Where is the best place to go for a family reunion? That can be a tough call. You want a place that keeps everyone in the family, from the oldest to the youngest, happy and safe. A destination with lots of different options that are affordable for all. Our correspondent (and daughter, daughter-in-law, grand-daughter, sister, aunt, wife and mother of three) Jillian Tangen shares her findings on the best destinations for a perfect multi-generational family reunion right now.
where is the best place to go for a family reunion?
There’s nothing like a family getaway. From spring breaks to holiday breaks to summer vacations, we love planning and going on them. But a family reunion with everyone from Grandma and Grandpa to your Brother, Aunt Becky and Cousin Joe? Now that’s a completely different story.
Pulling together a multi-generational vacation can take months or even up to a year of planning. From where to go to what to do to organizing dinners and activities to ordering thematic t-shirts in everyone’s correct size – planning a family reunion is no small task.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t doable, dear reader.
To help you get a jump start on your planning, we’re sharing our picks for the best destinations for a luxurious family reunion. We’ve found ten different trip ideas that will help you celebrate your shared ancestry and family bonds to the fullest.
Whether you’re aiming to hole up with siblings for a low-key retreat filled with reminiscing over a fire or are looking for a full throttle adventure in the wild with the whole clan, there is something for every taste, every family and every sized gathering.
criteria for the perfect family reunion location
Before we get there though, we thought it might be helpful to share some of the planning tips we’ve learned both through our research and our personal travels.
1. Choose a destination that’s convenient for everyone.
Whether it’s meeting in the middle or heading someplace where everyone can book a direct flight easily, be sure to find a place that is agreeable for all parties.
2. Clearly communicate your options.
Get off on the right foot by staying organized and communicating openly and clearly with your family on potential places to travel to. Make sure everyone has the correct information and pricing through the whole process so no one is surprised by logistics or pricing.
3. Find the right accommodations.
To suite or not to suite? Depending on the size (and closeness) of your family, consider your ideal living arrangements. Do you all want to live under one roof in a house or are you better off in a suite, adjoining rooms or being down the hall from one another?
4. Make sure there are enough activities for every member of your family.
You might love the great outdoors, but does your Aunt Sue? Furthermore, make sure potential locations have activities that everyone can do, regardless of age, size or ability.
5. Plan one big thing together.
Even though it’s a family reunion, under no circumstances will everyone be together 24/7. You should however plan at least one big event such as a dinner, photo shoot or boat ride where everyone gathers together to celebrate the fact that you are all together.
Now that you have some guidelines, where should you gather the gang and head off to? Without further ado, here are ten ideas to inspire your family reunion planning.
the best destinations for a luxurious family reunion
Magical memory makers.
1. Walt Disney World
Head to the happiest place on earth. One of the best destinations for a family reunion is a Disney theme park. Looking for a trip that will conjure the memories of childhood? Consider a trip to Walt Disney World together.
While Disney sometimes get the rap of being a kids place, it is a perfect destination for moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents, too. From Princesses to Marvel heroes to iconic Star Wars adventures, Disney properties have varied activities and rides that are capable of drawing out the inner kid in just about anyone. And if you book for the end of summer you can be one of the first families to explore all-new Star Wars land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
For accommodations, you can stay at one of the Disney’s many resorts, or you can opt to rent a house at the Encore Resort in nearby Reunion, Florida. Vacation homes there start at $249 per night for 3 bedrooms all the way up to 13 bedroom homes for $813 per night. Each home comes with its own private pool and access to the resort’s amenities which include an onsite water park.
2. The Mayan Riviera
Meet up in Mexico. Opening on June 22nd is Jungala, a luxury, boutique water park and resort in Riviera Maya with thrilling waterslides, high-end lounging and even some sumptuous pampering.
Jungala comes complete with park concierges, fine dining, spa services and a collection of world-class rides that include the longest lazy river in Latin America and a cutting-edge wave pool with waves up to 2.2 meters high. So while the youngsters splash away, grandma and grandpa can enjoy some time lounging in the cabana or exploring the surrounding jungle on groomed paths throughout the park.
After a day in the sun, retreat to the nearby Rosewood Mayakoba resort where you can book either a suite in the hotel or a standalone villa for your family to stay and keep the luxury vibes coming.
3. A ranch in Montana
Get your ranch on in Montana. If nature, fishing, hiking and horse-back riding appeal to your clan, but you’d also like to collapse into a 1000 thread-count sheet set at the end of the day, you’ll do no better than The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana.
Spread out over 6,600 acres of meadows, creeks and forests, you can enjoy guided trips and activities, including photography workshops, ropes courses, mountain peak tours and even a “Master Naturalist Class.” Alternatively you can also opt to stay indoors and indulge in a spa treatment or two instead since this dude ranch boasts a top notch spa.
For the little ones there is the “Little Grizzlies Kids Club” filled with activities where they can learn about Montana’s history and traditions, care for animals at the Barn or explore the banks of Rock Creek for local flora and fauna. There are stagecoach rides, a rodeo and wildlife viewing safaris too. As far as accommodations, the resort offers as variety of cabins at varying sizes and price points, as well as two-story private log homes.
4. A Dude Ranch in Colorado
Explore the West in Colorado. Just 45 minutes from its famous sister resort, The Broadmoor, The Ranch at Emerald Valley is a cowboy style outfit with 13 cabins that accommodate up to 32 people at 8,200 feet in the Pike National Forest of Colorado.
