Family Vacation Packages In North America vs the South Pacific vs Central America ... and 5 more
Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney
The world is full of wonders for the entire family to appreciate, from the desert landscape of the Western United States to the coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea, to the medieval castles of Europe, to the plains of the Serengeti in Eastern Africa. Whether you want to take your family somewhere close to home on your own continent, or you want to fly them to an exotic locale where they can learn about new cultures, customs, and experience another side of life, the world, is, as they say, your oyster. Let's take a look at some cool vacation spots for families all over the world.
Method 1: In North America
With its vast open spaces filled with deserts, lakes, and much more, the North American continent hold adventure aplenty in her familiar embrace. Whether your family enjoys horseback riding for hours or the scenic loveliness of a lakeside resort where you can relax on the beach or hike in the woods, here are two awesome vacation spots for you to consider:
- 1Mayan Dude Ranch. Located in Bandera, Texas, this 350-acre ranch offers the "Old West" experience to its patrons. Take up to two trail rides on horseback each day through the scenic hill country of Texas, spend the day fishing or water tubing down the river, play a game of tennis or basketball, or get some sun by the pool. Kids of all ages will love the trail rides and the water tubing, in particular.Advertisement
- 2Severn Lodge. On the shores of Muskoka Lake is this lovely slice of lakeside living where the adults can indulge in relaxing in the quiet of the surrounding wilderness while their children stay occupied with lake activities such as swimming, tubing, water-skiing, wakeboarding, and much more. In addition, there are horseback rides through the surrounding woods, which the entire family can enjoy. What's more, there are babysitters available during the evenings so that that the adults can enjoy a night out.Advertisement
Method 2: In the South Pacific
The vast South Pacific is dotted with tiny islands, atolls, and reefs. It is a divers' and snorkeler's paradise with many coral reefs to explore and is home to a variety of sea life. In fact, marine scientists estimate that half of the fish on the planet swim in South Pacific waters. Whales, from Humpbacks to a recovering population of Pacific Blue Whales may be found in these waters as well.
- 1Four Seasons Bora Bora. Choose one of the all-inclusive packages from this Tahitian resort for the ultimate vacation getaway that both you and your children will love. For you, enjoy the included couples massage and working on your tan on the beach or take a dip in the resort's huge infinity pool where attendants wait with chilled towels to pamper you when you exit. Children aged 5 to 12 will be kept occupied at the Tamari'I Club where they will meet sea turtles and get snorkel lessons. If you have teenagers, they get their very own island with its own beach and where they can get their hands dirty doing reef research or hot-dogging over the water on stand-up paddleboards.Advertisement
- 2The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa. Stunning blue lagoons and sparkling sugar-sand beaches await you and your family at this magnificent resort on the Cook Islands. The entire family can enjoy the Raro Mountain Safari and the lagoon cruise where you will learn about the local ecology and see the spectacular sights of these lush, South Pacific islands. In addition, Moko's Kids Club and the Teen Zone provide supervised and age-appropriate activities for your children, as well as the on-site water park with slides and other attractions your kids won't be able to pull themselves away from. Further still, you can leave your children with a babysitter while you indulge in the one-of-a-kind night snorkel tour, enjoy dinner for two, or get a massage at the spa.
Method 3: Central America
Central America comprises the isthmus that connects the continents of North and South America. Its Caribbean coast has beautiful beaches lined with tropical forests while its Pacific coastline possesses a rugged beauty, with rock-strewn beaches, eroded sea arches, and deep waters.Whether you want to explore the dense rainforests or soak in the sun on the beach, these Central American resorts welcome the entire family with plenty of fun activities and opportunities to relax.
- 1Santa Juana Lodge. This Costa Rican resort is a paradise for active families that need to be doing something physical to have fun. Nestled in the mountains about an hour outside of Quepos, Costa Rica, the Santa Juana Lodge is surrounded by a dense tropical jungle teeming with birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. Enjoy nature hikes along trails through the jungle where you will come across amazing waterfalls amid the lush tropical foliage. Zip through the tree canopy like a bird or go for a ride on horseback to explore the local flora and fauna. Don't miss fishing in the beautiful pond or a visit to the tiny nearby town of Santa Juana where the locals will welcome you with authentic Costa Rican food and charming hospitality.
Method 4: In South America
The vast lands of South America straddle the great oceans of the Atlantic and the Pacific located in the Earth's Southern Hemisphere. It is a land of arid deserts, created by the towering peaks of the snow-capped Andes and lush forest filled valleys on their other side. The storied Brazilian city of Rio Di Janeiro is here, as well as the country of Argentina where Eva Peron (Evita) ruled in the middle of the 20th Century.
- 1Costao do Santinho Resort Golf & Spa. This Brazilian resort is perfect for families because it offers something for everyone in the family to do. There is a play area for children, arts and crafts, an arcade, and much more. The entire family will enjoy the opportunity to windsurf, kayak, go horseback riding along the beach, and go sandboarding down massive sand dunes. When you're not engaged in activities, you can relax on the beach or by the pool while your kids cavort in the water. There are indoor pools as well if you want to swim but get out of the sun.
