Georgette and Melissa took a trip around the world this weekend, without having to leave the NYC area! We attended the New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. We sat through panels, chatted with travel experts, sifted through brochures, and got the skinny on everything cool in family travel for 2017.
Want to know where to go in the coming year? Here are a few of our favorite finds:
Universal Orlando — Yup, we know you have all the deets about Harry Potter already, but Universal still has a few tricks up their sleeves. First, the Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon ride debuts April 6 (just in time for spring break). Then, early this summer, the new Volcano Bay Waterpark — a new 30-acre waterslide filled “land” — opens it doors. A new wing of Cabana Bay Hotel will feature Volcano facing rooms with close-up views of sputtering lava. Finally, keep your eyes peeled for the park’s sixth hotel, Adventura, a swanky 16-story high-rise with a rooftop tapas bar slated for summer of 2018.
Montreal — Just a hop across the northern border brings you to the Paris of Canada, a French-speaking cultural center that’s a favorite of Melissa’s family. The city is celebrating its 375th anniversary this year, which also happens to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday, so expect lots of celebrations and fireworks (literally) this summer at this easy to reach (and a bargain to boot) city.
Crete — Looking for a far-flung adventure? This oasis in the Aegean was recommended to us at THE best place to bring the kids (especially teens and tweens) in Greece. What makes it great? Beautiful beaches, gorgeous scenery, lots of water activities, authentic culture and cuisine, and a dearth of big hotels, which means house rentals (which are plentiful and affordable) are the way to go, and perfect for families. Opa!
MSC Cruises — If you’re not familiar with this cruise line (a favorite in Europe), you will be soon, when its new ship Seaside hits the water in December. The ship will dock in Miami and do 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Among its highlights for families: connecting staterooms, “super family plus” rooms that fit 10 people (!), a family buffet and pizzeria, LEGO activity area, a rope course, and a state-of-the-art waterpark with Slideboarding, a combination of a water slide and an interactive video game, a first at sea.
Margaritaville Resorts — OK, we know you hear Jimmy Buffett playing in your head, but you might have trouble imagining how a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” translates to a hotel. Actually, this is a group of resorts, all with a fun in the sun attitude, but the Hollywood, Florida, property, is, according to our Margaritaville sources, their most popular with families. (It’s also the easiest to get to from NY/NJ, and just a short ride from the Ft. Lauderdale airport.) It has a beachfront location, massive swimming pool, waterslide, Flowrider, kids club, and an array of dining options, a range of suites to suit any family group.
A few other favorites from the show we’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming year: The jungle and beach vacation options in Costa Rica (above); the desert delights of Phoenix; the “WOW” of South Africa; and the Aloha spirit of the Hawaiian Islands.
Where do you want to travel with your family in 2017?
(Top photo: NY Times Travel Show, Sandy Huffaker)