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.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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