Vacation Duration Ten to 16 days
Your Assignment Give each other the gift of a reunion
Instead of exchanging presents, pool your clan's resources and organize a grand getaway.
FAMILY ASSEMBLY SPOTS
The YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch
Winter Park, Colorado
This 5,000-acre spread in the heart of Winter Park's alpine and Nordic ski country ranks high for active groups. 970/887-2152; ymcarockies.org; lodge rooms from $45; cabins from $150.
Tanque Verde Ranch
Welcome to Reunion Central. The all-inclusive resort in the Sonora desert foothills, just at the eastern edge of Tucson, has riding for all ages and skill levels, as well as guided single-track mountain biking, tennis, swimming, and kids' programs for ages 4 to 11. All that, and singing cowboys, too. 800/234-3833; tanqueverderanch.com; doubles from $420.
Holland America Line
Cruises—great for clans who want a big menu of activities but leeway to spend the day in a lounge chair—now offer reunion packages. HAL's program includes group portraits and, for qualifying families, one upgrade from an outside stateroom to one with a veranda. 877/724- 5425; hollandamerica.com; five-cabin minimum, from $1,099 per cabin for a five-day cruise.
Vacation Duration Nine days
Your Assignment Take a Caribbean quickie!
By this time in the school year, you're ready to bust out. Easy-access islands make it easy. Leave home at breakfast, be poolside for lunch.
THREE SENSATIONAL SANDBOXES
Sunshine Suites Resort
Cheery, freshly renovated digs with kitchens are across the road from famed Seven Mile Beach and only 10 minutes from the airport. 877/786-1110; sunshinesuites.com; doubles from $218.
Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus
La Romana, Dominican Republic
On the southeast shore of this mountainous nation, and only 25 minutes from La Romana airport, the 500-room beachfront resort in seven Spanish Colonial-style buildings has something rare in an all-inclusive: excellent food. 809/688 3600; iberostar.com; doubles from $230.
Paradise Island, Bahamas
The 2,000-room mega- resort, 10 miles from Nassau's airport, has added baby amenities—including pronto delivery of extra crib sheets and strollers—to its impressive list of family perks. 888/528-7155; atlantis.com; doubles from $370.
Vacation Duration Nine days
Your Assignment Go where the grass is greener.
Add biodiversity to your child's vocabulary with a visit to some of the world's lushest and most eco-conscious regions.
THREE GREAT JUNGLE LODGES
Lapa Rios Ecolodge
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
On the Pacific Coast's pristine Osa Peninsula, 16 thatched bungalows are scattered across a steep, forested hillside populated by monkeys and scarlet macaws. 800/886-2609; laparios.com; doubles from $390.
Morgan's Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
With its years of political turmoil behind it, Nicaragua is about to be the next big thing, thanks to virgin beaches, vast jungles, active volcanoes, and well-situated lodges—like this two-year-old beauty on the country's west coast. Fifteen cliff-top bungalows are connected to the main lodge by a kid-thrilling 350-foot suspension bridge (acrophobes can take a footpath). 506/232-6449; morgansrock.com; doubles from $195.
Saba, Netherlands Antilles
This tiny volcanic island is all about rain forest solitude. The 12 brightly painted cottages are solar-powered and built from recycled materials. 877/257-0524; ecolodge-saba.com; from $65 per cottage.