A question that comes up all the time in family travel circles is, where should we go for a multi-generation vacation?
It’s a challenging question. You have to accommodate several ages, energy levels, waking and sleeping hours, and perhaps mobility challenges, plus differing diets, tastes and travel styles. You want to be together, of course, but not too together, if you know what I mean?
A domestic resort is an easy option. Flights won’t cost too much, there are no worries over whether everyone has passports and it’s easy to both come together and break off into smaller groups. We recently came across Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina (see reviews and rates on TripAdvisor) in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Both the destination and the resort have a lot to offer for extended families traveling together.
Plan A Multi-Generation Vacation At Pink Shell
All of Pink Shell’s rooms are suites. Families looking for a lot of togetherness can opt for the biggest villages, which sleep up to eight people in two bedrooms and have full kitchens and ample living area.
Families looking for some privacy can opt for one-bedroom villa or studios, which still include small kitchens and living and sleep space room for up to two adults and two kids.
Kitchens are always handy with kids, but for extended family vacations they are especially helpful. Stock up on cereal, eggs and baked goods and there’s no need to try to get a big group out to breakfast first thing in the morning. If you want an evening meal with privacy for your group, you can cook, splurge on room service, or order take-out (Find the lowest available rate on HotelsCombined).
Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina makes it easy for families to come together as much as they like and to also get time apart when they need to. It’s a good bet for multi-generation vacations.
For example, an attractive family pool area has a main pool with a playful waterfall and graduated entrance, plus a splash pad and separate wading pool. The beach offers plenty of lounge chairs and room to spread out; it’s a good place to base yourselves for a day, even as you take turns going off on your own.
Resort Activities for Everyone
Sure, there are plenty of things for kids to do on their own and with parents (art classes, fishing school, nature walks), but they aren’t the only ones who need entertaining.
Without leaving the resort, tweens or teens can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards or take wave runners out on dolphin-spotting tours (they might even invite their parents along).
Those who are too young or too old for wave runners can opt for a dolphin cruise or take time to go fishing from the marina.
Moms looking for me time can do a yoga class or book some spa time.
This Fort Myers resort is more interesting than the average hotel where its food is concerned. The resort’s main restaurant, Jack’s Farm to Fork, locally sources seafood and as much produce as it can.
Its kid menu offers both fresh fish and steak with vegetables. I love a kids’ menu that includes veggies, and always appreciate options beyond pizza and hot dogs.
Even the poolside bar, Bongo’s, offers more than usual burgers and Caesar salad. Its extensive menu includes tacos, sandwiches, flat bread pizza, seafood and salads. I know from our Twitter parties that moms appreciate quality poolside food.
For families who like to get out beyond the resort, the city’s River District has lively, casual seaside restaurants and more. If your family can stay up late enough to mix dining and street life, there is an art walk on the first Friday of every month and a music walk on the third Friday.
Area Activities, too
Fort Myers sits on a barrier island known for its beaches and plethora of seashells. (But it’s not to be confused with Shell Island, the even more pristine protected beach in Florida’s panhandle.)
Beyond the resort there are also activities an extended family can do all together or in smaller groups.
Protected areas like the Great Calusa Blueway, Matanzas Pass Preserve or Lovers Key State Park offer opportunities to walk, bike or kayak while spotting local bird and sea life.
Slightly further afield is the impressive J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Families can also spot manatees at Manatee Park, from land in the cooler seasons or out on kayaks when it’s warmer (but less so in summer). How much you do and how active you are at the parks is entirely up to your family.
Family members who like American history or just touring at elaborate old mansions can visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford wintered here in their day. The grounds include their homes, a shared botanical garden, a research laboratory and a museum with some of their various inventions.
Baseball fans will want to get their families to visit in March so they can catch the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins in their spring training. But clearly, other families will find plenty to do together (and on their own) at Pink Shell Beach at any time of the year.