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Getting together? Florida resorts are ideal for family reunions

For family reunions, look no further than Florida

Planning a family reunion getaway for spring break or other occasion in 2015? As you plan, consider Florida resorts –the Sunshine State has many that are ideal for family reunions as they offer activities and pastimes for all age groups, and accommodations that feature spacious, connecting rooms and suites, and condo- or villa-style apartments where all members of the family can spread out to their hearts’ content. Having space to enjoy activities together as well as for some private time may promote all-around happiness among family members, and, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven,” as Sir John Bowring, 19th century British linguist, writer and traveler, once put it.

Here are some Florida resorts at some popular spots, arranged alphabetically by destination, that you may wish to consider for your next family getaway vacation or reunion. Log on to each resort’s website for additional details and best rates available when you wish to travel.

· Cocoa Beach – International Palms Resort

Description: On 13 acres along the beach, famous as the Surfing Capital of the East Coast, this resort features rooms, two-story lofts, suites and one-bedroom villa. “Family Fun Room” accommodations feature one king-size bed and partitioned area with two bunk beds and two televisions.

Amenities: Pirate-ship-themed 150,000-gallon kids’ water park, whirlpool and outdoor pool, on-site dining, beach volleyball, surfboard and boogie board rental, arcade tennis court, shuffleboard, corn hole court and half basketball court.

Nearby Attractions: Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Beach Pier, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Brevard Zoo and other Space Coast attractions including manatee watches.

Information: www.internationalpalmscocoabeach.com.

· Key West – Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort

Description: Located on seven acres of a 27-acre island 10 minutes by ferryboat off Key West, this luxury resort has one-, two-, three- and four bedroom ocean-view and garden-view cottages.

Amenities: A white-sand beach, tropical swimming pool, spa and Latitudes restaurant with an alfresco Gulf-front section to enjoy meals fanned by tropical breezes. Twenty-four hour boat transportation to and from the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort, to The Westin Key West Resort & Marina is available.

Nearby Attractions: The museums, galleries, shops, and other attractions of Key West, including Mallory Square with its “sunset celebration” nightly arts festival, the Key West Aquarium, and Butterfly & Nature Conservatory are a short boat ride away.

Information: www.westinsunsetkeycottages.com.

Kissimmee – Gaylord Palms Resort

Description: This Marriott resort with a climate-controlled glass atrium, sections themed to various parts of Florida, and four-and-a-half acres of gardens features 1,406 rooms including 106 suites and nine presidential suites.

Amenities: Swimming pool; water park; spa and fitness center; six restaurants and lounges; live entertainment; alligator, baby grunt and fish feedings; in-room child care services; complimentary scheduled shuttle to Walt Disney World parks.

Nearby Attractions: Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and other Central Florida attractions.

Information: www.gaylordpalms.com.

· Lake Buena Vista – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas

Description: African-lodge-style themed resort at Walt Disney World with hotel rooms and studios with kitchenettes, and multi-bedroom villas with kitchens and washers/dryers.

Amenities: A 38-acre savannah with giraffes, zebras and other exotic animals (30 species in all) visible from public areas of the resort and savannah-view accommodations. Babysitting; Simba’s Cubhouse with supervised activities for children; massage and fitness center; themed pool with slide; themed restaurants; playground; animal programs; and arcade. Disney Vacation Club villa-type accommodations are available for rent by non-members in both parts of the resort: Kidani Village and Jambo House –concierge level available in the latter featuring breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, evening desserts, beverages and snacks throughout the day. Free, continuous, bus transportation to Disney parks and attractions.

Nearby Attractions: Four Disney theme parks, two Disney water parks, entertainment/dining/shopping districts at Disney World and other Orlando parks and attractions.

Information: www.disneyworld.com.

· Orlando – Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort

Description: This duo of hotels, designed by award-winning architect Michael Graves, sit across from one another on Crescent Lake at Walt Disney World. There are 2,265 rooms and suites in a variety of categories.

Amenities: White sand beach, five swimming pools, playground, Mandara Spa, two health clubs, tennis, basketball, volleyball, game rooms, Camp Dolphin for kids, 17 restaurants and lounges, character dining, Disney benefits including Extra Magic Hour and complimentary transportation to Disney parks.

Nearby Attractions: Disney World parks and water parks (within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and other Orlando theme parks and attractions.

Information: www.swandolphin.com.

· Palm Beach – The Breakers

Description: An Italian Renaissance inspired resort on 140 acres by the Atlantic Ocean The Breakers features rooms and suites.

Amenities: Gardens and courtyards, one-half mile of private beach, five oceanfront pools, four whirlpool spas, beach club, 25 luxury beach bungalows including personal concierge, spa, fitness centers, fitness classes, nine restaurants, five bars, 36 holes championship golf, golf instruction, tennis, family entertainment center and Coconut Crew Kids Camp.

Nearby Attractions: The boutiques of Worth Avenue, the Henry Flagler Museum, Lion Country Safari, Palm Beach Zoo, Norton Museum of Art, Kravis Center for Performing Arts, South Florida Science Museum, Aquarium and Planetarium and other attractions in Palm Beach County.

Information: www.thebreakers.com.

· Sanibel – Casa Ybel Resort

Description: A 23-acre beachfront landscaped resort on the quaint island of Sanibel in Southwest Florida, Casa Ybel has 114 one- and two-bedroom suites with beachfront views, screened lanai or balcony, kitchens, and separate living area with sleeper sofa.

Amenities: Olympic-size beachfront swimming pool, tennis, beach volleyball and basketball, croquet, horseshoes and shuffleboard, Casa Kid’s Club and children’s pool.

Nearby Attractions: Shelling on 14 miles of Sanibel beaches, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, J.N. “Ding” Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island Lighthouse and other attractions on Sanibel and neighboring Captiva Island.

Information: www.casaybelresort.com.

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