The electric blanket came out of the closet the other day. I held off as long as I could. Putting the blanket on my bed is essentially admitting winter is coming, and when it comes to winter I’m a wimp. I live in Northern California: we occasionally get frost, but very rarely get snow, just inches and inches of cold rain.
When the first storm comes into town all I can think about is a warm beach, and I don’t think I’m alone. It doesn’t matter where you live, when winter blows into town, most of us want to run away to somewhere warm and sunny. Make it a little exotic and I’ll be on the computer searching for airplane tickets.
Where you live plays a large part in where you go. East Coasters flock to Florida and the best places for kids in the Caribbean. West Coasters have Hawaii and the often more budget friendly Mexico. But more and more these days, even East Coasters are willing to spend a little more time traveling to head south of the border.
It depends on who you ask. Fishing enthusiasts come to reel in the big one. Art lovers come for local handiwork, foodies come for food and drink. Others simply come to play on the beach and have fun in the sun. There’s no denying Mexico is popular with the spring break, party crowd, but don’t let that dissuade you from planning a family vacation there. You’ll miss out on some of the best Mexico has to offer.
Mexico has gotten a bad rap lately. Drug related crime and violence has made headlines across the nation, leaving many travelers, to put it mildly, worried. The U. S. State Department has issued a travel warning for citizens considering a trip Mexico. Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico every year, but if you’re thinking about a Mexican vacation, you owe it to yourself to be informed. Spring Break in Mexico – “Know Before You Go,” gives visitors a good overview of what to expect at more common resort destinations along with a good reminder not to leave your common sense at home on vacation.
Part of the beauty of Mexico is that there are so many options when it comes to picking where to vacation. Think about what you and your family like to do. Decide if you’re looking for an adventurous vacation or a week of doing nothing. Those two things alone should play a huge role in deciding where to go.
Charming and Authentic
Zihuatanejo is one of my favorite Mexico destinations. It’s a charming, old fishing village situated on the Pacific Coast in the area commonly called the Mexican Riviera. For as touristy as it has become, it still holds on to an authentic feel. My girls and I enjoy walking through the small town and shopping for handmade crafts and jewelry. There are plenty of small, old-style places to stay, but no high rise hotels to call home. It’s very common for visitors to stay in nearby Ixtapa.
Build It and They Will Come
Ixtapa was created to attract tourists. In the early 1970s the resort was constructed by the Mexican government on what was once a coconut plantation and mangrove estuary. Whoever came up with the idea was right on the money. Ixtapa boasts over five thousand hotel rooms and villas, with all-inclusives like Club Med being a very popular option for families. While I like to shop in Zihuatanejo, I like to relax on the beach in Ixtapa. With an average temperature of about 79 degrees, it doesn’t take long for me to forget about all the rain at home. If the kids get tired of doing nothing, swimming with dolphins is a family favorite. My girls have swam with dolphins in different places around the world, but the magic never fades.
My friends like to get married in great places: Scotland, France and Puerto Vallarta. Four days wasn’t enough to fit in everything we wanted to do in Puerto Vallarta. It was November, which meant it was chilly at home, so having warm sand and water to play in was fantastic. The highlight of our trip was releasing turtle hatchlings. (Kids and critters always guarantee a great travel memory!)
Done at dusk, we got a quick nature lesson and were allowed to snap some incredible photos before putting our young turtle at the edge of the ocean and watching it head out to sea. You can do a turtle release through a tour, but a number of hotels located on popular turtle nesting beaches also run release programs as an extra perk for their guests.
Cabo is about fun in the sun with an emphasis on getting wet! Kayak on the Sea of Cortez, zip line across stunning canyons, go whale watching, then take a well-deserved nap by the pool. There are plenty of adventures to be had in Cabo San Lucas, just pick the one that fits your family best. Tequila is king in Cabo. You’ll see it at every turn and every parent deserves a good margarita on vacation. English is widely spoken, and many of the bigger U.S. chains like Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club have stores in town, offering some folks with a comfortable familiarity.
Ready to Go?
Start doing your research, you’ll find a getaway perfect for your family.But don’t stay up too late and don’t forget to turn on your electric blanket.
Ciao Bambino recommended Mexico family hotels
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