Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Planning a family summer vacation with a 13 and 11 yr old.

Planning a family summer vacation with a 13 and 11 yr old.

Old Sep 20th, 2004, 07:27 PM
  #21  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 180
Thanks for all the info!! If anyone else has input that would be great!!!
katyhotr is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2004, 11:05 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 119
Our daughters are 15 and 12. Some of the great summer trips we've done over the last few years include:

The Canadian Maritimes: wonderful two week tour of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Lovely scenery, incredibly friendly people, and don't forget the excellent exchange rate.

National Parks of the Southwest: Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde. Started in Las Vegas and ended in Santa Fe.

Wyoming: a week in Grand Teton & Yellowstone, followed by a week on a dude ranch.

Each trip had its special aspects, and the kids loved them all. If you want details about itineraries, just let me know.
Neil is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2004, 11:18 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
A lot of people who live in Florida go to the beaches in the summer (we don't like it unless it's warm, no cold beaches for us). We like to book a cabana on the beach, or set up an umbrella with chairs, and go in and out at our leisure, sleeping, reading, eating. Get boogie boards and body surf (best on Atlantic side) and watch the sea turtles crawl out of the ocean in the wee hours, watch the baby turtles crawl from their nests if you're lucky enough to see it. Do some surf casting and eat what you catch -- rent a house on the beach. By August this is not fun as it is too humid. For 2 wks., I'd suggest you pick a beach for at least 4 days, go to Disney/Universal for 3 days, head to Key West and Miami for a week. In the Keys you can take a seaplane to the Dry Tortugas. In Miami, there is lots to do, including the Art Deco District.

The other summer vacation people in Florida like is to go to the mountains in North Carolina where the weather is just fabulous. We prefer a little town called Cashiers that has many waterfalls to drive to and picnic and play in the water.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2004, 11:20 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
Oh, and as for the Bahamas, try Eleuthera or Andros. But check first to see how they survived this last batch of hurricanes.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:03 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 115
Well, I thought I'd speak up! I cannot offer too much advice as I'm always trying to get it from the wonderful people on this board. But...

I am also from PA and have four kids, ages 11, 8, 6, and 18 months. I am looking for a place for next summer (we're doing Puerto Rico in february).

My requirements are to show my kids a place/culture/wildlife/adventures they've neer seen. With the ages of my kids, i like to go to intimate b&b's, lodges or inns where my kids can roam and try new things.

In July, we went to Clear Creek ranch in North Carolina (please don't think the website does it justice - it was awesome). maybe a ranch that has lots of adventure and family activities would be good.

I have looked all over the country for something and I can't seem to find it. The only thing that seems close is Maine Coast Lodge in Eggemoggin. I actually found it online the same day a GORP agent told me about it. They also recommended Mexico (Riviera Maya) and Belize and Costa Rica.

But, the problem is summer is hot for places like that and many of the national parks. Florida will be horrible! We did Kiawah Island two years ago and, although it was incredible, it was soooo hot.

So - another requirement - other than air condiitoning and good food - is nice weather.

I am seriously considering Maine, the Maritimes and Colorado.

If I had kids your ages? I would do Alaska - a cruise or not. It will be something they never forget!
lisabees is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:17 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 115
Amost forgot - how about the San Juan Islands or Vancouver Island and Tofino - heard Tofino is incredible.

Have fun!
lisabees is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 09:08 AM
  #27  
MaureenB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Lisabees, If you're looking for nice weather, Colorado is great in the summertime. How about a guest ranch (i.e. 'dude' ranch) in the Rockies? There is an association of Rocky Mtn. guest ranches with a membership list you could start with (sorry, I don't know the name of it). The C Lazy U ranch, between Grand Lake and Granby, is a good one with a great location. It has an indoor pool, horses, family activities, etc. and is close enough to Grand Lake and Winter Park to visit both of those places. It would offer culture/wildlife/adventures, except that you did a ranch last year. I'm sure they'd have a website.
 
