Best Islands for Family Vacations - United Hub

Best islands for family vacations

By The Hub team

These islands in the U.S. and Caribbean are total crowd-pleasers for the whole crew.

You've got the whole family in tow, so you want your island vacation to be easy. You want it to be fun. You want it to be safe. And you don't want anyone to get bored. To help, we've rounded up seven islands in the U.S. and Caribbean that are total crowd-pleasers, featuring swimming beaches, animal encounters and all-ages activities. And ice cream. Lots of ice cream. From island aquariums to tropical zoos, here's what to do and where to go for the best family vacation ever.

Beach in Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii's fourth-largest island, Kauai attracts families with its beautiful beaches, natural wonders and Old Hawaii feel. Poipu Beach, on the south shore, is tops thanks to its calm water, plentiful tropical fish, and lazy monk seals napping on the sand. Families can hike in Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, or marvel at the 4,000-foot Napali Cliffs on a catamaran tour with Captain Andy's. All ages get into the aloha spirit at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau; kids who stay at the resort can also get excited for free activities like lei-making classes, koi-fish feedings, and photo ops with the resident parrot.

Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas

Atlantis resort in NassauAtlantis resort in Nassau /Shutterstock

Home to Atlantis — the grande dame of family hotels — Nassau is a no-brainer for your tribe. The immense resort features several kids clubs, a water park and the largest open-air aquarium in the world. Over on Cable Beach, the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar flaunts its own fair share of animal encounters, including green sea turtles, stingrays, nurse sharks and 50-plus species of tropical fish. Beyond your resort gate, other discoveries await, from souvenir shopping in the Straw Market to pink flamingos at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Island, located on Florida\u2019s west coast near SarasotaAnna Maria Island, located on Florida's west coast near Sarasota /Shutterstock

Simple pleasures rule in sleepy Anna Maria — a golf-cart ride to get ice cream at Two Scoops, indulging at The Donut Experiment, the Friday-night fish fry at Anna Maria Island Beach Café. Kids will get a kick out of eating high over the water at the Rod and Reel Pier, or applauding the sunset before digging into yummy seafood at the Beach House Restaurant. For the convenience of a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms, book a vacation home through Island Real Estate or Duncan Real Estate. Of course, most of your time will be spent on AMI's soft white-sand beaches — building sand castles, hunting for shells, and keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins swimming in the Gulf.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Family-friendly Grace Bay Beach in Turks & CaicosFamily-friendly Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos /Shutterstock

Turks and Caicos is a natural playground of thriving reefs, mangrove jungles and sugar-sand beaches. A regular on best-beaches lists, Providenciales' 12-mile Grace Bay is a magnet for families, who find homey comforts like full kitchens, separate living rooms and washers/dryers at The Venetian and The Tuscany. Grab a sweet treat at Island Scoop before stocking up with basic grocery items at the Graceway Gourmet upscale supermarket. Little ones will love seeing indigenous wild rock iguanas on Little Water Cay, or glimpsing below the ocean's surface on a glass-bottom-boat tour.

Aruba

Aruba's Baby Beach is a perfect spot for familiesAruba's Baby Beach is a perfect spot for families /Shutterstock

Aruba is famous for its white sand and blue skies (almost 300 sunny days a year, to be precise), but One Happy Island also boasts a surprising amount of animal attractions. Kids can interact with butterflies (Aruba Butterfly Farm), ostriches (Aruba Ostrich Farm), donkeys (Donkey Sanctuary Aruba) and more. Other fun activities include De Palm Tours' water park and Atlantis Submarines' underwater voyages. Full-service resorts (Hyatt, Hilton, Holiday Inn) fringe Palm Beach, but plan to also spend a day on Baby Beach, a family favorite because of its shallow, gentle water.

Coronado Island, California

Explore Coronado Island via surrey bikesExplore Coronado Island via surrey bikes /Shutterstock

OK, we admit, Coronado Island is technically a peninsula, but this all-American beach vacation destination is so family-focused, it would be irresponsible not to include it. Older kids can kayak in San Diego Bay for views of downtown, and the whole crew can take advantage of Coronado's 15 miles of bike paths — rentals range from beach cruisers to fringed surreys. Beach days are a given: Try Glorietta Bay for extra amenities like a playground and restrooms, or Silver Strand State Beach for shady picnic spots. Of course, San Diego's popular attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo are a short drive away. Bonus: Even if you don't stay at Coronado's famous Hotel Del Coronado, you can enjoy some of the family-friendly features, such as the MooTime Creamery and movie nights on the sand.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Seven Mile Beach on Grand CaymanSeven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman /Shutterstock

Combine the familiarity of Florida with quintessentially Caribbean white sand and turquoise water — that's Grand Cayman. Families can't go wrong on Seven Mile Beach, lined with well-known resort brands like Marriott and Westin (at the latter, the weekly beach bonfire features make-your-own s'mores). Or go for all-inclusive convenience at Wyndham Reef Resort on the East End. Kid-centric fun ranges from a dose of island history at Pedro St. James to feeding the hungry tarpon at Grand Old House restaurant. Don't miss encounters with sea turtles and other wildlife at the Cayman Turtle Centre.


This article was written by Erika Hueneke from Islands and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Reflecting on Veterans Day: a message from our CEO Oscar Munoz

By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines , November 11, 2019

Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.

When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.

They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.

I want them to look no further than United Airlines.

That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.

They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.

That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.

We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.

We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.

We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.

As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.

Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.

They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.

Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.

Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.

Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.

But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.

We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.

It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.

On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.

Humbly,

Oscar

United named a top workplace for veterans

By The Hub team , November 10, 2019

Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.

"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.

"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."

Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.

Mission Accomplished

By Matt Adams , November 06, 2019

The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.

Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.

Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.

Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.

"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."

When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.

For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.

Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.

That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.

"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."

The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.

About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.

"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."

When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.

"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."

On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.

"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."

For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.

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