Top Summer Family Vacations
Now that tax time is behind us and you still may have some money left in your savings account for a family vacation, it's time to think ahead and start planning where you'd like to go this summer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, explore the U.S., or take a road trip to New England, here are some great getaway options for your family:
If the school year has got you and your kids completely spent, then plan an end of school year getaway to the Caribbean or Mexico. But my word of advice is to travel at the end of June - once you hit July, the weather is brutally hot and sunburns and whining will be plentiful. My top picks include:
Club Med Punta Cana - Nestled in its own private hideaway in the Dominican Republic, Club Med Punta Cana is an all inclusive resort that offers a kids camp for kids ages 3+, pools for children and adults, activities galore, delicious buffets (banana and chocolate bread are my personal favorites), tons of fruity drinks and yummy mojitos and the pool and beach are a stone's throw away from your hotel room.
Jamaica - We love the Ritz Carlton in Jamaica where you can opt for an all-inclusive meal plan package that includes dining at several restaurants on site including the White Witch - which is set high atop their golf course and features two singers who bear a striking resemblance to Ashford and Simpson. Incidentally, in addition to the pool, beach, great food, water sports and kids camp (my kids still rave about making paper mache masks), the Ritz has fabulous musical performers from dawn until dusk.
Cabo San Lucas & Nuevo Vallarta - I recently returned from a trip to Villa La Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta compliments of the Villa Resort Group - which offers more than 17 properties in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, Cancun and Loreto Mexico. The amenities offered at the resort are incredible - rooms come equipped with state of the art kitchens, balconies overlooking the pool and ocean and a top of the line staff ready to cater to your every request (I received a hand massage seconds after I checked in). There are also plenty of activities for the entire family from a kids camp, to water sports, gym, spa services, food, wine, and plenty of places to read a great book!
Wyoming - Now that my kids have hit their tweens, I am itching to take them to places where we can explore the United States and this summer, we plan to make Wyoming one of our must-see destinations. Why Wyoming do you ask? Simple. There's the Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Fremont Lake, fishing, kayaking and gorgeous views. Plus, there are resorts like the Snake River Lodge that's minutes away from the national parks, white water rafting, and the chance to relax in a rocking chair and take a nap after a long hike!
San Diego - One of my all time favorite summer vacations was spending time in Mission Bay San Diego where our hotel was a few steps away from a beach and we were less than five minutes away from Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. And to satisfy my shopping and great food craving, we zipped over to La Jolla which is one of the most gorgeous places to see, shop and take in a delicious meal. If you're in the mood to make your West Coast vacation a road trip adventure, you can always start off in Newport or Laguna Beach, hit Disneyland in Anaheim or Legoland in Carlsbad, then head up the Pacific Coast Highway as you take in the sites from Malibu to Santa Barbara and down to San Diego!
New England Adventure - My first tried and true adventure starts out from New York and heads to Mystic Connecticut where you can enjoy their world famous aquarium, seaside town and Mystic Pizza (for all you 80s movie fanatics like me). The next day, head for Cape Cod where you can spend a night at the Cape Codder - a resort that has an indoor water park and smores and music at night. 24 hours later, take a ferry to either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard and spend the rest of your trip relaxing on the beach, hitting the numerous bike trails, shopping for great home items and enjoying all the amazingly pricey restaurants. Expect to spend big bucks if you decide to hit either island. My favorite resorts in Nantucket include the White Elephant and in Martha's Vineyard, try out The Harborside. And beginning this summer, Martha's Vineyard now offers ferry service directly from Manhattan and New Jersey!
Block Island - Another great New England location for families. Best advice is to book your stay at a bed and breakfast (our personal fave is The Island Home). Next, reserve a ferry spot for your car from either Pt. Judith or Bridgeport. Once you arrive, you can rent bikes, kayaks, hit the beach, visit the quaint shops and once again, enjoy fabulous food. One of my favorite places on Block Island is the Spring House, a pricey hotel with a wonderful restaurant and incredible views of the island. On rainy days, there's a movie theater in town and plenty of fishing - my kids happen to love crabbing and catch them right off the pier.
Over the next few months, I'll be showcasing many more great places to take your family. And if you have any suggestions for getaways, we want to hear from you!
Comment now with your favorite summer vacation destination and tell us why your hot spot makes the top of your list!