Between March and November, the landscape across our nation comes alive with festivals to celebrate music, art, farming, and community. The snow has melted, the orchards are loaded with fruits and the sun is out, creating the perfect time for everyone to be outdoors among their friends, family and community.
It’s been a trend in recent years to include an entire section at these festivals, in particular the larger music events, to incorporate the needs and festive fun of families with children of all ages.
If you’re looking for a big dose of fun in your own state or hoping to visit a festival on vacation, look no further than these top family-friendly festivals.
Get ready to throw down with some of the friendliest people on the planet! From Cajun music to rock to Latin to jazz, the New Orleans event known as Jazz Fest draws crowds from all over the country to this wonderful city full of spirit, history and incredible food. As they say, it’s never too soon to introduce the little ones to gumbo and beignets!
Head to the festival on a Thursday to avoid crowds and visit the Kids Tent for the little ones. Tickets for kids between ages 2-10 are only $5! Bring sunblock, hats, a battery-operated fan and rain boots just in case of a Gulf Coast downpour.
Jazz Fest takes place toward the end of April into early May.
August: Lollapalooza, Chicago, IL
Some of the biggest names in music headline this large music festival in Grant Park, Chicago, but don’t let the size and grandeur of the lineup keep you from bringing the kiddos.
Lollapalooza lovingly hosts Kidzapalooza, open 11am-7pm each day of the festival. Kids under 10 get in free to the festival. Located in its own enclosed area of Grant Park, Kidzapalooza offers parents and kids the chance to catch family-friendly music on its own stage while taking part in activities like hip hop workshops, skateboarding demos, a music video tent, and more. They even have a dedicated Family Services area as well as a Tag-A-Kid program in case of separation.
Lollapalooza takes place the first weekend in August.
This community of farmers is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms, located in the beautiful state of Washington. Visitors to the festival will experience corn and hay mazes, pumpkin patches, gardening demonstrations, educational exhibits, farm tours, harvest markets, activities for the kids and scenic tours. Your whole family will also hear live music and share in the joy of this low-tech environment.
The mission behind this two decade old festival is to promote Skagit County agriculture by using education and hospitality to strengthen the bond between the farmers that live here and the broader community.
Don’t forget to bring your mud boots and camera! The festival takes place the first weekend in October.
September-November: Texas Renaissance Festival, Mission Todd, TX
Hear ye! Hear ye! Step back in time a few hundred years as the Texas Renaissance Festival transports you to Tudor England and beyond.
Enjoy hand-cranked family-friendly rides, visit artisan shops to adorn your entire family with swords, flower crowns, and capes, and take in live entertainment such as jousting tournaments, jugglers, fire dancers, comedy, and falconry exhibitions. With hundreds of RenFest enthusiasts wearing magical and medieval cosplay, even the people watching alone is entertainment in its own right. Take your kids on Sunday for free admission.
Each weekend of the festival, you’ll find a different theme such as Barbarian Invasion, 1,001 Dreams, Pirate Adventure, Roman Bacchanal and more.
The Texas Renaissance Festival is open every weekend from September through November. Camping is available in the area if you and your family want to make a weekend out of it.
Located on 80 sprawling acres, this family friendly festival features artists, crafters, food, entertainers and more.
Visit this educational four-day festival in early August to experience the sights and sounds of a working farm, alive with barnyard hens, livestock, gardens and an apple orchard.
May-June: Kerrville Folk Festival, Kerrville, TX
For families that love live music, especially of the unplugged, picking and circle-around variety, look no further than the Kerrville Folk Festival. Taking place at the very start of summer, it covers 18 days and nights and has been celebrating folk music since 1972. It is the longest continuously-running music festival in North America and is a true Mecca in the songwriting community.
A highlight of the festival beyond the music is the Crafts Village where you can find pottery, beaded jewelry, silver and handmade hats. You can also schedule canoe trips on the Guadalupe River, take a workshop in songwriting, ukulele or guitar, or do some yoga.
This all takes place in a loving, family-friendly environment on Quiet Valley Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Folks come from all over the world to experience the magic of Kerrville.