Grab the sunscreen. Gather the towels and beach books. Yes, it's goodbye snow. And, hello warm, sandy beaches. As readers share their favorite beaches, get ready to choose from this list or share your own special spots.
1. Club Med, Punta Cana. Dominican Republic.
“There was something about relaxing on that beautiful stretch of white sand beach with the coconut palms swaying in the breeze. I think about it all the time,” muses Dayton, Ohio-based Diana Duncan. Her two children loved the children’s club that included a slew of age appropriate activities.
Diana and her husband Matt took to the trapeze, learning circus skills, when not kayaking, playing tennis or building sand castles on the beach with the kids. “My only regret,” admits Duncan, “is that I ate way too much of their famous white chocolate bread!”
Susan and Rich Andrews have been traveling to South Florida every year for decades. “Our long time family favorite is Bal Harbour because there is something for everyone.”
A luxurious seaside enclave, families take to the wide open beaches, walking paths and chic but comfortable ambience. Upscale restaurants and shopping abound. The Bal Harbour Kids Beach Camp is a collaborative partnership with the Miami Children’s Museum, and available to guests of both the Sea View Hotel and ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, as well as village residents and their guests. Children have the opportunity to paint, learn about international cuisine, music and how to grow a garden.
3. Sag Harbor, NY.
“My favorite beach is still my home town stretch of sand here on Long Island,” explained Sharon Elizabeth. “The beaches on the east end of Long Island are some of the most magnificent in the world. My favorite is Sagg Beach, near Sagaponack.”
According to Elizabeth, Sagg Beach is pristine, wide and a great place for family picnics and relaxing days playing in the surf. Located near the historic whaling port of Sag Harbor, the area, widely known as “The Hamptons”, offers plenty of water-related recreation as well as top-notch dining, museums, parks and bike paths.
4. Destin, FL. –
When I was a child, we spent many a holiday on the white beaches of Destin and my memories are so wonderful,” explains Mary Ellis, who makes her home in Milwaukee, WI.
“As a result I was quick to take my own three children to this pristine location where there is so much for families to do! Between snorkeling, hiking, diving and just relaxing on the 24 miles of powder-soft white beaches, our family vacation never seems quite long enough,” says Ellis.
Cannon Beach, OR
Maxie Wade has long enjoyed flying kites with her kids on this wide beach on the north coast of Oregon where gulls float overhead and bon-fires melt s’mores and keep the sea breeze chill at bay. Cold water temperatures mean swimmers may only get ankle deep. Rather, families gather to collect shells, explore tide pools, watch storms roll in or stroll the day away enjoying the salt air. Just off shore and towering 235 feet over the beach, Haystack Rock is home to nesting seabirds. It is one of the largest sea stacks on America’s Pacific Coast.
Volunteer vacations enable parents to model their most deeply held values while demonstrating compassion for others who share our place on the planet. Develop new talents, brush off rusty skills and make a difference as a family.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Choose from volunteer experiences in India, Costa Rica, Thailand and other destinations where sustainable, locally run community, environmental and educational projects will expand your family’s view of the world. Trained travel advisors share information about each country and specific projects to insure a suitable match. Find a trip working with kids, the environment or wildlife that will blend well with the ages, interests and levels of experience within your family group. Contact: 800-985-4852; www.i-to-i.com.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Cortez, CO.
Channel the Indiana Jones vibe and assist professional archeologists on excavation sites and in the lab as the quest to uncover mysteries surrounding the ancient Anasazi and Pueblo cultures continues. Ask about Family Archeology Weeks during which kids learn to make fire and sharpen skills needed for fieldwork. Pair your volunteer experience with one of a handful of educational adventure trips offered in the region by the same outfit. Contact: 800-422-8975; www.crowcanyon.org
Learn about community-based tourism through this cross-cultural exchange that includes home-stays, family-style meals, exploration, adventure and time with locals in indigenous communities. Your trip will be fully-supported by a North American guide but you and your family members will have plenty of time to engage in service activities that range from building schools to assisting with the need of the moment in Peru, Guatamala, Kenya, India and beyond. Create a custom trip or join a scheduled outing. Contact: 206-383-9828 www.crookedtrails.com.
The name alone conjures up images and legends of the American West: wagon trains, gold rushes, gunslingers, Indian battles and more. And among these legends, William Frederick Cody - commonly known as "Buffalo Bill" - is one of the best-known and most colorful.
And possibly the most misunderstood.
At the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., (the town at the gateway to "Yellowstone Country" founded by the legend himself) visitors enjoy a more well-rounded view of Buffalo Bill: the legend and the man. And, as is often the case with legendary figures, "the truth is more interesting than the myth."
Here's a "top 10" list of little-known facts about the man, showman and pioneer who dazzled millions around the world with "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show":
1. Known as a fearless Indian fighter, Cody respected - and advocated for the rights of - American Indians and once said, "Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government."
