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10 family vacation destinations

10 All-Inclusive Family Resorts Even Teenagers Will Love

When my kids were little, I would enviously eye parents traveling with teens. They seemed so self-sufficient, carrying their own suitcases and watching movies or playing video games during long flights, while my needy toddlers were stuck to me like peanut butter to jelly. 

Little did I know that when my kids reached their teens, they’d find spending vacation time with their boring parents anything but cool. Their idea of vacation paradise is splashing around in water parks and hanging out with new friends at the resort’s teen club. They’ll spend time with their parents as long as they’re also allowed a healthy dose of independence, too.

Here are our faves!

Club Med Punta Cana

In the Dominican Republic, Club Med Punta Cana sits alongside a stunning swath of the Caribbean Sea fringed with sugary sand and tall coconut palms. Club Med pioneered the whole concept of all-inclusive resorts, with meals, drinks, activities, kid and teen clubs, and entertainment covered in the pay-one-price deal.  

At Club Med Punta Cana, teens ages 11 to 17 have their own space called Club Med Passworld. Activities include water sports, circus arts such as learning to swing on a flying trapeze, archery, and horseback riding. When the sun goes down, outdoor movies on the beach and dance parties offer the chance to mingle with new friends. 

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

Nestled in a private enclave on the Riviera Maya just a short drive from Cancun, the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is a beachfront hideaway located between the world’s second largest barrier reef and a tranquil nature preserve. 

If you’re traveling with active older kids and teens, the resort is the ideal spot for outdoor adventures. In addition to numerous pools and tennis courts, guests can stop by the sports desk and reserve equipment for water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking, or borrow bicycles to pedal around the grounds. The activity centeris open daily and includes the opportunity to try beach volleyball, salsa, and yoga classes.

Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch is an upscale resort in Monterey County, California. It’s paradise for active families with teens who crave adventure. There are multiple saltwater swimming pools, including one designated for families that includes a hot tub and squirting water jets. 

Golf, tennis, and hiking should keep many teens entertained, but there are also more unusual opportunities to get acquainted with the natural world. Carmel Valley Ranch is home to its own apiary with thousands of Italian honeybees. Teens may explore beekeeping, from hive science to honey tasting, when they join a 90-minute class and learn about the connection between plants and pollinators. They’ll suit up in protective gear and head to the apiary to watch the bees in action before sampling the luscious honey.

Massanutten Resort

Located in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Resort is loaded with recreational possibilities to tempt teens.  There are indoor and outdoor options in all seasons, so there’s never a wrong time to visit. And it’s located only a few hours from Washington, D.C., making it a favorite weekend escape for Beltway families.

There’s a huge indoor/outdoor water park, a Family Adventure Park with a zipline, 30 miles of mountain bike and hiking trails, plus basketball and tennis courts. In winter, active families and teens enjoy ice skating, snow tubing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding. Creative teens can try ukulele lessons and tie-dye workshops. In summer and during holidays, there are special teen nights with games and activities. 

Woodloch Pines Resort

Woodloch Pines is a family-owned lakeside resort in the Pocono Mountains. It exudes genuine hospitality and prides itself on personalized service, which helps to explain why so many guests return year after year. 

It’s a slice of teen heaven only two hours from New York City, with paintball, go-carting, archery, and more activities targeted to teenagers and older kids. In winter, snow tubing and ice-skating are fun outdoor options. While there’s no specific teen club at Woodloch, the resort hosts numerous friendly competitions such as Bakery Wars and Olympics, all of which are a great way for teens to make friends. Entertainment each evening includes juggling, magic shows, and comedy acts. 

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I’m Going to Defend Blake Lively from Her Haters Today…to a Certain Extent

la face

Oh my Gosh, Becky!! There is a ton of faux outrage on Twitter over Blake Lively captioning a split photo of her front and rear posing in a Cannes Film festival dress, “LA face with an Oakland beauty”.

And by “ton”, I mean a few people and the media picked up on those few and blew it up as if there is a firestorm of criticism. I’d say most of the people upset probably weren’t even old enough to remember when Sir Mix A Lot released, “Baby Got Back.” In any event, the song has become the virtual anthem of big booty glorification. It is now trending and cool to have a large derriere thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez. (Ignore the fact for a moment that they were always celebrated and appreciated in the Black community)

It really is not that deep. And while I was scoping the over-inflated reports of non-existing shade, I noticed people bringing up the fact that the Gossip Girl alum got married to Ryan Reynolds on a plantation.

Big friggin deal! I vacation at a resort that was once a plantation. Guests come from all backgrounds, races and ethnicities. I mean what do people want to happen to all the land that were once cotton fields? Burn them and put up museums of shame? There are buildings currently erect in the south that once  had “For Colored” signs in them.  Are  we to never use them either because they once were part of a sordid history?

