Are your kids too young to be stocking up on notebooks, pocket folders, and No. 2 pencils? Then consider shopping for a vacation instead. For families with preschoolers, fall is the very best time of year to grab a getaway at a top family resort.
The back-to-school season has always delivered bang for your buck. When school kids clear out and prices come down, it’s easier to land not only a room but a super deal. In the past few years, big-name resorts have started promoting autumn as a time for preschoolers—not only with lower prices, but with special events and activities created just for wee ones. Here’s a sampling of destinations rolling out the red carpet for the under-5 crowd this autumn:
Where: Four Caribbean locations
Why: Because this chain of kid-friendly all-inclusive resorts (see ) is heaven for the preschool set, thanks to its partnership with Sesame Street, a super daycamp, and terrific waterplay areas. Through November 30, the delivers a line-up of special events, including live stage shows with Elmo, Gordon, and Abby Cadabby. Best reason to book: You can save up to 65 percent on stays of at least three nights.
Where: Orlando, Fla.
Why: Because the hugely popular Nick Hotel (see ) knows how to lay out the orange-and-lime green carpet for preschoolers, from Nick-themed arts and crafts and scavenger hunts to character parties with Pablo from The Backyardigans, Dora the Explorer, and other beloved stars. The package delivers your third night free on a two-bedroom kids’ suite, plus you get a $50 resort credit to use for food and entertainment. The deal is good through December 23. Mention promo code “Freefall” when booking.
Where: Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Why: Because this exceptionally kid-friendly resort (see ) is at its most divine when crowds are gone but the ocean water is still warm. Rates dip after Labor Day (and plummet a week later), letting families save more than 50 percent on a seven-night stay. A great list of complimentary perks makes this resort a stand-out. For starters: Free pee-wee tennis clinics, help-yourself bike rentals, fitness and yoga classes, and a parent-and-toddler activity program.
Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas
Why: Because this extraordinary mega resort is offering a super , with three-night/four-day getaways starting at just $299. There’s also nothing not to like about the supercool Aqua Tots fishfeeding program for kids 3 to 5.
Where: Jeffersonville, Vermont
Why: Because this award-winning family ski resort (see ) offers fantastic active vacations year-round. From September 7 to October 12, the “” package allows families with small children to get in a good mix of family time and adults-only time, thanks to an exceptional children’s program (infants through 5-year-olds), a nice roster of adults-only hikes and walks, and many family-together activities. Pay for three nights and get the fourth for free.
Where: Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean
Why: Because this family-friendly chain off all-inclusive resorts (see our reviews of and ) caters especially well to families with young children. Through April 24, 2010, take advantage of the exceptional “” which lets you snag a getaway for as little as $99 per night, per person—including lodging, meals, and most activities.
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