2013 was a great year for family travel. Families balanced longtime favorite places with new experiences. We followed suit on Ciao Bambino — between our team of amazing writers, we hit a long list of family travel favorite destinations around the world. Here’s a round up of articles links to a handful – not all! – of our travel highlights from 2013.
Winter means hitting the slopes for many families. My family kicked off the New Year in style while skiing at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, a favorite for all levels of skiing with 2,900 acres and 3,100 feet of vertical, paired with some of the most beautiful slope-side amenities in North America.
2013 was also the year that I had a chance to ride on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Tokyo with ANA Airlines. My trip didn’t include kids, but Japan gets rave reviews from families and it’s near the top of our bucket list. Despite the problems that plagued the launch of this new revolutionary aircraft, the flight experience was amazing and I loved the customer-centric service on ANA.
Most ski resorts are family-friendly in one way or another, but Keystone Resort in Colorado takes catering to families to a whole new level. Keystone’s ski school program is truly exceptional and a wonderful venue to teach kids to love skiing and snowboarding as they’ve mastered making learning fun.
Anna made her way to Brittany, France and raved about it with kids as it offers miles of golden sandy beaches over looked by smart seaside resorts and interspersed with quaint fishing villages and beautiful chateaux. You can get there easily via The Channel Tunnel or fly into Nantes.
Lake Tahoe has a variety of great ski resorts for families. Squaw Valley is one of the largest ski areas in the US with 4,000 acres of skiable terrain; it also offers one of the few true ski-in/ski-out resorts in Tahoe at Squaw Creek. We heart Squaw Creek Resort for families given all the kid-friendly amenities including swimming, a kids’ club, ice skating, and more.
The island of Lanai in Hawaii is just 45 minutes from Maui via ferry, yet feels like a remote island getaway with just three hotels on the entire island, including two Four Seasons hotels. We checked out both Four Seasons properties last last winter and found that that they are radically different from one another and offer two very distinct ways to experience the beauty of Lanai. See my review of Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay and Four Seasons Resort, the Lodge at Koele for details. In short, splitting up a trip to stay at both properties is worth it!
We learned what all the Costa Rica fuss is about first hand last spring break when Kensington Tours planned a phenomenal family itinerary for us. From National Parks and Biological Reserves, to beaches on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, to six active volcanoes, there’s no shortage of exciting things to see and do. Read Why Families Love to Vacation in Costa Rica for details.
We’ve discovered all kinds of ways to have fun in Napa Valley with kids. Dana has stayed all over both Sonoma and Napa Valleys. This time, she tried The Meritage Resort and Spa and found it to be a perfect place to play in Napa and beyond.
I gave Adventures By Disney’s new Brave itinerary in Scotland a test drive. A group tour like this is an incredible way to pack in as much as possible without having to figure out any logistics. And thanks to the magic of Disney, what you see and have access to is astounding
Marrakech has been on the hot destination list for a few years now with no sign of abating any time soon. For good reason, it’s exotic, beautiful, easy-to-access, with tremendous culture and food. See Anna’s Tips for Visiting Marrakech with Kids for highlights.
Nancy booked a JetBlue vacation to Naples, Florida and found it to be upscale yet low-key with great restaurants and a village feel. Intrigued? Read all about her adventures in Naples with kids.
Fiji has 333 islands, a third of which are inhabited. Its national airline, Fiji Airways offers seven direct flights per week from Los Angeles, with connections from throughout the US and around the world. It’s easier than you think to get to! Dana explored Yasawa Island and found it to be a wonderful luxury home-base for a beach vacation with kids.
One of my favorite articles of 2013 was about Kristi’s trip to Alaska with her two kids. Two Weeks in Alaska by Air, Land, and Sea tells gives the juicy details and the photos have me drooling. Their small ship cruise experience with Un-Cruise Adventures got them very close to wildlife and Alaska’s epic scenery.
Sunriver Resort is an outdoors-focused paradise in Central Oregon has legendary status among families. After spending a week there this summer with four kids from 3 to 14, I’m onboard with the rave reviews. Read my 10 Reasons Families Love to Vacation at Sunriver Resort and you may just plan a trip for summer 2014.
It had not visited Prague in 10 years and had the chance to escape for a four-night mom + son getaway at the old-world Four Seasons Hotel Prague. We found the riverfront location to be dreamy and the perfect base to explore Prague’s many nooks and crannies.
It’s no secret that Cape Cod is wonderful for families. Holly discovered that the Ocean Edge Resort is a wonderful place to stay with kids with multi-room villas, a private beach, wonderful onsite restaurant, and breathtaking views.
We went on our first family whitewater rafting trip last summer in Idaho with Middlefork River Expeditions and now consider it to be one of the best vacations we’ve taken as a family. Read why family whitewater rafting a bucket list must.
A treasure trove of accessible Hawaiian historical sites and cultural activities on the Kohala Coast engage all ages. Kristi toured the island from the ground and I explored Hawaii from the air with Paradise Helicopters — either way this fascinating island is always a treat.
I went on my first mid-size cruise with Holland America Cruise Line and was surprised to discover how much I liked cruising given my propensity for cabin fever. I have a new outlook on the value of cruising with kids now. Dana was just on the new Carnival Sunshine with her teenage daughter and reached the same conclusion.
There’s so much we haven’t covered here that is fantastic including Nancy’s Vietnam adventure, our Thanksgiving in Provence France, and Lisa’s recent trip to the Riviera Maya with Palladium Hotels that we’ll be covered on the blog this month. Next up: Looking forward: Hot Destinations for 2014!
Happy New Year!
Editorial Note: Photo credit for each article is noted in the individual post
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