We spent a wonderful one and a half weeks with family and friends in New England, with Pier 7 Condominiums as our home base.
-Jeffrey L. from Waimalu, Hawaii
We spent a wonderful one and a half weeks with family and friends in New England, with Pier 7 Condominiums as our home base.
-Jeffrey L. from Waimalu, Hawaii
Before going on a vacation with my family I always read the reviews. I focus on travelers looking for the same things I do: family friendly, a variety of activities, and great outdoor adventures. In addition, I like to call the resort staff and speak with someone from the area.
I called Country Hideaway at Mountain Lakes and spoke with the sweetest lady. I felt an immediate reassurance that this was the right place for my family and our guests.
Our unit was clean and well stocked, with a wooden deck overlooking a perfect lake. I fished each morning as the coffee brewed. Hummingbirds, ducks and geese were our pets for the week. We had the run of the place with water slides, a country store, a clubhouse with every amenity possible, trails, horses, etc. My son loved swimming in a lake without alligators! The fireworks for the 4th of July (one week early for resort guests) were picture perfect over the lake...we watched from our deck. The area boasts the town of Helen, the Blue Ridge Parkway, loads of state parks and waterfalls...too much to name. We had our first whitewater rafting trip on this vacation; pure joy! We long to return to the mountains...we booked our Christmas Holiday at another resort, this time in North Carolina. I'll let you know how that goes!
-Susan R. from DeBary, FL
A few years ago, my family and I went to the Ozarks in Arkansas for July 4th weekend. Being in the middle of America for that particular holiday was so meaningful. The accommodations were like a mountain log cabin style. The facilities were clean. There were many activities and water sports to keep us entertained. Every morning I was able to wake and have coffee watching the sun come up and burn the mist off the lake and rise above the pines. The employees were friendly and accommodating. We visited the town nearby and attended their parade, which included a marching band and vintage cars, all to honor the service people and veterans. It was so special to see the heart of Americana on such a patriotic weekend! I will never forget it.
-Crystal B. from Crest Hill, IL
I’ve blogged before about the Poconos being a great vacation destination for outdoor lovers and adventure enthusiasts. But, if you are just in the mood for a relaxing getaway and want to simply enjoy the scenery and fresh air, then a trip to Pennsylvania may be in order.
Lake Wallenpaupack (actually a reservoir in Pennsylvania) is perfect for boating, swimming and fishing, but its shoreline also lends itself to hiking and gazing at wildlife. I spent many summers on its shores with my extended family, enjoying each other’s company and the natural beauty of the area. I truly cannot think of anything more relaxing.
This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have also enjoyed vacations made complete with stunning lakes and natural beauty. Be sure to come back to take a look! Are you heading on a lake vacation this summer? Let us know where by commenting below!
I took my first trip to Sedona with my family ten years ago. From the moment we arrived, I was absolutely in love, and it remains one of my favorite places to visit (and where I hope to someday retire!).
The red rocks are the main attraction in Sedona. There, we took a Jeep tour, which is a fun (and bumpy) way to see the sites up close. The tour allowed us to get to areas that are off limits for hikers and gave us the opportunity to experience breathtaking views.
Another great place we found in Sedona was the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which sits nestled among the red rocks. From its perch, it gives a great opportunity to see some of the other well-known formations, including Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock.
Sedona also offers amazing artwork and jewelry from artisans who flock to the area. I always find something new and unique to bring home when I visit, and need to leave room in my suitcase for my finds!
So until my retirement, when I hope to take up permanent residence, Sedona will remain at the top of my list of vacation destinations, and the place I personally believe to be the most beautiful in the country.
We went to Bass Lake and took a day trip to Yosemite. I have never seen anything so beautiful! My son and his family came with us and we rented a pontoon boat at Bass Lake and had a super fun day at the lake. This is a picture of the Yosemite Valley from our day trip there.
-Renee G. from San Anselmo, CA
"Mom thank you so much for bringing me on this vacation!" my thirteen year old daughter said as we left the lodge. Nearly speechless, I couldn't say anything else but, "You’re welcome." We had a great time visiting Yosemite National Park and the giant Sequoia trees on the way. We played a family-modified game of miniature golf at the resort and enjoyed some videos they had available for our use. Our white water rafting trip on the Truckee River capped off the experience. While my daughter will remember the things she saw and did, I will always remember what she said. It made all of my planning and paying worthwhile. So often I feel like we are dragging our kids on vacation and they fight and complain so much. It was really nice to hear gratitude for a change.
