Best Family Beach Resorts Florida Gulf Coast | Articles and Reviews at Family Travel Blog

Tel Aviv has attracted a lot of attention for its nightlife and creative culinary scene in recent years. These days its center of gravity has shifted south, to the site of the ancient port town of Jaffa (technically part of the city itself). This month, the Setai opens in a former Ottoman prison; a new W Hotel housed in a 19th-century former convent and pilgrims’ hospice is scheduled to open in March. It’s just the latest in a growing list of upscale hotels, restaurants, and boutiques to arrive among the winding streets of this former fishing village. Jaffa’s once-shabby flea market is now populated by a number of high-end antique dealerships, which sit alongside trendy cafés and bars — many offering live music into the night. Don’t miss Maskit, an iconic Israeli fashion house known for its embroidery that has been recently reincarnated after closing in the 1990s. Numerous interesting chefs have also set up shop among Jaffa’s churches, mosques, and archaeological sites. Try Beit Kandinof, a restaurant housed in a 17th-century building, where creative dishes like artichoke-and-pesto bruschetta are served alongside local art exhibits. —Sara Toth Stub
Hi we are travelling to Washington from Australia in April 2017. We would like to visit NYC while we are there. Looking at spending 4 nights with 2 kids aged 13 and 10. The must sees are Museum of Natural History, Wax Museum and Statue of Liberty. We have tentatively booked the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan. Is this a good location? Which area should we be looking at to be quite central to what we want to do? We are planning to take the bus from Washington. Sue
The family-friendly Williamsburg area is also home to Busch Gardens (an action-packed adventure park), Water Country USA (Virginia’s largest water park), and the York and James Rivers, where you can enjoy beautiful scenery and outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and swimming.
Tickets and any options purchased must be used within 14 days of first use, except for Florida Resident 3-Day and 4-Day Tickets. Florida Resident 3-Day and 4-Day Tickets expire 180 days after first use. For all tickets, first use must occur on or before December 31, 2019.
Catch behind-the-scenes glimpses of Hollywood-style TV and movie magic with live performances, thrilling attractions, backstage tours and special events in a theme park with the vibrancy of a bustling film set. Explore 8 sections: Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Sunset Boulevard, Streets of America, Commissary Lane, Pixar Place, Mickey Avenue and Animation Courtyard. Be part of the action and take part in entertainment that puts you center stage!
Discover one of the largest animal-themed parks in the world—home to more than 1,700 animals across 250 species and featuring exciting expeditions, wild adventures and elaborate parades and performances. Explore 6 enthralling lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A.. Spot exotic animals, trek on fascinating jungle trails and venture into wildly themed restaurants!
When historic rainfall pummeled California last February, the damage to Big Sur was severe. Mudslides cut off access to Highway 1, the region’s only thoroughfare, from the south; then a crack ripped through the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, blocking the northern end. Almost overnight, this 90-odd-mile stretch of craggy coastline — long beloved for its sense of remoteness — became an island. Nearly a year later, Big Sur is stirring back to life. The bridge has been replaced and a major slide has been cleared. After an elaborate renovation, the 160-acre Ventana Big Sur has reopened as the first Alila property in the U.S. — and is a luxurious rival to Post Ranch. The place is a stunner, whether you’re facing a forested canyon from the pool or enjoying pink and orange sunsets from the terrace. In addition to the plush ocean-view suites, clad in weathered wood, there are now glamping tents nearby that marry rusticity and comfort, with amenities like luxury linens and fire pits. —Jonah Weiner
Walt Disney World, located near Orlando, Florida, offers a wide range of attractions for its guests to enjoy, including two water parks, the Downtown Disney Shopping area, golf courses and a selection of hotels and dining establishments. However, the main attractions at Walt Disney World are it’s four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom, each offering its adventure.
Due to its acquisitions of Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, some Disney-owned franchises are represented in its competitors’ parks. Marvel Super Hero Island, a themed land featuring characters and settings from Marvel Comics, has operated at Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure park since 1999, as well as the Islands of Adventure cloned ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Studios Japan since 2004. Under Marvel’s 1994 agreement with Universal Parks & Resorts in regional terms, none of the Marvel characters and other persons related to such characters (e.g., side characters, team members, and the villains associated with the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man, etc.) connected with Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan can be used at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort.[89] Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disney also cannot use the Marvel name as part of an attraction or marketing and the Marvel-themed simulator ride.[90] This clause has allowed Walt Disney World to have meet and greets with Marvel characters not associated with the ones at Islands of Adventure, such as Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy[91][92] as well as Baymax and Hiro from Big Hero 6.[93] Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris either have or planned to incorporate meet and greets as well as attractions relating to the Marvel characters, as well as using the Marvel name and the Marvel simulator ride.
