Weekend Vacation Ideas | Articles and Reviews at Family Travel Blog

Families have plenty of room to stretch out in this beach resort’s apartment-like suites, which have full kitchens, washer/dryers, and furnished balconies. Just outside is the sugar-white sand and crystalline water for which the Gulf Coast is famous. Take a dip in the zero-entry, lagoon-style heated pool or in the surf at the private beach. Sandpearl is as eco-conscious as it is elegant, and offers adventures that help kids appreciate the surrounding natural beauty: an eco-tour through the Intracoastal Waterway, kayaking across local estuaries, nature walks, and scavenger hunts with the Camp Ridley children’s club. One thrilled guest reported to T+L, “we started planning our return trip before we even left—and our ids talk about returning at least once a week.”
Based in Florida, Mandi Titus has been writing since 2002. Her articles have been published on sites such as Goodkin, Go Green Street and Living the Healthy Way. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Stetson University.
Easily among the most luxurious resorts in Central America, The Four Seasons is as close to tropical perfection as it gets. With two beautiful beaches, ocean views from each one of the sumptuous rooms — decorated in materials including wood, bamboo, and stone — and an 18-hole golf course, the resort makes it possible for guests to spend their whole vacation on-site. The Kids For all Seasons kids’ club, for children ages four to 12, is equipped with numerous toys, games, and puzzles, a TV and video game controllers, computers, and — in an outdoor area — ping pong, foosball, air hockey, and a kiddie pool. Hotel staffers supervise the play area and excursions, which include sand castle building and soccer. The Tuanis Teen Center is equipped with a long row of computers and video game consoles, a large flat-screen TV with DVDs, foosball, a pool table, and an outdoor court where basketball or volleyball can be played.
We currently have the New Yorker booked at a great price. Is that too far away for the site seeing? How to the hop on buses work? Or would cabs/trains be better to get to Broadway shows, museums? Is the big toy store still in NYC? I am afraid of “I’m tired” and it will be the first week of January, so possibly not pleasant weather.
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
Family friendly TV channels are available for in room entertainment and there is now no need to wake a sleeping child for a 12pm checkout: Early check-in and Late Check out can also be arranged (subject to availability).
As the biggest island in Thailand, Phuket offers tons of great beaches. Besides its clear waters and prime snorkeling stops, Phuket is also home to attractions like the Anthem Wakepark, a cable wakeboarding water park. Family-friendly accommodations can be found for under $100 per night.
From inexpensive options near your home to luxury suites at full service resorts, there are many great weekend trips to choose from. We’ve included great ideas based on traveler interest, such as vacation spots for garden lovers, amazing aquariums in the U.S., family vacation ideas, honeymoon escapes, inexpensive bachelorette party ideas, overnight spas and gourmet vacations. You can often find some nice vacation spots that are on other people’s bucket list quite close to home. If you are wondering where to go on vacation, our weekend getaways section is the best place to start.
Provides one year of unlimited admission to the four major parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and the water parks, plus free parking and free Photopass downloads (basically it’s equivalent to having Memory Maker). All prices listed include tax.
I am writing this from the AKA Times Square hotel and can whole-heartedly recommend it. They have 2-bedroom suite with full kitchen and washer dryer (and a large sofa in the living room). Great central location close to many different subway lines. Not the best area for interesting nightlife so may have to travel a little to find that (though there are several good places to get a drink nearby).
Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida Panama City Bay Northwest Children’s Formerly the Junior Museum of Bay County, hands-on science and natural history exhibits, children’s discovery areas, trail
The Soho Grand Hotel is great. The one-bedroom comfortably sleeps a family of 4. Lots of style and a very cool bar off the lobby (2nd floor). Lucky Strike is a french bistro just around the corner (very good). Broome Street Bar is two blocks away and has a relaxed local vibe. Both allow kids.
Holiday Weekends: During most times of the year, you can get away with last minute vacation planning, but major holidays like New Year’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Christmas often mean sold out airline seats and hotel rooms, so it’s a good idea to do your research and reservations ahead of time. People often postpone trip planning because it’s difficult to decide where to go and what to do. Browse our ideas by month section which includes suggestions for every month of the year as well as Valentine’s Day, Mothers & Fathers Days, fall foliage trips, 4th of July events and other trip ideas for families and couples.
The Times Square area offers the greatest choice of hotels, but the Upper West Side has some advantages. It is much less crowded, offers proximity to Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History and easy transportation via bus or subway to Times Square.