The only criticism I thought maybe was warranted was her response to allegations that Woody Allen abused his child. Lively responded to a joke that the master of ceremony, a French comedienne made about Allen. She said she disliked the joke and finds Allen “empowering to women.”

She was also asked to respond to a recent essay by Allen’s son with actress Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow.  He basically again alleged that Allen abused his sister, and Allen’s daughter, Dylan when she was a child and called out Hollywood for ignoring it (For the record, Allen was cleared of abuse charges).

Lively, who stars in Allen’s latest project Cafe Society gave a cryptic response,

“I came home and went to bed at whatever time we finished,” the actress said. “I haven’t been in it, so I don’t want to speak on something I haven’t read. I think that’s dangerous.”

That response was… um meh.

But then again, he’s her boss (as in he is responsible for her paycheck from his film right now), even if he did marry the daughter his ex adopted when she was just 8-years old. errrr.

Here are the Top 10 Family Winter Vacation Destinations

Bellyitch Rewind
family vacation destinations
It  may be time to star planning for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Winter Vacation!
If you live in a cooler climate that experiences wintry weather during the colder months, but aren’t a fan of toughing out the colder days or participating in winter sports, the idea of escaping to a warm, sunny locale for a quick family vacation during winter break can be incredibly appealing. While there are a staggering number of places around the world that enjoy warm weather during the winter months, these are 10 of the best and most family-friendly spots to visit if you’re looking to escape the winter doldrums with your brood.
  1.     Florida Keys – With average temperatures in the 70’s, even during January and February, the Florida Keys offer American families the chance to get as close to the equator as possible without leaving the continental United States. In addition to the many beaches and water sports, there are also ample opportunities to learn more about marine life on a glass-bottomed boat or a chartered eco-tour.
  2.     Dominican Republic – Skipping the country in search of warmer climates doesn’t have to empty your bank account. During the winter months, most resorts in the beautiful and exotic Dominican Republic slash their prices dramatically, leaving their prices well within most budgets. Temperatures during the winter months also tend to hover in the high 70’s to 80’s.
  3.     Maya Riviera, Mexico – With year-round temperature averages of about 78°, the Maya Riviera is a popular destination for those who aren’t wild about winter weather. From sparkling beaches to spectacular Mayan ruins, there’s definitely something to suit every member of your family in the area.
  4.     Hawaii – If you don’t mind a bit of crowding, the Hawaiian Islands may be the perfect choice for your winter getaway. Because each of the eight islands has their own attractions and offer something different to tourists, you’ll be able to find activities everyone in the family will enjoy. Luxury accommodations can get quite pricey, however, because the winter months are quite popular for tourists to visit Hawaii.
  5.     Las Vegas, Nevada – Vegas might have the dubious honor of being dubbed “Sin City,” but it’s also a surprisingly suitable family destination, and ranked number one on Getaroom.com’s list of wintertime bargain destinations in the United States. Average temperatures fall a bit short of tropical in the winter, hovering in the low 60’s during the winter months, but you still won’t need to pack those heavy jackets and scarves.
  6.     The Amalfi Coast, Italy – During the winter months, the Amalfi Coast region is one of the warmest areas of Italy, with average temperatures in the 50’s. Some hotels and restaurants are closed or on limited schedules during the winter months, but there are still plenty of attractions to keep everyone entertained and out of the snow during winter break.
  7.     Phoenix, Arizona – With spring-like temperatures hovering in the high 60’s, the many attractions and activities in Phoenix make the city a great escape from winter weather for a short jaunt during winter break. There are plenty of activities for kids, including museums and other educational pursuits, as well as a variety of outdoor activities.
  8.     Guanacaste, Costa Rica – From zip-lining through rainforests and thrilling canopy tours to surfing lessons and low-key horseback trail rides, there’s plenty of tropical fun to be had in Costa Rica during the winter months. The crowds are almost non-existent and prices are dramatically dropped during the winter season, which can be quite rainy in certain areas but is easily avoidable by traveling a very short distance.
  9.     Orlando, Florida – Families have been making the pilgrimage to Orlando year-round for decades to visit the Happiest Place on Earth and take advantage of the many amenities. It’s significantly less expensive during the winter months, provided that you avoid peak days like Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, and will have average temperatures in the low 70’s.
  10.     Cyprus – The third largest Mediterranean island is dotted with olive and citrus groves, mountains and beaches, and is an impressively low-cost winter vacation destination for families. Temperatures are in the high 70’s from November to February. The island also does not shut down during the winter low season, so you’ll still be able to visit historical sites, go hiking, and enjoy the many amenities of hotels whose rates drop by almost half from November through March.
 Good luck planning! Enjoy!