R, so be warned that this is a family vacation that could scare you out of your mind.
23. Summer Rental – Prime Video
When John Candy‘s character needs a break from his job as an air traffic controller, he books a getaway and couldn’t be more excited for the plush resort that lies ahead. This hopeful journey turns into a major disappointment when he finds that the resort he booked to be a hut by the beach.
22. Family Vanished – Prime Video or Lifetime
This 2018 thriller features a family’s return from a vacation to find that their house has been taken over by criminals who have stolen their identities. They are then held hostage, and their attempts to escape have severe repercussions as they are named suspects in a series of thefts.
21. Escape From Tomorrow – Roku
The sanity of Roy Abramsohn is threatened in this 2013 horror film when he encounters weird sights and events during a family trip to a giant theme park.
20. Panic In Year Zero – Prime Video
This 1962 American black-and-white science fiction movie stars Ray Milland and Frankie Avalon. The film is about a family leaving Los Angeles on a camping trip and then they find themselves amidst an atomic war. In their futile attempt to return alive, they decide to take refuge in their vacation spot.
19. Home For The Holidays – Vudu
After losing her job, making out with her boss, and knowing that her daughter will sleep with her boyfriend, Claudia decides to spend her Thanksgiving holidays with her family, who are the epitome of craziness. This title is only available for rent on Vudu and Prime Video.
18. The Family Stone – Hulu
An uptight businesswoman decides to attend her outgoing family’s Christmas bash with her boyfriend and hopes she won’t regret that choice. She finds herself out of place in such a quirky environment. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Luke Wilson, this romantic comedy is a great watch if you’ve never seen it before.
17. August: Osage County – Netflix
This 2013 drama-comedy features three estranged sisters who, after a tragedy, visit their hometown and live with their mother diagnosed with cancer. Starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, this is an intense drama that gets to the heart of family conflict and responsibility.
16. The Perfect Holiday – Hulu
This 2007 comedy is about a divorced mother with three children who was feeling lonely during the holidays. Nancy’s youngest daughter plans to make her mother happy by asking a departmental Santa Claus to compliment her mother. What follows is a series of funny scenes that showcases the importance of family at Christmas.
15. Arthur Christmas – Hulu
A technical glitch preventing a little girl from receiving her Christmas gift makes Santa’s nerdy son embark on a journey to deliver the present before it’s too late. This is a fantastic animated movie that puts the message of Christmas on a pedestal. It’s perfect for all of your family members to watch to get into the holiday spirit whether they are young or old.
14. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – Max
Four teenage friends have spent nearly every summer together up until now, but those days of sisterhood come to an end as they go their separate ways. Through a pair of jeans, however, they stay connected during their separate vacations. The girls venture throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Greece. This is a wonderfully sweet film that reminds teenagers growing up that just because you’re on vacation and away from your friends doesn’t mean you’re still not connected with them. That’s easier to say in the era of social media, but its a message that this movie holds true.
13. Angela’s Christmas – Netflix
Starring Lucy O’Connell, this 2017 animated masterpiece is about the power of family and a child’s desire to keep everyone safe and sound during one Christmas eve. This is the perfect movie for a family with younger children.
12. Hotel Transylvania – Max
Even monsters need to have a vacation once in a while. Thankfully, Count Dracula built a castle to act as a hotel escape suitable for every monster imaginable, from tiny bugs to creatures so tall you can only see their feet. All are welcome in this animated farce that finds the vampire Dracula dealing with his daughter Mavis becoming a real woman and trying to combat issues with the misconceptions humans have about monsters.
11. Cheaper by the Dozen 2- Disney+
The 2005 sequel and American comedy film is about a family with twelve children as they go on vacation to a lake house. Steve Martin plays Tom who is unhappy to learn that his ultimate rival also has a house on the lake and loves showing off his success. The movie is a hilarious and yet very honest example of family vacations especially with large amounts of children on board.
