Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Six Family Summer Vacation Destinations

I love to travel. I love that my boys enjoy the adventure of travel, too. Now that they're older, travelling is much easier. I was on a plane before I turned one years old, and I lived in Greece for the first year of my life. I spent childhood summers in Greece, and winter vacations in Florida. From vacations in Venezuela, Aruba, Amsterdam, England, Mexico, California, New York City and Grand Cayman Island, I like to think I can offer some travel advice to my friends and readers.

My family and I go to south Florida once or twice a year, and we love road trips to Chateau Montebello, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Montreal. We loved vacationing in Maine and Bahamas. Sometimes, deciding where to go on vacation can be stressful, especially when you're traveling with children, so I've put together a list to help you decide where to vacation this summer.

Here are my top six summer family vacation destinations:

South Florida: If you're looking for a beach vacation that's not too far away, I recommend South Florida. We have been vacationing at the beautiful Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa once or twice a year since my oldest son was two. We consider the Westin Diplomat our "home away from home", if you will.  The oceanfront balcony rooms are our favourite, and when the children were younger and would nap in our room, sitting on the balcony taking in that ocean view was vacation enough.

The resort has two large pools—an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and a large lagoon-style pool with cascading waterfalls. There is a fabulous spa, a tennis centre (voted one of the 50 best tennis resorts in the world) a 24-hour gym, and a golf course. There is a great restaurant, a Sushi bar, and a little grocery store where you can stock up on all you need, like Starbucks coffee, snacks, yogurt parfaits, fruit, and bottles of wine. There's also the great Westin Kids Club.

Even though we're in Florida where there are a million things to do, (shopping at Aventura Mall and at the Bal Harbour Shops are my two favourite things to do!) we don't usually leave the resort during the day. We feel like we're a million miles away.






Atlantis, Bahamas: A few years ago, my family and I went to the Atlantis resort in Bahamas. Whatever wonderful things you hear about the Atlantis resort? All true! This resort is amazing, and massive. Perhaps even overwhelming, because there is so much to do.  There are 20 pools, including three children's pools, and the ocean is the loveliest shade of turquoise.

There are places to go if you want some peace and quiet, and there is Dolphin Cay, where you can watch a dolphin show, or even swim with the dolphins if you're brave enough. There are many places to eat, so you'll have no problem finding something great for even the pickiest eater traveling with you. We loved eating pizza at the Marina, and finishing our night at Ben and Jerry's.

Even rainy days are fun at Atlantis, and we passed our time in the many stores, library, and huge casino. The ocean life is incredible, too. Some of our favourite pools? The Grotto pool, a zero-entry pool with cascading waterfalls, the Baths pool, the Mayan Temple pool, the Ripple pool, the Poseidon pool, and the Splashers pool. We loved the lazy river ride, too, and the many water slides. One week is almost not enough time to take it all in, so if you can afford a two-week vacation to Atlantis, I'd highly recommend that.




Washington, D.C.: I am a little biased because I lived in D.C. for a while, completing an internship at WUSA TV 9. Before that, I travelled to D.C. often to visit family. I took my boys on my first sans-husband trip when they were younger and it was a great vacation. The flight is only an hour, and we took the subway everywhere.

I love everything about D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland—from the shopping to the great museums. The Air and Space museum and the Spy museum are worth checking out when you're traveling with children. We also went to the National Mall, the White House, and my favourite, The Cheesecake Factory! There are tons of things to do in the summertime, and Georgetown is my favourite place to go. From the shopping to the restaurants, it's a great place to people watch. Maybe you'll even bump into Frank Underwood?



Ogunquit, Maine: I have been to Maine three times, and every time I go, I can't wait to go back. It is one of my favourite places to go in the summertime. Ogunquit is a relaxed, casual beach town, and a very popular tourist destination in the summertime. I love walking the streets, checking out the pretty stores, and eating at the fine restaurants overlooking the ocean.

We stayed at Anchorage By The Sea, which has three pools, including a small children's pool. (They even have an indoor pool in case the weather is not co-operating.) We took trolley rides, visited famous lighthouses in Perkins Cove, and walked the village at night, stopping in all the picturesque stores along the way. From where we live, it's about a seven hour car ride, and we'll definitely go back again soon. The only down side? The ocean is never warm enough to actual swim in, unless you're very brave.



Mont Tremblant: Mont Tremblant is an awesome place to go in the winter because it's one of the greatest places to ski. My family and I went to Tremblant when I was Volkswagen Canada's 24H Tremblant blogger, and it was breathtakingly beautiful in December, with Christmas lights everywhere.

Mont Tremblant is just as lovely in the summer—it's a stunning village in Quebec, and there is a lot to do, especially for the children, no matter the season. My boys loved the boat rides, the gondola rides, and swimming in hotel pools. The village also has a great water park for the kids. Although we've been three times, it's one place we'll keep coming back to, because it's just a short (three hour) drive from home.





Niagara Falls/Great Wolf Lodge: We've taken the boys to Great Wolf Lodge and Niagara Falls twice, and they absolutely love it.

Great Wolf Lodge is made for children of all ages. Kids are everywhere, so be prepared for some noise. The indoor water park is so much fun, even for the older kids. It's always fun getting buckets of water poured on you as you're walking by! Great Wolf Lodge is packed with activities for the children, and has an arcade, outdoor pool, and spa for children and adults. It's the perfect resort for kids, and you're just a few minutes from Niagara Falls. Go during peach picking season.




Other places I love going with the kids? Toronto! Visit the ROM, go to the top of the CN Tower, check out the new aquarium, and go to Legoland. We love staying at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville, for the great location, service, and amazing rooms.

Whether you're staying close to home or traveling far, I hope you have a fantastic summer vacation. I know it's only mid-April, but the earlier you start planning and booking your travels, the happier you'll be, because you'll be stress-free.

If you have any questions about the hotels we stay at when we travel, or if you're looking for advice on anything else travel related, just let me know—I'd be happy to help!

1 comment:

Autumn May Dale said...

Like you I also love to travel specially every summer vacation. Anyway, glad that you shared this tips. I can use it as a reference. Keep posting.

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