Lynn O Rourke Hayes, editor of, writes the FAMILYTRAVEL5: DA column for MCT.

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, editor of, writes the FAMILYTRAVEL5:DA column for MCT. (MCT)

Do you know about EAT vacations? After so much time at home, the concept may be just right for your family. The idea need not include a focus on food. It’s more about trips that provide memorable Experiences, real Adventure and Transformative moments.

Here are five ideas that may fit the bill when the time is right.

1. Sample Idaho lake life

With a 25-mile-long lake as the centerpiece, the Idaho resort town of Coeur d’Alene lures families with the promise of beach days, a range of water sports, scenic boat rides, fishing, and hiking on an assortment of nearby trails. Stay at the Coeur d’Alene Resort for easy access to amenities that include boat and jet ski rentals, spa time, outdoor dining and a lakeside infinity pool. Play a round on the resort’s golf course that is home to the world’s only floating green. Families traveling with young children will appreciate easy access to multiple play areas and parks within walking distance. For a more laid-back vibe, visit Priest Lake, 90 miles to the north and tucked within the Selkirk Mountain Range. Check into one of Elkins Resort’s 30 cedar log cabins on the tree-lined shores of the pristine lake and choose from the sports of the season or claim your Adirondacks on the grassy lawn. Hike through old-growth forests, discover local waterfalls, paddle a canoe, go kayaking or test your balance on a paddleboard.


2. Pronghorn Resort, Bend, Oregon

Set amid ancient juniper groves in Central Oregon’s high desert, this resort, near Bend, is a mecca for outdoor lovers. Bond with your crew during a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, or ponder the meaning of darkness during a tour of the on-property cave. Ride bikes or plan a hike along nearby rivers or on forested trails. Spend a day at the full-service spa, sampling restorative services. Visit the wellness area for yoga classes, music-enhanced, guided meditations, crystal guidance workshops and herbal tastings. Stay in vacation rentals or the 104-room Huntington Lodge, where panoramic views of the Cascade mountains will take your breath away.


3. Explore Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Fans of the "Tomb Raider" film series will particularly enjoy exploring the Angkor Archaeological Park, unfolding deep within the Siem Reap province. While hundreds of archaeological and artistic temples and ancient structures remain, the most familiar (it’s on the Cambodian flag) is Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century to honor Vishnu, a Hindu god, the temple's bas relief galleries inform modern visitors of life in ancient times. Also of note is the remarkable water system, including moats, canals and reservoirs, that once provided water and crop assistance for the thriving communities. Visitors arrive via river cruises on the Mekong or a stop in Siem Reap, where lodging and tours have historically been plentiful.


4. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Bali

For a transformative experience and the most peaceful snooze of your life, opt for the Sacred Nap, offered in an open-air setting within this jungle resort’s Sacred River Spa. Designed by on-site Wellness Mentor Ibu Fera, the experience was inspired by rocking her own baby to sleep. Simulating the batik sling used by Balinese mothers, guests relax into aerial silk hammocks, most commonly used for antigravity yoga. Fera visits each participant, gently nudging the hammocks into a rocking motion, before quietly telling the life story of Buddha, chanting mantras and adding the soothing sound of the singing bowl for more sacred energy. Most fall asleep within their cozy cocoon before her story ends. Fera also works with guests to create individual wellness programs, sharing techniques for living mindfully and with a loving heart, some of which she learned during seven years as a Buddhist nun.


5. Choose your backcountry

For an EAT trifecta, establish a pure connection with nature off the beaten path. Hike, paddle or float into a pristine location where your family can learn or hone their wilderness skills. Choose a destination suitable for the ages and abilities of your crew. Encourage each person to take responsibility for the adventure whether that is early research, carrying a small pack, collecting kindling or serving as master storyteller around the fire. For the youngest set, get started with an overnight in the backyard or a nearby park. That way, should the weather or unforeseen forces create a kink in your plan, warm and dry shelter is nearby.



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