Feb. 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM ET
If you’ve got kids, you know that “spring break” has nothing in common with college students partying at the beach or a couple’s spontaneous escape to a resort. Organizing the needs and wants of various age groups is no vacation.
So let us at Travel + Leisure point you toward our favorite family-friendly vacations, with a trip and budget that’s right for you. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 30 percent of travelers have children in tow, and with such a large share of the market, you can bet hotels and cities across the country are rolling out the red carpet for all ages.
If your kids have webbed feet, the new Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will have them squealing with delight. But the hotel is also a parent’s dream. It’s the first Disney property in Hawaii — on a serene crescent of sand along Oahu’s western shore — and the first property not connected to a theme park (i.e., no long lines).
T+L photographer Jessica Sample was won over by Aulani’s waterslides, which tunnel through lava rock. “Look for hidden animal drawings carved into the stone,” she suggests. You can also go paddleboarding or snorkeling in the shallow waters off the beach, which teem with tame stingrays and angelfish.
Artsy families will find inspiration at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Every April, the staff offers a weekend-long Crafting Community for all ages. It’s not Crayola and Play-Doh, either: kids can do everything from make their own henna tattoos to watch movies alfresco (popcorn and glow sticks provided). As mom Meredith Alexander says, “It’s as if someone came into my head and created the perfect weekend for my family.” Not a bad review!
But maybe the truest break comes with heading into the wild and letting kids release all that energy in the great outdoors, exposing them to wildlife and America’s natural beauty. One of our favorite outfitter trips is an awe-inspiring introduction to Utah’s national parks that includes riding horses through Zion and learning canyoneering in the slots of Escalante.
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