Friday, February 12, 2010

Best Kid Friendly Cruise- Disney Cruise Lines

One of the industry's best in family entertainment, Disney offers a wide selection of cruise lines that travel all around the world. Imagine putting Disney World onto a cruise ship, and you have an idea of what a Disney cruise is like. From destinations such as the Bahamas, Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and Disney's very own Castaway Cay, non-stop adventure and fun awaits families and kids who board a Disney cruise ship.

Activities are abundant, including family oriented deck parties complete with live shows and favorite Disney characters. Exclusive pool options include something for every member of the family, whether they be a toddler, teenager or adult. Special youth and activity clubs keep boredom at bay as well as the impressive entertainment options that include broad-way like musicals nightly.

At each port of call, there are port adventures for every personality. Whether one is seeking adventure through sightseeing the area, to activities in the water, nature excursions or active adventures such a kayaking, horseback riding or high speed boats, there is sure to be something for everyone aboard the Disney Cruise Lines.

The impressive amenities as well as family oriented staterooms make the Disney Cruise line the best kid friendly cruise to date.

In 2009, Disney Cruise Lines won the Cruise Critic's Editor Pick for Best Cruise Line Private Island (Castaway Cay). In 2010, Conde Nast Traveler recently rated the Disney Magic ship as No. 1 for activities and facilities, and the Disney Wonder ship was No. 1 for crew and service. (More Disney Cruise Line awards)

Kids and adults alike await a dream family vacation aboard a Disney Cruise, which remains the best kid friendly cruise to date.

Photo Credit: Cruise Complete

Friday, February 5, 2010

Best Beach Vacations

Thinking of taking a beach vacations with kids? The choices can be endless, ranging from the calm waters of the Florida gulf to the tropical paradise of the Caribbean sea. All-inclusive resorts are especially kid friendly vacation spots, since many kids under a certain age eat and stay for free. Here's a list of the top 5 family beach vacations in the USA.
  1. Clearwater Beach, Florida- Known for its volleyball tournaments, Clearwater Beach is packed with families and kids splashing around. Perfect white sand dots the beach, beckoning children to stack sand castles while the gentle waves are an invitation for snorkeling and swimming alike. Clearwater beach boasts family friendly Pier 60 where families can tote their tots and sight see amongst the clear, blue waters. The Clearwater City Marina is a place of discovery for many, where boats and yachts are just the tip of the experience. Shops line the docks with many offering sea-side activities such as parasailing, deep sea fishing, dinner cruises and island exploring. And don't forget to stop by the hub of Clearwater beach which features a covered playground, beach concessions as well as souvenir shops and cafe styled restaurants. Clearwater Beach easily ranks number one as the best beach vacation to take with kids.

  2. Fort Meyers Beach, Florida- Travel north of the bridge intersection in Fort Meyers Beach, FL for an all out family friendly beach vacation that hits the spot. Times Square, dotted with beach shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants with outside seating is the perfect starting point. Take a walk through Lynn Hall Memorial Park where a playground exists along the base of the pier. Don't forget your skim boards, since the shallow waters at Fort Meyers makes for perfect wave scooting. Jet skiing and parasailing stands are also found throughout the beach area, meaning non-stop fun for adventure minded kids and adults. Don't forget to stop by one of the many affordable shrimp eateries along the beach, one of Fort Meyers' claim to fame. Affordable lodging exists up and down the white sandy beaches, so it's a no brainier to stay right on the water. Choose the north or south end for more family friendly accommodations and a sandbar that helps keep the waters safer for children. Boat tours in search of dolphin sightings are also another wonderful family activity that anyone can enjoy while vacationing at Fort Meyer's Beach.

  3. Fort Walton Beach, Florida- Featuring some of the beach beaches in the world, the Florida panhandle and Fort Walton Beach make for a wonderful beach vacation. A boardwalk at the pier plays host to several restaurants, shops and volleyball. Need a break from the beach and the sun? Check out the Gulfarium where dolphins perform tricks such as jumping through hoops and sea lions balance balls on their noses. Across the street from the boardwalk and pier is more family fun, with racetracks, miniature golf, charters for sea excursions and other sea-side activities such as parasailing and jet skiing. Once again, affordable lodging across the beach makes it easy for families to vacation at Fort Walton. Day trips to the city of Destin and the Gulf Islands National Seashore make the trip memorable and complete.

  4. Nantucket, Massachusetts- Voted by the Travel Channel as one of the best family beach destinations, Nantucket is a little known gem for beach vacations. As an island off the coast, several family friendly beaches dot the shoreline where festivals are annually held to celebrate such activities such as sandcastle building. Children's Beach features a playground and picnic tables, as well as activities such as tie dying T-shirts if visiting between July and August. Kayaking, windsurfing and sail boating lessons can be found at Jetties Beach. Visit Nantucket for a summer beach vacation that thrives in the cooler air of the northern Atlantic coast.

  5. Newport Beach, California- For those who live closer to the west coast, Newport Beach is a perfect beach vacation to take with kids. Miles of trendy homes and yatchs make for an endless luxary sightseeing adventure. The waters are usually calm on this family friendly beach, but watch children and warn them of an occasional underwater current (lifeguards are always on duty during the day). On the Balboa pennisula of Newport Beach you'll enter the Balboa Fun Zone tailored to kids of all ages, from riding the ferris wheel to the more grounded carousel. Surfing and boating are just some of the many water activities to enjoy here. A Newport Beach, CA vacation is a fun-packed vacation destination for both adults and kids.

Photo credit, top to bottom: msalmi78;, erinadoresyou;, Orangecounty_girl;

References: Visit Florida: Family Friendly Beaches; Cheap Flights: Best Family Beaches

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Affordable Family Vacations

Taking a family vacation with kids needn’t mean an overhaul of the family budget. Many destination options exist that are both kid and budget friendly. Choose from these top family vacations with children on a budget to help save money and keep everyone onboard entertained throughout the whole trip.

Save Money with a National Parks Vacation

Camping with the kids has always been an affordable family vacation, and the National Parks provide the opportunity to do just that. Take a road trip out to parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion. The National Parks also have affordable lodging options nearby or inside the park. You’ll be giving your children a memorable trip as they experience the wonders of nature. Before going, make sure to purchase a guidebook of the park to help enhance the experience and understanding of the park.

Consider a National Park guidebook that includes all of the parks. In these guides, you’ll find helpful information on the park’s history, things to do, places to stay and popular side trips. The National Geographic Guide to the National Parks in the United States is a wonderful start, complete with color photos throughout the book.

Discounted Family Cruise Vacations

If the vacation budget is more roomy, consider taking the kids on a cruise. There are many affordable family vacations on cruise lines today, and children under a certain age often board for free. Cruises include many amenities designed to satisfy any type of family. From kid’s pools to daytime activities or even daycare, many cruise lines are accommodating to children. Parents can go to the spa or enjoy a nice dinner while the kids have fun at the same time. For the best rates, book a family friendly cruise during the off-season (usually in the summer).
Photo credit: psrman;