This Summer’s Best Family Vacations for Adventure, Education, and Leisure

Summer is here and its time for vacation! We’ve enlisted the help of our favorite travel agent, Abigail Lauren, to create three trips for the most common vacation themes we see here at Adventure Nannies; adventure, educational, and leisure. For each theme she recommends the location, lodging, dining, and activities.

Read on and let us know about your favorite destinations!


Adventure Travel

Everyone loves adventure! If you want to plan an action-packed, unforgettable family vacation, there is no better place than New Zealand.

Queenstown, New Zealand



 New Zealand has always been known for its diverse travel options. You can see a beach and snow white mountain caps in the same day. The flights into New Zealand are relatively simple from Los Angeles, and that flight opens up all of the amazing activities that are available in New Zealand. New Zealand can be as relaxing or up-tempo as you make it. This destination is definitely an adventure seeker’s paradise. You can ski, bungee jump, zorb (if you feel like being a human hamster), hike volcanoes, dive, fish, and so much more while still seeing some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in the world.

Few places can claim such a coveted alpine locale as Matakauri Lodge. Just seven minutes from Queenstown, the lodge sits along Lake Wakatipu with uninterrupted views of the remarkable surroundings, including the Cecil and Walter Peak ranges. You can soak in the panorama from the infinity swimming pool or the inviting courtyard, as well as any of the 12 stylish suites with fireplaces and private porches or the four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage. The holistic spa takes full advantage of local ingredients in its healing treatments, as does Head Chef Jonathan Rogers in preparing his exquisite seasonal cuisine — enjoy it with an impressive selection of local wines.


Experience the very best of New Zealand – The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers & Matakauri Lodge – with one special family of properties. Three unique lodges in three stunning locations, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers & Matakauri Lodge collectively provide guests with the very best New Zealand has to offer.

All three properties are owned by New York financier and philanthropist Julian Robertson and family and managed by son Julian ‘Jay’ Robertson. There are some of the most awarded and acclaimed luxury destinations in the world. Spectacularly situated on Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge offers stunning views from every angle of the remarkable, Cecil and Walter Peak mountain ranges. Just seven minutes drive from Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge is an alpine lakeside retreat nestled in one of the world’s most serenely beautiful landscapes.

At the end of another superb day exploring this world-renowned region, come home to your Matakauri Lodge accommodation, one of eleven luxurious suites. Select from eight outlying suites, two lodge suites and one lodge room. Every suite offers its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom with twin vanities and oversized bathtub. The suites are nestled in a native forest overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the mountain panorama. Each suite features high speed wireless Internet, fully-stocked mini-bar*, room-controlled air conditioning, flat screen LCD TV, DVD player, CD player with iPod connection and security safe.



 At Matakauri Lodge, the dining options showcase the finest local wines and produce in a luxurious setting. The Executive Chef Dale Gartland oversees the modern European cuisine, which showcases local seasonal produce with clean, fresh flavors. After a long day of adventuring, enjoy our daily changing Lodge menu. The chef team is fully committed to making the most of your stay, so feel free to take advantage of the stunning options for private dining; or take the chefs the product of your day’s fishing and let the chef team turn your hard-won catch into a gourmet experience. Choose from a variety of dining spaces.

Guests are already so close to Queenstown, that it’s worth the very quick drive to explore local eateries such as Amisfield. This bistro and winery offers an exceptional selection of locally sourced meals that are excellently prepared. After dinner, take the family on a walk through the winery and let the kids play on the farm.



  • The Matakauri lodge offers multiple activities, and several are very family friendly. One unique option is kayaking through a designated “World Heritage” wilderness within Mt. Aspiring National Park. An exhilarating wilderness boat journey will take you up the channels of the glacier fed Dart’s River’s braided river system. This half-day journey will give the entire family a chance to see a unique side of New Zealand.
  • For those thrill seekers who love the snow, then why not expand your ski and snowboard options into New Zealand? Use the hotel’s exclusive ski concierge to set up a private heli-skiing tour on some of the best mountains in New Zealand. Forget the lines and the hassle of the ski resorts, and set up a completely custom ski or snowboard experience. The highly experienced guides can create heli-skiing tours to cater to everyone from green skiers to double-black skiers, so don’t keep the mountains waiting.
  • Enjoy a scenic helicopter ride through the Milford Fiordland. Fly over the majestic Southern Alps and then dip down into the valleys to view the historic fiords. And just to make sure that your flight experience is complete, you can stop on one of the blue ice glaciers. If you would like a more custom experience, you can add on a dive experience to your helicopter flight and leave the air for a luxury boat with a full dining experience.


