Family travel five: Vacations for kids of all ages and their parents

The Dallas Morning NewsJuly 14, 2014 

Different stretches of family life call for different destinations. Here are five options:

1. With your baby. At some Club Med locations, you'll find quality care for your wee ones, paired with time to relax and recharge at these all-inclusive resorts. Babies are welcome and cuddled by trained caregivers. Meanwhile, parents can relax on the beach, play tennis, kayak or unwind in the spa. When the sun goes down, babysitting services are available. Children's club availability varies by Club Med location.

Contact: clubmed.us

2. With your toddler. Your junior travelers will be fully engaged when you check into Crown Paradise, an all-inclusive resort in Cancun. Combine building your own sandcastles on the beach with organized camp time. Children 18 months to 3 years can be included in the Baby Paradise Club, where they will play games, take an afternoon siesta and hang out with their favorite fictional characters. At age 4, they can graduate to a program that includes more outdoor and active water play. Themed evening programs for the kids provide parents with the option to enjoy tennis under the lights, a quiet dinner or entertainment.

Contact: crownparadise.com/en/

3. With your school-aged kids. You'll feel right at home checking into Hawks Cay, a family-friendly resort where your children can get to know the resident dolphins, swim in a saltwater lagoon, learn to sail and snorkel as part of the Camp Hawk program for 5- to 12- year olds. Great restaurants offer plenty of options for family dining. Parents can play tennis, work out, relax by one of several pools or check out the adjacent spa where treatments come with a delicious key lime scent. The resort is located at the midpoint between Key West and the mainland, so end the day with an evening sail to catch a glorious sunset.

Contact: hawkscay.com

4. With your teen. Unplug for a week while exploring Maine's woods and the Allagash River. This classic wilderness expedition provides your teen the opportunity to connect with nature (and you) while paddling along this protected National Wild and Scenic River. Be on the lookout for wildlife, take photographs or cast a line in the water as you navigate the flat stretches. Test your skills in Class II whitewater before landing at your campground for a night under the stars. Guided and unguided trips are available.

Contact: maineoutfitter.com

5. With the whole family. Mountain Sky, a dude ranch in Montana's Paradise Valley, offers horseback riding on scenic trails crisscrossing their 6,000-acre property. Families seeking additional outdoor adventure opt for rafting, hiking and fishing on the nearby Yellowstone River. There's also the chance to tee it up on the ranch golf course. A popular destination for multigenerational families, you'll dine on gourmet food, spend the night in cozy cabins and wake to birds chirping and horses whinnying.

Contact: 406-333-4911; mountainsky.com

(Lynn O'Rourke Hayes is the editor of FamilyTravel.com. Email her at lohayes@FamilyTravel.com.)

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