Where you choose to spend your holiday depends, in large part, on the wants and needs of each member of your travelling circus. Here are travel suggestions to suit five family groups.
Families with young children: Disney parks
Taking a theme-park holiday is not a kid-forced cop-out. Disneyland Park and its home city of Anaheim, Calif. cater to wee ones and exhausted parents. The city’s hotels are built with kids in mind (think family suites with bunk beds), making it easy for families to go full tilt at the parks and retreat to restful rooms and relaxing pools. The original Disneyland Park is tops for under-fives, while neighbouring Disney California Adventure Park features thrill rides for bigger kids.
Single-parent families: All-inclusive resorts in Mexico
All-inclusive resorts offer youth clubs that give mom or dad time alone. Many also offer booking incentives for single parents, and even host adults-only cocktail parties. The Velas Vallarta, Grand Velas Riviera Maya and Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit resorts in Mexico waive the single supplement fee for single parents travelling with children during select times (usually autumn). Baby concierges (excluding Velas Vallarta) can supply cribs, toys and gentle bath products.
Families with teenagers: Costa Rica
Get your teens off their screens in Costa Rica. Outdoor activities include family surf lessons and wildlife encounters, from sea turtle nesting tours to animal-spotting canoe trips in search of crocodiles and howler monkeys, at Playa Grande, near Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula. Go for jungle adventures from La Fortuna or Monteverde and visit rainforest adventure parks with ziplines and suspension bridges. Then relax at a hot springs resort at the foot of Arenal Volcano.
Multi-generational families: Oahu
Finding a holiday destination suitable for extended families is a challenge. However, such a spot might feature golf and historical attractions for grandparents, outdoor adventures, great dining and spa treatments for parents with pools and beach time for kids. Just such a place, Oahu boasts fairways and beaches, museums, shops and excellent restaurants. Activities include sunset dinner cruises, water sports and easy hikes such as the trail up Diamond Head. As well, everyone will enjoy a tour of Pearl Harbor, a luau, the botanical gardens, the Waikiki Aquarium and the scenic drive to the North Shore to watch the big kahunas ride the waves.
Multiple Families Travelling Together: Ski resorts in B.C.
Rent a ski-hill chalet. Winter resorts feature terrain for skiers and riders of all abilities, so parent friends can ski together (or, at least, ride the lift together), while their kids rip it up in the terrain park or enrol in snow-sport courses. What’s more, it’s no longer just about downhill schussing. Most resorts now offer ice-skating and tubing, plus trails for fat biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Just a 50-minute drive from the Kelowna International Airport, Big White Ski Resort and Silver Star Mountain Resort are family-focused resorts where snow conditions are fantastic.