Thursday, June 5th, 2014
I don’t know about your kids, but my 11-year-old has very strong opinions about our family vacations. It also amazes me what has stuck with her the most from her trips over the years—for instance, she still talks about the hotel in Orlando we stayed at several years ago that gives out rubber-band bracelets for free ice cream. According to this cool infographic, 66% of kids help plan daily vacation activities and 63% of parents say their children has influenced their vacation decision. Has yours?
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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
* This is part of a series of special travel deals. Most families take at least one vacay during the year; we’ll help yours be one of them.
THE DESTINATION: Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, in Northern Michigan
Take advantage of this two-night Family Fun package at a 900-acre resort that’s consistently rated among the country’s best. It’s got a child-friendly lakeside beach and an indoor water playground to boot.
BOOK IT! From $457 for a two-night stay in the Hotel for up to four persons in one room during the summer season (now through August 30, 2014). Weekend rates are from $485 for two nights in the Hotel. Note: There’s also a $15/night resort fee and 11 percent tax, and some restrictions apply.
HERE’S THE SPECIAL! The Family Fun package includes two nights, four breakfast coupons for the bistro, one in-room movie (not available in some accomodations), a pound of candy from Dylan’s candy bar, 20 arcade tokens, and either two ice cream cones or lolliopops. Click here to explore more. You can also call them at 800-236-1577.
Get your kids psyched for an upcoming vacation (or the end of school!) with this Countdown Caterpillar craft:
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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
* This is the first in a series of special travel deals. Most families take at least one long vacay during the year; we’ll help yours be one of them.
THE DESTINATION: Embassy Suites, participating hotels across the country
No matter where your family heads for the summer, this premiere chain has got you covered, with more than 200 hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Plus, all guests enjoy amenities like two-room suites, free breakfast, and complimentary drinks and snacks at the nightly Evening Reception.
BOOK IT! From $127 (subject to availability at participating locations); you can check your travel dates online at EmbassySuites.com
HERE’S THE SPECIAL! Embassy Suites Hotels has an exclusive Family Fun package. If you book three nights or more at a hotel in the U.S. or two nights or more at a property outside the country, you’ll get complimentary Wi-Fi, breakfast for four daily, and late checkout at 2 p.m. You must book and complete your stay by July 30, 2014. Other restrictions may apply; call 1-800-EMBASSY for full details.
Plan on eating out with your little ones while traveling? These tips will help you teach them how to behave at restaurants.
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
I may be the food editor at Parents, but like other moms and dads I read the magazine for parenting advice and product tips. When I opened the March issue a couple of months ago I devoured every word of Beach Bliss, my colleague Karen Cicero’s story featuring the 10 best Caribbean destinations for families. It was cold—really cold—here in New York, and I was ready to daydream about a warm holiday. But, one thing led to another, and before I knew it my family and I had booked a long Easter weekend at The Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos, the magazine’s top recommendation.
We’ve been home over a week now and I can confidently say that Karen had it right when she recommended Turks and Caicos. Here’s why:
The Sand and the Water: That sounds obvious, right? The beach should be a highlight of any tropical vacation, but Grace Bay is truly special. The sand is fine, white, and oh-so-soft. The sea was as turquoise as a swimming pool and just as clear. Most days it was also very calm, making it perfect for little ones to splash around in.
Family-Friendly Resorts: While numerous accommodations catering to a variety of budgets dot Grace Bay, we loved the beachfront Somerset. The suites were spacious (at least as big as our Brooklyn apartment, which I guess isn’t saying much…), with a well-stocked kitchen and washer and dryer. Water toys were available at the resort’s three pools; snorkels and flippers were free to borrow at the beach. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful, and the pool-side pina coladas were pretty spectacular. Bonus: The resort offers a free Kids Club on weekdays.
Kids Can Play With Dogs: If your kids are anything like my kid, a dog is a big draw. About a 15 minute walk from the Somerset is Potcake Place, a charity that rehabs the island’s many stray dogs for eventual adoption. Visitors can play with the dogs and even take them out for walks on the beach. We played a couple of times with Happy, a sweet butterscotch-colored puppy. American families frequently adopt dogs they meet at Potcake Place, and not a day has gone by that my daughter hasn’t lamented the fact we didn’t bring home Happy. (Truth be told, I feel the same way.)
Easy Adventures: For older kids like my eight year-old, a boat tour is an exciting way to experience sun, surf, and sand. Top on our agenda was snorkeling, and we booked a half-day trip with Island Vibes Tours. Since Turks and Caicos is near the world’s third-largest coral reef, we saw tons of colorful fish and even a cool-looking lobster lurking in a small underwater cave. After snorkeling, we sped towards a deserted island nearby where small lemon sharks circled in the surf and endangered rock iguanas posed for pictures.
My daughter with the dog we actually bought her.
Fun Food: As you would expect, fresh seafood is everywhere on the island, especially conch. Fried into fritters or chopped into a salad, this mild-tasting shellfish is surprisingly kid-friendly. For a full-on island meal, a staff-member at the Somerset suggested we check out Da Conch Shack, a relaxed restaurant literally on the beach. We sat at picnic tables with sand under our toes watching the sun set and inhaling conch hush puppies, jerk chicken wings, and fried plantains. We bought my daughter a small painted conch shell there, which is now her favorite souvenir from the trip, especially since we didn’t come home with a (real) dog. We’ll save that for our next trip to Turks and Caicos, which I hope will be very soon.
The Somerset is offering Parents readers a 25% discount on lodging and free continental breakfast on stays of three nights or more through August 31. Use the promo code PARENTS.
Images provided by The Somerset on Grace Bay
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