10 Family Destinations

10 Family Destinations – Our Agents Share Their Favorite Experiences

As long as you keep your family’s interests and needs in mind, nearly any place would be a great destination for your next vacation. No location would be off the list. Well, that doesn’t make it much easier to choose from all the fascinating places and wonderful cultures you could discover this year.

That’s why Protravel would like to help you find some inspiration. We asked our family travel experts to share with us their favorite destinations for an unforgettable family getaway and why they like it. Our agents’ top ten list might help you find your perfect destination and give you great examples of what your family can experience there.

 

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

“Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Latin America with one of the strongest economies. Over 25% of the land is set aside for conservation and with 58 micro-climates there is a diverse set of flora, fauna, and wildlife to see. In one day you can start your day hiking the cloud forest and finish the day by surfing on the Guanacaste coast. With multiple non-stop flights and connections from the US, it is one of the easiest places to get to.” – Alyssa Scott (Protravel, Encino, CA)

“It’s the perfect place for the adventurous family.  Families can experience zip-lining or white water rafting through the jungle, spotting sloths and monkeys while hiking to a remote waterfall and then ending their vacation with some R & R on the beach.” – June Kleier (Protravel, Scottsdale, AZ)

“If your family is active and loves the outdoors, then Costa Rica is a fabulous destination.  You can explore the many ecosystems there that provide an abundance of adventure with learning all about the flora and fauna.  Start in the mystical Cloud Forest to see all the bromeliads, orchids and fern varieties.

Then drive over to Arenal and take a river raft trip down the El Rio Toro, head to the waterfalls for some rappelling, zip-line over the rainforest, hike the volcano.  You can hit the ocean side in Guanacaste for some beach time and try your hand at surfing or take a quick flight to the Osa Peninsula and end your trip in an intimate eco resort where you can hike the rain forest, go snorkeling or diving off Cano Island, or kayak around the coast.  While having a blast, you are seeing toucans, four different types of monkeys, anteaters and even panthers!” – Amy Parker (Protravel, Beverly Hills, CA)

Gordes

France

“In Gordes, France, in the Provence, you can find one of the most relaxing and memorable family vacations. I had personally taken my family to Gordes, because it allowed our grandchildren to spend time on their own and independently explore the area on their bicycles. In the mornings, they went to the charming villages and bought breakfast – we will never forget the croissants.

We rented a beautiful farmhouse that we had for ourselves and had a private chef come over one evening to teach the entire family how to cook some incredible local dishes.

Together, we would go sightseeing and explore the bigger towns.” – Elaine Pesky (Protravel, New York, NY)

galapagos

Galapagos

“The Galapagos Islands are full of wonder, diversity and beauty. Each island is different in animal habitation and landscape.

Here families can explore the Big 15. When it comes to wildlife, no place on Earth compares to the Galapagos Islands. You can walk on shell filled beaches and yellow, black, red and white sand beaches and have many up-close and playful encounters with countless different animals: fur seals, red-footed boobies, frigate birds, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises and Nazcas – to name a few.

On a city tour, your children (and you) can learn a lot about the history and culture of Quito. Ecuadorians are very friendly, colorful and hardworking people. They are very proud of their culture and enjoy sharing their history with you.

You can make this trip as active or as relaxing as you chose. It’s a great multi-generational trip. The perfect place to build lasting memories with your family.”  – June Kleier (Protravel, Scottsdale, AZ)

New Zealand

New Zealand

“New Zealand is one my absolute favorite family destinations and perfect for any age. An experience of a lifetime for families is a stay on a working farm where you learn to milk and feed cattle, herd sheep and farm your own food.

Then a move to a luxury lodge to fish, white water raft, explore geothermal sites, hike volcanoes, helicopter over some of the most impressive glaciers and lush landscape you’ll ever encounter. All while golfing the best courses and drinking some of the best wines of the world.

Top it off with a group bungee with the Kiwis and you have the most memorable holiday imaginable.” – Michelle Rosen (Protravel, Encino, CA)    

South Africa Safari

Africa – A Safari in Eastern or Southern Africa

“I used to tell people going on safari was not only a bucket-list trip but once in a lifetime.  Now I say it will be the first of many trips to this amazing continent. Children are beloved here.

Make sure though to plan a private trip so you have your own car and guide.  This way, if the children get restless or have more energy to spare, they are not jumping around the vehicle knocking over another guest’s expensive camera equipment!  You can enjoy the beautiful outdoors while learning about Darwinism, the survival skills of both plants and animals, witnessing the amazing bird population with their unique calls, listening to the magical story-telling by your guides and staff at your lodging, and seeing another totally different life and culture from yours in the US.  The lodging differs throughout the various countries, but most provide a feeling of luxury combined with a true African spirit and sense of place.

Viewing wildlife in their natural habitat is one of the true wonders of the world and an incredible gift to give your children. There are numerous ways to construct a trip through East Africa to see the migration occurring throughout the year in the Serengeti or Masai Mara or going to Southern Africa where you can combine some safari, with the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town learning about the contemporary art and food scene; the Apartheid history by visiting the townships, Robben Island and the museum; or hanging out on the Cape Peninsula for whale watching, shark diving, surfing, penguin and dolphin viewing.

Any safari you choose should always end with some beach time in Zanzibar, the Seychelles, or Mozambique as it allows for time together to process your adventure and come together in the shared experience.” – Amy Parker (Protravel, Beverly Hills, CA)

Italy, Rome Colosseum

Italy

“You can great a taste of the country in two weeks. Starting in Rome, there are many family-friendly hotels near the Spanish steps walking distance to all things. Tour the historic Forum, Colosseum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon with a top private guide. The kids can go to gladiator school while the adults enjoy a well-earned spa treatment.

