About the Show

Join Jason Kessler and Jeff Miller as they determine if the activities at the world's most popular vacation destinations live up to the hype. Whether testing out a jetpack in trendy Newport Beach, exploring a family-friendly theme park in St. Louis or digging into a bowl of mofongo in Miami's Little Havana, these seasoned travel writers will help you decide if an event is worth your hard-earned time and money.

Top Picks

Hilton Waikoloa Village (Hawaii)

Hilton Waikoloa Village (Hawaii)

In Hawaii, the Hilton Waikoloa Village promises endless activity and unprecedented luxury. Parents hoping to find a child-friendly haven can sign their tykes up for Club Keiki. During its day and night camps, kids can feed koi and swans, hunt for treasure and explore tide pools. 960 1280

Edmunds Dana / Perspectives / Getty Images  

Hilton Waikoloa Village

Hilton Waikoloa Village

The resort's tropical gardens, saltwater lagoons and 2 golf courses are tempting, but the most popular retreat is Dolphin Quest. It provides guests with a variety of interactive dolphin programs, including training adventures, a family experience and kids' quest. Meanwhile, at Waikoloa's 4-acre lagoon, water lovers can schedule kayak trips, snorkel sails and seasonal whale-watching tours. After dark, attend the Legends of Hawaii luau to experience traditional island dancing and music, as well as a buffet dinner. 960 1280

Ron Garnett / Getty Images  

Kingsmill Resort (Virginia)

Kingsmill Resort (Virginia)

Stretching over 3,000 acres of Virginia wilderness, Kingsmill Resort boasts its own long list of recreational activities, as well as close proximity to the fun found in nearby Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. Active families can enjoy the resort's 2 18-hole golf courses, 15 tennis courts and Sports Club, which features indoor and outdoor pools, exercise classes, personal trainers and a billiards and game room. 960 1280
Kingsmill Resort

Kingsmill Resort

Stop by the concierge desk for special Junior Guest registration, and children will receive a Kids' Fun Pack introducing them to the resort. The kids' camp is the perfect opportunity for 5- to 12-year-olds to play tennis and golf, swim, fish, have theme days and make arts and crafts. Don't forget to sign little ones up for Kids' Night Out, a pizza and game party that allows parents to have a romantic date night at one of the 4 signature restaurants on-site. 960 1280

Kingsmill Resort  

Tanque Verde Ranch (Arizona)

Tanque Verde Ranch (Arizona)

The 640-acre Tanque Verde Ranch is a serene oasis nestled in the Sonoran Desert, near Saguaro National Park. With more than 120 horses, it's no surprise that this dude ranch offers ample riding opportunities. Specialty options available include breakfast rides (with a meal at the Old Homestead), 6-hour-long day rides, and picnic rides with lunch in Cottonwood Grove. Newcomers can take riding lessons at a variety of levels. 960 1280

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images  

Tanque Verde Ranch

Tanque Verde Ranch

Naturalist guides offer hikes through the desert wilds, exploring canyons, cacti and even secret waterfalls. The popular kids' program offers little cowpokes (ages 4-12) the chance to "ride 'em cowboy!" Children are divided into 3 age groups — the Buckaroos, Wranglers and Outlaws — and treated to riding lessons, tennis, swimming and arts and crafts. 960 1280

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images  

Circus Circus (Las Vegas)

Circus Circus (Las Vegas)

The biggest permanent big top in the world can be found rising in all its colorful glory in Las Vegas. More than 3.5 million people a year stop by to experience the live entertainment and whimsy that Circus Circus has to offer. The resort lies on 70 acres of land, and with nearly 3,800 rooms, it's the fifth-largest resort-casino in Vegas. 960 1280

Mitchell Funk / The Image Bank / Getty Images  

Circus Circus

Circus Circus

"Oohs" and "ahhs" fill the air every half-hour as performers engage in airborne stunts on the resort's center stage. Surrounding the stage is the Midway, an enormous carnival filled with 200 games and wandering clowns. Possibly the world's biggest funhouse, the indoor Adventuredome theme park continues the excitement with more than 20 rides, plus miniature golf and laser tag. 960 1280

Walter Bibikow / Getty Images  

Out 'n' About Treesort (Oregon)

Out 'n' About Treesort (Oregon)

Nestled into treetops and branches is one of the world's most unusual bed-and-breakfasts. This high-in-the-sky treehouse resort proves that trees aren't just for the birds. Fifteen treehouses, which sleep anywhere from 2 to 8 people, make up the "treesort" (but because of legal issues, not all 15 are available for overnight lodging). 960 1280

