Saturday, March 10, 2007

What's Your Favorite Vacation Spot?

Maui, HawaiiWith Alaskan winters stretching interminably through March and April, spring break is a critical time. Anchorage becomes a ghost town, the entire population of 300,000 moving to warmer climates for that week school is out. Should you attempt to purchase an airline ticket out of the city you'll find every seat on every plane filled unless you have enough foresight to book your vacation eight months in advance.

Hawaii is five hours away, California four--one of the benefits to living in Anchorage is air travel is easy and plentiful--and if you can escape for one or two weeks you too can survive an Alaskan winter. One week of sun gives you enough vitamin D to make it through the rest of the year.

As a child Maui was our favorite place to go. For two weeks a year we became beach bums, spending so much time in the ocean we developed permanently wrinkled fingers and toes. Human prunes with lots of sunblock on our pathetically white little Alaskan bodies. I still think it's my favorite place in the world to be if I really want to relax--Andrew and I swear we're going to retire in Wailea with his and hers home offices overlooking Po'olenalena Beach.

Andrew and I honeymooned in the eastern Caribbean, a five-day trip worthy of a post (what a nightmare) and recently returned from a cruise of the western end that was much better--as in "best ten days of my life so far" better. We've done the Disneyland thing and will probably take the kids to Disneyworld next year. After that it's India. Yes, you read that right, India. As in Ganges, Gandhi and gazillions of people. My parents are moving to Bangalore for the next three years starting in July so we're planning on making India the family vacation for 2009 because hey, when are you ever gonna get around to seeing India? While we're at it maybe we'll take in Nepal too.

So I'm asking where is your favorite vacation spot? Where have you gone and found that elusive piece of heaven? Have you ever had a vacation? Not a visiting-Grandma-in-Panguich trip but an honest to goodness, mints on the pillow, lose the cellphone trip?

How do you decide where to go? With kids or without? Summer or winter? Driving or flying? Close to home or far away? Have you any sweet tips to share? Help me get through this long dark winter.

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33 comments:

Addicted to your Blog said...

Wow! Thsi Blog seems to be a good one. ALASKAN adventure.

scribbit said...

I had friends who visited the Outer Banks in North Carolina last summer and after hearing about their trip I thought it sounded amazing. Only problem is, no one should leave Alaska in the summer--that's what you survive winter for, so you can enjoy the summers--and the only time to see the Outer Banks would be in summer.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Nothing beats a week at any given of our Aussie beaches, eating battered fish and chips, fighting off the seagulls, getting tanned (or burned, in my case) and just soaking up the fact that life can truly be grand.

But I'm biased ;)

The Tour Marm said...

I design trips and travel for a living so my favorite vacation spot was home!

But my happiest times were in the Canadian Rockies, British Columbia and Alaska/Yukon! (I conducted tours there for several summers, based out of Seattle and Vancouver, BC.)

I haven't been back in over ten years and I miss Peyto and Maligne Lakes in the Rockies, white water rafting down the Nanana, finally getting a glimpse of Denali, the northern lights, the endless days, walking on glaciers, and roaming Butchart Gardens.

My dream is to find Mr. Right and spend part of my honeymoon in a lighthouse off either the Maine or Oregon Coast.

I like Australia and New Zealand as well.

And England.

BTW Several friends in Anchorage are remaining there during spring break because of the airfares. Unbelievable!

amanda kathryn said...

I would have to say my best, most relaxing vacation was a trip to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. The beaches were extraordinary and surprisingly not packed (b/c there are so many of them.) And I hate to admit, I am all about vacationing without the kids.

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Hmmm . . . vacations? When I was four, we took a daytrip on a little ferry from Washington State to Butchart Gardens in Canada. Even at such a young age, I remember how spectacular the gardens were. The only negative was when my uncle (who was 16 at the time) threatened to throw my beloved blankie overboard. The trauma! I visited the Bahamas in highschool. And a few years ago we rented a cabin upin the Adirondacks (one of my favorite vacations yet).

MotoMom said...

