Family Reunions and Multi-Family Vacations

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi all,

    We are planning a large family reunion that would probably be 40-45 people coming from all over the U.S. but would need to be somewhere easily drivable from the Bay Area (Oakland and Davis) where the oldest members of the family live. Looking for a resort or something similar that is affordable, with a good large communal space as well as either kitchen facilities or a restaurant on site, and that feels like a getaway. Whenever I search for these amenities I come up with yucky conference centers that look like airport Hiltons in places like Vallejo. I've thought about vacation homes at the Russian River or similar, but it would be too hard to do communal meals or other activities for this big a group at private homes. Any suggestions? 

    Depends on what you define as affordable...

    I'd look for a house that is 4000+ sqft with generous common spaces, to be the "host" house in order to have meals together and house some of the people.  You could have some or all of the meals catered if no one wants to cook for 40+. Otherwise it seems like you can make reservations at larger restaurants for 40+.

    Maybe this could be useful, I have not been but dream of going :-)

    I would also look at wedding venues, that might give you better results. On that note, I can recommend the Highland Dell Hotel in Monte Rio (by the Russian River). You could rent out the whole hotel and they have a communal hall as well. And then add some airbnbs in the area. 

    The Union Hotel in Occidental also has several guest houses and you could do a large dinner at the restaurant. No experience using them, but the houses are gorgeous. 

    Depending how far away you’re willing to go, I recommend Oz Farm. Some of it is pretty rustic, but it’s an incredible location and experience. Our friends had a very inexpensive wedding here a few years ago and everyone stayed on the premises for 2 nights. Very affordable for a group of that size!

    Another friend threw a 30th birthday several years ago in Healdsburg at a big 13,00 acre ranch with housing accommodations for 39 plus areas for tents for those that like camping. There are 3 properties right near each other on the ranch (main house, guest house and carriage house) on which we're staying, with a total of 14 bedrooms, and 39 bed spots.  Many of the beds are in a room with other beds. They had meals catered and also did some cooking of their own. I believe it worked out to be about $200/person for the 2 nights all in. Not sure how much of it was subsidized by the birthday boy. 

    We've done smaller multi-family trips (15-20) a few times, though typically in multiple houses or condos. The keys have been having larger communal areas (e.g., a pool due to the range of ages, a bigger kitchen) as well as enough private space. The most choices we found were via VRBO in Napa and Sonoma, since there are rentals that cater to wedding parties. With your size group, the house could be the focal point and others would have a range of hotel choices.

    For other family trips, Bodega Bay and Angels Camp both had multiple reasonably priced rentals in developments with a shared pool. Each city is a reasonable drive from Oakland/Davis, but there were fewer nearby activities if you're planning more than a long weekend.

    We had a 50+ person family reunion (ages 1-90) this summer at Asilomar (near Monterey) and it was pretty good. I don't know the price because my parents covered it, but they're usually pretty price-conscious. It has nice old buildings (many designed by Julia Morgan), so it feels more like a resort than a conference center. Everyone was housed in buildings near each other and we ate together in the dining hall (food just okay, not spectacular, but no cooking or cleanup - yay!). We rented a meeting room for one day, but other days we met up in the fire pit area or the lobby of the main building (which has a great woodsy lodge-like atmosphere) or other community spaces. The beach is right there, the aquarium is nearby, lots of room for kids to run around, board games to borrow, etc.; it felt like a real vacation. They had an on-call shuttle to help older family members get around the property, which was super helpful. We also considered Leonard Lake Reserve (, if Ukiah's not too far away. They have 4 houses you can rent as a group and came recommended by Sunset Magazine.

    I might checkout Costanoa near Pescadero: They have a few different options from camping to cabins to a lodge - onsite restaurant and lots of activities for everyone. Really beautiful area too. Not sure if this is your style but worth a look!

