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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Family-Friendly Vacations to Escape the Cold

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By Kristin Masters

As temperatures continue to drop, much of the country faces frost, sleet, and snow. A last minute vacation to a tropical destination offers an escape from the dreariness of winter. Vacation destinations have increasingly become family friendly, so cruises and resorts are now excellent options for people of all ages.

Pick the Perfect Cruise

Formerly reserved for retirees and the Spring Break crowd, cruises are a great way to sail off to paradise. Most cruise companies now offer fun events for the entire family. Look for one that caters to kids of all ages:

  • On-board daycare centers provide structured daily activities for the younger crowd. Art projects, recreation, and song time are standard offerings. Kids will also get plenty of time to make new friends and build social skills.

  • Older kids and adolescents will enjoy facilities like rock walls or wave pools. These activities stimulate a sense of adventure and are not usually available “back home,” so they also present the opportunity for novel experiences.

  • Day trips at various ports are a introduction to another culture, without overwhelming younger children. Meanwhile excursions to go snorkeling, enjoy water activities, or hike keep kids active and occupied.

  • If younger children are along for the trip, ask for the earliest dinner time available. Maintaining earlier meal and bedtimes will keep kids from getting cranky.

Select a Resort Designed for all Ages

Top vacation destinations from Key West to Cozumel have built their reputations as posh resorts for celebrities and happening destinations for co-eds. But these cities increasingly offer luxurious accommodations to lure traveling families who need a little sun and surf. Families searching for a getaway can search for a getaway that offers a wide variety of activities:

  • Over-the-top pools with water slides and other water toys make for hours of entertainment. Water volleyball or basketball areas give older kids the chance to meet new friends and maintain their competitive edge.

  • Knowledgeable concierges can help families pinpoint the best local outings and events for people of all ages. They can make reservations and give advice on how to create a memorable experience for the whole family.

  • If a resort is a more secluded, kids can feel a bit claustrophobic after only a few days. To alleviate this feeling, select accommodations that have a wide variety of activities, like on-site daycare for younger kids or “teen time” in the evenings.

A journey to a warmer climate can give families a much-needed break from the winter doldrums and help build lasting memories that every member will cherish. Choosing the right vacation spot ensures that kids and adults of all ages will love every minute of their winter escape.

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