We know spring's flowers are just beginning to emerge, but summer (and summer break) is not far away. Which means it's time to start thinking about how you and your family will get away.  We've got ideas on how you can venture to both familiar, and not-so-well known destinations and ditch the traditional vacation—even with kids in tow. Read on for a mix of international travel, outdoor activities, cultural immersion, Disney luxury-style, and yes, fun in the sun. 

photo: True Blue Bay Boutique Resort

Hit the Beach

Families looking for a fun and friendly island should take a closer look at Grenada. Comprising a main island, also called Grenada, and smaller surrounding islands, this hilly location is home to many nutmeg plantations and is nicknamed the “Spice Island.” Its capital, St. George’s, has colorful homes and Georgian-style buildings. The college by the same name adds diversity and youthfulness to the island population. Families will love the beautiful beaches, with Grand Anse Beach being the most popular. There are several resorts that are family-friendly.

We suggest True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, a family-owned and operated hotel on the main island of Grenada. The unique and colorful resort is landscaped with tropical gardens and overlooks True Blue Bay. Families can experience local cuisine at the on-site restaurant, play in the resort's two pools, or venture out on the water using kayaks and Hobie cats offered to guests. Learn about traditional dishes with a cooking class or about local products during a chocolate and rum tasting. The family-friendly resort is a short distance from island activities, beaches, restaurants, shopping, and the airport. 

True Blue Bay Boutique Resort
Old Mill Rd.
St. George’s, Grenada
+1 473-443-8783
Online: www.truebluebay.com

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photo: Martinhal Family Hotels and Resorts

Experience a Different Culture

Culture-seeking families will love Lisbon and the Portuguese culture. A modern city with a unique heritage and traditions, this hilly coastal urban center, serves as the capital of Portugal. Walk cobblestone streets and embrace the picturesque palaces and churches. Your kids will be fascinated by the rich history and dramatic architecture of the city. (They'll also love the tiny street cars.) For an incredible, top-of-the-line experience, we suggest staying at Martinhal Lisbon Chiado. This family hotel is located in the city center, making it quite convenient to most attractions, the rooms are apartments designed with families in mind. When you’re ready to rest your feet, return to Martinhal and let the kids take advantage of the play areas and kids club services.  Rates start at$246 (USD) (You can read our full review of Martinhal properties here.

Martinhal Lisbon Chiado
Rua das Flores 44
Lisbon, Portugal 
+351 21 002 9600
Online: www.martinhal.com

 

photo: Tracks & Trails

Hit the Road

Making a trek through a national park is a great option during an extended school break. Create memories with your children and learn about the history and natural terrain of our country. The United States has 60 protected areas operated by the National Park Service, and Tracks & Trails specializes in helping families explore those parks via RV (recreational vehicle). The company handles all of the details of your trip, flying you into a nearby city, outfitting you with an RV, and creating an itinerary that helps you make the most of your journey into the wild. Always wanted to hit the road and see Yellowstone? Yosemite? The Grand Canyon? This is a genius way to do it! 

Tracks & Trails
359 Colorado Ave. #20
Grand Junction, Co
800-247-0970
Online: www.tracks-trails.com

photo: Four Season Resort Orlando

Park Hop in Orlando in Style

Take your kids to the most visited destination in the United States—Orlando. The midsize city, located in central Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks—the most popular, of course, being Walt Disney World. This destination is comprised of four parks, as well as water parks. For Harry Potter fanatics, Universal Orlando is the place to be, home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

To take your visit to mouse country to the next level of luxury, check out Four Seasons Resort Orlando. Enjoy the parks, but when you want to relax, head back to the Four Seasons, where you can hit a round on the golf course, book treatments at the spa or enjoy fine dining at the resort. Meanwhile the kids can enjoy the elaborate pools and water play. Major bonus: the resort all offers a complimentary camp for children ages 4 to 12, with programming available daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Rates start at $799/night. 

Four Seasons Resort Orlando
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, Fl
(407) 313-7777
Online: www.fourseasons.com

 

photo: Toronto Tourism

Oh Canada

Toronto, Ontario is a major Canadian city along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. It's a dynamic metropolitan area with a vibrant city feel boasting many family-friendly sites (aquarium, zoo, the CN Tower) and public green spaces, like the 400-acre High Park. Little sports fans will love the Hockey Hall of Fame. We suggest families stay at the Chelsea Hotel because its comfortable rooms and suites are well-suited for families. Kids will love the pools, educational activities and vicinity to the popular attractions that Toronto has to offer. Rates start at $144/night. 

Chelsea Hotel
33 Gerrard St
Toronto, ON
416-595-1975
Online: www.chelseatoronto.com

 

Where are you headed this summer? Tell us in the comments! 

—Shnieka Johnson