The Best Mother-Daughter Vacations

Famous for traffic jams, perfume, soggy pancakes served on trays with wilted flowers and jostling in long lines for a Champagne brunch, Mother’s Day ought to give mothers what they really deserve: a clean getaway with daughters in tow.

Celebrity moms and their daughters like Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel get enough excitement all year long so a mani/pedi or shopping on Rodeo Drive is enough to make them happy on Mother’s Day. But the rest of us want to switch it up a bit and make Mother’s Day a great excuse for some ‘mom and me’ time marked by a deliberate digital detox.

It all started in Philadelphia when Anna Jarvis lobbied hard for Mother’s Day to honor her own mother. During her campaign in 1905, she gave out carnations to women never dreaming that a century later flower sales on that special day would reach upwards of $140 billion during a slow year. So why not revisit with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s first-time Hotel Package -- Art & About in Philadelphia -- valid throughout 2011.

For culture vulture moms, every city has its star. Try the Big Apple Visitors Center for behind-the-scenes tours of the Lincoln Center Performing Arts complex or for book Broadway Classroom’s special tours to meet and greet performers complete with photos of the occasion; in Chicago, join an Architecture Tour; or, in San Francisco take a Chinatown walking tour or head out of town to Napa Valley for wine tastings.

More elaborate plans require a little “delayed gratification,” a concept moms are very well acquainted with. Choose places you will both love, especially if your relationship is ready for tranquility. Treat yourselves to a spa trip to the luxurious Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, or, for a livelier option, book the Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours on their signature Island Routes Reggae Cruises on the island of Jamaica, or really step up to a trip you have both aspired to -- an African safari.

Look to our northern neighbor (Ontario in this case) for an off-beat adventure especially if mother and daughter are outdoorsy types. Arowhon Pines offers “Girls Week” canoe trips but also long weekend yoga retreats.

Professional supermom and author of "Dinner for Busy Moms," Jeanne Muchnick asked if could email her kids with her wish: “I'd love to be sent to Arizona for a spa day with my sister to indulge ourselves with facials, massages and nature hikes for some girl-time chitchat.” The Southwest is rife with Mother’s Day deals at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa or those with spins like Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa’s “Mother’s Day Cowgirls Getaway to Santa Fe Package.”

Short flights to the Caribbean or Mexico offer dozens of options: Glam Girlfriend Spa Getaways at Bermuda’s The Reefs Hotel & Club to pamper; for glitz, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Caman is the place; you can opt for a very private stay at Frenchman’s Lookout; also look for great deals at Graycliff Hotel in the Bahamas or the Spring Fever package at the Palmyra in Montego Bay. Airlines like American, Delta and United list great pricing schemes throughout the Caribbean and Mexico.

Need a longer lead time to save up for her big day? Book a river cruise now for harvest time in fall with AmaWaterways for any of three cruises dubbed “In Celebration of Wine.” At way under $600, the Eternal City of Rome never looked better purchased from TourCrafters, combined with a pampered pilgrimage to the Adler Thermae Spa in the Tuscan Hills.

Says safari specialist, Diane Lobel of African Portfolios, “No doubt about it, this kind of trip is life-changing and will allow mothers and their daughters to reconnect in ways that are not possible through the usual commercial gift.”

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