Where will you venture in 2014? Here are five destinations to consider as your family plans for the year ahead.
1. Alaska. Still America’s last frontier, our 49th state offers year-round adventure for families. Scope for whale tails while cruising the Inside Passage. Celebrate 100 years of sled-dog racing on the Iditarod Trail. Or explore the far reaches of Denali National Park. Learn about Alaska’s native culture, hike and bike in the backcountry or make wildlife watching the centerpiece of your adventure. A free vacation planner is available to help get you started.
2. Cruise the Caribbean. Galveston, which is rated fourth in the country in cruise traffic, offers seafaring travelers expanded opportunities. Four cruise companies – Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney and Princess – offer itineraries ranging from four to eight nights on ships bustling with activity and entertainment. Cruise companies provide a smorgasbord of kid-thrilling options such as wave machines, superslides, teen lounges and zip lines.
3. Costa Rica. More than a quarter of this Central American country is composed of natural and conserved territory, making it an extraordinary destination for nature lovers. Surfers give the richly diverse nation top marks, as do adventurers who visit for river rafting, hiking, biking, canopy tours and volcano watching. Families can take advantage of wildlife or culturally focused volunteer vacations, clan-friendly resorts and beachside boutique accommodations.
4. African safaris. Multigenerational families celebrating a milestone are among those who seek the excitement and adventure found on safari. More tour operators, eager to capture this growing segment of the market, are creating itineraries that cater to both ends of the age spectrum. The chance to observe a lion stalking his prey, to see a wildebeest migration or to learn the customs of the Maasai people are experiences more families are putting at the top of their lists.
5. The Bahamas. You’ll find grand resorts in a bustling enclave as well as small getaways on tiny spits of sand just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Choose your preferred environment from among 700 islands surrounded by crystal clear water and the world’s third-largest barrier reef. Snorkeling, fishing, eco-tours, horseback riding, boating or just relaxing on soft, sandy beaches are among the reasons for your family to consider a visit.