6 ideas for a three-generation family holiday

Multi-generational holidays is a bit of a buzz word at the moment in the travel trade and here at Frontier we have been arranging such holidays for some time. We often find that the holiday is organised by the grandparents as they have the most time to plan and since the change in pension arrangement, they have the cash to spare as well.  Each family is different and so we recreate the wheel every time.  Some like a stay put holiday, some like lots of activities, some like to tour either in a fleet of cars or motorhomes. The choice is as diverse as the families we talk to so I list here some of my favourites.

Elmhirst Resort in Ontario

Just a couple of hours from Toronto, this is perhaps the perfect multi-generational family resort; consisting of 1 – 5 bedroom cottages spread along the lake shore with a raft of activities (many of which are free) including not only the obvious water based ones but riding, hiking, archery, a full spa service, treasure hunts for the children, farm visits – the list is long.  One of the many advantages of Elmhirst is the choice of eating venues.  The cottages (one of which has been designed with wheelchairs in mind) have a fully equipped kitchen but you can also eat either in the main restaurant which has a fine wine list or the more informal pub. The resort itself is multi-generational.  The current owner Peter Elmhirst was the third generation to run the resort and his son, Greg, is General Manager today.

Elmhirst Resort

Peter can be seen in this picture taking a family out on the boat. He will also organise a sightseeing flight in his float plane or a day’s fishing. We suggest you spend at least a week at Elmhirst – you will need this to fit in all the activities – combined with a few days in Toronto and a visit to Niagara Falls.

Boating at Elmhirst

Whistler, Vancouver and Vancouver Island

This combination is full of variety as you will experience mountains, oceans and a city all in one holiday. Very easy to organise as there are plenty of direct flights from the UK to Vancouver from where it is only 2 hours to Whistler. My suggestion is always to make the effort to get to Whistler on the day you arrive so that you can settle in for several days, get used to the time zone and start enjoying your holiday immediately.  Whistler , better known as a ski resort to many of us, actually receives more visitors in the summer due to the cornucopia of activities.  This, of course, plays into the multi-generational pattern perfectly as different members of the party can do entirely different things during the day and meet up in the evenings.  There are five championship golf courses, world-class mountain biking, bear viewing and hiking to mention just a few.  Accommodation ranges from top class hotels to luxurious 5 and 6-bedroom houses.

Whistler

From Whistler you will have a day of travel which will include a stunning drive, a ferry, a stop at Coombs Old Country Market and Cathedral Grove to be awed by the enormous Douglas Firs before arriving at the coastal village of Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park.

Tofino

Here, again there are multitudinous activities including not only hot springs to explore, beachcombing, surfing and kayaking but whale and bear watching.  There are some luxurious hotels as well as glorious beach houses for rent. After another five days or so, it is time to pack up and head for the city of Vancouver  for a few days of retail therapy, galleries and museums.

Ranches

A ranch holiday is splendid for all age groups and we have over 70 to choose from throughout the Western US and Canada.  Ranches fall into four types ranging from a basic working ranch to a luxurious affair with every kind of amenity.  Whatever level of luxury you like, I would recommend a dude ranch or guest ranch as here you will be offered far more than just a riding holiday.  Some are small enough that you could take over the whole ranch for your family. As you can see from this picture from Triple Creek Ranch, you will be surrounded by lovely countryside in which you can also

Triple Creek ride

fish, whitewater raft, clay pigeon shoot, relax in the spa or any number of other activities.  I would suggest you spend at least a week on the ranch followed either by some touring perhaps taking in a National Park or a city stay in San Francisco, Vancouver or even Los Angeles so that you would have the total contrast of country life mixed in with Disney and the other theme parks.

Motorhomes

Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes and I would suggest that you rent several depending on the size of the group.  They sleep anything from 2 to 6 people in comfort and the joy of them is that you can unpack, settle in and then go exactly where you please.  Everyone has a degree of independence and you can meet up at the campsites in the evening to share the excitement and stories of the day.

Motorhome on Sea to Sky Highway

They can be rented in most of the major US and Canadian cities and you can collect in one city and drop in another in most places although this is not possible trans-border. I would suggest dropping off the motorhomes a few days before your homeward flight so that you can enjoy some city and hotel time as a contrast to the camping.

Cape Cod, Rudyard Kipling and Boston

Shaped like a lobster tail with glorious beaches and luxurious hotels, Cape Cod is a place to treasure.  Better still it is only just over an hour outside Boston so very accessible without long car journeys. I suggest spending a week on the Cape either asking us to arrange a private house rental or staying in one of the hotels some of which have spacious houses within the resort.  One of my personal favourites is the Wequasset Resort and Golf Club pictured here.

Wequasset

Others would include the Ocean Edge Resort or the Chatham Bars Inn both of which are excellent.  I think to get the best out of New England, one should also go inland and where better to share family memories than with the Jungle Book.  You can stay at Naulakha where Rudyard Kipling lived and wrote the Jungle Book. Lovingly resorted by the Landmark Trust, the house and the surrounding buildings are not luxurious but to be able to sit at his desk and bath in his bath is magical indeed.

Naulakha 1

You can start or finish the holiday in Boston – personally I like finishing in the city. Less time to have to cart around any shopping I might have acquired and somehow makes it easier to slip back into the home routine.

Cruising

Last but by no means least are cruises which as you know come in all shapes and sizes.  We can arrange to charter a small ship such as Pacific Yellowfin or the Island Roamer for a very personal journey on the Pacific Coast of Canada or Alaska

Island Roamer

or we can arrange a suite of cabins on any cruise ship of your choice.  We particularly recommend Regent Seven Seas for their beautiful luxury mid-size ships, all suite cabins and Family Youth programmes and Holland America for the larger vessels with a great range of entertainment but of course all the cruise lines have plus points and all can work really well for a multi-generational holiday.

Regent Seven Seas Navigator

I hope this will give you inspiration to arrange your own extended family holiday.

Sandra Potter is Founder of Frontier Travel.

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