If your brood subscribes to the philosophy of “collect moments, not things,” you’ve probably gleefully anticipated your next over-the-top vacation, especially after two years of being grounded. From a private island paradise worthy of Robinson Crusoe to a glacier walk and black-bear spotting in the remote stretches of snow-capped Alaska, here are five incredible places in the world that will make for unforgettable memories, indeed.
PETIT ST. VINCENT
What kid doesn’t dream about escaping to a deserted tropical island? It’s not the stuff of fantasies on this 115-acre all-inclusive private island resort in the Grenadines. Access Petit St. Vincent via charter flight from Barbados to Union Island — you can easily spot its whale-like shape during the approach — followed by a short boat ride. The property offers just 22 one- and two-bedroom cottages and villas; some have patios and private pools while others open directly onto the sand and surf. Families will find barefoot luxury, not to mention lots of room for exploring.
Camp out on your own beach, then raise the yellow flag to have lunch delivered to your lounge chairs. (The ingenious flag system is PSV’s unobtrusive way for guests to order room service or request housekeeping.) Grab racquets and balls for a tennis game, take a yoga class at the open-air pavilion or hike to the summit of Marni Hill for a view of the surrounding islands. Keep an eye out for the locals — meandering turtles — crossing your path or a flock of sheep napping in the shade. The resort’s water center offers standup paddle boards, kayaks, Hobie Cats, Sunfishes, windsurfing equipment and snorkeling gear. Meanwhile, the dive center, owned by Jean-Michel Cousteau and his colleague Don Santee, offers both introductory and advanced scuba courses and dives for ambitious amphibians and their parents. Don’t miss the chance to shuttle via boat to Sandy Island, a tiny spot off the coast just large enough for a thatched palapa and 360-degree beach, where staff will set up a picnic. And family time is all but assured on the island, as cottages have neither a TV nor WiFi, and phones only ring out.
Forget that old adage about not being able to please everyone all of the time; when it comes to the perfect family destination, the Land of Smiles might just have it all. History and culture dating back millennia? Check. Social media photo-worthy statues, temples and landmarks? Check. Tropical beaches aplenty? Check. Bustling markets for rabid souvenir shopping? Check. The most aromatic, colorful and flavorful cuisine including addictively crushable street food? Check.
It may sound daunting to take on this Southeastern Asian country on your own, but luckily you don’t have to. Intrepid Travel’s 12-day Thailand Family Holiday starts in the vibrant capital of Bangkok, where you’ll whiz down the Chao Phraya River to explore the city’s canals and visit Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. In Kanchanaburi, swim in or relax by Erawan Falls in a national park, then take an overnight train to Chiang Mai, the most beloved city in the northern part of the country. Tackle the 300 steps up to Buddhist temple Doi Suthep; spend some time strolling the night market; and tuck into a bowl of khao soi, the city’s famous dish of wheat noodles in simmering curry broth with meat and vegetables. After another overnight train ride back to Bangkok — a most unique experience for the fam — you’ll get to relax for a few days in Hua Hin, the beachy resort town made famous in the 1920s when Thai royalty started using it as a weekend escape. (Order a steaming bowl of tom kha, the spicy seafood soup all over menus here.) The journey ends where it began, leaving you some free time to soak in more of Bangkok’s beguiling charm (and maybe take in one last foot massage) before the flight home.
Blue-footed boobies, sea lions, penguins, giant tortoises and other exotic creatures step off the pages of a children’s storybook and into their native habitat during an Austin Adventures Galápagos Family Vacation. The epic seven-day adventure starts in Quito before embark- ing on three of the volcanic islands that make up the archipelago off the Ecuadorian coast. Families partake in unique experiences: Take a wildlife walk on the pedestrian-only Tortuga Bay, hike to active volcano Sierra Negra, forest bike ride on San Cristóbal Island, kayak on the calm bay of Puerto Villamil and peer at colorful species while snorkeling the remains of Kicker Rock’s underwater volcano. Visitors also enjoy the opportunity to learn about the Galápagos’ breeding ini- tiatives to save the vulnerable tortoises and iguanas at Charles Darwin Research Station. Accommodations include Posada del Mar, close to the pier in Puerto Ayora; the boutique-y Hotel Albemarle situated on the white sands in Puerto Villamil; and the small, eclectic, seaside Casa Blanca Bed and Breakfast. Local guides are on hand to pass on their knowledge, culture and anecdotes of their incredible home.
