Be it a city break getaway or a road trip, it’s always fun to go somewhere new, try something different, and relax. In homage to vacations, we’ve picked out the 40 best vacation movies perfect for a family night in.
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.
CHECK OUT: Staying Healthy on Vacation.
40. Roman Holiday – Amazon Prime Video & Paramount Plus
Considered one of the most romantic of getaway films, Roman Holidays 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 Joe who not only helps out when she falls asleep in public but also gets the exclusive story on the princess while also falling in love. Quite the holiday.
39. The Parent Trap – Disney Plus
Sometimes you can find the most amazing things and people while on a trip. And for two girls, they discover that they are identical twins who were separated by divorce. Intrigued, they concoct a plan to get their parents back together by switching places after attending summer camp together. But they’ll have to act fast there are already new suitors that could destroy their plans in one of the most charming of adventures.
38. National Lampoon’s European Vacation – Peacock (Free With Ads)
Starring Chevy Chase, Dana Hill, and the rest of the Griswald family hit all the awful & funny elements of family travel. On this European adventure-come-chaotic nightmare expect the usual antics that made National Lampoon’s flicks many peoples guilty pleasure.
37. What About Bob? – Purchase Only
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 releasing all sorts of trouble for Richard Dreyfuss.
36. Force Majeure – The Roku Channel, Hulu, Hoopla, Tubi, & Kanopy
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 at the French Alps.
35. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – HBO Max
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, and one of the best vacation movies on this list if you’re looking for something to watch with young children.
34. Frankie – Starz & DirecTV
A terminally ill French actress’s decision to spend her last vacation with her vast family in Portugal proves counterproductive as her relatives bring their own insecurities with them.
33. The Anderssons Hit the Road – Purchase Only
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 (if you can tolerate subtitles).
32. A Christmas Story – HBO Max
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.
31. What’s Cooking? – Tubi
On the menu in this 2000 drama-comedy, there’s uninvited guests, outrageous conversations, sibling rivalry, etc. You are invited to the Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by four diverse families having their unique way of cooking and its own set of problems.
30. Johnson Family Vacation – Fubo TV
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 – HBO Max
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.
28. Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation – Fubo & DirecTV
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.
27. Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer – HBO Max & Hoopla
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.
26. The Great Outdoors – Fubo, Peacock & Showtime
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. The extravagance of Craig disrupts the family vacation, putting both families at odds with each other. Wrote by the great John Hughes, so if you’re an 80s fan, this is likely a must-watch.
25. Little Miss Sunshine – Purchase Only
This 2006 comedy-drama features a family who decides to travel across the country to find their daughter’s desire to participate in a beauty pageant. The journey is filled with surprises. Rated R, so parents supervision required for anyone under-17.
24. Us – Purchase Only
While on vacation in Santa Cruz, the Wilson family is caught unawares when attacked by a family of four, who look very much like them. Warning, this is a horror movie rated R.
23. Summer Rental – HBO Max
The much-needed break of an air traffic controller (John Candy) turns into a disappointment when he finds that the plush resort booked by him for his family vacation is lodgings in a hut by the beach.
22. Family Vanished – Prime Video
This 2018 thriller features a family’s return from a vacation to find that their house has been taken over by criminals who have taken 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. Rated R.
21. Escape From Tomorrow – Purchase Only
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. Rated R.
20. Panic In Year Zero – Flix Fling
This 1962 American black-and-white science fiction, starring Ray Milland and Frankie Avalon, is about a family leaving Los Angeles on a camping trip to find themselves amidst an atomic war. In their futile attempt to return, they decide to take refuge in their vacation spot.
19. Home For The Holidays – Prime Video
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.
18. The Family Stone – Hulu
An uptight businesswoman decides to attend her outgoing family’s Christmas bash with her boyfriend to regret it later on. 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.
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.
16. The Perfect Holiday – Purchase Only
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 – Purchase Only
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. A fantastic animated movie that puts the message of Christmas on a pedestal. Perfect for all of the family, young and old alike.
14. The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants – HBO Max
Four teenage friends of Maryland have spent nearly every summer together but fear those days of sisterhood may be coming to an end as they go their separate ways. Through a pair of jeans, however, they stay connected on their own vacations that find the girls venturing to Mexico and Greece. A wonderfully sweet little film to remind young girls 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 still 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 younger children.
12. Hotel Transylvania – STARZ TV
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 – Disney Plus
The 2003 American comedy film is about Tom, whose life turns upside down when he decides to tend to his twelve children while his wife is away and simultaneously has to coach a football team. Stars Steve Martin.
10. Monte Carlo – Purchase Only
This innocuous teen fantasy is about Grace’s trip to Monte Carlo, with her best friend and stepsister, mistaken as a British heiress. The movie takes a trip through a rich and famous lifestyle.
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9. The Way Way Back – Purchase Only
“The Way, Way Back” is about Duncan. While vacationing at a beach house with his divorced mother, her dominating boyfriend, and his seeming witch-like daughter, he witnesses a summer that changes everything. Co-starring Steve Carrell and Toni Collette.
8. Vegas Vacation – Peacock
This 1997 comedy is the fourth in the National Lampoon’s Vacation movie 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 to plan.
7. Hotel Hell Vacation – Watch the short for free below
This online-only short comedy is all about the Griswold’s trip to visit their son and his family. But along the way, Clark (Chevy Chase) has secretly planned a romantic getaway, which turns into an unprecedented disaster. This short is better than most Vacation movies, and a must-watch on this best vacation movies top-40.
6. Home Alone – Disney Plus
Does anything need to be said about Home Alone? You’ve no doubt watch it ten times already. It is a must-watch Christmas family-friendly flick that could easily be #1 on this best vacation movies list. If you haven’t seen it, then what are you waiting for? Here’s a quick synopsis; 8-year-old Kevin McCallister defends his home from burglars after being left home alone, by mistake. What follows is both hilarious, heart-warming, and one of the most popular movies of all-time.
5. City Slickers – HBO Max
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 a manly experience 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 west with little experience.
4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – Disney Plus
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 – Peacock
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 authors lost love and bring love back into one old lady’s heart, with some help from the woman’s grandson. Just because you’re on vacation in one of the most beautiful of European cities doesn’t mean you can’t spread some love to others in this inspiring romantic comedy.
2. Joe Versus the Volcano – Hoopla & Tubi
While some may go on vacation to enjoy life, Joe (Tom Hanks) seems to be trying to end his. In this odd little comedy, a dying Joe decides he wants to take a plunge into a volcano by going on the strangest of trips. While on this trip, Joe discovers a little more about life and love when guided by two sisters. It’s a sweetly silly trip considering its rather grim premise – and anything with Tom Hanks in deserves to be (almost) top of a top-40.
1. A Very Brady Sequel – Purchase Only
Its guilty pleasures time. The Brady Bunch take their oddly out-of-place 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.
What’s would be #1 on your best vacation movies list?