Need some suggestions for family travel (2014)

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by viguera, Oct 14, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    First off, thanks in advance... :)

    Our son is now 3 1/2, so most of our vacation planning revolves around finding properties that are family friendly, and obviously it never hurts to ask for suggestions from fellow travelers.

    We're now starting to plan our next "family" vacation, and as always the problem is just trying to narrow down the options somewhat, so I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions.

    Right now the only decision we've made is that we want to be on the beach... having a nice resort with a good kid-friendly pool and beach access goes a long way towards keeping a toddler happy and entertained. :)

    Just for reference, we've already done Hawaii, Disney on both coasts, Bermuda, Bahamas, the Florida Keys, Turks & Caicos and a few others. I was eyeballing Belize or maybe the Caymans, but not knowing anybody that has actually been there recently (or that went there with kids) doesn't really help me.

    Any suggestions?
     
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  2. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Belize doesn't have a lot of great beachfront properties w/ ample facilities for kids. Your best bets might be something like Victoria House (Ambergris Caye), Almond Beach/Jaguar Reef (in Hopkins), or Robert's Grove (Placencia).

    You might be better off w/ Costa Rica. For a small, boutique option right on the beach, Capitan Suizo would be great, and the larger Westin and JW Marriotts are also great and choc full of stuff for kids.

    The beauty of Belize, is you can mix your time on the beach w/ some visits to Mayan ruins.... And then again, there's always Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen to consider
     
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  3. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    There are many other islands around. I suggest a package for Nassau, Bahamas, and specifically the property in paradise Island (it is hugh) but has many kids friendly spaces. Not too far from the East Coast.

    Belize might be a big too rustic. There a couple of properties in Antigua that are very kid friendly. If you are OK with AI resorts that there are plenty of them in Dominican Republic. You can try Puerto Rico !
     
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  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions... the only "issue" with Costa Rica is that most people mistake it for other "less friendly" places in Central America, but I'll try to sell the wife on it and see.

    As far as Nassau, we were just there last August and while I think it's a decent property it's turned into a crazy water park nowadays. When the cruise ships are in town it's ridiculous, since they sell day passes to access the hotel and everything gets super crowded.
     
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  5. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I concur on Cancun-Tulum corridor which is choc full of beach resorts and a couple of mayan themed water parks for kids. I think Playa del Carmen offers both a small village feel along with properties with pools for kids. It is a bit far (45 min by car ? ) from Cancun Airport.
     
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  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    What time of year will you be traveling?
     
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  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    We've made a number of trips to Mexico with our kids since they were fairly young, although only once to a resort. That one was the Barcelo on the Riviera Maya which was fine (I guess) although (and I imagine this is typical) not actually very Mexican. We also stayed in Tulum, which has a wonderful beach. One problem with the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula is that (in my experience) there's often a stiff on-shore breeze and some waves which might not be ideal a small child.

    If you want a little adventure, you might consider Progreso, north of Merida. I don't know if there are any resorts here (probably not, although lots of hotels) and probably a not a lot of hotels with swimming pools. But this coast is (again, in my experience) dead calm and has a very, very shallow drop off (the pier in Progreso is the longest in the world, 4 km, because deep water ships can't get closer to the shore) so it might be ideal for a young child who wants to play in the water. Also, Progreso is in Mexico, which makes for a change. Finally, it's an easy 20 minute bus or cab trip to Merida which is a fascinating city in it's own right.
     
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  8. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    The issue with Costa Rica is that the good beaches are a schlep away from the main airport SJO. The closest beach from SJO is Jaco (which is not really a good beach) One has to go up north to Guanacaste region. The one I like is Tamarindo Daria.
     
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  9. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    I lived for 3 months in a simple beachfront shack in Playa del Carmen in 1991, before any of the large hotels and resorts were built. Haven't been back since...
     
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  10. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    You can now easily fly in/out of Liberia (LIR) which is just one hour from Tamarindo. The Diria is OK, but Capitan Suizo is on the far southern and protected end of Tamarindo and a much better option overall (and for kids).
     
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  11. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    You might look at Mission Bay in San Diego. The bay has sandy beaches, calm, warm water ideal for splashing around, but on the other side of the peninsula you've got the Pacific with surfing etc. There are plenty of family-friendly places, you've got Sea World and the San Diego Zoo close by, plenty of food options, and plenty of places to tour when you're tired of the beach. There are also tons of rental houses in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach or Mission Beach at affordable rates, all walkable to the water on either side.
     
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  12. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    Have you gone to ocean city. Md? My buddies just went over the summer. The HI there has a lazy river and ginormous pool with close access to the beach. They said it was a blast. Didn't need to leave the hotel except to the beach.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  13. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Trying to address most of the posts in a single answer, as to avoid cross-chat.

    Right now the timeframe is unknown, for the most part. I know that we will almost certainly end up traveling at different times during the year due to mandatory vacations and schedules, so we're looking at April and August as candidates. With that said, things are always fluid with work and we already know we're traveling to Phoenix and Ireland at some point next year, which might affect when we do the family thing.

    Thanks for the local suggestions, and I'll certainly consider them. Haven't really thought about Ocean City because it might be "too local" as we have family in Delaware and DC and we're out there all the time, so we like to venture out further for our own vacation. Same goes for San Diego, but mostly because we were just there earlier this year. :)

    Believe it or not Cancun was a candidate, but we even own a timeshare there so we wanted to try somewhere new. And since the wife gave the OK to "plan away" I figured I'll just try a few places we haven't visited before. Although I'm thinking we can do a few days out there and maybe a short hop to Belize / Costa Rica, since it's only ~250 miles.

    Thanks again everyone.
     
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  14. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Don't go. It will only make you cry.
     
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  15. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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  16. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Indeed, we compare notes every now and then... :) And I was eyeballing that Andaz Maui when I ran into her video review of the property, which looks fantastic.

    I haven't completely discounted Hawaii yet, and perhaps I'll do Maui instead of HNL this time around, but it's a long haul from NYC so I'd rather do something within 4-5 hours by air. But worst case (ha!) it might have to do... :)
     
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  17. colt245

    colt245 Silver Member

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    there are some family friendly destinations around Kohala Coast and Kailua-Kona you could probably find great recommendations of hotels on trip adviser too. But i think Cancun is a great place to visit!
     
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  18. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    BTW I'm now seriously considering Papagayo as there are several nice properties there and it's relatively close
     

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