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Where is the best place to have a family reunion?

Where is the best place to have a family reunion?

Apr 28th, 2008, 01:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,804
Where is the best place to have a family reunion?

Anyone out there traveling for a family reunion/vacation with the whole gang this summer? Any recommendations for other travelers trying to pull off a reunion on the road?

Outer Banks? Orlando? Pigeon Forge? Tahoe?

We have some tips we'll be running in this week's newsletter on how to plan one; curious to hear the destinations that you personally really like for these big GTGs.
Katie_H is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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We did an Alaskan cruise which was really fun and have also gathered in Tahoe, Yosemite and in the Carmel/Monterey area. All of these places worked well for us. I highly recommend separate accommodations for each family unit with only a few planned activities for all. I think we would not have happily survived sharing a large house or spending every minute together.
KTtravel is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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Check out bigcedarlodge.com. It has lots of different options for accommodations and all kinds of stuff to do.
SusanCS is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 03:07 PM
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Katie - great topic but isn't it awfully late to plan a summer family reunion? Trying to get reservations for a huge crowd would be very tough at any popular destination.
TTess is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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You might look into the Sebasco Resort (Lake Sebasco?) in Maine. We had a couple reunions there
sobster is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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I'd choose the NC Coast or OBX due to affordability & availability of large 'cottages'. However, it depends on where folks are coming from as OBX is not easy to get to. Most people can fly into MB or Wilmington, NC. My family has been going to Holden Beach, NC for 45+ years. Since my generation were the first kids to go (back in the 60's) & we all now have kids (& some grandkids). We can't all go together anymore, as there are just too many of us. You will however, likely find portions of my family there most anytime of year, but particularly June-October.
Apr 28th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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The YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO hosts a lot of reunions.
starrs is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 05:08 AM
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Have you ever thought about the area that your ancestors came from (in the U.S. of course? My family came from Eastern Kentucky and I love the idea of walking the same ground that they did....just an idea?
mrsd2fan is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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My question comes more from an interest in whether any of you still do this and if so, where you've had good reunions where everyone in the group was satisfied with the spot. I don't see many mentioned here in the Forums---but thought perhaps there'd be some good ideas for destinations, especially since you all like to travel.

How often do you normally plan in advance? Would you say August is the most popular month? July?

Katie_H is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 05:49 AM
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BTW - a portion of my family has one every year in Cincinnati @ a Park (whose name escapes me). My Great-Grandmother lived in that area & it has continued there since her passing. Lots of my family comes from Ohio, Kentucky & NC, so location-wise, it makes since. If you want people to show up, location & accessability is key.
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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We had a great family reunion in Sunriver, OR. Lots of houses available for rent and a variety of outdoor sports to keep us busy. We held ours in August and the weather was beautiful.
elburr is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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Breckenridge, CO; Hawaii; and the Disney Cruise WDW.
Barblab is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 07:45 AM
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We have had them all over the country:

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Saugatuck, Michigan
Branson, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Olympic National Park, WA
Biloxi, MS
Wisconsin Dells
Ozark Mountains, Arkansas
Jacksonville, FL
Berkeley Springs, WV
Virginia Beach, VA

My personal favorite was Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Lots to do for all ages, gorgeous scenery, wide range of accommodations options for all budgets, great hiking, etc.

This year it's in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

We have an enormous extended family spread all over the country and try to hold it in a different place each year. We hold it on the same weekend every year. Not everyone makes it to every single one. We try to choose places that are not too difficult to get to, with plenty to do to keep all ages occupied, and affordable places to stay.

I think the key tip is that not everyone has to do everything together. We usually plan one big dinner together for Saturday night. Other than that, everything is optional. Some people like to golf, some like to shop, some like to hike, some like to spend the afternoon at the pool, some play tennis or horseshoes -- people tend to break out into small groups and do their own thing. For those with little kids it might be mini-golf or a water park. Someone might lead a craft demonstration or share old family photos. Someone might give a genealogy talk. Sunday morning someone leads an early morning stretch class and someone else leads a bible study and other people just sleep in. Some people arrive Thursday but most arrive Friday and leave Sunday.

You have to have a little bit of structured time -- like set aside several hours for a cookout or picnic one day -- and other time that is unstructured. If you try to force everyone to spend the entire weekend together you are asking for trouble.

