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The Best Family Vacation Destinations

ACTION ADVENTURES

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.

Sports Spectacular

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 spa.

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.

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