    What about renting a few houses up at Sea Ranch and designating one of them as the homebase? There are all different sizes of houses at Sea Ranch  and prices for every budget, and you'd all be within a few minutes drive of each other in the worst case. There is a restaurant with a nice lounge overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Sea Ranch proper, and there are also a bunch of restaurants in nearby Gualala that could accommodate a group your size, everything from pretty good take-out pizza, to cute waterside dining at Trinks, to a whimsical fancy dinner and/or cocktails at St. Orres. There is also a fantastic market in Gualala called Surf Market that has pretty darn good prepared food and sandwiches not to mention fresh local seafood to take home and cook. We've stayed several times at a particular 4BR house at Sea Ranch that could work as a home base - beautiful large open cook's kitchen with a livingroom & fireplace, plus a giant separate den, plus outside seating on the deck around the hot tub.  I always use for Sea Ranch - they manage a lot of rentals there and have an office in Gualala, so if something goes wrong, there is someone local to help you. 

    Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove (just past Monterey). It is a campus of lodging buildings, conference rooms, a social hall, and a dining hall set just inland from Asilomar State Beach. Sand dunes with a boardwalk separate the grounds from the beach; it's maybe 1/4 mile to the beach. The dining hall serves 3 meals a day. The social hall has a big fireplace, pool tables, and board games. The grounds are gorgeous and you will likely see deer wandering around sometime during your stay. Since it is set up for conferences of hundreds of people, handling 50 will be easy-peasy for them. The only issue is that you may have to schedule around any larger conferences. Many of the lodging buildings have common rooms, often with a fireplace. There are a variety of reservable spaces if you need something more private than the social hall or common areas. Oh, there's an outdoor firepit, too. They have some handicap accessible rooms (I took my mom there when she was 89 and using a wheelchair).

    And of course Monterey is beautiful and has a ton of things to do, including the aquarium.

    I can only think of one spot with interesting architecture, event space, and rooms. Berkeley City Club.

    You may want to search wedding venues to see if something in that category works. Or you may want to find event spaces and rooms in buildings near one another. Maybe look for a hotel near a college campus or a hotel near a park. 

    I haven’t been, but this place looks great:

    holds a lot of people and is somewhat reasonable. 

    Take a look at Sequoia Lodge, Leona Lodge, Brazilian Room, Heather Farms, and Lafayette Veterans Memorial.
    Closer to Davis you might want to look at Ryde Hotel or Delta Diamond Event Center. 
    Half Moon Bay has resorts
    Have you looked at any of the wineries.


    It may be a bit too far for your needs, but we just stayed at Asilomar in Monterey and it was really lovely. 

    I don't know if it would be too far to go, but take a look at Andril Fireplace Cottages.  They have one and two bedroom cottages, but they also have 2 large houses that can serve as "home base."  We stayed in "Rancho Reposo"  which had 5 bedrooms, some having multiple beds, full kitchen, nice sized front and back yards, and a large living room with a big sectional and fireplace.  Those who wanted more privacy rented cottages.  Bonus is the location: right across the street from Asilomar, so you get beach access and can go to their cafes, but lodging is lower cost.  Better than renting private houses because you have maid service, free continental breakfast in the office, a hot tub, and nice common areas.

  • My parents are coming to visit us in August and I am trying to come up with ideas for Bay Area day trips or a short 1-2 night stay within a 3 hour drive from Berkeley that would be fun to do with the grandparents and an 8 year old.

    My 80 year-old father has limited mobility due to neuropathy. He has trouble with stairs but can walk short distances with a cane. During their most recent visit we all went to Monterey for a few days and managed to convince him to use a wheelchair while we were at the Aquarium, which worked very well for all involved.

    I’d love recommendations for attractions that have wheelchairs available and hotels with accessible rooms and a pool.


    If you're up for another trip to the Monterey area, we had a family reunion at Asilomar a few years ago. It worked well for kids and an adult with mobility limitations. Asilomar even has a beach wheelchair for guests to borrow. Come to think of it, many of the beaches in the State Parks system have beach wheelchairs.

    For day trips... a lot of museums and other venues have loaner wheelchairs for guests who have trouble walking/standing for extended periods of time. Check the accessibility info on their websites. Maybe a ferry ride + pedicab + loaner wheelchair for an outing to the Exploratorium? Depending on your budget and your dad's comfort level, you might also get a walker with built-in seating (search term "rollator" on Amazon or Craigslist). After much coaxing, we're finally getting my dad to use one.