If the kids have been jockeying to live out their inner cowboy on a dude ranch out West but you are a little skittish about roughing it for a week, Darwin Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, in the heart of Big Sky Country, checks off both their sense of rugged adventure and your need for niceties (including high-thread-count sheets). The most remote ranch in the lower 48 states — surrounded by 2.5 million acres of Bridger Teton National Forest and Gros Ventre Wilderness — draws inspiration from the safari lodges of East Africa. Accommodations include 100-year-old hand-built log cabins that meld classic style with modern amenities like wood-burning stoves and wood-fired hot tubs. Spend the days bird-watching, fishing, hiking, river rafting or trail riding; or just sit on your porch with a good book and a view of that endless sky. The ranch serves fresh, organic, sustainable and locally sourced cuisine, highlighting the best of Greater Yellowstone’s bounty. Think spit-roasted leg of lamb that arrived by bush plane from sister property Ishawooa Mesa Ranch or the makings of the freshest salad with leafy greens from Shoshone River Farm. Its unparalleled service, stunning setting, endless outdoor pursuits and casual yet gourmet dining make for an unforgettable family vacation.
It might be considered a domestic trip, but The Last Frontier sure feels like a world away — and that’s a good thing. This eight-day family itinerary from upscale tour operator Abercrombie & Kent starts in Anchorage and is designed with families in mind. On Kenai Peninsula catch the sweeping views during a family float trip down Portage River, enjoy a lunchtime salmon bake and visit a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates injured and orphaned animals and returns them to the wild. Board a private boat for a cruise amid the glaciers of Prince William Sound, during which you may see humpback whales and harbor seals. A guided beach walk along Redoubt Bay affords some of the best chances for spotting black and brown bears, and your room at a rustic-modern lodge overlooks Denali, North America’s tallest peak. In Talkeetna, the base camp for those climbing Denali, kids will thrill to see the dogs of an Iditarod racer, try their hand at dryland mushing, and taste homemade birch candy and ice cream at a family-run operation nearby. But the day’s high point — literally and figuratively — is flying over the mountain’s peaks and glaciers. A deluxe domed car on the Alaska Railroad bound for Denali National Park gets you even closer to the majestic peak, as will an all-ages kayak trip on calm Byers Lake. Once safely back in Anchorage, a chef ’s table dinner experience caps off your thrilling expedition in this great land.
LEGOLAND New York Resort is about to make it easier for family travelers to move throughout the park this summer. The Minifigure Skyflyer, opening this summer and a first for LEGOLAND Resorts, offers an interactive new way to travel between themed lands.
Filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, Seoul invites travelers to unearth its many gems, and Seoul Tourism Organization is here to help travelers do just that. Through thoughtfully created initiatives like the Theme Tourism County Competition, Seoul Tourism Organization works closely with local districts to identify and showcase what makes each district unique and charming in all seasons.
The family travel experience just got elevated at Cedar Lakes Estates, turning the traditional kids club on its head with a Home Alone-inspired twist. Located in Port Jervis in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley, Cedar Lakes Estates sits on the grounds of a 1930s-era summer camp, offering families and kids an ultimate winter wonderland getaway.
Bulgaria has managed to slip under the radar for many family travelers, but, for those in the know, it is a fascinating country full of culture, history and natural beauty. For families, it is an ideal destination where you can find an affordable vacation with plenty of activity and adventure to make memories that last a lifetime. As you plan your next trip, be sure to keep these great reasons to visit Sofia, the country’s charming capital, in mind.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Prepare for your family’s spring break this year with some advice from TravelInsurance.com. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is an important consideration for spring break travelers and co-founder Stan Sanberg has some advice about making the important purchase for spring break this year.