For Beach Lovers:
Hawaii’s second-largest island delivers sun and shore in spades. Near Maui’s northwest tip, Kaanapali beckons with three miles of soft white sand and Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock, the site of a nightly cliff-diving ritual that honors King Kahekili, who proved his bravery to his people by making the jump in the 1700s. Consider dining nearby at Lahaina Grill (127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina; 800-360-2606; dinner for two, $120*), where sautéed mahimahi and Keahole lobster risotto are local favorites.
About 40 miles south, you can go snorkeling at Ulua Beach Park (keep your eyes peeled for Hawaiian sea turtles). And don’t miss a drive along the Hana Highway. This route bordering Maui’s northeast coast is famous for its hundreds of curves—not to mention the shareable views it affords of the Pacific Ocean. For lunch, consider detouring to Mama’s Fish House (799 Poho Pl.; 808-579-8488; lunch for two, $120), in Paia. Fishermen bring their daily catch directly to the restaurant, where it’s served within 24 hours.
Another off-beach highlight is Haleakala National Park (808-572-4400). Reaching 10,023 feet above sea level, the park’s highest peak is visible from almost anywhere on the island. You can drive to the summit of the Haleakala Crater to catch the sunrise or book a full-day guided trek through Hike Maui (808-879-5270; hikes, from $179 a person). North of the park, you can taste Hawaii’s craft spirits at Hali’imaile Distilling (883 Haliimaile Rd., Haliimaile; 808-633-3609; tours, $10 a person, includes three tastings).
For Night Owls:
Sin City’s restaurant scene is a who’s who of celebrity chefs—Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio and Giada De Laurentiis, to name a few—while its nightlife caters to both mixology and bottle-service devotees. With so many indulgent options available after dark, start the day off right with fresh-pressed juice and a fruit-filled quinoa bowl at Della’s Kitchen (3940 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-632-9250; breakfast for two, $50). Later on, you can treat yourself to French classics at Bardot Brasserie (3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-590-8610; dinner for two, $150): mussels marinières, steak frites and escargot. If you make it to only one restaurant off the Strip, choose Lotus of Siam (953 E. Sahara Ave., Suite A5; 702-735-3033; dinner for two, $60), a James Beard Award–winning temple to northern Thai fare such as tom kha gai (spicy and sour coconut soup; tap here for a recipe). Reservations are recommended at the family-owned spot.
After dinner, there are a variety of Cirque du Soleil (tickets, from $59) shows on view around the city, including The Beatles LOVE—a Grammy Award winner that sets acrobatics to the tunes of the legendary group—and the aquatic-themed O. Ready for a nightcap? Las Vegas’s Fremont East district has been undergoing a resurgence in recent years. Look no further than the speakeasy-style Downtown Cocktail Room (111 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-880-3696; drinks for two, $25). Red booths and dim lighting set the stage for original cocktails such as the Swipe Right (made with Old Tom gin, rosemary, lime and ginger). If you prefer to sip bubbly, Laguna Champagne Bar (The Grand Canal Shoppes, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-607-7777; drinks for two, $40), in the center of the Palazzo casino, is your best bet.
It doesn’t get more family-friendly than this mountain town in the Missouri Ozarks. You could spend days exploring Silver Dollar City (399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy.; 800-475-9370; adults, $61; children, $50), an 1880s theme park with 100 resident craftspeople. The name says it all at the World’s Largest Toy Museum (3609 W. Hwy. 76; 417-332-1499; adults, $15; children 7 to 17, $13). Rooms are jam-packed with more than a million toys, some dating back to the 1800s. Meanwhile, visitors to the Titanic Museum (3235 W. Hwy. 76; 417-334-9500; adults, $23; children 5 to 12, $9)—a half-scale model of the ocean liner—can trace the lives of passengers and touch an iceberg.
Musical revues and magic shows are a Branson staple. Among the most popular is Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show (3090 Shepherd of the Hills Expwy.; 417-334-4363; adults, $35; children 13 to 17, $22), featuring aerialists and illusionists. Buffalo, longhorn steer and horses gallop through a 35,000-square-foot arena at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede (1525 W. Hwy. 76; 877-782-6733; adults, $45; children 4 to 11, $25).
Downtown, you can pick up candy and souvenirs at Dick’s 5 & 10 (103 W. Main St.; 417-334-2410). An added bonus: The original owner’s collections of arrowheads, signed sports memorabilia and model trains are on display. For stick-to-your-ribs fare, Grand Country Buffet (1945 W. Hwy. 76; 417-335-2434; dinner for two, $30) dishes out heaping servings of roast, biscuits and mashed potatoes.
Orlando may be nicknamed the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” but thanks to its more than 170 golf courses—many created by the game’s greats—kids aren’t the only ones who come here to play. After teeing off at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club (14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando; 407-597-3780; green fees, from $65)—a par-72 featuring an extensive practice range—recuperate with a honey-butter massage at the Waldorf Astoria Spa (14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando; 407-597-5360; treatments, from $155). You can observe deer, turtles and osprey between backswings at the Tranquilo Golf Club (3451 Golf View Dr., Lake Buena Vista; 407-313-6880; green fees, from $115), designed by renowned course architect Tom Fazio. Less than five miles away, Jack Nicklaus’s New Course pays homage to Scotland’s legendary Old Course with stone bridges and gorse mounds at the 45-hole Grand Cypress (1 N. Jacaranda St., Orlando; 407-239-1909; green fees, from $59).