If the first family reunion goes well then people usually want to repeat it. I think they should be held every other year but I have been outvoted on that so they are held every year in our family. You can't put too much pressure on people to attend every year though because it just isn't always possible, either because of other time commitments or for financial reasons or whatever.
lisa is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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The Hyatt Hill Country Resort is a great spot. It's located in San Antonio which offers loads to do from the Alamo to Sea World and the River Walk. The property even has a lazy river that winds around the property that you can inner tube on, nice spa too. At night, you can roast marshmallows over the campfire and make s'mores - kind of like camp for grownups!
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 10:18 AM
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We have been having our family reunions at Bradenton/Holmes Beach since I was an early teen. I'm now in my late 40's. My Dad has 5 siblings, all are married and have 3~4 children each so it has always been quite a throw down.

We have been staying at the same small condominium complex the last week of July from the start. This year 2 of my uncles and 1 of my aunts has been diagnosed with various forms of cancer...one is incurable. This year will be a litte sad I'm afraid...I still would not miss it for the world!
nolefan1 is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Our family reunions are a little different because most of us have grown children and are now facing up to the challenges of traveling with small grandchildren. We also have family on both coasts, so our get-togethers have run the gamut from the Oregon coast to Orlando, Maine and Charleston. We've also been to Scotland and Germany on family trips, which we do annually for a week, but not at the same time each year. We try to go somewhere different, usually a place not everyone has visited before, and spend a week soaking up the area.

We always rent a large (VERY large--in Scotland, a castle) place. With a large group, it's much less expensive than getting multiple hotel rooms. We also usually plan to stay in during the evening, unless there's a special event we want to attend, which saves $$. Also saves worry about having drinks with dinner and making your way home, esp. if you're staying in a Scottish castle! One family unit is responsible for the evening meal-planning, shopping, cooking and cleanup. That means you have six nights to loaf and have free gourmet dinners, because we all love cooking and eating! Then we spend the rest of the evening playing board games, shooting pool (yes, some houses come with pool tables), swimming (same with pools), reading (the castle had a library with a fireplace) or whatever you feel like doing. A group walked to and from a gasthaus down the road from our place on the Mosel River in Germany for an evening nightcap. We spend days sightseeing, making day trips, doing all the local fun things and generally getting into the local culture/activities. We always have lunch at a recommended local restaurant, never a chain.

Obviously Orlando is good for families with young ones. There are a million rental houses of all sizes and at least a half-million things to do for people of all ages. We loved the shore in Maine (different lobster recipe every night) and the rocky coast of Oregon. The primary purpose is to all be together and recharge for the next year of separation from loved ones, esp. as we all age and begin to face health problems. This year we're off to Ireland, even in the face of the Euro! Yikes! Takes months of planning by some dedicated person, many votes, and lots of price-checking, but in the end, it always comes off great and if something goes wrong, it's just a great story for that year's trip.
FlaAnn is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Twice we've had big family reunions in Gatlinburg. We rent two enormous cabins. We have no organized activities during the day, everyone sort of matches up and joins whatever activity they want. We all just eat dinner together every night, with each family taking turns cooking. That's important because that way you know one day you work, the others you can relax. And, everyone contributes liquor!!!

The first year we were 34 people, 10 years later, with marriages and kids, we were 52 people of four generations. My mom has 10 brothers and sisters

The area is beautiful with plenty to entertain the different generations. They are great memories.
amcc is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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suze is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Our family (starting with 83 yo dad) has been having reunions for over 20 years. We sometimes do alternate "no kids" years, with six couples only (usually a cruise). But the big family years (we number 34 and counting) are always spent in the Outer Banks. Always a whole week.

I am the planner and Nags Head area always wins out because of the large mansions (like FlaAnn's castles) - complete with pool, hot tub, pool tables - the last one even had a cabana house with wet bar and screened room where we made our sushi lunch. We have tried cabins in Maggie Valley, NC, condos in Myrtle Beach, duplexes on Long Beach Island, NJ, but those incredibly equipped mansions win out. We're weird - we love to be together and most all love to cook. Those who don't cook are clean-a-holics, so that works out great!

Each family plans a different dinner, and now that the grandkids are old enough - they cook and we watch the babies!

As for timing, school/college breaks etc, always always ends up being mid June for our family. But those mansions need to be booked between Labor Day and Christmas, in the new year only the highest priced places are left. So planning is best done in the fall.
joan is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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We have had ours in San Diego (twice), Chicago, Nashville and Las Vegas. San Diego was my favorite. OBX is one I'd like to try in the future as well as Seattle and Portland.
trippinkpj is offline  

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