Not every family group can afford to stay at a full-service resort. With careful planning, however, everyone still can have a lot of fun, with minimal work. Here are a few ideas:
- State parks often have guesthouses or large cabins they rent inexpensively. But these book up early, so plan ahead.
- Plan to convene at a local park in a picnic shelter near softball fields and grills. Call as far ahead as possible to reserve.
- Stay at a ski resort in the summer, when condo rates drop by 50 percent. At Colorado’s Keystone Resort, for example, summer brings bicycling, golfing on a Robert Trent Jones Jr. course, swimming and weekend food and music festivals.
- In winter, rates drop at northern resorts that cater to golfers. And these resorts may be particularly open to negotiating group rates.
- In Florida, resorts along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic, especially the small, locally owned ones, drop their rates in summer and fall.
- Check out small, ma-and-pa lake resorts in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At many such gems, a week at a housekeeping cabin for four with the basics—beach, playground, fishing boat—is still quite affordable.
- Plan to hold your reunion during the week, when rates usually are cheapest, or during the slow months of November and April.