You can start a family competition putting around dungeons and waterfalls at Pirates Cove Adventure Golf (8501 International Dr., Orlando; 407-352-7378; adults, from $13.50; children, from $11.95). Afterward, snack on hearty sandwiches at East End Market (3201 Corrine Dr., Orlando; 321-236-3316; lunch for two, $30), in the Audubon Park Garden District. At The Ravenous Pig (565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; 407-628-2333; dinner for two, $80), run by husband-and-wife team James and Julie Petrakis in the nearby suburb of Winter Park, dishes like chestnut tagliatelle with braised lamb shoulder wash down well with a flight of four house-brewed beers.
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
On foot, by bike or from the air—there are many ways to take in Smugglers’ Notch, so named because traders in the 1800s used the mountain pass to move goods between the United States and Canada. The densely forested Smugglers’ Notch State Park (6443 Mountain Rd., Stowe; 802-253-4014; the park opens May 19) is a haven for hikers and offers a variety of routes—including the popular Long Trail—that stretch to Mt. Mansfield, the state’s tallest mountain. Nearby you can sign up for zip-lining tours, indoor rock climbing and other adrenaline-inducing activities at the Stowe Mountain Resort Adventure Center (7416 Mountain Rd., Stowe; 802-253-3000).
Cyclists can explore some 30 miles of trails thanks to the work of the dedicated Stowe Mountain Bike Club (find maps and more at stowemountainbike.com). Maple Run, accessible from Sterling Falls Gorge parking lot, is great for beginners. To see it all from above, consider booking a plane-gliding tour with Stowe Soaring (Morrisville-Stowe State Airport, 2305 Laporte Rd., Morrisville; 800-898-7845; prices vary) or scheduling a lesson. You can fuel up for the outdoors with a breakfast of grilled cinnamon-raisin bread with maple sauce at 158 Main (158 Main St.; 802-644-8100; breakfast for two, $25), in Jeffersonville. For dinner, Lost Nation Brewing (87 Old Creamery Rd.; 802-851-8041; dinner for two, $50), in Morrisville, serves up a filling smoked-pork-shoulder sandwich. Pair it with one of the brewery’s craft beers, which range from the tart Gose to the smooth and smoky Pitch Black, and toast to your day in the mountains.
RCI® affiliated resorts near the featured destinations:
Comfortable one- and two-bedroom units near the West Maui Mountains. 2575 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, Maui, HI
Embrace the outdoors with tennis and volleyball courts. 4299 Lower Honoapiilani Hwy., Kahana, Maui, HI
Directly off Las Vegas Boulevard, yet the pool and waterfall evoke the feeling of a private beach. 7200 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV
Indulge at the on-site spa with facials and body treatments. 2650 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV
Go for par at the on-site championship golf course. 2380 E. Hwy. 76, Branson, MO
Offers flexible floor plans, with the option to combine adjacent two- and three-bedroom units. 700 Blue Meadows Rd., Branson, MO
Dine at one of the seven restaurants or splash around at the resort’s 80-acre lake. 8505 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Kissimmee, FL
Shares amenities with Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort—West Village. 8505 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Kissimmee, FL
Suites feature oversize tubs, private balconies and fully appointed kitchens. 2975 Arabian Nights Blvd., Kissimmee, FL
Kids can play in the arcade or fish at this property in Vermont’s Green Mountains. 4323 Rte. 108 S., Smugglers’ Notch, VT
A registered National Historic Landmark. 10 W. Main St., Wilmington, VT
Not sure where to travel this spring? Visit RCI.com and use the Vacation-Type filters to help you search.Whether you are looking for the beach, a family vacation, a spay getaway or other experience, RCI.com can help you search for a vacation that is right for you.**
For member reviews and additional resort listings, visit RCI.com or call 800-338-7777 (Weeks) or 877-968-7476 (Points). Club Members, please call your specific Club or RCI telephone number.
Other Vacation Options:
Mama’s Fish House Restaurant and Inn
Tropical cottages and suites near shops, galleries and Hookipa Beach. 799 Poho Pl., Paia, Maui, HI; 808-579-9764; innatmamas.com; doubles from $250 a night
Delano Las Vegas
Enjoy on-site restaurants and lounges when you stay at this tower on the Strip. 3940 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV; 877-632-5400; delanolasvegas.com; doubles from $225 a night
Grand Country Waterpark Resort
The kids can splash around in the park’s slides, springs and forts. 1945 W. Hwy. 76, Branson, MO; 888-505-4096; grandcountry.com; doubles from $90 a night
Bahama Bay Resort
Two- and three-bedroom family villas 10 minutes from Disney World. 400 Gran Bahama Blvd., Davenport, FL; 866-796-2165; wyndhamvacationrentals.com; doubles from $109 a night
A 38-acre retreat offering a pond, stables and an extensive trail system. 1500 Edson Hill Rd., Stowe, VT; 802-253-7371; edsonhill.com; doubles from $220 a night
- *Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax or tip.
- **These vacations are limited and subject to availability.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: Spring 2017