There are thousands of milestones for parents to celebrate, from your baby’s first steps to your child’s high school graduation. While most milestone celebrations are simple and understated, some are so significant that they necessitate going above and beyond.
My family celebrates the major holidays with family vacations. Traveling creates memories of its own, and travelling as a form of celebration can connect those memories to the most significant milestones in your children’s lives. Here are a few suggestions for commemorating significant family events when traditional gifts or parties are insufficient.
- Completing elementary school
Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts
Graduating from elementary school is a significant achievement for children and a significant milestone before the moody tween and teen years. Celebrate with a family vacation that will capture their childlike imagination and satisfy a wide range of ages and interests.
Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya, just 30 minutes from Cancun, is a can’t-miss Mexico all-inclusive resort to celebrate a family milestone, with a massive outdoor water park, all swim-up oceanfront suites, and Nickelodeon-themed entertainment and decor around every corner.
The resort is close to swimming holes, shopping areas, and famous archaeological sites, but there’s almost no reason to leave the resort with so much to do and eat on-site, including the 6-acre Aqua Nick water park and its two lazy rivers, the Nickelodeon Place entertainment hub, character meet-and-greets, a variety of sit-down and a la carte dining options, and an enormous beachfront swimming pool.
- Transitioning from middle school to high school Disney Wish
Disney cruises are always a fun family vacation option, but celebrating your tween’s middle school graduation is an especially good reason to book a trip. And Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, Disney Wish, may be the ideal vacation at sea for families with high school-aged children.
To begin with, the sheer number of onboard entertainment options for tweens (and their parents) is astounding. The tween-friendly entertainment options on Disney Wish are virtually limitless, with everything from action-packed Marvel-themed and Frozen-themed dinner theatre experiences to an upscale Star Wars lounge (open to kids during the daytime hours) to multiple pools, live shows, and a fully enclosed sports court with an elaborate Incredibles-themed inflatable obstacle course. Kids ages 11 to 14 have their own dedicated space on Disney Wish, a tweens-only club called Edge, which was inspired by a New York City loft.
Disney Wish is currently departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, on three- and four-night Caribbean cruises. Most include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, another tween-friendly destination where new middle school graduates can enjoy the sand and surf with or without their parents.
- Completion of high school
Signature Expeditions by National Geographic
Let’s face it: vacationing with teenagers isn’t always simple. In their eyes, we’re not as cool as we used to be as parents, and they’d rather be somewhere – anywhere – other than with their family. If your graduating teen has an inquisitive mind and a taste for adventure, consider a guided tour from National Geographic Expeditions.
National Geographic Expeditions, based on its core values of exploration, science, education, and storytelling, offers guided tours on all seven continents, many of which are geared toward families. Subject matter experts lead high-end National Geographic Signature Land trips, which provide special access to field researchers and sites of interest. National Geographic Journeys, which are more affordable, use local guides and include more built-in free time at some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, archaeological sites, and wildlife-rich destinations.
- Family reunions and gatherings of multiple generations
Colorado’s C Lazy U Ranch
The best family reunion destinations bring together multiple generations in a single location with something for everyone to enjoy. It’s not an easy task, but C Lazy U Ranch has been doing it since 1918. There’s no shortage of things to do during a family reunion, whether you’re reconnecting with cousins or bringing siblings, parents, and grandparents together for a multigenerational vacation of a lifetime.
C Lazy U Ranch, which combines rustic dude ranch charm with all-inclusive amenities and year-round programming for kids and teens, is the ideal setting for families to reconnect over gourmet meals served after a day of hiking, biking, skiing, archery, trap shooting, horseback riding, fly-fishing, or simply relaxing in the spa tent.
It’s a year-round destination with unique activities for each of the four seasons. Every night of the year, however, concludes with a gourmet dinner, s’mores by the campfire, and a good night’s sleep in the ranch’s on-site cabins, which can accommodate two to 11 people.
- When a baby is on the way
California’s Post Ranch Inn
The months leading up to a child’s birth are a special time filled with joy, anticipation, and (let’s face it) a little bit of anxiety. Babymoon vacations are a romantic way for couples to celebrate this relationship milestone while also allowing them to enjoy each other’s company before parenthood makes those opportunities for romance much more difficult to come by.
The ultra-luxurious Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is a one-of-a-kind lodging experience ideal for a romantic babymoon getaway. Post Ranch Inn, designed to blend into its coastal redwood surroundings, offers a variety of secluded guest houses with ocean or mountain views, outdoor decks, and walk-in showers or oversized soaking tubs, all nestled into the cliffside overlooking the Pacific ocean.
Gentle hikes, farm-to-table dining with stunning views, and late-night stargazing are among the activities available at this adults-only inn. With no televisions or alarm clocks to distract you, this is a romantic California getaway where you can immerse yourself in rest and relaxation before the arrival of your little bundle of joy.