Old Sep 24th, 2004, 12:52 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 115
Maureen - A ranch really is perfect - but we like to try new things every year. A place like the YMCA in the Rockies sounds good, but not sure about the lodging and the food. We used to be regulars at another YMCA on LAke George. The accommodations were rustic and food was cafeteria food. Not to sound snotty, but with four kids, we'd like our only vacation (we never go away without them) to have at least good food!! LOL!

Thanks for the advice. Colorado does sound wonderful.

Lisa
lisabees is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2004, 02:04 PM
  #29  
MaureenB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As a matter of fact, Snow Mountain Ranch, a YMCA property, is across the road from our vacation home in Grand County, CO. So we have tons of experience there, having belonged there and spent many days using their facilities with our two kids over the past 19 years. We love it there. And we prefer it to the Estes Park Y because of Snow Mountain's more wide open, rural setting. We Nordic ski there in the winter, mountain bike, tennis, hike, use indoor courts and roller skating rink, indoor climbing wall, make crafts in their shop, fish, etc. Ask me anything about Snow Mountain Ranch. It's a fantastic family-oriented, low-key, beautiful place. As such, it does book up fast for family reunions and such. Housing there runs the gamut from its nicest cabins to dorm type rooms. Some cabins being much newer than others. The food is mediocre cafeteria style in one venue, there's a nice simple little grill in the main lodge (where we grab a quick lunch often), a coffee cart in the lodge, and a shop with packaged snacks. The food is basic, but also very reasonably priced. The Ranch is about 15 minutes drive either to Winter Park ski town or Granby, so you'd have many food choices in those places. And Grand Lake is about 50 minutes drive, where the venerable Grand Lake Lodge would be an option for you, too. The restaurant there is outstanding, though rather expensive for eating everyday. We go to Grand Lake Lodge for dinner at least once every season. We've never overnighted in either ranch, because we own a home nearby, but we've seen each facility up close. Ask me anything about either place. (But now that I've written ad nauseum about Colorado, I re-read your original post and see your son wants Hollywood and your husband wants a beach. Good luck!)
 
Old Sep 24th, 2004, 10:14 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 115
Hey Maureen! I am actually not the original poster! I was just responding to the original and I rambled a bit about what I was looking for! I have the four kids and would love a small intimate place that will provide hands on experiences for all of us. I have no interest in putting my kids in a formal kids program.

The ranch we went to was great. The food was served family style - so we didn't even have to figure out what everyone wanted or wait to be served. I cannot tell you what a great thing that is with four kids - especially with the baby! A lodge or inn or bed and breakfast is what we're looking for.

How large is Grand Lake Lodge? Is it centered around horseback riding or are there plenty of other options? What would the weather be like in the summer? And...how would the kids be with the altitude - we're coming from Philly?

Thank you sooo much.