10. Monte Carlo – Apple TV+
This innocuous teen fantasy is about Grace’s trip to Monte Carlo, with her best friend and stepsister. When they arrive, Grace (played by Selena Gomez) is mistaken as a British heiress. The movie shows a fairy tale level trip in which three girls get to play around with a rich and famous lifestyle that is not their own.
9. The Way Way Back – Max
The Way, Way Back is about Duncan who is vacationing at a beach house with his divorced mother, her dominating boyfriend, and his seeming witch-like daughter. While surviving in this environment, he ends up experiencing a summer that changes everything.
8. Vegas Vacation – Max
This 1997 comedy is the fourth movie in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series. This time, the Griswold family clan plans a perfect family vacation to the glitzy attractions and casinos of Las Vegas. Obviously, it doesn’t go according to plan.
7. Dirty Dancing – Paramount+
In this classic 80s movie, a young and innocent teenager named Baby travels with her family upstate to the Catskills for the summer. While they are at the resort, Baby meets and instantly falls for Johnny, the hotel dance instructor (played by Patrick Swayze). In a coming of age story full of serious moments, this should be restricted to teens and older for viewing. However, it is truly a great story in which you see a family vacation bring everyone closer together and help in the development of true character.
6. Home Alone – Disney+
Does anything need to be said about Home Alone? You’ve no doubt watched it ten times already. It is a must-watch Christmas family-friendly flick that is easily one of the 10 best family vacation movies on this list. We all love to watch 8-year-old Kevin McCallister defend his home from burglars after being left home alone, by mistake. What follows is both hilarious and heart-warming, making it perfect for the whole family.
5. City Slickers – Apple TV+
Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, and Billy Crystal play three best friends that take a vacation from their wives. Trying to get out of the funk of a mid-life crisis, they decide to take a trip to the Southwest to have experience the manliness of a cattle drive. But even with the watchful eye of Jack Palance playing a seasoned cowboy, the trio will still find themselves in danger as they’re unprepared for the journey of traversing the western terrain with no experience.
4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – Hulu
Sure, parents seem to have vacations from their kids but what if the kid needs a vacation from the family? That’s exactly what Kevin receives in Home Alone 2, where he takes the wrong flight and finds himself in New York City with his dad’s credit card. Making the most of a bad situation, Kevin grabs a hotel room, orders up room services, and takes in the many delights of the city, from the giant Christmas tree to the wondrous toy store. He even takes in a concert with the kindly pigeon lady of Central Park. Not a bad vacation, even if he must also best the returning robbers of Harry and Marv.
3. Letters to Juliet – Hulu
Amanda Seyfried plays a woman visiting Italy and finding the wall where the Shakespeare character of Juliet can be left notes of heartbreak. At the wall, she discovers a letter from 1957 left behind by a now-elderly author. The letter is enough to make Seyfried want to seek out the author’s lost love and bring hope back to an old lady’s heart, with some help from the woman’s grandson. Just because you’re on vacation in one of the most beautiful European cities doesn’t mean you can’t spread some love to others in this inspiring romantic comedy.
2. Joe Versus the Volcano – Apple TV+
While some may go on vacation to enjoy life, Joe seems to be trying to end his. In this comedy starring Tom Hanks and Med Ryan, Joe decides he wants to take a plunge into a volcano by going on the strangest of trips. Instead, he discovers a little more about life and love when guided by two sisters. It’s a sweetly and silly film considering its rather grim premise. Plus, we think anything starring Tom Hanks deserves to be top-40.
1. A Very Brady Sequel – Apple TV+
It’s guilty pleasures time. The Brady Bunch take their odd 1970s family values out of their modern suburban neighborhood and onto the Hawaiian islands. They’re on this trip to seek a stolen family possession but, let’s be honest, it’s mostly an excuse to take the silly and dated Brady Bunch mannerisms to a new setting. And it’s a lot of fun watching the Bradys get into all sorts of wild antics on this trip across the ocean, complete with Gary Cole delivering a spot-on performance as the husband and father, Mike Brady.
If you’re looking for an innocent family-friendly flick, one of the best vacation movies to laugh at is A Very Brady Sequel.