Well Traveled Kids Luxury Family Vacation Ideas 2018-12-15T12:52:57Z https://welltraveledkids.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Sarah Hirsch http://www.WellTraveledKids.com <![CDATA[Best of Kauai With Kids: Tips for Planning the Ultimate Luxury Hawaiian Family Vacation]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7815 2018-12-15T12:52:57Z 2018-12-14T20:17:16Z Kauai is one of our favorite places to vacation, and it’s a place we love to return to over and over again. While many think of Kauai as an only romantic destination for honeymooners or outdoor adventure enthusiasts, there are lots of things to do in Kauai with kids. We’ve visited Kauai many times with...

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Kauai is one of our favorite places to vacation, and it’s a place we love to return to over and over again. While many think of Kauai as an only romantic destination for honeymooners or outdoor adventure enthusiasts, there are lots of things to do in Kauai with kids. We’ve visited Kauai many times with my little boy and are preparing to head back there in a few weeks for my birthday trip over our winter break. As I prepare for our upcoming trip I’ve decided to update my list of favorites here too. These are some of our favorite spots. I hope you find this list of our best tips helpful for planning your own Kauai family vacation.

Where to Stay in Kauai with kids

Princeville Resort Kauai with kids

Our absolute favorite place to stay in Kauai has always been the  St. Regis Princeville Resort Kauai. However, that resort recently changed hands a few months ago and is now newly branded the Princeville Resort Kauai. I’m headed back in a few weeks and excited to see what’s new there!

Located on Hanalei Bay, it’s easily one of the most breathtaking resorts I’ve ever visited. The grounds of the Princeville Resort are lush, relaxing and rejuvenating. While we love to explore the sights of Kauai, it’s hard to motivate ourselves to leave the stunning resort when we visit. I can’t begin to describe the amazing energy at the Princeville Resort. Between the Hanalei Beach, and the pools, and the spa, it’s an incredibly indulgent experience. In fact, I’ve chosen to spend three of my last four birthdays at the Princeville Resort and will be there this year for my birthday too! I can’t wait!!

Princeville Resort review - well traveled kids

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa with kids

We also love the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, and it’s one of the best Hawaiian resorts for families. The Grand Hyatt is truly built for families. The pool area is perfect for parents and kids, with slides, basketball hoops and shaved ice treats. Our room was very large with two king beds, giving us room to spread out a bit. The Grand Hyatt Kauai also has the best luau in Kauai. People from all over the island come to this one, for the family entertainment, great luau food and excellent MaiTais. Make sure to reserve your spots in advance! Be sure to plan some self-care time for yourself and book an incredible treatment at the spa while your kids make friends and play at the kids club during your stay.

Best luxury family resort Kauai - Well Traveled Kids

Stay on both sides of the island of Kauai with kids

The Princeville Resort is on the northern side of Kauai on Hanalei Bay, while the Grand Hyatt Kauai is on the southern shore near Waimea Canyon. We like to split our time between the two resorts when we visit Kauai so we can more easily explore all areas of the island.

Where to Eat in Kauai

There are some amazing places to eat in Kauai, from food trucks to five-star dining. We love to visit old favorites, but also like to try new places every time we return to Kauai. These are some of our top suggestions for where to eat in Kauai.

  • Duane’s Ono-Char Burger: Hands down the best roadside burger in Hawaii. It’s on the main road, so it makes for a great stop when traveling to or from the Kauai airport. Just look for the red burger shack on the side of the road. This place is a total dive, but the burgers, shakes, and fries are to die for. We’ve stopped here at least three times and tried several items – we’ve never been disappointed. The feral chickens begging for French Fries are hilarious and your kids will get a kick out of feeding them.
  • Merriman’s Fish House: This is our pick for the best fresh seafood in Kauai. Everything here is “ocean to table.” While it’s a fancier restaurant, they do welcome kids and offer a kid’s menu.
  • Kauai Grill at Princeville Resort: for a romantic dinner in Kauai, we love the Kauai Grill. Headed up by Michelin awarded celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the Kauai Grill is definitely worth the splurge. We’ve eaten atJean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants in Chicago, Vegas, and New York, and we never miss the chance to have dinner at the Kauai Grill. In addition to amazing food, you have breathtaking views of Hanalei Bay. While kids are allowed, you won’t see too many of them. I recommend bringing an iPad and headphones to keep them entertained during dinner.
  • Duke’s Kauai : Duke’s is a fun casual spot that sit’s right off the beach not too far from the airport. We like to grab lunch in the barefoot bar right off the beach. Duke’s bartenders make incredible Mai Tais served in fresh pineapples. The menu is casual and I’ve always loved the coconut shrimp appetizer and the fish tacos.  Duke’s Hula Pie is a Hawaii tradition and our favorite dessert in Kauai. Starting with an Oreo crust, followed by ice cream, macadamia nuts, and hot fudge, you’ve never had a pie like this! Whether you have lunch or dinner at Duke’s or just pop in for dessert, make sure you have Hula Pie at least once during your Kauai vacation.

Best places to eat in Kauai with kids - Well Traveled Kids

Things to Do In Kauai

Your Kauai family vacation should be the right mixture of relaxation and exploration. These are some of our favorite things to do in Kauai when we can tear ourselves away from the amazing resorts.

  • Waimea Canyon: The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is ten miles long up to 3,000 feet deep. You can see all the way to the Na Pali Coast.
  • Hanalei Bay: This is the largest bay on the north shore of Kauai, with over two miles of beach. The protected bay is a great spot for water sports like swimming and stand up paddleboarding.
  • Spouting Horn Blowhole: One of Kauai’s best natural attractions. Just ten minutes from the Grand Hyatt Kauai in a spot known for crashing waves.
  • Driving around and exploring the island!

Best Things to do with kids in Kauai - Well Traveled kids

Best Spas in Kauai

Between our Kauai adventures and the long trip from Chicago, I always like to take a day to relax at the spa during my Kauai vacation. I’ve tried the spas at both hotels mentioned above and while they are very different experiences, I highly recommend at a day at either one.

  • Anara Spa at Grand Hyatt Kauai: The Anara Spa at Grand Hyatt Kauai is huge, with a huge focus on the outdoors. There are outdoor showers, hot tubs, and massage huts. The Anara Spa is a really lush outdoor Hawaiian spa experience.
  • The Halele’a Spa at Princeville Resort: compared to the Hyatt, the Halele’a Spa is more of an indoor retreat with an intimate atmosphere. The entire spa and locker rooms are beautifully decorated. For a super zen spa experience, head to the Halele’a Spa.

Best Instagram Spots in Kauai

I think it’s impossible to take a bad photo in Kauai. With stunning scenery in every direction, don’t forget your camera! Here’s some of our favorite photo opps in Kauai.

  • Anything that includes chickens! Feral chickens are quintessential Kauai, so don’t miss the chance to photograph a few.
  • Waimea Canyon
  • Na Pali Coast
  • Hanalei Bay
  • RAINBOWS!!

Best Kauai Instagram spots - Well Traveled Kids

More Kauai Travel Tips

Ready to plan your trip to Kauai with kids? Here are a few more tips to help you prepare!

  • Rent a car. Everything you want to see in Kauai is far from the airport. If you don’t rent a car, you’ll likely end up spending a lot of money on cabs and Ubers. With a car, you can explore the island at your own pace.
  • Stop to buy groceries and snacks. Before you leave the airport area, stop at Wal-Mart or Costco to stock up on snacks and water. Your room will most likely have a fridge, and you can save a ton of money on basic food and sundries. These are also great places to buy souvenirs before you fly home.
  • Make high season reservations ASAP. If you’re traveling anytime kids are out of school, especially during Christmas or Spring Break, make your hotel reservations ASAP. Once that’s done, you’ll want to start making dinner reservations if there are specific restaurants you want to visit.
  • Decide on excursions and book them early. The same thing goes for excursions. Tours can fill up quickly on the island, so if you plan to do any ziplining, snorkeling or boat tours, make sure you book them in advance.

 

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Sarah Hirsch http://www.WellTraveledKids.com <![CDATA[Things to Do in Maui With Kids: The Ultimate Guide]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7832 2018-12-14T18:34:11Z 2018-12-13T00:55:33Z As a travel writer, I always like to explore new and different destinations. But somehow, we return to Hawaii over and over again. Of all the Hawaiian islands, our favorite island is Maui.  I love how Maui has a little bit of everything that makes the Hawaiian Islands magical. From lush tropical rainforests along the...

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As a travel writer, I always like to explore new and different destinations. But somehow, we return to Hawaii over and over again. Of all the Hawaiian islands, our favorite island is Maui.  I love how Maui has a little bit of everything that makes the Hawaiian Islands magical. From lush tropical rainforests along the road to Hana, beautiful beaches in Wailea and fun nightlife in Lahaina, Maui has it all! Maui is also super family-friendly, and we’ve found so many things do to in Maui with kids.

Since we’ve been to Maui so many times, I am often asked for my top recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, and places to see. As we prepare for our upcoming trip back to Maui just a few weeks away I thought I’d update my list of Maui favorites. This is a list I have shared with many friends over the years, and I look forward to updating it again after our  family trip to Maui this winter! 


Where to Stay in Maui with kids: The Best Luxury Resorts for families

Things to do in Maui with Kids

Grand Wailea with kids:

As you know, I love a good luxury resort. Choosing the right place to stay on a family vacation can make all the difference in your trip. Our absolute favorite place to stay in Maui is the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. We’ve sampled several Maui hotels over the years, and can confidently say that the Grand Wailea is the best place to stay in Maui with kids, thanks to the waterslides and calm, protected beach. My personal favorite part of the Grand Wailea is the Spa Grande, with treatments inspired by Eastern, Western and Hawaiian influences. The beach walk behind the hotel is something we do on every visit, and we can never get enough of the unique spirit of this Hawaiian hotel.

Fairmont Kea Lani with kids:

For families seeking a more laid-back, smaller hotel experience in Wailea Beach, I recommend the Fairmont Kea Lani. We love the swim-up bar, waterslide and the free kids’ club at Fairmont Kea Lani. You can’t beat the pristine beach at this hotel either! It’s the perfect secluded spot to let kids play and watch the sunset. Families will appreciate that all rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani are suites, giving you a bit of extra room to spread out.

review Fairmont Kea Lani Maui - Well Traveled Kids

Sheraton Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach with kids:

If you prefer to stay near Ka’anapali Beach, the Sheraton Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach is in an excellent location right next to Whaler’s Village. The hotel is a bit older and less luxurious than our other choices, but the location makes up for it, with snorkeling and turtles right off the hotel beach. The Sheraton Black Rock has a great luau, and you can’t miss the evening cliff diving ceremony.

Review of Sheraton Black Rock Maui - Well Traveled Kids


Where to Eat in Maui with kids

As much as we love relaxing on the beach or in the water, Maui is definitely a foodie destination for our family. Over the years, we’ve curated a list of our favorite places to eat in Maui, and always try to find new places to add to the list as well. YELP has been a huge positive for us in the islands. We’ve tried awesome local restaurants , dives, and food trucks for lunches that we never would have known about! I do recommend having dinner reservations lined up for most nights, because its a small island and things fill up quickly in peak season. We use Open Table for most of these restaurants. 

Our favorite Maui Restaurants:

  • Mama’s Fish House: not far from the airport, Mama’s Fish House is usually our first (and last) stop every time we visit Maui. I recommend reserving a table for two hours after you land. This gives you time to claim your bags and get your rental car. (Things move slower on the islands, so this takes about an hour). Mama’s menu is fresh caught and different each day but  the same for lunch and dinner, so either meal is great. If you are celebrating anything special, such as a birthday, be sure to note this in your reservation, and ask for a table by the window so you can enjoy the gorgeous ocean views. If you arrive early, be sure to enjoy a walk on the beach and take in the beautiful scenery. I’d also recommend booking a reservation at Mama’s for your last meal before catching a flight home. It’s THAT GOOD that you will want to eat there more than once!! Everything served at Mama’s Fish House is fresh caught and menu items are listed along with the names of the fisherman and where the fish was caught on Mama’s daily menu. I recommend starting with a Mai Tai and some of the yummiest chunkiest macadamia nut crab cakes I’ve ever had. If the macadamia nut crusted lobster & crab stuffed mahi-mahi entree is on the menu when you visit that’s my all time favorite! For dessert I love the Maui pineapple upside down cake…SO GOOD!
  • Monkeypod Kitchen: With two Maui locations, in Wailea and Ka’anapali, it’s one of our favorite places to eat in Maui. Nothing beats starting off with an appetizer of poke tacos, a Monkeypod Mai Tai or a cold beer from Maui Brewing Company. The Ahi Tuna with mashed potatoes is my go-to meal at Monkeypod, and you can’t leave without trying the strawberry pie for dessert – sooooooo good!!!!!! 
  • Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar: We love to drive up to Kihei for the sushi at Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar Restaurant. There’s a location in Kapalua, but it’s often more crowded and a further drive from our hotel Wailea. We’ve been to both locations and the food is outstanding at both Maui Sansei restaurants. Last time we visited on Saturday nights, they offered 50% off the menu, and karaoke from 10pm to midnight. They also had an early bird special at 5pm for half off the sushi menu when we visited last time. 50% off delicious sushi is an amazing deal!! (I recommend calling ahead to confirm they still do this! I will report back after my upcoming trip!) Even though it’s mostly an adult crowd, we’ve always taken our kid and seen other families there having a blast. If you are dining at the non-discounted times you can easily make a reservation on Open Table.  The menu at Sansei Restaurant is really terrific. I highly advise starting with some saki, ordering up a Panko-Crusted Fresh Ahi Sashami roll, Sansei Style Ahi Poke, Matsuhisa Style Miso Butterfish, and any rolls and specials your server recommends
  • Honokowai Okazuya Restaurant and Deli: this is a total dive spot, but it’s some of the best fish and Asian food we’ve had in Maui, not to mention, the best bang for your buck! The strip mall spot is open for lunch and dinner, and you can even take it to go if you want to bring it back to your hotel pool. The fish sampler is a great choice, and I love the Tuna and the Ono.
  • Merriman’sA beautiful restaurant, and a great place for a fancy dinner. Everything at Merriman’s  is farm to table and delicious. Plan to arrive before sunset because it’s a gorgeous place to have a drink and watch the sunset.
  • Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante : When staying in Wailea, we like to walk down to the Four Seasons hotel and have lunch at the poolside restaurant Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante. Da Cheeseburger is outstanding, and their bartenders make the BEST EVER Mai Tais served in fresh pineapples!
  • Slappy Cakes Maui: Amazing breakfast place where you make your own pancakes right on your table. It’s really fun for kids, and naturally, my son Harry loves it! We always visit at least once when we’re on Maui.
  • Leilani’s on the Beach: In the Whaler’s Village, this is a great spot for lunch, happy hour or dinner on the beach. Don’t miss the Hula Pie for dessert…it’s legendary!
  • Lappert’s Hawaii: With several locations including Whaler’s Village and Lahaina, we always make several stops for Hawaiian homemade ice cream. They make their own waffle cones and ice cream, and it’s all delicious. They also have DOLE WHIP!!!

Best places to eat in Maui with kids - Well Traveled Kids


Things to Do in Maui with Kids

There are so many things to do in Maui with kids, you’ll soon see why we keep coming back! Before you go, grab a copy of Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. It’s the absolute best Maui guidebook for reliable tips on what to do. It has great recommendations on drives, beaches, waterfalls, restaurants etc. This guy’s never steered us wrong for sightseeing or restaurants or stuff to do.

  • Beaches: there are so many amazing beaches in Maui for kids its worth leaving your hotel to explore. That’s the best way to meet locals and maybe even learn to surf. If you go to Wailea during the day you should really walk on the beach walk that goes behind all the hotels and go sink your toes in the sand a bit.
  • Boating: book a whale watching or snorkeling excursion, or a booze cruise. Our absolute favorite Maui tour is the Whale Watching trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation. If you visit Maui in winter, plan this for early in your trip in case there is a weather cancellation. This way, you’ll still have time to re-book before you go home. 
  • Luau: In my opinion the Old Lahaina Luau is the best luau in Hawaii. As soon as you have your travel dates, decide which night you want to attend the Old Lahaina Luau and make reservations ASAP. The luau grounds are amazing, and they have all kinds of Hawaiian props and photographers ready to take awesome pics of you and your family. The drinks are amazing, too! I’m not a huge fan of authentic luau food, but the show is the best and so worth it!
  • Lahaina Town: plan an evening to stroll around Lahaina town. There are lots of cool shops and galleries, bars and restaurants. One of our favorite stops is the rooftop bar at Fleetwood’s on Front Street. About 30 minutes before sundown, grab a seat and a drink for their sunset ceremony. Every night, they will have either a Scottish bagpiper or a Hawaiian kumu performing. On Saturdays, they have both performers, so we recommend going on a Saturday.)
  • Shopping:
    There is a mall near Grand Wailea that we always visit The Shops at Wailea, but the best place to shop in Maui is at Whalers Village in Ka’anapali Beach.

Best things to do in Maui with kids - Well Traveled Kids


More Maui Travel Tips for Families

Just a few more tips as you begin to plan your Maui family vacation:

  • Car Rental: You really want a car to be able to explore Maui at your own pace. As soon as you have your flights, make sure you reserve a car as prices go up as it closer to your arrival date. We love having a Jeep or a convertible to make the most of the Maui sunshine.
  • Plan to stop for groceries and snacks upon arrival!  Pop into Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway or Costco before you head to your hotel. These stores are all near the airport, and are a great place to stock up on water and snacks before heading to your resort.  You’ll save a ton of money by shopping here, rather than the resort communities. Your hotel will most likely have a fridge, so it’s nice not paying out the nose for water and food all day, every day. These shops also have some of the best souvenirs, often the same ones you see in the resort gift shops, for much lower prices.

Don’t over-schedule!

Despite all the amazing things to do in Maui with kids, my best advice is: don’t over-schedule! It’s great to just enjoy an island day and see where your day takes you. Make sure you leave some slack in your schedule to just enjoy your vacation. 

 

 

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Adrian H. Wood http://www.talesofaneducateddebutante.com/ <![CDATA[Our Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya Vacation Was…]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7869 2018-12-15T12:41:32Z 2018-12-11T18:22:13Z Disclosure: My family and I were hosted for a Hard Rock All Inclusive vacation by Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya for purposes of Review. Thank you to everyone at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya  for an unforgettable vacation! All opinions are my own.  Super Fun Our Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya was super fun....

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Disclosure: My family and I were hosted for a Hard Rock All Inclusive vacation by Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya for purposes of Review. Thank you to everyone at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya  for an unforgettable vacation! All opinions are my own.


 Super Fun

Our Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya was super fun. As a family of six, we don’t often agree on activities, but at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, it was easy! We could swim, hang on the beach, race on the water slide, try out the zip line, and have a bite to eat whenever we grew hungry. Whether yummy ice cream or chocolate eclairs from Cafetto, located on site of the Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya.

Hard Rock Hotels Review - Well Traveled Kids

Relaxing 

As many activities as were available. It was easy to find time and space to relax at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. I took a mom break and tried out the largest spa in the Caribbean, located on site of the Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya. I booked a massage and spent some quiet time in the steam room. My husband and I enjoyed some quiet beach time while the kids were busy with planned activities. Those activities were offered at no charge through the resort. I also enjoyed my coffee almost every morning on my private terrace with a view of the ocean. Private terrace was available with every room, complete with a hammock and view of the ocean.

 Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya

Beautiful

The lush grounds of the resort beckoned us to explore the many paths and trails that connected our resort to Heaven, the neighboring Hard Rock resort. My children marveled at the crystal blue colors of the sea that you could see from almost any spot of Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya and we decided there was nothing more lovely than white sand and an endless ocean.

 

Review of Hard Rock Cancun with kids - Well Traveled Kids.com

Delicious

Each day, we planned where we would have our all-inclusive meals. We learned early that it was helpful to make reservations. Reservations were easy to cancel if we got busy or felt like seeing a show. There were several go to restaurants at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya that didn’t require a reservation. We enjoyed The Market most days for breakfast. You could order an omelet, choose from fresh pastries or have a good old-fashioned bowl of oatmeal or fruit loops. Our children loved the wood-fired pizza oven of Pizzeto, located conveniently by the pool and I found myself adoring cheeseburgers grilled right by the pool. We made reservations at Ipanema where we had a “fancy” steak dinner with our older three children. It was conveniently located to the Kids’ Club where our four years old had dinner and played with water balloons!

Our last evening’s dinner was truly a show, with a well-executed performance at Zen, right off the lobby. Traditional Asian cuisine and an amazing chef that dished up Hibachi chicken and steak, as well as some scrambled eggs for our picky eater!

 

Kid-centric 

The Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya is made for children without losing its five-star appeal for parents who long for beauty and serenity amidst child-friendly activities. If anything, we needed a few more days to take advantage of all the fun here. It was hard to choose between snorkeling or floating on the lazy river between trips down the tunnel water slide or the zip line, a short climb away. We adored the evening shows and lobby fun which included a magician and whacking a piñata.

Kids activities at Hard Rock Cancun

Off the Wall Fun 

Steps away from Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya is the brand new Woodward, a one-of-a-kind experience in 20,000 sq. ft. of indoor space. Our youngest adored the two-hour slot each morning for children under age six where he bounced and slid and climbed, all with the help and assistance of incredibly kind and welcoming staff members. While he played, my older children took an opportunity to play some video games and foosball over at the Cavern Club, just for older kids, part of theHard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. When it was their turn at the Woodward, they explored the ramps with scooters and even pretend skis. Yes, a wide array of sports programs were available including BMX, skateboarding and indoor dry land snowboarding and skiing. All training equipment is included in your entry pass, available by the hour, day or week.

Review of Hard Rock Cancun WoodWard

Adventurous 

Several afternoons of our stay at Maya, we took advantage of hotel excursions and explored the community of Riviera Maya. Our favorite trips organized byHard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya was to the caves located along the Yucatan peninsula. Never before had we heard the term “cenote” and quickly, we were hooked. The Hard Rock All InclusiveRiviera Maya led us to two of the region’s most incredible cenotes, natural sinkholes that expose groundwater underneath, making for a refreshing and amazing swim experience. My older children worked up the nerve and jumped from the twenty-foot cliffs, manned by cenote employees and competent tour guides provided by the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Don’t forget to bring some money to purchase fresh mango and watermelon, freshly cut and served by local vendors.

Things to do in Cancun with kids

Unique

The Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya directed us to take advantage of swimming with whale sharks. It was once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with whale sharks. They migrate each August a short drive away from the resort. TheHard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya lined us up for a boat trip and nearly thirty minutes later, we came upon dozens of the worlds largest and kindest creature. Our boat captain directed us when and where to jump and we marveled at the beautiful creatures. Following the experience, we traveled to a lovely beach. Our captain and first mate fixed fresh fish on the back of the boat.

Family Friendly

There was something for everyone everywhere that we traveled on the grounds of the Hard Rock All Inclusive Riviera Maya. The pools included a lazy river, water slide, and a swim-up bar. It also had a zero entry kids’ area, complete with play equipment, small slides, and fountains. Never leave the water and order a daiquiri or a chocolate milkshake hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.

Review of Hard Rock Cancun for kids

We can’t wait to go back!


Photos courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

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Sarah Hirsch http://www.WellTraveledKids.com <![CDATA[The Most Magical Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=6638 2018-12-12T16:20:41Z 2018-12-05T00:36:26Z Why stay home for the holidays?  Especially when so many luxury family resorts go above and beyond to create an enchanted holiday celebration for their guests! I’ve researched the top family resorts with the most unique, lavish and fun family offerings for the 2018 holiday season so that you don’t have to. Each of these...

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Why stay home for the holidays?  Especially when so many luxury family resorts go above and beyond to create an enchanted holiday celebration for their guests! I’ve researched the top family resorts with the most unique, lavish and fun family offerings for the 2018 holiday season so that you don’t have to. Each of these luxury family resorts offers a one-of-a-kind holiday experience with a little something for everyone.

Check out these outstanding luxury family resorts. Each goes above and beyond to make sure guests have an unforgettable holiday stay.

Best Hotels for Hanukkah - Well Traveled Kids


 
Imagine cozying up for the holidays at the North Pole (aka Montana) at The Resort at Paws Up –

Five-star amenities under a starry sky—and then, of course, there’s that twinkling star on top of the tree. That’s Christmastime in Montana. The Resort at Paws Up will make your holiday dreams come true. Enjoy real-life sleigh rides, gingerbread house building, game nights, dogsledding, bonfires, even a Christmas Eve kid’s party—all set against a background of snow-covered mountains. Each guest has their own tree, in their own private home, and everyone gets a personal visit from Santa—complete with an exclusive Paws Up Christmas stocking. The whole family will fall in love with the Paws Up experience!

Naughty or nice—everyone is treated to fantastic holiday meals artfully prepared by acclaimed Executive Chef Sunny Jin. Join the fun at their amazing restaurants or they’ll happily deliver your meals to your luxury home. Treat yourself to some chill time at the spa, or browse for unique gifts at the Wilderness Outpost. After one amazing night, you’ll know why the holidays at The Resort at Paws Up are truly magical.

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


 
Celebrate in the Miami sunshine at Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach –

Ring in the holidays building sand castles and playing by the pool with the family. Check into the ultra luxe Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach. Kids will love the special holiday activities.  Some of this year’s holiday kids activities include crafting ornaments, face painting, balloon twisting, glitter tattoos, caricatures, and gingerbread houses. Families will love exploring nature with the sea turtle interaction activity. 

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, foodie families will love holiday brunch at AQ Chop House by Il Mulino. And on New Years Eve, the entire family can choose from two festive parties on site.

Ring in the New Year at Il Mulino New York, savoring Chef Michael Mazza’s specially curated four-course dinner menu with premium open bar and live music. And AQ Chop House by Il Mulino is also hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner with live music, a DJ and spectacular ocean views. Enjoy a premium open bar and the most exquisite buffet, featuring lobster, caviar, oysters, snow crabs, and much more.

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


 Celebrate the festivities of the season with a family ski vacation at Montage Deer Valley –

This holiday season, sink into the snow-filled festivities at Montage Deer Valley. Beginning December 2nd-10th, the resort kicks off the holidays with a traditional menorah lighting ceremony for each night of Hanukkah. A jam-packed December schedule of family-fun events culminates in Christmas dinners perfect for the whole family or for a cozy romantic evening. Indulge in post-ski festivities at the resort’s luxurious Veuve Clicquot après ski lounge. Ring in the New Year at one of several New Year’s Eve celebrations from the family-friendly dinner in Apex to an upscale sushi dinner or the black tie soiree and kids’ paintbox New Year’s Eve celebration, there’s sure to be something for each guest!

Best luxury family resorts - Well Traveled Kids


 
Start a new holiday tradition at Hawk’s Cay Resort

Families looking to start a new holiday tradition in the warmth of the Florida Keys can sunbathe alongside Santa and his elves, create gingerbread houses and design Christmas cards during Hawks Cay’s 25 days of Christmas.
Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves make Hawks Cay Resort their home for the 25 days leading up to Christmas to entertain families with unique activities. The Christmas package includes: Elf Tuck-Ins, Story time and hot chocolate with Mrs. Clause, Santa’s workshop, gingerbread houses, carolers, and letters to Santa.
Families will also enjoy the Christmas “Spirit” Card which includes complimentary Christmas cocktails at Angler and Ale, Sixty-One Prime Bar and Tiki Grill Bar.

Christmas in the Florida Keys


 
Party with Mickey Mouse and friends at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort –

Everybody loves Walt Disney World at the Holidays. Spend more time making memories at the Disney Parks by enjoying the Extra Magic Hours benefit, available to guests with valid theme park admission, through December 31, 2019. The Extra Magic Hours benefit means that each day Four Seasons Resort Orlando guests can enjoy select attractions as one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks opens early or extends later, and during select dates, the Extra Magic Hours benefit may also be offered at a Disney Water Park. 

It’s so wonderful to get out of the crowds in the park and come home to a luxury family resorts stay at Fours Seasons Resort Orlando. From the royal palm-lined pathway lined with twinkling lights, to the holiday inspired floral arrangements and incredible Penguins Holiday Party chocolate display in the lobby, Four Seasons glows with festive spirit that is sure to delight anyone who walks through the door. 

Families love a stay in the park view rooms. Each offer prime viewing of the nightly fireworks from a spacious furnished terrace. A stay in the Resort’s top suites, including the Royal, Presidential and Grand suites, makes celebrating the holidays even more special. For guests of the Royal and Presidential suites, eight hours of butler service per day is included on the day of arrival and the day of departure.

After a day in the parks or playing in the resort pools, holiday treats are always a hit. From peppermint s’mores at PB&G to holiday gelato flavors of chocolate cinnamon, gingerbread, and crushed candy cane at Lickety Split, the holidays are the perfect time to indulge. Lickety Split will also offer an array of holiday treats, such as pistachio and cranberry bark, pecan toffee, mini mint chocolate cookies and more to satisfy a sweet tooth. The whole family will enjoy complimentary cookie decorating with Chef Rabii, offered to Resort guests on select dates.

The Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) complimentary kids camp has an array of organized activities planned for Resort guests throughout the festive season. From candy cane scavenger hunts to animal visits, snowflake water games, make-your-own reindeer food, snowman sack races, pin the heart on the Grinch, face painting, and much more, the KFAS team has a thoughtfully orchestrated schedule to provide fun for all ages. Kids will love the poolside viewings of holiday movie classics such as The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol plus making gingerbread houses and writing letters to Santa!

Best place to stay for Disney Christmas - Well Traveled Kids


 
Don’t be a Grinch! Celebrate the season with Santa and Mrs. Clause at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

There’s no reason to be a Grinch this holiday season, especially if you are lucky enough to be a guest of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The holidays at Kiawah Island Golf Resort begin when the staff at the Forbes Five Star-rated Sanctuary Hotel deck the halls for the holiday season. The official tree-lighting ceremony begins with great pomp and circumstance followed by sing-along Christmas caroling. Kids of all ages pack the hotel’s Morning Room to decorate holiday cookies each Saturday through the weekend before Christmas.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated holiday event is the grand arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus — via golf cart, naturally. After appearing on the Grand Lawn, the Klauses head indoors to the lobby where children of all ages have the chance to visit with Santa as parents get a photo for their holiday cards. After visiting with Santa, Mrs. Claus reads Christmas stories beside the Morning Room fireplace. Later, the Sanctuary Pastry Team unveils the astonishing annual gingerbread house creation this year features a Grinch-inspired vignette.

The festive season doesn’t end with Christmas as the celebration continues for a week culminating on New Year’s Day. New Year’s is truly a family occasion with numerous celebrations and parties specially geared for guests of all ages. At Night Heron Park, guests of all ages enjoy a bonfire and s’mores, and the family New Year’s Celebration culminates with a thrilling fireworks display. Back at the Sanctuary, Kamp Kiawah throws an age appropriate party for young kids, while the Teen’s New Year’s Bash includes music, video games, snacks and crafts.

On New Year’s Day, after a special brunch at Jasmine Porch, guests can work off the excesses of the night before with a 5K fun run on the beach and Polar Bear Plunge in the Atlantic.

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Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai –

Gather your ohana and travel to Hawaii Island for a stay at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Partake in festive seasonal activities with the spirit of aloha by unwinding at the beach, snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish in King’s Pond, or playing with the kids by the pools and breathing in the fresh island air.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has a full itinerary of daily activities for all ages. And they offer special holiday events such as a fabulous luau and Polynesian show, complimentary s’mores and stargazing.  Guests staying the week of Christmas can reserve a spot at the Kumukea Beach Cook-Out for a fun toes in the sand night with Chef’s stations, house-made cocktails and paired wines at the beautiful Kumukea Beach. Families will love exploring the Trading Company Hawaiian style block party with food trucks and stations serving up delightfully savory dishes. Artisan booths and entertainment complete the fun, casual scene. 

Holiday dining is all part of the amazing experience with an incredible family Christmas feast at Ulu Ocean Grill. And there’s no better way to ring in 2019 than at the Moulin Rouge themed New Year’s Eve gala under the stars complete with fireworks.

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


A wide array of exclusive family activities kick off a magical winter Ski Season at Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

This holiday winter season, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, is the top destination for the ultimate relaxed California luxury family experience. As the only ski-in/ski-out destination in Lake Tahoe, families will indulge in unparalleled luxury with world-class ski valet services, award-winning dining and culinary offerings, lavish seasonal spa treatments, and the finest hospitality all around.

From the moment of arrival, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe provides a seamless experience for the perfect luxury family ski vacation. When not on the slopes, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers an array of festive family-friendly activities and programs around the resort.

Some favorite activities include the new Very Important Kid (VIK) program, the nightly Marshmology s’mores roasting experience, special appearances from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a life-sized gingerbread ski gondola and a dozen festively-decorated holiday trees on display, and much more. On December 21 and December 28, families can partake in Stars & S’mores with Tahoe Star Tours for an engaging fireside astronomy session that includes a science-based conversation about the cosmos, poetry reading, and telescopic viewing, followed by s’mores around the resort’s outdoor fire pit.

To bring in the holiday cheer while away from home, the resort offers an in-room holiday trees package to be purchased and set up by staff in guestrooms, suites and residences this season. Artificial trees decorated with strung lights and bulbs are available in a range of sizes varying from 4’ to 6’ and are offered.

A luxury winter experience is never complete without fabulous dining options. To celebrate the holidays, the resort will offer a festive Holiday Dinner and Holiday Buffet on Christmas, as well as a New Year’s Eve Dinner  and New Year’s Day Brunch.

Best luxury ski vacation - Well Traveled Kids


Deck the halls in Chicago this holiday at Peninsula Hotel Chicago –

The Peninsula is dedicated to creating lasting memories—holidays are special opportunities to provide the setting for magical moments for families. The holidays are nothing short of spectacular at The Peninsula Chicago, with delicious cuisine, festive décor, joyful celebrations, a visit from Santa and Peter Bear, and The Peninsula Sky Rink’s seasonal return—all providing the perfect backdrop for this festive season.

Take the family ice skating at The Peninsula Sky Rink perched above Chicago’s bustling Michigan Avenue surrounded by the city’s skyscrapers and twinkling lights. Enjoy the spirit of the season with the holiday afternoon tea at The Lobby amid live music around The Peninsula’s joyous Christmas tree. Indulge in special delicacies, including house-made scones, finger sandwiches and pastries.

Book your family stay for the Merry and Bright Chicago Family Package. This package includes in-room holiday décor including a Gingerbread playhouse for the children, a holiday welcome amenity, family passes to Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and
Industry, Complimentary skating and a round of drinks for two at The Sky Rink, Chocolate Bar for four, and in-room Christmas movie library!

Christmas is one of the special holidays at The Peninsula. An exquisite Christmas Day brunch buffet is offered in The Lobby and is nothing short
of spectacular. A children’s station with child-friendly delicacies will be available along with the decadent spread for adults. Entertainment includes a live string quartet, a children’s lounge and a magician for young patrons, and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus under The Lobby’s magnificent tree.

Guests can begin their New Year’s resolutions after savoring the extravagant New Year’s Day brunch in The Lobby, kicking off the New Year to the sounds of a string quartet with an indulgent feast of festive foods.

Best Chicago Christmas Hotel

 


 
This year ask Santa for a tan at Eau Palm Beach –

Press pause this holiday season with a family getaway to Eau Palm Beach Resort. Go for a swim with Santa, and be sure to take the whole family out for the Tired Elf Scavenger Hunt.

Relax back in your exclusive club-level accommodations.  Sign the kids up for special kids club programs (such as an ugly holiday sweater making party) while you relax, sip champagne and nibble on cupcakes at the Forbes Five Star Eau SpaStay for New Year’s Eve and Toast Around the World with a glass of bubbly each hour till midnight oceanside at Breeze Ocean Kitchen. Kids will love partying the night away at AquaNuts New Years Eve Party.

 

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


Ski into the holidays at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole –

First Ski all day! Then head home to Four Seasons Jackson Hole for festive activities the whole family will love. 

The Resort’s dog Tillie will be welcoming guests this winter with her very own cartoon book.  Local artist Greta Gretzinger partnered with the Resort to bring Tillie of the Tetons to life.  The cartoon books will be available upon check in.  The Resort has also partnered with Teton County Library to feature weekly story time, where young guests, together with their parents, are welcome to cuddle up alongside Tillie and enjoy some literary adventure. 

This winter, guests will have a unique chance to capture the beauty of the Milky Way with the Resort’s astronomy and astrophotography partner Teton Skies. During the Night Sky Photography Experience, guests will be transported to a special dark sky location within Grand Teton National Park, where the Resort’s dedicated team of professional astronomers and photographers will lead them on an exploration of the cosmos and provide instruction on the best tools and techniques for capturing the Milky Way in all its glory. The experience includes guided use of our large diameter telescopes, catered refreshments, cosy blankets and heaters, and the use of iPads loaded with special stargazing software.

The signature hot chocolate at Ascent Lounge is not to be missed. Indulge on the house made cocoa while sweet peppermint marshmallows melt in to the creamy mix. Know for her ability to wow, Chef Rhonda Ashton did not miss a trick with this wintery must-have delight. To top it off the hot chocolate will be served in a custom designed mug by local artist Katy Ann Fox. For guests looking to make their own creation, they are invited to join weekly mixology classes available in the lounge with lead mixologist Adam Reed. Guests will receive a 30 minute tutorial on how to make the perfect wintery cocktail from hot toddy to mulled wine.

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


Head towards San Diego, and ring in the New Year California-style at Hotel Del Coronado –

Experience the magic of the holidays when America’s beachfront legend transforms into a whimsical winter wonderland. Families staying at The Del will love ice skating by the sea on the beach front ice rink, brunching with Santa, and gathering at sunset in Santa hats to roast holiday s’mores with your toes in the sand for the Jingle Roast.

Kids and teens can ring in the New Year in style at The Del. The party includes dinner, ice skating, special shows, games, s’mores roast, and a midnight toast with sparkling cider. Teens ages 13-17 can also hang out in their own lounge and watch movies. Hotel del Coronado’s magnificent Crown Room will turn into ‘Club Crown’ to ring in 2018. Adult party guests will enjoy dancing to music from DJ Hevrock, dessert, midnight champagne toast and a cash bar.

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


 
Enjoy southern holiday traditions at Sea Island Resort –

Maybe the most festive of the luxury family resorts can be found in Georgia? From elf tuck-ins and live carolers to Santa sightings, there are many reasons to head to Sea Island Resort this Christmas holiday.

First, join the Reindog Parade for the family pups dressed up in their Christmas best. Next, compete in the Sea Island famed Bingo. Then get busy building gingerbread houses. Next take the family on a pheasant shoot.  Then dress in your holiday best for  a culinary trip to Italy during the “Feast of Seven Fishes” dinner in The Cloister Wine Cellar. On Christmas Eve, grab your antlers and sleigh bells for the Reindeer Dash Family Fun Run. Most importanly the annual Children’s Christmas Party begins at 10 a.m., where the biggest wonder of the day will be Santa’s gift.

Gather as a family for the Christmas Eve Buffet in Mizner Ballroom. Then attend the annual Yule log ceremony later that evening. On Christmas day, special brunches and dinners are on tap, along with a white Christmas at the Snow Day at Retreat.

Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays


 
Surf like Santa at Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel –

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel invites guests to experience the surprise and delight of the holiday season. The resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with sparkling lights, sweet treats and special events.

The most noteworthy  holiday family events include a Gingerbread decorating class and a stand-up paddle boarding and surfing competition. Men, women and children dress as holiday-inspired characters and surf or stand-up paddle board to benefit Surfers Healing. Afterwards, a holiday surfboard auction with dozens of surfboards also will be on display throughout the resort lobby for bidding. Other fun family activities include a holiday tea, gingerbread extravaganza, holiday storytelling, and a bountiful Christmas buffet of homemade favorites.

Holiday Tree Lighting_Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel


Join the holiday festivities at the Chatham Bars Inn –

From cooking classes and gingerbread-making workshops, to holiday-themed events and festivities, guests and locals alike can celebrate this holiday season on the seaside at Chatham Bars Inn, the iconic Chatham retreat on Cape Cod. The resort offers a series of festive holiday experiences for
guests and locals celebrating in the Cape.

The offerings planned by the resort’s world-class activities and culinary team will be sure to delight. Some of the most popular activities include a Teddy Bear Tea Party, Christmas story reading, Christmas carolers, gingerbread workshop, Santa’s workshop, and cooking classes.

Chatham Bars Inn is the perfect place for a delicious and cozy holiday celebration. The gorgeous and charming resort welcomes all gather at the table for a holiday meal. Culinary offerings include: Christmas Grand Buffet at STARS, Christmas Menu at Sacred Cod, New Year’s Eve Dinner at STARS, and a New Year’s Eve Party at Monomoy..

Best Holiday Resort experience - well traveled kids


Spend the holidays in the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona at The Phoenician Scottsdale –

S’mores and desert stargazing, and lighted Cactus Garden tours, are just two of the many signature activities to expect.  Enjoy breakfast with Santa, and then visit his workshop, where you can create special crafts – and treats.  Participate in the lighting of the Menorah, and partake in some Sufganiyot (donuts with red jelly filling).  And don’t miss out on the flying trapeze. These are just a few of the dozens of holiday activities available to guests at the freshly redesigned Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale.

Best luxury Scottsdale hotel - Well Traveled Kids

 


 
Learn from the pros at the Gingerbread Academy at the Monarch Beach Resort

Monarch Beach Resort is the perfect destination for a holiday getaway. Join the Monarch Beach Resort Pastry Team in the sweet tradition of decorating gourmet gingerbread houses.  Be on the lookout for Santa who will stop by during every academy session.  Families take their photos with Santa and leave with having made an incredible custom gingerbread creation.

Guests during the holiday season will enjoy festive teas, Hanukkah Menorah candle lighting, and out-of-this- world culinary activities. Kid will love heading to the kids club for holiday fun including scavenger hunts, creating winter canvas prints, making beaded snowflakes, and sea glass necklaces.

Best hotel kids club - Well Traveled Kids

 


Gingerbread & LEGO holiday fun at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa –

This holiday season, take your kids for Christmas in Palm Desert California at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. The Desert Springs culinary team Gingereers decorate the Main Lobby with a giant LEGO building blocks gingerbread house. Drawing inspiration from the celebrated childhood brand LEGO- and lending a playful nod to the building blocks of the 450-acre resort’s current renovations – the gingerbread house features a second level balcony and is comprised of nearly 200 pounds of sugar, 400 pounds of icing, and 800 multicolored cookie bricks. Adorning the house are 1,400 lego lollipops, 100 pounds of LEGO hard candies, and over 1,000 gumdrops. 3 ft tall LEGO men and women will line the entrance of the gingerbread house, greeting guests each day through the end of December.

Santa and his little elf helper will take over the Desert Springs boat dock for photos with Santa and private 20 minute boat rides through Venetian-inspired waterways overlooking the resort’s festive décor. Complimentary refreshments and house made cookies will be served.

Christmas in Palm Springs - Well Traveled Kids

 


 
Sip a Naughty or Spice cinnamon and chai martini at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE 

This winter, the downtown Los Angeles hotel JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE brings back the first-ever live life-size gingerbread bar – Santa’s Tavern – a modern wooden lodge, comprised of 1,300 lbs. of spiced cookie dough and sugar. Elaborately-decorated bar tools and spirit bottles coated with candy and cookie dough line the inside of the edible watering hole. Each afternoon beginning at 4:00 p.m. Santa’s Tavern serves a festive rotation of holiday refreshments such as the Naughty or Spice cinnamon and chai martini.

Best Christmas Hotels - Well Traveled Kids


Pin these Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays for later!

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Photos of Luxury Family Resorts for the Holidays courtesy of The Resort at Paws Up, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Phoenician Scottsdale, Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Peninsula Hotel Chicago, Eau Palm Beach, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, Hotel Del Coronado, Sea Island Resort, Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

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David Shindler <![CDATA[Family Christmas Cruise: Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7710 2018-09-13T18:58:19Z 2018-09-04T11:08:20Z Cruising is our family’s preferred vacation mode, so when reviewing our options for winter vacation, we decided to look at Christmas cruises. We’ve enjoyed multigenerational family cruises on the Celebrity Reflection as well as Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. When it was time to plan to the Shindler Family Cruise Escapade of 2017, we chose the...

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Cruising is our family’s preferred vacation mode, so when reviewing our options for winter vacation, we decided to look at Christmas cruises. We’ve enjoyed multigenerational family cruises on the Celebrity Reflection as well as Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. When it was time to plan to the Shindler Family Cruise Escapade of 2017, we chose the Christmas sailing of Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. The Allure of the Seas is the second build Oasis Class Ship, in a series of four.

Allure of the Seas Arrival

The sky blue hull of the mega Allure of the Seas glistened as we pulled over the bridge, nearing Port Everglades, on Florida’s I-595.  Kids, wife and mother-in-law all cheered as we approached the drop off point, in great anticipation of getting aboard our happy place. I, as usual, started crying happy tears, knowing that the next 7 days would write another great chapter in our cruise history book.

Bags taken, rapid check-in, the obligatory pre-cruise portrait taken, and we boarded through the Royal Caribbean Diamond Member entry point and we went from car to ship in under 10 minutes.  Talk about starting a vacation fast. Royal Caribbean knows how to get you on vacation, FAST!

Royal Caribbean family cruise tips - Well Traveled Kids

Allure of the Seas Neighborhoods

Exploring Allure of the Seas with kids is one big adventure. Each Oasis Class ship has a similar layout, but each one has a unique theme. In order to make this mega ship feel organized and smaller than it actually is, the Allure of the Seas is broken into seven neighborhoods. We boarded on the Royal Promenade which has the vibe of a high-end mall, with several venues, including:

  • The Café Promenade – great for quick bites and drinks!
  • Starbucks
  • Sorrento’s – great for real Italian pizza
  • Rising Tide Bar – the world’s first moving bar at sea

The Central Park neighborhood brings the outdoors in, with Royal Caribbean’s interpretation of a park at sea. The open-air space has live greenery, singing birds, several restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating, high end stores and some creative bars.  There are walking paths which wind through the area, and one may feel they are in New York’s Central Park….at sea. Some of the highlights of Central Park include: 

  • Chops Grille
  • 150 Central Park – the most exclusive dining venue on the ship
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • ParkCafé
  • Dazzles dance lounge
  • BRITTO Art Gallery
  • The largest Coach store at sea

The Boardwalk neighborhood is an interpretation of a seaside boardwalk. It is always jumping, and a great place to spend hours for fun and relaxation. Boardwalk is great for family fun with the colorful original carousel, carnival games, casual eateries and retail outlets. Favorite spots in Boardwalk include:

  • Johnny Rocket’s
  • Rita’s Cantina
  • The Boardwalk Dog House
  • Aqua Theater amphitheater

Allure of the Seas Entertainment

The Allure of the Seas has endless entertainment options. During our Christmas cruise, the main show in the Amber Theatre was the Broadway Show of Mamma Mia. There are generally many shows in the main show room, but the featured Mamma Mia was amazing. Our kids continued singing all the songs, and made us download the soundtrack as soon as we got home. All of the shows are kid friendly, and most children rush out of dinner to catch one of the shows playing each night.

The water shows in the Aqua Theater have professional divers performing stunts from 10 stories above the deck. The aquatic acrobatic and synchronized swimming performances put the audience in AWE. Make sure to get to the shows early so the kiddos can get into the splash zone, but mom and dad may want to sit further back, so not to get drenched. It is quite amazing to see the water acts when the ship is at full speed in the open seas.

The ice shows are in Studio B on Deck 4. By night, professional ice shows are demonstrated, by day the ice show rink opens up for Free Skating.  There is so much entertainment on this ship; every family’s desire should be met once or twice a day.

Multigenerational Family Cruise - Well Traveled Kids

Allure of the Seas Dining

Dining on Allure of the Seas with kids is very inspiring. From a Kummelweck Roast Beef Sandwich in Central Park to a five-course dinner at 150 Central Park, every kid and kid-at-heart can eat to their heart’s content. We ate 4 out of 7 dinners in the main dining room. It always amazes me how the chefs can cook meals for 6,000 people, and still satisfy special requests. Somehow, each meal comes out hot and perfect. My boy, Grant, says Royal Caribbean has the best chicken fingers! But when he is sailing, his palate is temped and satisfied with steaks and special pastas.

We also enjoyed dinner at Chops, our favorite steak house on the high seas. My daughter always orders a butterflied Filet Mignon and is already talking about visiting Chops on our upcoming Symphony of the Seas sailing. 150 Central Park was a treat for us and our kids. A five-course first-class meal where my kids were treated like royalty, as were their mom, dad and Nana. The other dining venue we visited was Giovanni’s table. This Italian venue can easily compare to some of the best Chicago and New York Italian restaurants. The kids tried multiple entrées and they were so full, they didn’t even have dessert.

There are so many dining options on Allure of the Seas, from a Brazilian Steakhouse to Mexican food. Fine dining to fill your tummy, and having great food, is spot on when sailing on the Allure. Don’t forget the unlimited self serve ice cream cones!

Allure of the Seas Pools & Water Sports

Water, water, and more water.  Sailing on the ocean is not only where the water ends. My kids were in the water for 6 hours a day when we were at sea. I did notice the newly added life guards, and I also noticed they were attentive and great at their jobs. There is lots of water and lots of place to have fun and stay cool. By the time we returned back to Fort Lauderdale, Samantha was ready for some California Surf competitions. Don’t miss these fun water attractions on the ship:

  • Two FlowRider surf simulators
  • H20 Zone kid’s area with dedicated infant and toddler pool
  • Beach Pool with sun umbrellas and zero depth entry
  • Sports pool, where afternoon sports include basketball, badminton and water polo, while morning hours are dedicated to lap swimming. 
  • The Main Pool, two side-by-side whirlpools and more sun loungers than any other cruise ship at sea

Royal Caribbean Cruise with kids - Well Traveled Kids

Multigenerational Family Cruise

This was a multi-generational trip, so we cannot forget Nana. With Samantha in tow, Nana braved the Zip Line over the Boardwalk. It was such a treat seeing my mother-in-law get over any fears she may have had, and launch off on her Zip Line adventure over the Boardwalk. Nana also took many spins on the merry-go-round with Grant, and they had heated competitions on theAllure Dunes, the Miniature Golf Course. Next year, we look forward to seeing her ring the bell at the top of one of the dual rock climbing walls.

Allure of the Seas Cabins

Royal Caribbean’s cabins are some of the biggest in the industry. We stayed in two adjoining Boardwalk facing balcony staterooms. The beauty of a Boardwalk balcony cabin is that you can watch all of the action from your balcony. You can see the aqua show, the zip-line, the action on the boardwalk, and even the ocean wakes. We view it as the best of both worlds, and our kids eyes glow every time they step out on the balconies. In our cabin, we were greeted with some amazing snacks, ranging from cookies and milk, to chocolate covered strawberries, cheese platters, and veggie trays. We loved the extra special bottle of champagne for mom, dad and Nana. Some other cabin options are interior cabins, ocean view staterooms with picture window, balcony cabins facing into the Central Park, Ocean view balcony cabin, and there are even two story suites with panoramic views.

Read more on how to choose your cruise ship cabin

Allure of the Seas Youth Program

The Adventure Ocean kids program is a well-monitored kids program. Kids are entertained from morning till night, so they can have an independent vacation from their parents, if they so desire. The Adventure Ocean program is split into different age groups, with age appropriate activities. Royal Tots is for the really little ones ranging from 6-36 months. 3-5 year olds are in the Aquanaut Program, 6-8 year olds are Explorers, and 9-11 year olds are Voyagers. Kids 12 and up have their own facilities, including areas called the Living Room, Fuel Teen Disco, and the Back Deck. There are areas for teens and tweens where they can feel like adults but still are supervised at all times. Royal Caribbean does offer “My Family Time Dining.”  This allows for the kids to be served quickly in the dining room, and then Adventure Ocean staff comes to whisk them away for an evening program in Adventure Ocean.

Our Next Multigenerational Family Cruise

This ship packs so much spectacular action, it is difficult to experience it all in seven days. This is why we plan our next Royal Caribbean adventure before our current cruise ends. Every time we disembark, the entire family cries, but we have the excitement for our next year voyage. Stay tuned for our New Year 2018 sailing aboard the new Symphony of the Seas.

Read: Tips for Booking a Family Cruise

One word sums it up. The Allure of the Seas is “AWESOME!”


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family christmas cruise

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Sarah Hirsch http://www.WellTraveledKids.com <![CDATA[Family Adventure at the Monterey Bay Aquarium]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7738 2018-08-31T04:56:22Z 2018-09-03T11:22:46Z Disclosure: Thanks to Monterey Bay Aquarium for hosting our visit. All opinions are my own Monterey Bay Aquarium is super famous and world-renowned for being one of the best aquariums in the country. Of course, we’re a little spoiled in Chicago with the Shedd Aquarium, so I expected this to be similar, but it was...

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Disclosure: Thanks to Monterey Bay Aquarium for hosting our visit. All opinions are my own


Monterey Bay Aquarium is super famous and world-renowned for being one of the best aquariums in the country. Of course, we’re a little spoiled in Chicago with the Shedd Aquarium, so I expected this to be similar, but it was a totally different experience. We visited during our California coast road trip from San Diego to San Francisco and it was one of the highlights of the trip. 

My 8 year old son Harry was excited to explore because in the movie “Finding Dory” the Marine Life Institute was based on the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Little Disney obsessed kids like mine will see a ton of similarities from the Pixar movie. Monterey Bay Aquarium definitely has a Pacific/West Coast feel compared to others we’ve visited and it’s a really fun place to explore.

Finding Dory at Montery Bay Aquarium - Well Traveled Kids

Read on for our tips on visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium with kids.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Tickets

I definitely recommend buying your Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets in advance so you can bypass the long line at the entrance. Your General Admission ticket includes all feedings and shows. You can pay extra for behind-the-scenes experiences, such as special tours, diving and sleepovers. Discount tickets are available with hotel packages, AAA memberhship, military and more. Check out the ticket page for details. The behind-the-scenes tours are a pretty reasonable price and look awesome for kids, but we didn’t have time on this visit.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Conservation

While many aquariums are controversial with animal rights activists, the Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a huge focus on conservation. Humane treatment and rescue of marine animals is stressed in every exhibit, at the feedings and by the speakers. This is the major difference I noticed between Monterey Bay and other aquariums. They go the extra mile to create natural habitats, and in many cases will release rehabilitated animals back into the wild. Conservation is first priority here, so you can be confident your family will have an enjoyable experience at no expense to the animals.

teaching kids conservation of the ocean at Monterey Bay Aquarium - Well Traveled Kids

Planning Your Monterey Bay Aquarium Itinerary

As soon as you arrive, be sure and grab a schedule for the day. A highlight of visiting Monterey Bay Aquarium is watching the feedings. The schedule tells you where they are and at what time. You can go online before you visit and map out your day so you can catch the best feedings. All of the featured feedings are really cool, and you should definitely plan your visit around the feeding times.

Monterey Bay Aquarium does an excellent job of explaining the habitat and lifestyles of the animals at feeding time. This is also the best time to view the sea animals, as they are alert and excited. After eating, they tend to be less active.

We spent 3-4 hours at the aquarium and saw pretty much everything, but if you have more time I recommend doing the tour. There’s also a cafeteria and a gift shop with really nice items.

Sea Otter Feeding at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Our favorite feeding was the sea otter feeding. This is one of the most popular feedings at the aquarium, so it gets crowded. My advice is to try to grab a spot at the upstairs viewing area 15 minutes before the scheduled feeding so you can get a spot at the glass. There are also TV screens showing the sea otter feeding, but it’s fun to be up against the glass.

Trainers hide the sea otter food in toys so it’s fun to watch them get their food. There are also outdoor viewing areas where you can see the wild sea lions and sea otters. It’s easy and fun to go back and forth between inside and outside.

Open Sea at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s largest exhibit is the Open Sea, where you can watch through a 90-foot window. This feeding is only done once a day and you don’t want to miss it. You watch on the screen what they’re doing up top in the open ocean. They feed tuna, giant turtles, sharks and sardines while you watch the animals playing and eating. There’s also a webcam if you want to get your kids excited before your visit!

Monterey Bay Aquarium tips for kids- Well Traveled Kids

Monterey Bay Aquarium Shows

All day long the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers live shows on many interesting topics. We thought the shows would be a movie to watch, but it was more like a TED talk where an expert speaker gives a presentation. The show we attended on sharks was really cool, and only lasted 15 minutes. By the end, my 7-year-old was getting antsy, so I wouldn’t recommend these shows for kids under seven.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Play Areas

For kids, you definitely want to go to the Splash Zone and the Rocky Shores where kids can touch stingrays, starfish, hermit crabs, and barnacles. Even the littlest kids will love a visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium. Unlike most aquariums, which can feel claustrophobic and dark, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has tall ceilings, wide open spaces, play areas, lots of windows and outdoor areas.


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Sarah Hirsch http://www.WellTraveledKids.com <![CDATA[Planning the Ultimate Montana Ranch Vacation at The Resort at Paws Up]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7756 2018-09-14T19:27:43Z 2018-08-30T16:41:53Z Disclosure: Thank you to The Resort at Paws Up for hosting us for a spectacular Montana Ranch vacation! All opinions are my own We kicked off this summer with a bang! We headed off to an incredible luxury family vacation at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. It was our first time visiting the...

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Disclosure: Thank you to The Resort at Paws Up for hosting us for a spectacular Montana Ranch vacation! All opinions are my own


We kicked off this summer with a bang! We headed off to an incredible luxury family vacation at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. It was our first time visiting the great state of Montana and we couldn’t wait to take in the breathtaking landscapes. We knew from the photos we’d seen when we planned our trip that it was going to be great, but we never guessed just how truly special Paws Up would be!  My whole family loved every minute on the Montana ranch. And, it was truly love at first sight for my 7 year old son Harry.

Best Montana Resorts - Well Traveled Kids

There’s a reason so many celebrities flock to this place to get away from it all. With 37,000 acres of Montana magic, it’s amazing to escape to big skies, fresh air and old-fashioned fun. Now summer is almost over, and we still reminisce about our extraordinary stay at Paws Up almost every night when we are putting Harry to bed. He talks mostly about missing his favorite camping butlers, riding his horse, axe throwing and remembering the beautiful rainbow he saw in the fields after dinner at Pomp one night. 

Montana Resorts - Well Traveled Kids

Because our Paws Up family vacation experience was so exceptional, I’m overcome with a desire to share every detail of this magical place with friends and readers. All of the specifics of our trip came together so perfectly and pretty quickly. It was a team effort- I did my homework and  the team at Paws Up really worked with me ahead of our stay to plan an amazing family adventure. I’m sharing with you in the sections below every nugget of  how to plan your ultimate Montana ranch vacation at The Resort at Paws Up. I promise you will thank me later!

Read on to start planning your own unforgettable Montana Ranch vacation at Paws Up.

Best Montana Vacation - Well Traveled Kids

Best of all Montana Resorts for Amazing Montana Adventures!

There’s a reason the Resort at Paws Up is known as The Last Great Place. It offers an unforgettable luxury Montana ranch experience that everyone will love. A stay at The Resort at Paws Up is perfect for families, couples, girls weekends, guys weekends, and relaxing solo getaways.

The Resort at Paws Up is a great destination for a multigenerational family vacation.The entire resort is super kid-friendly for children of all ages. I saw happy families enjoying their vacation with infants in strollers, toddlers and teenagers. During our stay we saw lots of grandparents joining in all of the fun. At camp one night, we even had one grandma boasting about doing the ropes course with her grandkids!

luxury glamping Paws Up - Well Traveled Kids

I was pleasantly surprised by the display of girl power at The Resort at Paws Up. We had women as our camping butlers, our chef at camp was a woman, our fly fishing instructor was a woman and we met so many cool, rugged women during our stay. As a mom, it was really empowering for me to show my son that both men and women can be outdoorsy and are able to have a great ranch vacation experience. I’d love to return sometime with a few girlfriends for a fun outdoor Montana adventure girls trip.

Tips for planning your luxury vacation at

The Resort at Paws Up

Montana scenery


Start planning your Paws Up Vacation online:

Begin by following The Resort at Paws Up on social media. Their Instagram feed will give you a taste of the best of Paws Up to help you prioritize how you want to plan your Montana adventures.

Next, head to the Paws Up website and start planning your visit in detail. When deciding on dates to visit, be sure to check for special event weekends. These weekends are very popular because The Resort at Paws Up goes above and beyond their already spectacular offerings. Examples of guest favorite times to visit include: celebrity chef series weekends, wine weekends, photography workshops, Thanksgiving time, Christmas time, Spring break, Memorial Day, and a 4th of July week.

When you are ready to book I recommend calling the reservations team on the phone. I worked with Heather when booking our stay and she was terrific. Not only did she help plan the specifics of our stay, but she also gave me suggestions on where to stay for our Montana side trips afterwards to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Deciding where to stay at The Resort at Paws Up:

Your first decision is whether you want to stay in a luxury glamping tent, a luxury home, or both! We decided to split our stay between the two, so we could experience the best of both worlds, and we’re so glad we did. If you’re staying more than four days, I definitely recommend sampling both accommodation options. We stayed in the home first, then the cabin, while others liked it the other way around. Both options are so amazing, I don’t think the order really matters.

Luxury Homes at The Resort At Paws Up

There are 28 luxury homes on property, with up to four bedrooms for your family. It’s not unusual for  multigenerational families vacationing together to occupy a few homes next to each other to accommodate their group. I recommend viewing the floor plan online to choose the option that works best for your family.

Our two bedroom home was perfect for us. The second bedroom was up on a loft above the living room, my son Harry loved being perched in the room above us. However, if you are staying with very young children, they may not be comfortable being upstairs by themselves. The reservations team at Paws Up will help you select the right home for your needs when you call to book.

luxury dude ranch - well traveled kids

The luxury homes are expertly decorated, big, cozy, and awesome to hang out in. Our home included a full kitchen, a big front porch, giant fireplace, our own personal hot tub, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, and a laundry room. The marble bathrooms have big etched glass windows, plus heated floors and towels. Each home also comes with a Kia that seats five, which you can use to get around the entire ranch.

It’s like having your own private home, but with full five-star hotel service.The staff at Paws Up goes out of their way to make your stay as comfortable and luxurious as possible. This includes twice daily maid service and they pre-build a fire in your fireplace so you only have to light it. There’s extra firewood on your porch and they are always happy to deliver your meals to your home if you’d like to dine in.

Luxury Glamping at Resort at Paws Up

North Bank Camp

The Resort at Paws Up coined the phrase “glamping” (meaning glamorous camping) and they have been known as the premier luxury Montana glamping destination ever since. At Paws up there are six individual camps, each with six luxury camping tents located in different prime locations around the ranch. Each camp has a unique style and it’s own dining pavilion and fireplace for guests to gather at mealtime.

North Bank Camp

We stayed at North Bank camp, the newest of the glamping camps. We fell in love with our luxury glamping tent that included heating and air conditioning, chandeliers, huge marble bathrooms with heated floors and headed towel racks. We had one of the largest tents available, with 3 bedrooms, 4 beds and 2 fabulous bathrooms. Smaller, 1 and 2 bedroom tents are also available. We loved relaxing on our big wrap around porch overlooking the Blackfoot River.

The first people you meet at camp are your Camping Butlers. They greet you when you arrive and attend to all of your needs for the duration of your stay. The Camping Butlers wear a lot of hats at camp to make sure that everyone enjoys their stay. Our Camping Butlers were the perfect mix of amazing hosts, fun camp counselors, expert s’mores makers, craft cocktail bartenders, and the best vacation friends you’ll ever meet!

luxury glamping Montana - Well Traveled Kids

One of the most fun things about camp is that when you’re staying at camp, you have your breakfast and dinner with other campers sharing your camp. It’s a much more intimate feel at camp, because you’re only sharing it with four to five other tents.

Everyone gathers in the morning and at night in the dining lodge. The North Bank Camp dining lodge is stunning and modern. The floor to ceiling sliding doors at the lodge allowed us to enjoy the beautiful big sky views even when the glass was closed to keep us warm on a cool summer night.

We became friends with a few of the families sharing our camp over dinner. Words can’t do justice to describing the fun we had partying around the campfire after dinner at night under the stars. Montana summers at camp are just amazing.

 

Planning the details of your Paws Up Vacation:

atv and horses at Paws Up

After booking your Paws Up accommodations, it’s important to do a little planning before you arrive. Having an idea of the activities you want to experience will help you to make the most of your time there. Someone from the concierge team at The Resort at Paws Up will call you in advance of your arrival to plan the full itinerary for your stay. Before this call, there are a few things for you to consider:

  • How busy do you want to be on your Montana ranch vacation? Do you want to spend most of your time relaxing and enjoying your surroundings? Or do you want to have action-packed days exploring the best of the Resort at Paws Up?
  • The Resort at Paws Up will typically recommend anywhere from one to three activities per day, depending on your selection. Check out the options online, where you can also see the age ranges for kids and per person prices for individual activities.
  • Have an idea of how you want your week to flow, and what you’d like to do each day, before having the call with your concierge.
  • Have a list of questions ready so they can be answered as you make your plans.

With all that said, you can easily change details if needed upon arrival. Having created a plan up front will make for a more relaxing arrival to Paws Up.  

Scheduling Your Montana Ranch Itinerary

My suggestion is to try booking quintessential Montana adventures like shooting, archery, river activities, and horseback activities. For us, this was a great opportunity to try new activities that we can’t easily do at home.

For most activities no experience is necessary! We were impressed that the staff is very skilled at teaching first-timers. My son Harry learned archery, to safely shoot a rifle, ride a horse, and go fishing.

Montana Ranch Activities - Well Traveled Kids

 

Be careful not to over schedule. You’re surrounded by so much beauty everywhere at Paws Up. So,  be sure to leave time in your days to roam and enjoy leisurely hikes, fishing on your own, or to visit the cows and buffalo that live at the Ranch.

Paws Up is so picturesque it’s a photographers dream. Ask about booking a photo session for your family when making your vacation itinerary. The Resort at Paws up has a partnership with award-winning photographer and filmmaker, Stuart Thurlkill, who regularly visits the ranch. We really wanted to book a family photo session, but hadn’t planned in advance and he was completely booked during our visit. Don’t make my mistake!

Booking Appointments at Spa Town 

Don’t miss booking fabulous body treatments at Spa Town. This unique Montana spa experience features a colony of luxury tents set in a meadow next to a babbling brook. The welcome tents have full baths and showers, while the treatment tents have heated massage tables and private views of the horses in pasture.

I highly recommend a massage with Eric. The owners of the Resort at Paws Up brought him out from Las Vegas 12 years ago because they loved his massages so much. He and his wife started Spa Town and still run it. His massage technique was exceptional. Best massage I can remember!

Scheduling Kids Activities at Resort at Paws Up

If you are traveling with kids, make time to Play at Kids Corps of Discovery. You can book kids camp ahead of time with the concierge. You can coordinate drop-off times for your kids to spend a full day or half-day while you enjoy adult activities. If you prefer, you or your nanny can attend the camp with your kids.

Kids activities are broken up by age group. There’s Little Discoverers for children ages 3-5 and the Adventure Club for kids ages 6-12. There’s also a sports camp for kids ages 3-8, which is supervised by former pro-circuit tennis player Melissa Detwiler.

Montana Ranch for kids - Well Traveled Kids

Right outside the kid’s camp is a play ground, a giant tree house and a little petting zoo with baby animals. This was the highlight for my son Harry. He loved petting Lewis, Sugar, Cinnamon, Flopsie, S’Mores and Marshmallow.

Our son Harry spend two half-days at the camp, and he loved it both times! One day they did arts and crafts and played with the animals. The other afternoon they went fishing and played in the water. Harry made friends with lots of kids at camp and loved the instructors too.

Scheduling Water Sports at Paws Up

There are water activities galore at the Resort at Paws Up, just no swimming pool. It’s all about enjoying the water Montana style. The Island Lodge at Salmon Lake, or the Seeley Lake House both offer access to fun water play. These homes provide access to jet skis, boats and other fun water activities, and can be reserved for a half day or a full day.

Salmon Lake Lodge

Scheduling Resort Dining at Paws Up

In addition to planning your Montana adventures ahead of time with the concierge, you’ll also want to plan your dining and make reservations ahead of time. Be sure to try all of the amazing dining options, even if you are glamping for your whole stay. Don’t miss scheduling the Chuck Wagon dinner, which is not offered every night. Pomp is the resort’s fine dining restaurant. If you prefer to stay in and enjoy your luxury home or tent, the Resort can deliver meals to you.

As with the ranch activities, you can always make changes if needed, but it’s best to reserve ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling with a large group. You can also reserve outdoor dining for your group with amazing views if you request it when you book.

Noting Special Preferences for Your Stay at The Resort at Paws Up

After planning out your itinerary, be sure to have them record any special preferences ahead of time. Let them know about any food allergies, special diets, bedding requests, etc. We found the staff to be very guest focused, they were excellent with all of our special requests. I recommend confirming your requests again shortly before your arrival to make sure your stay is exceptional.

Transportation To and Around The Resort at Paws Up

Your stay at the Resort at Paws Up includes a round-trip shuttle from Missoula Airport. You can schedule your shuttle with the concierge as soon as you book your flights. If you choose to stay in a luxury home at the ranch, you’ll also have a 5 passenger Kia to drive around the property. The resort also has a complimentary shuttle service, summoned through their app, for your use at any time.

We decided to rent a car for a little more independence, which gave us the ability to explore some of the surrounding areas of Montana during our stay. Some of the fun side trips we took included Garnet Ghost Town, just 20 minutes away. We also decided to extend our Montana Vacation and road trip to the local national parks. Glacier National Park is a two hour drive from the resort, while Yellowstone is about 4-5 hours away.

 

What to pack for a stay at The Resort at Paws Up

Montana Ranch Packing List - Well Traveled Kids

Be prepared to pack a lot for this vacation! Summer temperatures during our stay ranged from 35 degrees to 90 degrees, so we needed a lot of layers to stay comfortable. Depending on the time of year when you visit the concierge will send you a seasonal packing list. My friend Kim-Marie Evans also put together a great packing list that I found especially helpful. Here are just a few of my  suggestions of what to really must pack for your Montana Ranch vacation.

  • Camera: the whole resort is a photographer’s dream. The scenery is stunning, no matter the weather, with big skies and beautiful surroundings you will be taking lots of photos. Give your kids a camera too, Harry loved snapping his own nature pics!
  • Cash for tips: Your resort fee includes some gratuity, but the staff is so amazing trust me you’ll want to tip them more. We spent around $1000 in cash in tips for our 4-night stay. This included tipping the bell-men, activities coordinators, meals, housekeeping, transportation and camping butlers daily.
  • Western Wear: You can dress the part or don’t, it’s totally up to you. I had fun picking out western wear and jewelry. You can check out the Paws Up social media pages to get a feel for how to dress. Some families get very dressed up for dinner, especially at Pomp, but feel free to wear whatever you are comfortable in. I have a friend who goes glamping here every year and loves to eat breakfast and dinner in her bathrobe! Really, anything goes. 
  • Makeup: For the ladies, you can do your hair and makeup every day, or just throw on a hat and skip the makeup, like Tyra Banks did when she visited Paws Up a few days before us!
  • Clothes than can get wet: Bring water clothes and bathing suits for playing in the water or rain.
  • Clothes that can get dirty: This is a luxury ranch, but it’s still a ranch. Plan on getting dirty while you play!
  • Polarized sunglasses: These are a must for seeing on the river!
  • Boots and lots of shoe options: You’ll want boots, water shoes, gym shoes, hiking shoes and nicer boots/shoes if you decide to dress for dinner. I went a little wild and had a whole suitcase of boots and shoes. I loved having options and happily wore them all!
  • Bug Spray: Yep, bug bites are not the Montana souvenirs you want to bring home.
  • Hats: It’s fun to wear cowboy hats, but be sure to bring a baseball hat and a fishing hat too. The resort sells amazing hats, so no pressure to pack it if you don’t have a good one!
  • Booze: You can BYOB to the Resort at Paws Up. Montana beer and wine is included in your stay, and you can purchase specialty cocktails like the Huckleberry Mule or a Huckleberry martini. We brought our own fancy bottles of champagne and wine, which was nice to have in our luxury home and at camp in addition to the house drinks and craft cocktails we purchased.

What to Do the Week Before Your Arrival at The Resort at Paws UP

  • The Resort is very allergy-friendly, but it can’t hurt to double check that they’ve recorded your preferences. Give them a call to confirm they have all of your special preferences listed.
  • Want to hang out and snack during your stay? Ask to have your kitchen stocked before you arrive in your luxury home. It comes with a huge fridge so have them fill it with any special foods you need!
  • Apply for your fishing license – every adult will need one if they want to fish. You can provide all of the info ahead of time, so they are ready for when you arrive.
  • Re-read everything the resort has emailed to you since your booking. Click through the links, and start getting excited!
  • Download the Paws Up Mobile App to your smartphone so you are ready to go upon arrival.

During Your Stay at Resort at Paws Up

  • Unplug or don’t, the choice is yours. The WiFi at Resort at Paws Up is excellent. We intentionally left our laptops at home, but we saw people working online at breakfast.
  • Use the Paws Up Mobile App! Use it to update your schedule, cancel activities, and request transportation. The team supporting it is prompt and exceptional.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your itinerary if the weather isn’t ideal. They are very accommodating to guests wishes. I did this at least 3 times on the app and it was so easy.
  • Ask about conditions before fishing or water activities. We tried fly fishing on a day when conditions were bad. We went out with our guide and the river water was really high and fast, which was not ideal and actually a little scary. We hadn’t thought to ask about conditions ahead of time. Please be sure and learn from my mistake!

canoeing on the blackfoot river

  • Don’t be afraid to request what you want. For example, we knew we wanted to do hatchet throwing in Montana, and thought it would offered be at the Chuck Wagon. It wasn’t, so we asked Shaun the food & beverage manager about it. He arranged for us to have hatchet throwing at camp one night and it turned out to be one of our best memories. We’re so glad we asked or we would have missed out!
  • It seems to me the staff at Paws Up must be trained to say YES! Everyone is extraordinarily helpful. Follow up on your special requests to make the magic happen. I get the feeling that they want you to have a wonderful vacation and that they’ll go the extra mile to fulfill your Montana vacation dreams.
  • Expect amazing meals, no matter what your preference. They really cater to picky eaters, so if you don’t like what’s on the menu, they will make you pretty much anything. Just ask ahead so that they are ready for you come meal time. 
  • Shop ‘til you drop! The outpost has the best shopping for everything including clothing for men, women and children, souvenirs, home decorations, toys, and artwork and jewelry from local Montana artists. Not to mention, amazing boots and cowboy hats!
  • Make friends! Camp is all about who you share it with. Plan to socialize, make friends with your camping butlers and others you meet along the way. Roast s’mores every night and have a blast!

Best Fancy Resort Smores - Well Traveled Kids

 

  • Expect to possibly see celebrities, but please remember they are on vacation too, and leave them alone to enjoy it.
  • Make time to appreciate the big skies, breathe fresh air, and roam the enormous property and explore.
  • Go on a relaxing or challenging hike, go for a bike ride or grab fishing poles and go fishing with your loved ones.
  • Go over to the village and play pool, borrow board games and DVD’s to take back to your luxury home.
  • Try all things local to to Montana! I fell in love with huckleberry everything-Huckleberry pancakes, Huckleberry BBQ ribs, huckleberry cocktails, and more. We loved the Montana beers and wine and I’m now obsessed with Blue Sky Cherry Soda.
  • If you have your own car, go for a ride. You can drive all along the 37,000 acre property.

Leaving The Resort at Paws Up

Be prepared to be very sad to leave the Resort at Paws Up. It’s an amazing vacation to a special place like no other. My guess is if your vacation is anything like ours you will be dreaming of returning soon. We made so many unforgettable memories while glamping in Montana, we definitely look forward to returning soon for s‘more!

Best Fancy Resort Smores - Well Traveled Kids


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Photos courtesy of The Resort at Paws Up

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Kori Lusignan http://www.miserylovescookery.com <![CDATA[Family Adventure in Madison, Wisconsin: A Stay at The Edgewater Hotel]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7749 2018-09-15T16:59:21Z 2018-08-29T11:51:08Z Disclosure: Thank you to The Edgewater Hotel for hosting my family in exchange for this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. If you are looking for family-friendly luxury right in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Recently restored and expanded to honor the original Art...

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Disclosure: Thank you to The Edgewater Hotel for hosting my family in exchange for this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.


If you are looking for family-friendly luxury right in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Recently restored and expanded to honor the original Art Moderne sketches created by its designers, it is a premiere destination that should not be missed.

The Best place to stay in Madison,Wisconsin with Kids

My husband and I are University of Wisconsin alumni, so Madison holds a special place in our hearts. Taking our daughter to experience the college town we love was a big priority during our recent trip to Wisconsin. Staying at the Edgewater was a spectacular way to indulge while seeing the sites and connecting with college friends. It’s certainly the best pace to stay in Madison, Wisconsin with kids.