    I did a family vacation with my 89-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother to Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. They have accessible rooms (you'll have to call, as the online reservation system wasn't specific enough) and an accessible pool, and they lend beach wheelchairs to take to Asilomar State Beach (a short walk away). I have great pictures of my mom on the beach for the first time in 20 years. The grounds are gorgeous, there's a social hall with pool, puzzles and games, and a big fireplace, a dining hall that serves 3 meals a day (for an added cost), and a boardwalk on the adjacent sand dunes. The only downside I see is that you already did Monterey, and this is right nextdoor, so you may feel you have been-there-done-that.

    What about a house rental in Sea Ranch? Many are one level and have lovely decks and views of fields and ocean. Guests can access the community pools. You may need to investigate which paths are wheelchair friendly and it may feel tricky to not have your dad able to get into beaches (though some may be possible? But it’s inherently uneven terrain). But I think it’s a nice enough spot that sitting around and looking at the view while playing cards or doing a puzzle is also a good vacation. Biking, walking, beach, kayaking are all possible as well for the rest of you. 

    Redwoods River Resort is a “glamping” resort in Mendocino county right on the Eel River and it’s fabulous. About 2 hrs north on 101 from the Bay Area and nestled among the redwoods.  They have cabins and lodge rooms as well as camping options. There have a pool, bocce ball court, playground, ping pong, giant Jenga, a little pub with great food and drink and of course the river.  There’s also a mystery spot across the road and plenty of hiking trails. Something for everyone, highly recommend it!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Places for a small family gathering w/teens

November 2006

My 80 year old mother would like to take myself, partner and son(16) along with my sister and her family ( 2 kids - 19 and 22yo) away. We are open to ideas but are thinkng of no more than a week. We are thinking of going in early summer. Does anyone have any ideas of places that would have things to do for varying ages. Some ideas were going to Cape Cod for a long weekend, renting a house in Tuscany ( might be too long a trip), Victoria?, etc. Has anyone been away with extended family with teens and young adults. Any suggestions? anonymous

Hi-- We had a lovely family gathering in Carmel. There are many rentals available. It's a nice quiet town if you like natural beauty, walking on the beach, shopping, eating, and art galleries. Sometimes there's theater.

We are also looking into a family reunion week in Santa Cruz. At (sleeps 8) there's a rental house across the street from a small beach (view from deck, plenty of parking, fairly quiet neighborhood). Santa Cruz has a great bus system, a hopping downtown, the university, and might be a great place for teens to go around on their own a little. In the summer the Boardwalk is open late, which has world-class roller coasters. There is music every night, often headliners and festivals. There are surfing camps every week.

We have also vacationed in Oceanside (northern San Diego county) in the summer. It was formerly a grungy military town with a great beach, a pier, and great waves for boogie boarding. Now it's gone all chi-chi: there's a Starbucks, a chocolate store, a multiplex, restaurants. There are still Marines, T shirt shops & surf shops all over. Two good malls in nearby Carlsbad. Lots of rental houses, some with views. About 30 minutes south to San Diego (Zoo, Marine World, Wild Animal Park, Old Town, Balboa Island with its roller coaster, La Jolla with its excellent snorkeling) or 60 minutes north to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm/Waterslides. (LA and Hollywood are about 2 hours north.) There is a lot of activity on the beach at night-- family parties, bonfires-- but it still feels safe and we let our teens go out at night (with a curfew). In Southern California the ocean is warm enough that you don't need a wetsuit have fun

A friend at work came in raving about her extended family vacation in Yosemite. The family included all ages. She said that the shuttles enabled all ages to have some freedom. I think they stayed at Yosemite Village. It may not be exotic but they all had a great time teen mom

I know a wonderful family travel specialist who can put together a fabulous vacation for your family and insure that all age groups will be happy. She is in Florida and works extremely well via email and the telephone. she is extremely reliable and attentive. Her name is Lauren Goldenberg of The Family Traveler. She can be reached at: thefamilytraveler[at] or 904-819-9711 and 866-326-8728. She is my cousin. If you chose to check out her services, tell her Martha sent you! Good luck martha

Half-way vacation spot for SF and Seattle families

October 2006

My brother and his family live in Seattle. We live in San Mateo. We thought it would be a great idea to find a fun vacation in between the 2, to limit traveling time and cost for each family. Camping would be great, or a family resort type of place. Another factor would be low-cost. Our kids range in age from 2 - 7. Does anyone know anything that would be sort of in the middle? Thanks! Katie

Replies received (click to see full review)

  • Bend Oregon is a nice spot between Seattle and SF ...
  • The Oregon Coast offers tons of great places to vacation!
  • We find plenty to do in Eugene ...

