I don’t have any but I’ve been one
so I can tell you with authority that traveling with a teenager isn’t easy.
Let’s face it, while my kids may be all cuddles and sunshine now, there will
come a day when they’ll want to spend their holidays as far away from the
‘rents as possible.

I blame the stereotypical “family
vacation” for this. Parents plan a trip filled with things they want to do or things they think their kids should be doing instead of getting their
kids involved in the planning.

My advice? Start by telling your
teen that unless they get involved you intend to spend every waking hour as
“family together time” and I bet they’ll jump at the chance to help.

You can up your cool factor by suggesting
the spots listed below to start. The common denominator: They aren’t as
highly supervised or rigorously scheduled as the typical “kids” club and in
many cases offer the types of activities that parents would do themselves if it
wouldn’t be so embarrassing.



1. Club Crush, Atlantis: Last year it was
the kids club. This year it’s teens
that benefit from a massive influx of cash ($11-million) and new cutting-edge
technology. The 14,000
square foot space includes:

  • an Internet Lounge (where multi-touch computers, interactive surface tables and a
    collection of iPads allow them to do everything from editing photos  to getting on Facebook to playing Angry Birds),
  • a gaming Studio with a 22-foot, floor to ceiling “Gaming tree” that holds 32 flat
    screen tvs and 24 controller based gaming consoles including PS3, Wii and Xbox
    360; 10 private reservable cabanas with all the latest technology including Kinect
    for Xbox 360; and two 65″ flat screen televisions that stream live competition
  • a 1,500 square-foot Dance Club complete with video
    walls, performance stage, VIP sections and doormen.

Cost: $25/person Hours: 5:30 PM – 1AM.  Teens must be aged 13-17 to gain the personalized membership card they need for entry. To take a sneak peek click here.

2. Vibe, Disney Dream Cruise Ship: Nothing
spells fun like being trapped with your parents and your younger siblings on a
ship in the middle of the ocean. Wait! Hold the eye-roll! Turns out Disney’s newest ship actually offers a
space that makes that statement true. Now teens who tire of wandering the
ship’s food offerings and sports outlets have a place to simply hang. The
indoor/outdoor space was created just for teens aged 14-17 and requires
swipe-card access. Inside there’s almost 9,000 square feet of space to explore.
Computers allow you to create and edit videos, play computer games, access
social media applications, DJ, mix dance tracks and more. Walk through to the
outdoor patio and you’ll find a private teens-only outdoor deck with chaise
lounges for sunbathing, wading pools misters and more along with ping-pong and
foosball tables. It’s fantastic to look at, but the
closest you (mom or dad) will get to seeing what it looks like is here.

Vibe, Disney

3. Coast, Ritz Carlton: Ritz Carlton, whose much-lauded kids program has been getting rave reviews (including this one from me!) is now bringing on great spaces for the teen crowd. Guests aged 13 to 17 will find Coast at The Ritz Carlton Palm Beach. Focused on providing a space that keeps young people excited and energized the area offers the chance to create their own DJ mix and upload it to their iPod, play video games, surf the internet, play billiards, or just hang out and play pool or Guitar Hero. And for those teens who prefer beauty over battling, Beauty@Coast is an upscale salon for teens where make-up application, hair styling, manicures, dress-up and more can be commemorated with a glamour shot.  And then at night, Coast transforms into a teen-friendly club with music and dancing.  Take a peek here.

4. Trench Town and Liquid, Beaches Resorts: Beaches all-inclusive offerings mean teens won’t come begging for cash to make the most of their time. Group facilitators are there to help teens do the things the teens want to do, not the other way around. Learn to DJ? Sure. Head out to windsurf? Alright. Just hang? That’s cool too. Trench Town, a Bob Marley inspired clubhouse, offers everything from basketball to foosball, and at night Club Liquid offers a teens-only party space in a Miami-esque atmosphere. With beach bonfires, unlimited options and activites that run late into the night, your kids will be the ones begging to come back for a family vacation again next year.

  • Heather

    Thanks for the comments ladies. I’m still floored by the money and effort that goes into these clubs. Growing up I would’ve been on cloud 10 at any one of them. From the looks I’ve seen on the faces of kids in he ones I’ve visited personally, the designers really seemed to have nailed that demographic.

  • Racheal

    Can’t wait to pass these along to my cousin. Her kids’ll love these suggestions.

  • Tracey

    I’m with you, Julie… Maybe one day. But I LOVE the tips on getting teens involved!! GREAT ideas. Great looking tips too!

  • Julie

    seeing as how i won’t be able to afford a disney cruise until my youngest (5) is 14 then this is something to look forward to!

  • http://www.MississaugaKids.com Anne Green

    Any tips for long plane and car rides? We’ll be seeing family in Arizona with a side trip to the Grand Canyon this year!

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