Begin your Peru Family Adventure in the historical center of Lima, once a Spanish colony, and show the kids around the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History, where tools, textiles and other Incan artifacts date back to 1,000 B.C. Next, fly to Puerto Maldonado, known as the gateway to the Amazon. Guides will take you via motorized canoes into the jungle and explain the medicinal plants and wildlife you’ll see. Later, you can look for llamas and alpacas in a small village, and shop for hand-knitted items and locally-crafted ceramics. The “lost city” of Machu Picchu, with some 200 ancient homes and temples, is the highlight of the trip. Return via Cuzco, if the family wants to zip-line, mountain bike or hike. 
Disney reportedly had plans to build a park named Disney’s America. The park was to have been located in Haymarket, Virginia, but local opposition to the idea persuaded Disney to abandon the idea in 1994. On September 28, 1994, Michael Eisner announced that Disney was canceling its plans to build Disney’s America after a bruising national media fight with Protect Historic America and aggressive local opposition in Virginia from Protect Prince William and other citizen groups.
The largest island in the world, Greenland is the perfect escape from summer heat, with temperatures reaching only into the 50s. The days are long in July, and the area above the Arctic Circle experiences perpetual daylight during two months of summer. Guided boat tours out of Nuuk let visitors cruise the fjords, sail between icebergs, and encounter whales, seals, walrus, and other wildlife. Hiking, backpacking, kayaking, climbing, and biking are also popular. Summer is whale watching season, and humpbacks, finbacks, and minke whales can be seen feeding in the waters around Greenland. Dog sledding is available during summer on Disko Island, giving visitors a chance to experience this traditional (and adorable) means of transportation.
The Walt Disney Outdoor Recreation Division was incorporated as Walt Disney Attractions, Inc. on August 10, 1989.[29] In January 1990, Disney CEO Eisner announced plans to expand both Disneyland (by 20% in 10 years)[CDC 1] and Disney World (WDW). The plan would have WDW add another theme park and 16 new attractions in Disney-MGM Studios.[CDW2 1] Disney and The Coca-Cola Company agreed to a 15-year marketing contract on January 25: Coca-Cola products would be exclusive in Disney theme parks, and Coca-Cola would use some Disney characters in their ads.[CDC 2] On March 16, 1990, Attractions president Nunis announced a 25-year plan for a 4,400-acre (1,800 ha) development in Osceola, Florida, with homes, shopping malls and industrial buildings.[CDC 3]
The Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia, Don Pablo Collection is ideal for guests of all ages! Make a splash at the theme-based children’s pool, hang out at the Bahia Scouts Kids Club, or keep cool at the waterpark. 
The most obvious pull for children in sunny Anaheim is the mighty Disneyland Park—and who could blame them for begging to come here? Rides for all ages, well-known characters to meet, and all the color and excitement you’d expect from a larger-than-life Disney experience. If you’re looking for something on a smaller scale, book a pass to Adventure City. With rides, shows, and a mini train, it’s especially suited to younger children.
Affordable and wholesome Pigeon Forge is adjacent to American’s favorite national park, Great Smoky Mountains. Most known for the Dollywood theme park, Pigeon Forge now also gets rave reviews for its Titanic Museum, an interactive walk through the doomed cruise ship. Teens will like assuming the persona of a historic passenger, only to find out their fate after visiting the eye-popping captain’s bridge.
You can look forward to strolling the pristine shore, searching for sea shells and other treasures, and visiting the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, one of the most famous lighthouses in the nation. Overnights at the highly rated but inexpensive Lighthouse View Oceanfront Lodging, make this an especially affordable getaway.
While most tourists come to the Sunshine State to get away from the snow and indulge in the beautiful sandy beaches, there’s actually more to Florida than just our infinite sunny days. With endless history, some of the best-kept secrets are the spots that many seem to skip over altogether. So next time the clouds open up and the rain starts falling, escape the present and enjoy the past with some of these must-see museums around Florida.
Rock scrambles, carriage rides, woodland hikes, trout fishing, lake swims and campfires with S’mores are just some of the activities featured at Mohonk Mountain House, a 265-room National Historic Landmark resort. Sprawled across 2,200 acres in the Hudson River Valley, the castle-like resort also offers a complimentary kids’ club for ages 2 to 12, and a teen program for those ages 13 to 17. Young kids can ride ponies, sail on boats and go on frog hunts while older ones can choose from tennis, hiking, orienteering and other activities.
