In the late 1980s, we took a summer family vacation to the Colorado Rockies. Our intention was to take a low cost vacation to a cooler place that had outdoor activities. The trip exceeded our expectations and sold us on the idea of having a special destination or family retreat.
Summit County had wonderful accommodations at affordable prices. Keystone Resort offered loads of family activities as well as childcare. Our experience was so favorable, we chose to return season after season. Within no time our sons became accomplished skiers in the winter and grew to appreciate all that the Rockies had to offer in the summer.
Our love for the region motivated us to purchase a second home. Eventually, we moved our primary residence to Colorado. Twenty plus years later, we still look forward to visiting our mountain home in Summit County, Colorado. We feel fortunate that we could find a family retreat that has become an integral part of our family life.
Family retreats can be driving distance from your home or thousands of miles away. The distance factor is a matter of convenience and affordability. The getaway can last just a weekend or more than a week. The key is to find a place that can become a rallying point for decades to come. Some may be mumbling, “why would my family need that?” To counter that protest, I suggest the following:
6 Reasons to Consider a Family Retreat
- Provide a special environment that is removed from everyday life.
- Allow family members to interact without day-to-day distractions.
- Share all meals together.
- Engage in activities that cannot be done routinely
- Become connected to a secondary location
- Create traditions that are unique to your family
Care needs to be taken in finding a place that is well suited for your particular family. What may work for one family may not work for the next. When my husband was growing up his family drove to South Haven, Michigan each summer. It was an easy drive from Chicago and everyone loved the beach, family time, and special places to eat such as Mackenzie Bakery and Sherman Dairy. One mention of summer and my husband could talk for hours about his South Haven memories.
If you’d like to start your own family tradition consider these tips:
7 Steps to Finding an Ideal Setting
- Create a list of locations and favorite activities
- Decide whether the location will be seasonal or year round.
- After researching options, narrow the list to your favorite 2-3 places
- Choose 1 and make reservations
- Enjoy your first visit.
- If the trip was a positive experience, make a return visit.
- If not, start the process over again.
A travel destination will become a family retreat after numerous visits. The entire family will feel connected to the location and start planning the next trip before they leave. The positive memories from each prior trip will fuel the desire to return. Plans for the future will inevitably become linked to the family retreat.
Family retreats may not be a wise choice for all families. Some families may prefer to explore different location each year rather than returning to a familiar place. Others many not be able to commit to an annual or semi-annual trip. Meeting the needs of all family members may require more flexibility in vacation planning. At the very least, families, on a regular basis, should set aside time to engage in a mutually satisfying activity.
This post was written weeks before the torrential rains caused mass flooding in Colorado. Fortunately, I was not directly affected by the devastation. My thoughts and prayers are with those who were not as lucky.
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.