Fun For All: A Multigenerational Florida Vacation
By Kellilynn Hann
Multigenerational travel— a combination family reunion and destination vacation— is a major travel trend.
The reason isn’t hard to fathom: bringing loved ones together for a week or two of uninterrupted time is good for the health of the entire family. Grandparents can share stories and traditions, cousins who never met can become lasting friends, siblings who have moved away can reconnect, and everyone can create new memories together.
Miranda Pace-Lorance took such a multigenerational trip to Destin, Fla., with 20 of her family members— four generations ranging in age from 2 to 80.
“We’ve gone places together before, but never this big of a group. We had lots of ideas at first, but a Florida beach vacation was something everyone agreed would be fun,” Pace-Lorance said.
They rented a seven-bed, five-bath vacation home with an elevator so the family matriarch, Nanny, could enjoy the whole house, too. They also rented two golf carts to shuttle everyone to and from the beach and shopping district.
“We made sure the house had enough room for us all to eat together in the kitchen,” Pace-Lorance said. “The cousins all made breakfast together. Some adults would go to the beach with the kids while others stayed back and relaxed. We spent a lot of time together, but we all got alone time, too.”
When asked how they coordinated such a large group trip, Pace-Lorance explained, “There was a lot of planning by email beforehand. Once we picked the rental house, everyone got a picture of where they’d be sleeping so they could sign off on it. That way there was no fighting when we got there. After that, it was easy; we mostly just hung out.”
The trip was an incredible bonding time for the whole family.
“The best thing for me was seeing my grandmother holding her great grandson on the beach.” Pace-Lorance said. “We visit each other back home, but never get to spend that amount of time together. Plus, this time Nanny got to join in on the trip instead of just hearing about it.”
Planning a Multigenerational Trip
If the idea of planning a large group vacation is overwhelming, there’s an easy solution: stay at a resort that has everything your family needs.
Bob Bauersachs, General Manager of Tranquility Bay Beachfront Resort in Marathon in the Florida Keys, says his resort is ideal for multigenerational families because of its focus on family, romance, relaxation, and togetherness. Its team is committed to creating a perfect environment to bring these experiences to life and ensure every family member is able to have a sense of freedom while forming meaningful connections and lasting memories.
“We have three pools, volleyball, cornhole games, a top-rated restaurant, beachfront Tiki bar, and Nicklaus Design putting green. Guests can take a nature tour, rent kayaks and wave runners, or simply relax on our beautiful 2.5-acre private beach,” Bauersachs said. “There’s so much to do, without leaving the property.”
Having so many experiences in one place means the grandparents never have to be stuck in a hotel room waiting for the rest of the family to get back from an activity.
“The resort has 16 guestrooms and 87 beach houses with 2-3 bedrooms, beautiful kitchens, laundry, and all the other conveniences,” Bauersachs said. “The beach houses also have back porches where everyone can gather. The kids can run outside and play in the sand, and the adults can chat while watching the sunset. It’s so much more of a natural way to be together, an extension of home— the whole family has a relaxed, safe place to play.”
Feeling inspired to reconnect with loved ones? Here are some Florida resorts, restaurants, and activities that will give your multigenerational family group the vacation of their dreams.
Omni Amelia Island Resort on the beach has nine restaurants, golf, tennis, and a spa. Guests can access bicycles, golf carts, tours, a nature center, and fishing. In the evening the family can bond over Movie Night and Fire & S’mores.
At the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club you can bicycle on the beach, swim, play golf or tennis, have a spa day with the girls, or just relax in your elegant room. Every afternoon from May through September there are crafts for kids, and adults will appreciate the fine dining options and catching up over drinks.
With a mixed group, choosing a restaurant is challenging. Let everyone get something they like at the food truck park, or go for pizza from Carmines Pie House. For dessert, head to Sweet Pete’s; the family can even take a class and make custom treats.
Spark joy in your entire group by visiting the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and MOSH (Museum of Science and History). The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail is a paved, level path ideal for a walk, bike, skateboard, or wheelchair where everyone can play at together at their own speed.
Margaritaville Beach Hotel, a beachy-chic resort steps from the sand in Pensacola Beach, offers so many opportunities for family bonding: chilling on the beach, biking, kayaking, jamming to live music, playing volleyball, and challenging the gang to a game of ring toss or beach bingo.
Southern Living named Portofino Island Resort one of the top 10 family-friendly beach hotels in Florida. With activities like an inflatable water park, golf, tennis, scheduled events, restaurants, spa, and kid’s programming, your crew could spend the entire vacation here and never get bored.
