Sept. 7, 2010— -- Once upon a time (in the days before family vacations), a weekend getaway or weeklong vacation together meant romantic dinners by candlelight, sunset strolls along the beach, a quiet exhibition in a famed museum of art. Then the kids came along and meals grew cold as you tended to their needs, getting kicked under the table while attempting to hold a conversation above the din of the very family-friendly restaurant.
Sunset strolls still occurred, but with buckets to hold the seashell treasures the kids found. Visits to museums became harried and to child-focused exhibits ("Yuck, mom, do we have to look at paintings all day?") But romance isn't impossible while traveling with children. If you're looking to spice up your next trip with the kids, here are some tips to help you have the best of both worlds.
Seek Family-Friendly Resorts With Kids' Clubs
Many destination resorts feature kids clubs where children of various ages can spend mornings or afternoons in camp-like settings, making crafts, taking adventure walks, learning to swim, and playing games with other children their age. Typically found at bustling family-friendly resorts at Disney World or all-inclusives on a Caribbean beach, such as Atlantis, there may be a lot of action. But while kids are enrolled in the club for a day or even a week, couples can sneak off to enjoy a spa treatment, hit the links or take that quiet sunset walk along the beach.
Some hotels and resorts such asThe Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Beach Club Resort, Disney's Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney's Polynesian Resort offer special Kids' Night Out evening programs that may last two to four hours. Kids get dinner (typically pizza-party style), movies, campfire fun, games ... but it's really a parents' night treat where mom and dad get to have a quiet dinner at a resort restaurant.