When school gets out, it's time to start brainstorming ideas for a summer vacation. Amusements parks, large cruise lines, and popular beach destinations are the easy choices, but if you’re looking for something new and adventurous that includes everyone in the family, we’ve got you covered. From a five-day biking adventure throughout Washington State to setting sail for the Galapágos Islands, check out these fun and unique journeys for adults and kids alike.
1. Get Pampered at This Wellness Retreat
BodyHoliday, St. Lucia
Believe it or not, a relaxing vacation can include the entire family, thanks to BodyHoliday’s annual Wellfit Families—a week-long fitness-and-health focused program. The wellness resort is usually for adults only, but between July 3 and August 26 (the duration of the program), young guests of 12 and older are welcome to join in on the summer retreat. This year’s theme is inspired by the summer Olympics in Brazil, complete with outdoor sports such as sailing classes, beach volleyball, and watersport competitions, plus Brazilian-inspired cuisine served every Wednesday in the Clubhouse—the resort’s restaurant and bar that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. And what better way to celebrate the upcoming games than taking classes taught by former NFL player Randy Moss and British Olympians Jamie Baulch, Steve Williams, and Danny Crates? Not much.
2. Explore Florida As Never Before
Adventures by Disney Central Florida
Disney is an expert when it comes to vacations for all ages. And in recent years, the group has expanded their experiences to destinations outside their theme parks thanks to Adventures by Disney, the in-house travel company that plans domestic and international family trips. On June 19, Disney is rolling out a new Central Florida program that treats Disney fans and travel lovers alike to fresh experiences both inside Walt Disney World (private safari at Animal Kingdom; VIP seating for “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” fireworks show) and outside of the parks (Shingle Creek kayaking; lunch with an astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center). Accommodations at Disney's Yacht Club Resort and all meals are included in the package, and a day-by-day itinerary takes away the stress of planning.
3. Stay in Paris (Enough Said)
Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
Booking a romantic trip to Paris requires little convincing, especially when there’s a family-friendly hotel involved to keep the kids occupied. Le Royal Monceau has reintroduced its Le Petit Royal kids program for the season, engaging youngsters through complimentary workshops every Saturday. This year, new art-focused programs educating children on current exhibits are scheduled throughout the summer, such as Swiss-German artist Paul Klee’s work showing at the Pompidou Centre. During the workshops, families can enjoy brunch together at the hotel’s restaurant, La Cuisine, serving up goodies from the designated “sweet corner”, like kouign-amann (butter cake) and chocolate bread, and the “salty corner” (smoked salmon; honey and chutneys). For fun outside the hotel, ask the hotel’s concierges about the scavenger hunt at the Louvre’s Egyptian galleries. This interactive experience sends kids on a mission to protect the Louvre’s treasures from a ghost, all the while solving riddles and learning about the surrounding exhibits.
4. Bike Your Way Through the United States
If touring a place on two wheels is more your style, consider family tours offered by Bicycle Adventures. These 5- to 6-day biking trips leave no riders behind, regardless of age or level, and take families through scenic destinations—from pedaling through tunnels and over bridges on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Idaho to gliding through Hawaii’s Big Island to experience jungle waterfalls, volcanic lava, and thermal hot springs. New this year is the Washington itinerary, where guests cycle through the woodlands of the Cascade Range (which also goes through Oregon) and along Seattle’s waterfront. Each trip includes a day-by-day itinerary filled with activities that go beyond the bicycle seat, plus lodging options that give you a brief break from the outdoors. Check out its website for more details.
5. Sail to the Galapágos Islands
Come aboard the kid-friendly Santa Cruz II, AdventureSmith’s newest expedition ship sailing to the Galapágos Islands. This 90-passenger boat, complete with 36 interconnecting suites and two triple cabins, welcomes sailors as young as 18 months to journey with adult passengers. Children ages eight and older are able to sign up for the Young Pirate program, which includes a booklet filled with Galapágos-themed trivia, a journal for writing and sketching throughout the trip, and customized meals on the ship. Once the ship docks on the Islands, children have the opportunity to get their fill of adventure, from driving a panga fishing boat to snorkeling with a naturalist. Check out the itinerary—along with other cruise trips around the globe—on AdventureSmith’s website.