When I plan travel with my three children, I look for destinations that will keep them active and satisfied. Here, I've gathered five of my favorite summer getaways that offer the best in healthy traveling. My kids and I absolutely love them!
1. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Named one of the best resorts on Florida's Emerald Coast, Sandestin offers 1,300 vacation rentals and seven miles of the whitest, powdery sand beaches you have ever seen. The resort is filled with many activities for families, among them 15 world-class tennis courts, 10 swimming pools, 72 on-property lakes for fishing, 4 championship golf courses, a 5-acre park, running and bike paths, a basketball court, putting and ropes courses, zip-lining, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and sailboat lessons.
2. Phoenix, Arizona. I know summertime in Arizona is warm, but you'll find great off-season rates and "cool" things to do. Head to the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, a fabulous family-friendly destination, for incredible swimming pools, a lazy river, and--its newest attraction -- the Flowrider experience (a combination of surfing, snowboarding, and wakeboarding in the on-site pool). Usery Mountain Regional Park is worth the drive for hiking, biking, or yoga overlooking the rugged landscape. Try the guided kayaking trip with Arizona Outback Adventures, where you'll paddle down the Salt River for the most amazing red rock views. Keep your eyes wide open, as you may just catch a glimpse of wild horses along the way (we did!). The Arizona Biltmore is prime for amazing golf. Both the Adobe and The Links golf courses offer bold challenges and enjoyable play for demanding golfers. While you're there, sign up for a sunrise or sunset guided hike, and also take time to experience High Tea, a classic tradition at the historic property.
3. Park City, Utah. The summer season in Park City is one of my favorite times to visit with an active family. Head to The Canyons Resort -- where large accommodations are the rule -- for the best in mountain biking, zip-lining, swimming, whitewater rafting, disk golf, hiking, and gondola rides. Don't miss the Park City Mountain Resort for more challenging zip lines and the thrilling Alpine Slide and Alpine Coaster--an exhilarating blast for adults and kids! If you have extra time, spend a day at Utah's Olympic Park for a summer bobsled ride, active rope courses, or simply sit poolside to watch the athletes training. (Some will be skiing in a pool, and kids can even try it out themselves!)
4. Cabo San Lucas. The stunning waters of the Baja Peninsula create a wonderful setting for activities such as snorkeling, sailing, and sport-fishing, plus championship-level golf courses. You can also take advantage of a multitude of adventure diversions: Wild Canyon Adventures is filled with zipping, bungee jumping, camel rides, and glass-bottom gondolas hanging 300 feet above the canyon floor. Baja Buggys is for those who like all-terrain excitement. The breathtaking Auberge property, Esperanza Resort, offers amazing swimming pools, painting classes, cooking classes, nightly s'mores around the La Palapa fire pit, and family-friendly themed dinners. On Thursdays, it's Mexicanisimo, a true fiesta with regional foods, live music, a dazzling fireworks display, and outdoor marketplace with jewelry and crafts from local artisans.
5. Lake Oconee, Georgia. Head to the Ritz-Carlton Lodge Reynolds Plantation for lakeside fun and adventure. Enjoy pristine waters and 35 miles of shoreline filled with fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, swimming, and wakeboarding classes. Choosing which activity to try will be the toughest decision you'll make here, especially in the summertime. Enjoy world-class tennis facilities, championship golf courses, Segway tours, basketball, and even horseback riding. Take a family cooking class, or enroll the kids in a session just for them while you head over to the 26,000-square-foot spa, which features an indoor lap pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam, and fitness center in addition to soothing treatment rooms.
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