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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Travel - Pat Kelley

Family adventure vacations
Rating: 3.01 / 5 (193 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Jul 07 - 03:01

Families of all ages would enjoy one of these real-life experiences worldwide. These are tours especially designed with families in mind. No matter what the age, grandparents, parents, school age children, aunts, uncles and cousins can savor the memories for a lifetime of family vacations.

You don't have to worry about planning daily activities for the family, dining arrangements or places to stay. You will stay in family-friendly hotels and resorts, which cater to all ages. Picnics, barbecues and popular restaurants are on the menu.

I only wish they had these kinds of tours available when my children were young. I can remember how bored they always were and the trouble we had finding reasonable restaurants and clean hotels. I get a second chance. I can plan a family reunion or take the grandkids on one of these exciting adventures.

You will travel to many destinations and can plan your family vacations ahead, year after year. The tours have been kid-tested for fun and relaxation. Whether you choose destinations such as Hawaii, Europe, Galapagos Islands or our national parks, you will be amazed at the discoveries your family will encounter. The adventures allow for plenty of leisure time to enjoy being together as a family. Just think, you don't have to plan any activities ahead of time; it's all nicely packaged for you.

Some of the activities may include learning to surf in Hawaii, practicing roping a steer on a real western ranch or snorkeling with some sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. You will learn about new cultures and local customs of families around the world.

A trip to Ireland can take you to a dairy farm for lunch, where you will meet an Irish storyteller.

In the great American west, you can saddle up for a trail ride with real cowboys.

For those of you in touch with the natural, you may stay in one of the national park's lodges or hotels. However, book early; these tours sell out a year in advance. You will participate in many park-related activities. There may be special ranger programs, river rafting or an opportunity to join in a special volunteer activity to help preserve the parks. At the same time, you are enjoying the splendors of the national parks. Your family could have the rewarding feeling of knowing they helped to protect the parks for generations to follow.

Imagine traveling with your family to the Galapagos Islands, a wonderland of wildlife off the coast of Ecuador in South America. Actually, you will arrive in Quito, Ecuador, and stay at a family-friendly hotel for a few days. Here, you will have time to explore the Old City, with its narrow cobbled streets and visit a beautiful cathedral covered in gold.

After boarding your expedition ship, you will set sail for the Galapagos Islands. You will visit at least two different island sites per day. Each exploration will be preceded by a lecture about the island site visited. Your landings are made by pangas (zodiac-style rafts) on sandy or rocky beaches. Bring your swim gear, as these are wet landings and may require you to wade to the shore. You will have a naturalist guide with you on each landing.

I have mentioned only a few family-friendly vacations. There are several available and designed specifically for you. While children 8 and older will be best suited for these tours, the tour operator will accept children as young as 3.

Tours that are designed especially for families include North America's great out west, Alaska, Hawaii, Latin America, Pennsylvania Dutch country, England, Ireland and Italy. Africa has just been added to the list of adventures with your family. Open your children's eyes through worldwide travel.

Pat Kelley is owner of Port Orange Travel. She can be reached at (386) 788-3990 or by e-mail at Pat@portorangetravel.com.

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