Even though the first day of summer isn't until June 21, Memorial Day weekend is the real season opener for most of us. This year, high airfares are making a summer road trip the more practical option, and resorts are tempting families with affordable rates and activities. Here's a sampling of top family getaways.
Why: Because Memorial Day weekend at this resort on beautiful Gull Lake means horse-drawn trolley rides, bonfires with marshmallow roasting, fishing clinics, an animal show, evening entertainment, and more. The resort also has a golf course, spa, and a huge indoor pool. Three-night Memorial Day weekend packages start at just $119 a night and include lodging for four people, a free round of golf, fishing clinic, a dinner buffet, and breakfast.
Why: Because Memorial Day weekend at America's original all-inclusive resort (see our review) costs up to 50 percent lower than visiting in July and August. For more than 75 years, the Tyler Place has been creating summer vacation memories on Lake Champlain. All season long, the resort offers boat rides, zip lines, mini golf, fishing, climbing walls, campfires, and a stockpile of other fun-filled adventures. Holiday weekend prices start at $131 a night for adults and $96 a night for children. Rates include lodging, all meals, family sports and activities, extensive kids' and adult programs, and complimentary bike rentals for everyone.
Why: Because you can start your summer surrounded by mountain scenery at this active-minded family resort. From outdoor movies and lawn games to tie-dying, canyon nature hikes, and bike tours to Lake Tahoe, the Resort at Squaw Creek also has a giant waterslide, a full-service spa, a golf course, and river rafting. The Memorial Day weekend Bed and Breakfast package starts at $179 a night and includes breakfast for two adults and two children.
Why: Because Memorial Day weekend kicks off the ski resort's summer season, and to celebrate, there will be live music until after the sun goes down. Besides the concerts, families can also enjoy activities such as climbing-wall races, fishing demonstrations, fireworks shows, and more. Kids will love cruising down the mountain on the 1,980-foot alpine slide, or go soaring through the air on the Eurobungy. Grown-ups can seek refuge in the new Trillium spa. There's also bowling, disk golf, game rooms, mini golf, and chairlift rides. The Memorial Day Music Festival package costs $199 per person, including a three-night stay, breakfast daily, a dinner buffet, and an all-access activities wristband. Up to two kids 12 and under can stay and play for free.
Why: Because the 5,100-acre Snow Mountain Ranch is irresistible for adventure-seeking families. For starters, there's a 300-foot zip line, high-ropes course, and climbing wall. Those looking to keep their feet on the ground can go hiking or mountain biking, play tennis and mini golf, or tell stories by the campfire. The two-night Memorial Day Family Fun weekend package, which starts at $75 per adult and $55 per child ages 6 to 12, includes lodge room accommodations, five meals, most activities, and a 50 percent discount on the zip line and climbing wall.
Why: Because Memorial Day weekend is the start of this ski resort's summer season, and to celebrate in style, there'll be live musical entertainment until after the sun goes down. Besides the concerts, families can also enjoy an assortment of activities such as fishing demonstrations, mini golf, fireworks shows, and more. Kids will love cruising down the mountain on the 1,980-foot alpine slide, or go soaring through the air on the Eurobungy. There's also bowling, disk golf, game rooms, and chairlift rides. When the grown-ups need a breather, they can head to the full-service Trillium Spa. The Memorial Day Celebration package costs $179 per person, and includes a two-night stay, daily breakfast, an Italian dinner buffet, and an all-access activities wristband. Up to two kids 12 and under can stay and play for free.
Why: Because this rustic dude ranch brings the Old West to the Sunshine State. The resort features a real-life rodeo with bull riding, barrel racing, and a calf scramble for the kids. During the holiday weekend, old-fashioned family activities include potato-sack races, water-balloon fights, egg tosses, watermelon-seed spitting, and crafts. On Sunday, kids have an opportunity to play cowboy at the Kid's Rodeo. The three-night Memorial Day weekend package, which starts at $340 for a family of three (add $15 per additional child), includes lodging, two hayride tickets, a picnic lunch, and admission to the Americom Championship Rodeo.
Why: Because this secluded resort makes a handy base for exploring the outdoors. Families can take a dip in the Homestead Crater, a 55-foot limestone rock filled with 90-degree mineral water. There's also hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and the resort has a championship golf course, video-game room, and an indoor spa. Three-night Memorial Day weekend packages start at $52 per person and include breakfast daily.
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