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Category : All Inclusive

By Kimberly Milnes

My Top 5 Family Vacations for Fall/Winter 2013

My oh my where has the summer gone. Kids are back in school or will be soon, and it seems like we are on a bullet train straight through the holidays and on to 2014. So along with all the back to school planning, now is a great time to start planning your Fall or Winter vacation, especially if you want to travel during the holidays.   By planning early you can take advantage of great deals, as well be able to find decent airfare prices.  So to help with your planning, I wanted to give you some of my top family vacation picks:

1. Azul Beach –  Riviera Maya, Mexico

Located about 20 minutes from Cancun International airport, this Gourmet Inclusive resort is great for families with young children. It is a boutique-style resort, located right on the beach with great family suites, as well as a partnership with Fisher Price. Kids even get their own private check-in with a yummy fruit smoothie made just for them.

Along with the amazing Family Suites, they offer loaner baby equipment, like high chairs, bouncy chairs and toys.  It is a great perk to have what you need and not worry about lugging all these items from home. As well, they have Azulitos, the fun and activity filled kids club along with babysitting services for the little ones.  If you have older kids or are planning a multi-generational trip, there is Azul Fives or Azul Sensatori to fit your family.

2. Norwegian Breakaway – Sailing from New York City

This is the newest ship on the sea and offers everything the kids along with Mom and Dad could need. Our family was lucky enough to sail on her in May and I have to say my boys 4 & 7 had a blast.  Norwegian really thought about families when they built this ship.

There is a top notch kids club Splash Academy for kids 3-12 along with Entourage for the teens 13-17.  Please check out my review for more information. As well, the Sponge Bob Water Play area for the little ones, 5 water slides, mini golf and the ropes course where you can walk the plank.  Along with Team Nick and lots of slime.

Even better, in the fall and winter the ship will sail from NYC with stops in Port Canaveral where you can spend a day at the Magic Kingdom as well Atlantis where you can enjoy the amazing Aquaventure water park.

3. San Diego – San Diego is a great destination any time of year.  The weather is perfect and there is so much to do. Along with being close to Sea WorldLegoland and of course Disneyland. They have one of the best zoos in the US.  You can rent a car and visit all the great beach towns as you make your way up to Los Angeles for the day.  I would suggest staying at the historic Hotel del Coronado.  The hotel’s beach was named the best beach in America for 2012.

4. Beaches – Turks & Caicos and Jamaica – I think the Beaches properties are a great value.  Since Beaches resorts are all-inclusive, you are not going to end up with a surprise bill when you check out. They offer amazing kids clubs and activities with Elmo and the Sesame Street gang.  What I also love is that Mom and Dad can get a little vacation as well.  They offer the Red Lane spa, golf and certified nannies so Mom and Dad can have a long over due date night.  As well, the new Key West Village offers amazing villas that are perfect for a family reunion or multi-generational trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Atlantis – Bahamas

Atlantis is a favorite vacation spot for our family.  My boys love the Aquaventure water park, especially the special kids pool and lazy river.  As well, they have a great kids club.  I have learned some of the tricks for making Atlantis more affordable for families.  I have a great blog with information on the different room choices.

So as you can see I have included a lot of beach and warm weather getaways, a long Northeast winter will do that to you.  So don’t be stuck in the cold, start planning your Fall or Winter family vacation now.

Email us at info@adventuresbykim.com or give us a call today at 1-800-516-4329 to get your free quote and start planning today.

 

By Kimberly Milnes

Franklyn D. Resort and Spa – A Great Family All-Inclusive Resort

The Franklyn D. Resort and Spa in Jamaica is an all-suite, all-inclusive family resort. The resort was recently awarded a 2012 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice award for the The Top 25 Hotels & Motels for Families and Top 25 Hotels for families in the Caribbean.
In doing my research to find the best resorts for families, I really liked what I had read about this resort.  So since I was going to be in Jamaica I wanted to check it out for myself.   I like to have a first hand experience of the properties that I recommend to my families. 