    Christmas break getaway with my parents and sister

    Sept 2005

    My sister and her boyfriend have just moved to Oakland, so my mother and stepfather want to come out here for the Christmas break. Neither of us have places big enough to accommodate the holiday, and we thought it would be nice to get out of town. We would like to rent a house or condo within driving distance of Oakland, for 6 adults and 1 toddler, preferably with hiking, walking, shopping and a pool, if at all possible. I want to go to Carmel or Big Sur, but my husband is worried about fog and rain that time of year. He wants to go skiing but no one else does(except my sister's boyfriend, who doesn't get a vote yet, since it's his first Christmas with this crew). Any recommendations? Thanks. Andrea andrea

    We've done extended family rentals for long weekends in Santa Cruz and in the Russian River area. The Russian River is great... not too long a drive to the coast which is even pretty in the rain, plus lots of great wine tasting.
    Fog is an issue at Carmel & Big Sur only during the summertime. Rain will be an issue during December. If you want hiking & a pool, then it sounds like you want someplace that would have some decent weather. Try Palm Springs, San Diego, or places in Southern California.

    East Coast/West Coast Family Gathering

    March 2005

    My mother-in-law is turning 70 this November and we are talking about having a family gathering to celebrate. The issue is logistics and where to go for a celebration. We (my husband, our daughter, who will be 7 at the time) live in the Bay Area, my in-laws live in NY, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and nieces live in NY, and my other brother-in-law lives in Miami. My husband and I would ideally like to be able to come up with a location that would make traveling easy on everyone. The gathering will be just for a long weekend (e.g., Friday, Saturday, Sunday) due to school/work for my husband, me, and our daughter. We would so appreciate any suggestions. We're looking at the first weekend in November. Resorts, national park areas, and any other type of place that would be able to accommodate both the adults and our then 7 year old would be great. Thanks! Lori

    My family and friends and I face this problem often being very spread out. Because you are all spread out to where nearly anyone or all would have to get on a plane, I suggest traveling to a hub area so that everyone at least has direct flights. For example, you can fly from Oakland to NY on Jet Blue and I believe from NY to Miami directly. So, you could do something in the NY area at a resort somewhere. Other hubs would be Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta. Personally, I think Chicago might be too cold. Dallas and Atlanta would probably offer some cheaper options, but they are located in red states, which might be a problem for you.

    Also, given that it's your mother-in-law's birthday, maybe you should ask where she'd like to go.

    That said, you could rent a nice, large place on the beach in New Jersey or Cape May in Delaware or Rehoboth, DE. I used to live in DC and my friends and I used to rent houses for Thanksgiving on the beach out there. Great location and cheap off season rents and all not too far from NY. long distance weekender

    Berkeley meets Club Med Family Holiday Place?

    Oct 2004

    My extended family is looking for a place to spend the holidays; between 3 couples our children range from 1-3 yrs old. We'd love a place that has a range of activities, wholesome food, and perhaps even some childcare. Either in or close to California is preferable. Southwest and Mexico might also work. We all like organic and healthy food. we're physically active; like to swim, run, hike. No Disney land type of place/something more restive and nature oriented geared towards families and offering food and group activities on site. rachel Replies received: (click for full review)

  • I highly recommend the Club Med at Ixtapa ...
  • Alisal Ranch near Santa Barbara is a beautiful and restful place ...

    Small Family Reunion with our Parents

    Sept. 2004

    My parents are turning 60 next year and to celebrate, they want to take a vacation with their children and grandchildren. Since they are on the east coast, they have suggested we rent a house together for a week at the Jersey shore. I\x92m not sure my oldest brother can handle being in the same house with my folks for a week but he\x92s willing to consider it. Being in the same house may prove impossible as there are 4 siblings with spouses and 7 grandchildren ranging from newborn to age 17. I\x92d like to come up with a few other options for my parents to consider. Can anyone recommend a good place to have a small family reunion? It can be anywhere in the country (including the Jersey shore) as we live on both coasts. We don\x92t all have to stay in the same house (although we can \x96 my bro can try growing up a bit) \x96 cottages would be fine. A resort would be less preferable unless it was really unusual \x96 like Mohonk in upstate NY (which is my first choice). On or very near an ocean or lake necessary. Relatively easy access from a major airport (2-3 hours drive max) preferred. Someplace the adults and kids will love to stay for 5 days I\x92ve reviewed the archives but couldn\x92t find what I was looking for. What do you suggest? shari


