For many of us, the long Canadian winter is something to be borne -- the price we pay for having enjoyed a sweet, hot summer. Why not help your family escape the winter doldrums and make a great escape? Whether by land, by sea or on wheels, plan an adventure the whole family will enjoy.
Ah, the beauty of all-inclusive travel -- eat drink and be merry, and never pull out your wallet! If you're dreaming of a beach holiday with lots of activities for the whole family, look no further than these hot-ticket destinations.
The Grand Xcaret Resort on the Mayan Riviera is a family friendly spot at the center of the region's many attractions. Enjoy snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, golf, tennis, archery, and scuba diving in Mexico's warm, blue waters. The Kid's club will keep little ones busy till they drop with a full slate of activities -- water and beach play, sports, treasure hunts, piñata making, bowling, video games, bingo and movies. The Grand Xcaret also has it's own playground, restaurant and pool, just for kids. Right next door is the Xcaret Eco Park visit ancient Mayan cities, swim with dolphins, enjoy Mexico's biggest aquarium, and explore undergound rivers.
The exclusive Casa de Campo Resort boasts no fewer than six clubs for children, customized programs for teens, tweens, toddlers and babies. They also have nannies available for day and night time babysitting, so parents can have an extra pair of hands during the day and explore the resort's twelve pubs, bars and sizzling latin night clubs. There is something for every palate in the nine restaurants: kid-friendly buffets, sushi, seafood and filet mignon. The nearby village of Altos de Chavon is the cultural center of the region. Visitors can enjoy an archeological museum, art galleries and boutiques while exploring this 16th century replica of a Mediterranean village.
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Fun on wheels
France by bicycle
Picture yourself cycling through the French countryside, past charming villages, vineyards and beaches and enjoying a crusty baguette, some farm fresh cheese and a glass of Brodeaux at the end of the day. Sound good? Make your dream a reality with a bike tour through Brittany with Breton Bikes. The gentle, rolling hills are ideal for cyclist of all ages, and the beautiful, wooded landscapes will make you forget that you're pedaling. All equipment is supplied, and routes are planned for either hotel or camping stays.
The company owners have small children, and every base has been covered: baby seats, trailer bikes, tandems and small mountain bikes are all provided, and family-friendly routes consist of cycle paths in the country with lots of stops for playing and swimming.
If you'd like to slide in behind the wheel and watch the world go by, why not rent an RV and set out on an adventure? And when the weather gets ugly, head south! In Arizona the weather is inviting, the activities are endless, and there are many RV camp locations across the state. If you're not up for a hike in the Grand Canyon, chug though it on a reproduction steam train -- wouldn't the kids love that?! Visit Rawhide, a re-created 1880's Frontier Town and take in the mock gun fights and stage coach rides. Cruise to Phoenix where there's lots to do -- the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center and water parks. At the Kartchner Caverns State Park near Tuscon, explore caves with spectacular stalactites, stalagmites and other cave formations, or ride dune buggies in the Yuma Sand dunes.
Just add water
Have a family of water babies? Help the crew sail to an island paradise or cruise to fascinating ports of call -- escape on an aquatic adventure for the whole family.
Does cruising the Greek Islands on a small craft sound appealing? Sail in a flotilla of nine to twelve yachts and cruise the Greek or Croatian Islands with Sailing Holidays. The Ionian waters are gentle and there are no significant tides or swells, so even a family with no sailing experience will have no trouble navigating the Grecian waters. The Dalmatian Islands are recommended for those with some sailing experience. Each yacht has a skipper, engineer and hostess to be sure that your trip runs smoothly and to help you learnt the ropes. Float past picturesque villages, swim in the clear blue waters and explore the sights, cuisine and culture of the local Islands.
Royal Caribbean sails to warm weather destinations like the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico. Their Adventure Ocean Youth Program has five different clubs, to accommodate children from ages three to seventeen. All staff members have degrees in education, recreation or related fields and child care qualifications. Older kids can chill out with hot tub parties, karaoke, sports tournaments, coffee talk and toga parties. Little ones will love Fossil Fever, Space Mud, Reggae Beach Party, water balloon toss and mask making. There's lots of fun for grown-ups too â€“ live theatre shows, ice skating and ice dance shows, wine tasting, rock climbing, dance classes, sports tournaments AND excursions to port of call destinations. Or you may just want to sit in a deck chair and watch the world sail by. Bon voyage.