It's that time of year to start figuring out what you are going to do for the holidays.  This year, shake things up a bit and do something adventurous.  Whether you invite the in-laws to go with you or just take your kids, celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah on vacation is so refreshing and stress-free!

A few years ago, my family celebrated Thanksgiving in Turks & Caicos.  It was so great to put together a list of items to pack as opposed to a list of food to buy to make The Meal. It was a great change of pace for all of us.  It was one of our favorite and most relaxing family vacations.  We stayed at The Turks & Caicos Club.  The hotel has been sold and rebranded as the Beach House.  It is a true boutique hotel on the beach with only 21 one and two-bedroom suites.  We were often the only people on one of the most beautiful beaches in the World.

Although we won't be traveling anywhere this holiday season (at least there are no plans in place as of today), there are many resorts waiting to roll out the red carpet for families like yours. 


Grand Del Mar ,, is on the Northern coast of San Diego.  It is one of the grandest hotels in the U.S.  Not only is it unbelievably beautiful, but it truly has something for everyone: golf, tennis, equestrian center, hiking and biking in the 4,100-acre Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, kids' club, kids' pool, the beach and a fabulous spa.  Nearby, you will find the World famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, LEGOLAND and a wonderful aquarium.  The food and wine is over the top.  If you are traveling with extended family, there are fabulous villas that you can rent for the whole family.  This would be a vacation for all to remember fondly for years to come.


The Cloister at Sea Island,, is an equally grand resort located on the other side of the mainland U.S. in Sea Island, Georgia.  Not only will you find a beautiful beach, pool, tennis, golf, squash, boating, hiking and biking, you and your children can attend one of the Nation's best shooting facilities.  Clay target shooting is a treasured tradition at Sea Island, and it has one of the finest shooting schools.  I love the Annie Oakley Shooting Hour specifically designed for women.  You won't find that anywhere else!  There is an astonishing range of culinary experiences, and I'm sure their turkey dinner is fabulous.


Blackberry Farm,  www.blackberryfarm.comis a place to truly unwind from your hectic life.  It is located on 4,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee.  The proprietor, Sam Beall, grew up at Blackberry Farm.  After attending the California Culinary Academy and apprenticing at The French Laundry, Sam returned home to take over Blackberry Farm from his parents.  He is a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement that has gripped foodies around the World.  Sam and his wife, Kreiss, are perfectionists, always striving to create the best leisure and culinary experience for their guests.  During the holidays, extra attention is paid to the children visiting the resort.  They can experience fly-fishing, hiking in the mountains, learning about working farms, attending to gardens and bee-keeping.  Guests can stay in one of the 58 guest rooms, including cottages and multi-bedroom homes - perfect for a family holiday.


Round Hill Hotel and Villas,,   is one of my favorite resorts in the Caribbean. It is one of the original resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica and relishes in its glamorous history.  In the 1950s, it was the celebrity playground.  Guests wore black tie to dinner (oh the agony on a hot night in Jamaica) and women wore heels to the beach.  There are a few guest rooms, but most of the resort consists of cottages and quite large homes.  Word has it that Fergie and Andrew met while vacationing at Round Hill.  Paul McCartney still goes there once a year with his kids.  A tradition that dates back to the 1970s.  I missed him once by one week!  I was so bummed.  After I returned from my trip, I was looking at pictures of him on my bar seat in People magazine.  Ralph Lauren has a home there and recently oversaw the interior design of the hotel's renovation.  There are more families than couples, and the resort provides nannies, so parents can relax a bit.  The infinity pool is beautiful, the people are so friendly, and you really do feel more glamorous than you are!

These resorts are just a sampling of the many wonderful places to spend the holidays with your family.  I could go on and on about my favorite places to send families.  Call me at 314-608-4553 or send me an email at so we can start rolling out the red carpet for your holiday vacation!

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Julie Jones