As I sit down to write this, I take a glance out my office window. There is a blanket of semi-fresh snow on the ground, and it’s a balmy (for January) 27 degrees. Now, I will freely admit that I am one of those few, crazy people that feels much more at home in the mountains than on the beach. Don’t get me wrong – I love the beach; the warm sand, the sound of the ocean… But sometime around hour 2 of playing in the surf and sand, my ADHD kicks in and I need to do something else. However, I will also admit that towards the end of January / beginning of February, when the excitement of the holidays has passed and the newness and warmth that comes with spring is at least two months away, trading the snow for sand starts to sound like a really good idea.
When we become parents and want to look into a brief escape to the heat and sunshine, we must take into account much different criteria than when we didn’t have kids. Some of the all inclusive resorts don’t even allow children under 18. Even if they do, take a look at the majority of the menu options in the restaurants and you know your children are likely to starve. (I could not have even paid my kids to eat seared halibut with parsnip foam and caviar.) They will also need activities, lest your relaxation time be constantly interrupted by “I’m bored” “when can we do something different”. So here are some suggestions if you are planning on escaping the frozen tundra for a few days.
Club Med, Ixtapa, Mexico
This is a much different Club Med than the one you probably remember hearing about in the ‘80s. Along with the sand, surf, and sun, they also offer a mani/pedi spa and circus camp just for the kids and special instructors to teach the younger members of the family to surf, windsurf, and parasail. And you won’t have to worry about the food. They even have a restaurant that specializes baby food!
Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Half Moon has long been a favorite resort for families. This all-inclusive option has its own Children’s Village with plenty of activities for the younger members of the family and the older kids can take part in horseback riding lessons, tennis clinics, nature walks, and a myriad of water sports.
Paradisus Riviera, Cancun, Mexico
I cannot tell you how much I wish I had known this place existed when my kids were little. The Paradisus Riviera offers special “Family Concierge” suites that each come with their NANNY. Families have use of the nanny until 6:00 pm. They also come equipped with walkie talkies, allowing family members to stay in touch with each other and the nanny. Combine that with preferential reservation scheduling at restaurants and milk and cookies with the turndown service and it is definitely a winner!
South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island, Florida
Captiva Island holds a special place in my heart as it was a favorite vacation spot when I was a kid. This is also a great option in you don’t yet have passports for your little ones. Located off the coast of Fort Myers, it is part of a plateau that extends for miles into the Gulf of Mexico. This unique location makes it a great place for kayaking amongst the mangroves and one of the best places to look for sea shells.
Los Suenos Beach and Golf Resort, Costa Rica
Located between the Pacific Ocean and an 1100 acre rainforest preserve, Los Suenos has something to offer just about anyone. Along with the beautiful beach and world class golf, the resort will also arrange eco tours where families can learn about the local wildlife and take a treetop canopy tour.