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The Best Family Vacation Destinations


WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

By Stacy Lu
Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo
Traveling with the kids (and maybe even your parents) need not be a compromise or a chore. Here, getaways for all generations.

If going to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas Eve doesn’t provide enough together time for your family (and how could it?), there’s a new trend you may want to try. Increasingly, vacationers are including Grandma and Grandpa on their summer getaways. The appeal is obvious: Active, healthy seniors are eager to share fun times with the kids; overworked parents get to relax with all their loved ones; youngsters revel in twice the attention; and everybody gets to reconnect in a new setting, build even stronger bonds, and create lifelong memories.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Then there’s the other possible scenario: You and your husband trapped in an overcrowded hotel suite with warring tweens and an overanxious mother-in-law. But don’t worry. Choosing the right destination goes a long way toward guaranteeing that your gang-of-all-ages will stay happy, excited, and entertained. Here, three affordable, irresistible ideas for three-generation vacations that will delight all your loved ones, young and old.

FAMILY-FIRST RESORTS

For most families, the secret of togetherness is spending several daytime hours apart — and family camps and resorts are set up to let that happen, with a smorgasbord of organized programs, day and night, generally all included in the price of your stay. That means that as you plan, you should consider not only what each of you likes to do, but what potential new areas you want to explore — because if you’ve never tried snorkeling or water-skiing, this is your big chance. Typically, you can also choose among a number of lodging and dining options, giving your family even further flexibility to mix and match until you create a getaway that will be great for everyone.

YMCA Wonders

With family camps throughout the country (and beyond), the YMCA serves up some of the best — and most affordable — sites for outdoor fun. Each camp is a gem that makes the most of its natural setting — pristine lake, primeval forest, unsullied beach — with comfy lodgings and a long list of location-specific things to do that will swiftly and easily erase any generation gap.

Perched in Missouri’s Eastern Ozarks, Trout Lodge overlooks the vast Sunnen Lake, surrounded by acres of lush forest. There’s an activity for just about every letter of the alphabet, from archery and horseback riding to trout fishing and woodworking. The camp’s family-friendly accommodations include buffet-style meals and suites in the main lodge, as well as adjoining two-bedroom cabins that share a common room.

Other standout camps in the Y’s stable: Sandy Island by the crystal waters of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire provides sailing lessons, water-skiing, line dancing classes, and talent shows. The YMCA of the Adirondacks in Silver Bay, NY, features rowing and kayaking, while Camp Nawakwa, in Lac du Flambeau, WI, is located next to a Chippewa reservation where you can tour an original Native American village.

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