A little sun, a little sand and the sea. The combination makes for a great family vacation. Here are five destinations to consider:
1. PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA The emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge before spilling onto 27 miles of sugary white sand beaches. Boasting championship golf, spas and a diverse menu of recreational opportunities, it’s a warm-weather community fit for families. Stay at the Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort and swim in a lagoon pool, play tennis or access kids’ programming through the Adventure Zone.
2. DUCK KEY, FLORIDA Do you have an aspiring mermaid in your household? The Orlando-based Mermaid Academy makes this seafaring fantasy a reality at the Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys. Kids of all ages can “dip their tail in the water” and see what swimming like this mystical creature actually feels like in the resort’s saltwater lagoon. Families can also check out the dolphin research facility.
3. WAILEA, HAWAII If you are looking for island luxury and a spot the kids will rave about, the seaside Grand Wailea Resort fits the bill. Check out the Rock, a 20,000 square-foot mini resort, offering creatively designed spaces and programs for youngsters and teens. The expansive Wailea Canyon activity pool is the spot for imaginative water play, deckside lei and puka shell neckace-making.
4. SARDINAL, COSTA RICA Known for beautiful beaches, volcanoes and extensive biodiversity, Costa Rica exudes a family-friendly vibe. On the Pacific coast, this 538-room, beachfront, all-inclusive Riu resort offers four pools, beach access and a kids club and playground. During your stay, sample windsurfing, kayaking and snorkeling before opting for an introductory scuba lesson in the resort pool.
5. PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA Situated along the St. Lucie River on the Atlantic coast, 337-room Club Med Sandpiper Bay offers families the opportunity to relax in a European-style, all-inclusive environment and has activities for children from age 4 months to teens. Plan for pool and beach time, golf lessons, tennis and trapeze fun.