7. The Tyler Place Family Resort, Highgate Springs, VT
Picture summer camp with children and grown-ups each doing their own thing most of the time and you've grasped the concept for the all-inclusive Tyler Place Family Resort. Operated by the Tyler family since its inception in 1933, the resort automatically enrolls kids in camp with activities targeted to their ages. Toddlers, for instance, may look for radishes in the garden while preschoolers explore the meadow for feathers and pine cones. While their kids are in camp, parents can take painting classes, learn archery, practice yoga, and much more. Parents and children meet up after lunch for organized activities, such as nature walks and pontoon boat rides, or on-their-own family fun, such as mini golf and basketball.
At night, parents dine alone or as part of a group in the adults-only restaurant. While Tyler Place's structure of separate meals and activities doesn't work for every family, Tasney Tyler Otis, director of children's programs, says, "Parents who return year after year tell us the independence their kids have at the resort reminds them of their own childhood summers."
Set on 165 acres on Lake Champlain, the accommodations are charming, as long as you like rustic; 36 family suites and 30 family cottages, featuring two or more bedrooms, offer microwaves and refrigerators
Kids' camp in the mornings and evenings from late May to early September; private babysitting with screened sitters; indoor and outdoor pools, both staffed by lifeguards and featuring slides; craft studio
After-dinner entertainment such as a jazz band and dancing; healthy buffet-style meals; champagne cruises
- Breaks down its camp for infants to 15-year-olds into nine age groups, the most in our survey, and hires only counselors who have completed at least two years of college; the ratio of counselors to kids ranges from one for every two infants to one for every 10 teens
- Has a table with snacks and toys in the lobby area to occupy children while their parents check in; during peak season, guests are generally required to arrive and check out on Saturdays
- Allows families to bring one of their children's friends, between ages 6 and 15, for free from September 2 to 9, provided the friend is in the same age group as one of the kids in the family