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Family Beach Vacations Q and A
Q – Do I need to take our car seat on the plane when traveling with our 3 year old?
Jim – Canada
No you do not, airlines do not require it so the choice is up to you. Most airlines do not charge or have discounted prices for children under two but in these instances they will not have their own seat and will need to sit on your lap. If you do bring a car seat, check with the airline to make sure your child’s car seat is allowed.
Children over two years of age will be required to sit in their own seat with the seat belt fastened for take off and landing and it is recommend that aircraft seatbelts be used for children 40 lbs and more. No booster seats are allowed..
Car seats are big, bulky and if you and if you need one for your destination, you can also check it in with your baggage. And don’t forget, if you are renting a car at your destination, most car companies can supply you with one but you will need to order it prior to your trip.
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Q – What kind of family vacation would you recommend for a family of five with kids aged 4, 9, and 14?
Quinton – Arizona
A family cruise! Cruising is a great family vacation. There is so much variety to keep everyone of all ages happy. Most cruise lines have kids camps that will entertain kids of a wide range of ages. Great for the kids and a great break for Mom and Dad too.
There are kid menus to keep even picky eaters happy and some ships even have ice cream parlor and 24 hour pizza available. From pools and activities to shore excursions and exciting ports of call, you will not hear, “I’m bored”!
Also check with the cruise line for adjoining rooms to accommodate you.
For more information, have look at our kid cruise page
Q – I am looking for an all inclusive resort in the US that is suitable for families, any suggestions?
Jenny – Texas
All inclusive resorts in the US are few and far between, the majority of all inslusive resorts are located in the Caribbean or Mexico. To learn more about these, visit our Top Ten Family All Inclusives page.
The most well known all inclusive in the US that we would recommend in the Club Med Sandpiper in Florida. The Club Med Sandpiper is a beautifully landscaped, county club-style resort village of fountains and fauna.
It offers a lot of variety and relaxation for a great family vacation. The Club Med Sandpiper is ideal for tennis and golf lovers, and offers kid programs for all ages. They have : Baby Club Med (4-23 months), Petit Club Med (2-3 years), Mini Club Med (4-10 years) and Junior Club for 11-13 years and teenagers during school holidays.
The Club Med Sandpiper has a central bar, theater, disco, two restaurants with riverviews, four swimming pools and a children’s wading pool. There is also a free shuttle bus to the Atlantic Ocean, which is only 20 minutes away.
It is located about a 2 hour drive to Miami or Orlando and 45 minutes to Palm Beach. To learn more, visit Club Med Sandpiper
Q – My family and I are going to drive to Florida and spend a couple of weeks. We want to spend a few days at Disney World and tour the area. Do we try to book hotels before or can we just book hotels as we go?
Jim – Utah
If you know your exact date of arrival and where you plan to go first, defiantly book that ahead of time. You will be tired from your drive and it will be refreshing to not have the stress of looking for accommodations.
I would also book your hotels in Orlando because depending when you go, hotels can get very busy.
Do some research into the surrounding areas, Daytona, Clearwater, St. Pete’s, Tampa etc and get a feel of where you want to visit. You can get some great discounts for Florida hotels online and it may be worth your while to at least book some hotels before you go to save time and money once you arrive!
Q – My family is traveling to Tampa this summer and they are crazy about dolphins. Are there any “swim with dolphin” attractions in this area?
The only one I am aware of is in the Key Largo in the Florida Keys. Bush Gardens in Tampa however does have a great dolphin show where I think your kids could get their dolphin “fix”. Check out other Tampa attractions as well.
Best Family Beach Vacations
Q – I am pregnant and will need to travel with the baby shortly after it is born. How old does the baby have to be? Any tips to make it easier?
Jennifer – Toronto
Congratulations on your new addition! Babies must be at least 7 days old to fly but check with the Airline directly as each Airline will have specific requirements and they do change.
Most airlines offer special discounts when booking a seat for children under 2. Children under the age of 2 years travel usually free on most airlines, but this means that they will have to sit on your lap if the plane is full. If you do book a seat for the baby, he/she will be able to sleep in a car seat.
Other tips: – ask for pre-boarding – bring a knapsack for your diaper bag so you have less to carry – give the baby a bottle or breast feed during landing and take-off to ease ear pressure – try to put a clean diaper on before you board the flight, bring a waterproof change pad in case of mid-flight diaper changes. (Which can be a challenge on an airplane!)
Best Family Beach Vacations
Q – How do I baby proof a hotel room?
Nancy – Washington
First of all, find out when you book your hotel whether baby proofing equipment is available at your hotel. Many hotels and resorts offer childproofing supplies along with cribs and highchairs. For example, Four Seasons Hotels will baby proof any room for free if you tell them in advance.