  • Kapoho, Big Island, Hawaii
  • Russian River

    Other advice:

    Consider Atlantic City. We had a similar family get-together there a few years ago, and everyone had a great time. We stayed in hotel suites on the boardwalk (jogging, biking, strolling, pedi-cabs); we were steps from the beach and everything else Atlantic City has to offer (casinos, arcades, amusement parks and junk food galore). The hotel included breakfast, and it had a pool. It's relatively convenient to the Philadelphia airport (and possibly New York airports as well). robin

    Check out Travel & Leisure Family magazine's Top 25 Places for Family Reunions. It's from 2001 but looks like a good place to start. Find it at Rachel
    Why not think about a cruise? My family does a trip every other year, and the cruise was by far the best. I was surprised at how well it worked for our 15 family members, aged 7 months to 70. The kids had the run of the ship (and kids club) and stayed in touch with walkie talkies. Princess cruises had a great kids program. We could all do our own thing during the day, but yet got back together for meals, to play chess, shuffleboard, or enjoy the onboard entertainment. The space was confined enough that we constantly ran into each other. We went to Alaska, but lots of options exist. Cruises can be expensive, but they are currently a great value because of overcapacity in the industry. Susan

    Family reunion location in Sacto

    March 2004

    My family is having a family reunion this summer (or there abouts) and the first step for me is to find the location. Maybe I am not thinking about this fully, but I have no idea on where to start or where to look for. If you have an ideal place or criteria I should be looking for, please let me know. Some items that may be helpful: Many live in Woodland, CA Number of attendees will reach 80-100 I think we would like to bring our own food/drinks Obviously, there will be many kids Thank you- Paul

    We had one at UC Davis. They have a good swimming pool for the kids, and other stuff for them to do. We ate their food, but you may be able to bring in your own. We all stayed in one dorm, with a big common room with a piano in it. anon

    Summer trip in a beautiful natural setting

    April 2004

    Can anyone recommend a summer getaway destination for a trip with extended family? We'd like to be in a beautiful natural setting like the ocean or the mountains, with something of appeal for ages (we'll be 11 adults and 4 kids, ages 3-80). We've generally gone to Tuolumne Family Camp and Asilomar in Monterey, but we want to try something new. We'd need be able to get there in a car from N. and So. California, and we're okay with cooking ourselves or eating in a dining hall; solely eating out is not an option. (I checked the family reunions section of the web site, but I'm looking for any other suggestions folks have enjoyed.) Thank you for your suggestions. Melissa


  • Manchester Beach KOA near Mendocino
  • Sea Ranch

    Resort or high-end family camp?

    Feb 2004

    I am looking for vacation ideas for an extended family that includes four children ages 2 through 8. Ideally, it would be an resort within driving distance to the Bay Area that has a child care/camp as part of the program so that the adults can do some adult things some of the time. My mother-in-law vetoes cruises, beaches, or camping. We\x92ve thought about renting a house, but we really don\x92t want to do dishes or make the beds. Are there any high-end family camps out there? Club Med-type resorts in California? Helena

    Try Montecito-Sequoia which is in Kings Canyon Nat'l Park - they bill themselves as ''Club Med in the Mountains.'' It's totally gorgeous, and there are activities for babies through grandparents. There are literally a dozen things to choose from every day. You can either stay in a rustic cabin or a more hotelish lodge room. The food is excellent. You need to book early though - many families rebook every year as they leave. 4-time Veterans
    The Hyatt Resort in Lake Tahoe has a kids camp during busier vacation times in the year. It can be a pricey place to stay but it is very gorgeous with it's own beach (with food and drink service), a few restaurants and a casino. I hire a nanny service when I go there for an evening out (Neta's Nannies). We bought a timeshare at the Hyatt a few years ago and have found it very enjoyable with our 2 girls (2.5 & 5). You can rent out the timeshare condos, but it doesn't include the hotel services, they will accomodate 8 people. The hotel has had a major renovation the past few years and will have an oasis type pool with a spa overlook this spring. Look the Hyatt up on their website (, it might be what you are looking for. Kerri Langbehn
    You could look into the Montecito Sequoia family vacation camp. Part of my family went there for a reunion a few years ago, and had a great time. It's a beautiful area. I would not call it high-end, but you sleep indoors (motel-style rooms), they provide meals (in a large dining room), and they have activities for kids (divided into age groups). Lisa

