Summer arrives too quickly for most families, which is why early spring is the perfect time to plan a family vacation. With everyone overscheduled and pressed for time, this can be a vacation that gets families and kids outdoors, keeping them active and sharing adventurous pursuits. Here are five great ways for families to travel and enjoy the outdoors altogether.

photo by kk+

1. Finding Nemo in Virgin Gorda, B.V.I. - Share the wonders of the deep as you swim over shallow coral reefs off Villa Aquamare in Virgin Gorda. Lying just 20 feet from shore is an underwater world teeming with parrot fish, groupers and sea turtles. For the more adventurous, families can take out one of Aquamare’s kayaks for a safe and easy paddle to a deserted beach.

2. Zip and Dip in Saint Lucia - Take a ride up to the mountain peaks and zip through the lush Saint Lucian rainforest on the popular zipline, keeping an eye out for lizards, parrots and monkeys. Then plan on a family dip at your stylish digs at Cap Maison in a private roof terrace pools or Jacuzzi.

3. Stargaze from atop a Rainforest - From your comfortable aerie 1,100 feet above the Caribbean Sea at Ladera, use the resort’s sky maps to connect the dots and find more constellations than you ever knew existed. Then get into your private plunge pool to plan the next day’s beach excursion.

4. Hike through the Lake Geneva Region - Miles of hiking paths offer a gentle way to see charming villages like St. Saphorin that overlook Lake Geneva in the Western French-speaking Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland. Later on, get on board the Swiss Chocolate Train, which ends with a visit to the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory.

5. Find Your Family Tree in Salt Lake City - Learn about your ancestors at the Family Search Center in downtown Salt Lake City at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Then take your kids on a short hike on the Salt Lake Overlook for a sunset vista of the Great Salt Lake. Learn more at

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".