Growing up we never went on vacation. Long road trips to visit family, yes, but no vacations. When I married my husband his family always took the RV and boat and camped for a week at Detroit Lake. So those first few years of marriage we joined them. Truly it was a vacation for me after I had kids. We slept in the tent and the baby slept in the RV bathtub. MIL did all the cooking and cleaning (there is only room for one in a RV kitchen, grandparents took the kids for walks, rides on the boat, to the playground. I got to nap, read, enjoy the peace and quiet.
These days we have a truck/camper, so during riding season we can just hook up and go whenever we want. We love riding in the Tillamook State Forrest, 20 minutes from our home. Get up early for breakfast, ride, lunch and naps, kids playing in the stream and exploring the woods, ride, dinner, ride, campfire and then bed. My in-laws also have propery in Diamond Peaks, we also love to camp and ride there. Eventually they will build a cabin there so we can go year round. Then it will be riding, fishing, skiing, etc. Can't wait!

JAM said...

I like vacations, period. As a kid growing up in north Louisiana, we'd usually go to northern Arkansas/southern Missouri to the Ozarks. I loved every single minute.

As an adult, I have always favored the beach. I've been to Hawaii (Oahu) which I LOVED. I had such good times at the ocean, that when I earned my engineering degree, I looked for a job in Florida. Been here ten years.

We go to the beach semi often, but now dream of vacations in the Smoky Mountains or Colorado. I've never been to Colorado, Lovely Wife loves it there.

Our section of Florida, central Florida, is nice. The beach isn't astoundingly beautiful like up in the panhandle, but it's pretty enough, and we don't have quite the amount of tourism here that would make summer miserable. Plus we're only an hour from the Disney/Sea World thingys, so that's an easy shot when we get the urge.

Anyhoo, people in Florida want to go to the mountains for a different kind of break.

crystal said...

I'm gonna say it. I've never been on Vacation. Oh sure, I've been on scads of "road trips" but never a true "mint on your pillow" vacation. All of our trips generally involve pitching a tent and come complete with a history lesson. I don't mind these trips, I like to camp but "accomodations" would be really SWEET!

chelle said...

So far we have had one "true" vacation! Sadly :( Nah not sadly really, we are always on an adventure while moving :)

Our one vacation was our honeymoon which I won at a bridal show ... to Vegas! Talk about Lucky! hehe! We are so not gamblers but there was so much to see and o we had a blast and look forward to escaping back there someday (once we figure out how to ditch the kids! heheh!)

Alaska is somewhere I have ALWAYS wanted to see ... I have been to Northern BC and the Northern Lights were amazing.

Kelly said...

Like you, I love Hawaii, although the flight from Chicago is a touch longer than 5 hours. I'm all about beach vacations. The hubby and I took some fantastic beach-bum vacations before our twins were born. I'm looking forward to hauling the kids on their first beach adventure. I think it'll be Mexico -- Playa del Carmen, perhaps.

grnidlady said...

while i'm a native californian i spent part of my childhood in northern idaho. i love going there and hope to be able to go again this summer. i live near the beach and mountains here is so cal so i feel like i am on a mini vacation when i go there.

Lisa Milton said...

I hate to admit how long it has been since we have had a bonefide vacation - our trips tend to be family-visit related. My husband's company hosts glorious award trips each spring, and my husband would be in line to go, EXCEPT that his new position is ineligible. So bummed. Greece. Wah. Ok, I'm over it. We did take a long weekend away to the Oregon Coast not too long ago. I think we are due a big family, let's-take-oodles of pictures vacation. That's what I am lobbying for.

Kristin said...

Our favorite spot WITH KIDS or WITHOUT KIDS is Destin, Florida. It's becoming everyone's favorite spot, which means it may not be my favorite spot anymore. But, for now - the whitest beaches you've seen in America, plenty of family friendly activities, plenty of secluded non-touristy places. It's beautiful and easy to get to.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Hawaii, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, the US. I haven't been to a lot places so I will take any place I can afford and any place where my husband and I can have a break from the kids :) !! And then after that I would love a family vacation. I am not asking for much :) !!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm just drooling at the thought of Hawaii being so close... I've never been and boy, would I like to change that!

