Best Family Vacations Whether you want to take a trip to a relatively undiscovered destination or vacation in a famous resort town, the choice of the best vacation spots will depend on your budget and personal preferences. A wide range of inexpensive family vacations are available just a short drive away, inviting you to go on a two day trip or a week long getaway. Popular places to visit with kids include San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D.C. Kids of all ages will be kept busy at children’s museums, great parks, botanical gardens, kid-friendly restaurants and unique hands-on attractions. For a quieter family holiday, consider a full service resort on the beach or one with a waterpark near you.
Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
Whether you are celebrating your birthday, anniversary, national holiday or just planning a relaxing mini vacation, there are many exceptional romantic getaways to choose from: castles, cabins, rooms with jacuzzis, luxury suites and themed villas. Check into a secluded inn, five star hotel, scenic resort or a romantic cabin and unplug for a few days in a new setting.

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The Emerald Isle has seen a rush of American visitors recently, spurred by favorable exchange rates and increased airlift. If you haven’t yet made the trip, now’s the time to go. Adare Manor, a hotel set in a grand 19th-century mansion on 840 acres of rolling County Limerick countryside, reopened in November after an 18-month overhaul. The picturesque estate now has a new 42-room wing, a redesigned golf course, and the first La Mer Spa in the British Isles. Ireland’s whiskey scene has been quietly blooming for the last decade, and recently historic estates have embraced the trend. In August, Slane Castle in County Meath opened its new distillery to the public, and later this year, the iconic Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow will debut its own craft facility. In Dublin, Pearse Lyons, a wealthy Irishman with Kentucky-bourbon bona fides, recently opened his namesake distillery in the former St. James’s Church, and more whiskey destinations with visitor centers are soon to come from the Dublin Liberties and Roe & Co. And now that Luas, Dublin’s light rail system, has finally completed its latest expansion, getting around the city is a breeze — the $433-million project has linked two lines and added new stops near many of the city center’s most popular sights. —Lila Battis
New York State: New York is home to some of the best historic mansions, well-preserved estates, castles, vineyards and museums, such as the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, and the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historical Site. Explore the Hudson Valley, go beachcombing in Montauk, Long Island and see the attractions in Albany. More New York vacation ideas.
A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
It’s easy to see why this outcrop of land just an hour’s drive from Melbourne has long been a weekend retreat for the city’s well-heeled residents. Rolling vineyards in its interior give way to seaside villages and sandy shoreline. Travelers can swim with wild dolphins, visit wineries on horseback, or soar above the landscape in a gondola. And with a new flurry of openings, the region has begun to attract global attention. The latest addition is Point Leo Estate on the peninsula’s southernmost point. Set on 330 acres, it combines a tasting room, a 110-seat fine-dining restaurant, and a sculpture park, with more than 50 works by Australian and international artists like George Rickey and Inge King. Its arrival follows the launch of Jackalope, a seductive, art-infused boutique hotel neighboring a working winery. Elsewhere, Peninsula Hot Springs, a day spa set amid geothermal pools, is slated to unveil seven new pools and a new treatment list in 2018. —Carrie Hutchinson
Day Trips with Kids: While day trips with kids require more planning and packing of all the essentials especially with babies and toddlers in tow, they offer an easy and affordable way to get away and have great experiences together as a family. Go apple picking at a nearby farm, go on a short hike in a state park and stop at a kid-friendly restaurant on your drive back.

Florida: Whether you love art, gourmet restaurants or beaches, Florida is a great place to visit on the East Coast of the United States. Have a romantic lunch with a view in Naples, explore historic St. Augustine, relax on white sandy beaches of Fort Lauderdale or get away from it all at a secluded island resort in the Florida Keys. More Florida vacation ideas.
Once a sleepy second fiddle to Southern culinary powerhouses like Charleston and Nashville, Greenville is stepping into the limelight with hot new restaurants. The town will soon be home to an outpost of Sean Brock's heirloom-crop-focused Husk and a food-centric market hall called the Commons. Other recent additions include modern Italian spot Jianna from Michael Kramer (the opening executive chef of McCrady's in Charleston, pre-Brock) and the moody speakeasy lounge Vault & Vator. It's an impressive collection of quality restaurants for a city of just over 67,000.

Finland’s Archipelago Sea is the world’s largest, with 25,000 miles of shoreline and innumerable islands. Still off the beaten track for international tourists, who gravitate toward Helsinki in summer and Lapland in winter, the archipelago is the well-kept secret of the Finns, generations of whom flock to family-owned islands. And there’s never been a better time to join them, with increased airlift — including transatlantic flights on Norwegian Air starting around $350 — and a burgeoning food and beverage scene in nearby Turku, Finland’s medieval capital. (Start at the Kauppahalli, or market hall, where the salmon is as fresh and flavorful as a summer tomato.) The archipelago has a subarctic glamour, with eerie, sunlit summer nights and dark winter days, its rocky, tree-lined islands dotted with storybook wooden cottages. Hike, bike, or drive the islands; or hole up on one all your own. —Molly McArdle

Though decades of civil war made parts of the island unsafe, tourism is on the rise in Sri Lanka, where international visitors exceeded 2 million for the first time in 2016. The momentum is particularly strong along the south coast, which has the highest concentration of hotels and resorts after Colombo. The 172-room Amari resort recently opened on the beachfront in Galle (known for its UNESCO-protected Dutch fortress) with ocean views from every balcony. Water also plays a central role at Alila Koggala, a new luxury eco-resort with 36 suites and private villas, opening 20 minutes outside of Galle in June. The property sits on the serene shores of Lake Koggala and will feature an ayurvedic spa where treatments can be taken on a platform floating on the lake. Further along the south coast, Mirissa Beach is attracting travelers in need of a full mind-body reset. The laid-back surfer town — think Venice Beach minus the tech crowd — comes alive at night with bars and barbecue restaurants overlooking the turquoise bay; when you’re ready to turn in, there are earthy, low-key lodges peppered throughout the jungle, such as Surf & Yoga, which offers daily on-site yoga and private surf lessons. —Alex Schechter
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