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Hawk's Cay family vacation family

Head south, dear families, to Hawks Cay Resort, in sunny Duck Key, FL.

You’ll feel right at home checking into this family-friendly resort where your gang can get to know the resident dolphins, swim in a salt water lagoon, learn to sail, salt-water fly fish and snorkel.

Great restaurants offer plenty of options for dining delight. Play tennis, work out, relax by one of several pools.

A full-scale kids club enables the parents to check out the adjacent spa where treatments come with a delicious key lime scent. Located at the mid-point between Key West and the mainland, end the day with an evening sail to catch a glorious sunset.

Don't forget the sunscreen! Harry Potter Orlando

If you don’t have children of your own or yours have left the nest, it’s still possible to experience the joys of travel through the eyes of a child.

Plan a trip to any of these five places with a niece, nephew, grandchild or young cousin and you’ll forever be a rock star relative:


Visit Orlando.

Get ready for some adoration when you announce your favorite youngsters will soon discover the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Perhaps you’ll add a day reveling in the magic of Walt Disney World or get splashed at Sea World.  A bevy of new healthy menu options at local theme parks and a fresh selection of world-class restaurants mean you won’t be relegated to a week of chicken fingers and tater tots.

Contact: 800- 972-3304;

Pick Portland.

Small, green and savvy, this Northwestern city has a youthful vibe that will make your young family members feel right at home. Visit lush gardens, the zoo and a popular farmer’s market. Choose from children’s, art and science museums. Visit Powell’s, the world’s largest indie bookstore. Shop, stroll, bike or make the most of the MAX light rail to move around town. You’ll score big with the kids if you stop by VooDoo Doughnuts, where the creative confections are as eye-popping as they are palate pleasing.  Stay at the trendy, art-filled The Nines or the more family-centric Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Portland.



Go Global.

You’ll be a forever favorite for showing them an expanded view of the world.  Join other families in small groups to explore destinations from Turkey to Tuscany. Ride a camel in Morocco or explore Mayan ruins in Mexico. How many species can you spot on the Serengeti?  You’ll dine, discover and stay in ways that will immerse you into local cultures. Check last minute specials for great value.

Contact: 800-970-7299;

Club Med, Punta Cana. Dominican Republic.

Kids of every age will have boatloads of fun and you’ll get time to refresh yourself at this or any Club Med resort where young people are engaged in a slew of age appropriate activities ranging from tennis and trapeze skills to kayaking and sand castle building.  Gather for meals, activities or quiet time on the white sand beach under  swaying palms.

Contact: 1 (888) WEB CLUB;

Grand Canyon National Park.

They’ll think you’re great for showing them the grandest canyon of them all. Whether you hike, bike, raft, take pictures, study the geology or simply enjoy the extraordinary beauty of this natural wonder, an indelible memory will have been made.  Ask about free ranger tours.  Contact: 888-29-PARKS (888-297-2757);

Head To The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Colorado Springs, CO.

Visitors to this high mountain, luxury outpost in the Pike National forest can team up with man’s best friend ( Reba, the fly fishing dog ) for an afternoon of casting for trout in one of two lakes on the secluded property. Later, give Reba a rest while exploring the surrounding area on horseback or hike to nearby lookout points. Challenge friends and family on the archery range or fireside for a masterful game of chess.

Share stories while enjoying  fresh, gourmet fare at the dinner table, in the hot tub or around the cozy fire pit. Just eight miles from the Broadmoor campus, you'll experience a getaway that is a world away from many of the places where you have previously stayed


Friday, 16 September 2016 21:21

Top Notch Photo Tips

By Chase Guttman

Award-winning university student, photographer and contributor Chase Guttman, enjoys traveling with his family and capturing special memories with his camera.

Here, he shares his tips that may inspire the budding shutterbugs in your clan.

  1. 1. Be adventurous.
  2. “Veer off the beaten path. Take the road less traveled,” advises Guttman, who has visited more than 40 countries and 45 US states. “Try to compose images that portray the essence of the culture you're experiencing. By thinking outside the box, you can put a fresh spin on a frequently photographed subject or destination. Don't be afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone and experiment.”