-Cassandra R. from Cedar City, UT
Each evening, sitting on the spacious porch of our resort, we were treated to a blaze of glory with varying degrees of color every evening. Summer sunsets overlooking Canyon Lake are gorgeous! Our family of 5 loved the different colors and intensity every evening! What a way to relax.
-John M. from Succasunna, NJ
As suggested by an RCI Vacation Guide, we visited Galveston, Texas. I met one of my cousins and her family that I had not seen in over 30 years. We grew up in upstate New York. We visited Lake Jackson where they lived and many of the sights in the area. One great memory was eating local BBQ - finger lickin' good! People were so friendly that we went back again through another RCI exchange. It was one of our best exchanges, with the beach across the street from our resort. May not sound like much to some, but it was a wonderful experience connecting with relatives that had moved far away.
-Joyce M. from Enfield, CT
I’ll be honest – Orlando originally wasn’t on the top of my “places where I’d like to holiday” list. I always preferred the buzz of a city – eating in one-off restaurants, digging for records in little independent music stores, and soaking up the atmosphere.
But a few years ago, things changed. When it came to choosing a vacation destination, there was a new dimension – a child. That’s right. We had welcomed a beautiful little boy, Cal, and a year later, we decided that we might be able to stay awake long enough to make it to the airport and onto vacation. It was far from a certainty, but we took the risk. After weighing up flight length from New Jersey, kid-friendliness, and chance of sunshine, Orlando was the best choice.
And I have to say…what a fantastic choice it was! We ate at nice restaurants with no frowning at the request for a high-chair. We took things at our own pace and enjoyed fantastic amenities at our resort. We went to a couple of theme parks and acted like kids. It really was a great family vacation.
Three years on, we’ve been back four times. We arranged a family reunion with both sets of doting babysitters (sorry, grandparents) and also met good friends from England with their toddler. We’ve had so much fun, enjoyed excellent food, found countless bargains at the outlet malls, and “ooh’d” and “aah’d” at the theme parks and shows.
Best of all – I even found an awesome record store.
This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have also visited Orlando. Be sure to come back to read about their vacations!
When planning your vacation, you first have to ask yourself: what kind of experience am I (are we) looking for? Honeymoon, anniversary, shopping, family-focused, adventure, history, theme parks, good for teenagers, health, relaxation? There are so many kinds. But wouldn’t it be great to have it all in one vacation? Believe me, you will when you visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya!
In Cancun you can stay at a resort surrounded by beautiful turquoise water and soft white sands, combined with the warmth and kindness that Mexicans can offer to their guests. Looking for all day activities? You can swim with dolphins, rent a boat to go fishing, or even sail on a yacht! You can do some shopping at the malls, where you will find major international brands. You can also have lunch or dinner on Kukulcan Boulevard – where you will find restaurants with regional, national, and international cuisine. And if you are looking for a night out on the town, Cancun is home to some of the most unique night clubs in the world!
If you love to have close contact with nature and history, you can stay at a resort in the Riviera Maya or Playa del Carmen, only about 40-50 minutes away from Cancun International Airport. There are so many activities, you are sure to find something that appeals to you and those you are traveling with: snorkeling near the beautiful coral reefs, swimming in underground rivers, or golfing on courses designed by world-famous golfers. You can also visit Xel Ha, an aquatic theme park, great for kids and adults! And don’t forget to visit the famous theme park, Xcaret, and archaeological park where you can enjoy swimming at amazing cenotes, see animals and learn about the Mayan history. You can also travel to Tulum to see ancient ruins – personally, I don’t think there is any other place in the world where the moonlight reflects brighter off the sea than it does in Tulum. If you are looking for more history, head to the “magical” Chichen Itzá (NOT “chicken and pizza”!), a popular tourist destination where you can see a breathtaking Mayan pyramid. Finally, to end a perfect day, walk through the Fifth Ave. strip where international cultures mix to offer an array of food, wine, shopping, and music.
There’s no place in the world where you can enjoy all this and much more! Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen and some of the attractions I told you about above. Come back to the RCI Blog to hear about their trips!
Our first family vacation at Branson, MO. The picture was taken at the resort itself, French Quarter. The trees are blooming and the weather was so good. We enjoyed our family vacation.
-Carmela T. from Houston, TX
My family and I were at Zephyr Cove Park on Lake Tahoe during Spring Break 2011. As the sun was setting, clouds were breaking in creating this beautiful scene.