Out'n'about Treesort  

Out 'n' About Treesort

Out 'n' About Treesort

Guests climb stairs, ladders, even a 90-foot-long suspension bridge. At the Swiss Family Complex, a swinging bridge separates child and adult units, and a fire pole and rope swings provide kids with ground access. Luxury lovers will enjoy the Tree Room Schoolhouse Suite, which fits 4 and has a bathroom, kitchenette, master bedroom, sitting area and loft. Fun perks include lessons in treehouse building, horseback riding, rafting, ropes courses, pools and arts and crafts classes. 960 1280

  

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort (Utah)

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort (Utah)

If the sight of snow gets your family excited, grab the skis and head to Snowbird for a wonderful, wintry vacation. The resort, which rests in Little Cottonwood Canyon, offers 3,240 vertical feet and 2,500 acres of mountain to explore. Thanks to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, it sees an average of more than 500 inches of snow annually. 960 1280

Gary Caviness / iStock / Getty Images Plus  

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

More than forty years after being founded, the resort now features 10 lifts, 169 runs and an uphill capacity of 17,400 people. Beginners ages 3 and up can learn skiing and snowboarding at the Snowbird Mountain School. Love the outdoors but not a fan of the slopes? The resort also offers ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoe tours and luge sleds. Parents can unwind with a stone massage or herbal wrap at the luxurious Cliff Spa. 960 1280

Scott Markewitz / Getty Images  

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa (California)

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa (California)

Most commonly associated with its 2 championship golf courses and its world-class spa, the Omni La Costa now earns itself a new reputation: family resort. Tucked among the property's rolling greens, renowned golf school and 17 tennis courts is a world of activities designed for little ones on retreat. 960 1280

By NoraCaselinGomez (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa

At the Kidtopia children's club, young guests experience the resort's magnificent facilities in a kid-friendly environment, filling their time with tennis, croquet, hiking, swimming, nature walks, crafts and pingpong. While they're making friends and having fun, parents can indulge in the body- and soul-soothing luxury that defines the Omni La Costa.
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La Costa Resort and Spa  

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (Florida)

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (Florida)

At Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, families experience the thrills of an African safari without ever leaving their hotel. If a trip to the Serengeti is out of your price range, a visit to this wild lodge will more than suffice. Strolling throughout the property's 33 acres of savannas, guests will see more than 200 animals representing 100 different species, including antelopes and gazelles. 960 1280

By Micha L. Rieser (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Rooms are decorated with a traditional African ambience: earth-tone walls, handcrafted furniture, tapestries and mosquito nets. But true historical value can be found in the 4,000 native handicrafts placed throughout the lodge. When it's time to dine, experience the tastes of Africa at one of the resort's inspired restaurants, including Jiko, which features wood-burning ovens, and Boma, a buffet under a thatched roof. 960 1280

By BestofWDW from USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Twisted Colossus, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
Twisted Colossus

Twisted Colossus

What’s old is new again! Colossus is the wooden roller coaster you remember from Walley World in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie. In 2015, Colossus will be reborn at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA, as a new kind of hybrid racing roller coaster, including features such as a “high-five” and a “top gun” inversion. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

The world’s first launched wing coaster opens at Holiday World this summer. As they’re flung forward at 60 mph, riders sit on the side of the rails, where they’ll feel as though they’re flying through multiple inversions and “keyholing” through the ride’s themed structure. Holiday World is located in Santa Claus, IN, and features themed areas based on holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas. 960 1280

Holiday World  

Wicked Cyclone

Wicked Cyclone

Six Flags New England in Agawam, MA, will transform its classic wooden roller coaster Cyclone into the Wicked Cyclone, which will be the first coaster of its kind to have a 200-degree stall and 2 zero-gravity rolls. This new coaster has been on many enthusiasts’ must-ride lists for 2015! 960 1280

Six Flags  

Fury 325

Fury 325

Fury 325 is the world’s tallest “giga coaster.” Standing 325 feet tall and flying through the 6,602 feet of track at up to 95 mph, this new roller coaster shatters many records set by other giga coasters. The $30 million attraction is located at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC. 960 1280

Carowinds  

Voyage to the Iron Reef

Voyage to the Iron Reef

Voyage to the Iron Reef is a new, interactive, 4-D dark ride located in the Boardwalk area of Knott’s Berry Farm, which is not far from Disneyland in Buena Park, CA. Riders will take up their virtual arms to help protect the park from the Kraken Queen and her underwater army. 960 1280