Star Wars Hotel — planned to be built on the south side of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, just east of World Drive and just outside of the under-construction Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land theme park planning to open in 2019. [29]
Set in 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, Soho Farmhouse offers a bucolic setting, spacious Nantucket-style accommodation, the facilities of a Center Parcs on steroids and indulgent food and drink. The result? The ultimate ‘country-lite’ retreat. Electric milkfloats whisk guests around the estate, while families pedal by in matching dressing gowns and cow-print wellies. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, boating lake, tennis courts, football pitch, horse riding and the outstanding “Teeny Barn” kids’ club (an old horse box is the library, kids can collect real eggs from the coup and so on). Read expert review
As one of the only two skeleton museums in America, Skeletons: Animals Unveiled! features over 40 exhibits and more than 500 real animal skeletons. With everything from an African Safari exhibit that features massive elephant and giraffe skeletons, to the creepy flesh-eating beetles that help clean the bones, this place will keep the kiddos exploring all day.
Unique Museums: If you are traveling with someone who considers museums boring, you can change their mind by taking them to someplace unique and exciting, like the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC or the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin.
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
Heckscher Playground is near the southwest corner of Central Park and Columbus Circle and is great (one of our kids’ favorites). There are slides, swings, climbing structures, a sand area to play in, and water jets in the summer months. Lots of room to run. It’s definitely walkable from Times Square. Much of New York is stroller-friendly. The problem is crowds in certain areas. Certainly Times Square and neighboring streets can be very hard to get a stroller through at pretty much anytime of the day.
Quickly view your tickets, annual passes, reminders, dining reservations and Disney Resort hotel reservations. You can even see the plans of other people on your Family & Friends list when they share plans with you. It’s a great way to get ready for your vacation!
The Radisson boasts 12,000 square feet of event space with boardrooms, conference rooms, ballrooms, and even an outdoor courtyard and gazebo. Host events of up to 1,000 guests, and reserve smaller breakout areas for focus sessions. Take advantage of the latest audiovisual equipment and the hotel’s customized catering for a seamless event in Piscataway, NJ.
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
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Steeped in Civil War history, the picturesque town of Gettysburg makes a pleasant and educational base for families. Tour the Gettysburg Battlefield, the National Military Park, and the Shriver House Museum at your leisure, or hop on a guided bus tour of the town to get the expert lowdown on all the key sights. From historical re-enactments to ghostly tours, there’s so much here to keep the whole family entertained.
Located in the heart of Winter Park, The Morse Museum houses the most comprehensive collection of art by Louis Comfort Tiffany spanning across a variety of mediums including lamps, pottery and leaded glass. Perhaps the most captivating of all, is a walk through the Byzantine-inspired interior of the Tiffany Chapel installation.
Two more hotels opened in 1973 at Walt Disney World: the Golf Resort[22] and the Gold Resort;[CDW 9] Disney’s Village Resort hotel opened in 1974.[citation needed] Disney opened the Buena Vista Club golf club in Lake Buena Vista on November 22, 1974.[CDW0 1]:71 Lake Buena Vista Village, the shopping area, opened on March 22, 1975[CDW0 1] and was renamed Walt Disney World Village in 1977.[23]:280 Celebrity Sports Center, Disney World’s training center, was sold on March 29, 1979.[14]
Divers and snorkelers will be endlessly entertained while exploring the abundant sea life surrounding these two islands. On Little Cayman, Reef Divers is a popular outfitter that works with newcomers and seasoned divers alike. Above water, Nature Cayman offers visitors a free tour of Cayman Brac (above) that includes some of its hundreds of caves.
All tickets and options are nontransferable and nonrefundable and exclude activities/events separately priced. Water Parks subject to rehabilitation, seasonal and weather closures. Tee times are required for Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course and are subject to availability. ESPN Wide World of Sports admission valid only on event days; some events require an additional admission charge; there are no events on certain days; days and hours of operation of concessions, venues and attractions vary. Visit www.espnwwos.com for more information.
