Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Family travel: U.S. getaway

Having just returned from Puerta Vallarta, where my brother-in-law treated friends and family to a vacation to celebrate his 60th birthday, I was thinking that my ideal family vacation is one that I don’t have to pay for.

But I’ve taken a number of free vacations and some are far from ideal.

For my kids, now 13, 17 and 19, any adventure related trip is up their alley. They love to ski, and though we haven’t ventured out west, we’ve had great ski vacations at Mount Snow and Smugglers’ Notch. My husband doesn’t ski, and now that the kids are older and accomplished skiers, we don’t even have to put them in ski programs. They ski together and my husband and I cross country ski. We gather by a fire for lunch, have a hot chocolate break at some point, and eat for more than normal, since we are burning fuel.

We have also taken our kids on Backroads bicycle trips. These are great because all the planning is done by the Backroads team. You choose a trip and show up on the appointed day - your bicycle is ready to go, you get a detailed map and snacks, and meals and hotels are arranged. You even have built in friends - on family trips, the Backroads planners put together groups with kids of similar ages.

We are not the only ones who love Backroads. Last year, my siblings and their kids took a family biking trip out West.

But for my money, the best place for an active family to go to in the United State is the all-inclusive Club Med Sandpiper. We have been to several Club Meds, and the mixture of family time and adult-only time is ideal. Kids have their own clubs, where they hang with kids their own age.

My girls are addicted to the circus school, where they perform on the flying trapeze. And when it is too cold to swim - my friends went to Sandpiper over Christmas, during a cold spell - there are tennis lessons, sailing trips, fitness classes.

The food, for vegetarians, fussy eaters, hearty appetites - even dieters - is amazing. Maybe dieters wouldn’t be too happy about the preponderance of food, but if they stick to salads and fresh fruit, they can find low calorie food.

My husband and I have a major birthday coming up (OK, a year away) and we’d love to go with our extended family.

If only we could find a way for my brother-in-law to pay.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Great site. Our family is just heading down to P.V. and Mazatlan in a couple weeks and we're very excited.

    Backroads sounds cool too. Thanks for the tip!

    David Robert Hogg,
    My Little Nomads