If the hotel does not have the service or supplies, bring your own. This might include electrical outlet covers, a safety gate, netting or other protective screening for hotel balconies, a toilet lid latch, doorknob covers, table corner covers for blunting sharp edges, and twist ties to secure any electrical cords or blinds.
Check your living area at home and see what you use and need. If you don’t want to be loaded down, bring a few basics and a roll of duct tape. It’s amazing what you can do with duct tape! You will be able to tape over electrical covers, tape drawers shut etc.
Once done, get down to your child’s level, on your hands and knees and check the floor of your room to find any dangers. Don’t forget to check in drawers and the bathroom. And also, don’t forget to remove all supplies and tape before you go. The next guest may not appreciate their cabinet taped shut!
Best Family Beach Vacations
Q – Does Mexican food tend to have a lot of peanut products in them? My daughter is allergic to peanuts and I was wondering if they display warnings regarding this allergy?
Denise – Ontario
Mexican food in general does not use peanuts as much as Asian food but it is not peanut free. I have heard they sometimes use peanut derivatives to thicken brown sauces.
If you do travel to Mexico, an option for you may be to stay in a condo or hotel with kitchen facilities so you can prepare most meals yourself. All inclusives may not be a good option because many of them have buffets and they make it very difficult to avoid cross-contamination.
Some general tips for eating out while travelling with a food allergy include:
- be prepared, always carry required medication with you
- get laminated cards (translated if necessary) to carry with you explaining the allergy
- your Doctor can best tell you what should be on them
- try to order simple foods, usually broiled or baked with no sauces etc
Best Family Beach Vacations
Q – We have a 3 year old and are interested in a Hawaii vacation that is both kid friendly for toddlers and offers luxury amenities?
S.N. – USA
The favourite Hawaiian Island for family vacations appears to be Maui but all the Islands have something to offer. We recommend the following luxury resorts as family friendly for toddlers:
Fairmont Kea Lani – Maui
The Kea Lani Hotel Suites and Villas sits on nine hectares (22 acres) on Polo Beach oceanfront at Wailea, with panoramic views of the islands of Molokini, Lanai and Kahoolawe. Surrounded by lush tropical landscaping, accented with brilliant fuchsia bougainvillea, the resort tastefully recreates Old World, Mediterranean elegance in a Hawaiian paradise. The landscaping features the Royal Fountain Terrace – a combination of seven waterfalls and four fountains cascading nearly 100 metres from the ballroom reception area The resort is very kid friendly and has a toddler pool.
Find more information and reservation info for theGrand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa – Maui Overlooking the southern shores of Maui, the Grand Wailea Resort’s 40-acre property provides open spaces and fun for the whole family. The resort is situated on one of America’s top beaches, featuring luxury accommodations, the action-packed 2,000-foot long Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, the unparalleled Spa Grande. The kids camp, offers two new rooms – the Rainbow Room features Tunnels of Fun, Climb and Slide Play Center and a 21-piece block set, which are all made of “soft play” material in bright colors. The Imaginary Room includes Lego’s, building blocks, a play kitchen and a puppet show stand with friendly puppets. All children 4-and-under must be accompanied by an adult, or counselors can assist parents in finding a Nanny for a few hours or the duration of the day. Find more information and reservation info for the
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii – The Big Island
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii offers 540 guestrooms, a full-service spa and fitness center, an award-winning tennis facility, five restaurants, and five lounges. The family-friendly beach is a crescent of light-colored sand facing a small, round cove that remains calm except in the strongest winter storms. The waters right outside the cove are home to a colony of resident sea turtles as well as schools of neon-colored fish. During their winter migration season, humpback whales cavort barely 100 yards off the beach at the deep-water line. A 10,000-square-foot free-form pool is surrounded by 20,000 square feet of sundeck. There is also a sand-bottom toddler pool, and two roomy lava-rock hot tubs.
Find more information and reservation info forThe St Regis Princeville Resort – Kauai Luxurious yet intimate in scale, with just 252 guest rooms and suites, the Princeville blends continental design and Hawaiian hospitality. Guest rooms feature custom-designed furnishings, lavish bathrooms with oversized tubs, plus a magic window that brings the outdoors in, then switches to opaque, for privacy. The Princeville Hotel offers a gorgeous setting and kids love it. Find more information and reservation info for
For more information on Hawaii, activities in Hawaii and to book a Hotel/Air package. Please visit our Family Hawaii Vacation page!
Best Family Beach Vacations
Q – Where’s the best place to go on vacation, for one week with an 18 month old? He’s well behaved and loves animals. We live in MD and would like to avoid flying. (We’ve been to Orlando)
We have some suggestions for you that I hope you find useful:
South Carolina is a good choice for a family vacation. Some popular family areas include:
Myrtle Beach – Here you can enoy miniature golf courses, theme parks and museums which the whole family will enjoy. Cruise down the beautiful waterway or tour one of the area’s historic plantations. Watch countless species of animals roam in their natural setting along over 500 acres on the Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway.