U.S. travelers have historically overlooked Mauritius in favor of other Indian Ocean destinations like the Seychelles and Maldives. That could all change, though, now that this remote, idyllic island some 1,200 miles off the African coast has become easier to reach. A flurry of new airline services launched at the end of 2017: KLM began servicing Mauritius from Amsterdam, and British carrier Thomas Cook Airlines introduced biweekly flights in November. Upon arrival, travelers can take in dreamy lagoon views from the newly reopened One&Only Le Saint Géran, fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. Every room and suite now has a private terrace or balcony, marble baths with cascade showers, and sophisticated teak, stone, and leather accents. Guests can also look forward to updated dining experiences — like lunch spot La Pointe, which grills fresh-caught seafood over firewood and coconut embers, or open-air restaurant La Terrasse, which offers Mauritian specialties. Unchanged at Le Saint Géran is its aura of exclusivity, thanks to the resort’s unique position on a private peninsula jutting out from the island’s eastern shore. —Melanie Lieberman
This haute coastal resort on Cape Cod has mastered the trick of keeping kids entertained while providing a sophisticated sanctuary for adults. The horseshoe-shaped compound faces an expansive private beach, which is the site of many of the children’s program activities (like pirate’s treasure hunts) as well as a perfect spot to enjoy swimming and kite flying. A daily lineup of kid-friendly activities also takes place at the outdoor heated pool, on the lawn, and at the sports field. The Beach House restaurant, with its view of the pool and ocean, feels intimate—yet still welcoming for children. There are even family theme nights during the summer. “Cape Cod resort attire” is suggested, so pack your best khakis, pastel polos, and boat shoes.
Hi – my sister and I are bringing our father to NYC in September/October for ‘one last trip’ from the UK, whilst he can still get around. We’ll be a mixed family group of 1 grandpa and 2 mums with one child each. We’d like to be central as Dad is 87 and not as nimble as he once was and ideally we’d like to have interconnecting rooms – say a double double with a king, or a 2 bed suite/apartment. Would be very grateful for your recommendation.
Our family of 4 is visiting from Australia in April 2017 & would welcome any suggestions of a good area/hotel for us. Our kids are boy 21 & daughter 17 so we definitely need 3 beds and would really like kitchenette (refrigerator at the very least). An area with a bit of groovy nightlife for those of us over 21 is what we are after, but not too far from a good subway station.
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.
Although this Playa del Carmen hotel includes “liquor drips” with free tequila right in your hotel room, it’s not a destination for spring breakers as no parties are allowed in rooms, and no wild partying can happen on the property either. It does, however, offer a good time at a budget price, surrounded by tropical palms on a beautiful powdery white sand beach. The buffet restaurant serves up a wide variety of dishes, and there are also themed international restaurants and live cooking shows, included in the all-inclusive packages. Guests can also enjoy swimming in the freshwater pool set right next to the sea, and indulging in a variety of treatments and massage at the Renova Spa. Entertainment is offered daily and includes dancing, live music and shows.
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.
Those who think they’ve seen and done it all in the Bahamas should think again. Baha Mar, the multibillion dollar hotel and casino development on Nassau’s Cable Beach, will be fully up and running when Rosewood resorts launches there this spring. (Baha Mar’s Grand Hyatt and SLS properties are already drawing visitors with their sophisticated, contemporary rooms.) On neighboring Paradise Island, the iconic Ocean Club resort is under new management with Four Seasons. And at Atlantis, the adults-focused Cove resort now has an outpost of Sip Sip restaurant, Julie Lightbourn’s Harbour Island favorite, while the family-friendly Coral Towers debuted a new lobby, guest rooms, and pool courtesy of star hotel designer Jeffrey Beers. And T+L’s World’s Best winner Kamalame Cay has added stylish beach bungalows — stand-alone suites that start at a whopping 450 square feet and feature private verandas and outdoor showers. —Jacqueline Gifford
Jump up ^ Jason Garcia (August 24, 2011). “Disney golf: Disney World to turn its golf courses over to Arnold Palmer”. Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on December 1, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
What are the best luxury vacation ideas for families? If you are looking to spend $5,000 or $10,000 on a family vacation, you can be as picky as you like (although that will not buy you a first class airline ticket). Luxury resort rooms and suites start at $350 per night, and can go as high as $900 per night for a villa in an exotic destination like Fiji. Some of the best luxury beach destinations for families include plush resorts in Barbados, Paradise Island in the Bahamas and beach resorts in Maui. Look for all inclusive rates at Sandals resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos where you will have access to many fun activities for kids of all ages. Families have access to a wide selection of room and suite layouts, letting you balance cost and just the right layout. On your luxury family vacation, look for activities that will be fun for adults as well as kids, such as golf, spas and fun dining options. If you have a baby, Club Med’s Ixtapa resort in Mexico offers the Baby Med program which includes a crib, bottle warmers and diapers in your room.

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