Looking for late-breaking family travel ideas?
Check out these deals for a great escape to see the Grand Canyon in a way you might not have imagined. And the timing is right because the Centennial celebration for one of the world’s most famous natural wonders is underway.
The deal is simple: save 30% off round-trip train fare in conjunction with a one- or two-night package.*
The offer is valid for the rest of 2019, and includes hotel stay, breakfast and dinners, round-trip transportation on the train and entertainment. The savings increase with upgrades in class of train service.
Take note, on the first Saturday of each month through October, the train is pulled by a real steam engine so consider that unique option when planning.
For more information and reservations: www.thetrain.com/offers/centennial-getaway-package or call 1-800-834-8724.
*Centennial Getaway offer valid for 30% off the train portion only of this package when traveling between 2/7/19 – 12/31/19. National park entry fee is not discountable. Package rates are subject to change. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts/promotional offers and other restrictions, including blackout dates, may apply.
1-night Itinerary Package
2-night Itinerary Package
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai, on the unspoiled Hawaiian island of Lanai, has recently introduced Love Lanai, a series of tours, classes, and authentic culinary events.. Through Love Lanai, guests are able to experience the island’s unique living environment and cultural-historical legacy that spans nearly 1,000 years of Hawaiian residency and a diverse cultural heritage.
Family vacation experiences that are a part of the new collection include a guided sunrise hike of Puupehe; Hoolauna, where guests can learn more about the rich variety of Hawaiian crafts; and Aina Ahiahi Hawaiian Dinner, complete with Hawaiian specialties in an intimate setting, reminiscent of a family dinner in a Lanai home.
Consider family golf options while on the scenic island.
It’s easy to allow financial stress, busy schedules and a hectic lifestyle to get in the way of putting dates on the calendar. Here are seven reasons to flag a family vacation as a top priority:
No one is getting any younger.
Not you, the grandparents, or your children. Family life is hectic and it can be difficult to carve out time to even plan a vacation, let alone take one. Yet, before you know it, the kids will be otherwise engaged with school or team responsibilities, summer jobs and college internships. That means the opportunities to get away as a family will diminish even further. So, get planning!
It’s only money.
Sure, budgets are tight. We’re all trying to save more. But a hefty bank account is no substitute for a memory bank brimming with great visuals of your kids running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or climbing in the saddle for the first time. Allocate the dollars you can. Then be on the lookout for deals, promotions or creative low-cost options.
Keep it in the family.
Those busy work and school schedules often mean we seldom see family members about whom we care deeply. Add the geographic spread that is common in most clans and get togethers can be rare. Make this the summer you reconnect with grandparents, that favorite uncle or your long lost cousins. Share stories. Trade photos. Extend the limbs on your family tree.
A visit to a national, state or regional park can provide a bonanza of historical and natural insight and experience. Take to the trails, the streams or the hillside and enjoy nature’s bounty. Camping along the way provides a low cost opportunity to learn outdoor skills and tell tales around the camp fire.
Make it a photo opp.
We tend to remember those moments and events that we capture on film or on a digital memory card. Be deliberate about gathering the kids, friends and relatives together to snap a photo or a few moments of video. Be sure to capture those candid moments too. Then, share and enjoy!
Write it down.
Whether you keep a journal or notes with your photos, scribble a few sentences about your planning process and the trips you take. In time, memory seems to fade the details like dialogue, what people wore, jokes and stories told or memories shared. Save the individual strands of the experience. You’ll be glad you did.
Make a plan together.
Gather your family and get their input on your summer plans. Seek volunteers for researching possible destinations or low cost opportunities. Consider house trades, villa rentals, last minute getaways or just a weekend in a neighboring city. When the time comes, share packing and last minute detail responsibilities. In the end, it is the shared experience that creates the lasting memories and strengthens the bond.
Oceania Cruises' “Superbowl at Sea” Aboard Riviera’s Reef & Ruins
Just because cruise-goers are hopping between destinations like Belize, Mexico and Cuba on an adventure of a lifetime, does not mean they’ll have to miss tuning into the action on the biggest football game of the year when the Patriots take on the Rams.
