Call it a revival or merely a rediscovery, but Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has re-established itself as a leading golf destination for families. The sun and sea were always attractions. But the region has drawn new raves with eco-tourism and improved conditioning of its golf courses. The centerpiece is the El Camaleon course at Mayakoba, a 2006 Greg Norman design near Playa del Carmen that annually hosts a PGA Tour event. Highlights include limestone-lined canals, jungle-like mangrove swamps, natural rock caverns and two par-3s that abut the Caribbean Sea. Lodging options include the glittering on-site Fairmont and nearby properties such as Iberostar Playa Paraiso, with its P.B. Dye championship course. Playa Paraiso’s all-inclusive pricing will appeal to families and so will the variety of activities, including supervised kids clubs, teen nightclubs, beach activities from kayaks to jet skis to banana boats, and side trips to the spectacular Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza.
Inside the Top 5: Canada fared well with two top-five finishers, and for good reason. Whitewater rafting, mountain biking and glacier climbing are a big draw for families, while golf lovers can spoil themselves with a pair of Golden Age classic designs from Stanley Thompson: one at Fairmont Banff Springs, the other at Fairmont Jasper Park. Have the kids keep an eye out for elk, bears and Bighorn sheep.