A must-do excursion is Stingray City, where kids can touch, feed and snorkel with giant wild stingrays. There are a number of tour operators, but we recommend a half-day excursion with Captain Marvin’s. The affordable two- and three-bedroom units at Christopher Columbus Condos have full kitchens, plus access to a large pool and Seven Mile Beach.
Just an hour and a half north of Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture areas, with some vines dating back to the mid 19th century. This part of Victoria has long been considered a great day-trip destination for its outdoor activities — waterskiing, rowing, and sailing — and renowned wineries. Now there’s reason to linger, thanks to the November debut of the Mitchelton Hotel, a 58-room resort and spa at Mitchelton Winery. With its fine-dining restaurant, the Ministry of Chocolate, and 5½ miles of trails circumnavigating the vineyard, it’s the perfect base for a weekend in the region. Start your trip with a tasting on-site — Mitchelton is known for its Riesling — before venturing to other nearby wineries like Tahbilk, which has been producing quality vintages since 1861, and Goulburn Terrace, which specializes in natural wines. Other popular local vintners include McPherson Wines, David Traeger Wines, and Box Grove Vineyard. —John Scarpinato
Conrad Center DeLand Volusia Central East Local history Operated by the West Volusia Historical Society, part of a complex that also includes the Henry A. DeLand House Museum and Lue Gim Gong Memorial Garden
California’s sunny San Diego has tons of activities for families, with theme parks, water parks, kid-friendly museums, and 70 miles of beaches. The Go San Diego Card can be used for top attractions like the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the nearby Legoland California, harbor cruises, and museums in Balboa Park at a discount of up to 50 percent. Passes, which range from one to seven days, also include unlimited access to SeaWorld San Diego.
Set in the Northern Catskills, where there’s lots of fresh air and space to run around, Durham makes a top family vacation base. Show your brood the best of the rural life on a tour with Farmer Frank of Hull-O Farms, where you’ll meet all sorts of friendly animals, including bunnies, piglets, and chicks. For something completely different, book day tickets for the Zoom Flume Water Park, where you can rent a cabana and spend the day crashing into the water via various high-speed slides.
Despite the appearance of the uniformed security personnel, they are not considered a legal law enforcement agency. Disney and The Reedy Creek Improvement District were sued for access to Disney Security records by Bob and Kathy Sipkema following the death of their son at the resort in 1994. The court characterized Disney security as a “night watchman” service not a law enforcement agency and was not subject to Florida’s open records laws. An appeals court later upheld the lower court’s ruling.[52]
Grandeur and opulence ooze from every room in the house, beautifully designed by Susie Atkinson, but a sympathetic refurbishment means it retains a family feel at heart. It’s a haven for children: bicycles, walking maps and iPads with Netflix are available. Britain’s premier children’s entertainers, Sharky & George, run the children’s club at weekends and bank holidays (£55 morning; £70 whole day). The Garden House and Garden Cottage nearby offer 11 attractive Victorian-style bedrooms and a cookery school. Read expert review
Hotel Guanahani is a beautiful resort on the northeast side of St. Barts that attracts well-heeled guests and celebrities (Bethenny Frankel came here for her honeymoon when her tot was just a bun in the oven). The hotel offers 75 rooms and separate cottages, all of which feature terraces, colorful, beachy decor, and modern amenities such as large flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. The extensive amenities include a pool, two kids’ clubs, tennis courts, several delicious dining options, and a top-notch spa, ensuring that there’s plenty to keep both couples and families happy. The beach has numerous activities, but is relatively small, so many guests take day trips to the nearby beaches (for which the island is famous).
Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
There is no shortage of excitement at Grand Sunset Princess All Suites Resort & Spa! Kids can choose from four different pools to swim in or socialize at the Mini-Club or Teen Club during the evening.
When it comes to finding a great place to stay in Boston, one TripAdvisor reviewer stated this about their rental property: “We regularly stay in rented accommodation rather when we go away, and this was one of the best we’ve experienced. The house is very comfortable, and well furnished and equipped.”
Today, Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an average annual attendance of over 52 million.[3] The resort is the flagship destination of Disney’s worldwide corporate enterprise, and has become a popular staple in American culture.
