What with homework, tae kwon do lessons, and sleepovers, grabbing time with your kids is no longer as simple as nuking some Easy Mac and yelling, “Who’s up for Yahtzee?” There is, however, a better way to interact as a family again: vacation. Free from the responsibilities of everyday life—chores, school, extracurriculars—you and your kids can laser-focus on spending quality, unforgettable time together. So break out of the routine and embark on one of these trips, where the sights and sounds are real, and the good times will be deep and heartfelt—not a theme-park-created simulation. And for more kid-friendly globetrotting, try vacationing to any of the Best New Star Wars Locations You Can Actually Visit.
Ages 1 to 4: Smugglers Notch, Vermont
No one does it younger than family-first Smugglers’ Notch. Smugglers’ is simply the best at teaching little ones to ski. The instructors, who are trained caregivers, start them on skis at 2-1/2 and on snowboards at 4. The full-day program for 3- to 5-year-olds is designed for skiers of all abilities, and the innovative teaching techniques help them build confidence on the slopes. The resort also has a 5,400-square-foot day-care center for infants, and the indoor rec centers and arcades throughout the property keep kids warm and occupied in between runs or after the lifts close. And for more great ski escapades, check out the 9 Best Luxury Ski Resorts In America.
Ages 5 to 7: Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, Fiji
Three important words to know about the Jean-Michel Cousteau resort: nannies on call. All day. This means you don’t need to unload the kids on your in-laws in order to enjoy a romantic vacation in paradise. At this high-end beachside resort spread over 17 acres of a former coconut plantation, children can enroll in the Bula Club. Between the nature walks, games, swimming, and island crafts at the camp, there’s so much to do, your progeny won’t even notice how much time Mommy and Daddy are spending in the room.
Ages 8 to 10: Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort, Takilma, Oregon
Your kids will never look at that backyard tree house you built in quite the same way after staying at Treesort. At this nature center and hotel, the tree houses—which serve as rooms—and platforms are connected by stairs, ladders, and seven swinging bridges. Your family can spend hours riding the zip line and swings on the ropes course at this 36-acre property located near the Rogue River National Forest, in Oregon. If you crave more activity, go mountain biking or horseback riding on the maze of trails that snake around the resort.
Ages 11 to 13: Egypt’s Pyramids
Whether the heir is a budding archaeologist or just really digs The Mummy, Abercrombie & Kent’s Egyptian Family Adventure will seem like stepping into a storybook for a week. The journey starts in Cairo with a visit to the Museum of Antiquities to check out the mummy room. Then the adventure really gets under way with visits to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Next up? The Valley of the Kings and 3 days of motoring up the Nile aboard a yacht before disembarking at the Aswan Dam.
Ages 14 and above: Tuscany—by Bike
While the kids are learning about Jove and Neptune, you and your wife can master Brunellos and Chiantis. On a bike tour of Tuscany led by Backroads guides, you explore Etruscan tombs, Roman amphitheaters, and other ruins. Vans transport your gear from inn to inn as you cycle past farms and medieval hill towns on the Etruscan roads. The 10- to 15-mile daily rides will burn off the pasta dinners, but aren’t so hard that you can’t enjoy some quality time before collapsing into bed in the grand old-country hotels. And for a set of wheels to ride on the trip, check out the 17 Best New Luxury Bicycles You Can Buy.
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