Visiting families can learn to fly fish together, hike, mountain bike, explore the surrounding mountains on horseback, participate in authentic western cattle drives, unwind in outdoor hot tubs or take in Rocky Mountain sunsets from the resort’s panoramic terrace. There are also lawn games, board games and card games in the main lodge for afternoons when you want to take it a little slower or possibly just get a little bit of time away from the fam.
5. An African Safari
Get wild in Africa. Looking for a surefire way to get every member of the family off their tech devices? An African safari trip offers a unique opportunity to reconnect not only with family but also with nature.
Even the hardest-to-please teens will be awed by the majestic beauty of exotic wild animals and the vast plains of Africa. Singita is a world-renowned conservation company that offers exceptional safari experiences over 45,000 protected acres in South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
At the company’s Sweni Lodge in South Africa children can partake in a Mini Rangers program where they learn animal tracking, bush survival techniques, cooking and flower pressing to name a few things. For adults there are guided safari walks, stargazing, cooking classes and more. Then in the evenings the whole family can come together over dinner to bond over the days animal sightings under the stars.
6. Ski or Hike Sun Valley Idaho
Enjoy the mountains of Sun Valley anytime. Sun Valley, Idaho is one of those rare ski resorts that is almost as busy in summer as it is in the winter so there is no bad time to book a family trip here.
During the winter you will find multiple mountains to ski and snowboard, as well as Nordic skiing options and outdoor ice skating rinks to enjoy. During the summer there is horseback riding, golf, fishing, shooting and 35 miles of bike trails to explore so any time you visit there is something to do for practically any taste or adventure skill level.
As far as lodging you can choose from the Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley Inn or an array of private cottages, condos and townhouses. Our pick is the Sun Valley Townhouses located on the White Clouds golf course and within walking distance to hiking, biking and the Sun Valley Nordic Center.
Make a quick hop to Bermuda. Bermuda is lovely year-round and makes for one of the best destinations for a family reunion, especially if you’re based on the East Coast. It’s a tranquil family friendly get-away only a 90-minute flight away from Greater New York.
Here you will find plenty of swimming and water-based activities along the shores covered in pink sand. As well as lots of options for golfing, tennis, and the old world charm of the colorful streets of St. George. Families will enjoy exploring the car free winding streets and children will delight in the opportunity to lock their parents, grandparents or older cousins in the town’s working pillories.
Families can stay at “The Pink Palace,” otherwise known as the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. While this resort doesn’t offer private cottages or homes like many of the others spots on our list, you can opt for larger suite or adjoining rooms for larger families, plus children can join in, in the resort’s new children’s club. And just in case anyone might be expecting, Bermuda is 100% Zika-free.
8. Chesapeake Bay
Master the sea in Chesapeake Bay. If you are looking for a location where literally the entire family can join, including beloved fluffy four legged friends, then try the Tides Inn, set on its own peninsula between the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.
Dogs here are given their own beds and an unlimited supply of doggie biscuits to enjoy during their visit. When not playing with Fido, other family members can go oystering together, master the art of sailing or simply relish in the tranquility of the sea.
There is also a Fred Findley designed par-3 golf course, fresh- and saltwater pools and classic games such as croquet and shuffleboard. And when you are ready for a little quiet time, retreat to the spa for a rejuvenating treatment.
9. Head for Alaska on Regent Seven Seas or Norweigan Cruise Lines
Sail the Pacific Northwest Together. During the summer months and holiday periods some of the Regent Seven Seas ships take on a family friendly air. (Full disclosure: our CEO is on the Board of Directors of the parent company of Regent Seven Seas). The Club Mariner Youth Program brings kid-primed programming on board to entertain children ages 5 to 17.
Included in the family friendly fun is the company’s Cruise from Vancouver to Seward. Kids sail for $499. During the day, young ones can partake in cooking classes and putt putt tournaments. Meanwhile, the adults can relax by the pool or indulge in a spa treatment. And if your family is looking to doing something special together, Regent will customize special occasion dinners and shore excursions just for your family. In addition, they can arrange connecting rooms for your voyage.
10. Charter a yacht in the Italian Riviera
Cruise the Italian Riviera. If you are looking for something truly memorable and one of a kind, one of the best destinations for a family reunion could be on a smaller boat. A chartered yacht ensures that the needs and interests of every member of your family are met while you explore the coastline and a calm sea.
Camper and Nicholson, one of the top charter companies in the world, can arrange custom itineraries for your family and will even customize boats to ensure little ones are safe on-board. With their Italian Riviera charter you can set sail from Naples, head to the Blue Grotto in Capri, then on to Positano, ending at the volcanic island of Stromboli.
Family adventurers will enjoy docking in unique locations only accessible by boat. Those who want to stay onboard and relax can meet up later for a delicious lunch and shop in town. Be warned though, this memorable experience doesn’t come cheap – Superyachts start at $110,000 for a week and vary based on the size of boat and destinations.
the best destinations for a perfect family reunion
So now that you know some of the guidelines for planning and have some ideas for some of the best destinations for a family reunion, where will you go? And if you’re not sure if you want to book a trip of this scale? Just remember that the family who plays together, stays together.
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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier. Formerly, she was a Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in NYC and is married with three young children. She loves cross country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.