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.
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.
Located on Pensacola Naval Air Station, the National Naval Aviation Museum is one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida and Pensacola’s #1 attraction. See more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft, including rare and one-of-a-kind planes like the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the first to land at the South Pole, and a World War II-era trainer flown by President George H.W. Bush. Explore more than 350,000 square feet of indoor space, brimming with interactive exhibits, vintage uniforms, historical documents and immersive dioramas that bring the past to life. Take a free guided tour with a retired or active duty airman and hear stirring tales that capture the human element of our shared history.
On an eight-day trip with Un-Cruise, adventures include touching anemones in tide pools and looking at plankton kids have collected under the microscope. Movie nights and dance parties keep the group camaraderie going on board. Book the Inner Reaches Eastern Coves itinerary for access to harbor seals in Endicott Arm, humpbacks in Stephens Passage, and lessons in Tlingit and Haida culture.
The riverfront Nationals Park is a wholesome itinerary option for families who like major league baseball. The neighborhood has several names—including Navy Yard, Ballpark District and Capitol Riverfront—but is easy to reach from any area of the city.
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
What’s more, our theme parks continually have new projects on the horizon, so even the most frequent visitors will always find new ways to create lasting memories, year after year, in Orlando: Theme Park Capital of the World®!
With young children, consider staying on the Upper West Side, where you can walk to playgrounds in Riverside Park and Central Park as well as two favorite family museums, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the American Museum of Natural History. Two choices for family suites are the Hotel Beacon and a budget option, the Milburn Hotel. Both include convenient kitchenettes in some units and offer access to good bus service on Broadway. Buses are a little slower way to get around town but a lot easier for small ones than dealing with subway stairs and noise. If you are using a stroller, the buses will lower a ramp to make boarding easier. Just avoid crowded rush hours.
Armed Forces History Museum, Largo, closed on January 29, 2017, displays included World War I, Japanese memorabilia associated with the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor, USMC in the South Pacific, D-Day landings, German Third Reich, Korean War and 8063rd M.A.S.H memorabilia.
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
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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.
Guests climb stairs, ladders, even a 90-foot-long suspension bridge. At the Swiss Family Complex, a swinging bridge separates child and adult units, and a fire pole and rope swings provide kids with ground access. Luxury lovers will enjoy the Tree Room Schoolhouse Suite, which fits four and has a bathroom, kitchenette, master bedroom, sitting area and loft. Fun perks include lessons in treehouse building, horseback riding, rafting, ropes courses, pools and arts and crafts classes.
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.
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!
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
The nation’s fourth-largest city is rebounding from a disastrous late-summer hit by Hurricane Harvey. But tourist areas escaped major damage, the Astros won the World Series, and the city is hitting home runs with its lineup of museums and restaurants. Represented by Houston’s notably diverse population, restaurants serve eats from steak and barbecue to down-home chicken and waffles at the Breakfast Klub (hometown heroine Beyoncé is a fan) to Greek, Korean and Vietnamese. Onetime undocumented immigrant Hugo Ortega won the 2017 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest award for Hugo’s, serving Mexican favorites made from scratch. Xochi, honoring Mexico’s Oaxaca region, is his newest eatery.
The permanent exhibitions on African art are simply breathtaking, and the lifeblood of the museum is modern design and contemporary art. The OMA takes pride in their educational efforts, offering programs on art education for all ages. They are always rotating series of temporary exhibitions, so pay attention to what’s coming up soon!
Walt Disney Imagineering created Disney Fair, a U.S. traveling attraction, which premiered in September 1996. The fair was poorly attended and was pulled after a few stops. Disney Entertainment Projects (Asia Pacific) Inc., a new Disney Asian Pacific subsidiary, selected a renamed fair called DisneyFest as its first project, taking it to Singapore to open there on October 30, 1997.
Family Vacation Ideas with Toddlers: When planning a trip with toddlers, remember a few key points: they have short attention spans, get tired quickly and need simple engaging activities such as pouring water or transferring beans. It will take a lot of effort to keep them happy on a long airplane trip, although with careful planning it can be done. They will probably want to sleep with you in an unfamiliar hotel room and may not like resort food all that much. On the other hand, having many new things to see and do will be exciting, as long as they are not tired or hungry. If you only have time for a long weekend getaway, pick a quick getaway that won’t require a lot of time to get to or having to deal with jet lag. If you have time for a longer vacation, consider destinations with nice beaches where your toddler will be able to run around, splash water and have a lot of fun.
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.
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.
Fun Tours: Take a helicopter tour, romantic carriage ride, Broadway tour, food tour, dinner cruise, photo tour, cycling, sailing or walking tour of a new destination to get to know if better. Even if you’ve been to New York a few times, you can always learn something new by signing up for one of these awesome tours.
Ready for a fun-fueled family trip? Pack your sunblock, swimwear, and those all-important traveling snacks. Here are 20 of the best family vacation ideas in America for happy kids and even happier grown-ups. And once you decide on a destination, you can book all your tours, activities, and attractions right on TripAdvisor. Plus, our new 24-hour cancellation policy means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.
In September 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans to partner with filmmaker James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company, along with 20th Century Fox, to develop theme park attractions based on Cameron’s Avatar film franchise, with the first installation planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in the form of a themed land. While no specific plans or attractions were announced, construction on the new area was expected to begin by 2013. Disney also secured exclusive global theme parks rights to the Avatar franchise. The expansion, named “Pandora—The World of Avatar”, opened May 27, 2017.