 Educational Experience

For our science and education focused families, Abigail says there is no better place than..

Gateway, Colorado


There is an area of Colorado that is close to untouched. Just past Grand Junction, CO, lies Gateway Colorado. And Gateway is truly a completely unique destination. If you are looking for scientific discovery, then Gateway Canyons is the best possible option. Located at the mouth of five separate canyons, gateway offers some of the most diverse and historic terrain in the nation. The founder of Discover channel had the top minds in geology and paleontology scout out the best area for discovery, and they decided on Gateway Canyons. The red rock, rivers, canyons, and palisade make the scenery in Gateway Canyons hard to beat. It is truly a hidden gem in Colorado.

Brainchild of Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, Gateway Canyons Resort serves as your portal to a Southwestern escape beyond imagination. Set within Unaweep Canyon and surrounded by dramatic red rocks, this 72-room, recently expanded resort unleashes your curiosity as you explore dinosaur relics and Native American rock paintings, view antique cars in the on-site auto museum or take an air tour over Moab. Go rock climbing, ride horses through ponderosa pine forest and fly-fish on the Dolores River. Relaxing spa treatments and locally sourced cuisine are waiting upon your return.



Edging the Colorado/Utah border and cradled in the shadow of the Palisade rock formation, Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks introduces Gateway Canyons, the world’s first and only discovery resort, created to nourish guests’ curiosity through the art of discovery and adventure within a naturally intriguing environment.

Just steps away from one of the highest concentrations of dinosaur fossils on the planet, Gateway Canyons Resort is a place where the earth opens up to tell its story, inviting guests to explore the wonders of the natural world while delighting in luxury accommodations and once in a lifetime experiences.

With more than 6,000 acres of natural splendor to explore at its most primitive state – including one of the only locations in the world where Precambrian rock is still visible by the human eye, guests temporarily pause the mass mayhem of their lives, take a deep breath of fresh air and become inspired by a sense of wonderment – while posing their most simple questions and appreciating a quiet authenticity to make their own discoveries.

Whether spending an evening discovering the galaxies, nebulae and star clusters under one of the darkest night skies on the planet, or an afternoon taken a brand new Bentley Super-sport through the scenic rural highways of the American West, the resort awaits travelers ready to awaken their adventurous spirit.



 Entrada restaurant is one of the amazing dinner options at Gateway Canyons. Named after the Entrada Sandstone Formation, the name also means “beginning.” There isn’t a better way to begin your day than breakfast on the Entrada Patio under the shadow of the Palisade. And after a day of discovery, your journey culminates at Entrada. Enjoy an entree such as the Broiled Colorado Stripe Bass, Colorado Lamb Rack, or Local Wild Game Sausage. The Entrada Restaurant offers an intimate indoor and outdoor setting.

If you are looking for a more casual option, take the kids to the Paradox grill after they spend the day playing in amazing pool. The Paradox Grille is named for the unusual path the nearby Dolores River takes: instead of flowing down the length of the valley, it cuts perpendicularly across the middle, dividing the appropriately named Paradox Valley in Two. Paradox Grille specializes in laid-back southwestern cuisine featuring exquisite cocktail creation.



  • Gateway Canyons is known for its Curiosity retreats. These retreats are the brainchild of the founder of Discovery Channel. Over the course of our evolution, it is that same curiosity that has fueled invention, innovation and progress. The mission of Curiosity Retreats is to create a unique forum where the lifelong curious can gather to explore in-depth the great questions of today. Providing exclusive, intimate access to eminent visionaries, scholars and trendsetters, the retreats allow these luminary contributors to inspire one another and our participants on topics ranging from the mysteries of the Universe to the future of technology.
  • If you have never flown in a helicopter, why not spend your first time in the same model of helicopter that flies hikers to Everest! The scenery around Gateway is incredible, and one of the best ways to see it is in the air. Gateway Canyons Air Tours offers the unique and unforgettable experience of flying over some of the most spectacular scenery in the world! Guests not only see the scenic beauty from under the beautiful blue skies of Colorado, but they learn about the fascinating lore and legends of western Colorado and eastern Utah.
  • Gateway Canyons Adventure Center is exactly that: your ticket to incredible adventures throughout the property. Archery, shooting, ATV’s, biking, hiking, fishing, and even Baja car racing. There are countless activities that can keep every member of the family occupied for hours. All of their equipment is top of the line, and the staff is extremely well educated. There are very few places in the world where you can start a simple hike and stumble upon some dinosaur footprints! But at Gateway Canyons, that is always an option.


