A Return to Adventure—With the Family

Two parents rekindle their love for adventure by discovering how—and where—to take their brood beyond the Disney scene.
By Dave Littleton
Playa del Carmen
Ahhhh, Maya: The Mexican Riviera (Digital Vision)

For me and my wife, Susan, vacations have long equated with active-minded journeys of discovery in faraway lands. We've trekked in Nepal, studied cooking in Thailand, and ridden horses across Patagonia. But when we had kids, everything changed. Base camp went from a cluster of tents on the steeps of the Andes to a resort in Orlando, and our biggest adventure wasn't jockeying for room on a trans-Asian bus—it was fighting the crowds at Disney World.

I naturally resigned myself to the less experiential aspects of family travel, and did so with aplomb. But when our two daughters, Katie and Allie, grew to the ages of three and six respectively, overseas logistics became manageable and the tug of worldly travel started pulling. So, I issued a challenge to my wife: Design a trip with enough safety and comfort to make our kids happy and enough action and exploration to satisfy our suppressed craving for adventure.

Susan's well-researched answer? Mexico's Riviera Maya, or the Mayan Riviera if you're stateside. It's just a 50-minute drive south of tourist-trotted Cancun, which is easily accessible from several U.S. airports. January weather is Goldilocks-perfect. And the opportunities to explore the Yucatan's natural wonders, such as wildlife, ancient ruins, and, of course, the white-sand beaches, are endless. In short, it offered enough variety to sate both the rambunctious kids and the adult's drive for the less-than-ordinary.

Published: 22 May 2006 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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