05 Family Travel
By Donna Rosato

(MONEY Magazine) – No matter what age your kids are, the potential pitfall of any family vacation remains the same: boredom. Children need constant entertainment, especially when removed from their natural habitat. So obviously, an activity-packed destination is a must. But which destination? That depends on the kinds of activities most likely to engage your particular brood: the bright lights of the Big Apple, where we hear there's a lot to do, or the rugged charms of a Colorado dude ranch, where the nonstop diversions include fly fishing, white-water rafting and, of course, horseback riding. --D.R. AND K.A.

Money $5,000 BUDGET

Urban Bliss

» The key to hitting Manhattan with kids is being in the center of the action. The city may never sleep, but you will, soundly, in connecting rooms for a family of four at the Marriott Marquis, a Times Square fixture (three nights).

» Tickets for everyone to a Broadway show of your choosing.

» Dinner at The View, a rotating eatery overlooking Times Square. Classic New York kitsch, and the food's pretty good.

» The Essential New York Tour, a bus ride that visits nearly every sight you'd imagine. Plus a few more. YANKEE-HOLIDAYS.COM; 800-225-2550 $4,948[1]

Zoo As in, the Bronx, which has more than 4,000 animals on 265 acres. BRONXZOO.COM $42

Pretzels Just $2.50 on any corner, caked with salt. $10

NOTES: All prices are for a family of four. [1] The Big Apple Deluxe package. Hotel availability and price vary by date.

Rustic Luxury

Lodge Walk out the door of the 320-acre King Mountain Ranch and you're on a trail into the Arapaho National Forest. Fly fish and ride horses all day--and make time for archery, the 1950s-era bowling alley and the hot tub. 800-476-5464; KINGMOUNTAINRANCH.COM $3,850[1] for five nights, including all meals.

Jeep Five days, unlimited miles. $200

Family Fun Day 1: A 90-minute hot-air balloon ride ($650). Day 2: White-water rafting with a picnic lunch on the Colorado River ($208). The rest of the week: You'll figure it out. MADADVENTURES.COM and GRANDADVENTUREBALLOON.COM $858[1]

Souvenirs Cowboy hats for the family from the Trading Post. 970-887-2511 $92

NOTE: [1] For two adults and two children.