Multi Generational Travel Ideas For Families

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Multi generational travel is when three or more generations from one family travel and take a vacation together. It also refers to grandparents traveling with their grandchildren. Taking a vacation with grandparents and extended family can provide the perfect way to spend time together, have some fun, and create shared memories and experiences. But it is important to choose the right type of multi-generational vacation for your family so that it is the best experience for every family member.

There are many things to consider when planning a multi-generational vacation. You need to choose activities that are suitable for kids and adults and find a destination that appeals to everyone – young and old. However, every family is unique, with its own dynamic and preferences. What appeals to one family may not be fun for another family. You have to pick the type of multi-generational family travel that best suits your family.

In this post, we will discuss the different types of multi-generational vacations along with a list of the top 10 multi-generational travel ideas for families. From the beach to the ocean to outdoors in the mountains and everything in between. We will highlight options for the best family vacation with grandparents to help you pick the perfect type of vacation for your family.

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multi gen travel ideas for grandparents and extended family

How to Plan a Multi Generational Travel

Once you’ve decided to embark on multi-generational travel there are endless possibilities about where to go. How do you decide where to travel with kids and grandparents, and your extended family? Check out our list of the Best Family Vacation Destinations in the US.

For more practical tips check out our post with 7 keys to planning a multi-generational family vacation and how to make the process simple and easy!

Firstly, you should decide whether you want to visit a destination that is just your family, or do you like interacting with other travelers? Would your family enjoy being together 24/7 and staying in one big vacation rental house? Or does your family dynamic mean everyone does better if individual families have their own space? Would separate accommodation be best, and then get together for meals and activities during the vacation? Discuss this with your family members and plan the type of vacation that would be most enjoyable for your family.

The most popular multi-generational travel ideas for families include vacations at the beach, a cruise, all-inclusive resort, amusement park, water park, city break, historical site, lake house, national park, camping, or an RV trip. What type of destination would be a favorite for your extended family?

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multi generational travel ideas for families

Top 10 Multi Generational Travel Ideas for Families

Here is a closer look at the most popular types of family vacation options. This is our round-up of the Top 10 Multi-Generational Travel Ideas for Families.

1. Beach

Escaping to the beach is a popular multi-generational travel option. It is a relaxing, slow-paced vacation choice that is ideal for babies, toddlers, and younger children, as well as the grandparents who may not be up for a fast-paced trip. Everyone will enjoy a family beach vacation.

Kids will like playing in the sand and splashing in the ocean, while those with older children may enjoy fishing, kayaking, or other watersports. Grandad will be happy reading his book under a sun umbrella while Grandma takes long walks down the beach looking for shells. There’s something for everyone at the beach.

When choosing a beach, make sure there is easy access to the beach for anyone with mobility issues. If you’re looking for a US East Coast beach destination for families I highly recommend visiting the Outer Banks with kids and these things to do in Duck, NC.

Check out our Ultimate Guide and Packing Lists for a Family Beach Vacation and make sure you have all the Beach Essentials so you know what to bring for kids.

Beach Vacation Rental House

Renting a vacation rental house or beach-front condo is a great way for your extended family to stay together and enjoy time with one another during vacation. Renting a vacation house with your extended family allows for a lot of flexibility regarding meals, activities, and schedules.

It can be hard for young kids to sit still in a restaurant for every meal. Therefore, having access to a kitchen may be a priority if you are traveling with little ones. Sharing the vacation meal planning divides meal prep and makes the trip enjoyable for everyone.

If you have young children who still nap and go to bed before the adults then it is important to stay in a place with bedrooms and a separate living area. This gives the adults a place to hang out together while the children are sleeping. After a fun day on the beach, I love to sit on the deck at night with a drink in hand and listen to the waves crashing while chatting with the other adults.

multi gen travel cruise

2. Cruise

Cruises are great for multi-generational travel. Taking a cruise offers a wide selection of onboard activities and entertainment, excursions at various destinations, kid’s club, babysitting, plus a wide selection of dining options.

Cruising is the best type of vacation when traveling with a large extended family. It provides everyone with their own space while offering the opportunity to meet together for activities and meals. And no one has to cook! My favorite part about cruising is no meal planning and no dishes!

When planning a cruise with extended family it is important to consider the length of the trip, and the number of days “at sea” days vs. the days “in port”. What are the ports of call and are these destinations places you would like to visit?

Are there activities and excursions that the whole family can participate in? It’s not necessary to do every single activity together, but it is nice to pick a couple of things that everyone can do. But then individual families still have the option to do things that they prefer during the day, and then meet together for dinner in the evening.

We always book a cabin with a balcony. This gives us somewhere to sit in the evening, or during nap time, while the kids are asleep. When traveling with grandparents we reserve adjoining cabins or adjoining balconies, so the kids can go back and forth easily. Cruising is also nice because you unpack one time and don’t have the hassle of moving rooms every few nights.

3. All-Inclusive Resort

Staying at an all-inclusive resort with grandparents and extended family is a popular multi-generational travel option. This is a great way to factor in all the costs upfront. Often the rates will include airport transportation, accommodation, food and drink, activities, childcare, and sometimes excursions and airfare. This makes it easier to plan and budget for a large extended family vacation, without unexpected expenses.

Each family has their own room, with the option to meet together for meals or activities. The onsite kids club means the adults can enjoy kid-free time while the children are having their own fun. These hotels think of everything so you don’t have to, allowing everyone to enjoy their vacation.

multi gen travel amusement park with family

4. Amusement Park

Visiting an amusement park on a family vacation is a special time to make memories and share the magic with young children. Going to a theme with grandparents or extended family means you can split up to explore the park, and take turns on rides that are appropriate for different ages/sizes of children. This makes the day more enjoyable for everyone!

