Posted: 14 June 2017
Whether it’s adrenaline and entertainment that calls, or traditional surf and turf attractions that appeal, the USA has bright lights and natural wonders to attract even the most reluctant of junior explorers. From riding high with ranch revelry in Montana, to saving-a-species with the wondrous marine life in California, there is a bounty of treasure to discover beyond the squeal appeal of popular water parks and theme parks.
Venture outside Orlando, or Los Angeles, to try a new recipe for holiday happiness and seek hidden gems that appeal to tots and teens alike. Embrace an eco activity, try a new sport or learn a new skill — the USA promises a trail of fun for everyone. See their little faces light up whilst sitting around a camp fire, fire-up their imagination with brilliant starry skies and indulge with ice-cream, s’mores and more. So, why not banish the boredom and bond stateside this summer?
Amaze, Amuse and Engage
Our top picks and attractions include something for the fearless and fearful, mixing city appeal with historic ranch life — each fostering a healthy culture of curiosity. Catering not just for sport enthusiasts and eco warriors, there really is something for every taste – art, cookery, craft and music classes are all designed for creative types in mind. From museums and galleries, to nature’s display of flora and fauna, ideal for budding ecologists, there are horse-treks, cycle trails and coastal hikes to enjoy across the vast continent. Whether you’re encouraging active minds, or have a younger family that simply can’t keep still — the USA has an infectious ‘get up and do’ attitude, which is bound to build enthusiasm for trying something new. Far from excess baggage, the States is very much a family-friendly zone worth exploring.
With world-class water and wildlife attractions to choose from, Florida is a classic American star. You and your family can happily splash and slide your way through summer and spend care-free time building sandcastles in the ‘Sunshine State.’ Within Miami, Acqualina Resort & Spa On The Beach is a spectacular seaside resort offering specially designed programmes for guests of all ages. In addition to family relay races and daily lawn games, their new Strider Adventure Zone is geared at children aged 18 months to 5 years old and offers balance and coordination fun with no-pedal Strider Balance Bikes. They also boast an award-winning AquaMarine programme, based out of a 500-square-foot Acquamarine Centre, for children aged 5-12 years, which promotes the local sealife and teaches about nesting Sea Turtles, whales and creating an edible coral polyp. For teenage children, there is a Teen Scene area, which holds themed events, beach volleyball competitions, dance and hip-hop classes, art classes, plus speed and agility training. With watersports and outdoor entertainment at the resort, plus endless attractions off-property — such as Everglades Safari Park, Butterfly World, Miami Children’s Museum and Young At Art Museum — there is never a dull moment.
For those staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, younger guests aged 5 to 12 years can join an environmentally focused programme called Nature’s Wonders. Run in partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Future Society, children can learn about and discover nature in a vibrant, living eco-sanctuary, featuring 11 aquariums which house sharks, crabs, turtles and eels. Based around water, culture and environmental responsibilities, children are taught to respect Florida’s sensitive ecosystems.
Shared Attractions and Inspired Ideas
Families will be spoilt for choice at The Breakers, Palm Beach, as this popular Florida resort offers a plethora of options for families to spend quality time together, or break away for some peer group fun. The whole family can sample some wheel appeal with cycle trips into town, improve their swing with family golf courses and get energetic with family fitness classes. The gorgeous oceanfront pools, family-friendly dining areas and abundance of activities available at The Breakers’ Family Entertainment Centre (6,100 square-feet of indoor and outdoor space, solely devoted to kids’ activities) offer plenty of reasons to stay. For water-babies, the extensive Beach Club offers snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking; whilst The Arcade includes a video game lounge with Xbox® and PlayStation® 4 for simply chilling. Outside, the Playground has puzzles, climbing frames and slides to excite and thrill children of all ages. If basketball, dodge ball and hockey are not their sport, then special tailored activities, including nature walks, science labs and paddleboarding lessons are guaranteed to pique the interest of your tweens and teens.
Embracing the Wilderness
The Ranch at Rock Creek, in Montana, hosts a Little Grizzlies Kids Club and Ranch Kids Club that introduces children to the Frontier West in a thrilling, yet safe way. A fun and educational outdoor programme allows specific child age groups to share new experiences with their peers — think themed days such as Forest Day and Wildlife Day, traditional skills, animal care and adventure down at the creek — with an indoor bowling alley, movie theatre and board games for leisurely evenings at rest. From a nature hike and learning about eagles, moose, deer and elk, to adopting a horse, fishing in the creek or sitting beside a camp fire and gazing up at starry skies, there is plenty of fresh air and fun to share under the ‘Big Sky.’
Over on the west coast, The Resort at Pelican Hill boasts a Camp Pelican children’s club with dedicated swimming pool and club house, plus a programme packed full of varied activities. New for this year, the resort has also introduced a Saturday zumba dance party, perfect for keen young movers and music-lovers alike! Whilst The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel offers coastal treats galore with an Eco-Adventure Centre led by experts and housing a living laboratory dedicated to showcasing California’s natural wonders. Take an excursion to discover first-hand why Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West and learn about their incredible migration along the Pacific Coast, admiring the spirited local dolphins along the way. Back at the beach, families can learn how toboogie board, or enjoy the thrills of body surfing. Staying with the marine theme, guests can also join renowned marine eco-artist Wylandand become inspired to sculpt a fish, paint a sunset, or create a silhouetted coastal scene.
Happiness is in the Club
In addition to the superb resort crèches, clubs, classes and courses, and far away from the splashes, slides and movie-magic, there is an exciting continent of adventure to unlock. Dare to discover the lesser-known, more innovative activities which are equally guaranteed to motivate, educate and engage your precious little ones. Whether laughing and learning amongst native flora and fauna, embracing a cycle tour of a new city, cooking up a local dish, or painting a seascape, there are plenty of sports to court their attention and crafty places to delight curious minds. So, follow your dreams and share a little magic, add some sprinkles and place a cherry on the top — North America boasts endless fun for all the family.
Games aside, try plotting a different course this year. Seek out the inland gems and tread a-path-less-travelled by swapping the splashes and slides for alternative family attractions. It’s easy to pack in a little art, inspire some conservation and mesmerise young eyes with natural wonders to further enhance your journey. Whether you choose to run free, embracing the great outdoors, or play within the fabulous kids’ clubs, your family makes the rules. Perhaps this year it’s time to change short-haul happiness for lasting memories and create your own enthusiastic cheerleaders along the way? Give me an ‘A’ for America!...
To splash, slide, sing or trek during your luxury holiday across the pond, please call our expert Travel Consultants and plan your family’s American Dream.