The Best Family Vacation Destinations
Packages that focus on once-in-a-lifetime experiences may sound too
physically challenging for seniors and too nerve-racking for parents with kids
to watch out for. But today’s family-friendly adventure travel no longer means
inaccessible locales, hefty price tags, or endurance marathons. Play it safe,
though: Be sure to share any potential health issues or concerns with your
outfitter before booking your trip to see if it’s necessary to make special
arrangements for kids or seniors.
River Rapids Ride
Why rough it when you can brave the white water by day and still relax in a
comfy camp at night? On a rafting trip from Holiday Expeditions, families float
down 44 winding miles of the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument park,
CO, admiring the stunning 2,500-foot peaks of ocher and amber overhead. A
trained guide from the outfitter steers your vessel through excitingly real
(but never too racy) rapids.
Back on land, you can fish in a blue-ribbon trout stream, play boccie ball,
or take an easy hike up the craggy slopes to view ancient Native American rock
etchings. Meanwhile, the staff will be setting up your camp (including
latrines) and preparing a hearty campfire cookout to provide the perfect finale
to each day.
Details: A three-night, four-day excursion costs $845 per
adult and $725 for each child under 18 or senior over 65. Minimum age is 8.
To book: Call 800-624-6323 or go to bikeraft.com. Find
other expeditions and outfitters on riversearch.com.
Safari in the States
Do an overnight where the wild things are by camping on an animal preserve.
Try Safari West, a 400-acre accredited animal park in Santa Rosa, CA, inhabited
by giraffes, zebras, buffalo, wildebeests, warthogs, and impalas, among others.
Your family can get a good look at these seldom-seen beasts on open-air Jeep
tours led by knowledgeable guides who get you close while keeping you safe.
After you’ve left the preserve, rediscover creature comforts at the Napa or
Sonoma wineries nearby.
Come nightfall, youngsters will be thrilled to stay in real tents built on
high wooden platforms, while the grown-ups in your party will be equally
thrilled to find that these lodgings include many unexpected luxuries like
plush beds, hardwood floors, and full bathrooms. Attached decks offer still
more chances for animal observation.
Details: Tents cost $230 to $255 per night, double
occupancy. Safari tours are $65 for adults and $30 for children 3 to 12. Groups
of six or more who mention Good Housekeeping when booking will receive
a 20 percent discount.
To book: Call 800-616-2695 or visit safariwest.com.
Golf is the perfect all-ages physical activity, with basics that are easy
for kids to learn, and intricacies that can keep adults engaged for hours. The
legendary Pinehurst, in North Carolina, where generations of champion golfers
have played, is ramping up its appeal for amateurs, with new (shorter) “family
tees” on seven of its eight courses. Share a day on the greens together with
the resort’s Family Fairways package, which includes free club rentals for
everyone, a one-hour beginners’ or basics-refresher clinic, unlimited time on
the range, and a leisurely round of late-afternoon golf that you can play on a
families-only course. Off the fairways, spend an afternoon fishing on Lake
Pinehurst or enjoy a mud wrap at the spa. Kids 3 to 12 can join one of the
resort’s organized games, excursions, or craft-making sessions, or even try one
of the many treatments that are available for kids and teens at Pinehurst’s
Details: The Summer Tee Social Package (including room,
daily breakfast and dinner, and most activities) is $1,548 for a family of six
for four days/three nights. Kids 17 and under stay, eat, and golf free; Family
Fairways costs an additional $130 per family of four and runs Easter through
Thanksgiving. Mention Good Housekeeping for a 10 percent discount
midweek; see pinehurst.com/gh for details.
To book: Call 800-487-4653 or visit pinehurst.com.