Amusement parks are a fun option for multi-generational travel. But, they can be exhausting long days with lots of walking and standing in lines. Make sure you have a stroller for little ones (especially so they can take a nap). If you are taking a vacation with Grandparents then think about their fitness level and make sure they are able to be so active before planning such a trip.

The most popular theme parks for family vacations include Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida. If you are looking for a more central destination consider visiting Dollywood in Tennessee or Hershey Park in Pennsylvania.

Consider transportation to the theme park you plan to visit. Many resorts offer transportation from the airport and from the resort to the park. That saves money on a rental car. However, if you are looking to explore the local area then a rental car may be needed. And even if you are able to drive from home to the destination, you may still consider staying at a resort with transportation to the park which will save time and money on parking fees.

We have created The Disney World Planning Guide with Printable Worksheets to help your family plan a fun, easy, stress-free, and magical vacation to Walt Disney World.

Planning guide for Disney World

5. Water Park

For a shorter family getaway consider visiting a water park resort such as Great Wolf Lodge or Wilderness at the Smokies. Each family has its own room, which can range from a standard family room with bunk beds for the kids to large suites suitable for families.

There are plenty of onsite dining options and a variety of activities such as ropes course, bowling, arcade games, laser tag, family-friendly entertainment, and more. Plus the ultimate family fun will be had in the water park where your extended family can enjoy time together in the pool, on the water slides, or relaxing in the hot tub!

visit a city when traveling with grandparents

6. City Break

Taking a city break is an option for multi-generational travel. Personally, I prefer to visit a city when we just vacation with grandparents, and not with the extended family. It can be challenging to visit a busy city with a large group of people. Trying to coordinate activities, meals, and transportation can get complicated. Making sure you don’t lose anyone on busy city streets is stressful.

City vacations are great because they offer something for everyone. There are plenty of different experiences available, and no one will get bored in a big city! Our favorite multi-generational vacation activities in a city include museums (especially hands-on), places with a large wheel or tall building where we can see high above the city, restaurants with outdoor space, and the option to hop on and off a bus or subway as we tour the city. Popular cities to visit with all ages include New York, Chicago, Vancouver, and London. If your families want to stay together then consider booking a VRBO or Airbnb rental.

7. Lake House

A lake house is a perfect destination for a large family gathering. The relaxation and slower pace associated with life on the lake make a lake house the ideal destination for multi-generational travel. Many lakes offer opportunities to enjoy boating, swimming, fishing, kayaks, canoes, or even paddleboards. There are the same benefits as renting a beach house with flexibility regarding meals, activities, and schedules. And all generations will be entertained in the evenings with these family travel games.

8. Historical Site

It is important for children to learn about history, so some families like to visit historical sites during vacation. Historical destinations make memorable experiences for multi-generational travel, such places include London, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC. Families will enjoy touring historical sites and buildings and learning about the culture. This type of vacation would be best with older children or teens who will understand and appreciate such history. For families with younger children consider visiting the Outer Banks with kids, and exploring the First in Flight Museum and historical sites along the North Carolina coast.

Sidenote: There are many historical and educational sites in the United States where families of a 4th grader can receive free access. This includes access to National Parks. Learn more about the Every Kid Outdoors program. Be sure to contact the site to verify admission ahead of your visit.

national park vacation with extended family

9. National Park

For families who are active and enjoy adventure and the outdoors, consider visiting a national park. With free national park access for 4th graders, or a discount with the Senior Pass for those 62 or older, annual memberships, or free admission days. Multi-generational travel to a national park is budget-friendly and offers something for all ages.

Families will enjoy hiking and touring the park, swimming, fishing, the spectacular views, while also learning about the park’s history and ecosystems. Other ways to explore a national park include horseback riding, biking, and even rafting or kayaking. The Junior Ranger Program is a great way for youngsters to explore national parks. 

Popular national parks for multi-generational travel include Zion, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Smoky Mountain National Park. Accommodation in a national park can range from camping to an Airbnb rental or staying in a beautiful lodge. Choose what works best and would be most enjoyable for your extended family.

10. Family RV Trip

Another option for families who love the outdoors is a family RV trip. This allows families to explore at their own pace, while having a place to sleep, eat and hang out available at all times. There’s no need for packing and unpacking as you move to new destinations. Everything you need is right there with you. An RV trip is a more pleasant version of camping with easy access to electricity, bathroom facilities and a comfortable bed. This may be more suitable for multi-gen vacation with grandparents. If you don’t own an RV then there are lots of options available to rent an RV for a family road trip.

Round up of the Best Multi Generational Travel Ideas

I hope this post has provided you with lots of ideas about the different types of multi-generational travel options. Throughout the years it is fun to try different types of family vacations and see what you prefer. Every family is unique and every type of vacation will provide a unique experience. The main thing is to provide family members the opportunity to be together, try news things and create lasting memories through shared experiences.

And remember, let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.

Until next time,
💕 Ruth

For more about family travel check out these posts:
How To Start Saving For A Vacation With Kids
Family Beach Vacation – Ultimate Guide & Packing Lists
7 Keys to Planning A Multi-Generational Vacation with Grandparents
Best Family Vacation Destinations in the US for 2021

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Ruth Hutchins grew up in England and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, Doug, and their two young daughters. They always loved to travel, but once having children everything changed because family travel is more complicated. Traveling with a baby may feel overwhelming to new parents. Travel with a toddler can really test your patience, and traveling with kids can lead to utter chaos. However, travel with your little ones doesn’t have to be that stressful or exhausting. On the BE Family Travel blog Ruth shares her parenting wins, and even epic failures about traveling with kids. She provides resources to help you feel empowered to plan a family vacation and travel with your children.