We just got to fall, but if you’re planning on a spring break trip, it’s not too early to start planning. In fact, if you want to secure enough space for the whole family at these premium resorts, you ought to book early. With a limited window of time and high demand, these family friendly places will fill up faster than you think.
Water sports are a hit at Anse Chastanet on the island’s west coast. The snorkeling and SCUBA diving are excellent, and easy to use kayaks are complimentary in the water sports center. For more experienced kayakers, prijon kayaks with rudders and carbon fiber paddles are also available. In the shadow of the pitons, Sugar Beach is a great base for hikers, and two kids clubs ensure no matter their age, your kids will have a great time. The sugar club is for 4- to 12-year-olds, while the spice club caters to tweens and teens. There’s even babysitting for babies and toddlers.
With two beaches, there’s one dedicated to activity and one for quiet solitude at Curtain Bluff. Bay Beach is buzzing, with a cafe and bar, and a barbecue every Wednesday afternoon. At the back of the beach, there’s a pool, basketball court, bocce ball and shuffleboard. Surf Beach features hammocks and little else, so parents can escape while the kids play. There’s a shaded sandbox and jungle gym for little kids and a game room full of movies, video games and board games.
Turks & Caicos
With a water park, 10 pools and pristine Grace Bay Beach, you can spend all day in the water and never run out of things to do at Beaches. There is plenty else to do, though, with beach volleyball, tennis, table tennis, croquet and basketball available, just to name a few. There are Sesame Street characters, a club for teens and entertainment all day and night. Kids of all ages can take a break from all that sun in the XBox lounge. The resort is all-inclusive, and no one will go hungry with more than 20 eateries to choose from.
Atlantis is a mecca of family fun, and there is literally something for everyone. There are many options for accommodations, with villas and penthouses to pack the whole family in. There’s an adults only pool for guests of the adults only Cove if part of the family wants some alone time. There’s Dolphin Cay. There’s a water slide through a shark tank. There’s even a kids concierge. Once the kids are off to bed, there’s a casino and sports book. There’s a restaurant for every taste. Simply put, Atlantis is a one-stop vacation paradise. Fitting that it’s on Paradise Island.
It’s a relatively quiet island as far as the Caribbean goes, playing little sister to St. Kitts. But the Four Seasons Resort Nevis makes the island a perfect destination for families. The Sea Turtle Conservancy offers educational activities as part of the Kids For All Seasons program for children ages 3-9. Sand castle molds makes it easy to have a friendly competition to see who can build the most regal castle, with a gelato bike making the rounds to make sure everyone has all the fuel they need.
It may look daunting at first, but it’s a fairly easy sport to take up. Yes, like any other watersport, you need balance and discipline. But in kitesurfing, you get a big assist from the elements. Given the right conditions, a novice can soon look like an old pro, and the experience is exhilarating for beginners and more experienced wave riders alike. Here are some of the world’s top spots for kitesurfing, whether it’s your first time or you’re looking for a new challenge. Just add wind and water.
Ka‘a Point on the north shore of Maui near the airport has a great combination of water conditions, with a protected cove that has flat water close to the shore, chop in intermediate depths and good jumping waves just off the point. Nearby “Action Beach” is home to instructional schools and a good place for learners to get started. Watch the pros compete in contests at Ho‘okipa Beach and pick up some pointers. Take your lessons well enough and you just might be able to join them yourself on a future visit.
Turks and Caicos
Quickly emerging as a destination for kitesurfing, Turks and Caicos match up well against any other Caribbean islands in quality. On Providenciales, the main island, Long Bay Beach has soft sand and shallow waters particularly forgiving to first-timers, with a long flat ride. Though it’s just a few minutes from popular Grace Bay Beach, Long Bay is often uncrowded, leaving you plenty of room to work. Once you have experience under your belt, Grace Bay’s deeper waters and northeast winds make for a rewarding challenge, producing plenty of chops and a good break off the reef about a mile out.
Just a glance at the map explains why Tarifa is the kitesurfing capital of Europe. Situated on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar, just across from Africa, there’s a 6-mile stretch of beach that’s basically a huge wind tunnel. The wind coming from the east is generally consistent and not too heavy, making it easy for just about anyone to catch a smooth ride. Where things pick up is when the from the west blows in, building speed as it does so and gusting close to 60 mph at times, often for days or weeks at a time.
Nabq Bay, Egypt
On the Sinai Peninsula, where the Gulf of Aqaba (aka Gulf of Eilat) meets the Red Sea, conditions are ripe for kitesurfing. Tiran Island sits at the meeting point, creating twin lagoons that are shallow with sandy bottoms. One area is perfect for beginners, while experienced riders flock to the other. Though kitesurfing only began in the area about a quarter-century ago, it easily became recognized worldwide as a mecca for enthusiasts.
Brazil has more than 4,500 miles of coastline, so it’s no surprise that some stretch of it is one of the top spots in the world for something. As Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are the places to see, be seen and party, Cumbuco on the country’s northeastern coast is the place to catch wind and waves. The weather is almost always perfect, the wind is steady and there is a tight-knit community of devotees who train regularly. With zones of flat water and areas with high waves, it’s a great place to start out and work your way up as your skills and confidence improve.
After another round of snowmaggedon, it seems like the warm weather might never arrive. But you really need to get out of the house and stop freezing, maybe even see solid ground. Fortunately, with these island getaways just a few hours’ nonstop flight from the major airports on the East Coast, you can get yourself to the warmth without too much trouble.
Leave in the morning and by afternoon find yourself stretched out a long pink or white beach. Hit the links at one of the island’s many top-flight golf courses. Try your hand at sailing in the waters that were to last year’s America’s Cup races. Fish for all manner of species in the clear waters off the beach, over the reefs or out in the deep sea. Or just get an eyeful of the colorful aquatic life by diving or snorkeling around the more than 350 shipwrecks offshore.
Jump on a nonstop flight to Nassau and you’ll be soaking up the sun in no time. There you’ll find a treasure trove of nautical and colonial history best explored on a tour of the defensive forts that ring New Providence island and in the Pirates of Nassau museum. Kids of all ages will enjoy the wonders of Aquaventure, Dolphin Cay and marine habitat at Atlantis on Paradise Island. Those of legal age will equally enjoy the gaming at casinos and sportsbooks, as gambling is legal throughout the islands for nonresidents ages 18 and older.
Fly into Montego Bay in the north of the island, and you’re right in the middle of an array of great resorts. The northern coast of the island, especially the 120-mile stretch from Oracabessa in the east to Negril on the western tip, is a playground of white-sand beaches, lush forests and rushing rivers. Rafting on the White River or the Martha Brae is a must. Reggae music and the smell of jerk chicken and pork fill the air, while smooth Blue Mountain coffee gets you energized for another day of adventure.
Turks & Caicos
Having avoided major damages when Hurricanes Irma and Maria came through last fall, Providenciales and the Grace Bay area are still a top destination for beautiful beaches and turquoise waters. The Columbus National Marine Park off Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and the coral reef right there in Grace Bay are a few of the great dive spots home to all kinds of marine life. If you prefer to keep your head above water, Provo Ponies has morning and afternoon horseback rides along trails and across Long Bay Beach.
Jet into Punta Cana and you’ll find yourself just a few hours removed from home but in an oasis of all-inclusive resorts straddling the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. While the beaches are great for lounging, activities abound, from ATV rides to horseback riding to day trips to nearby Isla Saona. Work with your travel advisor to pick the resort that’s right for you and you’ll find a haven of relaxation, entertainment, and dining all within easy reach.
Chase away the winter blues in just one flight. Maybe it’ll warm up by the time you get home.