Any suggestions for great vacation spots in the the US or Canada for an extended multi-generational family group which includes two toddlers? There seem to be a lot of options of "family camps" but they seem to be geared to families with children over 5; if you know of family camps geared toward families with younger children, that would be great. Options for places to rent houses or cottages would be great too.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
We have friends who do a large family gathering here, in Northern California near the coast:
My daughter went up once to stay with our friends and had an amazing weekend of running around the woods, picking blackberries, catching frogs in the creek, evenings by the bonfire. Really seems like a wonderful place for young kids.
I do a lot with extended family trips. Last one to Florida was tough. With 2 small kids and several elderly and disabled. It seemed that there was always someone napping.
Beaches, mountains, all great if everyone is fairly healthy. Big cities are nice if you can do enough with the kids
Disney World is great! You can stay at the same resort, or in adjoining rooms and then ride the bus to the parks together. Disney is great for toddlers, but it also has rides and things for adults. And the elderly, if they have trouble walking they can rent one of those little scooters. Lots of people use those scooters at Disney. We've gone twice as a family. Once with me, DH, and DS1 (who was 1.5 at the time) and once with our family (which included DS(3) and DS(1.5)) and my parents and my inlaws.
I've done Disney with large groups. Overall everyone had a great time, but we were often divided up by interest. Most often the very old and very young vs the more adventurous riders.
Best group vacation was at a beach house. Went over Christmas. It was the off season so somewhat cheap considering we had a 6br house. We are a board game type family so when not playing games we Mostly walked on the beach and ate. Did a ton of geo caching.
I know of a family camp in Maine that does daycare programming (nature activities, berry picking, arts & crafts etc) for little ones between 2 and 4. Kids 5+ are put into groups with peers after that to do activities up until lunchtime. Lots of lakefront time after lunch. If your youngest are under 2, unfortunately, there is not programming accommodation. Great place! http://medomakcamp.com
Thanks for the great suggestions! Healthwise, we need something non-smoking. We're looking for a place to hang out, play board games, read, go for walks, etc. I love the ocean, but find the mountains beautiful as well. Some place with trails for walking or a beach would be great. I've found a lot of places that work well for adults and children over 5, but the challenge is that our group will include 2 children under 5. Many of the camps I looked at had activities but only for kids over 5, so the little ones would be left out. I'm leaning towards renting a house someplace, but just not sure where. I'll check out all the places suggested and welcome any more suggestions.
PS If it's a crunchy place, that gets bonus points in my book!
Last summer we went to Crystal Mountain Resort in Northern Michigan. We did not go at a peak time of the year so it was not crowded - not sure how it is when it is packed. Strangely, we were just planning on sleeping there as we planned to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes, visit lighthouses, go hiking and canoeing, etc. But once we arrived at the resort we found things to do there too. Our children were 7 and enjoyed the alpine slide, the pool (which w/b good for younger children), the art park, etc. They also enjoyed the things we did outside the resort like hiking, beach, etc. I think it would be a nice place to go with extended family. During peak season, they have more children's activites by age groups. It’s not ‘crunchy’ but you can enjoy the more outdoorsy parts of the resort and visit the small towns and state parks in the area surrounding the resort. There seemed to be something for everyone. We did not take advantage of the spa but my 77yo mom said she would love to go next time and spend her time golfing and going to the spa.
When the kids were six we rented a house in Seaside in Florida. My cousins go often with extended family and love it. We did not care for it. It was too ‘stepfordish’ for us. (Maybe it w/b better with a larger group.) But, it is near the ocean and you might like it. It seems as though they have a lot of activities for the kids to do while the parents do other things. This was something we were not interested in but my cousins really like it and since they go often, their kids are very comfortable there on their own.
We are also fans of state/Nat'l parks. If you want to canoe, hike, ride horses, swim and then just do puzzles or play games at night...many state parks have those options. In our state, the accommodations are old and the food is horrible (so we look for small local eateries) but we've had fun. Even as young as age four our children enjoyed the hiking, ranger activities, etc. We enjoyed Turkey Run State Park in Indiana http://www.turkeyrunstatepark.com/ and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky http://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm and Mackinac Island in Michigan http://www.mackinacparks.com/mackinac-island-state-park/. (Two days is long enough for us at Mackinac Island.) We tend to visit the parks at off-peak times...we are not fans of crowds.
Several of our neighbors take extended family vacations to Disney World and love it - they go every year; sort of like a family reunion. We went with our children (not extended family) and did not care for Disney World . (I hesitate to say that since so many people love it.)
SAHM married to DH since 09/11. Mama to DD (01/08)and DS (06/12)