Few travel occasions are as daunting to plan as the family retreat. Assembling the entire brood at a massive tropical resort can feel hectic and impersonal, while packing everyone into the family lake house is sure to leave several people camped out on the floor. But family trips can be luxurious and refreshing—even for those in charge of planning. High-end inns and resorts around the country specialize in creating tailored group experiences that provide something for everyone.
Twin Farms, an all-inclusive resort situated on 300 acres of forestland in Vermont and the former home of Nobel prize–winning author Sinclair Lewis, can be rented out in its entirety for highly customized getaways. (Though primarily adults-only, it welcomes children as part of exclusive parties.)
The pampering begins before guests even reach the farm, when they fill out a food preferences questionnaire, which the culinary team uses to design menus. Accommodations come in all sizes—four rooms, two suites, ten cottages and four apartments in the exquisite Farmhouse, the work of architect Peter Bohlin and interior designer Thad Hayes—featuring fireplaces, feather beds and fine artwork. In winter, the outdoorsy can snowshoe (equipment is provided) up a mountain, where hot chocolate and a roaring campfire await.
Across the country, summer retreats at Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, a small rustic resort off the Oregon coast, allow relatives to relax amid enchanting Pacific northwest nature. The lodge will arrange for local guides to take groups out on the Rogue River, for a day of casting for chinook salmon and summer steelhead.
And adventurous families will find endless pleasures at Texas’s Cibolo Creek Ranch, built on the site of an ancient volcanic crater and home to a captivating wealth of wildlife, from buffalo and elk to more than 500 species of birds including roadrunners and bald eagles.
No matter the destination, the key to a successful family trip—one you will want to repeat year after year—is striking a balance between time spent together and time when everyone can unwind on their own. Here are nine alluring places to start the tradition.