I feel the best value the resort offers is their Vacation Nanny service. Upon arrival each family is assigned their own Vacation Nanny.  The nannies are with families from 8 am – 4 pm every day. Your nanny is there to care and entertain your children, help keep your suite clean and help with arranging any activities or excursions for your family. All nannies are professionally trained and CPR certified. The nannies are also available at night for a small hourly fee, so Mom and Dad can have a nice date night.
Basketball Court and Kids Play Area

Friendly Bunnies to pet and play                      Create a tie-die souvenir

The Resorts Private Beach                        View of the Spa from the Resort

Along with having a nanny to help with the little ones, there is also the Yellow Bird Kids Club to make sure there is something to do for all ages.  They offer plenty of age appropriate activities, computers, video games, crafts and more. There is also a special area for Teens.

The Yellow Bird Kids Club – Toddler Area

The rooms are spacious and very clean.  Since this is an all-suite resort every room has a kitchen, separate living room and bedrooms.  It is nice to have room for the family to spread out.  They will make sure to stock your refrigerator with water, juice and snacks since this is an all-inclusive resort.

The resort has a very nice beach, pool and a great water slide that the kids will love.  There is also a small kiddie pool for the little ones.

Overall,  The Franklyn D. Resort and Spa is great resort for families.  Even more, I think it is a great value.  I know families with kids under 3 find it hard to get away.  Especially, since those little ones can not get in most Kids Clubs. However,  this resort makes it a little easier since you will have your own vacation nanny, which is included. Just having someone to help will give Mom a chance to relax and be able to get a “vacation” as well.

 

By Kimberly Milnes

Beaches Ocho Rios – A Vacation for the Entire Family

In January I was lucky enough to be able to tour this fabulous resort.  I have to say I was truly impressed by all this resort had to offer and the beautiful renovation that was recently being completed. Where Sandals resorts are geared towards couples, the Beaches resorts are “for everyone” as they like to say.  But really it is families that make up the majority of guests as these resorts. 

Getting There – When going to Beaches Ocho Rios you will fly in to Montego Bay airport. It is a very busy airport, but easy to navigate. When staying at Beaches you are directed to the exclusive Sandals Lounge at the airport.  You will check in and relax while you wait for your transportation to the resort. The lounge is very comfortable and offers complimentary food and beverages.  You can even get a nice Red Stripe beer to start off your vacation.

Transportation – To get to Beaches in Ocho Rios you will be taking a luxury bus.  It will be about a 1 1/2 hour ride to the resort, it really depends on the traffic.  It is a very scenic ride and our driver was great about pointing out all we should be seeing along the way. We also stopped for a bathroom break as well as a snack.  I had to get some authentic Jerk chicken, yummy.

Arriving at The Resort – As we arrived at the resort we were met by these 2 lovely men, singing lively Jamaican songs.  I thought what a great way to begin a vacation.  Upon arrival guests are taken to check in and greeted with a cool towel to wipe off the travel and lovely tropical cocktail.  The kids will receive some island punch.  If you are staying in a Concierge Level or Butler Suite you will be whisked off to a private check in area.

 

The Rooms – We toured several different types of room. Since this resort is really a family destination the rooms are a nice size and set up well for families.   These photos are of  the Hummingbird Oceanview Mega Balcony Suite:

This room also comes with a microwave, mini-fridge and a flat screen TV.  Of course, since the resort is all-inclusive the fridge is fully stocked every day.  The step down to the living area really makes the room feel spacious. Of course the couch is a sofa sleeper for the kids.

These photos are of the Walkout Beachfront Suites.  All of these face the water and have the king bed, sofa sleeper, microwave, mini-fridge and more.   You can sit outside in the morning have room service and enjoy the view.

 

The Kids Club


Beaches offers a great Kids Club with activities for the kids all day long.  In the photo above they were finishing up Elmo’s Birthday party.  Beaches has all your favorite Sesame Street Characters to interact with the kids.   They offer indoor and outdoor activities and the kids are broken up in to appropriate age groups. You can also have private babysitting or nanny service for an additional fee.  For those tweens and teens there is Trench Town which is the nighttime hang out. As well as XBox and Kinnect.

Around the Resort  – Ocho Rios is nice size resort. You won’t be walking long distances to get from one area to the other. It is also a private and gated resort so you can feel safe and sound as well.

The photos above are a view from the front of the resort, grounds and tennis courts.  This is the main pool and it has 5 different slides for the kids. Along with a separate pool for the little ones, pool tables, and a few restaurants.

Another shot of the main pool                      The new Adult only pool for a little quiet.