-Anne S. from Lynnwood, WA
Okay, so maybe spring hasn’t really sprung just yet. Even though the first official day of spring was last Wednesday, many of us in the United States were still seeing snow last week and will be seeing it again today. While it’s evident that Mother Nature disagrees with the calendar, it still shouldn’t stop us from enjoying our springtime vacations! After all, vacations aren’t just about the weather – but also about relaxing, exploring, eating, shopping, trying new things, and bonding with family and friends.
We have received some great photos over the years from our RCI subscribing members – many of which you have seen right here on the RCI Blog. So, as a way to usher in spring (and maybe hurry it along a little!), we are devoting this week on the RCI Blog to sharing pictures all related to spring! Whether you are the type of traveler who likes to squeeze out that last bit of winter, or the type who can’t wait to see the flowers blooming and the mercury rising a little, I hope you’ll get some vacation inspiration from the photos we will be sharing. So come back to the RCI Blog this week to take a look.
What are your springtime vacation plans? Comment below and let us know!
When people say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” I bet they didn’t think about the fun filled memories they take back with them and never forget.
The place that people once called an adult playground has turned into a vacation spot almost everyone can enjoy! Of course, the main attractions will always be the exciting shows you can see and the card games and lucky slot machines you play, but Las Vegas is the kind of destination that no matter what you, your family, or your friends like to do, there will be something for everyone
Got kids? Las Vegas has taken care of the it’s-too-hot-to go-there-in-the-summertime “blues” with the new water park, Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas, scheduled to open Memorial Day Weekend 2013. This looks like it will be a great place for those looking for an exciting way to cool off.
Looking for more than a t-shirt souvenir to take home with you? There are plenty of malls, shops, and outlet centers for you to visit while there so you can shop for clothing, accessories, and gifts.
So the next time you are planning your vacation and want to try somewhere new, place your bets on Las Vegas and I can almost guarantee it will be a winner!
My husband, James and I looked at each other and then grinned as we continued packing for the trip of a lifetime. Finally, it was September 25, 2011, and we were on our way to Australia, a continent halfway around the world. The flying time is twelve-hours from Los Angeles. The trip was booked nine months earlier. We used our Points with RCI and stayed at the Boambee Bay Resort in Coffs Harbour, Australia. We decided to stay in Coffs Harbor, a coastal city on the north coast of New South Wales, about 340 miles north of Sydney...
Coffs Harbour has numerous beaches and high mountains, which delivers incredible vistas. You can enjoy water sports or backpacking and camping. The resort unit was modern, large, comfortable, and clean, and it contained a laundry room. The resort has numerous family activities daily, and behind the resort were the Boambee Bay Creek and the Boambee Beach. The Pacific Ocean spills into the beach so we walked on the Boambee Bay Creek and followed it to the Boambee Beach. We noticed that people were swimming with their family, including their dogs, so we entered the water as well.
We went sightseeing on our own with the help of the Boambee Bay Resort staff, which offered sightseeing suggestions, maps and directions. Our first stop was the Jetty Markets, which sells clothing, gifts and souvenirs. There was also a farmers market. A band played country music and the blues. Our second stop was the Jetty Beach where we watched surfers. We walked the beach and visited a botanical garden. We drove to Woolgoolga, a suburb of Coffs Harbour and visited the beach. We drove down Woolgoolga’s, Beach Street to the whale lookout. Numerous beaches surround Coffs Harbor; on our way to Woolgoolga, on the Pacific Highway, we passed Sapphire Beach, Moonee Beach, Emerald Beach and Sandy Beach.
James did not want to leave Boambee Bay Resort, and he wants to return in the future. Our Australian vacation was unforgettable. If we had it to do it over again, we would extend our trip to 12 days as opposed to 7 days. This was the trip of a lifetime and we enjoyed everything about it. We especially enjoyed the kindness and friendless of the Australian people, and love their mantra “No worries, mates”.
-Bonnit B. from Vallejo, CA
Great family vacation. My wife and I were living in China. I had some business in Malaysia and we decided to book a resort in Penang. We flew our daughter and husband to Singapore and we came from Beijing. We drove to Malaysia and spent one week in Penang. I worked 4 days and then spent the week with them scuba diving, eating local cooked food in beach places, trying some restaurants, and generally having a great time. We drove back to Singapore and did sightseeing (zoo, night markets, etc). The main roads in Singapore are easily driven with international signs to mark all details. With maps, it was no problem. I was able to self drive to all my business appointments (to the surprise of the managers!).
