Aside from summer vacation travel, another type of trip that’s surging this summer is the destination birthday party. According to a survey by the World Travel & Tourism Council, milestone birthdays, anniversaries and honeymoons ranked among the top reasons people planned to travel this summer. And what better way to make up for last summer’s quarantine birthdays than to make unforgettable memories with a special weekend away designed for the birthday kid?
For birthday vacation planning tips, we turned to the team of experts at TravelingMom.com, who provide travel tips for families of all sizes (and kids of all ages).
TravelingMom Contributor Keri Baugh, a mom of three in Boston, has taken her kids for birthday weekends to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, which she says rank among her kids’ most memorable birthdays.
“Part of this is because the birthday celebration extends beyond just a one-day celebration as much of a trip is a celebration,” Baugh said. “But several of these birthdays also included grandparents, which definitely added to the fun as we celebrated our kids as a big family. And having a destination birthday at Walt Disney World, on a cruise or at the beach definitely extends the celebration far beyond a birthday party.”
Choosing a destination or activity that speaks to the birthday girl or boy’s personality is also important and makes kids feel like it’s truly their day. TravelingMoms Social Media Director Nasreen Stump from Brenham, Texas, once planned a coffee-themed road trip for her 11-year-old son’s birthday.
“He grew up watching me work in coffee shops (I was in sales),” Stump said. “We drove from Portland to Seattle, and stopped at a bunch of coffee shops along the way and tasted something at each one. We ended the trip at a restaurant he chose in Seattle that served sushi on a conveyor belt.”
And booking the perfect hotel can draw added fun into the experience.
“Look for hotels that have movie rentals, movie nights, pool games, yard games, board games, and organized activities,” Baugh said. “[Also], pack a few decorations for the hotel room.”
Many Hilton hotels are ideal when it comes to offering both spacious accommodations (for those extra family members) and experiences guaranteed to “wow” kids of all interests. Here are just six hotels you may want to consider for upcoming birthday getaways:
Plan for Beachside Fun in San Diego
The legendary, seaside Hotel del Coronado offers a menu of family-friendly activities that are sure to make a memorable birthday experience. Gather the family for a private beach bonfire with s’mores, a movie under the stars, enroll in a surf camp, rent paddleboards or skimboards, or just spend the day playing at Del Beach.
Jump into JadeWaters in Dallas
After spending a day exploring Dallas Museum of Art or the Perot Museum of Nature & Science, head back to Hilton Anatole. The hotel’s JadeWaters resort pool complex features two 180-foot water slides, a lazy river, a 23-seat swim-up bar, private cabanas, a kid's splash zone and family-friendly games in the Sculpture Garden.
Kids’ Spa Services in Chicago
Booking a (little) girls’ trip? Waldorf Astoria Chicago offers Ice Cream Manicures and Pedicures, a delicious way to celebrate. Let your little one be pampered in luxury in the spa, followed by a sweet ice cream treat in the spa seating area or delivered in-room (TV optional!).
Go Glamping in Park City
The Little Miners Camp experience at Waldorf Astoria Park City brings the fun of camping indoors—and the history of Park City’s mining era—with a custom tee-pee set up, stuffed animal, camping lantern, and book. Plus the little ones will also enjoy a Moose Scavenger Hunt, searching items that will take them on an exciting, Park City-focused adventure.
Book Scavenger Hunts & Kids’ Cooking Classes in Los Cabos, Mexico
Fun is on the menu at the Tortuguitas Kids Club at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal. Here, kids can celebrate with a scavenger hunt, sandcastle building contests, children’s cooking classes (think pizzas, cupcakes and banana splits), or a movie screening at night.
Tahitian Dancing & Treasure Hunts in Bora Bora
The Tamariki Kids’ Club at Conrad Bora Bora Nui offers delightful experiences for children. Here, kids can make floral crowns, learn to play the ukulele, practice Tahitian dancing, try their hand at Pareo (headscarf) painting, or embark on a treasure hunt. The club also offers two game rooms: one for ages 1-6 that features a ball pit, and one of ages 6-14 that offers video and board games.