Eliminate the stress from your next family vacation by reading our frequently asked questions. Learn how to pick the best family vacation destinations for traveling with children, learn how to survive a long airplane flight and read our easy tricks for getting the best hotel or resort deal. Planning a trip with kids can be a fun project for everyone involved. The best way to get started is to consider everyone’s favorite activities and narrow it down to top family vacations & ideas that are best for you. Younger kids usually like sandy beaches where they can build sandcastles and surf gentle waves in the shallow waters. Pre-teens and teens tend to like resorts with many attractions such as water slides, activity centers that rent kayaks, teen spas, and kids’ clubs with games. Since every family is different, fining the best spot for yours involves a bit of careful planning. Last but not least, families can save a lot of money on vacation by looking for last minute hotel deals and packages. Before you leave, call ahead and book all the favorite activities because they often sell out, especially during peak holiday weeks.
Prior to 1971, Orlando was a rest stop en route to Miami, which means this center has plenty of kitsch Floridiana to enjoy. Of course, it also includes exhibits on prehistoric tribes, Spanish explorers, Florida Crackers, African-American history, the cattle and citrus industries, and the arrival of Walt Disney World, which sparked Orlando’s transition into a modern city. thehistorycenter.org
Disney Transport also operates a fleet of watercraft, ranging in size from water taxis, up to the ferries that connect the Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Disney Transport is also responsible for maintaining the fleet of parking lot trams that are used for shuttling visitors between the various theme park parking lots and their respective main entrances.
The first park built, the Magic Kingdom covers 107 acres and provides guests with the opportunity to explore six themed areas that focus on the classic Disney experience: Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Spend time exploring popular attractions at the park, such as It’s a Small World, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise. Dine with Cinderella and her friends inside her castle, located in the middle of the park. Plan to spend time watching the daily parades or nightly fireworks in the park.
Tyler Place Resort’s formula for good, old-fashioned family fun features morning and evening children’s programs with afternoons free for families to bike, hike, canoe and sail together. Little ones fish for perch and play dress-up; preschoolers listen to stories and jump on trampolines; and grade-school kids go on nature hikes, participate in gymnastics and put on marionette shows. Tweens take to zip-lines and go on fishing trips while teens add bicycle trips and water skiing. The accommodations, whether in the resort’s Inn rooms or cabins, tend toward basic, but are comfortable. Kids and parents are separated at dinnertime, ensuring parents have time to relax, too.
The extra cost on top of a Park Hopper ticket is a flat rate of $26.63, no matter how long the ticket. If you want to add this option to a Base Ticket, you need to also add Park Hopper, so the total cost to upgrade from a Base Ticket ranges from $85.20 to $106.50, depending on length.
While you might think of Colorado’s resort town of Winter Park as a winter destination, it’s also great in the summer. Rates start at $89 per night at the Winter Park Resort, and families can enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, zip lining, and Colorado’s longest alpine slide.
Grenada, known as Spice Island, remains one of the Caribbean’s under-the-radar gems, even though it’s got what every traveler wants: uncrowded beaches, preserved rain forests, and a lively local culture and cuisine. The island, which was spared from last fall’s brutal hurricane season, is poised to attract new luxury travelers when the Silversands Hotel opens in March 2018. The first major resort to open on Grand Anse Beach in 25 years, Silversands will offer 43 rooms and suites, nine villas, and the longest pool in the Caribbean. After a recent renovation, the beloved Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel is now part of Relais & Châteaux, only the fifth hotel in the Caribbean to be invited to join the celebrated hotel group. Getting to the island is a cinch — JetBlue added daily service from New York City last year, and Grenada is now a port of call for 33 new cruise ships — and visitors will soon have even more options for high-end stays, with Kimpton Kawana Bay and the Levera Beach Resort both in the works. —Devorah Lev-Tov
At Velas Resorts, an onsite Baby Concierge means you can leave cumbersome gear at home knowing that a crib, a stroller, bottle warmers and sterilizers will be waiting in your room. The service is committed to making little ones comfortable, from a massage to help soothe fussy babies to a first haircut (with a certificate) to guarantee they look sharp at dinner.
