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Family travel five: 5 vacations to plan if you are missing the sun right now

A surfer catches a wave at sunset on the beach outside Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific coast 100 miles southwest of the captial of San Jose, Costa Rica. (KENT GILBERT / AP)
A surfer catches a wave at sunset on the beach outside Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific coast 100 miles southwest of the captial of San Jose, Costa Rica. (KENT GILBERT / AP)
By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes Dallas Morning News

Costa Rica

“Pura vida,” the locals’ friendly attitude and approach to life, provides a hospitality-rich backdrop for a family holiday. Be there to watch the “arribada” (the Spanish word for arrival) when Olive ridley and Kemp sea turtles lay millions of eggs on the country’s pristine beaches.

Surfers give the richly diverse nation top marks as do adventure lovers who visit the small country for river rafting, hiking, biking, canopy tours and volcano watching. Families can take advantage of culturally focused volunteer vacations, clan-friendly resorts and beachside boutique accommodations.

Contact: visitcostarica.com; austinadventures.com

Curacao

Visit this colorful, southern Caribbean destination to sample more than four dozen cultures ranging from Dutch to Portuguese, to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site and capital city of Willemstad, and to relax, snorkel or splash aside any of 35 different beaches.

The island’s annual Carnival, celebrating diverse heritage, gets underway in February. Families can opt to participate in a Kids’ Carnival Parade, during which little ones don traditional Curacaoan costumes and face paint and learn to move to the beat of tumba music.

Contact: curacao.com; santabarbararesortcuracao.com

The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Warm up with a stay at the Resort at Longboat Key Club, a 410-acre beachfront playground near Sarasota, Florida. While the kids enjoy arts, crafts, ice cream socials and sporting activities with Camp Loggerhead counselors, grown-ups can play tennis, enjoy 45 holes of top-notch golf and take advantage of beach yoga and shopping.

Later join the kids for movie nights, beach barbecues or a nature walk. Head into town for shopping, museums, dining and music performances.

Contact: longboatkeyclub.com; visitsarasota.org

St. Croix

Take advantage of the sunny Caribbean island’s Bounce Back promotion as a way to wrangle the whole clan for a midwinter getaway. From adventure tours and fishing to kite-boarding and snorkeling, you’ll enjoy the 22-mile-long paradise where trade winds blow and the sun warms visitors with an average temperature of 77 degrees.

Children stay free at 12 participating hotels with a fifth night free. Book by July 16 and travel by Dec. 1 to receive an additional $500 in spending credits for activities, dining and shopping. Use booking code: BBSC.

Contact: visitusvi.com.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Royalton Luxury Resorts has opened a 228-room upscale property where an around-the-clock concierge will make sure your holiday gets underway in style.

Junior guests at the Royalton Blue Waters will be impressed by the brand’s lazy river, water park and splash pad, as well as the Clubhouse Kids Club, where youngsters 4-12 can engage with famous cartoon characters Max & Ruby and Mike the Knight. Teens 13 to 17 have their own Hangout Teens Club and lounge, where new friendships are forged over billiards and pingpong.

Plan for water sports and reservation-free dining as part of the all-inclusive experience.

Contact: royaltonresorts.com

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