Travelling with your family is an opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones. So many gorgeous places to visit, so little time. The following locations are filled with family-friendly activities and luxury resorts so you won’t waste any. Scottsdale, Arizona boasts beautiful desert vistas, while a relaxing beach-themed getaway can be had in Kona, Hawaii. For the family that craves culture, Rome and Florence can’t be beat. But if adventure is more your style Whistler, Canada provides an adrenaline-packed vacation. For a variety of options from beach to culinary scenes, Tel-Aviv, Israel is a top pick.
Scottsdale provides plenty of activities for the whole family. Experience the Arizonan desert by hiking trails leading up the Camelback Mountain. The trails boast phenomenal views and range in levels of difficulty from beginners to thrill seekers.
The landscape can also be enjoyed at the Desert Botanical Garden, the world’s biggest outdoor desert plant collection. Visitors can stroll all five thematic trails featuring towering cacti, alluring succulents and colourful wildflowers. Brave the flashlight tour to see the garden at night under a starlit sky.
Arizona also hosts the only instrument museum in the world, another must-see. The Musical Instruments Museum displays more than 6,000 instruments and has an ‘Experience Gallery’ where guests can play unique instruments from all over the world.
Add golf to enchanting desert beauty at the luxurious Scottsdale Four Seasons. Don’t miss a relaxing day at their spa, which offers a variety of treatments that harness the healing powers of desert plants such as the prickly pear and jojoba.
Scottsdale boasts many fabulous restaurants and The Four Seasons signature steakhouse, Talavera, is worth a visit for its flavourful meals with a Spanish flair featuring traditional Latin ingredients. If you like Nuevo Latino cuisine dine at Deseo, known for tasty ceviche and caipirinhas.
For a relaxing beach vacation visit Kona, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Four Seasons oceanfront luxury resort in Hualalai has stunning views of the water and gorgeous accommodations. The resort’s King’s Pond is a special place to swim where snorkelers can see more than 4,000 tropical fish, located steps away from the beach.
After a refreshing swim, be sure to indulge in the majestic breakfast buffet overflowing with fresh fruit, croissants, buttery rolls, Hawaiian pastries, meats, cheeses, smoked salmon and an entire breakfast selection just for children.
Another fantastic island resort is the Fairmont Orchid; stay on the Gold level which provides endless delicious meals and snacks, as well as rooms with panoramic views of the ocean. A family-friendly resort right on the coast with a crystal clear blue lagoon perfect for snorkelers and endless number of colourful fish, they even host yoga classes on paddle-boards.
Make sure to take some time away from the resorts to see the Island’s stunning interior landscapes. A visit to the Buddha’s Cup Coffee Plantation is a treat. Visitors can enjoy an incredible tour and learn how coffee is grown and harvested as well as indulge in a spectacular cup of Joe.
Another stunning location to visit is Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. The 40-acre valley is filled with trails, tropical rainforest and streams, and more than 2,000 species of plants. Visitors are treated to several waterfalls and the endless waves of the ocean along the rugged Pacific coast.
For an authentic Italian experience, stay at The Hotel Lugarno, owned by Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo. Located on the River Arno, facing the Ponte Vecchio, the property boasts sensational views and breakfast is always a feast.
Florence is filled with fabulous food options. One amazing culinary experience is Il Palagio, a one-Michelin star restaurant, located on the grounds of the Four Seasons which offers a seasonal menu with a contemporary twist.
Take the kids to the Uffizi Gallery, and expose them to great artists like Botticelli, Correggio, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Rubens and Rembrandt. Also, visit nearby Pitti Palace which will feel like you’ve walked onto the pages of a fairytale. After your visit, have a picnic in the Boboli Gardens, located behind the Pitti Palace, one of the largest parks in Florence and home to a collection of unrivalled sculptures from the 16th to the 18th century.
While you leisurely stroll through the side streets of this cultural edifice, be sure to make time for the kids to take rides on the antique carousel in Piazza dellaRepubblica.
A myriad of traditional locations such as the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon thrill with rich history. For a new twist, see history come alive at Palazzo Valentini, a museum housed in two patrician villas. Through multimedia the facility recreates an ancient Roman home with smart light shows that morph bare stones into mosaics, baths, furnishings and even a kitchen.
Adults and kids alike will enjoy a visit to Villa Borghese, one of the largest public parks in Rome; featuring museums, a theatre, a lake as well as numerous fountains. Be sure to get tickets to see the Borghese Gallery, filled with wonders by Bernini, Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael.
Italian elegance abounds at the nearby Hassler Hotel where the breakfasts are delicious and the location provides easy access to major attractions. Indulge at their restaurant Imago, a Michelin-starred restaurant with sublime views of the city and feast on a meal filled with Italian delicacies. A treat for the taste buds as well as the eyes, another Michelin-starred restaurant called Aroma located on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi provides stunning views of the Colosseum.
A dream destination, Tel-Aviv is a beach town with all the amenities of a big city. Along soft, white sand, the beach boardwalk is filled with young, fashionable hipsters. The warm water a great place to learn how to surf without a wetsuit. Families picnic on the beach and play Matkot, a popular paddle ball game, often referred to by Israelis as their national beach sport.
The cultural options are endless and the Tel-Aviv Art Museum boasts fabulous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Chagall and Jackson Pollock. The museum hosts a unique tour for families on Tuesdays designed to bring masterpieces to life.
For outdoor activities include strolls in beautiful Yarkon Park, known as the Central Park of Tel Aviv, with plenty of free activities such as bike paths, play areas, botanical gardens, and two mini zoos. Paid options include a climbing wall, paddle boats, and a children’s train ride.
The Norman Hotel provides centrally-located luxury created out of two restored buildings built in the Bauhaus style. While several historic elements have been retained, the hotel exhibits a modern eclectic look. Their restaurant Alena combines European flavours with Mediterranean traditional fare. While Max Brenner, a chain of chocolate restaurants set up by one of Israel’s leading chocolatiers, offers an entire menu of chocolate-based items––a big hit with the little ones in the family.
A beautiful location for the adventurous family, the winter snow provides summer fun like glacier hikes, where participants don crampons to walk through the ice. Also, if you can handle freezing cold water, many enjoy river rafting down the Elaho River. With our without wetsuits; it’s a refreshing way to see spectacular scenery.
Not for the faint at heart, a zip line tour above and through Douglas Fir and Cedars finds guides showing you the ropes, literally, but also show you a different perspective of the mountain as you soar over the forest canopy, rivers and rocks.
Whistler offers culinary tours that takes visitors to a variety of restaurants. If you want to learn how to saber a bottle of champagne and enjoy an outstanding meal, go to the Barefoot Bistro. However, if farm to table food is more your style, Araxi, is known for their innovative, delicious dishes. When you wander through Whistler village, be sure to stop by Rogers Chocolates and enjoy mouthwatering treats.
The fabulous Four Seasons Resort provides a modern retreat, located at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain with elegant rooms, sensational vies and unsurpassed luxury. ◼
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© This article was first published in June-July 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.