It’s one of the world’s great wine capitals, and like any great vintage, Mendoza is only getting better with age. Start your tasting tour in the Uco Valley, where Casa de Uco’s vineyard-view eco-villas will debut this year. Head down the road to to Vines of Mendoza’s Winemakers’ Village for small-production wines from the likes of Corazón del Sol and SuperUco, and to dine at winery Bodega Monteviejo, where renowned Spanish chef Nadia Harón cooks up Mediterranean-tinged fare inspired by the wines. In Maipú, wineries like Club Tapiz and Trapiche are giving visitors a true taste of the local terroir, using produce grown on the vineyard grounds in their restaurants. Back in town, plot your return trip over a pie at Francis Mallman’s year-old pizzeria, Orégano. With new direct flights from Lima, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo, and low-cost carrier Norwegian Air plotting dozens of new routes, tacking a Mendoza stop on to your next South American itinerary will be a breeze. —Sorrel Moseley-Williams
Toy Story Land due to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on June 30, 2018. This plans to feature various Toy Story themed rides and attractions including a Slinky Dog Roller Coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers, and Woody’s Lunch Box, a quick-service restaurant.
DisneyQuest — an indoor interactive theme park that featured many arcade games and virtual attractions. It opened June 19, 1998 as part of an unsuccessful attempt to launch a chain of similar theme parks. It closed on July 2, 2017 to be replaced by the NBA Experience.[25]
Looking for other passes, such as the special Silver and Weekday Select passes available to Florida residents or the Gold passes for Florida Residents or DVC members? Check the links below for other pass options or to find discount sources for annual passes.
Tribeca is a great neighborhood for kids and Washington Market Park has 2 good playgrounds. Just down the street is the wonderful Smyth Hotel. The subway is steps from the hotel’s front door. Of course, any hotel close to Central Park (recommended hotels above) will be spoiled for playground choices.
On February 2, 1967, Roy O. Disney held a press conference at the Park Theatres in Winter Park, Florida. The role of EPCOT was emphasized in the film that was played. After the film, it was explained that for Disney World, including EPCOT, to succeed, a special district would have to be formed: the Reedy Creek Improvement District with two cities inside it, Bay Lake and Reedy Creek, now Lake Buena Vista. In addition to the standard powers of an incorporated city, which include the issuance of tax-free bonds, the district would have immunity from any current or future county or state land-use laws. The only areas where the district had to submit to the county and state would be property taxes and elevator inspections.[4] The legislation forming the district and the two cities was signed into law by Florida Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr. on May 12, 1967.[9] The Supreme Court of Florida then ruled in 1968 that the district was allowed to issue tax-exempt bonds for public projects within the district, despite the sole beneficiary being Walt Disney Productions.
This Four Seasons sits on a large, attractive beach on the small island of Nevis. The gorgeous rooms here may be the highlight; the updated decor has a Ralph Lauren-like look, with a blue-and-yellow scheme accented by pops of color and dark wood furniture; the massive bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs. Plus, almost all rooms have beautiful views, of either mountains or the ocean. The hotel’s remote location makes this a popular pick for couples on a romantic getaway. But with its long list of on-site amenities, this resort is well-suited for families as well. There are three pools, multiple tennis courts, a golf course, and a kids’ club. Other family features include child-size bathrobes, milk and cookies upon arrival (as well as a plush turtle toy and a turtle treat made by the resort’s pastry chef), a free-form infinity pool for families, baby-proofing kits upon request, 17 family suites, and DVD player in all rooms.
This palatial structure, built in 1988 by Henry Flagler as the Alcazar Hotel, is a sight not to be missed. Outside you’ll wander the impeccable grounds and striking courtyard, then head in to explore the contrasting collection of Otto C. Lightner’s treasures, including everything from 19th century fine art to the more eclectic objections like shrunken heads and human hair.
At Walt Disney World, the Treasure Island nature preserve pens opened on April 8, 1974,[CDW0 2]:569 renamed Discovery Island in 1977.[CDW0 1]:126 On July 1, 1975, the WEDway PeopleMover opened in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.[CDW0 3] The first water park, River Country, opened on June 20, 1976 at Disney World.[CDW0 4]:22 EPCOT Center’s groundbreaking occurred at Walt Disney World in May 1979.[CDW0 5]
Bar Harbor offers swimming, like the freshwater beach at Echo Lake (with calm waves good for kids). Follow the signs labeled “Museum in the Streets” to take your own walking tour, and you can also find trails for hiking, walking, and cycling. At nearby Acadia National Park, enjoy hiking, camping, and coastline views.
Down the road from The Morse, lies the Rollins College campus of which the Cornell Fine Arts Museum sits. Set on a picturesque lake, the museum boasts the only European Old Masters collection in the Orlando area including over 500 paintings. Rotating shows are curated with broad diversity, some highlights include dynamic exhibitions like The Black Figure in the European Imaginary and Women and Abstraction.
Lowe Art Museum Coral Gables Miami-Dade Southeast Art Part of University of Miami, collection includes Greco-Roman antiquities, Renaissance, Baroque, 17th- and 19th-century European art, 19th-century American art, modern art, international works, glass
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Mealtimes can be stressful with little ones – especially in a hotel where you’re always on show. Is there a stash of highchairs? Some crayons to keep them occupied? Does the kids’ menu exceed expectations? Is it available via room service? Are staff happy to help?