A family-friendly Costa Rica trip offers jungles filled with chattering birds, monkeys and other wildlife, black sand beaches, waterfalls, hot springs and much more. Let the kids look for endangered green macaws or snorkel and surf. Zip-lining and rafting experiences are also available, along with hiking through the canopy walkways in Montverde Cloud Forest. Drift down the canals at Tortuguero National Park, known as a nesting spot for green sea turtles, leatherbacks and Hawksbill turtles (you’ll need a guide to explore the beaches at night, when the females usually arrive to lay eggs).
Located just a four-minute walk from Epcot, this Cape Cod-in-Orlando resort has so many activities, one T+L voter admitted to skipping a day at the parks to hang out at the hotel. Like its slightly more buttoned-up sister, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, the Beach Club offers full access to Stormalong Bay and its sandy-bottomed swim zone, water slides (bigger kids love the one that starts from the top of a ship’s mast), and lazy circular river. Add an old-fashioned soda shop and a mini golf course, and it’s little surprise that families can have a hard time tearing themselves away.
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
Disney had plans to build a Disneyland in Sydney, Australia, between 2007 and 2008 with the proposed name “Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour”, but the concept was abandoned due to mixed responses in the New South Wales Government.
With an exciting influx of new and revamped hotels, an up-and-coming restaurant scene, and a blossoming wine industry, Idaho’s capital city—traditionally known as a convention destination — has started to attract the attention of leisure travelers. Boise’s invigorated downtown is evidence of the trend, with the newly opened Inn at 500, a 110-room boutique property whose perks include balconies overlooking the capitol, and its on-site restaurant, Richard’s, owned by James Beard Award-nominated chef Richard Langston, leading the way. (Meanwhile, Hotel 43 and The Grove both recently unveiled swank renovations.) The city’s craft-beer scene continues to impress; one noteworthy newcomer is White Dog Brewing, whose rustic taproom features a 24-foot “frost rail” that keeps your beer, well, frosty. In other toast-worthy news, Boise has become a hub for Idaho’s growing wine industry. Oenophiles shouldn’t miss a stop at the new downtown tasting room of Coiled Wines. Owner Leslie Preston — a native Idahoan who sharpened her skills at Clos du Bois and Stags’ Leap in California — makes a spectacular dry Riesling. Getting there is easier than ever: to meet rising demand, American Airlines has launched new nonstop service from Chicago O’Hare, while Southwest now runs a nonstop from San Diego. —Blane Bachelor
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Last but not least, kids and their families can enjoy kids-focused rides and plenty of building opportunities at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and its onsite water park, admission to which is available as an upgrade on regular park admission.
Oxfordshire manor house meets French fancy. There is the archetypally British: manicured lawns, croquet games, 15th-century ponds. Raymond Blanc’s passion for food translates well with children: this is the ultimate place to introduce young people to fine dining. Wander the glorious kitchen gardens to see what’s in season, and pop into the hotel’s busy kitchen after lunch for a bonus ice cream; everything here is precise and proper, but children are very warmly welcomed. Read expert review
When you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort, your plans will always be at your fingertips. Hungry? You can use the My Disney Experience app to order and pay for meals at select quick-service restaurants. Need directions to your next plan? The app can provide turn-by-turn directions to where you want to go.
Jump up ^ Rubin, Judith; Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Beth; Cheu, Linda; Elsea, Daniel; LaClair, Kathleen; Lock, Jodie; Linford, Sarah; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Pincus, Jeff; Robinett, John; Sands, Brian; Selby, Will; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris. “TEA/AECOM 2014 Theme Index & Museum Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report” (PDF). aecom.com. Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Retrieved June 4, 2015.
First time in New York City with kids. They are ages 9 and 11. We have 4 full days and plan to do the main sights: Central Park, a Broadway Show, the Natural History Museum, Times Square, and a few other things. We’ve tentatively decided on something within the triangle north of Times Square.
Multi-day tickets (2-day tickets or longer) do not have tiers and are good any day of the year. Disney has announced that price tiers are coming for multi-day tickets, but we don’t yet know exactly how that will work.