Come Together - Where to Gather with Loved Ones

Come Together - Where to Gather with Loved Ones

Grandma and grandpa haven't seen the kids in months. You haven't seen your siblings in nearly a year. The cousins hardly know each other anymore. It is high time to get the gang together. But grandma doesn't want to cook and clean for everyone. And the kids don't want to spend a week sitting around grandma's condo with not much to do. That is why millions of American families — some 16 million a year, according to the Travel Industry Association — are taking off on vacation with three generations and sometimes four. 

Families are meeting for a long weekend or a week, gathering at beach and ski resorts, dude ranches, or fully equipped state parks. These post-millennium-style family reunions are very different from those afternoon barbeques in a park, so popular a generation ago. One thing's for sure: the memories will be worth every dollar spent and all the (sometimes burdensome) planning will seem trivial when grandpa has time to teach his five-year-old grandson to fish,  grandma can tell her granddaughters how she first fell in love, and brothers and sisters can trade career tips and to reminisce about childhood vacations. Here are ten reunion ideas that are affordable to almost everyone and will embarrass the purse of no one. We have rounded up some of the best destinations that allow you to customize a stay for groups, with private parties, dining options, hikes, campfires, excursions and more. 

Jekyll Island, Georgia 

In its heyday, Jekyll Island served as the getaway for well-heeled families, including the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers. Located between Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, today the island serves as an idyllic destination for large groups. With 20 miles of bike paths and plenty of opportunities for fishing and paddle boarding along the Atlantic Ocean, Jekyll Island offers something for everyone. There is a range of accommodations at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, including Crane Cottage, which has 13 bedrooms. What's more, you can easily tack on a trip to nearby Savannah, which is ideally located just 90 miles away and brims with history and culture. 

Palm Island, Florida 

Palm Island offers an off-the-beaten-path place for a family reunion. Accessible via a six minute ferry ride across the Intracoastal Waterway to a quiet private beach, Palm Island offers more than 100 villas, condos, and cottages. Once you arrive, you and your clan can enjoy the fitness center, volleyball, basketball and tennis or rent bikes, boogie boards, rafts, snorkel sets, and fishing equipment. What's more, boat and fishing charters can be arranged, as can golf. When hunger sets in, you can take a complimentary water taxi to Leverock's on the mainland, where seafood is served up in a casual atmosphere with scenic views of the marina and Intracoastal Waterway. 

Breaks Interstate Park 
Breaks, Virginia 

Want the scenic grandeur of the Grand Canyon without the crowds? Check out the Breaks for your family reunion. Home of the deepest natural gorge east of the Mississippi, Breaks' towers, rock formations, and caves will keep the kids busy for hours. The park also offers hiking and biking trails, swimming pools, and horseback riding for grownups, as well as a rustic lodge, large campground, and cottages. It is perfect for accommodating family gatherings, wedding parties, or a happy excursion with friends. Covered front porches complete with rocking chairs welcomes its guests properly. Inside you will discover a stone fireplace with gas logs, a washer, dryer and fully equipped kitchen. Step out onto the back deck for a beautiful view of Laurel Lake — and your very own screened-in hot tub. 

The Greenbrier 
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia 

Drawn by the healing spring waters, travelers have been visiting this hotel since 1778. A National Historic Landmark, The Greenbrier, an Allegheny Mountain oasis on 6,500 acres, offers 721 rooms that include 91 guest cottages. There are a variety of activities groups can choose from such as: hiking, swimming at indoor and outdoor pools, bowling, tennis, horseback riding, outdoor picnics, billiards, golf, and falconry. Older teens won't get bored, especially if you treat those who drive to an off-road lesson in how to maneuver over ruts and down hillsides. Afterward, melt away stress — yours and theirs — with soothing treatments at the property's noted spa. At the Adventure Zone, children ages three to 12 play tennis, create crafts, visit the horses, and fish in the stocked stream. The resort also offers an 82,000-square-foot gaming and shopping complex. 

RiverStone Resort & Spa 
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, are popular Smoky Mountain destinations for people of all ages, with plentiful hiking, shopping, golf, water parks, and theme parks. A great resort for large groups is RiverStone Resort & Spa, which provides condo rentals with up to four bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms and luxurious amenities for up to 10 guests. The resort features an indoor pool, outdoor lazy river, playground, game room, full-service spa, picnic tables, and a BBQ area perfect for family reunions. If indoor parties are preferred, the resort offers space from 900 to 3,600 square feet to accommodate reunions of 22 to 75 guests in smaller rooms. 