- 2Dos Lunas Horse Riding Lodge. For families who enjoy horseback riding, Dos Lunas in the mountains of Argentina is a slice of heaven. Enjoy riding horses for hour long rides or epic five-hour journeys through the surrounding terrain. Don't worry if you or your children have never ridden a horse before; there are rides for beginners as well as advanced riders. There is a pool on the property, too, where you and your children can enjoy a nice swim or where you can work on your tan while your kids play, and there is also a playroom with toys, games, and DVD movies.
Method 5: In Europe
Tracing back history from the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the Dark Ages, to the Renaissance and Period of Enlightenment is easy to do in Europe. From the works of Michelangelo and Da Vinci to the Tower of London, it's all here for you and your family to experience.
- 1Ikos Oceana. This Greek resort is a European beach paradise destination that offers something for everyone in your family to enjoy. It is luxurious and well-kept property that has undergone renovations recently, and it shows. Whether you enjoy watersports on the beach or a lazy day working on your tan, you'll love the way the friendly staff works to meet your every need. Your kids will be kept occupied with guided activities in the kids' center while you relax and allow yourself to be pampered.
- 2Rick Steve's London to Florence in 13 Days Tour. If you're after a European vacation that encompasses multiple countries on a guided tour, then something like this London to Florence tour will suit your family. Join a small group of families on a 13-day journey through London, Paris, and Florence. You'll ride on a bus and stop at various locations along the way, seeing sights such as crumbling medieval castles, museums filled with art, and majestic mountains where you can ride in a gondola all the way to the top. While it's not cheap, costing over $5,000 when you add in tax plus airfare, but it's a unique way for your family to experience Europe.
Method 6: In the Caribbean
With its shades of aqua and islands of white sand beaches and towering palm trees, the Caribbean region beckons millions of tourists every year, and for good reason. Home to an abundance or resorts that cater to every lifestyle, the islands of the Caribbean have many family friendly options.
- 1Franklyn D Resort & Spa. Not only does this resort offer activities for the whole family to enjoy, it also provides a dedicated "Vacation Nanny" to each family to entertain and watch the kids while the adults indulge in grown-up pursuits such as getting a massage at the spa, relaxing on the beach, or working on a tan by the pool. In addition to kayaking, beach volleyball, and snorkeling, there is "Big Blue," the resorts l100-foot water slide set off in its own pool for kids of all ages to frolic in and around. Your kids will also have fun engaging in supervised activities such as playing games in the playroom, having a picnic on the beach, and taking snorkeling lessons.
- 2Coconut Bay Beach Resort. Located on the island of St. Lucia, this mega-resort has a family-friendly side and an adult side. On the family-friendly side is a huge water park with dozens of water slides, a surfing simulator, a lazy river that meanders through the park, a paintball arena, and much more. There is a kids' club where you can leave your children under the careful supervision of trained counselors while you head over to the adult side for a relaxing massage or a day of lazing on the quiet beach. At night, babysitters are available so that you can enjoy a "grown-up" evening of dining on gourmet food followed by drinks and dancing at the hopping nightclub.
Method 7: In Asia
Asia is the largest and most populated continent on Earth. To list all of the vacation options in this vast land is beyond the scope of this article, so we have provided you with two family-friendly destinations that allow you and your children to experience some of the culture in a relaxed and welcoming setting.
- 1Four Seasons Koh Samui. Koh Samui is one of the most beautiful locations in the entire world. Surrounded by water that ranges in color from light green to sapphire blue, its white sand beaches and lush forests make an unforgettable backdrop for family pictures. At the Four Seasons Koh Samui Resort, you can indulge in some luxurious pampering with massages and body treatments while your children enjoy activities arranged by the Kids For All Seasons Club, including crab hunting, Thai umbrella painting, sandcastle building, and much more.
- 2AYANA Resort Bali. In the warm climes of Bali, Indonesia is this resort where you can leave your children in the care of resort staff for the day while you avail yourself of pampering at the hands of the resort's masseuse or relaxing by the pool. The kids have their own swimming pool with two water slides for their enjoyment, and the playroom has everything from video game consoles to a football table and a mini billiards table.
Method 8: In Africa
An African vacation is not for the budget-conscious, but is certainly unforgettable. Whether you want to get right in the middle of the Great Migration in the Serengeti or you want to explore the beauty of South Africa, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.
- 1Adventures by Disney South Africa. From the purveyors of fantastic adventures and family friendly delights comes this 10 day, 9-night tour of South Africa. Experience the urban beauty of Cape Town, considered by many to be one of the loveliest cities in the world and see the unsurpassed views from the summit of Tabletop Mountain. Enjoy the bracing winds and crashing waves of the famed Cape of Good Hope and visit the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary where you can see lemurs, gibbons, and other primates in their natural habitats. Be sure to take plenty of photos to remember your trip by, although your kids aren't likely to forget such an amazing adventure!
- 2Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti. On the plains of the Serengeti, this resort is smack-dab in the middle of Masai territory and near many of the famous sites you've read or watched documentaries about on television. Mount Kilimanjaro is here as well as the Ngorongoro Crater and Victoria Falls. If you're there between the months of July and September, you and your children are in for a treat, as the animals of the Serengeti pass by the resort on their annual migration. You'll see the great herds of the Savannah, including antelope, wildebeest, and zebra, as well as African elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinoceros.