By SHELLY DHINGRA
Special to SAF
School is out and summer vacation officially begins. You’ve finally managed to book off some time to spend with the family this season but where to go? Families everywhere are scrambling to find the perfect vacation this summer that is affordable and fun for all.
In North America alone, there are many destinations that are complete with activities and wholesome family fun. And the best part — it won’t break the bank (as long as you can control the fun)!
“Great Wolf Lodge is always a great choice for the family,” suggests Leah. “It’s fun for the entire family and if you live in the Toronto area, it’s not too far of a drive.” Great Wolf Lodge offers rides and attractions and endless activities for the kids and throughout the summer you can find tons of deals and discounts.
Chris highly recommends an all-inclusive package for the family. “All-inclusive packages are the best choice for a family vacation because they’re easy and you don’t have to worry about paying more than you expect to,” he points out. “There are always special deals and you can search by the type of resort that accommodates families. It’s really the perfect way to spend a vacation with the kids.”
Another popular getaway is none other than Disney World. “Every kid needs to experience this place once,” share Sona who has taken her family twice in the last few years. “The first time we went the kids were little but we still had a great time because of all the characters they got to meet. The last time though was even better because the kids were older and we could take them on the rides and they were still into seeing all the characters and shows which was great. It’s really worth seeing the excitement on their faces,” she adds.
Rupal suggests Hershey Park and Sesame Street Place in Pennsylvania. “It’s a bit of a drive,” she warns, “but it’s so much fun for the kids and adults too! They also have a Crayola factory that my son just loves.” Hershey Park offers rides and shows along with a variety of foods and activities. They also offer free play area and accommodations for younger children. Sesame Street Place also offers a similar themed park with every kid’s favourite characters.
Farida claims to have had an amazing time with her family on a cruise vacation. “My kids just loved being on the boat. It didn’t matter that there were a million things to do and see at every location, they just wanted to watch us sail through the water. I would highly recommend it 110 per cent!”
More and more popular destinations are now accommodating families with things to do for people of all age groups. The Travel Channel published a list of their top hot spots for family vacations, some of which include:
• Atlantis Resort and Casino (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
This resort is filled with adventure. It offers 38 restaurants and countless activities, including 11 exhibit lagoons and over 50,000 animals such as sharks, lionfish and stingrays. It also features miles of beaches, 11 pool areas, and seven different water slides, as well as the Mayan Temple’s Leap of Faith slide which features a 60-foot drop into an acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-infested lagoon.
• Circus Circus (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Who would have thought Vegas for the kids!? But it truly is like being at the circus. Every half-hour performers engage in airborne stunts on the resort’s centre stage. There is an enormous carnival filled with over 200 arcade games, carnival games and wandering clowns, a huge funhouse and an indoor theme park with over 20 rides, miniature golf and laser tag.
• Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge (Orlando, Florida)
Most kids love animals so what better place than an Animal Kingdom! Families can experience the thrills of an African safari without having to leave their lodge. This vacation spot offers over 200 animals representing more than 100 different species, including antelopes and gazelles. Many of the suites overlook the resort’s savannahs, and balconies give families an opportunity to come face to face with a giraffe. In the lodge there are 380 museum-quality works of art including authentic Kinta cloths, woodcarvings and a 16-foot, 240-lb. Nigerian ceremonial mask. It’s a great experience for the kids — and a lot to learn for all.
• Club Med (Ixtapa, Mexico)
When thinking of a getaway destination spot, Club Med might just give your family the vacation they were looking for. One of the highlights of this spot is that has an endless roster of activities for all ages and is situated on 37 acres along Mexico’s western coast. It hosts a variety of clubs designed to entertain children throughout the day, and the most convenient feature is that it is divided by age groups: Baby Club, Petit Club and Mini Club which keeps kids ages 4 months to 13 years busy with outdoor activities, shows and crafts. For the adults, Ixtapa offers activities including tennis, scuba, archery, kayaking, water polo, volleyball and picnics. Beyond this there are so many more activities families can take part in like fishing trips and even excursions into the Mexican fishing village of Zihuatenejo.
So the next time you plan a fun family getaway, be sure to check out some of these spots, or the many other suggested hot spots on popular travel sites.
Planning a vacation doesn’t always mean spending a whole lot of money for only a few days. It could also be just a day or two of fun right at home.
Toronto and its local surrounding offer some great one-day summer fun venues within driving distance. If you’re looking for something local, be sure to check out places like the popular Canada’s Wonderland, African Lion Safari, The Toronto Zoo, Harbourfront Festivals, Marineland, Darien Lake, and so much more.
The summer is meant to enjoy with your family, so no matter what you do, you’ll make it fun just spending the time together. Happy travels!
By SHELLY DHINGRA