    Inexpensive comfortable place for a reunion

    Nov 2003

    We're planning a big family reunion for my partner's family next summer in California. There may be as many as 13 adults and 4 kids. I guess we'll need 2-3 houses or one very large place, for a week. Any recommendations? We're open to coastal, woodland or wine country...Money is an issue, so no fancy recommendations needed. We just want a clean, comfortable place nearby walks, water, a couple of restaurants, etc... any suggestions? corey

    Try Sea Ranch. There are a lot of rental houses up there within walking distance of the beach. Great trails. It's close to the town of Gualala. About an hour from Bodega Bay and an hour from Mendocino. Beach Rentals in Gualala handles a lot of the rental properties. Sara
    My husband's family has a really fun cabin in the Northstar resort area between Truckee and Lake Tahoe. We often go up for the weekend and our son (3years) LOVES it. It holds a lot of people which can make a stay there very resonable. Here is the ad they placed with the Sierra club:

    Family-friendly Northstar-at-Tahoe home: 4 bdrms/ 2 bath, sleeps up to 14, hot tub, deck. Free shuttle to ski hill, Rec Center, village shops/restaurants. Across the street from hiking/X-country trails. $250/night, plus cleaning fee. Email: Laurenhp AT

    Large Reunion in the Bay Area

    Sept 2003

    I have been asked by my family (almost all of whom are outside California) to plan a family reunion for my grandmother's 80th birthday, somewhere in the greater Bay Area, most likely in Marin or Sonoma counties (but anywhere within driving distance would be fine). We would need about 20 - 30 sleeping rooms, somewhere for people to gather during the day, and access to a restaurant or catering for large group dinners. The room rate is going to need to be under about $135/night. I'm open to a wide range of kinds of venues, from hotels to bungalows or cabins to resorts. Rustic is okay as long as the rooms are accessible for elderly guests and it's reasonably tasteful. Something on a town square in Napa or Sonoma would be perfect. Does anyone have any recommendations? I have read the recommendations on the website but these are either booked already or don't work for our dates. Thanks so much. jen

    Look into Mountain Home Ranch in the hills/mtns. above Calistoga off the road to Santa Rosa (Petrified Forest Road?). The family owned and run collection of cabins has two swimming pools, a small lawn area, hiking, and a communal dining area outside. It's rustic, they provide breakfast only, you'd have to bring in caterers. It's a FABULOUS place for families, provided they are not expecting treatment of a Four Seasons'. Triple J ranch is right there also. Have fun- christina
    white sulpher springs resort in st. helena! we got married there. they have cottages (which might be above your cost - havn't been in a few years) but also a variety of bunkhouses etc. that are more affordable. there is a swimming pool and hot tub, as well as hot springs and a spa with massages etc. also a meadow for lawn games, etc. and a redwood grove. continental breakfast in the morning, etc. sara
    Try Westerbeke Conference Center in Sonoma. I just went to a lovely wedding there. They have little cottages you can stay in on a pretty wooded hillside. They have catering staff there and the food was wonderful. There is also a pool and some nice gathering areas. roxanne
    The location isn't where you were thinking but it might be just as fun. Have you heard of costanao in pescadero? they have a lodge, nice pitched tents and pitch your sites so there is a room for all kinds of budgets. Check it out Juliette

    Warm place for February Reunion

    July 2003

    Can you help me? I looked in the archives but didn't really find what I need. I'm trying to plan a family reunion/vacation for February, within easy drive or flight from LA. There will be 5 kids under the age of 9 so we want sand and/or pools, plus my sister who doesn't have children who wants charm/antiques/art. Plus we want the best chances of warm sunny weather. I know, it's a big wish list. Any suggestions? My current thoughts are Santa Catalina Island or Laguna Beach or Oceanside. We would like to stay in a big house (6 bedrooms!) or 2 condos that are in the same complex. Any ideas on these (or other) towns, and house/condo rentals? Thanks so much! Judy

    I don't know of specific places with great condos, but Catalina Island and Laguna Beach are very nices places to visit. I don't know Ocean side very well. Have you considered Santa Barbara? Thats a wonderful place for families with or without kids. Antique stores too! And the weather will probably be very similar.

