Right on 42nd Street, Five Guys Burgers at 253 West 42nd Street is a good family bet and though it is a familiar chain, the big Dallas BBQ at 241 West 42nd has something for all tastes and good prices. Remember that restaurants around Times Square are really busy around theater time, so dine before 6 or after 7:30 to avoid crowds.
Lake Buena Vista — Disney originally intended this area to become a complete community with multiple residences, shopping, and offices, but transformed the original homes into hotel lodging in the 1970s, which were demolished in the early 2000s to build Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa)
“Oohs” and “ahhs” fill the air every half-hour as performers engage in airborne stunts on the resort’s center stage. Surrounding the stage is the Midway, an enormous carnival filled with 200 games and wandering clowns. Possibly the world’s biggest funhouse, the indoor Adventuredome theme park continues the excitement with more than 20 rides, plus miniature golf and laser tag.
In Hawaii, the Hilton Waikoloa Village promises endless activity and unprecedented luxury. Parents hoping to find a child-friendly haven can sign their tykes up for Club Keiki. During its day and night camps, kids can feed koi and swans, hunt for treasure and explore tide pools.
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Virginia’s Historic Triangle extends to nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, where innovative exhibits and educational experiences depict America’s first permanent English colony and guide visitors through the battlefield where American independence was won – advance 7-day passes are available, so you can return with the family to explore time and time again. Merchants Square, an 18th-century-style village, includes more than 40 shops and restaurants ranging from family-style to fine dining.
Nickelodeon fans, this is the place for you! Head to the Nickelodeon Village, home to the Aqua Nick water park, Just Kiddin’ Kids Club, Knick Knacks gift shop, open air theater, and Character Central, where you can interact with all the Nickelodeon characters you know and love!
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.
Free attractions in St. Louis include Purina Farms, where children can enjoy dog agility shows and animal barnyards, and the Saint Louis Art Museum, where there are art activities and free 30-minute tours. Admission to the City Museum, with its 10-story slide, huge ball bit, and 30-foot high Ferris wheel, is $14 for ages three and up. Afterwards, stop by at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, which its popular custard shakes that are so thick, they can be served upside down.
Anniversary Vacation Ideas: We often write about top romantic destinations in the world, spa resorts, wedding and vow renewal destinations. Just like with planning a dream romantic getaway, your anniversary trip should include types of activities that you both enjoy. Best honeymoon destinations: vacation getaways on the East Coast, West Coast, Europe.
Meander the tranquil gardens along the St. John’s River to observe the integrated sculptures on display. Once inside, visitors can view the permanent collection which spans works from 2100 B.C. through the 21st century and includes masterpieces from the likes of Winslow Homer and Norman Rockwell. Education is paramount to the museum and families love the engaging interactive technology for all ages, kids can create their very own piece of art or a self-portrait without ever squeezing a smear of paint.
A century ago, Shanghai was China’s star city, a cosmopolitan center of art, technology, and finance. Today, it’s reclaiming that mantle, parlaying the economic boom that began in the 1990s into a world-class array of cultural and culinary attractions. On the West Bund riverfront, Tank Shanghai will transform disused oil tanks into a sprawling arts complex with a gallery, an education center, and parks when it’s completed later this year. Farther north, the Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick–designed Fosun Foundation, with its façade of shifting bronze cylinders, began hosting performances and art shows last fall. The North Bund is being redeveloped with a park linking it to a new lifestyle development that’s anchored by the city’s first W Hotel. In the residential Minhang district, Cordis debuted in May, and Amanyangyun will open nearby after relocating Ming and Qing dynasty buildings, as well as 10,000 ancient camphor trees, from Jiangxi province. More luxury stays are still to come in 2018, including the Middle House, the Bulgari, and the Edition. —Samantha Culp
The Park Hopper Plus option can be added after the initial ticket purchase. For instance, if you buy a 7-day Park Hopper ticket and decide on the 5th day of your vacation that you’d like to visit the water parks, you can add Park Hopper Plus for $26.63. If you have a 7-day Base Ticket, you will also need to add Park Hopper, so the total upgrade will be $106.50. This will add the full 7 extra visits, which you can use within the 14-day period starting on the day you first started using the ticket, NOT the day you bought the ticket upgrade. Upgrades are allowed within the first 14 days (day of first use plus 13 days) OR before midnight on the day you use the last admission, whichever comes first.
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).
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.