Go to Lulu’s to wiggle your toes in the sand, savor food, drinks and live music, and let all your cares melt away. Another favorite is Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill, a restaurant and bowling alley with an insanely cool ocean theme.
In Pensacola, go to The Tin Cow and design your own burger— even if it’s venison and kimchi on a sesame seed bun.
Go on an exciting dolphin cruise with Dolphin Express, visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park for amazing animal encounters, or plan a fun family day with Destin Inshore Guides, who offer special fishing trips that teach kids all about the fish, gear, and techniques.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has rooms overlooking the wildlife park for an on-safari feel. There’s also a pool with a waterslide, African cuisine, and an arcade. Finish up the day roasting marshmallows over a fire and watching a movie under the stars.
Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will wow the entire group with its 16,000 square foot pool. Adults can sip poolside cocktails while kids have fun on the water slide. For date night, get a taste of the Caribbean at the resort’s tavern which specializes in rum.
Disney Springs has 21 restaurants, so you’ll have no problem finding a favorite. Kids will adore the dinosaur-themed T-Rex Café, Paradiso 37 is good for date night, and for a meal on the water try The Boathouse. At Universal CityWalk, don’t miss the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium or you’ll never forgive yourself.
Go snorkeling in Orlando? Sure! Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort where you can snorkel in the tank, swim with dolphins, have animal experiences, relax in the lazy river and nap in the sand. Also try WonderWorks— a wacky mix of indoor adventure park and science museum.
Stay at Tradewinds Island Grand Resort or RumFish Beach Resort and enjoy the amenities at both! These sister resorts are just 300 steps apart and offer paddle boats, mini-golf, tennis, beach games, pools (one with an epic slide), restaurants, special events, shows, a kids-only club, and so much more.
Pirate-themed Gaspar’s Grotto is famous for its delicious and creative brunch menu so bring the kids— then return later to enjoy its equally famous nightlife. Everyone will love GameTime, (a restaurant, sports bar and arcade in one), and Dough is famous for its crazy (and crazy-good) doughnuts.
Board the Pirate Water Taxi for a narrated tour of downtown, then hop off at top Tampa attractions, including The Florida Aquarium and Glazer Children’s Museum. Visiting Busch Gardens and Zoo Tampa are also a great way to spend the day.
Catering to families, The Breakers in Palm Beach has a kid’s playground, basketball courts, a video game lounge, complimentary bikes, arcade, golf, spa, and so many other things you’ll never want (or need) to leave.
Get a massage on the beach while the kids play? Why, yes, you can. Grand Beach Hotel in Miami Beach is the place to go if you want a luxurious vacation for the adults with a pool and beach to keep kids smiling.
Visit The Floridian for an award-winning (literally) Cuban sandwich you won’t soon forget. Miami is hot, so grab ice cream at Azucar Ice Cream Factory in Little Havana or try Dasher & Crank— they have classic flavors as well as unusual ones like purple yam, lavender, and matcha.
FunDimension is 15,000 square feet of family fun. Eat, have craft beer or wine, then everyone can go nuts with bumper cars, laser tag, a kid’s playground, and much more. For more fun, take an airboat tour at Everglades Safari Park, play glow-in-the-dark Monster Mini Golf, or cool off in the pools, slides, and lazy river at Tidal Cove water park.
Tranquility Bay Beachfront Resort in Marathon celebrates the beauty of The Keys— and family— with a resort that invites relaxation. There are three pools, a beach, gorgeous lagoon, watersports, café, Tiki bar, Nicklaus Design putting green, beach volleyball, in-room spa services— and, of course, incredible sunsets.
In Key West, stay at Parrot Key Hotel & Villas, and enjoy beach games, four pools (one adults only), poolside dining, and watersport rentals and tours— all in a tropical garden setting. It’s just minutes from the famously fun-and-funky Duval Street.
Near Marathon, try breakfast or lunch at The Stuffed Pig and enjoy the wacky sculpture garden. At the Island Fish Co., you can sit overlooking the water, feed some fish, have a great meal, and savor a tropical cocktail.
Pepe’s Café & Steakhouse in Key West is one of those local hangouts that doesn’t look like much, but always draws a crowd. They serve American favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other local legends are Fisherman’s Café, and Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Pie Shoppe.
Marathon has so many incredible marine animal experiences it’s sure to be a winner with animal lovers. Take a guided tour of a real turtle hospital, swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center, and visit Aquarium Encounters where you can do amazing things like snorkel, feed a shark (safely), or simply enjoy the beauty of creatures you don’t often get to see.