7 fabulous family destinations
Multi-generational travel — often involving parents, grandparents and grandchildren — is not only on the rise, but becoming more upscale.
An increasing number of luxury hotels and resorts now offer recreational and educational programs catering to children. Far from the days when family-friendly hotels offered simple baby-sitting services, these hotels are offering such exotic programs as circus school and crocodile-watching expeditions. Here are some top worldwide destinations for families looking for something a little, well, fabulous.
The entire family will be enchanted by a stay in this real castle set within 368 square miles of the Dartmoor National Park, Devon in southwest England.
For the adults: Award-winning golf, spa treatments, falconry, ballooning, and tours by horseback across the moors and prehistoric sites of the Dartmoor National Park are just a few ideas for filling your day.
For the kids and grandkids: The children are offered instruction in archery, music, golf, tennis and horseback riding. Other recreational activities include trampoline school, fly-fishing, scavenger hunts and woodland adventure camp.
For the four-legged family members: Pampered pouches are also welcome. For more information on the hotel’s pet policy, click here.
Treasure Island Resort.
Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean can enjoy their own adventures at sea on this tropical Fijian island.
For the adults: Romance is distinctly in the air with the resort’s fine wining, dining and dancing. And you’ll stay in a modern bure (Fijian for straw and wood hut).
For the kids and grandkids: The younger family members will be entertained by a variety of watersports, crab hunting, snorkelling trips, spear throwing and storytelling.
Club Med Lindeman.
This village resort on Australia’s Lindeman Island offers an extensive program geared for family fun.
For the adults: Set on World Heritage parklands on Australia’s northeast coast, visitors can take advantage of extensive daily excursions, including a day spent exploring the famous Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Or you might opt for a shopping trip to the mainland or a private picnic on a deserted island. The resort village offers an adult-only pool and golf-course for those seeking a little solitude.
For the kids and grandkids: The popular Circus School offers instruction in Flying Trapeze and trampoline (taught by a professional). Other activities include nature walks, archery, treasure hunts, cartooning instruction, a rock star contest and a theatre program.
Pezula Resort Hotel.
This luxurious resort located on South Africa’s Southern Cape coastline offers an authentic African experience along with lavish accommodation and pampering.
For the adults: Set against the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon and the Outeniqua Mountains, visitors are pampered with gourmet cuisine, a spectacular spa, and championship golfing.
For the kids and grandkids: The young ones will enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo and professional riding instruction, as well as other organized sporting activities.
Jaguar Reef Lodge & Spa.
As part of the Belize resort’s Walk on Wild Side Family Adventure, children under 18 can stay and eat free. Surrounded by 600 acres of rain forest, the resort offers 7 miles of white sand beach on the Caribbean Sea as well as exceptional snorkeling and diving.
The resort’s family vacation package offers beach-front accommodation.
Fun for the whole family: Family adventures include snorkeling, diving, fishing, biking, and cave tubing. Or you could opt to hike in a jaguar preserve, go crocodile watching on a river cruise or explore caves used by the ancient Mayan civilization.
CLOSER TO HOME
BANFF Fairmont Springs
Styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, the resort is a perfect base for family explorations into Banff National Park, one of the most beautiful settings in North America. Families can ride horses, swim, hike or bike in this magnificent Rocky Mountain setting.
Winter activities include a hotel ice rink, sleigh rides, ice fishing and skiing.
The Toronto-Niagara Bike Train. Via Rail Canada has announced a new travel option for families looking for both train adventure and cycling. The bicycle-friendly rail cars will travel between Toronto’s Union Station and downtown Niagara Falls.
The two-hour rail trip cuts through fruit groves, vineyards and wineries. Passengers are provided with a bike map and guidebook with recommendations for cycling routes throughout the Niagara region. Routes include the relatively gentle, family-friendly two-hour path between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
With its vast network of recreational trails, bike lanes and country roads, the Niagara Region offers cyclists a diversity of landscapes to explore, including towns and cities, world-renowned tourist attractions, wineries, historical sites, cultural centres, beaches, parks and conservation areas.