Reunion Resort & Spa 
Orlando, Florida 

Walt Disney World may be the capital of family fun, but that does not mean you have to stay amongst the mouse craze. A short drive down the road, gather at the sprawling, a most scenic Reunion Resort, multi-generational families can spread out at its five-acre water park complete with a lazy river, and the best fun your family will have during a round of foot golf on one of their three stunning golf courses. Choose from condominiums, elegant hotel retreats, or fully appointed luxury homes and villas to fit everyone in your group. Many of the homes come with private pools, game rooms, gourmet kitchens, ample luxurious bathrooms — and the best part is, no matter where you stay, you can opt for room service from the resort! They can even cater a meal for the whole family. 

Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort 
Hilton Head, South Carolina 

Low-country nature activities abound at this 123-room Disney resort, which is surprisingly (and thankfully) free of characters and themed rides. Instead, families can bike or build sandcastles along 12 miles of Atlantic beachfront, slip on resort-provided boots for guided naturalist walks through salt marshes, and cruise open waters in search of dolphins. 

Wild Dunes 
Charleston, South Carolina 

This large resort presents families with a smorgasbord of recreational activities on land and sea. Hit the beach, pool, boats or head to historic Charleston in the evening to enjoy the region’s famed low country cuisine and Southern charm. There is tennis and plenty of golf, too, plus a spa for relaxing massages after all that activity. Stay in a variety of sweet accommodations, including hotel rooms, condos, or cottages. 

Wildcatter Ranch Resort 
Graham, Texas 

If your family likes horses and wide-open spaces, this Texas Hill Country ranch is for you. The Western theme is prominent without being kitschy. After you have had your fill of being in the saddle, enjoy a wagon ride, nature trails, play horseshoes, and watch a Western movie. Excellent food, an infinity pool, and a spa add a touch of Lone Star glam. 

Need to leave the family drama behind? Take your besties to any of these fine destinations and make a weekend out of it. Happy travels! 

More Destinations to Gather 

Yogi Bear Jellystone Camp

This destination is an easy choice for families. Plan the ultimate family gathering filled with more fun than you can fit into a picnic basket. Throughout the year there are themed weekend gatherings focused on lots of family-friendly fun. Outfitted with traditional camping options, feel free to bring the RV, or book a cabin for up to 20 of your family members. Let the kids play in the water park, go for a hike, and then round up the family for s’more’s at the fire pit.

Welcome to Cherokee County, NC
“Gateway to the Smoky Mountains”

Our County is filled with mountains, lakes, rivers, and streams for an unlimited amount of outdoor activities. Experience hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting or another outdoor activity. We have hundreds of opportunities for you to satisfy your outdoor cravings. If you aren’t up for the outdoors, don’t worry! We have plenty of shopping, restaurants, breweries, wineries, galleries, museum as well as historic and scenic drives.

Beau Rivage Golf & Resort
Wilmington, North Carolina

Few things are more synonymous with incredible Golf than North Carolina and no other coastal Carolina resort is more in-tune with the group stay and play than Beau Rivage Golf and Resort. Rare for a golf course along the coast, several holes on the par 72 layout offer 40 to 75 feet elevation changes. Framed by Carolina Pine hardwoods, members, guests and groups play the “Beau” for its plush Bermuda fairways and silky-smooth greens. Families and groups will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere, oversized guest rooms, and banquet facilities.

Charming & Outdoorsy
Henderson County, North Carolina

This charming mountain area is the perfect destinations for family gatherings. DuPont Recreational Forest will enticing hikers with waterfalls and 10,268 acres for fishing, biking, and swimming; knowing it was the site for The Hunger Games, and The Last of the Mohicans, will interest everyone. There are seasonal events, a charming historic downtown, shopping, museums, historic sites and so many attractions. It is home to many breweries, wineries, and cideries that can be explored on the Cheers Trail. Groups can choose to stay in anything from bed and breakfasts to rustic cabins.

Touring Tennessee

Touring Tennessee

Louisiana Legacy

Louisiana Legacy