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Family Vacations

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Relaxing cheap winter vacation?

Oct 2006

We had to change travel plans last summer and couldn't cancel our plane tickets, so as a result we have credit that we have to use or lose by winter. We're trying to decide where to go during winter break. What we want is to relaxe, swim in warm water, snorkel, hike, with some more adventurous options for our teens. Oh, and we don't want to spend much money! We don't want anything fancy, we're really happy in rustic lodgings, but would love to find something near or on a beach. We have quite a lot of credit, so we can travel somewhere pretty far away. New Zealand? Costa Rica? Belize? Mexico? We'd love to get recommendations. ann


Last December we went to Akumal on the Yucatan Peninsula, and it was wonderful. We rented a bungalow with Hotel Akumal http://www.hotelakumalcaribe.com/ It was very reasonable, a few hundred yards from the beach. Not fancy but clean and wonderful, with a great restaurant right on the beach. There's swimming, snorkeling, and it was very relaxing.

Reasonable Family Summer Vacation 2-3 weeks

March 2006

Greetings - we have an unusual situation coming up - each summer, we have taken a family vacation somewhere fun, different, memorable, to expose the kids to the rest of the country and spend the vacation time wisely. Two years ago, we moved from the Bay Area to the country; there are limited options here and I think I'll have a nervous breakdown if I have to entertain the kids from June 17 to August 1 when they leave for summer camp. So the question is, with an especially limited budget this year, where to take a family of four for two or three weeks, for about $1000 - $1500? Since we live in the country, I must say I'm really not in to camping, which I know is the least expensive option. Somewhere drivable would be great, accessible from Northern California (that would be all of California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, perhaps even Idaho/Montana). The kids are now 9 and 11 and great travelers. I think having a destination would be great, rather than just a road trip for the sake of driving. Thanks for any ideas.
Preparing for a long summer


This is what my family is doing this summer - www.holdenvillage.org.

This is a Lutheran retreat center (open to non-Lutherans) in the Cascade Mountains in Washington in an abandoned copper mining camp. It is only accessible by hiking or by boat. No TV, no internet, no phones - cell phones don't even work there - but great hiking, kids activites (half day childcare!), great food and VERY INEXPENSIVE.

The maxium rate for a week for a family of 4 is just over $1,000 - all enclusive. There are also discounts for those who volunteer on top of this.

This is an unapologetically Christian retreat center. But, bear in mind, Christian does not equal Christian Right. Holden is LGBT friendly, enviromentally engaged, and socially involved. Everyone in the community is required to worship together every night, but no one is going to force you to take communion or get baptized.

Check out their web site. Maybe we'll see you there. Katie


Last summer I went to Stinson Beach for a week ... (click for full review)

December trip with 12-year-old

June 2006

I wished to ask the recommendation to travel with a 12 yr old boy to Mexico, Cancun, Costa Rica or Hawaii big Island in January. When I compare the 3 for quality of water clearness, temeprature of water. Safety to drive and other attraction. Which is most recommended?


I can't speak to all your options, but I've been to Cancun and to the Big Island. I would not recommend Cancun: It seems to be geared toward young singles, with a spring break feel (even though I was there in September). The water is not clear and if you are interested in snorkeling or diving you will have to travel away from the city (Cozumel and the coast south of Cancun are supposed to have more to offer in this area; maybe other poster can offer personal observations). I would highly recommend the Big Island, particularly if you are into hiking as well as water activities. The west side of the island is dry and has extremely clear water and beautiful underwater scenery. Kilauea Volcano (SE corner of island) would be fabulous for a 12 year old. You may be able to hike out to view lava flowing, but even if Mother Nature does not cooperate, the hikes through the craters, the steam vents, lava tube, etc. are great. The east side of the island is lush, rainy and offers great scenery, waterfalls and hiking. I highly recommend the book Hawaii: the Big Island Revealed Carrie

February vacation resort for baby and toddler?

Jan 2006

I would like to get specific recommendations for a good resort to take my family to. We are planning a vacation sometime in February. My husband and I will have a 4 month old and 23 month old by then. We are looking for a warm climate, good swimming pool, and most important--good childcare! We are considering Mexico but open to any other suggestions including Hawaii. Thank you! sadie


We recently visited Santa Barbara with the toddler and baby and had a fabulous time... (click for full review)
Club Med Ixtapa!

Kid-Friendly (school age), Nature-Oriented trip?

June 2005

Hi - Can anyone recommend (based on recent experience) a nature- oriented destination for a mom & school-age girl, both of whom enjoy nature (but not ''extreme sports'' or anything). e.g., animals, bugs, plants, birds, more than rock-climbing or steep hikes. This could be a rental, or a guided-trip, or an all- inclusive place. Any place where the emphasis is more on the natural history than on rides/parks/commercial areas. Any and all ideas welcome! Thank you!
Seeking nature-oriented but comfortable places


Check out Michael Ellis, an amazing naturalist who leads everything from day hiking in Marin to a week in the Mojave/Death Valley to three week trips to Africa. When our kids were little (probably about 6 and 9) we went down to the Mojave with him and it was fantastic. He has kids (or maybe just one) and was great with ours. One of our best family vacations ever. You will see and learn so much. His website is http://www.footlooseforays.com/
-nature lover

Week-long family vacation within California

August 2003

I would like some updated recommendations as to where we can take a week long vacation within California. We being myself, husband, two year old son and 10 week old son. We usually whittle away vacation by spending it with relatives - so this will be our first vacation (in a long while) where it will be just the four of us.

Recommendations received:

  • Sea Ranch
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