May what matters most inspire your family’s future travel plans.

Here are five ideas to consider:

Montana Trout family fly fishing

Joy.

Small feet splashing in the surf. First tracks through powder. A really big tug on the fishing line as you float a scenic Montana River. Climbing to the top of the hill through personal pedal power. Those are the moments that bring joy to parents as they watch their children and grandchildren experience a rush of adrenalin and the unexpected thrill of a new experience. Make plans to see the sparkle in their bright eyes today.

Contact: www.acqualinaresort.com  www.Moonlightbasin.com  www.HiddenMooseLodge.com www.MontanaTrout.com

Celebrate.

Whether it’s a milestone birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, a new family member or your clan’s good health, there is reason to celebrate in the months ahead. Modern day cruise itineraries are designed to help you put a plan in motion. Whether you choose to cruise the Caribbean islands, the wilds of Alaska, the coast of California or in more exotic waters, there is something for every age group to experience every day and a way to toast to your collective good fortune every night.

Contact: www.HollandAmerica.com   www.Carnival.com   www.AvalonWaterways.com www.UnCruise.com 

paws up

Breathe.

Reduce the stress of daily life through endorphin-releasing adventures paired with wellness promoting activities that will manifest happy memories as well as healthy habits. Unplug and learn to meditate. Take a yoga class together. Spend the day at the spa. Paddle across the lake. Go for a family run or hike through the red rock canyons in Sedona.

Contact: www.EnchantmentResort.com  www.PawsUp.com  www.Broadmoor.com.

Lone Mountain Ranch

Share.

Perhaps the best we have to give is our time. So plan now to share your wealth with those you hold dear. Plan a getaway with the grandparents, a romantic holiday with your spouse, a weekend with the cousins, and the best Spring Break ever with the kids. Meet your college friends and their families for the big game. Embrace the idea of hanging out with theme park princesses or in a world of wizards while it still matters. Create a shared experience that will last for a lifetime.

Contact: www.Disney.com www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com www.GraduateHotels.com   www.LoneMountainRanch.com .

 Andaz Costa Rica

Love.

Share the bounty with others. 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. For a day, a weekend, or longer, help build a house, teach someone to read, uncover artifacts or improve an endangered habitat.

Many resorts and hotels, like the Andaz at Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, offer the option to give back to the local community during your own holiday getaway. You may also want to consider including a less fortunate friend or family member in your next vacation. As they say, love makes the world go round.

Contact: https://papagayo.andaz.hyatt.com  www.SandalsFoundation.org   www.Habitat.org ReadGlobal.org.

Published in Gather

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 takeone. 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.

Get outside.

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 travel 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.

Published in Plan

Our table in the cocktail lounge is conveniently situated with a clear view of the promenade. Offering more promise than the yellow brick road, the wide, tiled pathway leads from the nearby hotel towers to the main lobby, then beyond to restaurants, shops and casinos. People watching has rarely been so compelling.

Thigh high leather, flowing caftans, plunging necklines, sparkling jewels and hair piled high; the women, from teens to aging beauties, have clearly taken their time to prepare for the evening ahead. Smiling, and exuberant, they chat enthusiastically, clicking by in Sarah Jessica Parker inspired footwear.

And the men.

They too have taken time to style. Strolling tall in designer duds, tan and bright eyed, they are eager to enjoy all this glittering resort has to offer.

Atlantis.

It brings out the peacock in all of us. Whether you choose to strut your stuff in the celebrity infused restaurants and casinos or on the beach with the kids, you’ll find plenty of bright spots to color your stay.

Created by hotel luminary Sol Kerzner and designed after the mythical lost Continent of Atlantis, this is where tropical chill meets Vegas vim and vigor. You’re on Paradise Island, a glistening gem in the Bahamas, that sun-drenched archipelago known for both palm-strewn island getaways and cruise ship landing zones.

Making a plan.

Given the Atlantis resort’s grand scale, you will want to do some pre-trip research. Gather notes from friends who’ve been there and peruse the web site to determine the home away from home that will best suit you and your fellow travelers. Choices range from the relaxed ambience of the Beach and Coral Towers, to the iconic Royal Towers and the condo-style accommodations offered at The Reef.

You’ll want to consider the chic luxury and contemporary vibe enjoyed by those who check into the suites at The Cove. The 600 room, adult’s only digs are located on the north end of the property, directly on Paradise Beach. Guests get comfortable at the Blackjack tables on the pool deck and enjoy music crafted by a live DJ. For an extra special treat, reserve a cabana that offers flat screen TVs, couches and a bar plus breezy access to the pool and the ocean.

ftkidsin thekitchents 1-25-2010 3-37-43 pm

With the kids.

From the perspective of many, Atlantis is one giant theme park. Yet few resorts have a more imaginative and expansive kids and teen activity program. Daily themed adventures include discovering the mysteries of Atlantis, visiting a fish hospital and enjoying outdoor games and activities of all kinds. The newest addition to the program is AKA or Atlantis Kids Adventures, a high-style, 8,000-square-foot mecca for kids where culinary lessons, Lego –inspired crafts, a mini castle, outdoor adventures and theater play make heading back to school seem ….well, they’ll think about that later.