“Then off to Florence via train and bike ride through the towns and medieval villages of Tuscany. Kids can take a pizza or gelato making class and adults can indulge in the regions’ wine and cheese. A long but, well worth it, drive to Cinque Terre (via Pisa for a photo opt) is a unique and unforgettable experience where five colorful towns of yesterday are joined together by water, steps and hiking trails.

“From here either continue to Venice and experience a famed gondola ride or, if up for more adventure, a quick flight to Naples. Visit the battlefields in Pompeii and Herculaneum; see Mt Vesuvius and coastal caves. Taking a boat along the Amalfi or off to Capri to end the trip in luxury. Italy has so much to offer!” – Michelle Rosen (Protravel, Encino, CA)               

“Italy is a wonderful destination for families with children of all ages, because of how child-friendly their culture is. You can see children playing around the piazza while their parents eat in the small towns of Italy. Personally, I can’t forget experiences in this beautiful country and neither can my family. In Florence, my daughter, Nina, discovered Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus,’ which inspired her to study art history. She could be an expert guide for me now.” – Ellen Regenstreif (Protravel, New York, NY)        

spain

Spain

“Just as I mentioned for Italy, Spain has an incredibly child-friendly culture. Children can often be seen eating a late dinner and strolling with their parents during the summer in spots like San Sebastian (Basque Spain). I have formed unforgettable memories with my own family here, for example, our visit during Christmas to Zaragoza, Spain, where they have live camels and people acting out the nativity scenes.” – Ellen Regenstreif (Protravel, New York, NY)

“Almost every summer, we have requests for London, Paris, and Rome; however, I would argue Spain has some of the best food at great value over its European counterparts. Marbella, in particular, is very family friendly, overlooking the Mediterranean and short drives from historic cities such as Seville.” Alyssa Scott (Protravel, Encino, CA)

Japan

Japan

“Mixing culture with the natural world is easy in Japan, as it teems with both. You can start in Tokyo where your guide can take you to see the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor lived for many years, and walk through some of the oldest neighborhoods here. A fun thing to do would be to try your hand at creating sugar art, known as Amezaiku, which was an art form once used by traveling storytellers.

Take a day to see the youth-fueled neighborhoods where pop-culture and fashion intersect with traditional temples and shrines. Afterward, take the bullet train out to Hakone for a ryokan stay in this beautiful nature reserve and hot spring haven. On a clear day, you have amazing views of the majestic Mount Fuji. You can visit the open-air museum which is known for its outdoor sculptures and take a lake cruise to end the day.

Another option is to visit the Kawaguchiko Lake area where there is a kimono museum where you can learn the history and the art of kimono-dyeing.  From this area, you can also explore the Fuji Five Lakes.  Take another bullet train to Kyoto, the spiritual capital of the country, where you will be exposed to the fundamentals of Japanese aesthetics, Zen practice, architecture, and horticulture.  Spend an evening with a Geisha learning about this cultural treasure or learn the art of ikebana, a traditional flower arranging technique.

On another day, visit Western Kyoto in Arashiyama with its famed and storied wooden bridge, numerous temples with statuary gardens and scenic bamboo forest. You will also see Monkey Park where families of wild macaque roam freely.  Stay overnight in Nara to see the Great Buddha statue and relax in this rural area before your flight home.” – Amy Parker (Protravel, Beverly Hills, CA)

Alaska

USA – Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado

“Why not a staycation, or a road trip to somewhere close by?  Sometimes the last thing you want to do is get on a plane.  People sometimes forget that within miles of where they live, there are wonderful things to do.  If you are lucky enough to live in a major city and are like a lot of people, you may not take advantage of all your city has to offer.

Book a nice hotel, for midweek in your city, when rates have dropped.  Order room service, head to the spa. Hop on a train, head to upstate NY. Have a car?  Drive a few hours north, south. I would bet you can get pretty creative, especially with the help of a travel agent whose filled with ideas and suggestions.  No matter where you live, there are great places to see all around us.

Colorado, for example, is great for adventure seekers. Whether it is winter or summer, it doesn’t matter. Not only is it beautiful during both seasons, but there are also a million activities. From skiing and snow tubing to horseback riding, white water rafting and hiking.” – Courtney McGroarty (Protravel, New York, NY)

Wyoming’s natural, untouched landscape coupled with the multitude of activities for all ages makes this a great family-friendly destination. Horseback riding, fishing, hiking, scavenger hunts and more. While in the rugged landscape, you can still experience luxury accommodations, gastronomy, and relaxing spa experiences.” – Alyssa Scott (Protravel, Encino, CA)

“Families can unpack once on a family-friendly Alaska cruise and in one-week experience everything from whale watching, hiking on a glacier, panning for gold and taking a dog sled ride in the wilderness.” – June Kleier (Protravel, Scottsdale, AZ)

London

Europe – the Grand Voyage

“For the first trip to Europe–take on the Grand Voyage where kids can see and do things that have filled their imaginations or school books since they were little. London and Paris are easily reached, easily navigated, and easily enjoyed.

“From Big Ben to Notre Dame, tales of princes and princesses, from long ago and right now…you can’t ever go wrong with these two gems. Older children enjoy details such as the recent Diana exhibit in Kensington Palace, or the design elements of a lovely hotel like the Haymarket. You can’t always anticipate what will stick in the mind of one of your children, younger or older.” – Ellen Regenstreif (Protravel, New York, NY)            

Feeling inspired? To speak to one of our expert family travel agents, call 800.227.1059.