Satellite Beach is a lesser-known but equally lovely section of the Atlantic coast. If you’re planning on visiting in June or July, you can enjoy sea turtle nesting season. Check in with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society for a guided tour. Once booked, you’ll be led out by expert guides equipped with the knowledge (and turtle-friendly lighting) to find mama turtles as they venture onshore to lay their eggs. Truly amazing!
Click here to see discounts for other Walt Disney World attractions, including Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks, Oak Trail Golf Course, Wide World of Sports and Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland mini golf.
Geared toward children ages 13 and under, the Pensacola Children’s Museum allows kids to explore history through hands-on play. On the first floor, the Discovery Gallery is designed to recreate life in Colonial-era Pensacola. Younger children can dress up and romp through a Colonial cottage, military fort, trading post and ship. On the second floor, older children can delve into interactive and interpretive exhibits that trace our diverse local history from its Native American roots and European exploration, through early American history and the Civil War, to the Industrial Revolution and our modern-era ties with the U.S. Navy.
2) Yes. I like it the Hop On/Hop Off tours – especially the north bound tour that goes around Central Park. But don’t “hop off” – just stay on for the whole route. Once you get off it’s hard to get back on. And don’t use it as a form of transportation – not worth the hassle of getting on and finding a seat.
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.
With its jaw-dropping landscapes (larger-than-life glaciers) and abundant sea and wildlife (humpback whales, sea lions and polar bears), Alaska is a must-see bucket-list destination for all ages. Opting for a cruise is a no-brainer: The mix of family-friendly onboard activities will keep all generations entertained, and water- and land-based tours make exploring the Final Frontier a cinch.
Disneyland was founded as a single park by Walt Disney and opened on July 17, 1955, in Anaheim, California. Disneyland Hotel opened to the public on October 5, 1955. In 2001, the site expanded significantly and was renamed the Disneyland Resort with the opening of Disney California Adventure Park on February 8, 2001, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa on January 2, 2001, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on December 15, 2000, and Downtown Disney on January 12, 2001. Disneyland was rebranded Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the larger resort complex. The resort focuses on Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters and occupies 500 acres (2.0 km2).
Tokyo Disney Resort, located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, opened April 15, 1983, with Tokyo Disneyland. On September 4, 2001, the resort expanded with Tokyo DisneySea. There are several resort hotels on site, but only three are actually owned by the resort, which boasts the largest parking structure in the world. Tokyo Disney Resort is fully owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company and is licensed by The Walt Disney Company. The resort was built by Walt Disney Imagineering, and Disney maintains a degree of control; Nick Franklin leads the Walt Disney Attractions Japan team at The Walt Disney Company, which communicates with the Oriental Land Company over all aspects of the Resort, and assigns Imagineers to the Resort. Its properties, listed below, are divided into parks, shopping centers, and lodging.
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).
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.
On October 18, 2017, it was announced that resort visitors could bring dogs to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
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!
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)
Boasting the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artifacts, this creative museum takes a hand’s on approach to education. Within the themed vignettes, you’ll learn how pirates sailed, lived, and died on Florida’s shores through fascinating tales and up close interaction with 400-year-old treasures.
If the sight of snow gets your family excited, grab the skis and head to Snowbird for a wonderful, wintry vacation. The resort, which rests in Little Cottonwood Canyon, offers 3,240 vertical feet and 2,500 acres of mountain to explore. Thanks to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, it sees an average of more than 500 inches of snow annually.
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Billed as the Waterpark Capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells is an obvious choice for fun-seeking families. It’s hard to experience every single one of the great attractions and activities here (because there are so many!). Take your pick of indoor and outdoor adventures, such as Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Timber Falls Adventure Park, Circus World, Timbavati Wildlife Park…the list goes on and on.
The first place you might head is Central Park, the city’s beautiful back yard. Stop for a park map at the information center at Central Park West and 59th Street or The Dairy Information Center at Mid-Park between 64th and 65th Street and get ready for some fun. Climb the stairs up to Belvedere Castle for the view. Stop at Conservatory Water where you can rent a model boat and the kids can take turns with the remote control, moving it around the pond. Sounds like your children may be too old for playgrounds, but they can work off some energy hiking a path through the Ramble, a section of the park that is still deep woods and streams. You’ll never believe you are in the heart of the city. It’s also fun to join the joggers around the park’s reservoir. If you want to splurge a bit, you can rent bikes and pedal around the park’s 843 acres, stretching from 59th to 110th streets.
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.
Walt Disney World has so much more to do than just theme parks. There is miniature golf, water parks, fishing, even pony rides. You will find world-famous shops and eateries at newly opened Disney Springs. This area was formerly known as Downtown Disney and has undergone a complete transformation and expansion to create an even bigger Disney experience.
Serendipity on the upper east side (not far from Central Park). Be prepared for a one hour wait. They take reservations for lunch and dinner but not just for dessert. Desserts are amazing. If the wait’s too long nearby Dylan’s Candy Bar has 3 floors of treats and desserts – though it’s not as good as Serendipity which is more of a sit-down indulgence.
Designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955, the complex was developed by Walt Disney in the 1960s. “The Florida Project”, as it was known, was intended to present a distinct vision with its own diverse set of attractions. Walt Disney’s original plans also called for the inclusion of an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” (EPCOT), a planned community intended to serve as a test bed for new city living innovations. After extensive lobbying, the government of Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special government district that essentially gave The Walt Disney Company the standard powers and autonomy of an incorporated city. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, during construction of the complex. Without Disney spearheading the construction, the company created a resort similar to Disneyland, abandoning experimental concepts for a planned community. Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open in the complex, in 1971, followed by Epcot in 1982, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989, and the most recent, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998.
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.
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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.