Family vacations – the term alone brings to mind memories of long, hot summer days, endless sun, laughs, smiles and the smell of suntan lotion. For me, my childhood family memories are precious, so it’s important to make sure we get the destination right when we’re planning summer vacations.
Of course, there are thousands of holiday destinations, but just what are the best ones for families? And which are the most popular?
1 Walt Disney World, Florida
Every child wants to go to visit Mickey and Minnie Mouse in their home. The magic, the fun and the sunshine is the epitome of family vacation bliss, and I should know, I’ve been and loved every second! It’s not just theme parks, although there are plenty of them to choose from, but beyond Disney there is everything Florida has to offer on your doorstep, including a day out at the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beach, Clearwater – the word ‘stunning’ doesn’t do it justice.
2 PortAventura, Spain
A European theme park alternative to the action of Florida, PortAventura is in Salou, Spain, and offers both an educational and fun way to explore the world, with lands attributed to different subjects. Rides, shows and parades are all the rage here, and many hotels and restaurants to choose from.
3 Cancun, Mexico
Not just for spring-break hedonism, Cancun is packed with family friendly activities, such as ruins to explore, beautiful beaches, aquariums, water-parks – you name it, you’ll find it, all in beautiful, tropical surroundings.
4 London, UK
A city destination might not be the first you’d think of when you picture family vacations, however London is teeming with attractions and history, perfect for keeping your little ones entertained. With something for everyone, be it West End shows, the stunning London Eye, a river ride down the Thames, London Zoo and a visit to Buckingham Palace, or shopping in abundance and great night-life for families and couples alike.
5 Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Spain)
A year-round sun destination, Lanzarote is great for a winter get away with the family. Kids will love a camel ride in Timanfaya National Park, with a stunning landscape of dormant volcanoes. Watch food cooked by thermal heat from the volcanoes, or alternatively, head out on a glass-bottom boat to check out the underwater residents of the area. Beach life is huge in the Canaries, as are water-sports. If there’s one memory I have of my family breaks, its long days on the beach – perfect!
Everyone will have a different opinion on the perfect family vacation destination, but wherever you choose as the backdrop to your summer (or even winter) smiles, the key ingredient is family time spent together. Plenty to do, lots to keep the kids occupied, something for mum and dad, such as shopping, shows or a few good bars, and a beautiful beach to kick-back on and relax – for me, these are all things I would look for in a summer holiday destination.
What are the key ingredients for your summer vacation?