Forget June 21st. For most of us, the long Memorial Day weekend is the real kick-off to summer. And while higher gas prices may make you want to stay closer to home this year, top family resorts are answering back with great deals for parents and kids eager to make the most of the long holiday weekend. Here's a sampling of top getaways for families this Memorial Day:
Tyler Place Family Resort (www.tylerplace.com)
Where: Highgate Springs, VT
Why: Because Memorial Day weekend at America's original all-inclusive resort is one of the unbeatable values in the country, with prices up to 50% lower than in July and August. For 75 years, the Tyler Place has been creating summer vacation memories on Lake Champlain. Prices in late May start at $100 a night for adults and $75 a night for children, including lodging, all meals, family sports and activities, extensive kids' and adult programs, and complimentary bike rentals for everyone.
Barton Creek Resort & Spa (www.bartoncreek.com)
Where: Austin, TX
Why: Because this upscale resort in Texas Hill Country boasts great kids' camps, excellent golf, nature trails, mini golf, and fun events like family movie night and arts-and-crafts night. The Memorial Day package costs $164 per person for each night and includes lodging, breakfast, and a poolside lunch cookout. Extend your stay and pay only $100 for a third night.
Rocking Horse Ranch (www.rhranch.com)
Where: Highland, NY
Why: Because Memorial Day marks the 50th anniversary of this family-friendly dude ranch, where weekend highlights will include a fireworks display and champagne dinner. Rocking Horse Ranch is about much more than horseback riding and hayrides. The impressive array of facilities includes a private lake for banana boat rides and waterskiing, a mini golf course, tennis courts, live shows and entertainment, a rock-climbing wall, indoor and outdoor heated pools, shuffleboard and bocce courts, a fantastic children's playground, arcade, and an indoor two-story fun zone and ball pit. For a two-night stay over the Memorial Day weekend, all-inclusive packages (including lodging, meals, riding, and virtually all activities) start at just $185 a night for adults and $88 a night for children. Kids under 4 stay free.
Cragun's Resort & Hotel (www.craguns.com)
Where: Brainerd, MN
Why: Because Memorial Day weekend at this family favorite on beautiful Gull Lake means horse-drawn trolley rides, bonfires with marshmallow roasting, fishing clinics, bingo, evening entertainment and much more. The resort also features a huge indoor pool, spa, and top-notch golf course. Three-night Memorial Day packages start at $125 a night, including lodging for four in a fireplace room, welcome reception, and dinner and breakfast buffets.
Point Sebago Resort (www.pointsebago.com)
Where: Casco, ME
Why: Because this casual resort on one of Maine's most pristine lakes has all the necessities for an unforgettable start to summer. You can take a pirate cruise around Lake Sebago, relax on the beach, roast s'mores by a bonfire, and take a canoe or kayak out for a spin. There are kids' camps with daily activities that range from arts and crafts to kickball and capture the flag, as well as nightly entertainment for the whole family. The three-night Memorial Day package starts at $499 for a family of four and includes meals (including a lobster dinner), a lake cruise, kids' programs, nightly entertainment, and more.
Resort at Squaw Creek (www.squawcreek.com)
Where: Squaw Valley, CA
Why: Because you can start your summer surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery at this active-minded family resort. The weekend features a fun roster of activities, from s'more roasts and barbecues to tie-dying, canyon nature hikes, and bike tours to Lake Tahoe. Squaw Creek also features a giant waterslide, full-service spa, river rafting, and golf course. The Memorial Day Family Package starts at $199 a night and includes breakfast for four.
Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort (www.sandestin.com)
Where: Sandestin, FL
Why: Because two-night stays over the Memorial Day weekend are going for a song at the premier family resort on Northwest Florida's Gulf Coast. The 2,400-acre village-style resort boasts miles of white-sand beaches, watersports, endless family-fun activities, many complimentary amenities, and a fireworks extravaganza at the end of the weekend. Of the dozens of accommodation options, hotel rooms start at $99 a night.
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