 Leisure Time

If you just want to get away and relax with your family, there is no better place than..

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos


 The sand in the Caribbean is white, soft, and completely luxurious. So it’s not surprising that it’s one of the top destinations in the world for travelers who are looking for a leisurely vacation full of sun and sand. There are so many islands to choose from, but one of my personal favorites is Turks and Caicos, specifically the Providenciales area. Just a quick hour’s flight from Miami, and you can reach this beautiful paradise.

Turks and Caicos offers travelers diverse options when it comes to areas to stay, while also offering a central town are for shopping and great dinning options. All of these great options are minutes away from the best hotel options on the island. Turks and Caicos also has one of the largest barrier reefs of its coast, so snorkelers and divers alike can experience the incredible sights the reef has to offer. If you’re family is looking to travel over the festive season, it’s best to book nearly a year in advance because this destination books up quickly!


 The world-renowned Grace Bay Club, the first luxury all-suite resort in Turks & Caicos, offers a haven for uninterrupted relaxation. The resort has the largest beachfront access at 1,100 feet and features all oceanfront suites divided into three separate sections. It includes the adults-only Hotel area with private restaurant, bar and pool; the family-friendly Villas with their own restaurant, bar and pool; and the uber-luxe Estate, with a complete set of exclusive amenities. Those who prefer private homes can experience The Residences, a luxury beachfront micro-resort with four- and five-bedroom private homes just a seven-minute drive from Grace Bay.

Grace Bay Club is located on the island of Providenciales at the western end of the Turks and Caicos archipelago. The resort is perched on 11 acres of immaculate beach with white powdery sand and turquoise blue water. The highlight of the island is beautiful 12 mile Grace Bay beach, where Grace Bay Club enjoys a prime location. The Turks and Caicos Islands appeal to vacationers looking for a secluded and serene Caribbean destination, as well as sport fishermen and divers who appreciate the crystal-clear waters, spectacular reefs and rich sea life. The absence of a cruise port on Providenciales and the island’s low-key nightlife maintain its exclusivity.


Turks and Caicos has a variety of dining options. One in particular is Coyaba. Located only seven minutes from Grace Bay Club, this incredible restaurant prepares dishes that take traditional Caribbean food and give it a modern twist. Chef Paul Newman sources fresh ingredients, and every dish has a unique flavor. Families can enjoy this delicious food either in the restaurant or outside in Coyaba’s glittering garden courtyard. Be sure to check restaurant’s hours since it is closed on occasion.

Don’t forget the wine list! Coyaba’s wine list is one of the most extensive in the area. They also craft excellent cocktails that utilize fresh island fruits and unique liquors.


  • Private boat charters are the best way to experience the beautiful Caribbean ocean just off the beaches of Turks and Caicos. As mentioned before, one of the largest reefs in the world is located of the coast of Turks and Caicos; so spend the day on your private charter enjoying the water. You can have your travel advisor arrange a chef-prepared meal to take onto the boat.
  • There are several private cays or small beaches off the coast of Turks and Caicos, so a great half-day excursion is sailing out with a private picnic to have lunch among the trees and iguanas (they are great company). If you are feeling really adventurous, you can arrange a private charter with a captain who can dive for conch (a tropical marine mollusk) and prepare the conch for your picnic. One fun fact is that the tourism board will allow each person to take home one conch shell, so make sure you keep your prize so that you can hear the ocean whenever you like.
  • Another fun family option is to take a trip to North Caicos to see the hundreds of flamingos that gather there. This is a longer drive trip and involves a ferry ride, but it’s worth it to see the largest flock of pink flamingos on the islands!



Abigail Lauren is luxury travel advisor who enjoys creating bespoke trips for clients. For each trip, she manages every detail from start to finish and works on behalf of her clients to guarantee that each client and family has a truly enjoyable experience. she is part of the Virtuoso group, which allows her to pass on wonderful amenities to her clients at the top properties throughout the world. So if you’re looking for your next great travel experience, work with Abigail to create an incredible and memorable trip.


phone: (970) 302-0678