With Chilean heritage on her father’s side and German on her mother’s side, Leah Winck grew up surrounded by international influences. From an early age, travel was an important part of her life. During college, she spent two years in Spain and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Northern Africa.
Now, as owner and president of Journey On Travel, Winck enjoys creating unforgettable trips for families. Whether her clients need a weekend getaway, a cruise or a multi-destination adventure, she gives them special attention and care when it comes to creating the perfect escape. Here are her top picks for the best family escapes right now.
10. Ted Turner Expeditions, New Mexico
Nature abounds at this trio of ranches — Sierra Grande, Vermejo Park Ranch and Ladder Ranch — where families can have an adventure-oriented, eco-conscious stay. With hiking, biking, ballooning, bird watching and more, they’re perfect for outdoorsy families who want to connect with nature. As Ted Turner once said, “We have an obligation and a privilege to preserve and maintain our planet and the species we share the planet with.” And that couldn’t be more true here.
9. Nayara Resort, Costa Rica
Nayara is the perfect family destination in Costa Rica. Offering both family areas and adults-only areas, the casitas, suites and villas are surrounded by lush landscapes with vistas of the Arenal volcano. The hotel is a true rainforest experience, with “Tony” the onsite sloth, who makes frequent appearances. Environmental specialists guide guests on nature walks. There are also a number of restaurant options and — perfect for mom and dad — a spa with a treehouse yoga pavilion. Another plus: Nayara is committed to sustainable tourism, ensuring a high level of environmental responsibility for all guests.
8. Nekupe Resort, Nicaragua
Facing a volcano, this award-winning luxury resort is a stunner for family reunions, celebrations or family getaways. The villas are comfortable and modern, and the inclusive activities are plentiful. Wonderful outdoor experiences await, ranging from safari-style adventures on ATVs to dance classes, farming and even a dedicated ranger to guide guests.
7. The Moorings Sailing Charters, Greece
A fabulous idea for family adventure travel: a seven-day sailing itinerary (for up to 10 people) with The Moorings in Lefkas, Greece. Set in the protected waters of the central and southern Ionian and Echinades islands off Greece’s northwestern shore, a Lefkas sailing holiday is a sail through history, with gorgeous beaches, plus excellent snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. With this kind of smooth sailing, the whole family is bound to enjoy it all.
6. Verdura Resort, Sicily
Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort in Sicily is an ideal place for families. The resort itself is stunning, overlooking three world-class golf courses and the Mediterranean Sea. As part of the Rocco Families program, there are amenities that younger guests will enjoy, including pint-sized bathrobes and slippers, a hedgehog cuddly toy, sports academies and excursions. And there’s nothing lie Verdùland, a space dedicated to kids and offering cooking, science, arts and crafts, cultural activities, an array of sports and much more.
5. Inlux, Iceland
Always wanted to check out Iceland? Consider Inlux, which offers luxury private villa/home rentals throughout Iceland. Homes come with services (like a chef), as needed. All have daily cleaning and concierge benefits, too, helping ensure a perfect stay.
4. Corinthia Lisbon, Portugal
Situated in the city centre, the Corinthia hotel is a great place to base your family in Lisbon. Spacious family suites, kids’ amenities, games and a true sense of welcome for families makes this a top pick for Lisbon stays. Want to learn how to prepare Portuguese meals? Check out the live chef-cooking stations. The Corinthia is also located just minutes from museums, shopping and the metro, making it easy to see the city.
3. Kokomo Private Island, Fiji
This all-inclusive oasis is Fiji’s newest gem. Surrounded by sea and sand, Kokomo is stunning. Family time can mean chilling on the beach, snorkeling with the fish and rays, scuba diving or playing tennis and basketball. There is a kids’ club for ages 4-11 and a myriad of activities to keep them happy — and with nanny services, mom and dad will be happy, too.
2. Mahu Whenua, New Zealand
Want to experience the beauty of New Zealand? Consider Mahu Whenua, which has some of the most iconic and dramatic natural alpine scenery in New Zealand. The property consists of four adjoining high-country sheep stations — Motatapu, Mt Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak. Mahu Whenua has introduced sustainable farming practices and has started an extensive plant regeneration and native bird breeding program. It’s also great for a family reunion: One can do a buy out of the lodge for a maximum of 12 guests.
1. Belmond Napasai, Koh Samui, Thailand
This is the perfect family getaway in Thailand. Belmond Napasai is set on one of the nicest stretches of sandy beach on the island, and it also has lush gardens, wonderful food and a super-friendly staff. The standalone villas are beyond comfortable: Choose from a villa set in the gardens or on the beach. My favorite memory from my stay here was dinner under the stars, with our feet in the sand.
by Laura Begley Bloom