Lisa
lisabees is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2004, 01:23 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 728
Don't necessarily endorse Orlando in summer (oppressive heat), but we (7-10 year old children especially) greatly enjoyed five days at Universal last June. The park is divided into 2 sides, (not counting City Walk)-the Studio and Islands of Adventure, with 2 admission charges. Most of the true rides are on Islands (though a new Studio ride, Revenge of the Mummies, is blood draining and hair raising). If your children want a little excitement let them try the Hulk or Fire and Ice, two roller coasters that scare or kill off most adults, or the Spiderman attraction. Highly recommend staying at one of the 3 park hotels (including a Hard Rock if you need music piped underwater at your pool, and the Portofino, where we stayed, offering quiet luxury): you get special access, no waiting, to attractions that otherwise might take 45 minutes to do. City Walk has, among other things, the largest Hard Rock Cafe in the world. Most of the attractions offer good relief from the heat. Not inexpensive, though there are deals on hotels and park admission.
hmmm is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2004, 08:49 AM
  #32  
MaureenB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Lisabees,
Weather in the mountains can be iffy until mid-July. Believe it or not, we've been in snow showers on July 4th up there! So, if you have the option, plan on August or late July (unfortunately, that's when the rest of the world takes their vacations, too). Earlier than that might be fine, but can be cool and damp at times.
Grand Lake Lodge is an historic log building with lots of character. The main lodge has a round fireplace, gift shop, places to sit, computers to use. It is quite rustic, but very well-kept and well-run. It has old Colorado cache. Lots of weddings there. (It closes for the winter.) It has cabins for housing, but they are not deluxe by any means, in fact they look a bit too woodsy for my taste.
One thing I'd ask them, is about family style meals. Or maybe every cabin has a kitchenette. But the main restaurant would be too pricey, in my opinion, to feed a family of six every meal every day. As I said, we love it for a special lunch or dinner each season.
There's a beautiful porch overlooking Grand Lake and the mountains that is pleasant to sit on while you eat. There are even porch swings for before and after meals.
I'm sure they must have a website for a list of the activities they offer and the pricing. I wouldn't say it's centered around horses only, although they are available.
Grand Lake, Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake are all below the lodge, a short 15 minutes' drive. There's fun motorboating, etc. on the lakes. You can rent boats for about $50/hour. Grand Lake, too, is a cute little town for gift shopping and dining. You'd want a car there.
Snow Mountain would probably be less expensive, with more family-style activities on-site. Also a very nice, rustic, well-kept place. Gorgeous mountain vistas, some fishing on-site, too, I think. From there you could easily drive to and from Grand Lake Lodge for the day. We do it all the time.
And I know what you mean about kids' meals. I've got two kids and I look for a vacation spot that makes it easy on Mom, too!
P.S. I looked at the C Lazy U website, too. It is pretty expensive. And they require a nanny for kids under 6.
Now that we've hi-jacked this thread... any other questions? I'm glad to help.
 
Old Sep 25th, 2004, 08:52 AM
  #33  
MaureenB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
P.P.S. Re: the altitude and the kids. I don't think you'd have a problem. Just keep them hydrated. It seems to be older people that react badly to the altitude-- mostly I think it can be psychological because they get freaked out about it.
 
Old Sep 25th, 2004, 10:37 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 115
Maureen - Grnad Lake Lodge sounds a little too rustic for us. Aaaargh! This decision is driving me crazy! One thing I am confused on is the different resort towns and their size. Which are the smaller ones? Are they recommended? I'm thinking about Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Aspen, Durango and whatever others I'm missing. What are the main differences to these places - other than location?

Thanks so much Maureen!

Lisa
lisabees is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2004, 03:32 PM
  #35  
MaureenB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We've lived in Colorado 30+ years and we get a bit uppity about the 'newcomer' towns. For what it's worth, my own personal perspective on these places follows-- but take it with a grain of salt!
Breckenridge- set away from I-70 on the Summit County loop of ski areas (Keystone, Copper, A-Basin and Breckenridge); an authentic Colorado town with some original Victorian buildings; now a thriving ski town; at the base of a nice pass that offers a get-away from the congestion; lots of condos; relatively affordable; family-oriented; my favorite of the Summit County group.
Keystone- a 'newcomer' ski area and base town, about 20 years old (?); convenient location
Vail- Vail is Vail, you either love it or you don't! I'm in the camp that's not so wild about its fake Swiss style or its setting right next to I-70; expensive, a bit pretentious for my tastes. Beaver Creek is up the road; also rather expensive.
Durango- Haven't been there in years, but remember it as a pretty town, quite isolated and a bit of a drive from Denver airport; has a college there; lots of open country nearby
Aspen- in my opinion, the matriarch of all Colorado resort towns. We go there many summers for a week's stay. We like its authentic Colorado charm, even though it has become a real hot spot for the rich and famous. Despite that, we love its location. Lots to do there: good white water rafting, fishing, hiking, everything else. There are probably guest ranches nearby. Expensive town in general, though.
Then there's Telluride and Crested Butte and Ouray... Colorado has so much to offer. Oh, there's also Winter Park. And Steamboat Springs- a real Colorado town with a wild west influence. Great for families, beautiful ranching setting. There should be guest ranches there, in fact. It's about 4 hrs drive from Denver's airport. So many places, so little time...
If you want a ranch, maybe do a search and see what you find. tSome are guest ranches near civilization, others are true working ranches set away from the towns quite a bit.
 