Knott's Berry Farm  

Batman: The Ride

Batman: The Ride

The world’s first 4-D “free-fly” roller coaster is coming to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. It uses state-of-the-art magnetic technology as it sends riders upside down and lets them experience weightlessness. But your stomach may really be what’s flipping after scaling a 12-story hill and hurtling down 2 beyond-vertical drops. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Cannibal

Cannibal

Cannibal, a unique attraction at Lagoon amusement park outside Salt Lake City, Utah, has been in development for several years using mostly in-house and local resources. This $20 million-plus ride will climb a 208-foot enclosed tower before a beyond-vertical drop along 2,700 feet of track. 960 1280

Lagoon  

Disneyland's Diamond Celebration

Disneyland's Diamond Celebration

Disneyland is turning 60, and it’s throwing a huge Diamond Celebration party! The park in Anaheim, CA, will introduce a whole new slate of nighttime shows, including Disneyland Forever, a brand-new fireworks display; the Paint the Night Parade, a new take on the classic Electrical Parade; and World of Color – Celebrate!, a show covering 60 years of Disneyland history. 960 1280

Disney  

Baron 1898

Baron 1898

Baron 1898 is a heavily themed B&M dive coaster that will drop riders down a nearly 90-degree plunge at 60 mph. The ride, located at Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, is designed like a gold-mine shaft and is one of the more impressive-looking roller coasters opening in 2015. 960 1280

Efteling  

Tempesto

Tempesto

Tempesto is a fictional Italian daredevil who is inviting riders to take part in his latest stunt at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia. Even guests with nerves of steel will be screaming as they wind through tight turns and a 154-foot-high inversion at speeds of up to 63 mph. 960 1280

Busch Gardens Williamsburg  

Rougarou

Rougarou

The Mantis coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH, is getting a new look and feel! The stand-up trains have been replaced by more comfortable floorless trains in one of the more interesting roller-coaster transformations yet. They said it couldn’t be done, but Rougarou brings new life into a nearly 20-year-old roller coaster for new generations. 960 1280

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio  

Laff Trakk

Laff Trakk

Standing out among all the thrill rides opening in 2015 is this family-friendly attraction. The indoor, glow-in-the-dark, spinning coaster — the first of its kind in the country — was inspired by the different fun houses that have been part of the park over the years. Riders pass through a hall of mirrors, a house of cards and more.   960 1280

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company  

Impulse

Impulse

Impulse, the largest project in the history of Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA, will feature a 10-story vertical free-fall drop, 4 inversions and 2,000 feet of track. Knoebels is known for its classic wooden roller coasters Phoenix, Twister and Flying Turns, and the steel coaster marks a new chapter for this smaller, family-oriented park. 960 1280

Joel Styer/Knoebels Amusement Resort  

Switchback

Switchback

One of the most interesting-looking rides of 2015 comes from an unexpected place. ZDT’s Amusement Park, located about an hour outside San Antonio, is building the world’s first modern “wooden shuttle coaster” as a throwback to Coney Island’s classic Switchback Railway from the turn of the 20th century. Switchback will feature overbanked turns and a 60-foot drop. And just when the coaster has finished the 1,100-foot course, it does it all again … backward! 960 1280

ZDT's Amusement Center  

Oblivion - The Black Hole

Oblivion - The Black Hole

Oblivion, a B&M dive machine at Gardaland on Lake Garda in Italy, shoots riders down a 140-foot, near-vertical drop. The “holding brake” dangles them at an 87-degree angle, letting them look nearly straight down for a few moments before the plunge. Oblivion hits speeds of 62 mph and will flip you upside down twice. 960 1280

Gardaland  

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is coming to both Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis this year. The motion-based ride combines the best technology of dark rides and thrill rides with an interactive story line to keep DC Comics superhero fans on the edge of their seats. The innovative attraction includes 2 final chase scenes, as well as several digital 3-D screens. 960 1280

Six Flags  

aspen, colorado, skiing, family, resorts, snowmass
Aspen Snowmass (Colorado)

Aspen Snowmass (Colorado)

The longest run on Snowmass is a whopping 5.3 miles long while the peak called Buttermilk is lauded for having the best terrain park and pipe facilities. During the ski season, there are competitions, big-ticket concerts and lots of great dining. 960 1280

