Multigenerational Travel: The Best Vacations for Extended Families

Photo courtesy of Generations Riviera Maya.

Multigenerational travel is a growing trend in the travel industry. As families with college-age and adult children are increasingly spreading out geographically, they’re opting to forgo a cold Thanksgiving reunion at Grandma’s house in favor of meeting somewhere a bit more glamorous. “We see an increasing number of families planning holiday celebrations in desirable leisure travel destinations. The logic is if you’re going to pay a lot to fly during peak travel dates, then why not make it to somewhere fabulous like the beaches of Turks and Caicos or the slopes of Lake Tahoe,” explains Kendra Thornton, owner and president of Royal Travel & Tours, a north shore luxury travel consultancy.

According to Alamo Rent A Car’s 2016 Family Vacation Survey, 73 percent of adults go on vacations with extended family and the most important part of vacation is spending quality time with loved ones. Here are some of the best places to do just that, whether your family is looking for relaxation, adventure or the ultimate milestone celebration.

Relaxation 

Grace Bay Club

Lavish accommodations combined with a plethora of activities to keep kids and teens busy make this Turks and Caicos resort a great Caribbean destination that is truly relaxing for adults. All guestrooms are suites and there are wide-ranging accommodations to comfortably sleep families of up to 10 people. So much is included in the room rate, from complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea to the full-service pools and beaches with non-motorized water sport equipment. Teens can try wakeboarding, waterskiing and scuba diving and there’s Kid’s Town programming for younger children too, which might include seashell crafts and sea turtle release. Four dining venues, including the exceptional Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, will have something to please every palate. One of the three oceanfront pools is adults-only for a quiet escape, and the Anani Spa is worth a visit. Grown-ups will also enjoy sampling cocktails at the Infiniti Bar, the longest beach bar in the Caribbean.

Generations Riviera Maya

Karisma Hotels have the best all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, and this one in particular, just a 30-minute drive from the Cancun airport, is truly dedicated to multi-generational travel, with the largest suites in Mexico, measuring upward of 1,200 square feet. The first through fourth floors have swim-up suites — book a room on the first floor for your own water-mirror balcony where you can step directly into a unique lazy river that connects to the main pool with a swim-up bar. Spacious living areas allow extended families to spread out, with quality time coming more easily when no one feels cramped. A kids club offers supervised activities for children ages 4 to 12 and there’s even a Baby Beach Lounge with toys and nanny service for infants and toddlers. Plus, your own personal butler will fulfill your every wish so you can enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Generations Resort Riviera Maya

Photo courtesy of Generations Riviera Maya.

Disney Cruise Line

With a fleet of four ships cruising to destinations across the globe, from Alaska to Europe to the Caribbean, Disney Cruises make multigenerational family travel fun and easy. A cruise provides a broad mix of activities appealing to all ages and interests in a setting that safely engages and accommodates young children, teens and tweens seeking a little independence, parents looking to relax, and older family members with mobility challenges. Enjoy family time with children, from racing down the AquaDuck, a three-story, translucent waterslide that extends off the side of the ship, to playing at the kids’ pool, to catching a live show starring your favorite Disney characters. Grown-up relaxation is easy to come by too, thanks to special themed nurseries and youth clubs for kids ages 6 months to 17 (don’t be surprised when your kids don’t want to leave!). Adults can kick back at the Quiet Cove Pool, a retreat just for adults, get a massage at the spa and dine at adults-only restaurants. And of course, there will be plenty of photo opps for the whole family with Mickey and pals. He makes everyone feel like a kid again, no matter how old they are. Offerings may vary according to ship and destination.

Disney Cruise Line

Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line.

Adventure

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

There’s plenty of skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and summer in Lake Tahoe brings a whole host of other outdoor activities from hiking and mountain biking to rock climbing, and kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on one of the world’s most pristine alpine lakes. Take the whole family to the farmers’ market from June to September to pick out the tastiest in-season fruits, veggies and artisanal foods for a picnic lunch to take on your scenic hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Ritz Kids club is the perfect summer camp environment for children ages 5 to 12 to challenge themselves creatively and physically with scavenger hunts, lawn games and crafts. While the kids are making new friends, adults will have the chance to play a round of golf or spend a day at the spa.

Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

Photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

The Resort at Paws Up

In the wide-open expanse of Montana, kids and adults alike can run wild, racing across the landscape on horses or going fishing in the pristine streams across this 37,000-acre property. Depending on the ages of your children, find the perfect wilderness activities the whole family can enjoy together. For a more structured itinerary, the Kids Corps of Discovery immerses little discoverers (ages 4–5), adventurers (ages 6–12) and teens (ages 13–17) in the outdoors, with activities ranging from mining for sapphires and racing go-karts to cannonballing off a rope swing into the lake. Families can stay either in luxury homes or luxury camps if you want to try “glamping” on the bluff overlooking Blackfoort River and Elk Creek. If your visit coincides, Kites Over Montana in June is a great opportunity to learn from professional kite fliers — yes, that’s a real job!

The Resort at Paws Up

Photo courtesy of Paws Up.

Celebration 

The Milestone Hotel

If your celebration takes you across the Atlantic, London is a direct flight away from many major U.S. cities and an easy meeting point in Europe. And what better place to celebrate an important family milestone than at The Milestone Hotel? Across from Kensington Park with a prime view of Kensington Palace, The Milestone represents the best of quintessential British luxury and has several venues available for private parties, including a lovely conservatory. The staff is impossibly attentive, catering to guests’ every whim, from playing favorite music in-room, to drawing a bath in a beautiful copper tub to making business cards personalized with a guest’s suite name. Each room, thoughtfully and elaborately designed by founder Beatrice Tollman, is unique and has a different “personality.” The hotel also specializes in pampering kids, with family-friendly amenities including mini bathrobes and slippers, and a teddy bear book and chocolate mouse at turndown. All dining venues have separate children’s menus too. Even pets are treated like royalty with a welcome hamper, pet bed, food and water bowls and turndown treats.

The Peninsula Chicago

If London’s a little too far, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate right in your backyard. A staycation celebration in the Peninsula’s newly renovated rooms and suites is just the thing if you’re looking to stay local. Experiences make better gifts than objects, so splurge on an over-the-top Peninsula Academy experience, with programs that allow kids to be a princess, firefighter or baker for a day. Adults can play make-believe too, stepping into the shoes of the hotel florist for the day or becoming a comedian with a private Second City class. Peter Bear, the hotel’s life-size mascot dressed in a page uniform, is available on weekends to visit guestrooms with a wagon full of treats; parents may request a visit upon check-in. Children have their own child-size buffet for Sunday brunch, their own afternoon tea set with mini PB&J sandwiches and Rice Krispie treats and on Friday and Saturday evenings kids and adults alike can enjoy the legendary Peninsula Chocolate Bar.

The Peninsula Chicago Princess-for-a-Day

The Peninsula Chicago’s Princess-for-a-Day. (Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago.)


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