- John L. from Boaz, AL
Summer of 2010, our family took a road trip from MN to Yellowstone…the views were magnificent.
- Karin H-M. from Anoka, MN
Many people think you have to be an adventurer to take a Yellowstone vacation. While there is an abundance of natural trails to keep any outdoorsman’s appetite satisfied, Yellowstone is also the ideal vacation for families and couples to appreciate natural beauty from the comfort of paved lookouts and well maintained boardwalks.
Yellowstone National Park sits atop the Yellowstone Supervolcano, and is the reason for many of the geological features throughout the park. Here are some of the top sights you won’t want to miss:
1. Old Faithful and the Upper, Midway, and Lower Geyser Basins: Old Faithful is that iconic geyser that Yellowstone is famous for. Old Faithful isn’t the largest geyser or even the one with the longest eruptions. It’s known for its predictability… and signs posted will tell you when to expect an eruption, usually accurate within 10 minutes! Old Faithful sits in the Upper Geyser Basin, so while you’re there, I recommend that you take the time to visit the other hot springs, pools, and geysers throughout the area.
2. Grand Prismatic: It’s huge, and stunningly vibrant in color due to all the life that thrives in these hot conditions. The Grand Prismatic is located in the Midway Geyser Basin, but gets its own spot on my list because it’s not to be missed. Boardwalks bring you right next to the pool, but it’s so large, it’s often difficult to really tell what you’re looking at. For a better view, you can take a short walk from the Fairy Falls Trail. For the more adventurous type, hike/scramble up the mountain on the left instead of continuing on the trail (careful, it’s steep) to see a breathtaking view of the Grand Prismatic in its full glory.
3. Mammoth Springs: Located in the Northern area of Yellowstone, the Mammoth Springs look like they’re from another planet. Here you’ll see interesting white-as-snow rock formations, created as minerals have been deposited through the years by boiling hot water coming to the surface.
4. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: Centrally located, this 20 mile long canyon features waterfalls with a roaring river at its base. Here, you’ll get a glimpse of the Lower Falls, which are twice the height of Niagara Falls.
5. Wildlife: Two of the best places to spot wildlife are in the Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley. While on vacation I caught shots of some Elk and Bison!
6. Grand Teton National Park: OK, it isn’t in Yellowstone, but it’s so close that you really can’t justify skipping it. Grand Teton isn’t a large park, and I recommend that you at least take a quick drive past these famous mountains. Oh, and the view from Jenny Lake is stunning and serene.
Tip: If you haven’t guessed it yet, you can’t visit Yellowstone in a day, and it’s not a “drive-through” destination. In researching for my trip, I quickly learned that most travelers recommend anywhere from 3-5 days for first-time visitors. (I spent 6 days there to account for the extra photo time I always need, and it felt just right.)
Be sure to come back to the RCI Blog this week, where we’ll be sharing additional photos of Yellowstone from RCI subscribing members!
Last year, over spring break our family went to an RCI affiliated resort called Waterside by Spinnaker in Hilton Head, SC. It is a wonderful resort just minutes away from the beach, restaurants, and a great shopping center. I called this our Green Vacation, as we ate healthy, got plenty of exercise, plenty of rest, did without a car, and actually enjoyed it.
Our accommodations were very comfortable and the staff was extremely professional and efficient. This resort had many activities for the children as well as adults - and we participated in them. Across from us was the main pool area and a hot tub where we spent part of every day. At the beach we found many different kinds of creatures like starfish and hermit crabs. It was a great experience for the grandkids because they have never seen sea life like that on a beach since we live in Maryland. The beach at Hilton Head is unique. We enjoyed a very wide beach where we could actually ride our bikes not only to the beach but on the beach, and the water was very calm. This is a great family vacation place. We played golf at several of the area courses, while the rest of the family enjoyed the pool and the beach area. We parked our car when we checked in, rented bikes, and never took the car out of the parking place the entire week. Talk about going green, this is the place. We rode our bikes every evening to dinner to different restaurants, rode bikes to the grocery store, rode on the beach, rode to the shopping center to shop, and took evening bike rides around the area. Make sure you get the child cart attached to the back of your bike; it comes in handy to carry not only tired toddlers, but great for groceries, beverages, and shopping bags. I think on this vacation I lost 5 lbs. instead of putting on 5 lbs.! I never thought I could do without a car for a week, but it was easy being so close to everything. We enjoyed this place tremendously and would suggest it to any of our friends and definitely would go back there. Keep up the great work RCI.
- Kathy M. from Waldorf, MD