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cycle florida

It's Bike Month. So make plans to cycle with your family in Florida.

Choose your view in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area of the Sunshine State. Roll past nature preserves, city skylines or endless beaches in Pinellas County. Consider the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 38-mile track built atop an abandoned railroad line. The route extends from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Bike rental shops plus water fountains and rest areas along the way make it easy to select one section or take on the entire span.

Contact: visitstpeteclearwater.com.

More family bike ideas here.

Kimpton bikes in Minneapolis

Enjoy a pedal and a picnic in Minneapolis with Kimpton Hotels.

Let the good times roll during May, National Bike Month. Here are five places to enjoy two-wheeled fun.  

1. Cycle Florida. 

Choose your view in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area of the Sunshine State. Roll past nature preserves, city skylines or endless beaches in Pinellas County. Consider the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 38-mile track built atop an abandoned railroad line. The route extends from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Bike rental shops plus water fountains and rest areas along the way make it easy to select one section or take on the entire span.

Contact: visitstpeteclearwater.com 

2. Mount Rushmore Family Tour, Rapid City, S.D. 

Ride past buffalo. Soak in a hot spring. Discover Bedrock City and learn about the Crazy Horse Memorial. Join an award-winning outfitter for this six-day family bike tour centered on the Mickelson Trail bike path. The “Big Mick” gives families easy two-wheeled access to national parks, active mammoth digs, water slides and rock climbing, with a grand finale in the town of Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane once caused a ruckus.

Contact: bicycleadventures.com.

3. Pedal and picnic, Minneapolis. 

Kimpton’s Grand Hotel Minneapolis offers guests the option to join in a 5-mile guided ride through this bike-friendly city. You’ll arrive at the historic Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls, and savor a picnic brunch prepared by your guide, hotel chef Kris Koch. The ride takes place now through the end of September on Sundays. Self-guided bike packages are also available.

Contact: grandhotelminneapolis.com.

4. Block Island, R.I. 

Ride through a scenery-rich island where more than 43 percent of the pristine natural environment is protected. You’ll explore more than 30 miles of scenic trails and 17 miles of beaches and learn about the plentiful wildlife on this bird migration route stopover. Mostly flat, smooth, paved roads make it possible for two-wheeling members of multiple generations to enjoy this wonderland. You’ll also sample fresh seafood and learn about local history.

Contact: greatfreedomadventures.com.

5. Spokane, Wash. 

Go with a guide or chart your own course as you explore the rail trails of eastern Washington, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and on to the Montana border. Level, paved and pristine pathways make for stress-free and scenic family cycling. Up the adventure quotient by mixing in a day of kayaking, rafting or fishing on local rivers. Stop by a hot spring or consider a side hike.

Contact: visitidaho.orgexperiencewa.com.

Family Travel outside

(Who knew camping could be so comfortable? Photo: KOA)

Modern campers are eager to reconnect with nature, spend more time with family and friends and explore new territory.

If you are inclined to camp, here are five ideas to consider.

1. Get in to the back country. For the purest connection to nature, make your way off the beaten path. Hike, paddle or float into a pristine location where your family can learn or hone wilderness skills. Choose a destination suitable for the ages and abilities of your crew. Encourage each person to take responsibility for the adventure, whether that be early research, carrying a small pack, collecting kindling or serving as master storyteller around the fire.

Contact: backcountry.comnps.gov

2. Connect at the campground. KOA, the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds, has evolved since its inception in 1962. Choose your camping style and destination from among 485 locations in North America and access tent sites, RV hookups, cabins, playgrounds and a range of recreational facilities. Then, let the fun begin.

Contact: koa.com

3. Go glamping. If staking a tent is not your idea of fun, glamping, or glamorous camping, might be for you. The walls may be canvas, but the experience is anything but ordinary. High-thread-count bedding, luxury furnishings, fine dining and uncommon outings often led by top-notch guides define the experience in locales around the world.

Contact: glamping.com

4. Sleep in a yurt. Snooze to the sound of the tumbling Trinity River as it winds its way past the resort near Big Flat, Calif. The 30-foot Pacific Yurt is set amid the Trinity Wilderness Area where bird-watching, fishing, hiking and canoeing await. Enjoy road and mountain biking or check out local music festivals. Learn about the organic coffee grown on-site and enjoy a fresh cup as the morning sun warms the day.