In a few years, we'll be able to do some really cool vacations with the kids. Right now, the little one's just a shade too young. And man, am I looking forward to exploring the world with my kids... Right now, I don't care where, so long as it's fun.

girlymama said...

i go to hilton head island every year, which is a little slice of heaven.

hey - we're going to india too! this thanksgiving. we can swap tips ;-)

K T Cat said...

My favorite place is Maui. Stay in a condo in Kihei to save $. Early in the morning, go to the Star Market and get frozen peas, then snorkel at Ulua Beach until the tradewinds kick up the waves and the visibility goes down. Be sure to feed the peas to the fish. In the afternoon, drive over to the wet side of the island and hike in the jungle. Come back to the condo for a steak on the grill.

Repeat as necessary.

Maui no ka oi!

scribbit said...

Ah yes, Star Market. The only place in the free world where you can buy a gallon of milk for the price of a Buick. We tend to go the Costco route with our crew but yes, love that place.

Babystepper said...

Our family had one big family vacation. (Lots of camping trips and going to see Grandma, though)
We went to Houston/Galveston for our first visit to the "ocean". It was an interesting trip. We came back from that trip with my dad saying that we were getting either new kids or a new car.

Sara said...

Sorry, our vacation seems to be going to SLC, Utah for visits with gramma and grampa. We're not much for travelling and THAT'S an understatement.

I do, however, enjoy seeing other pix from other people. As long as it wasn't me travelling. Still, when the transporter is safe and in vogue, you just KNOW I'll be a travel bunny!

Jenn in Holland said...

A No-kids best vacation was the trip we took to Maine and did a Windjammer cruise on an old clipper.
The with-kids best trip has to be 3 days in Paris, or possibly the week we spent in the French Alps over Christmas. It's hard to say. I didn't sleep well on either of those trips because the toddler among us doesn't fare well in hotel rooms, but still the daylight adventures made up for the deprivation.
All things considered, I am a real advocate of 'No Kids' vacations...

Robin said...

What a difficult question to answer. My hands-down favorite has to be Thailand (we went to Bangkok, then east and north, never made to the islands). So incredible in so many ways... Closely following though would be France and Italy.

I'd LOVE to get to Hawaii someday, but it's just SO darn far from Israel...

My Marrakech said...

Hawaii sounds like heaven. We love India and used to live in Nepal. We have traveled as a family with our young children many places but for now we are staying put while we save pennies to build our house. Last Summer we rented a beach house for the entire summer in Essaouira in Morocco and went every weekend. It was perfect.

Makita said...

Love your prompt...My favorite is Moloa'a beach in Kauai. I posted photos on my blog. :)

Pass The Torch said...

We toured several European countries a couple of years ago. Our kids were just seven and five at that time, but it was still great. Our favorite spot was Carinthia in southern Austria. Not many American's know of it, but it's where the Germans vacation. Beautiful! Warm weather, with gigantic mountains leading directly to deep lakes.

Leslie said...

My husband took me away to a private cabin at Indian Bear Lodge here in Ohio (not too far from the little one at home) and I'm still dancing in the clouds from it.

Melkhi said...

I remember with fondness visiting Ouray, CO as a child and now my children love it as well. I think it is the most beautiful area in CO: the rugged San Juan range, the carpets of wildflowers on the mountainsides in July, the kid-friendly hot springs pool, the awe-inspiring Box Canyon Falls...

Jen said...

My favorite place in the whole wide world is Victoria, B.C. Sorry, not terribly warm, sunny, or south, but it is breathtaking. It helps that we honeymooned there and I went to many a flute masterclass there as well. Lots of wonderful memories.

Sheela said...

not had one single vacation so far that i look back longingly hoping to relive... but, one that sticks in mind fondly is spending a few days in beautiful Goa beaches in southern India

p.s: am curious about the India trip you mentioned - my parents living in India and all...

Bradley & Liza said...

you're invited to come by our place when you come to Maui :)

Liza's Eyeview said...

Oppsss..I used a wrong sign-in for my comment. It's me Liza. I'm the one who commented earlier and invited you to come visit us on Maui. My blog is Liza's Eyeview (and I'm still learning a lot about blogging especialy the tech stuff - ugh!)

croatiagals said...

My favourite spot would be China, The great wall of China is the spot to be. I love it.