Just One More Trip … 10 Back-to-School Family Getaways

Most of us have just a few short weeks before school starts again. After all the non-stop, unstructured family time over these past few months, a bit of routine is welcome again.

September and October are terrific travel months in terms of weather and crowds. Given that days off work and school — at least in early fall — are limited, a 2-3 night getaway is your best chance to work in a back-to-school vacation.

To help with inspiration, we went through the Ciao Bambino hotel portfolio in search of options that are easy-to-access, have great autumn weather and/or scenery, and provide big bang entertainment for all ages. Clearly, what’s convenient for someone living in Europe, is different from someone living in say, San Francisco, so we separated US and Europe options. Here’s the list:

United States Family Getaways

The Gant Aspen Colorado

The Gant Aspen | Aspen, Colorado

I’m a fall foliage fanatic and can think of few more spectacular visions than a grove of Aspen trees at their golden peak in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The Gant Aspen is a condo-style hotel in their namesake town with plenty to do on and off-site to keep families happy for days outside of ski season. Stay at The Gant from September 1 – November 22, 2011 and save 20% off your stay (offer expires October 31, 2011). Click here to get best pricing and availability.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa | Palm Springs, California

Room rates drop during the fall months in Palm Springs, California. It’s still plenty warm, however, for serious pool time. Families give the water play area at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa rave reviews. You can fly into the Palm Springs airport, or drive in from the LA area; if you choose the latter, a popular fall family activity includes a stop at Oak Glen for apple picking. Their Family Fun package includes connecting rooms, a $50 breakfast voucher, Splashtopia inner tubes and the $25 resort fee. Click here to check best pricing and availability.

The Charles Hotel | Cambridge, Massachusetts

Boston has a long list of year-round fun things to do with kids, although a favorite for time to visit for many families is over the fall months when the scenery is particularly stunning and seasonal activities like apple picking come into play. Kids are warmly welcomed at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge with pint-sized amenities and seasonal programs. The Smarty Pants package includes kids’ kid with books and toys, free kids’ breakfast, milk and cookies at bedtime, and a discount off connecting rooms. Click here to check best pricing and availability.

The Raleigh Hotel | Miami, Florida

Get that last beach vacation in before winter (and peak pricing) arrives with a fall trip to Florida. Miami is easy to reach from most US cities; families in Europe benefitting from the weak Dollar may find pricing even more attractive. We haven’t seen The Raleigh yet but our community gives it a glowing review. I must say, the photos alone communicate a fun vibe. If you can squeeze in a trip between now and September 30th, the 4th night is on them! Click here to check best pricing and availability.

Basin Harbor Club | Vergennes, Vermont

No fall getaway list is complete without including Vermont for the ultimate in leaf-peeping. The Basin Harbor Club is an old-school family resort with a long, long list of kid and adult-friendly activities. It’s perfect suited for multigenerational weekends that include grandparents. Although summer is the most popular period at this American-plan all-inclusive resort, scheduled events continue through their closing date at the end of October. Click here to check best pricing and availability.

Europe Family Getaways

Le Fleuray Hotel Loire Valley France

Le Fleuray Hotel | Loire Valley, France

I just spent 4 nights at Le Fleuray in the Loire Valley. Everything about this hotel is family-friendly, from the spacious rooms opening up to flat grass, to the fenced and heated pool, to the kids’ menu, to the central location for regional exploration. We spent the first part of each day sightseeing and the late afternoons by the pool. Perfect! Stay tuned for my summary of the best attractions for kids in the area on the CB blog. Best of all, pricing here if value-oriented with rates starting at just 78€ per night (meals excluded). Click here to check best pricing and availability.

Angleterre & Residence | Lausanne, Switzerland

The fall colors in and around Lausanne do not disappoint. In fact, the vision of the grape vines changing colors in the Lavaux vineyards over Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) is one that will stay with you forever. Although temperatures become quite crisp in November and may include snow, September and October are spectacular. The Angleterre & Residence is modern, comfortable, and best of all, located right on the Ouchy (Lausanne) waterfront near a fantastic playground and park. Like all things in Switzerland, this hotel is not inexpensive, but they do offer specials, including 50% off connecting children’s rooms. Click here to check pricing and availability.

Hotel Belvedere | Lake Como, Italy

One amazing tidbit about Lake Como is that it’s located just an hour North of Milan (via car or train), i.e. if you live in Europe or have just a few extra days to add onto an itinerary, Lake Como is a good candidate for a getaway and the weather in the fall is still pleasant. Once you are on the lake, the driving is slow and so is the ferry system depending on where you are going, but if you’re happy staying in one place, a short stay is doable. Hotel Belvedere is one of the early hotels in our portfolio and one of the few properties in this area with room for kids to roam (grass-covered space is in very short supply around Lake Como). Rooms are simple with pricing to match (hooray!), and they have a few configurations that support families. Click here to check pricing and availability.

Woolley Grange | Bradford-on-Avon, England

Woolley Grange, part of the Luxury Family Hotels brand, has been on my “list” for months now. Located outside Bath just a few-hours drive from London, this area qualifies as getaway-able. Anna Tobin wrote an additional post on the Ciao Bambino blog about her stay at this hotel … luxurious but not stuffy, 14 acres of grounds, adult and kid meal times? Sign me up! One never travels to the UK for weather so the fall is as good as any time. Click here to check pricing and availability.

Villa La Massa | Florence, Italy

Family-friendly and top notch luxury don’t always go hand-in-hand in Italy. That is, however, not the case at Villa La Massa outside of Florence. I was reminded just how stunning this property is during a recent visit to this award-winning family favorite. The expansive grounds means every age has a place to go for entertainment, the food is phenomenal, and the rooms are extremely spacious. Although Florence is still crowded in the fall, it’s less so than over the crazy and hot summer months. Plus the location outside of the city center means that the roads into Chianti for vine-peeping and wine tasting are within easy reach. Click here to check pricing and availability.

Relevant Links:

Favorite kid-friendly hotels from family travel bloggers around the web

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