Though decades of civil war made parts of the island unsafe, tourism is on the rise in Sri Lanka, where international visitors exceeded 2 million for the first time in 2016. The momentum is particularly strong along the south coast, which has the highest concentration of hotels and resorts after Colombo. The 172-room Amari resort recently opened on the beachfront in Galle (known for its UNESCO-protected Dutch fortress) with ocean views from every balcony. Water also plays a central role at Alila Koggala, a new luxury eco-resort with 36 suites and private villas, opening 20 minutes outside of Galle in June. The property sits on the serene shores of Lake Koggala and will feature an ayurvedic spa where treatments can be taken on a platform floating on the lake. Further along the south coast, Mirissa Beach is attracting travelers in need of a full mind-body reset. The laid-back surfer town — think Venice Beach minus the tech crowd — comes alive at night with bars and barbecue restaurants overlooking the turquoise bay; when you’re ready to turn in, there are earthy, low-key lodges peppered throughout the jungle, such as Surf & Yoga, which offers daily on-site yoga and private surf lessons. —Alex Schechter
A grande dame property on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, this resort, dubbed “America’s Summer Place,” dates back to 1887 when wealthy families arrived for vacations by steamer. Families still arrive by boat and are usually met by a horse-drawn carriage, as motorized vehicles remain prohibited. Part of the old-fashioned fun is getting around by bicycles or by foot. Although not a traditional all-inclusive resort, The Grand Hotel’s rates include a full breakfast and dinner daily, plus supervised children’s activities for ages 5 to 14, Memorial Day through Labor Day.
You can see some great city landmarks free if you just take a stroll east on 42nd Street. Stop into the awesome New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue, look at the amazing zodiac ceiling inside Grand Central Terminal at Vanderbilt Avenue, visit the Art Deco lobby of the Chrysler Building with a painted ceiling that shows transportation scenes of the late 1920s and admire the sleek headquarters of the United Nation along the East River.
The Park Hopper Plus option adds visits equal to the number of park days on the ticket, except for the 1-day ticket, which includes 2 visits. A 2-day ticket has both 2 days of major park admission and 2 visits, a 3-day ticket has both 3 days of major park admission and 3 visits, and so forth. This is an incentive to buy the longer passes, so that you’ll get more visits for your money.
If your children have read Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, they’ll expect India to be bursting with sights, sounds and colors, and they won’t be disappointed. Sample delicious curries, ride a train through rural villages, and photograph the iconic Taj Mahal (note: the main dome is being refurbished, starting in April 2017) on a Comfort Northern India Family Holiday. You can look—from a safe distance—for tigers in Ranthambore National Park, visit temples and smell spices and incense as you stroll through markets and bazaars. In the city of Jaipur, shop for textiles and pottery as camels, rickshaws and motorbikes go by.
Presidents Hall of Fame Clermont Lake Central Wax website, next to the Florida Citrus Tower, wax figures of U.S. presidents, authentic miniature replicas of rooms in the White House, and other representations of Americana
Disney expanded into attractions at the 1964 New York World’s Fair with It’s a Small World and costumed character appearances. When the characters proved a hit at the 1964 World’s Fair, Walt wanted another outlet for “live” characters; thus, Disneyland put on Disney on Parade, a self-produced live arena show starting in 1969. Small World and its famous song lasted two years at the fair; it was then moved to Disneyland as an expanded major attraction in 1966 and later duplicated in the other Disney theme parks.
Grand Bahia Principe Coba, a 2017 Crystal Award Winner for “Best All-Inclusive Family Resort”, offers quality entertainment for the entire family. Check out the Kids Club, Baby Station, and on-site waterpark!
Surfers flock to the fantastically consistent waves of Playa Guiones, on the country’s Pacific coast, but you don’t need to be Laird Hamilton to experience Nosara’s excellent surf. Safari Surf School caters to all levels, even those who’ve never been on a board, and the gentle white water makes it ideal for beginners. Packages include two lessons per day over six days, plus accommodations, most meals and all equipment.
This genteel property opened in 1887 as a summer retreat for vacationers, who arrived at the pedestrian-only island by lake steamer and by rail. Since then, generations of families have enjoyed lawn games, after-dinner dancing, and promenades along the hotel’s 660-foot-long front porch. Kids today—who stay at the hotel free or at a significantly discounted rate—can also engage in more modern activities, like Quidditch matches, butterfly house visits, duck pin bowling, movie nights, and arts and crafts. Swimming in the hotel’s serpentine-shaped pool offers hours of fun for a budding Esther Williams—it is named after the pool-and-screen star, whose 1947 movie This Time For Keeps was filmed on the island.
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
This piece received some contributions from A.D. Thompson, Rachel Cooper and Libby McMillan—writers for Apartment Guide and local experts who know their way around the nation’s kid-friendly hot spots.
New York offers some other unique walks that won’t cost a dime. One adventure not to be missed is the 1.3 mile walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, high above the East River with endless panoramas of the skyscrapers of Wall Street and Lower Manhattan. The photos will be your favorite souvenirs.