Finding a fun vacation for three generations or more of the extended family means finding fun for all ages, and this can be a great success with a bit of care.
Vacationing and traveling as a multigenerational family is a fantastic opportunity to get everyone together and enjoy one another’s company.
Undoubtedly though, it takes some work to organize a trip where different needs and interests must be considered.
There’s planning for accommodations, meals, and activities that everyone can participate in and enjoy, since your teen, Grandma, and two-year-old niece are all probably going to vacation very differently.
When gathering a larger group, it’s much more fun to stay in a home away from home.
It allows for a better bonding experience and is far cozier than booking several hotel rooms, which may or may not be near each other.
Imagine a place where the kids play video games, babies easily nap, parents relax in the hot tub, and grandparents can curl up with a book and coffee in a quiet nook.
The ability to spread out gives everyone space to allow privacy, and coming together for a meal at the same table is the perfect family bonding.
Throughout the U.S. you’ll find numerous places to have a great time and rent a large enough place to comfortably fit your extended family.
Here are some good options.
Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
America’s most popular rational park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is open year-round with free admission.
The bustling little town of Gatlinburg is gateway to the park, and is packed with attractions, many of them world-class. Shops, restaurants and family attractions abound.
The ancient mountains also constitute a UN-designated unique biosphere, with over 100 species of trees, and an abundance of plant and wildlife.
The area is wonderfully scenic, truly captivating, and millions of Americans are on love with the Smokies.
Nestled in the foothills are hundreds of rental cabins, luxury domiciles with a hot tub on the deck and games indoors to kids happy.
The spacious Gatlinburg cabins offer gourmet kitchens, washer/dryer, TVs and Wi-Fi, and very often vaulted windows letting in the light and the views of the mountains all around.
Young and old just love it.
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful area and an ideal location for multigenerational groups.
Rent a cabin in Shenandoah Valley in a location where your family can take day trips to explore.
Visit one or more presidential homes (Jefferson, Monroe, and Madison all lived in the area), see a civil war battlefield, go tubing on Shenandoah’s calm waters, or enjoy the fishing.
The nearby Shenandoah National Park is gorgeous and offers hiking opportunities for all skill and ability levels.
Learn from a park ranger about nature and wildlife.
Visit one of the many cavern sites in the area (Luray Caverns, with a looping walkway instead of steps, is fully accessible for all abilities and ages).
And there’s truly no shortage of things to see and do for all ages in the Shenandoah Valley.
The beach at Seaside is named as the “Best Beach on Earth for Families” by Travel & Leisure, with teal-green waters and sugar-white sand, and a very special little town.
Sitting along Florida’s Emerald Coast facing the Gulf of Mexico, Seaside was the location for Jim Carrey’s “Truman Show” film, and oozes quaintness and charm in a safe place designed for walkability.
The kids can go to pick up lunch from the many gourmet eateries and bring it back to the family’s luxury rental cottage (the only accommodations allowed in this no-high-rise town), or the family can shop the market and cook at home.
With eclectic shops and entertainments, the town suits all ages, especially with a slower pace in mind.
A family breakfast buffet on the beach, and swimming and playing in the waters (make sure everyone knows water safety, from grandpa to the tiny tots), are among the many treats available, not to mention the Airstream Row food trucks and gourmet ice creams.
Catskills, New York
Upstate New York is a beautiful destination where your group can enjoy the quintessential family trip.
Historically, this was a popular getaway for New York City families, but today people from all over come to enjoy what the Catskills have to offer.
The old-style resorts – ala “Dirty Dancing” where people took dancing lessons and played shuffleboard with other annual vacationers – have changed but many things remain the same.
The beautiful backdrop, the yearly festivals, quaint shops, art galleries, historic locations, and the outdoor sports and adventures are all still found.
You just can’t go wrong renting a place in the Catskills for a multigenerational vacation.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is chock-full of history, culture, and award-winning restaurants. You can rent a condo in the city but you might want to consider a cottage or house in one of the nearby beach towns.
Enjoy a relaxing beach vacation and get to experience the interesting things Charleston has to offer.
Share the best of both worlds with your family.
Downtown has plenty to keep you busy, or you can branch out and visit one of the several plantations, see a civil war era submarine, go dolphin-watching, or take a boat ride out to explore Fort Sumter (where you also might see dolphins!)
Everyone is sure to love something about Charleston, whether it’s seeing where pirates were jailed in the 18th century or strolling the beach gathering seashells.
Sharing accommodations with your multigenerational family is a great way to bond and make some special memories.
Look for that home away from home in the perfect setting and you’re more than halfway there.