Old Sep 25th, 2004, 09:24 PM
  #36  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 180
I satarted this post, but it is great to get other threads started. We had our kids in Glenwwod Springs for 3 days for the springs, horseback riding and to see the fairy caverns. We then went to Avon which was a great location and did white water rafting, hot air ballooning and more horseback riding. Ther is sooo much to do in Colorado. Aruba is a great island if you are looking to go that way.
katyhotr is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2004, 02:34 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 218
I know how hard it is to plan with a family, you want everyone to have fun. I have already started thinking about it myself for next summer.

Places I have taken the kids during the summers (now 12 and 7) . I?ve been traveling with them since they were one.

Orlando Disney and Universal , of course
Puerto Rico ? stayed at the Hyatt Dorado beach with the river pool, we all loved it.
Caribbean Cruise ? they are still begging to go on another one and cried when we left the ship as they wanted to stay. The crew spoiled them rotten.
Hawaii ? just went this year to Big Island and Oahu and they want to go back to Big Island.
Cape Cod ? This is a favorite. They love to do the biking on the trails.
California/LA ? they liked this, not sure why as we were there a short time and only went to Santa Monica and Disneyland. Maybe it had to with the fact that they got to ride on the bus to Santa Monica and got to see interesting characters.
Fort Lauderdale ? they could take it or leave it. We the adults liked it.
Islamorada/Key West ? We stayed in Isla Morada at the Cheeca Lodge. They loved it here. The kids program has fishing and kayaking, etc. It is a really nice hotel. We drove to Key West and hubby and I liked Key West. The kids tired of it pretty quickly, it seemed more of an adult place. No sand beaches in Key West.
Tampa ? Bush Gardens was fun. Also stayed in St. Pete on the beach. Kids were smaller then and liked it.
Sanibel ? Another beautiful beach place but it is far from the theme parks if you want to do that.
Aruba ? agree with previous poster
Hershey Park/Amish Country

In January, we will be going on a three day Disney Cruise and I have been eyeing the RCCL Cruise to Bermuda on Voyager for the summer. It has lots of activities for the kids and also the cruise to Alaska looks interesting. The kids have also been clamoring for Australia. Not yet.

Planning is half the fun. Happy Planning!



lia_b is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2004, 06:51 PM
  #38  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 180
I also have been thinking of an Alaska cruise. Do you have any specific cruise lines that are good?
katyhotr is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2004, 08:11 PM
  #39  
Tess
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I kind of skimmed through the posts and didn't see anything about New York City. Our kids were 10 and 13 when we were there and we all had a great time. About 13 and 11 are really the golden ages for traveling with children, in my opinion--they still like hanging with Mom and Dad but are too young to go off on their own so it's easy to keep track of them

We've always shied away from a lot of the Disney-type trips--guess we're really not theme-park people (don't hate us--we're actually pretty normal--lol). We like exposing the kids to our nation's heritage a little bit so history and social studies classes are more than just words on a page. One of the best days in New York was when my husband and son took the subway to a Yankees' game while my daughter and I shopped on 5th Ave. and had tea at the Pierre. Can't have culture ALL of the time!!

We also went to Washington, D.C. as a family when the kids were 10 and 7--they enjoyed that trip, too. Wouldn't worry about going there in the summer--just pick a hotel with a pool and take a break in the heat of the afternoon. Seattle is one spot I'd like to take our children--Boston is another.
 
Old Oct 27th, 2004, 07:48 PM
  #40  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 180
I absolutely agree with Washington and New York. Living in PA we have done New York several times with our kids, day trips along with overnight. Washington is another we have done 3 times and is a fabulous place if anyone is reading this post. The museums, white house etc.. is great. Contact your congressman to get a congressional tour of the capital and the white house if possible. You avoid lines and get a little more attention.
Williamsburg, VA is another wonderful place for history for kids and parents alike. Kids were alittle bored at 7 and 9 in January but they did learn alittle something.
Still unsure about this summer and what we are doing. Canada posts looked good. My kids have high expectations since we had such a great Colorado vacation last June. Keep the ideas coming!!!
katyhotr is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO