The Best Tropical Family Vacations

The Best Tropical Family Vacations
Tropical islands are among the best places for a family vacation. They offer family-bonding activities as well as adult escapes. Relax on the beach while the kids play in sand and water. Enjoy the calm of looking for wildlife followed by the rush of trying a new sport like waterskiing or parasailing. Swim in everything from the fish-filled ocean to gorgeously landscaped pools to hidden freshwater ponds. Try these locales for family adventure and relaxation.

Atlantis, Bahamas

Atlantis promises shared experiences and plenty of alone time. Twenty swimming pools, a mile-long lazy river, a Mayan temple waterslide and a 141-acre themed waterpark entertain young and old. A 7-acre lagoon offers water sports, scuba, snuba and snorkeling. View the marine habitat and get close to dolphins, sea lions and sharks. In-room babysitting is available but kids will adore the Atlantis Kids Club with chaperoned creative and active programs all day and night. Pre-teens and teenagers can hang at Club Rush (no adults allowed) with Internet, video games, movies, and DJ. All are welcome in the game room, pottery studio and movie theater. Parents can escape to play golf, relax at the spa, visit the fitness center, or go shopping. At night, clubs, live concerts, comedy club, bars, and restaurants entertain the older crowd.

Paradise Island
(888) 877-7525

St. Lucia, Caribbean

White sand beaches and mountains of tropical rainforest bring variety to a St. Lucia family vacation. Like all Caribbean islands, St. Lucia has fantastic scuba diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. The whole brood will enjoy kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, parasailing or waterskiing. Whales and turtles are nearly-ensured sights. Kids will thrill at Marigot Bay, once a pirate hideout. Tour the cocoa plantation that provides Hershey's with their raw material, Fond Doux Estates, or take a guided tour of the rain forest by car, foot, bicycle or zip-line. La Soufriere, the "Drive-In" volcano, and the Pitons, two lava and rock peaks, are dramatic reminders of the islands' formation.

Fond Doux Holiday Plantation
P.O. Box 250
Soufriere, St. Lucia
West Indies
(758) 459-7545

Palm Services offers "soft adventure" tours
P.O. Box RB 2581
Castries, St. Lucia
West Indies
(758) 485-0908

Maui, Hawaii

Maui is the perfect mix of beach and adventure. Beaches are public, and offer a variety of wave roughness. There is even a Baby Beach with gentle swells. For more adrenaline, snorkel, scuba, waterski, windsurf, surf, sail or parasail. The whole family will enjoy a traditional Hawaiian Luau. Observe marine life on a whale watching or submarine tour, or at the Maui Ocean Center aquarium. The Hawaii Nature Center has hands-on exhibits and guided hikes. Everyone will marvel at the scenery along the Road to Hana. Kids will love jumping into each of the Seven Sacred Pools in Haleakala National Park. For an unforgettable morning, join a bike tour that will shuttle you to the top of Haleakala Crater to watch the sunrise, then you'll bike your way to its base.

Haleakala National Park
P.O. Box 369
Makawao, HI 96768
(808) 572-4400

Maui Ocean Center
192 Ma'alaea Road
Wailuku, HI 96793
(808) 270-7070

Hawaii Nature Center
875 Iao Valley Road
Wailuku, HI 96793
(808) 244-6500

Article Written By Kelly Aspen

Kelly Aspen's writing focuses on natural places, cultural sites and wildlife. She has more than 10 years of experience as an editor and writer for various magazines, books and websites.

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