By Heather Isbill
Last year, I got married. However, this time, my second marriage was not just between my husband and me. We both have kids from our previous marriage, and there was no way we were starting our new lives without the kids. My husband and I were not the only people getting married that day; all of us were committing to each other and joining together as a family. It was only natural to us that we would take a ‘Familymoon’ rather than a Honeymoon. We wanted family travel experience that would build memories and create a bond between us for a lifetime to come.
Planning our Familymoon was definitely a family affair, and finding a venue that has flexible accommodations, and a range of activities suitable for everyone was important. Ideally, we wanted to find resorts with separate villas or adjoining suites, or connecting rooms so that we could experience privacy, romance, and togetherness.
Here are some California contenders that are perfect candidates for a Familymoon:
El Capitan Canyon
El Capitan Canyon provides an easy way for families to experience nature in upscale cabins surrounded by a beautiful forest. Situated in Santa Barbara, this getaway boasts cabins and tents that are surrounded by 3,500 acres of hiking trails and a state beach. During the summer months, you can ocean kayak or take a surfing lessons. All cabins have outdoor picnic tables, wireless Internet access and direct dial telephones in case you need to keep in touch while mooning. Cabins with fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, and sleeping lofts are also available. ElcapitanCanyon.com
Safari West is a 400-acre wildlife preserve in the heart of California’s wine country. You will be able to spot over 400 exotic mammals and birds, including zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, African antelope, and many other species. The resort offers luxurious safari tents and cabins. You can watch wildlife right from your deck. Guest tents have hardwood floors, heaters, full bathrooms, and spacious verandas. Two-bedroom cottages can accommodate up to eight guests. The cottage has a kitchenette and an outdoor sitting area. Even while you eat, you can be surrounded by wildlife – just ask for one of the custom made wooden tables on the veranda. If you prefer take-out, Delilah’s offers homemade sandwiches, salads, cheese, and fresh fruit. Be sure to pack your camera and binoculars – you will need both on this outdoor adventure. SafariWest.com
The LEGOLAND Hotel & LEGOLAND California
In San Diego, The new LEGOLAND Hotel offers plenty of fun for kids. The hotel has 250 colorful guest rooms themed after three of the famous LEGO toy lines: Adventurer, Pirate, and Kingdom. Guest rooms at LEGOLAND Hotel are designed with a separate sleeping area for kids. There are Interactive LEGO features through the hotel, play areas, a heated swimming pool, themed elevators, and a buffet restaurant that makes kids feel at home. The Skyline Bar serves fresh drinks and snacks with a view throughout the day. The atrium has a knight’s castle where kids can play on a 32-foot high pirate shipwreck and a river of Lego. LEGOLAND California Resort is a children’s theme park located just half an hour north of San Diego. With over 60 rides, performance shows and attractions, the resort is a fun destination for families. The resort houses the first LEGOLAND Water Park in the world, the Lego Legends Chima Water Park and the Sea Life Aquarium. California.Legoland.com
Located right next to Yosemite National Park in California, the Evergreen Lodge is an outdoor adventure getaway that provides a great base for exploring the northwestern corner of the park. This historic property offers a selection of guided activities, a program for kids and relaxing massages at the end of your active day. Guided outdoor activities include fly-fishing, biking, touring, hiking, rafting, snowshoeing, geocaching and more. The hotel provides rentals, such as mountain bikes, GPS units, snowshoe’s, and trekking poles. If you want to go swimming or play tennis, visit the adjacent Camp Mather, which offers a spring-fed lake with lifeguard on duty during the day, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and acres of lawn for picnicking and sunbathing. The property offers a selection of Yosemite cabins of different sizes, surrounded by 15 acres of tall pines. All cabins have private bathrooms, decks, heat, and fans. There are no phones and television to help you disconnect with the world, and reconnect with each other and nature. There are, however, complimentary Internet terminals in the Recreation Building and a TV in the Main Lodge. The restaurant offers three meals daily. Guests can dine in the dining room, at the bar, and in the outdoor beer garden. In the evenings, the hotel offers a diverse selection of programs, such as movies, slide shows, live music, and guest lectures. EverGreenLodge.com