Summertime and the living is easy, or so the song proclaims! The reality is that families often attempt to jam pack a summer holiday with vacations and activities to take advantage of the school break, but this can also cause stress.
The destination possibilities are endless and encompass a world of choices. The big decision is how to choose? When multiple family members share their input the challenge can become even greater. Luckily, there are many fantastic locations around the world that are perfect family vacation spots. Here are a few ideas.
Yes, the Caribbean can deal with hurricanes, but in general, it’s one of the best family vacation spots. The aquamarine waters and beaches in the color of pink, white, and cream depending on your location, are all enticing. The historical significance combined with the stunning scenery and culture of this part of the world makes for a family vacation that satisfies all members of the family. Puerto Rico, a US territory, doesn’t even require a passport. It offers travelers an old fort, beautiful beaches, and only a three-hour flight from Miami.
The Bahamas has long been a summer favorite with few crowds and over 700 islands to choose from. Activities range from water parks to water sports, from golf to pirate lore. Botanical gardens and undersea wonder simply add to the beauty of the region. Don’t forget it is home to some of the best beaches in the world as well.
The history of Europe fascinates both young and old. From high tea in London to the Palio horse race in Sienna, Italy, Europe is steeped in old world charm, some of the world’s best cuisine, and adventures for everyone in the family. One of the most popular family vacation spots these days is Portugal. The sunny shores of the Algarve, with small town friendliness and delicious seafood, make for a happy family. As capital cities go, Lisbon is more fascinating than many, offering steep climbs, pastel buildings, and an imposing castle.
A familiar choice is Barcelona. Loved by artisans, foodies, and historians alike, this seaside city has sweeping boulevards, one of Europe’s best indoor food markets, and the unfinished Sagrada Familia. The whole family will embrace much of this vibrant town. The kids will especially love Parc Guell with Gaudi’s mystical and colorful statues.
Mexico has been one of the best family vacation spots for many decades, and for a multitude of reasons. This spot is full of diversity, and has both rich culture and cuisine. The capital, Mexico City is the spot for a perfect family vacation. This may come as a surprise to many, but this enormous city offers up astonishing architecture, museums interesting enough even for children to enjoy, and food markets with such oddities as live bugs will repel and intrigue. Every member of the family will embrace their inner Indiana Jones at the majestic pyramids of Teotihuacan just an hour or so outside of the city.
The dry desert landscape of Cabo San Lucas on Baja also draws a steady crowd. All inclusive resorts are all the rage. They allow parents to drink, relax, and enjoy time around the pool while the kids swim with dolphins, snorkel, or take a deep-sea fishing trip. Golf is great for the entire family and day trips to the artist’s village of Todos Santos is on everyone’s to-do list.
Portland is cool enough to deserve its own category. The forested setting along the Willamette and mighty Columbia Rivers is amazing in itself. Portland is also just two hours from Mt. Hood and two hours from the beautiful Oregon beaches. It’s is a winner all the way around! Forest Park contains the world-famous Rose Gardens, Japanese Gardens, and a nationally acclaimed zoo, along with many miles of some of the best hiking trails available in any urban area anywhere.
Portland has one of the highest numbers of breweries per capita, and may not seem family friendly. However, many of these breweries welcome kids and fur babies alike. One example is McMenamins Edgefield. Here, they offer acres of vegetable gardens, a golf putting course, pool, game rooms, and a movie theater allowing the entire family to enjoy a day of fun. The city’s propensity for quirkiness simply allows family members to fully embrace their own version of weird fun.
Canada’s National Parks
2017 is the perfect year to head north to explore a few of Canada’s stunning national parks. Celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary, admission to the majority of the national parks is free this year to nationals and visitors alike. This means your family can visit such astonishing parks for free! Now is the time to visit the beautiful Banff National Park and Jasper National Park! With that savings, you might even want to splurge on a private charter flight.
Jasper National Park is part of the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountains National Park World Heritage Sites, and the largest park in the region. Spectacular mountain scenery, glacier lakes, world-class wildlife viewing and amazing hiking will keep the entire family enthralled for days at a time. Take the time to drive Maligne Lake Road and prepare to be struck speechless.
Traveling with children, or multiple generations is tough. However, with good planning and a variety of activities, it is easy to keep everyone entertained and find perfect family vacation spots. With the younger crowds shorter attention span throwing in hands-on activities combined with an animal sighting or two can quickly turn the conversation from “are we there yet?” to “what can we do next?”
The world is an amazing place and family travel is enriching and educational for all involved. Make this year the year you and your entire family discover something new about the world and each other.