Family

Affordable Family Vacations

by Nicola McCormack

BELIZE ON A BUDGET

When your kids are little balls of energy, the words "school's out" can mark the beginning of a very long summer. An adventure destination like Belize might be the answer to your prayers. It's affordable, accessible, and, for such a small country, a family can certainly pack in a lot of activity there: zip-lining through tree canopies, snorkeling with sharks and manta rays, cave tubing beneath weird and wonderful rock formations, and spotting wildlife on a jungle tour. There are also plenty of inexpensive family-friendly lodges to stay in. The best time to go is the dry season, from late November through May, but there are hotel discounts of around 30 percent during the June–October rainy season—also known euphemistically as the "green season" (we're talking showers rather than a monsoon drenching). Youngsters will love the tree house suites 20 feet above the ground at the Caves Branch Jungle Lodge in the center of the country. Surrounded by tropical jungle, the resort sits on the Caves Branch River, which is great for kayaking. The 21 bungalows, cabanas, suites, and tree houses start at $98; kids 16 and under stay free. Packages can combine adventure tours such as night safaris and exploring Mayan ruins (for children 9 and under, on-property tours are free and off-site activities are discounted 20 percent). Our main recommendation about jungle accommodation? Take earplugs: Belizean wildlife parties into the night and wakes up early.

NEXT: The Great American Family Road Trip

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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