10 great places for a family reunion


By Sarah Sekula, Published in USA Today

Summer is the season to gather extended relatives (yes, even the annoying ones) in one spot. Whether you prefer dude ranching, cruising the high seas or camping at an RV resort, options for multigenerational get-togethers abound. Edith Wagner, editor of Reunions Magazine, shares with Sarah Sekula for USA TODAY some favorites.

Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
San Diego
San Diego is easy on the eyes. Likewise, this Holiday Inn is easy on the pocketbook. “Kids 19 and under stay free” with paying adults, Wagner says. “And kids 12 and under eat free with a dining adult.” The freebies don’t end there. If you’ve booked a reunion of 20 people or more, you’ll score a complimentary hospitality room and welcome reception, free parking (a rarity in this area) and bicycle rentals. 800-662-8899; holinnbayside.com

Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort
Gurnee, Ill.
Just north of Chicago, this island-themed resort has a 65,000-square-foot indoor water park, 8,000-square-foot arcade and an ice cream parlor that will have the tykes in hyperactive heaven. With a spa, shops and plenty of restaurants, there’s little reason to venture off property. 877-360-0403; keylimecove.com

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch
Red Feather Lakes, Colo.
This dude ranch is small, but its playground is vast. Surrounded by the Roosevelt National Forest, the rugged getaway is owned by a couple who “provide home-cooked meals and the flexibility to meet each family’s needs,” Wagner says. They’ll whip you up a chocolate soufflé, but if you’re longing for Lost reruns and texting chats, you’re out of luck. There’s no TV or cellphone service. 800-357-4930; sundancetrail.com

Circus Circus Reno Hotel & Casino
“Circus Circus was built around the idea of family-friendly entertainment,” Wagner says. Kids will adore the over-the-top circus shows. For adults, there’s constant casino action, nightly karaoke and live music. And there’s a treasure-trove of outdoor pursuits like river rafting and hiking near the Sierra Nevada range. 800-648-5010; circusreno.com

Golden Dolphin Villa
Cabrera, Dominican Republic
From gourmet eats to exotic beats, the Golden Dolphin Villa’s got it covered. The attentive staff is extremely accommodating, Wagner says. And there are tons of leisure activities, to boot — deep-sea fishing, golfing and beach lounging to name a few. 321-278-9809; goldendolphinvilla.com

The Lodge at Mount Magazine
Paris, Ark.
Whether you’re on a GPS-guided history hunt, strolling among wildflowers or rappelling down a rock face, The Lodge provides a nature-filled joy ride. Balconies of guestrooms are great for stargazing. Better yet, “there are 13 cabins, each with an outdoor hot tub,” Wagner says. 877-665-6343; mountmagazinestatepark.com

The Grenadian by Rex Resorts
St. George’s, Grenada
This breezy beach resort is one of the largest on the “Isle of Spice,” there’s plenty of room for several generations to spread out. With two white-sand beaches, a handful of water sports and a healthy dose of Grenadian friendliness, a laid-back reunion is likely in store. Off site, you’ll find waterfalls and hiking trails dotted with monkeys and exotic birds twittering overhead. rexresorts.com

Floridays Orlando Resort
Fun is in full swing at this resort where activities range from poolside dining to splashing through the “waterscape” playground. Its proximity to Orlando’s major theme parks sweetens the deal. Spacious two- and three-bedroom suites are available. Plus, “washers and dryers are a really nice convenience for families with kids,” Wagner says. 866-994-6308; floridaysresort.com

Royal Caribbean International
Cruising is popular and convenient for family vacations. The entire clan can dine as a group and then zip off in different directions. The line’s Royal Reunions Elite Package offers a personalized cake, a photo package and extra in-room amenities. 866-562-7625; royalcaribbean.com

YMCA of the Rockies-Estes Park Center
Estes Park, Colo.
If jaw-dropping scenery and a passel of thrills is what your family is after, the YMCA of the Rockies should be on your short list. Try fly-fishing in summer and nearby skiing in winter. The largest reunion cabin, complete with a fully-equipped kitchen, sleeps up to 88 people. For expert help planning the shindig, Wagner recommends the center’s annual Family Reunion University, a weekend workshop full of great tips. 800-777-9622; ymcarockies.org