Boutique Hotels Make Summer Educational and Entertaining with Scuba Diving, Sailing and Art Lessons

JUNE 2016 – School may be out for the summer, but educational opportunities remain plentiful when families think outside the box to plan summer vacations. Small hotels in small towns offer easy access to memory-making, skill-building fun. Families can learn to scuba dive at Caravelle Hotel on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands; set sail in Newport, R.I., the sailing capital of America, with sailing lessons arranged by Hotel Viking; and channel their inner Picasso during weekly art classes at von Liebig Art Center, within walking distance of Lemon Tree Inn in Naples, Fla.

“Some of the best summer programs are not the obvious summer camps,” says hotelier Sid Kalmans, whose son Andrew learned to scuba dive at Caravelle Hotel. “Small towns have a lot going on in summer to keep local students and children engaged and active. Joining these programs is a great way to experience the community you are visiting and learn a new skill.”

Located adjacent to Caravelle Hotel, St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures (SCUBA), is an award-wining dive shop offering learn-to-dive programs for all ages. Introductory classes take place in Caravelle Hotel’s swimming pool and shallow dives occur just outside the harbor along the barrier reef. The one-day intro class is $150 and includes two shallow water dives off the boat. Summer rates at the newly renovated Caravelle Hotel start at $100 per night, before taxes. For more information on the dive program, contact SCUBA at 340-773-5994. To book a room at Caravelle Hotel, visit or call 340-773-0687.

Multi-time host to the America’s Cup, Newport, R.I. is known as the sailing capital of America. What better place for kids and teens to learn to sail? Hotel Viking offers easy access to multiple sailing schools including Newport Sailing School and Swain Sailing School. The schools offer both weekend and four-day sessions. For example, Newport Sailing School offers a basic course available in five-, nine- and 13-hour sessions. The five-hour session ($225 per person), ideal for a weekend escape, includes a one-hour dockside lesson and one four-hour session on the water. The 13-hour session ($625 per person), perfect for a four-day or more vacation, includes a one-hour dockside lesson and three four-hour sessions. Swain Sailing School, with campuses in the Caribbean and Newport, R.I., has a two-day basic keelboat course available weekly with weekday and weekend sessions. The course combines classroom and on-the-water training each day. For more information on sailing schools, contact the sailing companies. For more information on Hotel Viking, visit or call 401-847-3300.

Kids can tap into their creative sides with summer art classes at the von Leibig Art Center in Naples, Fla. Located walking distance from the 34-room Lemon Tree Inn, von Liebig Art Center’s ARTScool is for kids ages 5 to 14. The program, developed by the Naples Art Association, features accredited art instructors who weave academics into artistic sessions. ARTScool runs from June 13 through Aug. 5 with two class times daily: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ARTScool’s weekly sessions are $125 per child. For more information, visit For more information or for reservations at Lemon Tree Inn, visit or call 239-262-1414.