 

A view of the beach and the walk out suites        You can enjoy live entertainment and a
show by your Sesame Street Friends

Newly updated Bayside Restaurant                      A view of main building and rooms

New Venetian Restaurant

Overall, I was very impressed with all this resort had to offer. I thought the rooms were modern and spacious.   Of course, as with all Sandals and Beaches resorts there is an amazing Red Lane Spa.  The main beach area is a nice size but not too big.  However, I think I would have a hard time getting my kids out of the pool.Though you might never want to leave the resort. I like Ocho Rios as there is a lot to do in this area.  If you have teens they might like Dunn’s River Falls or Mystic Mountain, for some more adventure.

 

 

By Kimberly Milnes

Kids Stay, Play and Eat For Free

Are you ready for a Family FUNcation????

If you are looking for a great Summer or Fall vacation with a budget that works for your family, then I have some great options for you.

Resorts are offering such values as Kids stay free • Kids eat free • Free or discounted activities

You can choose from Destinations in  Caribbean • Mexico • USA • Europe • Canada

Some of the resorts included  are Atlantis, Hard Rock Resort and Spa, Hyatt Aruba and More

Booking Window: 4/1/13 – 4/30/13

Travel Window: 4/3/13 – 12/31/13

If you would like a more information on a FUNcation for you and your family then Email us or give us a call 1-800-516-4329.

 

By Kimberly Milnes

Fun Family Destinations for 2013

I know a lot of you are hitting the road in these next few weeks for your well deserved Spring Break vacation.  If you are still looking for vacation ideas for your summer vacation and beyond, here are some great family travel destinations.

 

Gogobot put together a list of the most shared travel destinations of 2012. I think there are some great choices, but not all are so family friendly.   Here is their top 10:

1. Paris
2. Las Vegas
3. San Francisco
4. Barcelona
5. San Diego
6. Bangkok
7. Rome
8. New York City
9. Venice
10. Marrakech

If you have not checked out Gogobot, give it a tour. It is a great site, I love their postcard app. It is a lot of fun.

Here are a few of my family friendly suggestions: 

1. Alaska Cruise – This certainly would be a family adventure to remember.  You can view the glaciers, take in the amazing Alaskan wildlife, maybe even see some whales. If you can go in May when the season opens you can get some great deals.  I would suggest sailing on either the Disney or Norwegian cruise lines.  They both have great itineraries along with activities and clubs for the kids.

2. San Diego – San Diego is a great destination any time of year.  The weather is perfect and there is so much to do. Along with being close to Sea WorldLegoland and of course Disneyland. They have one of the best zoos in the US.  You can rent a car and visit all the great beach towns as you make your way up to Los Angeles for the day.  I would suggest staying at the historic Hotel del Coronado.  The hotel’s beach was named the best beach in America for 2012.

3. Colonial Williamsburg and Surrounding Area –  Colonial Williamsburg, is considered one of the largest living history museums in the United States. It is an opportunity to learn, teach and play at the same time.  You will be able to show your children how America was settled and how our country came to be. You can also visit Jamestown and Yorktown as well.  But, when the kids eyes glaze over from all the history you can head over to Busch Gardens Amusement Park or Water Country USA to cool off.   There really is something for everyone at this destination.

4. Beaches – Turks & Caicos and Jamaica – I think the Beaches properties are a great value.  Since Beaches resorts are all-inclusive, you are not going to end up with a surprise bill when you check out. They offer amazing kids clubs and activities with Elmo and the Sesame Street gang.  What I also love is that Mom and Dad can get a little vacation as well.  They offer the Red Lane spa, golf and certified nannies so Mom and Dad can have a long over due date night.

5.  Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – This is a perfect family destination. It is only 4 hours from NYC, with lots of nonstop flights to choose. Along with pristine beaches and great all-inclusive resorts. One of my favorite resorts here is Hard Rock Punta Cana.  They are all-inclusive and now have The Little Big Club for kids. The club highlights Thomas The Train, Barney, Bob the Builder and Angelina Ballerina.  For Mom and Dad there is the spa, golf and of course the casino.  The Hard Rock also has Family Suites which are beautiful and give the family a little room to spread out.

These are just a few of my choices to get you started on your search for that perfect destination for you and your family this year.  I am always looking for new destinations to share with you all so stay tuned for more to come.

 

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