See more family activities in Myrtle Beach
Find Popular Hotels in Myrtle Beach
Charleston – Charleston is known for its beauty and its easygoing pace, as well as for its priceless historic treasures. Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Family Fun have rated the city a Top Destination in the United States for value, #1 in friendliness, and #2 in the South for families.
See more family activities in Charleston
Greenville -Within the City of Greenville are 39 parks, playgrounds and recreation centers which include bike/jogging trails, miniature golf course, shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, playground structures, picnic shelters and ball fields. There are also two zoo’s in the area.
See more family activities in Greenville
Virginia Beach is a great family destination
Basically Virginia Beach offers a change of pace and plenty of options to make getting away with a toddler very reasonable. Safe, clean and child friendly, the area offers both fun and relax time.
Find popular hotels in Virginia Beach
Another good destination for you to consider is Hershey, Pennsylvania.
For chocolate lovers, and the young at heart, a visit to Hershey is unforgettable and it is a vacation destination that is filled with family fun. Apart from Chocolate World, an amusement park and a zoo, there are still other family attractions.
What is there to do in Hersey?
Recommended family hotels:
Some tips for car travel with a Toddler
When travelling with kids, the most important tip is to anticipate your child’s needs. First off, try to stay as close as possible to your normal routine in terms of meal times and sleeping times.
Time in the car can get boring for them, but again, the secret is to anticipate your child’s needs. . At this age, most kids take one long afternoon nap. If this is true of your child, plan on leaving just after lunch (so that no one is hungry), which will probably be about an hour before normal nap time.
Try to plan your travel itinerary so that you have as much freeway driving as possible during the first part of the trip and have more stops available at about the halfway point. If possible, plan to have time to let your toddler run! Bring along a ball and play catch. Have a picnic. Again, advanced planning will allow everyone to have what they need.
Bring along lots of toys and plan on giving your toddler one each time the previous one gets boring. When toys no longer seem to keeping his interest try some tapes, then go back to toys. As much as possible, get involved with your child and get your child involved with the activities. And don’t forget to bring along plenty of fun snacks and drinks, crackers, fruit, and cheese.
Q – We are looking for a 3 or 4 star resort in Hawaii with kids age 10 and 14. Something with a waterpark, beachfront property with spa facilities. Accomodations that included one or two bedrooms and two baths.
Hawaii makes an excellent family vacation for kids and teens. Here are some resorts we recommend that meet your requirements:
THe Aulani, a Disney Resort is one of the best family resorts in Hawaii – find out more about Aulani
Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina – Kapolei, Hawaii
The Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina is located in the Ko Olina resort community thirty miles west of Honolulu on the sunny western shore of Oahu. Beachfront on one of the finest white sand beaches in Hawaii, this remarkable resort offers deluxe accommodations and superior facilities including boutique shopping, eighteen holes of championship golf, full-service spa, a teens program, tennis and two swimming pools.
Six spa rooms feature a private garden lanai with an outdoor whirlpool. Nearby you will find many family related activities including the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park.
For more information and best rates forGrand Wailea Resort – Wailea, Maui The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa is another great choice for a great Hawaii family vacation. This Hawaii resort is located on 40 acres in Maui and the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa opens onto Maui’s beautiful Wailea Beach, considered one of the best beaches in Hawaii. In addition to its alluring location, the resort offers a variety of activities. You can indulge in Spa Grande, golf, tennis, snorkeling or spend a day at the pools. The kids will love the pools. The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool is a 2,000 foot long, 25,700 total square foot, 770,000 gallon pool and consists of nine free-form pools at six levels, beginning at 40 feet and dropping to sea level. The pools are connected by a river that carries swimmers along at varying speeds, from white water rapids to lazy currents. Wailea Canyon includes four jungle pools, four tile slides, a white water rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, the world’s only water elevator, a sand beach, six waterfalls, caves, three Jacuzzis, a sauna, an infant pool, and a swim-up bar. Find more information and reservation info for the
Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa – Big Island
The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa has lots of activities for every age. This oceanfront resort offers everything from rejuvenating spa treatments in their open-air facilities to their authentic luau that offers expansive views of the dramatic Kona coastline. The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide has multi-level pools with waterfalls, hidden grottoes, bridges, bubbling whirlpool spas, interactive children’s fountains and a 200-foot-long lava tube waterslide.
The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa is a great choice for your family vacation with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park within a day’s drive.
