Our Favorite Family Getaways

Parents staffers have seen it all, from exotic escapes to cheap-and-charming beach towns. So, check out the vacation spots we like best.

Miami Beach, Florida

Clare Lissaman, photo director

I used to think that this city was all about designer shops, hot nightclubs, and chic trendsetters. But I discovered a more kid-friendly side to Miami when I visited recently with my 4-year-old daughter, Lily.

We had a great time playing on the beaches and checking out the family attractions. Our favorite was Parrot Jungle Island (parrotjungle.com), which is home to more than 3,000 exotic animals. Lily couldn't stop talking about the live bird show and the flock of parakeets that flew right over our heads.

One bit of advice: Pick a resort carefully. Not all of them cater to children. We stayed at the Fontainebleau (fontainebleau.hilton.com), an oceanfront hotel that has a wonderful kids' program and a free dinner buffet for children under 4. The pool is also great: It's shallow all over and has a big octopus that sprays water, which Lily loved. Every now and then, she asks me when we're going back to "Your-Ami." I tell her it's not only "My-Ami," but it's "Her-Ami" too.

Manchester Village, Vermont

Jeffrey Saks, creative director

If you're looking for a fun family resort, I highly recommend staying at The Equinox Resort & Spa (equinox.rockresorts.com). I went there for a weekend getaway last year with my wife, Rita, and our 12-year-old son, Oliver, and we had a great time. The rooms, the food, and the staff were all really terrific.

Located between the Green and Taconic mountain ranges, the resort has a cool mix of activities--everything from mountain biking to sailing. The best part for my son was getting behind the wheel of a mini Land Rover on the kid-size driving course. (I got to take a Hummer H2 for a spin on the rocky off-road adult course.) While Oliver and I were busy with the cars, Rita went to the spa for a few soothing treatments.

But there are also lots of fun things you can try as a family, including an archery lesson or a fly-fishing expedition. We had a blast at the falconry center, where each of us got to launch a real, live falcon and have it return to our hands.

Paradise Island, Bahamas

David Sparrow, senior editor

My trip to the Atlantis resort (atlantis.com) was really special because it was my first time traveling solo with my son, Matthew, 5. My wife, Darcy, was pregnant with our second child and nearing her due date, so she couldn't fly. But she thought it would be a great male-bonding opportunity before the baby arrived. She was right!

Matthew loved the place--and no wonder: The resort is like one giant aquarium. Every morning, we would watch the sharks, manta rays, and a dazzling variety of fish through the pristine tanks. Then, we'd spend our days splashing away in as many of the 11 swimming areas as we could (most with their own set of super-cool water slides).

There's also a fabulous kids' club where Matthew did aquatic-themed art projects and played on a mock Spanish galleon (which freed me up to play tennis and get a massage at the spa). My favorite restaurant was Fathoms, for the great seafood and the entertainment: A Bahamian fire-eater gave a few of us diners a chance to extinguish a flaming stick with our mouths. Overall, we both had an awesome time. When we got home, Matthew said, "Mommy, I'm sorry to tell you this, but I had so much fun I didn't even have time to miss you."

Family Vacations: Atlantis Paradise Island
Family Vacations: Atlantis Paradise Island

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