Oceania Cruises Riviera will be hosting a live Superbowl Sunday viewing party, allowing football fanatics onboard to witness the action of the game in real time. The party will include football-themed decor and the traditional Superbowl party food, from wings to burgers and chips and dip. The 10-day Caribbean cruise, which departs from Miami January 26th, will include multiple stops in beautiful ports and array of excursions. Cabins start at $3,099 per guest.
For those who want to spend Superbowl Sunday aboard, book today at www.oceaniacruises.com.
Where will you go in the year ahead?
So many options.
Plenty of time.......If you plan now!
Traveling with the grandkids?
Check out these options from our Grandparent Travel Collection.
Looking for the year's hot spots?
Then have a look here.
And some vacations are simply epic and have earned a spot on your bucket list.
As the summer gets underway, look to the starry sky for inspiration.
In Death Valley National Park, a 3.4 million-acre expanse and the region’s clean, dry air combine to provide an ideal vantage point for observing shooting stars, meteor showers and constellations galore.
The conditions have earned the park the prestigious Gold-Tier Dark Sky status. The area shares a strong commitment to avoid light pollution and keep the night sky visible. Stay at the Oasis at Death Valley (choose from the Inn or the Ranch) and join the Las Vegas Astronomical Society for Star Parties on selected evenings or enjoy the gem-studded sky on your own.
Find other star-filled destinations to consider here.
Heading into the holiday season, Trafalgar, a leading global guided travel company surveyed 2,500+ parents across the U.S. to discover just how stressful, costly and time-consuming the holidays are for them.
The results? Many American parents admit they would rather cancel Christmas this year… and travel instead:
Are you crafting a travel plan?
Reviewing your bucket list for new family vacation ideas?
Consider this collection of epic adventures to put your family travel plan in motion!
Did you know that one of Santa’s favorite pastimes is actually surfing?
Floridian’s were the first to uncover St. Nick’s secret, which is why, each Christmas Eve, Cocoa Beach (the Surfing Capital of the East Coast) hosts its annual Surfing Santas event.
This fun and free event has proven to be a big attraction (and photo opp!), pulling in more than 800 Santas and 10,000 spectators annually. It gets better though - Surfing Santas has also raised more than $60K for local charities, most notably The Florida Surf Museum and Grind for Life.
Check it out!
While students find intellectual challenge in the formal classroom, here are five places where families can expand their knowledge through experience:
Denver Museum of Science & Nature. Denver, CO.
Through film, lectures, demonstrations and hands-on activity, your family will learn about ancient Egyptian civilization through clues scientists share from their mummy research. Tap into the latest information about our universe and our place in it through a Space Odyssey exhibit. Gain a greater understanding of Native American cultures. Plus, discover how precious gems are recovered from mines and the role they play in various cultures. All this, plus a permanent discovery zone where hands -on fun provides interactive educational opportunities for the youngest explorers. Contact: 303-322-7009; www.dmns.org.
Musical Instrument Museum. Phoenix, AZ.
This unique museum enables families to see and experience more than 3000 instruments and artifacts from around the world. Live performances, family-friendly festivals and a wide array of lectures and classes are available. Check out the Steinway piano on which John Lennon composed “Imagine” as well as the instruments of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and George Benson. Wireless head-sets allow guests to see and hear exhibits throughout the museum. Kids will enjoy the Experience Gallery where they can touch, play and hear instruments from far away cultures. Contact: (480) 478-6000; www.TheMim.org.
The Alamo. San Antonio, TX.
Located in downtown San Antonio, more than 2.5 million people visit each year to learn why it was suggested we “Remember the Alamo!”. Representing three centuries of history, families can learn the roles played by David Crockett, Sam Houston and James Bowie as they tour the 4.2 acre complex where beautiful gardens provide a backdrop for the old mission and exhibits detailing the Texas revolution and the state’s colorful history. Admission is free. Contact: 1-866-769-8419; www.thealamo.org
Glaciers and Climate Change.
Trek to Alaska, our largest state, but at number 49 among the last to join the union. Here you can team up with one of many companies that will introduce you to the mysteries of glaciers and how our changing climate is affecting them and the surrounding areas. Tours offer the opportunity to dog sled, hike, and ice climb all while learning about regional geology and geography and its importance to the rest of the world. Contact: www.flyk2.com; www.travelAlaska.com.
Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey, CA.