    Being that I'm from L.A. I can tell you that even though the weather is warmer, sunnier and drier in southern California, February is the rainy season down there. Of course some years have had very light to non exisistent rain. Last season they had a drought. But a few seasons before that, they were drenched in rain from El Nino. The temperatures along the coast will most likely be pleasant to very cool with sunny or cloudy days. And be prepared for a little bit of rain.The weather in all of California can be unpredictable. February might be really cold. And then there could be quite a few days of hot weather. But in general, Southern Cal is drier than North Cal during the winter, with Feb being the rainiest month for both. Laurey

    Have you considered Santa Monica? It has lots of shops, antiques, art, and a big long beach including the Santa Monica Pier and old Carousel. Right next to that is Venice Beach which has some really nice stores near by on Main street as well as a fun beach with lots of interesting street activities and people watching along the walkway. These would be your closest options. Another option would be Ventura and the surrounding beach. It is a smaller town but has some of the architectural feel of Santa Barbara and has some nice little shops with antiques. Look it up on the web. Laurey
    Palm Springs is a great vacation in February. Warm pool weather and in town you can walk every where well into the evening with the kids - including ice cream, kid friendly restaurants and the like. You can also take a day trip to Joshua Tree. anon

    Multi-family Vacation Rental

    Aug 2001

    I'm a member of a group of 5 families (9 adults and 9 kids) who are planning a weekend away together in early October. We want to rent either one very large house or a group of smaller houses adjacent to one another somewhere within 2-3 hours of the East Bay, e.g., somewhere between Monterey County and Sonoma County or Mendocino County. We would like to be near water--either the beach or other natural body of water. Does anyone have any recommendations for places to stay that can house this many people? (A youth hostel won't work b/c they close up during the day and a couple of the families have young children who need to nap during the day.) Thanks for any ideas. Cathy

    Try Sea Ranch, just over the Mendocino border right on the Pacific ocean... (see Recommendations for Sea ranch )
    We spent some time in the Ft Ross/Jenner area which is about 2 hours from Oakland. (See Jenner & Ft. Ross for the rest of this review.)
    In July we took at group of 4 families total 15 people between the ages 6 months and 70 years to Pajaro Dunes .... (See Pajaro Dunes for this review.)

    Good Spot for a Family Reunion


    I think White Sulphur Springs nr St Helena would be great. It's a rustic resort (unless that's an oxymoron). Deborah

    You should check out White Sulphur Springs Resort in St. Helena. Beautiful spot. Could be perfect for you. Sarah
    My husband's family has an annual family reunion. The past 3 years have been held in SunRiver Resort, Oregon. The house can hold 25-30 people, has 7 rooms (one room has 5 twin beds!), 4 bathrooms, pool table, large deck, bicycles, and spa. Usually, three homes are rented for the reunion, but the main house can accommodate everyone for dinner.

    Other years we've stayed at NorthStar, Lake Tahoe. Again, there is always a main house where everyone can sit down for dinner. Number of additional houses rented all depends on how many people can make it to the reunion. Both these places are located in a resort area, so people can make use of the community pool and/or rec area included in the price of the rental. Also, the resorts chosen are somewhat centrally located, so people can have an opportunity to do other things, like shop or hike, etc.

    To find out more about this type of accommodations, you will need to go through a realtor in that area to find just what you are looking for. Book early if you can. Mitzi

    We recently had a family reunion (10 adults & 7 kids) at Berkeley Toulumne Camp, just 7 miles from Yosemite and right on the Toulumne River. Although it is quite expensive when you add up the tab for so many people, meals are provided so it's very nice that you never have to cook and your family can still all sit together at meals (at 2 tables). Also there are plenty of activities for the kids (and some for adults too) including periods of free childcare (depending on the kids' ages). You do stay in tent cabins, so it may not be the level of comfort you're looking for, but each family has their own cabin and we were able to get them close to each other. The camp is administered by the City of Berkeley Rec Dept. Randi