It’s January, which means the kids are asking where we’re going. It’s the time of year we usually take off for some sun, sand and surf, and boy by this time of year, do we need the holiday.
Here are some of the best vacation spots we’ll be dreaming of this winter.
When it comes to family-friendly vacations, it doesn’t get better than Bahamas. A hop, skip and jump for those of us in east-central Canada, it’s a quick flight (about three hours if you’re flying from Toronto), which is ideal if you’re travelling with kids—just long enough to get a movie in, but not so long that the whining and restlessness starts.
Atlantis on Paradise Island has to be one of my favourite family hotels. The sprawling resort offers tons of options for eats, but it’s the waterpark that really sets this hot spot apart from the rest. Cruise down the lazy river, enjoy the water slides and soak up that beautiful beach and impossibly blue ocean.
Another short flight, Jamaica is a place I can’t wait to get back to, for its lush backdrop and soothing temperatures. Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay is the perfect place to park, and offers a range of accommodations to suit families of all sizes. With all the restaurant options on site, moms and dads don’t have to worry about what to eat or where; just grab a table anywhere and dig in.
Prince Harry is also a fan, so who knows, maybe you’ll even get your own royal family sighting while you’re there.
Turks and Caicos
On the pricier side, Turks and Caicos is worth the splurge, especially if you love snorkelling—Turks and Caicos Barrier Reef is the third largest barrier reef in the world and is home to everything from sea turtles and coral formations to starfish and eagle rays.
Beaches on Grace Bay Beach makes most family vacation bucket lists, and rightly so; it doesn’t get better than this as far as all-inclusives go. It also offers a range of accommodations to suit families of all sizes, and with 22 dining options at 21 international restaurants, you’ll get your money’s worth, even if it means packing on an extra pound or two for your way home.
Here, you’ll find a ton of family-friendly amenities: Xbox Play Lounge, tween room, kids clubs and evening entertainment, not to mention a water park that rivals any theme park, as well as plenty of water sports.
Parents, take advantage of the free kids camps and babysitting, which extends to babies and toddlers. There’s nothing like a date night in paradise to stoke the ol’ fires.
Beaches also offers families with children with autism and other special needs specialized service, activities and dining options so they too can enjoy a fun and relaxing stay.
I’m partial to this one as Cali as my favourite place in the whole world. But also because there’s so much to do for families. From Disneyland to Legoland to Universal Studios, California offers plenty of reasons to come back and visit time and time again.
Our last visit was the first time we stayed in Huntington Beach and now that’s a must for me on future stays. It’s known as Surf City USA, and the waves here certainly offer a rollicking good time. There are tons of great hotels to choose from here, but we had a blast indulging our inner hipsters at Shorebreak.
I love Hawaii too, and how could you not? It has some of my favourite beaches, and I love that we can always feel safe walking around with our little ones. There are also lots of neat attractions, including Pearl Harbor.
Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu is a top bet for families as it offers tons of accommodations, pools and even a lagoon. Sign up for surf lessons, check out a luau and explore iconic Waikiki, home of surf legend Duke Kahanamoku.
Whether it’s a mid-winter getaway or March break escape you’re planning, you can’t go wrong with these family-friendly destinations. Just one last thing: Take us with you!