The Edgewater Hotel is perched above Lake Mendota. The hotel has a view directly to the Wisconsin State Capitol on one side and the spectacular lake on the other. If you want a vista worthy of a postcard, you can’t beat the Edgewater.

Luxurious rooms take advantage of the views, and are generous in size and comfort. Heated floors in the bathrooms are a true indulgence for the Wisconsin climate!

The Edgewater’s location is in the middle of all the Madison action. It is perfect for shopping, dining, and a stroll around the Capitol Square. Maybe hit the world-famous Dane County Farmers’ Market like we did, or a pub serving local microbrews? If you want to visit campus, a quick walk down Langdon puts you right in the heart of the University of Wisconsin.  

What to do in Madison Wisconsin with Kids - Well Traveled Kids

Looking for fine dining in Madison?

They’ve got it! The Statehouse restaurant, with sweeping views of the lake, can delight you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Is pub fare more your style? Try Augie’s Tavern, you won’t regret it. Want a casual, lakeside meal with the best cheese curds we have ever eaten? (That’s right, they were that good.) The Boathouse is your place. We loved it so much, we ate there twice! During our stay also picked up coffee at the cafe, had a Friday Night Wisconsin fish fry outdoors while enjoying a free outdoor concert, and were spoiled with in-room dining. All of our meals were delicious.

Concerts, ice skating and other public events are held in the lakeside courtyard at the hotel throughout the seasons. As a guest, you have easy access to all the fun. Our fish fry evening was a highlight of our Madison vacation.

dining in Madison Wisconsin - Well Traveled Kids

A Historic Wisconsin Luxury Hotel Experience

Even if you never leave this Art Moderne gem, you would be spoiled with dining and activity choices. Inside and outside, the glorious curved architecture frames every space perfectly. We were lucky enough to receive a tour of the entire hotel, and found ourselves picking our jaws up off the floor over and over with all the beauty.

Where to stay in Madison Wisconsin with Kids - Well Traveled Kids

What I regret most about my visit to the Edgewater is that I was unable to take advantage of their deluxe spa. Their list of luxury treatments was so enticing. I can’t wait until my next visit for a relaxing massage and facial. I did take advantage of a lovely boutique just outside the spa. My coral Edgewater hotel sweater reminds me of our fantastic stay every time I wear it.

The Edgewater Hotel has been a fixture in Madison for decades, but its meticulous updates and thoughtful offerings have made it a modern stand-out. Being guests at the historic hotel was a real treat. We eagerly look forward to our next Wisconsin vacation so we can stay there again.

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Heather Bennett https://smallbusinessbigbrand.blogspot.com/ <![CDATA[Cancun With Kids: Touring Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7722 2018-09-16T19:25:25Z 2018-08-28T15:10:44Z We have spent years exploring the U.S. from coast to coast as a family. My husband and I recently decided to take our four kids, ages 5 to 13, in our first international family vacation. We started small, with a short, 2.5-hour flight to from Chicago to Cancun. A Cancun family vacation offered a great opportunity...

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We have spent years exploring the U.S. from coast to coast as a family. My husband and I recently decided to take our four kids, ages 5 to 13, in our first international family vacation. We started small, with a short, 2.5-hour flight to from Chicago to Cancun. A Cancun family vacation offered a great opportunity to use our brand new passports. We chose an an all-inclusive family resort, with a day trip to Mayan ruins near Cancun, at Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza Tour

The real appeal of the trip for me personally was the opportunity to visit Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza is one of the most famous Mayan ruins in the world, and was once one of the greatest cities ever built in the Western Hemisphere. Built around 1000 AD, Chichen Itza was once the center of a vast empire that used astronomy, advanced mathematics and delightfully gruesome religious rituals. (Sure to appease the video gamer in your group!) Yes, my need to continually educate my children also played a small, but vital role in choosing Cancun for our family vacation destination. Conveniently, our Chichen Itza tour bus left right from the resort lobby.

Why Visit Chichen Itza?

  • Breathtaking ruins from 600-1200 AD in varying architectural styles
  • Sneaky, but fascinating, lessons in math, astronomy, history, and native cultures
  • Your kids will then beg you to go see all of the other Wonders of the World. Yeah! Excuses for more trips!

We had a blast and it showed me that going somewhere new and historically significant with
your kids can be awesome!

Chichen Itza tour with kids - Well Traveled Kids

What to Expect on a Chichen Itza Tour

Knowing what to expect on a tour can be crucial, especially when traveling with children. Here’s what you can expect on a Chichen Itza tour from your Cancun resort.

  • A long, relaxed air conditioned bus ride on a nondescript highway through lush vegetation
  • Blazing hot, humid temperatures, unless it is raining
  • Crowds of tourists, and equal numbers of locals attempting to sell questionable
    souvenirs to the tourists
  • A great meal of authentic Mexican cuisine in a charming setting with glass bottle sodas (Mmmm… Mexican Coca-Cola with real sugar!)
  • Refreshing dip in cenote (beautiful rainforest sink hole) or exhilarating multi-story
    platform leaps (with life vests thankfully provided for all)

What to Bring on a Chichen Itza Tour

Since Chichen Itza is a long day trip from Cancun, you’ll want to be prepared for the day! Here’s what I recommend you include in your backpack:

  • Small Towel
  • Bathing Suit
  • Ziploc or dry-bag for valuables
  • Disposable Ponchos
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Bottled Water
  • Comfortable shoes for hiking
  • Granola Bars & Snacks
  • Books or Magazines to entertain the kids

Cancun day trip with kids - Well Traveled Kids

Cancun All-Inclusive Family Resort

There are many luxury All-Inclusive resorts to choose from in Cancun and Riviera Maya that make for an easy day trip to Chichen Itza. We stayed at Moon Palace Resort, an all-inclusive family resort on the Riviera Maya. We paid for our own trip and our rooms. The resort was beautiful and the staff attentive. We enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with our kids sailing, Flowrider surfing, wakeboarding, playing in the pools and exploring numerous restaurants to appease my voracious foodies. Not to mention the kid’s clubs that my children never wanted to leave!


Planning a family trip to Cancun? Pin this Cancun day trip and Chichen Itza Tour for later!

cancun day trip with kids

 

 

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Sarah Hirsch http://www.WellTraveledKids.com <![CDATA[Why We Can’t Wait to Return to the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui]]> http://welltraveledkids.com/?p=7532 2018-08-26T20:58:47Z 2018-08-26T11:48:16Z Where to stay in Maui with kids We travel often, and try to visit new places all the time, but one place we return to at least every other year is the Hawaiian Island of Maui. It’s our favorite island in Hawaii! One of our favorite spots in Maui is the Wailea coast. Over the...

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Where to stay in Maui with kids

We travel often, and try to visit new places all the time, but one place we return to at least every other year is the Hawaiian Island of Maui. It’s our favorite island in Hawaii!

One of our favorite spots in Maui is the Wailea coast. Over the years when deciding where to stay in Maui with kids, we’ve stayed at several luxury beach resorts in Wailea. We love the beaches there and we’ve found that its often sunny in Wailea even when other areas of the island have rain.

I was always curious about the Fairmont Kea Lani because I know several people who stayed there on their honeymoon and on family vacations. Everyone I know that stays there raves about the resort as a great place to stay in Maui.

On our last trip, we decided to decided to spend one night at the Fairmont Kea Lani to see how we’d like it for future vacations. Although our stay was brief, we really had a fun family adventure at this hotel.  It perfectly matched our preferred travel style of luxury oceanfront Maui beach life.

Here are five of the many reasons we can’t wait to return to the Fairmont Kea Lani on our next Maui family vacation.

Fairmont Kea Lani is an All-Suite & Villa Luxury Resort

Unlike other Maui hotels we’ve stayed at, all the rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani are either suites or villas with oceanfront views. These giant rooms are perfect for families who want a little extra room to spread out. We fell in love with our enormous bathroom and the huge lanai overlooking the pool and the ocean. Overall, we just loved the luxury Mediterranean vibe of this Wailea hotel. Oh and the Birthday treats were fun too!

luxury Maui hotel - Well Traveled Kids

Fairmont Kea Lani’s Prime Location in Wailea

We love that the Fairmont Kea Lani is connected to the Wailea beach walking path, but it’s at the end of the boardwalk, so the beach is very secluded compared to other Wailea hotels. This makes for an amazing beach family vacation because there are fewer people competing for space at the beach. The quiet cove setting makes for an incredible sunset experience, and the mornings are so peaceful. The beachwalk gave us easy access to many of Wailea’s best attractions and restaurants, but the hotel will also shuttle you around Wailea in their Escalade fleet if you don’t feel like walking!

hotel Maui - Well Traveled Kids

Fairmont Kea Lani Has an Amazing Pool Scene

The Fairmont has three pools spread across the property. We love than the main pool has a waterslide connected to other pools. The 140-foot water slide is exciting enough for adults, but safe for little kids. Having a waterslide at the resort provides enough fun for the family, without a crazy waterpark experience. The pools at Fairmont Kea Lani offer a relaxing pool scene. There is tons of pool seating, plus seating on the lawns. We visited in the busy season and it never felt super crowded.

We had a cabana by the pool which I highly recommend. Our cabana was by the waterslide, so we could keep an eye on our kid, and he could stop in for a treat or rest between rides on the waterslide. The Fairmont also has an ultra relaxing adults only pool, which I recommend if you put your kids in the complimentary kids club.

Best Maui hotel for families - Well Traveled Kids

Keiki Lani Kid’s Club at Fairmont Kea Lani

Access to the 1500 square foot Keiki Lani Kid’s Club is included in the daily resort fee for children ages 5-12. You can choose a 1/2 day session, in the morning or afternoon. On Saturday nights, Keiki Lani Kid’s Club has popcorn and pizza night, which allows the adults to have a romantic dinner at the hotel restaurant, Ko.

Harry loved the kid’s club here! They did a ton of arts and crafts, plus beach time, all supervised by a great staff. He made friends he played with at the pool later. As a parent, when the kid’s club is included, it just makes your vacation that much more relaxing to have a little break and  so wonderful that you don’t have to pay extra for some downtime.

best kids club maui - well traveled kids

Excellent Service at Fairmont Kea Lani

Last but not least, we really felt like the Fairmont Kea Lani staff went above and beyond to make our Maui vacation unforgettable. From the moment we checked in, we felt like like valued guests and part of the family. They met us with leis and POG (passion fruit orange guava juice.) From the Keiki Lani kid’s club staff, to the pool attendants; everyone we interacted with was extremely friendly. The top notch service at this Wailea hotel makes it an easy decision for us to return to the Fairmont Kea Lani on our next Maui family vacation.


So many reasons to book a return stay!

Our one night adventure at this hotel was enough to prove that we will definitely look to plan a longer stay here next time we are in Maui. On our next visit, I look forward to experiencing the Award-winning Willow Stream Spa. I’d also love to book a villa since those are down closer to the beach.

We love going out for memorable vacation dinners. So, I also will plan to enjoy a few meals in some of the hotel’s many restaurants on our next stay. They have a Nick’s Fish market, which we love in Chicago, plus several other unique Hawaiian restaurants to choose from. These are just a few reasons why we can’t wait to return to the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea.


Planning an upcoming Hawaiian vacation? Want to remember where to stay in Maui with kids? Pin this for later!

Maui Beach

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