Family-friendly lodges provide an ideal venue for your personal blend of active pursuits and relaxation.
Here are five places you'll want to visit time and again:
Tucked within a 365-acre private rainforest paradise in the picturesque foothills of the Maya Mountains, Chaa Creek provides the ideal home base for your family's exploration of the Cayo District, a region where cave tubing, archeological sites, horseback riding and zip lining will lure you from the comfort of your palm-thatched cottage or tree-top suite. While at the riverside eco-lodge, don't miss early morning bird-watching tours, the hill-top spa, the Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm and the medicine trail where you'll learn about native plants that provide globally significant remedies. Stay in tree-top villas, cottages or glamping-style camp casitas.
Located in Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest, sitting high on the shoulder of the iconic peak at 6,000 feet, this magnificent lodge was built at the height of the Great Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration. Completed in1937, the lodge has long served as the centerpiece of a mountain playground. The land and historic lodge are still owned by the U.S. Forest Service, but the National Historic Landmark lodge has been family-operated since 1955. Families return year after year to ski, hike, dine, mountain bike, learn about the local flora and fauna and to simply enjoy the high-altitude natural beauty.
There are few places on the planet as stunning as Glacier National Park. And one could argue that the historic Many Glacier Hotel is the ideal venue from which to appreciate the vast and astonishing landscape. Located on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake with jagged peaks as backdrop, the iconic hotel was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914 to lure tourists to the Wild West. Today, visitors from around the world find their way to this northwestern corner of Montana, eager to see the disappearing glaciers, hike aside azure-colored lakes and to catch a glimpse of resident wildlife.
This secluded, five-story hotel offers visitors a window into the past with old-world style guest rooms and a Swiss Alpine theme. While dedicated to honoring its historic roots, the 214-room gem has undergone a multimillion dollar renovation that included remodeling rooms, updating furniture and lighting and restoring the dining room to historic standards.
In addition to world-class hiking, Red Bus tours, boat cruises, horseback rides and evening ranger programs are offered in an unparalleled lakeside setting. Book well in advance.
Contact: www.VisitMontana.com, www.GlacierNationalParkLodges.com
Visit this historic lodge on Gull Lake for a family-centric getaway. Expanding over 750 acres, the kids will burn off energy cross-country skiing, playing hockey, skating, tubing or swimming in the indoor pool. Go for sleigh rides, relax in the hot tub and play games in your garden cottage, cabin or lodge rooms. A four-season vacation destination, the lodge is a popular summer spot for lake activities, golf and hiking.
You'll find it difficult to emerge from the cozy lodge warmed by a roaring fire or your cabin crafted from indigenous materials. But when you do, choose from cross-country and snowshoe trails that run deep into the woods or sunlit downhill runs on the slopes of Mount Timpanagos. Founded by filmmaker and conservationist Robert Redford, the resort offers family-friendly pottery, beading and printmaking classes in the Art Shack, winter fly-fishing and dining menus with an emphasis on organic and locally sourced ingredients.
(Lynn O'Rourke Hayes (www.LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com)
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