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Family friendly windsurfing vacation
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Windaholic



Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 28
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:33 pm    Post subject: Family friendly windsurfing vacation Reply with quote

I am planning a family vacation (spring / fall) with wife and three kids (ages 6, 10, & 12). I am looking for wind and relaxation, but we need to have stuff for the kids to do. I am considering Aruba or Bonaire but am unsure if there is anything for the kids to do besides pool & beach. Hawaii is too far, I have been to the Cabarete in the D.R. and loved it, but I feel it is a little 3rd world for family safety. Water slides and snorkeling would be a plus. Also access to a town (like Cabarete) is always a plus so we are not stuck in a resort for every meal, every day.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18651

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gorge yourselves. But in the fall, not the spring. Spring is pretty crappy weather except for ducks and high-wind addicts, but fall, from Sept until about Halloween, has incredible weather for anyone. Your whole family will come home from the Gorge and the coast with jaws aching from being stepped on. Anyone of any age, windsurfer or not, who gets bored up here in Sept or Oct needs to have his pulse checked. You could leave all your toys home and still be swamped with activities for your whole family for at least two weeks, and that's just the Gorge, Portland, and the OR coast. You'll have 100 things to see, 50 to do, and hundreds of good restaurants to choose from, and in Sept you probably won't want a coat or a raincoat.

And not one security line, bandido, or kid whining, "Are we there yet" (because just about everywhere is another "there"). Suggestion: spend your air fare on a motor home rental; being tied to one hotel is like going to Paris or San Antonio and eating at McDonald's.

Mike \m/
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bobgatpdx1



Joined: 13 Oct 2002
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

South Padre Island, TX (SPI) would be good for a family trip and the windsurfing is good there in the spring/fall. Best months for wind are April/May and Oct/Nov. Can be cool in the fall when the strong fronts go through - very windy then! Avoid SPI in March - college spring break makes it a zoo. There's a big waterpark there (never been) and plenty of tacky beach town stuff to do. Windsurfing is mostly flat water in the Laguna Madre bay - huge expanse of waist deep water. Very good learning environment.
Continental Airlines via Houston to Brownsville is the best way to get there. About 30 minutes from Brownsville to SPI by car.
You can rent gear from Windsurf, Inc.
Also lots of kiting down there - great place to learn that too.
bobg

Check out:
http://www.spiwindsurfing.com/
http://www.windsurfinc.com/
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flaherty



Joined: 01 May 1997
Posts: 395

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not go to Aruba. To me it was an Island tourist trap.
There is not much for kids, the beach is very hot, Ok..the
pool is nice. The sailing is off shore and gusty. If you like
gambling,drinking,buying jewlery, every other store is a
jewlery shop, and no waves, then go there.
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scooper



Joined: 28 May 1987
Posts: 537
Location: Massachusettes

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bonaire can be a good family spot for the adventurous, great snorkeling in shallow water all around the island, kayak in the mangroves, drive around the coast and look at the slave huts, lava and cactus, visit the national park, take a boat to Cline Bonaire. The younger kids can hang out in shallow, warm, Lac Bay. The small town is colorful. It's very dry & brown but interesting, poverty wasn't too bad.

My kids 10 & 15 especially loved the snorkeling & windsurfing. We got a board for the younger one to play "king of the board" when he didn't feel like windsurfing. Sometimes he would just hang out for hours in the huge bathtub of Lac Bay. He also loved the pool at our condo. The older guy took a scuba class/ dive and got that off his list of things to do in life. The best thing was that it was perfect for all ages to learn windsurfing, as easy as it gets.

pics and trip log here-
http://waterloggedbyscooper.blogspot.com/search/label/Bonaire

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SeaDawg



Joined: 12 Sep 2002
Posts: 373

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know if your vacation needs to be island style or not, but I've had a ball taking my kids to the OuterBanks. The sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge to the Ferry Ride to Oakrakoke. There is a series of local books with great ghost and Pirate stories that my kids loved.

There are nice gardens near Manteo my wife liked.

Oh, then there is the Sound for miles of safe watersports and playtime for the kids.

Plus there are hundres of Vacation homes for rent at the best prices you can imagine.

No, I'm not a menber of the OBX tourist board. Just had lots of fun taking my family there for years.


Then there is the Ocean and about 120mi of beach........
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builderguy



Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 20
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you go to the Gorge don't forget to bring your ski's. Mount Hood ski area is open thru the summer. If the wind dies in the Gorge, drive up in the AM to the ski area and tear it up. You can rent there as well. Nothing like skiing in 75 degree air temps.
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jpbassman



Joined: 19 May 1998
Posts: 3320
Location: Leo

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been to the Gorge twice in the fall and was skunked both times. In fact it was raining when I went in October.
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builderguy



Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 20
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had trouble with poor sailing conditions in the Spring, but returned thereafter in July with good results. There are a lot of other things to do if the wind doesn't blow. Also, if its raining in Hood River drive further East and you stand a good chance of being in the wind and sun 30 minutes later. Especially with all the wind meters and forcasting available for this area you really do have a great shot at scoring.

Also, we stay at the Vagabond Lodge. Not the Ritz, but economical and the Pancake breakfast next door at the Old West diner place is outstanding.

Lastly, don't travel with the Bass King to the Gorge.
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jfeehan



Joined: 27 Jul 1998
Posts: 145

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as much as i like sailing the gorge, it would be tough to make it work as a family vacation.

what are the kids going to do while you are sailing? play in the parking lot at the hatchery?

sure, some sailing sites are more friendly, but still the average kid will get bored after a day of watching dad sail.

does your wife sail? if not, she might get kind of bored too, watching you sail.

i'm sure that if you don't do much sailing, and take the family hiking etc., it will go fine (although 6yrs old is a bit young for a lot of hiking), but the whole point is to go somewhere where you can sail, and the family can be entertained while you sail..., or at least be comfortable.

maybe somewhere like Tarifa (spain) would work - you can stay in a hotel right at the sailing launch. fall would be after the main season, so the crowds shouldn't be a big problem.
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