Planning a warm weather family vacation certainly seemed a lot easier when my children were in elementary school. Our family was relatively easy to satisfy -- all we needed was a family friendly resort with great beach, a large pool (preferably with a water slide), a room that could accommodate four, and restaurants with children's menus. A captivating children's program was a big plus, of course, but we could make up for its absence with lots of family time.
As our children hit the teen years, however, things began to change. Suddenly, lots of family time couldn't make up for the absence of friends or teens who were their own age. Hanging around the pool all day was boring, and one could only tan for so long on the beach. Kids' programs were outgrown. Our girls were seeking something more from a resort vacation, and finding it became a lot more work.
It seems that I'm not the only one who is going through this transition. I've heard from numerous readers who still want to vacation with their teens, but find themselves frustrated by the experience. While they would like their kids to enjoy their trip, parents are also looking for a setting in which everyone can have a great time on their vacation. In response to this demand, the Family Travel Network will be doing more articles and features on traveling with teens.
I've been traveling with teens for six years now, and I've learned one very simple fact: vacationing with teens can be easy if you pick the right resort or setting and if you talk with them about what's important to them on this trip. For some teens, shopping or spa treatments might be exciting. Others may want to build in opportunities for thrills or adventure. Most would like to include some sort of unique activity or opportunity that they can talk about with their friends back home. While most teens say they enjoy vacationing with their family, they also relish the opportunity to meet new people their own age and have the freedom to spend some time on their own.
SuperClubs' all-inclusive Breezes Resorts certainly seem to understand how to meet the vacation needs of today's active teens. Whether it's getting an adrenaline rush from a high wire trapeze lesson, windsurfing, meeting new friends during pool games, or dancing the night away at the disco, teens seem to be right at home here. Parents can do as much or as little as they like. Days of relaxation in a lounge chair might seem perfect, while the active set can take up sailing, kayaking, or climbing the 30-foot rock wall.
Each Breezes Resort has its own flavor. We've been to several of them, and have enjoyed each one. Breezes Costa Do Sauipe is a standout for those families seeking a captivating vacation with an exotic Latin touch. Located in the beautiful Bahia area of Brazil, Breezes Costa do Sauipe is part of the 500-acre, $100 million dollar Costa Do Sauipe mega resort complex. The exquisite palm lined beach goes on for five miles, and the resort offers surfing lessons that are immensely popular with teens. My daughter learned to surf here, and it's an experience she'll never forget. The resort and the surrounding complex offers something to meet the interests of every teen: shopping, beach soccer, windsurfing, and a professional circus workshop, as well as spa treatments and fascinating day tours to nearby Salvador (both at an extra charge). While teens love this place, younger children do too. An active children's program keeps younger members of the family busy, and parents have an opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the area and sample the local culture. Tours and day trips abound, and the food is particularly excellent here. This was one of our most memorable family trips, and I would recommend it highly.
Another Breezes standout is the Breezes Bahamas located on Nassau's Cable Beach. This resort is slightly different that Costa Do Sauipe, in that only teens fourteen and older are welcomed as guests. This gives the resort a certain special chemistry, and makes it particularly attractive for families with older teens. There are no small children in the pool, the games and activities are oriented more towards teens and young adults, and the food is a bit more sophisticated than one might find at your usual Caribbean all-inclusive. The location of this resort is particularly well suited to a teen vacation. Cable Beach is a beautiful white sand beach, and a great setting for watersports. Waterskiing is included here, as is windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. The shops of downtown Nassau are just a short cab ride away, and in the evening one can stroll down the beach to view the action at the casino or go dancing at the nightclub. For that memorable experience, take the popular powerboat tour to the nearby Exumas to snorkel, swim in the turquoise waters, and feed the iguanas and stingrays by hand. Breezes Bahamas is a hot resort for teens, as this related articles attests: Teens Have Fun in the Sun at SuperClubs Breezes Bahamas.
For a teen-oriented vacations with more of a European flair, consider Breezes Curacao. Located deep in the Southern Caribbean just 44 miles from Venezuela, this resort is a perfect choice for late summer and fall vacations. Curacao is located well outside of the normal hurricane path -- a fact which can be particularly important to ensure peace of mind. Like Costa Do Sauipe, this large property welcomes families with children of all ages and the active children's program keeps them happy and busy. Curacao is a diver's paradise, and teens who are interested in marine life are particularly happy here. The island's impressive Curacao Sea Aquarium is located just a short walk away, and a dolphin encounter program is offered there. The resort is located just two miles from Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offering significant opportunities for historical tours, shopping, and experiencing the Dutch Caribbean culture.
Additional Breezes properties are located in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. All of the Breezes resorts are all-inclusive, and we have found the food and service to be excellent. Most of the resorts have a restaurant called Munahana, a Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar and tabletop grills. These restaurants are a huge hit with teens, so make sure to make reservations as soon as you arrive. It's another one of those memorable Breezes moments that you and your teen with savor ... along with coming home with a great tan.