2. Get closer.

When you create a feeling of intimacy and connection with your subject, you’ll capture stunning portraits,” advises the New York City teen. “Every face tells a unique story. Wrinkles map out a life of hardship and piercing eyes offer a peak into a person’s emotional state. In essence, portraiture allows you to unveil your subject's world for all to see.”

3. It's in the details.

"Zero in on essential details that will tell a larger story about the people or destination you're capturing. Be aware that what you leave out of the frame can be as important as what you include,” advises Guttman. "With focus, you can effectively squeeze an exciting visual experience within the rectangular shaped frame.”

4. Head towards the action.

As illustrated in his image above, Guttman explains that “By diving into the middle of the action you’ll capture an array of energy and emotion. Local markets, sporting events, and festivals offer unique insights into people’s daily lives."

“No matter what camera you have in hand," he adds, "you can paint dynamic and visually arresting action shots by clicking the shutter while moving your body at the same pace as the moving object you're trying to capture.”

5. Plan ahead.

It helps to be in the right place at the right time,” advises Guttman. “Early morning conditions offer unique advantages for photographers. Wildlife is more likely to be active and visible. A tranquil atmosphere makes water reflections more pristine, and you'll have a better chance to capture dawn’s magical mist and dew. Also, early morning and evening lighting provide the best opportunities to create stupendous landscape and cityscape shots.

Chase Guttman was named Young Travel Photographer of the Year, won a Grand Prize in National Geographic’s International Photography Contest for Kids, and was just named an Emerging Photographic Talent by the Young Photographer’s Alliance.  His work has been exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society in London and he was included as a Top Ten Travel Photographer in the New York Institute of Photography's latest book.

Learn more at

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 19:39

Family Hikes

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Four Seasons hikers

Take a hike — and take the whole family with you.

Here are five scenic destinations to consider:

1. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

For jaw-dropping beauty, lace up and explore the jagged peaks of the magnificent Teton Range hear Jackson Hole. Trails that hug the shores of String, Leigh and Trapper lakes are ideal for families. With little elevation gain, the flat terrain provides ample opportunity to photograph the Tetons reflected in the water, wade into the shallow lake and picnic along the shoreline where the views will astound your entire crew.

2. Tackle a Colorado 14er.

The Centennial State is home to dozens of 14,000-foot peaks that beckon residents and visitors alike. Whether you make it to the summit or simply relish the high-altitude views, several of the trails are viable for adventuresome and fit families.

At 14,060 feet, Mount Bierstadt is both the closest peak to Denver and considered among the most approachable. Plan to arrive early, hydrate well and be off the mountain by midday to avoid dangerous thunderstorms that can roll in quickly.


3. Shenandoah National Park.

More than 500 trails snake through this National Park in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, just 75 miles from Washington, D.C. Access family-friendly trails via the 105-mile long Skyline Drive, a historic National Scenic Byway that traverses the park. The highway also offers 75 scenic overlooks to stop and appreciate the region’s natural beauty. The 3.5-mile Lewis Springs Fall Loop is popular with families and offers scenic views and waterfalls. The Stony Man Summits and lower cliffs is the same length, offering stunning vistas with only 500 feet of elevation change.


4. Southern California’s Backbone Trail.

Not far from the Hollywood action you’ll find the 68-mile Backbone Trail, extending the length of the Santa Monica Mountains. Choose from a handful of day hike options. Try the Ray Miller Trail, accessed through Point Mugu State Park.

Scenic views of Ventura County can be seen from the 6-mile loop trail, starting at the trailhead off Yerba Buena road. Either way, you’ll be worlds away from the urban hustle.


5. Canyonlands, Utah.

For long views, sunny days and unique land formations, consider a hike into the history-rich Canyonlands. It’s a photographer’s dream landscape, so keep your camera handy as you choose among short strolls, longer day hikes or more strenuous outings.

The 2-mile Grand View Point trail offers panoramic views of the Island in the Sky Mesa. To learn about how the Anasazi lived in the area, consider the Aztec Butte Trail, where some of their rock structures are still visible.

Contact: utahscanyoncountry .com/index.html

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