For more information on what to do once you are there visit Hawaii Family Vacations
Destination Wedding With Kids
Submitted by Erica, Texas
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! We are actually working on another website for romantic vacations (www.best-romantic-vacations.com) but as it is still in the early stages, it may not yet have the information you need.
Here are some names of resorts that offer weddings and accept children to get you started:
Melia Puerto Vallarta
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
Casa de Campo/LaRomana
Breezes Puerto Plata Resort Spa & Casino /Puerto Plata
Melia Caribe Tropical /Punta Cana
Coyaba Beach Resort & Club – Montego Bay
Half Moon Club – Montego Bay
The Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort Rose Hall – Montego Bay
Also be sure to check with each country’s tourist board websites, most will provide information about wedding requirements for that country.
How Do I Nurse a Baby While Traveling?
Submitted by Giselle, Vancouver
Well it is unfortunate that something so natural becomes intolerant for some people but we know it does happen. The good news is that Europeans and most other countries around the world are more relaxed about breastfeeding than North Americans. But even so, the more discreet you can be, the more comfortable some of those around you will be too. Wear looser tops that make it easy to undo, bring a blanket to cover over the baby if you are uncomfortable.
A great tip is to bring along a special toy for the older child to play with only during the times you are feeding the baby so that you are not interrupted too often. Once the baby is finished, the toy goes away until the next time!
Also, you can ask assistance of female flight attendants, waitresses etc. A lot of them are mothers too and have probably dealt with the same issues and can recommend the best quite spots for you.
The best advice however is for you to be relaxed about it and that way, those around you will feel more relaxed too.
Best Family Beach Vacation for Kids 9, 10, & 12
Q – I was wondering what you’d recommend in the way of a family beach vacation for our family. We have a 12 year old, a 10 year old and a nine year old. We own a business and very rarely are able to get away so we are willing to splurge a bit when we do manage to escape.
Submitted by Stacey, WI
Without knowing more information such as what you enjoy doing on vacation, when you wish to travel and your budget, it is difficult to recommended something very specific. I can however make some suggestions to help you narrow down your choices. That’s why www.bestfamilybeachvacations.com exists, we know it can be difficult to plan a vacation when you don’t know where to start!
The top three vacations I would recommend for your family would be:
1) An all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean
3) A family cruise
Have a look at our Family of Five vacation page where you will find recommeded resorts that accept 5 people in a room. Other options are to book adjoining rooms (most resorts offer this option). Pick some you like and go from there.
A family cruise is also something the whole family will love. Lots for the kids to do, great food, different locations to visit and you will feel very pampered. Check out our page on cruises with the best kids programs to help select the best cruise for your family!
Submitted by Ed, CAI am not sure if you saw our page on recommended family resorts for babies and toddlers but you will find recommended resorts for Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Mayan Riviera, Ixtapa and Manzanillo.As for Los Cabos, the only hotel I am aware of that has a kids club for the young ones is the Melia Cabo Real All-Inclusive Beach and Golf Resort which offers a seasonal toddlers program for ages 0-4. You would need to contact them directly to know of when they offer this program.The property’s amenities include the freeform swimming pool, children’s pool area, Jacuzzi, two tennis courts, fitness center, climbing wall and zip line, complete activity program, and nightly entertainment with shows, karaoke, and disco. Activities for children are offered year round at the kids club (5-12 years old)Although the Hilton Los Cabos and the Dreams Los Cabos Resort and Spa do not have children’s programs for the under 3 group, both are recommended family friendly resorts in Los Cabos.
Flying with a toddler
Submitted by Jane – Texas
Bring a long a small carry on bag just for them. Pack lightweight entertaining toys that they like and some new ones to keep them surprised. Keep some toys hidden and bring them out throughout the flight to keep their interest. You may also walk with them in the aisle a little to let them burn off some energy and save yours!
Check out our page on kid travel games for more ideas on how to keep the kids of all ages amused while travelling.
How young is too young for Disneyland?
Q – How young is too young for Disneyland? I have a 6 year old and 22 month old. I know the older one will love it but is the baby still too young?
Submitted by Sandara – Chicago
My son was two when we first took him to Disney and he loved it. Kids are all different however, some will take to it like fish out of water and others will be overwhelmed by it all. The key is balance.
Some tips for Disneyland with toddlers:
– Stay in a resort close by so it is easy to get to for naps and rest breaks.
– A stroller is a must for tired legs and a place to rest.
– Bring your own snacks juice and water.The park can be expensive for nibblers and sometimes nutritious snacks are hard to find.
– Plan for lots of breaks, don’t try to do too much in one day.
– Spilt up the visits and attractions into several days if you can and avoid the kids getting over tired or hungry – this will save lots of grief for everyone!
– Try to balance activities for each age group so each is occupied.
– Have fun!
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