5 Family-Friendly Summer Vacation Destinations

If you were to ask your family of five where they want to spend their summer vacation, you’d probably end up with five different locations. Together as you decide where to go next here are five more ideas to add to the list:

Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah


Just 25 miles outside of Salt Lake City, Little Cottonwood Canyon boasts excellent hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, climbing and more. The two resorts in the canyon, Alta and Snowbird, offer numerous summer activities for families, including camps and hikes, zip lines and horseback riding. Camp Snowbird, open for kids ages 4-12, hosts nature hikes and science experiments. Not to leave mom and dad out, there’s also a variety of restaurants, shopping and festivals to choose from.

Tip: When packing, put each of your children’s outfits — including socks, underwear and bows — in a plastic bag before tucking them into your suitcase. This makes it easier to get dressed in the morning without losing anything or unpacking the whole bag.

Cruise to Alaska (view Alaskan Cruises)


Instead of worrying about flights, hotels, car rentals and dinner reservations, book a cruise instead. Many ships cater to children, with miniature golf courses, water slides, clubs for the kids and entertainment. While you can cruise pretty much anywhere, we chose Alaska because what kid wouldn’t want to have a close encounter with a humpback whale or watch other sea animals bob in and out of the ship’s wake?

Tip: Though several cruise lines are making Wi-Fi hotspots more available to patrons, logging on while you’re at sea is still pretty expensive. If you want to check in at home or the office, wait until you disembark and visit an Internet cafe instead.

San Diego, California (view San Diego Hotels)


With enough sandy beaches to keep your kids occupied for hours, San Diego is a beautiful summer destination. Museum hop at Balboa Park, then visit the thousands of animals at the famous San Diego Zoo. Build a campfire on one of the county’s several bonfire-friendly beaches, then enjoy dinner and a walk through The Gaslamp Quarter, known as the historic heart of San Diego.

Tip: Before you leave, ask a neighbor to collect your mail and a friend to watch your home. Consider investing in a security system that you can access remotely, such as LifeShield.com alarm systems. These provide a smartphone app that allows you to view security cameras and arm or disarm alarms.

Las Vegas, Nevada (view Las Vegas Hotels)


You might not think of Vegas as a kid-friendly destination, but there are plenty of places in and around Sin City to enjoy the whole family. Visit Discovery Children’s Museum and walk through the nine themed exhibition halls then head to Circus Circus for roller coasters, 3-D videos and other carnival thrills. Spend an afternoon hiking across the trails of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, but be sure to make it back to the strip by nightfall to watch the Bellagio water show.

Tip: The fountain show runs regularly between 3 p.m. and midnight on weekdays and noon to midnight on weekends, according to Bellagio.com.

Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida (view Walt Disney World Area Hotels)


Of course in a list of family-friendly vacations, we can’t leave out Disney. There’s something for everyone at the resort, including four theme parks and two water parks.

Tip: If you have small children, use the parent swap. It allows parties of two or more to experience the attraction while one adult waits with the child. Then you can “swap” to enable the other adult to enjoy the attraction without the wait. Just ask the cast member working at the entrance of the attraction for a rider switch.

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Cruising 101: The Caribbean

Venturing to far-off places, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, extraordinary cuisine and first-class treatment is what cruising is all about. You’ve researched and found amazing Caribbean cruises, but now what? Taking a cruise is definitely not a last-minute vacation. You need the proper paperwork, current passports and up-to-date vaccinations, depending on your location. Below are things to consider before exploring the sights and culture of the Caribbean:

Passport


Your cruise can be denied for the simplest of reasons, like misplacing your passport. Your passport can’t need to be renewed in less than six months. A valid passport is essential when traveling so if it needs to be renewed, do it now.

Visa


Visas are required, depending on your location. This generally doesn’t include the Caribbean but does in Europe, Central and South Americas.

Sea Travel


For voyages that begin and end in the same U.S. Port, U.S. citizens may travel with both a Government-issued birth certificate and Government-issued picture ID card, preferably your driver’s license.



Luggage Tags


Make sure every piece of your luggage (including carry-on and purses) have luggage tags. That way it will be very clear which ship you’re sailing on, the dates you’re going and the stateroom you’re occupying. With easy-to-read luggage tags you decrease the change your luggage will be lost or stolen. When checking in to your first port, generally there will be a porter to take your luggage and an attendee to give you luggage tags and tell you your stateroom number.

Documentation


Make sure the name on the cruise reservation is exactly as it is stated on the passport or other citizenship document. If your name has changed for any reason, it is required that the documentation be updated with the new name. If you do not, you could run into delay or possible denial of boarding.

Vaccinations


Be up-to-date on all your vaccines, especially when traveling out of the country. If you think you might be due for a vaccine, contact your doctor’s office of your cruise line on recommendations.

Special Health Concerns


If you or anyone you know is traveling with disabilities, you need to notify the cruise line so proper measures can be taken. Services that require advanced notice include raised toilet seat, large print material, shower stool, service animal relief area, oxygen and dialysis supply and medical refrigerator.

Payments


Payment for your cruise should be made during your booking process online and sent to your travel agent or cruise line. Final payment is due 75 days prior to sailing for standard and holiday departures and other select departures require final payment 90 days prior to sailing date, according to celebritycruises.com.
Guests who do not bring the proper documentation with them may be prevented from boarding their flight or ship or from disembarking or entering a country and may be subject to fines and will not be reimbursed any amount of money. So before you book those Celebrity Caribbean cruises, make sure you have all the required documentation.

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