Author: Jesse Spielman
Are your teens afraid to be seen with you? Here's FTF's pick of the Top 10 Travel Destinations for Teens.
esorts and hotels all around the country are realizing that designing activities and marketing them to both adults and teens makes a lot of sense. Clubs just for teens, unique kids' programs and even innovative new attractions are drawing young adults to these destinations. They're also great for parents, relatives and any other adult, too.
Check out 10 of the best places to take your teens this summer -- or year-round.
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
A king among resorts, Atlantis on Paradise Island has everything you can imagine. This mega resort offers 50,000 sea animals, a waterpark, 11 swimming pools, a full feature spa, a 24-hour casino, and an elaborate theme based on the sunken continent of Atlantis -- as well as all the usual resort accoutrements like beaches, basketball, volleyball, and golf. But the one major attraction is the "tween” and teen night club (that means NO ADULTS ALLOWED) called Club Rush. Club Rush has been set up to resemble a trendy club featuring a checkerboard dance floor, leopard print couches, and a disco ball. The club also has high-speed Internet access, plasma screen TVs to watch newly released movies and video games. Friday night is Karaoke night. The only catch is that there is a $15 admission charge and Club Rush is closed during the month of September. Another attraction for teens is that Atlantis, where Christina Aguilera hosted a huge birthday bash, is regularly visited by stars like Britney Spears, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Hillary Duff, BeyoncÃ©, and Lindsay Lohan!
The Hotel Hershey
100 Hotel Road
Hershey, PA 17033
Hershey is the self-styled Chocolate Capital of America, with tons of tasty activities for the whole family. Old standbys like the several pools, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts at the Hershey Hotel co-exist with unique programs whereby teens can volunteer as counselors at the Cocoa Kids Club, and adults can enjoy romantic horse-drawn carriage rides or cocoa-based spa treatments. Add in the Hershey theme park with some great coasters, miles of nature trails, 18 holes of championship golf at the Hershey Country Club, Hershey's Chocolate World, and Hershey's signature chocolate samples, and you can see why this corner of Pennsylvania is a great family destination.
Wildwoods, NJ 08260
The Jersey shore seems like an unlikely place for summer fun, yet this resort area's two-mile-long boardwalk has more water rides and roller coasters than Disneyland. Featuring Morey's Surfside Pier, Mariners Landing, and Wild Wheels Adventure Pier, the area also boasts great nightlife, restaurants, nine public golf courses, water sports, shopping and miles of beaches. The neon lights of the boardwalk make the whole city look like a huge theme park that your teenager is bound to love. Log on for bargain lodging options and more information.
Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
The "Del” is a resort in southern California that prides itself on its teen-friendliness. While there, kids ages 12-17 can take advantage of the supervised kids program to go kayaking, surfing, jet skiing, water skiing, biking and playing tennis. Also available are teen treatments at the spa, and hanging out at the Coast Club Teen Lounge, which has video games, music, a pool, foosball, and snacks. This resort's close proximity to perennial favorites like Seaworld and the San Diego Zoo, as well as stellar weather and amazing beaches, makes it easy to see why this place is such a popular choice.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Fort Lauderdale wins points overall for simply being a great city, with many attractions to draw the whole family. The Museum of Discovery and Science (with an IMAX theatre, of course), Sawgrass Mills (one of the largest malls in the country, which features Wannado City, which is an entire city, except scaled down to kid-size with an emphasis on exploring various career options!) and Butterfly World, the largest displayer of butterflies in the world. If your feet are starting to hurt from visiting this great city, get on a Segway to see the sights that way. If your forte is the open water, snorkeling and diving trips are available. Whatever your interest, Fort Lauderdale and its many family resorts in a variety of price ranges have you covered.
The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center
2301 North Millbend Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380
The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center is a great escape from the Texas sun, which is especially hot in summer. Just 27 miles north of Houston, the Woodlands promises fun for the whole family; teens will adore the Forest Oasis Waterscape which is a series of pools and other water-related elements tied together under the theme of a tropical paradise. The whole family will enjoy the resort's "Build Your Own S'mores" while experiencing a night at the "Dive-In Movies,” where guests watch movies while floating in pool or lounge chairs. Two golf courses, a spa, and 140 miles of trails for hiking and biking top off an already impressive array of things to do. A nearby mall offers movies, shopping, skating and cover for the occasional rainy day.
Presidente-Intercontinental Cancun Resort
Blvd. Kukulkan KM 7.5, Quintana Roo
Cancun, Mexico 77500
Could Cancun be the spot for your next family vacation? Seriously, Cancun could be the perfect spot for everyone to spend the next break whether or not MTV is in town. The Presidente-Intercontinental is located on an isolated white sand beach offering great tanning and swimming possibilities, and just outside the grounds, nearby dining, shopping and exciting nightlife. Cancun's public tranportation is cheap and easy to use, with buses running late into the night. The resort itself, less than a mile from town, has two pools, a tennis court and free non-motorized boat rentals for guests, plus a good kids' camp program for your little sibs.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Myrtle Beach is an amazing place to spend some time if you're a teen. If the theme parks (Nascar Speedpark offers great merchandise and kiddie rides), water parks (Myrtle Waves Water Park has huge slides and two different lazy rivers to help you cool off under the Carolina sun), and amusement parks (check out the new Hard Rock park) aren't enough for you, then the nightlife will be! Club Attic is an under-21 nightclub that strives to be as trendy as possible, playing the latest pop music. As a testament to how popular a destination Myrtle Beach is, the town swells to 14 times its size during the summer months and it attracts nearly 14 million tourists annually!
High Cascade Snowboarding Camp
Timberline Lodge, OR 97028
One of the most unusual teen destinations is Oregon's High Cascade Snowboarding Camp, located at the very first ski area in North America to stay open almost all year round. The region is home to about 50,000 skiers during the summer, who center themselves around Mt. Hood, Oregon's best known and largest mountain. The main draw for teens, aside from the abundant snow, sunshine and operating chairlifts, is the instruction available at a snowboard camp sponsored by some of the best people in the industry. This area is also known for its historic, slopeside lodge where parents can stay, dine and hike while kids are otherwise engaged.
The Homestead Resort
U.S. Route 220 Main Street
Hot Springs, VA 24445
The Homestead Resort promises to satisfy the outdoorsman in everyone. A full 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, swimming, tennis, hayrides and guided fly-fishing trips are offered, and falconry and golf are available. The classic resort's Club H assures that kids can have fun away from their parents. The program supports kayaking trips, canoeing, more biking and hiking, as well as hayrides and cookouts, but for teens (ages 13-17) only. The club lounge also has music, snacks, billiards and videogames for those days where all you want to do is not get any more mosquito bites. Spa treatments, manicures and pedicures are offered to "pampered” teens as young as 13. And that's not all, the Homestead also features a 270-seat movie theater showing a different film every evening, a six lane bowling alley and an Olympic-size ice skating rink.
Jesse Spielman is a former FTF summer intern. He reviewed the ideas that grown-up Abby Naylor suggested, then decided what makes these destinations really special for teens.