Teens enjoy time at Club Rush where they can surf the net, dance the night away, watch movies or play their favorites on Game Cube or X-Box. Teens also enjoy the pottery studio and climbing wall.

Parents can plan a night out while their kids, ages 3 to 12 have fun during their own” evening escape”. The program offers themed activities each night of the week including Willy Wonka Wednesday, Pajama Party Friday and Pizza and Coketails Saturdays.

Get wet.

With more than 141 acres of water rides and pools, you may have to schedule time to simply relax on the three miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches. From the Mayan Temple to the ominous Power Tower to fun-filled Splashers Island, water play lovers up the tempo with 18 adrenaline-pulsing slides for kids of all ages. Pop on board your own luxury inner tube or grab a partner and ride the waves and rapids in the Current.

Lounge around your choice of 11 different pools. Twist and turn through tunnels and emerge in an acrylic tube deep within a shark-filled lagoon. And don’t miss the seven-acre saltwater swimming and water-sports area known as Paradise Lagoon where you’ll find snorkeling gear, kayaks, and pedal boats available for rent.

Dolphin Cay.

Whether you were a Flipper fan or have more recently come to admire these playful creatures you will want to take part in what is happening within Dolphin Cay. Home to a pod of bottlenose dolphins rescued following Hurricane Katrina, this 14-acre habitat is the scene of Trainer for the Day programs, shallow and deep water encounters and the chance to experience the speed and agility of the animals up close and personal.

Because Atlantis is home to more than 50,000 marine animals representing 250 species, your opportunities continue. Get to know friendly sea lions. Later snorkel amid the sunken ruins and artifacts of the lost city of Atlantis in the Ruins Lagoon where brilliantly colored tropical fish and spotted rays will keep you company. 

Get active.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the six lighted clay and hard-surface tennis courts, a four-lane lap pool and an expansive fitness facility that includes all the bells and whistles. Check out the menu of classes that includes spinning, yoga and kickboxing. For those who enjoy time on the links, plan to tee it up on the private Tom Weiskopf-designed 18 hole championship Ocean Club Golf Course, located a complimentary shuttle ride away.

World class dining.

With 21 restaurants and 19 bars and lounges from which to choose, your options for culinary exploration are many. Grab a bite while lounging at the pool or enjoy a family-style meal with the kids.

Allow the Atlantis celebrity chefs to bestow their special brand of epicurean delight. Choose from Chef Bobby Flay’s award-winning Mesa Grill where you will thrill to the taste of his award-winning Southwestern cuisine. Unique dishes like Bahamian Spiced Chicken Skewers with Yogurt Cilantro Sauce, Crispy Squid and Cracked Conch Salad with Orange-Chipotle Vinaigrette, and Bahamian Lobster Tail with Red Chile-Coconut Sauce and Green Chile Rice will keep your mouth watering long after the last bite.

Classic gourmet French cuisine is on your menu thanks to the extraordinary experience offered by legendary Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Café Martinique, originally made famous by its appearance in the 1965 James Bond classic, Thunderball, now recreated for Atlantis guests. Expect outstanding fare amidst old world ambience.

Just off the casino floor and steps away from Aura, you’ll enjoy the fine work of famed Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s in his acclaimed restaurant, Nobu. Enjoy an unusual and delectable twist on traditional Japanese fare.

Casino gaming.

Spending the day at the beach won’t hinder your plan for finding plenty of casino time. The expansive 50,000 square foot state of the art environment includes more than 850 slot machines, 90 game tables plus baccarat, roulette, Caribbean stud poker and black jack. Wagering on major sporting events and the racetrack action plus regular special events and tournaments will keep gaming enthusiasts thrilled by the action. Guests also enjoy lively music, often provided by local calypso or salsa bands. Oddly enough, you won’t be gambling elbow to elbow with the locals. For Bahamian residents, it is illegal.

After sun down.

Look forward to an evening mesmerized by the luxury and ambience of Aura, a 9,000-square-foot Jeffrey Beers-designed nightclub, and the sister to popular Las Vegas night club PURE. As the DJs spin the latest, guests enjoy dancing the night away or watching the scene unfold from banquette seating that surrounds the illuminated glass dance floor. You’ll also find two bars, two VIP sections and a private VIP Parlor. The casino below can be accessed by a grand staircase.

Also popular is the Atlantis Theatre featuring current Hollywood feature films and the Joker’s Wild Comedy Club spotlighting stand up acts from around the world. You may want to plan your stay around the performance of popular artists including the likes of Lady Antebellum, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift.

Details:

  • Jet Blue, Bahamas Air and Continental fly into Lynden Pindling International in Nassau, Bahamas. Plan for a 45-minute shuttle bus ride to Atlantis.
  • www.Atlantis.com or 800-ATLANTIS (800-285-2684)
Published in Resorts