Families feel truly pampered at this Four Seasons island resort. The 600-square-foot standard rooms are some of the largest in Hawaii, and are as safe and comfortable as they are luxurious (you can request safety netting for balconies, beach gear, and high chairs, all at no extra charge). The knowledgeable concierges provide guidance about family-friendly activities like snorkeling and outrigger canoe excursions, as well as adult adventures such as scuba diving. They can also help arrange tropical family picnics or set up a whale-watching expedition by catamaran. There’s even a complimentary kids program with unique island activities ( gecko hunts, Hula lessons, Hawaiian bowling, and visits with Ricky and Lucy, the resort’s parrot mascot).
Locals refer to Long Beach as one giant playground, so families are certainly welcome here. And there’s one place you really can’t miss. More than 11,000 creatures await you at the Aquarium of the Pacific—you can even touch and feed some of them. Learn about all the animals of the ocean and the importance of conserving their environment. Long Beach also has lots of family-oriented places to eat and plenty of fun watery activities, including boat tours.
Lyme Regis’ answer to a boutique coastal break with children is this luxury hotel with lovely views of the bay and the surrounding Jurassic coastline. Opt for a sea view Poulett or Gould room to make the most of it. Nearly all of the 24 rooms can accommodate children, plus there are two apartments that can host families of four or six. From its perch overlooking spectacular Lyme Bay you get road-free access to the shore (borrow buckets and spades from the hotel). Outside is a play area with swings, climbing frames and trampolines; in poor weather, try seaside-themed mocktails and board games in the lounge. Read expert review
Much of Walt Disney’s plans for his Progress City were abandoned after his death and after the company board decided that it did not want to be in the business of running a city. The concept evolved into the resort’s second theme park, EPCOT Center,which opened in 1982 (renamed EPCOT in 1996). While still emulating Walt Disney’s original idea of showcasing new technology, the park is closer to a world’s fair than a “community of tomorrow”. One of EPCOT’s main attractions is their world’s showcase which highlights 11 countries across the globe. Some of the urban planning concepts from the original idea of EPCOT would instead be integrated into the community of Celebration much later. The resort’s third theme park, Disney-MGM Studios (renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008), opened in 1989 and is inspired by show business. The resort’s fourth theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, opened in 1998.
Disney Cruises for Families: Disney Cruises are such a favorite with kids that they deserve their own mention. Disney has four ships designed with kids in mind, complete with a theater and a cinema playing all of the kids’ favorite Disney movies. There are several pools to choose from, with water slides and other water fun. Dream and Fantasy ships feature the AquaDuck with a transparent, acrylic tube that spans four decks of the ship and over the side of the ship over the ocean. The spa is meant for adults only, so you can enjoy a peaceful time to yourself while kids participate in the children’s program. Kids are divided into several age groups: infant – 3, 3 – 4, 5 – 7, 8 – 9, and 10 – 12. Teens have access to a private club, featuring plush couches, games and a bar serving soft drinks. Keep reading for more best family vacations.
Most couples consider Maui, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Barbados, Maldives, Bora Bora and other tropical island destinations some of the most romantic places in the world. On the East Coast, Hilton Head Island, Nantucket and island resorts in Florida offer the perfect escape from the stress of daily life.
4) The Soho Grand has a very cool/trendy bar in the lobby area. Good beer and funky music. A block north from the Soho Grand is Lucky Strike – sort of a french bistrot/bar. Delicious food and open late.
As Florida’s official state natural history museum, the Florida Museum of Natural History is constantly expanding with one-of-a-kind exhibits not seen anywhere else. While there you can choose to get up close and personal at a butterfly release in the Butterfly Rainforest, encourage your child’s curiosity inside the discovery room or come face to face with shark jaws ranging in height from 2–9 feet.
Your child may be on his or her way to being a master builder—or not—but either way, few Florida destinations are as child-friendly as Winter Haven. That’s because of the incredible LEGOLAND, where single- or multi-day passes are available to purchase. This child-centric haven is practically overflowing with Lego bricks. What’s more, every room is themed—from pirates to knights to adventurers.
This Rocco Forte-designed hideaway features an entirely separate world of fun for children. At Verdùland, hotel mascot Verdù the hedgehog hosts lively themed activities focused on education (Sicilian history, mythology, gardening), arts and crafts (painting, pottery, dance, short-film making, a Verdura’s Got Talent competition), and food (learning to cook a range of globally inspired dishes in a tot-tailored kitchen), with beach trips in between. In short, it’s bliss for mini-Smiths.

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