Gary Tognoni/Getty Images  

Aspen Snowmass (Colorado)

Aspen Snowmass (Colorado)

Aspen has a well-earned reputation as a glitzy resort town popular with big spenders and Hollywood A-listers. There are the fancy shops on Galena Street and even Aspen Fashion Week every March. The town takes its skiing just as seriously as its style with the 4 peaks that make up Aspen Snowmass.
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Kanonsky/Getty Images  

Beaver Creek Resort (Colorado)

Beaver Creek Resort (Colorado)

There's no roughing it at Beaver Creek, a high-end Colorado ski resort in the Rocky Mountains known for its luxurious hotels, great restaurants and 1,815 acres of impeccably groomed slopes. 960 1280
Beaver Creek Resort (Colorado)

Beaver Creek Resort (Colorado)

Beaver Creek is family-friendly with quality ski programs and gentle runs for beginners. The other side of Beaver Creek, known as BC-EX, features extreme terrain for the most accomplished and daring skiers. 960 1280

Robert Morton/Getty Images  

Heavenly Mountain Resort (California)

Heavenly Mountain Resort (California)

There aren’t very many places in the world that can call themselves "heavenly" and get away with it. Lucky for us, California’s Heavenly Resort lives up to its name in every way. 960 1280
Heavenly Mountain Resort (California)

Heavenly Mountain Resort (California)

The crisp snow powder and rugged mountainside in Lake Tahoe are waiting to make this winter’s family ski trip the best yet. 960 1280
Okemo Mountain Resort (Vermont)

Okemo Mountain Resort (Vermont)

With over 200 inches of average snowfall on the mountain every winter and 632 acres of winter wonderland, there's rarely a bad day at Okemo in Vermont.
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Okemo Mountain Resort (Vermont)

Okemo Mountain Resort (Vermont)

Okemo works hard to accommodate skiers on a budget. Kids under 6 are always free while older kids may ski free on select days with a paying adult. The first hour after opening is free on the slopes every day, giving skiers the opportunity to sample the snow and forgo buying a lift ticket on the rare occasion that conditions aren't ideal. 960 1280
Park City Mountain Resort (Utah)

Park City Mountain Resort (Utah)

Park City Mountain Resort has all of the ingredients for a perfect family vacation. The signature kids ski school limits classes to just 5 children, making for lots of personalized attention. The slope's tiniest skiers can enroll in the Signature 3 Program, with just 3 children aged 3-1/2 to 5 years old. 960 1280

Erik Isakson/Getty Images  

Park City Mountain Resort (Utah)

Park City Mountain Resort (Utah)

Once the kids are worn out from their 2 75-minute sessions, it's inside for crafts, reading and playing on the indoor jungle gym. While the kids enjoy ski school, adults can explore the 3,300 acres of fun spread out over 7 snowy peaks and 9 bowls. 960 1280

By Rudi Riet from Washington, DC, United States (Eagle Race Arena at Park City Mountain Resort) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Snowshoe Mountain Resort (West Virginia)

Snowshoe Mountain Resort (West Virginia)

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia is a great option for a long weekend of family winter fun with ski school, terrain parks for practicing tricks, tubing hills and snowy adventures on snow mobiles or snowcats. 960 1280

Hero Image/Getty Images  

Snowshoe Mountain Resort (West Virginia)

Snowshoe Mountain Resort (West Virginia)

Skiers in the mid-Atlantic and Southern states don't need to fly out west or drive to New England for first-rate skiing. 960 1280

Gary Tognoni/Getty Images  

Whiteface Lodge (New York)

Whiteface Lodge (New York)

As host of the 1980 winter games, the Lake Placid region has 6 million acres packed with facilities made for wintry fun. There's alpine skiing at Whiteface with the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies. 960 1280
Whiteface Lodge (New York)

Whiteface Lodge (New York)

Then the entire family can enjoy ice-skating, bob-sledding and old-fashioned toboggans. Explore the snowy acres on cross-country skis or snowshoes or hitch a ride on a fast-moving dogsledding tour. 960 1280

By Martin Bravenboer (Speed Skating in Lake Placid) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Bretton Woods (New Hampshire)

Bretton Woods (New Hampshire)

Located high in New Hampshire's White Mountains, Bretton Woods is the state's largest ski area with 101 trails and glades and 4 terrain parks. An unusual addition to the outdoor fun is the mountain's extensive canopy tour, made up of several treetop zip-lines and suspension bridges. 960 1280

coleong/Getty Images  

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