Founded in 1984, this world-renowned organization’s mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s oceans. Through a variety of interactive activities and exhibits designed for young children and families, your crew will learn about the delicate balance that exists in our seas today. The youngest visitors will be drawn to the 40-foot-long touch pool for an up close look at curious creatures like sea stars, urchins, kelp crabs and abalones. Contact: (831) 648-4800; www.MonterayBayAquarium.org
Are you looking for an alternative to traveling over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving?
Here are five ideas to consider:
Kingsmill Resort. Williamsburg, VA.
Leave the holiday bird preparation to the pros at this Virginia resort where you and your family will enjoy all the seasonal trimmings. Get settled in one of 425 recently updated guest rooms or stretch out with the clan in a three-bedroom suite. Either way you’ll enjoy views of the James River landscape and access to championship golf, tennis and world-class spa facilities. When you’re ready to expand your holiday horizons, hop aboard free shuttles to both Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.
Macy’s Parade, New York Hilton, NY, NY.
Have you always dreamed of capturing a bird’s eye view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? More than three million people gather to see the iconic floats, bands and entertainment each year.
Choose from one of several parade packages that will provide you and your clan the opportunity to enjoy the seasonal show from the comfort of you room.
Snow Mountain Ranch, Winter Park, CO.
Plan an active holiday weekend that begins with a pre-feast Turkey Trot to get your clan warmed up. Other options include taking part in the Turkey Olympics, Noodle Jousting, Flag Football and even a pie-throwing contest (the staff has volunteered to serve as targets). Wind down the night with a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving moviefest.
There are plenty of snow-centric activities as well including dog-sledding, snow tubing and Nordic skiing.
Thanksgiving at Sea.
Give thanks for sunny days and adventures at sea when you set sail during the Thanksgiving holiday. Expect live entertainment, a kid-friendly Thanksgiving cooking class, holiday focused scavenger hunts, talent shows and costume parades as well as the traditional dinner you won’t want to miss.
For some, the holiday is not complete without a healthy serving of gridiron action. Catch your favorite football match ups on large screens throughout the ship.
Visit a Dude Ranch
Round up your family and friends and saddle up for some fun at a ranch where there will be plenty of fixins' and a large helping of outdoor activity. There will be no shortage of memories to be made for every member of the family no matter how young or young at heart. Contact: www.DudeRanch.org
There’s a lot to love about Britain.
From Shakespeare to shepherds pie … from Pink Floyd to Harry Potter. England, Scotland and Wales are home to a mix of historic heroes and happening haunts. And, in 2019, Globus and Cosmos are inviting travelers to see, taste and hear the brilliant experiences waiting for them in “Undiscovered Britain” with a series of nine tours – most new – that take travelers on cobblestones less traveled.
“Everyone knows that Great Britain is great place to learn about the royals, but it’s also the birthplace of the Rolling Stones,” said Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus family of brands. “Throughout history, it has served as the inspiring backdrop for fiction, fantasy and unimaginable art. With our new ‘Undiscovered Britain’ tours, we’re helping travelers see and experience the nooks and crannies of England.”
THE BRITISH INVASION
BANGERS & MASH & MORE
Tours spotlighting more of Great Britain in 2019 include:
Book early & SAVE! Save 10% on a 2019 Globus Europe vacation when booking now through November 27, 2018. For details, click here.
One of Boston’s most beloved holiday traditions – the annual Teddy Bear Tea at the Bristol – returns to Four Seasons Hotel Boston for the 21st year. More than a holiday event, Teddy Bear Tea is a special community benefit initiative of Four Seasons Hotel Boston, teaching young guests the spirit of charity. Guests are invited to bring a teddy bear to donate at Teddy Bear Tea, with Four Seasons gifting all collected bears to local organisations that benefit children in need.
According to Bill Taylor, Regional Vice President and General Manager, "tens of thousands of bears have been donated to local charities in the New England community during the holiday season.”
Teddy Bear Tea has one seating every day from the December 1 to 23. Tea begins at 3:15 pm, with a special reading from a local Boston celebrity at 4:00 pm. The event concludes each day at 5:00 pm. Tickets are USD 80 per adult and USD 43 per child with a bear to donate, or USD 48 per child without a bear. The celebrity readers vary each day and are not announced in advance.
Reservations are open to the public now by calling +1 (617) 351 2037.
