After all that virtual school, kids need hands-on learning more than ever. Could these resorts — and their next-level educational programs — be the answer?

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Children look at elephants in a safari camp, with their guide, as part of andBeyond's WILD CHILD program
Truly in-person learning, on an andBeyond trip.
| Credit: Courtesy of andBeyond

Parents everywhere already know that iPads and Zoom calls don't hold a candle to in-person instruction, but the question for many families has been what to do about it. Enter the travel industry: "Many resorts around the world have recognized the challenges of the past year," says Jack Ezon, a member of T+L's Travel Advisory Board and a father of four. "They're setting up work-and-school opportunities for families that blend virtual classes for the children with experiences based on where you are."

The key to finding the right fit, says Ezon, is choosing a getaway that syncs up with your children's passions. Here are some of the most impressive options.

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FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS

At andBeyond lodges across Africa, the new WildChild program teaches young guests about animal tracking, life in the bush, anti-poaching efforts, and the impact of climate change on animal populations. At Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, near San Juan, Puerto Rico, teens can direct and star in their own conservation-oriented PSA shot in the surrounding jungle.

FOR THE AQUATIC ADVENTURER

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The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, in Florida, has launched a four-night Barrier Island ecology field trip, during which families can kayak or sail the Intracoastal Waterway while learning about marine ecosystems. Other Ritz-Carlton properties, including those in Santa Barbara, California, and Kapalua, Hawaii, have partnered with Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society, which has developed a range of activities on subjects such as coral reef ecology, organic gardening, and even media production.

Amanyara, in the Turks and Caicos, has teamed up with Miami's Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science for a series of themed weeks led by the museum's educators. Upcoming sessions include reef rescue in July, coastal conservation in August, and astronomy in November.

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FOR THE BUDDING GLOBAL CITIZEN

Mexico's Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal has a weeklong cultural-immersion program for families that includes Spanish lessons, a wellness class, and a choice of activities including volunteering in a nearby community or learning about Baja California's agricultural history.

At Kenya's Naboisho Camp, an Asilia Africa lodge that's a favorite of the safari experts at Alluring Africa, kids learn about local folklore and games from Masai instructors and, depending on COVID-19 conditions, can visit nearby schools to meet future pen pals.

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FOR THE FUTURE GALLERIST

The Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo has partnered with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco to offer, exclusively to guests, after-hours tours of the institution's aquariums and galleries of maritime artifacts.

In Charleston, South Carolina, the French Quarter Inn can arrange an insider visit to the Gibbes Museum of Art for a tour of its more than 10,000 paintings and sculptures led by the chief curator.

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FOR THE EXPLORER

In Rhode Island, the Preserve Sporting Club & Residences has kid-focused classes in archery, mountain biking, and rock climbing — and can even arrange survival-skills training for teens. Tucson's Tanque Verde Ranch offers daily horseback riding on the surrounding desert trails for kids as young as seven. And Hidden Pond, in Kennebunkport, Maine, has partnered with the parks and recreation department to organize tide-pool explorations and kayaking trips.

A version of this story first appeared in the May 2021 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Better Than Summer Camp.