Contact: strawhouseresorts.com

5. There’s no place like home. Family camping can help stir a deep and lifelong interest in the natural world. Therefore, early, positive experiences matter. Discuss the details and set clear expectations. For the youngest set, consider an overnight in the backyard or nearby park. That way, if the weather or unforeseen forces create a kink in your plans, warm and dry shelter is nearby.

beach vacations

The Ultimate Family Beach Vacation is enhanced by teaching the family the connectedness of everything at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

The Eco Adventure Center offers fun things to do that inspire the whole family with Southern California’s unique ecosystems. Activities are led by expert naturalists and the Eco-Adventure Center is dedicated to showcasing Dana Point’s natural wonders.

Throughout these unique excursions, the local surroundings become a natural classroom and living laboratory. Adults, families and kids learn through experience, which instills them with deep appreciation and a respect for nature and the environment.

The Eco-Adventure Center was born out of the need to create unifying family activities that teach everyone about the importance of protecting our planet while creating unique memorable vacation experiences and a lot of fun!

Activities this summer include everything from whale watching to youth adventures and beyond. The Biggest Show on Earth will let you embrace your sea legs and see first-hand why Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West! Take a Sea Hike along Strand beach.

Write, direct and star in your own video while you give the earth a voice. Explore the resort’s organic garden during the day or search the final frontier after the sun goes down searching the night sky filled with stars. The center features different excursions each day and choices in three different age groups.

For more information on the Eco-Adventure center visit www.ritzcarlton.com/LagunaEcoAdventures

Laguna Niguel Beach Butler

Allow the lure of the Pacific Ocean to entice the whole family to a day skipping over three miles of glistening sandy beach this summer.

Every beach experience should include blue sunny skies, the crashing sound of the waves and a Beach Butler to tend to all the details, so you don’t have to.

At The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel the Beach Butlers offer personalized service for guests enjoying their experience at the famous California surf spot, Salt Creek Beach. Allow them to load all the gear, shuttle the family to the sand and get the everyone set up with beach chairs, umbrellas and towels. Respect the sun with proper sun screen and tanning lotion, which is always on hand with our butlers. All you need to do is relax and play!

If mom and dad are looking for a few quiet moments with a book, these butlers can entertain the kids with sand castles or body boarding and they will get the whole family set up for lunch and drinks. All you need to do is connect with the family and create lasting memories.  

For more information visit www.ritzcarlton.com/LagunaFamily

Westin Lake Las Vegas Family Travel

Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, Henderson, Nev.

Have the bright lights and a retreat too when you stay at this sunny resort, just a free shuttle ride away from the glitzy Las Vegas Strip.

Enjoy an affordable family getaway that includes pedal boarding, paddle boarding and kayaking on the 320-acre lake, plus poolside fun with a giant slide, dive-in movies and a Kidcabana. Golfers will want to sample the newly renovated Reflection Bay course, a Jack Nicklaus signature track that offers red rock and lake vistas. Parents: It’s your vacation too, so make time for a couple’s massage at the Spa Moulay.

Find out more: westinlakelasvegas.com

travel trends family travel 2015

What can family travelers expect this summer?  

Here are five trends to consider: 

1 More multigenerational travel options.

While technology may make it easier for modern and mobile families to stay in touch, there is no substitute for spending time together.

That’s why an increasing number of clans are celebrating milestone moments and annual holidays in destination resorts, on cruise ships and in places that hold sentimental value.

To make planning easier, the industry continues to develop programs and packages intended to engage every member of the family.

Contact: preferredfamily.com

2 More sharing.

From unique accommodations to urban bike-share stations, the options for authentic, peer-to-peer experiences continue to expand.

Uber, a leader in the car-sharing movement, recently launched UberFamily in several major markets with plans to expand in the year ahead. Families can request rides in vehicles that offer car and booster seats.

Contact: airbnb.com; uber.com; eatwith.com

3 Enhanced technology.

Strap on your smart watch or access new functionality on your smartphone or tablet, and check in, track, plan and post with ever-increasing ease.

Guests of the new B Resort & Spa in Orlando, Fla., and the B Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., can tap a smartphone app or lobby kiosk to send virtual postcards, check the weather and print boarding passes.

Contact: bhotelsandresorts.com

4 More authentic experiences.

Think behind-the-scenes access, opportunities to volunteer and the chance to learn from locals.