Some bucket lists take years to complete but McHenry County’s Ultimate Autumn Bucket List can be done in one weekend. Families, couples and individual visitors alike can enjoy international ski jumpers, an afternoon at an apple orchard, get lost in a corn maze or find the best of the season at one of our many produce farms.
For a truly ultimate experience, the Norge Ski Club, one of the top learning centers for Olympic ski jumping in the USA, hosts the 33rd Annual Norge Autumn Ski Jump and Food Truck Festival on September 22nd and 23rd. Five jumps from beginner to advanced are available year-round since skiers can even jump without snow. Fans are encouraged to bring their cow bells and appetite while they watch ski jumpers from around the world compete on the 70-meter hill.
Royal Oak Farm Orchard has the country’s first maze composed entirely of mature apple trees. Named “Amaze-N-Apples,” it is planted with 3,000 apple trees in 4+ acres where you wander through 1.5-miles of walking trails while picking from nine different varieties of apples. After finding your way out, the bakery offers fresh apple cider doughnuts or shop for beautiful fall décor or Christmas gifts at the Country Gift Store. The farm has over 17,000 apple trees including 30 varieties of apples in the u-pick apple orchard along with pre-picked apples, pumpkins, giant pumpkins, gourds and squash for purchase.
All Seasons Orchard has everything for a day of family fun with more than 30 different activities. Visitors can pick apples or pumpkins, explore the 10-acre corn maze or play in the barnyard. Other activities include a jumping pillow, pedal kart races, pig races, magic shows, Bunny Village and there’s even a zip line. Apple cider and caramel corn are great for the ride home.
The annual Autumn Drive in Woodstock is held October 19 – 21 where residents offer antiques, crafts, food and fun. Local farms open their barns to offer fall produce, honey, jams, soaps and vinegar.
Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove has become an annual destination offering more than 30 activities. The World's Largest Corn Maze features 9 - 10 miles of trail winding through 28 acres of live corn. The maze is created from 4 smaller mazes with dedicated in and out paths. Multiple checkpoints throughout the maze and three bridges help find your bearings along with as map for a challenging and fun experience.
“This year’s corn maze theme celebrates the Illinois Bicentennial, honoring the 200th anniversary of the state’s founding,” said Wendy Richardson, family owner. “Once we settled on a theme, the design came naturally.” The maze features the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, Chicago skyscrapers, the state capitol and Abraham Lincoln dominates the center, along with symbols of Illinois agriculture with a barn, silo, tractor, row crops, apple trees and pumpkins.
Other activities include: 700' Zip Line, 50' Observation Tower, ORBiting! (Ride Inside a Giant, 11' Ball), Live Pig Races, Jumping Pillows, Giant Slides, Pedal Carts, Wagon Rides, Pumpkin Patch, Picnic Areas and Campfires (by reservation) with plenty of free parking.
Stades Farm and Market has been known for more than 40 years as a “farmtastic” theme park plus farm-fresh veggies and seasonal treats like cider donuts and pumpkin pie.
Von Bergens Country Market is an experience for the whole family with fresh autumn produce, pumpkin patch and activities for the kids, including getting their photo taken on the big red chair.
Tom’s Farm Market in Huntley offers evening fun with the “spook free” Moonlight Corn Maze and Hayride. Families bring flashlights and enjoy a night of exploring, bonfires and refreshments like s’mores, hot apple cider and hot chocolate.
“In addition to the farms and myriad mazes, there are so many fall festivals taking place in McHenry County,” according to Kristine Austin, a spokesperson for Visit McHenry County. “From the Johnny Appleseed Festival where you can meet Johnny himself, to the Huntley Fall Fest, Harvard Balloon Fest, Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival, Oktoberfest at Crystal Lake Brewing, Cary Main Street Fest, Richmond WineWalk, Woodstock Ale Fest, Cider Festival, and Wilmot Mountain Fall Fest, McHenry County has the ultimate autumn bucket list and we invite people to start checking it off!”
Road trippers can explore the autumn foliage. The McHenry County Conservation District is home to over 24,000 acres of woodlands, prairies, wetlands, ponds, creeks and rivers that come to life in autumn. There are 30 public sites where visitors can hike, bike, boat, fish, camp and enjoy watching wildlife.
For those hunting (or bobbing) for apples, pumpkins or simply a laid-back, colorful place to be, McHenry County is exceptionally beautiful this time of year.
Bucket list challenge accepted?