With spring upon us, a nagging question creeps into the mind of every parent: what should we do with the kids this summer?
If you’re like many Americans, a few trips to the ballpark, hotdogs included, will suffice. Perhaps a week or two at the beach, soaking up the rays and enjoying the boardwalk attractions will fulfill your family’s desires? Summer camps for the kids remain popular, with more of them appealing to a wider range of interests than ever before. And then there’s always Disney World. Yes, the ‘D’ word. For some families, that D might stand for ‘dream vacation’ but for others it could mean ‘doom’, ‘dismal’, or even plain ‘dull’.
If the thought of standing in a line for hours is enough to make you break into a cold sweat, if the idea of visiting an overcrowded urban jungle of people, cars and more cars gives you an ulcer, or if the concept of spending thousands of dollars to visit somebody else’s fabricated notion of fun puts pure fear into your thumping heart, realize that there is hope for a family such as yours.
It all goes back to your first lessons in school, your ABCs, or in this case, Alaska, Belize and Costa Rica. So, read on to discover why these three wildly different locations are all ideal for family vacations.
Magnificent, scenic, rugged, wild. All of these words perfectly describe America’s 49th and largest state. With almost 600,000 square miles to explore and over half of the population residing in Anchorage, Alaska guarantees a vacation that is big on adventure and wilderness, and small on crowds and congestion.
As so much is on offer, it all depends upon your family’s interests. Are the kids into animals? Whale and bear watching excursions are a must. Your youngsters can experience these creatures as only nature can offer them. Are you an active family? Hiking, mountain biking, and fishing around Alaska’s numerous forests, meadows, lakes and streams will never cease to amaze. Or how about dramatic crystalline glaciers and national parks that showcase nature at her wildest? An adventure trip in Alaska will be unforgettable.
Nestled into the north-eastern coast of Central America with Mexico to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Belize encompasses a dizzying number of languages and cultures. The official language being English makes this gem of a country easy to navigate as your family embarks on the ultimate adventure trip.
Trek into breathtaking jungles and snorkel or scuba dive in the remarkable Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest of its kind in the world. Your family can visit ancient
Mayan ruins or can get to know modern Mayans in local villages. Boat trips on Belize’s numerous rivers will allow you to view animals such as crocodiles from a safe distance. In a country like Belize, so many activities are available for the active family that you could find that a second or even third visit might be necessary to experience the natural splendor of mountain, jungle, river and sea.
With a name that means ‘Rich Coast’, Costa Rica is a Central American country that will certainly enrich your family’s time together as you explore one of the most beautiful and pristine ecosystems in the world. A popular place for eco-tours, Costa Rica is considered the ‘greenest’ country in the world by many international organizations.
An incredible abundance of birds, mammals, reptiles and rainforest plants will please the nature enthusiasts in your family. A large number of national parks and nature reserves provide a stunning location to embark on hiking, trekking, walking, and wildlife spotting activities. Ample beaches will also appeal to sunbathers and surfers alike. Costa Rica truly is the country that seems to have it all.
So there you are. For the active and adventurous who want to try something different for their family vacations this summer, you now know the ABCs of traveling. The question is – where will you go?
Guest writer Amy is a mom of three but still loves organizing her family vacations around destinations that are more suited to an adventure trip itinerary. Her favorite continent is South America and if she could go anywhere in the world it would be to Machu Picchu in Peru.