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Published: June 2009
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More Guided Tours for Families This Summer
OUTFITTERS No, it's not too late to sign on for one of this summer's best adventure tours for families. Or plan your own: these companies will customize itineraries, even at the eleventh hour. (Prices listed include everything but airfare.)
CHEZ PROVENCE Move into a St.-Rémy château that sleeps 30; pedal through almond groves and learn how to make bonbons. All ages welcome; nannies are always on standby. June 13-18 or September 12-17; $4,495 per adult; ask about kids' rates. Butterfield & Robinson 800/678-1147; www.butterfieldandrobinson.com .
BARGE AHEAD Cruise the Thames (with stops at Legoland and Windsor Castle) on a hotel barge. Or charter a smaller A & K boat (with staff) to tour the Loire Valley or Scotland's Great Glen Way. Thames trip, July 25-31; $2,590 per adult, $1,684 per child. Abercrombie & Kent 800/554-7094; www.abercrombiekent.com .
I SPY AN ICEBERG Helicopter to hiking trails deep in Canada's Banff and Jasper national parks. The 44-person group also takes on glaciers (via snowcoach) and class II rapids (via raft). Lodge at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, aka the Castle in the Rockies. June 12-18, 19-25, July 10-16, 17-23, August 7-13, 14-20; $2,160 per adult; $1,860 per child. Tauck Bridges 866/636-6500; www.tauckbridges.com .
ARE YOU GAME? Prowl Kenya's Masai Mara game park, on a safari exclusively for grandparents and grandchildren. July 17-30, August 2-15. $6,750 per adult; ask about kids' rates. Grandtravel 800/247-7651; www.grandtrvl.com .
FOLLOW THE YELLOWSTONE ROAD Mountain bike, hike, kayak, raft, and camp through Wyoming's national parks. Best rest: in a lakeside tent cabin with a potbelly stove overlooking the Tetons. Six-day weekly trips for groups of 24, available from June 18 to August 25. Backroads, 800/462-2848; www.backroads.com; $1,398 per adult, $349 for children 2 and under; $833 for ages 3-6; $1,111 for ages 7-10; $1,250 for ages 11-16.
CRUISING IN COSTA RICA A families-only trip aboard Lindblad's 62-passenger Sea Voyager winds along Costa Rica's lush Pacific coast; land activities en route include a horseback ride beside Santa Elena's active volcano and a hike through the rain forest in Manuel Antonio National Park. There is also an afternoon at an elementary school (with an all-join-in baseball game), a tour of Tortuga Island's forest canopy via zipline, and a bodysurfing stop in Cabo Velas. (Eight days; departures July 24, 31, August 7) Lindblad Expeditions 800/397-3348; www.expeditions.com; $2,780 per adult; $2,085 for children 21 and under.
DIG THEM DINOS! Fledgling paleontologists take note: this nine-day combination hotel-and-camping trip through southeastern Utah's prehistoric canyon quarries includes an actual dinosaur excavation in the Douglas Quarry. The group of 16 travels by white-water raft along the Yampa and Green Rivers and spends three nights in tents along the way. (July 22-30) Off the Beaten Path 800/445-2995; www.offthebeatenpath.com; $2,875 per adult, $2,695 for ages 8-14.
TUSCANY BY BIKE Pedal among the Benedictine abbeys and olive farms of Vallombrosa; taste freshly pressed olive oil; get a lesson in pizza-making. Your home for the stay is a private apartment on the grounds of Fattoria degli Usignoli (Farm of the Nightingales) in San Donato. (Eight days, beginning June 26, July 10, or August 28) Ciclismo Classico 800/866-7314; www.ciclismoclassico.com; $2,795 per adult, $450 for ages 3 and under, $1,650 for ages 4-7, $1,850 for ages 8-16.
ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR VACATION An East Coast Baseball Behind the Scenes odyssey starts with a Yankees home game, and then circles the bases from Boston (for a Sox-related tour) to Rhode Island to Cooperstown—all in a motor coach with a TV tuned to classic games. (July 20-26, August 16-22) Generations Touring Co. 888/415-9100; www.generationstouringcompany.com; $1,999 per adult, $1,949 per child under 12.
ANDES ON FOOT Hike the Inca Trail to the ruins of Machu Picchu (hoofing it not required; there's also a combination train and bus option), then stay in a cloud-forest bungalow surrounded by wild orchids. This 18-person trip includes a visit to a secluded mountain village, a pottery-painting session, and a chance to try llama herding. (July 24-August 1) Classic Journeys 800/200-3887; www.classicjourneys.com; $2,795 per adult, $698 for ages 2 and under, $1,397 for ages 3-6, $1957 for ages 7-10, $2,236 for ages 11-16.
PADDLE ALASKA Boat through the fjords of southern Alaska's Kenai Peninsula and bike to Hope, and its abandoned gold mine at Crow Creek Pass. Stay with a group of 18 in cabins at the Fox Island cove, accessible only by boat, and pet starfish and watch harbor seals at the Alaska Sea-Life Center. (July 18-23, August 15-20) Austin-Lehman Adventures 800/575-1540; www.austinlehman.com; $2,598 per adult, $2,079 for ages 7-12 if child is a third person in the room, $2,339 if child is the second person.