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:
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; VisitOrlando.com.
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.
Contact: TravelPortland.com; www.TheNines.com; Marriott.com
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; www.Intrepid.com.
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; www.clubmed.us/cm/resort-punta-cana-dominican-rep_p-115-l-US-v-PCAC-ac-vh.html
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); www.GrandCanyonLodges.com.