Expect a continued commitment to locally grown and crafted food and drink, and culturally significant traditions. Get the inside scoop or tap an expert for hikes, surf lessons or walking tours through Vayable, where you can book your own experiences with destination insiders.

Contact: vayable.com

5 Suite spaces.

More hotels and cruise lines will offer spaces designed to delight and comfortably accommodate your brood.

In Orlando, the Despicable Me-themed suite at Universal’s Loews Portofino Hotel offers two rooms, providing a private space for the adults and a second room for the kids with no access to the hallway. At sea, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess cruise lines are among those with new family-minded cabins.

Contact: cruising.org; universalorlando.com

rcssposedsurfers_ritzcarlton_laguna_wavecation

Who doesn’t love the sunny days you’ll find in Southern California? 

And if you check in to the oceanfront Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, you can expect the ultimate family beach vacation. It’s one where the kids are having fun, mom and dad are relaxed and you all connect while experiencing #bucketlist adventures. 

Your clan can learn how to catch a wave, fly a kite on the beach, build sand castles or toast s’mores over an outside fireplace on your guestroom patio. Later, glimpse a Blue whale in its natural habitat, witness a pod of stampeding dolphins, or report a Garibaldi sighting while snorkeling in the Pacific.  

Pampered Parents

Beach Butlers?

Yep!

The resort’s Beach Butlers offer personalized services so parents can enjoy a stress-free day under the sun. Services include setting up beach chairs, umbrellas and towels, offering and assisting with food and beverage service and providing transportation to and from the beach on the complimentary beach shuttle.  

Forgot the sunscreen? Not to worry. Beach butlers are also fully equipped with sunscreen and tanning lotion. 

Seeking the next level of relaxation? The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers a full menu of services including massage, facials and body treatments. Choose from a selection of treatments designed to soothe, recharge and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. The Spa also offers wellness classes including yoga and Pilates. 

Fun for the Family

The Eco-Adventure Center is dedicated to showcasing Southern California’s natural wonders. Fifteen excursions showcase the local surroundings and are led by expert naturalists. Families can learn about the blue whales on a whale watching adventure, discover the native fish and underwater creatures on a snorkel excursion, or experience riding the waves during a body boarding activity. 

The resort features great dining, two outdoor swimming pools, two whirlpools, a playground area, basketball court, ping-pong table, and tennis courts. Throughout the summer, poolside movies are presented every Thursday evening and a selection of children’s movies is available for in room viewing.  

Are you ready to work on that beachside #bucketlist?

 Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Ritz Carlton

The Ultimate Family Beach Vacation is enhanced by teaching the family the connectedness of everything at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. 

The Eco Adventure Center offers fun things to do that inspire the whole family with Southern California’s unique ecosystems. Activities are led by expert naturalists and the Eco-Adventure Center is dedicated to showcasing Dana Point’s natural wonders.

Throughout these unique excursions, the local surroundings become a natural classroom and living laboratory. Adults, families and kids learn through experience, which instills them with deep appreciation and a respect for nature and the environment. 

The Eco-Adventure Center was born out of the need to create unifying family activities that teach everyone about the importance of protecting our planet while creating unique memorable vacation experiences and a lot of fun!

Activities this summer include everything from whale watching to youth adventures and beyond. The Biggest Show on Earth will let you embrace your sea legs and see first-hand why Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West! Take a Sea Hike along Strand beach.

Write, direct and star in your own video while you give the earth a voice. Explore the resort’s organic garden during the day or search the final frontier after the sun goes down searching the night sky filled with stars. The center features different excursions each day and choices in three different age groups.

For more information on the Eco-Adventure center visit www.ritzcarlton.com/LagunaEcoAdventures

It's a day every father dreads.

Because it is inevitable, because there is little we can do about it, it looms like a specter on our already difficult parenting journey. Despite our best efforts, there is no avoiding the cultural influence and messages on the sides of busses, on billboards, in pop songs, in movies…even in schoolyard chatter. And, knowing it's coming, we prepare.

Still.

Still there is no disguising the cringe on that fateful day when she finally asks the question…

"Daddy, can we go to Disneyland?"

And though you've prepared for this moment, you still cringe and quickly wonder how you might avoid the interminable lines, gum on your shoes, and refrains of "It's a Small World" echoing in your head for months after. 

Read more:

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