2. Cody was an ardent supporter of women's rights and insisted on equal pay for all members of his traveling shows, regardless of gender. "What we want to do is give women even more liberty than they have," he said. "Let them do any kind of work they see fit, and if they do it as well as men, give them the same pay."
3. At the age of 11, Cody took a job as a wagon train "boy extra" riding and delivering messages to drivers along the length of the train.
4. At the ripe old age of 14, he signed on with the Pony Express and after an apprenticeship building corrals and stations for the burgeoning mail service, became a full-fledged rider.
5. Cody's family was Quaker and opposed slavery. When Cody was a young child, the family moved from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, a hotbed of conflict between slavery advocates and abolitionists. While giving an antislavery speech at a local trading post, Cody's father Isaac was stabbed twice by an angry man in the crowd.
6. Cody was a Freemason who achieved the rank of Knight Templar in 1889 and 32-degree rank in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1894.
7. While thousands visit the Buffalo Bill gravesite outside of Denver annually, many Cody residents believe their town's namesake is actually buried on Cedar Mountain overlooking the town of Cody itself. The legend behind this belief involves a bold plan, a middle-of-the-night trip to a Denver mortuary and an unlucky ranch hand bearing a likeness to Buffalo Bill.
8. Some historians assert that at the height of his traveling show's fame, Cody was the most recognizable celebrity in the world - notoriety that earned him an audience with Pope Leo XIII while the Wild West Show was touring Europe.
9. In 1893, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" expanded and became the even more spectacular (though ponderously titled) "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World." A true multicultural event, the show featured horsemen from around the globe, including South American gauchos, Arabs, Mongols and Turks.
|10. Cody received a Medal of Honor while serving the Third Cavalry Regiment as a civilian scout. Congress later rescinded the medal, as well as all others awarded to civilians. In 1989, Cody's medal was officially reinstated.|
Parents: Will you be skiing Telluride this season?
Don't miss Alpino Vino, a one-of-a-kind lunchtime dining experience.
After all, it is North America’s highest wine bar (with fabulous food!)
Those of us who love words were thrilled a poet was asked to participate in the Inaugural ceremonies. Richard Blanco became the fifth poet to read at a Presidential inauguration. Reports emphasized he was the youngest, first Latino, openly gay poet to act as an inaugural poet.
This winter, get cozy with the kids in a great American lodge. Sit by the fire, share stories and enjoy a winter family vacation. Here are five to consider:
Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Tabernash, CO.
Stay in a cabin or the lodge and get cozy near one of 45 flickering fireplaces. Enjoy local specialties in the lodge dining room where a three-story, three-hearth fireplace, comprised of hand-stacked stones, warms winter visitors. Grab the binoculars to catch a glimpse of wildlife roaming on this 6,000 acre expanse of Colorado beauty or set out on the Nordic trails for an up-close view of winter scenes. From now through May, stay two nights and get the third night free. Pet friendly.
Contact: 970-726-5632; www.devilsthumbranch.com.
Skytop Lodge. Skytop, PA.
For junior boarders and skiers, this lodge in the Poconos offers crowd-free, gentle slopes on which to learn. Kids as young as three can enroll in ski school. Dog mushing, tobogganing, sledding, ice-skating and cross-country skiing add to the active pursuits available on this sprawling 5,000-acre estate. Later, stretch out in the indoor pool or bubbling hot tub and get ready for game night.
Contact: 800 -345 -7759; www.Skytop.com.
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, OR.
Located in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, this magnificent lodge was built at the height of the Great Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration. Located 60 miles east of Portland, the well-crafted lodge has long served as the centerpiece of this mountain playground. Take a guided, moonlit snowshoe tour, experience Snowcat skiing or simply relax in the historic lodge and enjoy the extraordinary views. Ask about weekday, ski-free deals.
Contact: (800).547-1406; www.timberlinelodge.com/
El Tovar – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.
Open since 1905 and registered as a national Historic Landmark, this charming, 78-room lodge is just steps from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Take in a nature talk, go for a mule ride or hike the famed trails that criss-cross down and through the park. Marvel at the extraordinary beauty of snow falling onto the multi-colored rock walls and into the canyon below.
Contact: 928-638-2631; www.GrandCanyonLodges.com.
The Whiteface Lodge. Lake Placid, NY.
Located in the heart of the Adirondacks, this woodland lodge is spacious, with modern amenities. At the same time, it serves up rustic, with stone chimneys, antler chandeliers and handcrafted Adirondack furnishings. Nightly family bonfires, a skating rink, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing and indoor swimming programs, provide plenty to keep an active family engaged. A complimentary kids club makes it easy for the adults to take advantage of the full service spa on site.
Contact: 800-903-4045; www.thewhitefacelodge.com
With the magnificent McDowell Mountains as a backdrop, families relish this oasis in the desert.
By day, keep cool within the 6000 square foot Sonoran Splash complex, featuring a zero deck area for the youngest set. Kids wade right into the water, just like at the beach.
Life is full of adventure!
If you are looking for a little inspiration, a few words to urge you into action, you've come to the right place.
Enjoy these adventure quotes!