Paradise Point Offers Perfect Tropical Vacation

Hawaii is closer than you think if you live in California. Just drive to San Diego and stay at the lush Paradise Point Resort and Spa, an island resort just like those you find in the tropics.

Okay, it’s not exactly the same, but San Diego’s Paradise Point Resort and Spa has pulled out all the stops to re-create many of the islands’ charms. To begin with, it’s on an island. Then factor in the lush old-growth palm trees – groves of them – that make the 44-acre resort feel in many ways like CoCo Palms, the famous resort on Kauai where Elvis Presley filmed Blue Hawaii. Throw in some tiki torches, beaches, lagoons, lush gardens and plenty of birds, turtles and other wildlife, and you have Hawaii, the California version.

Oh, did we mention it’s also right next door to one of the most popular theme parks in California – SeaWorld? You’re starting to get the picture. Paradise Point has to be considered one of California’s best kids’ resorts with its many recreational opportunities and special features. Many of the resort’s bungalows offer spectacular waterfront views across Mission Bay to Pacific Beach and La Jolla. Other bungalows are on various lagoons and waterways situated throughout the resort property. With numerous swimming pools and beaches, water recreation is never far away, and families will enjoy – as we did – discovering all the resort’s nooks and crannies by riding bicycles through the property and an adjacent waterfront park.

While the resort features several tennis courts, croquet and other family activities, a unique feature is the 18-hole putting golf course. A lot like a miniature golf course, the green is woven throughout the resort’s tropical landscaping and easy for all ages to enjoy. The course is surrounded by palm trees and other lush vegetation making you feel like you really are in Hawaii playing golf in the tropics.

With so many fun family activities, it’s no wonder that Paradise Point was the resort selected by the TV show Jon and Kate Plus Eight when they brought the family to the San Diego area. This, of course, was a major selling point for our nine-year-old daughter who couldn’t wait to vacation in the same place as Jon and Kate.

Our one-bedroom bungalow was on a horseshoe-shaped beach with plenty of sand and calm water for swimming. Outside, there were chairs to sit and enjoy the view as well as a lawn area to play. Inside, the bungalow was completely furnished and featured two stylish easy chairs, a coffee table and sleeper-couch as well as a dinette set in the main open area of the unit. Adjacent was a wet bar with a refrigerator. The bedroom featured a king bed with a decorative headboard and other modern bedroom furniture. A bath/shower combination was flanked on both sides by vanities. Throughout the bungalow, the warm designer colors and special decorative touches made the unit look and feel like it had just been updated – which it had as part of a major renovation just completed.

This is a resort where you keep on finding new things to catch your interest and we enjoyed meandering the grounds and finding such things as Spa Terre where even children are value customers. Mom and daughter can get a side-by-side massage, or there are such things as ice cream pedicures and finger painting kids manicures. Or try the Clean for Teen Facial. But careful – get those kids hooked on spas and your future resort bills will never be the same.

For lunch, we’d highly recommend the Barefoot Bar and Grill with one of San Diego’s best waterfront views and plenty of that Hawaiian style landscaping to transport you to a different world. The kids will enjoy watching the sharks and other fish in the bar’s lagoon, while the outdoor patio will have you alternating glances between the boats going by and the beautiful people sitting next to you. The food at Barefoot is top-notch with burgers, hot sandwiches and salads the main fare.

We also had the opportunity to dine at the resort’s BALEENsandiego, a stylish restaurant with an impressive array of dishes. Known for its seafood and incredible views, we found it also does really well with its fire-roasted meats and desserts to die for. The chef here obviously puts in the effort to make this one of San Diego’s finest restaurants and both Baleen and the Barefoot Bar are easily accessible not only for Paradise Point guests, but also for San Diego visitors staying at other properties. Either restaurant would be an excellent choice for a special meal out.

Choose Your Caribbean Vacation Island at the Bahamas

From the pirates of yore to the Caribbean all-inclusive vacations paradise seekers of today, the Bahamas has always been the destination for sea and sun, fun and sand.

All around the Bahamas, there are many islands and hotels offering Caribbean vacations. Visitors can just basically choose the island they want to go diving, snorkeling, or just lounging around.

The busiest islands are New Providence Island (where the capital Nassau is), Paradise Island (home of the humongous Atlantis casino resort) and Bimini (also known as the gateway to the Bahamas). Other paradise islands in the Bahamas are San Salvador, Cat Island, Long Island, Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Andros and Abacos Cays.

In some islands, you need to be a passenger of the cruise line that owns it in order to enjoy the beaches and activities on it. These private islands are Castaway Cay (owned by Disney Cruise Line), Great Stirrup Cay (owned by Norwegian Cruise Line), Little Stirrup Cay (owned by Princess Cruise Line), and Coco Cay (owned by Royal Caribbean).

There are hundreds of hotels to choose from, many of which have Caribbean all-inclusive vacations and packages. A few examples are Riu Paradise Island, Sandals Royal Bahamian and Club Med Columbus Isle.

Caribbean all-inclusive vacations start as you get in by plain via the airports at Nassau and Freeport, or by boat through cruise ships or private yacht. Shopping here is so easy since the Bahamian dollar is linked with the US dollar plus all major credit cards are accepted. You can go anytime of the year but you may want to avoid the peak season of December to April, which has the highest hotel rates, and the hurricane season of June to November. But none the less don’t wait with ordering your Caribbean all inclusive vacation.