It’s happening! With optimism in our hearts and travel plans on our minds, many Seattle families are first and foremost thinking of a family reunion with loved ones we haven’t been able to see. These fabulous travel destinations will welcome your extended family with open arms—as you’ve been wanting to do for months. Here’s where to get the band back together!

Western-Style Outdoor Adventures: Brasada Ranch, OR

The stunning drive that leads to Brasada Ranch is just a prelude to the gorgeous scenery surrounding the property at every angle, with the Three Sisters watching over the ranch from afar. For families who want to grab the bull by the horns, this is your place. Boasting more activities than a cruise ship, Brasada Ranch has brilliantly transformed its event space into family fun space. The aptly named The Barn event center can be transformed into a Family Movie Night hangout space. The Range, Brasada’s farm-to-table restaurant and sunset cocktail-sipping hot spot, is also home to group star gazing nights with an astronomer on hand to guide Littles through the galaxy. Brasada Afterschool program includes science classes, hikes, crafts, archery and more.

This summer Cowboy Cookouts arrive so get your tiny dogies ready! They get to dress, walk and talk like a real western wrangler. Lassos, pony rides and of course s’mores fill out the program. The resort has something to fill up every minute of the day. Jump in the pool with the kiddos, slide down the slides and soak in the hot tub while taking in the view of the Cascades. Or hop over to the adult pool for some chill time. Expert trail hands lead the group horseback rides–we highly recommend the s’mores and hot chocolate ride. Enjoy tennis, pickle ball, golf, hiking, a full fitness club and spa and an outdoor Peloton Studio with mountain views. Sometimes the best times are to be had back at your cabin. These three- and four-bedroom abodes are fantastic for groups since the main room can be sectioned off. Reserve the cabins with jacuzzis and order customized ranch platters to barbecue dinner on your deck.

Gather the Gang: Ask for Brasada Ranch’s signature scavenger hunts to navigate the property for a prize. Your group can also enjoy customized experiences such as Family Olympics on the lawn, or an organized river rafting excursion.

Your Home Away From Home: Iron Springs Resort

Iron Springs Resort in Copalis Beach is the type of place where families return year after year, with the sandy shore as their playground and sunsets on the Pacific as evening entertainment. Owned by a family who used to be annual guests, they have lovingly restored the cabins and stocked them to the gills with local and found art, and one-of-a-kind, colorful recliners for reading and gazing at the sea. The kitchens also come loaded with all the accoutrements you need to make vacay snacks a snap. Iron Springs cabins are like a second home your family shares, time-tested and comforting, a place you don’t want to leave. All the cabins have sweeping views, large, stone fireplaces and endless supplies of wood. Peek in the freezer for a fun surprise—each guest receives cinnamon rolls to pop in the oven. It’s a resort tradition. Larger groups should book adjoining cabins; this allows the kids a place to sleep or play, doors shut, while the adults gather to reminisce and toast.

Copalis Beach is all the fun your family will need—razor clams, tide pools, tag games and long strolls. Iron Springs Resort welcomes dogs, as does the beach--so bring your four-legged friends. There are hiking trails nearby and puzzles, books and games for rainy days. For some fine dining, reserve a table at Ocean Crest, just ten minutes away, for exquisite cuisine that matches the view.

Gather the Gang: Go fly a kite! Plan your Iron Springs Resort trip around the Grays Harbor Festival of Colors June 4–6, 2021. Don’t worry if you miss it—the kids can fly a kite in Ocean Shores 365 days a year due to ideal wind conditions.

photo: Natalie Compagno

Water & Whimsy: Heathman Hotel

Kirkland is a walkable town nestled on the shores of Lake Washington. This waterfront community impresses visitors with the number of boutiques, cafes and parks packed into its quaint streets. The Heathman Hotel Kirkland is the place to post up with your entourage. Check into a Prelude King or a suite so your kiddos can sleep on a pull out by the fireplace. The suites resemble city penthouse apartments—your group will feel like rock stars. Sit outside on the patio and enjoy dinner at Hearth and savor stone fired pizzas and classic Northwest comfort food. Every entrée is delicious, but we recommend the Miso Roasted Pacific Cod with a Smoldering Rye Manhattan. Littles will fight over who gets to break the bubble and release the smoke on this dramatic craft cocktail. The kids’ menu is excellent, with great portions and a cute coloring page for entertainment.

Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast at nearby George’s. Established in 1976, it is the longest family owned and operated restaurant in the heart of Kirkland. Ice cream sundae for breakfast anyone? Work off breakfast with a visit to North Kirkland Community Center Park. This space-themed playground is a total blast with an accessible swing set, barbecues and picnic tables. Don’t forget to book your tee time! Family-friendly Flatstick Pub has a challenging but fun 9-hole mini golf course. Multiple ways to attempt that hole-in-one make it fun for all ages. The beer is pretty tasty too.

Gather the Gang: Let’s do brunch! Ask for the social brunch package to host your own shindig at the hotel. With a yummy breakfast buffet, morning libations, and add-ons like a donut wall, The Heathman provides three hours of indoor or outdoor private event space at no extra cost.

Sleep in the Trees: Skamania Lodge

What would it be like to sleep among the branches and wake up with the birds? The six treehouses at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson offer families a group slumber party up in the air. These high-in-the-sky rooms come with s’mores kits for the fire pits below, decks for star gazing and an indoor/outdoor fireplace. Some even have guitars for campfire ballads. Littles will love the queen beds nestled into the window nook, with curtains that can close to create their own fort. These aerial abodes are grouped together away from the lodge, so you can enjoy your time together in peace.

This wow factor is hard to beat, but the treehouses are not the only reason to check into Skamania. Inspired by historic national lodges, the resort has a welcoming great room with a crackling fire, and a rolling lawn as a backdrop that seems to plunge directly into the Columbia River. After playing tag or sipping wine in the Adirondack chairs, go zip lining, try axe throwing or take on the aerial course—all available for booking at the front desk. The indoor pool will make a splash with the kids, and parents will love the outdoor hot tub with its soothing waterfall. The on-site restaurant features local faves like steelhead trout and offers to-go for picnic pleasure. Kids will love the brick oven pizza. Save room for dessert or have a Sasquatch nightcap. Your bed is only steps away. It will be hard to say good-bye to the friendly and welcoming staff at the end of your trip.

Gather the Gang: The treehouses are wildly popular. Book well in advance to make sure the whole family gets to enjoy.

City & Culture: Downtown Seattle

When out-of-town relatives say they want to visit you in Seattle, what they really mean is… they want to visit the Space Needle! And Pike Place Market! And ride the famous ferries! The grands, aunties and besties are flying in from all over and they have a to-do list. Treat yourself to a group staycation downtown at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco with its convenient proximity to all the Seattle must-dos. The welcoming and gorgeous hotel is ready for the whole gang with plenty of rooms that adjoin to create that desired community compound. Request a Monte Carlo Suite with an adjoining room for extra luxury. Bring the pooch as the “pet friendliest hotel brand” has treats, beds and “The Hound Lounge” dog park. The Monaco’s Classic Game Collection is fun for all ages. They have the usual faves as well as a Nintendo Switch for the kids. For musical amusement, ask about their private Electric Feather Karaoke Room, re-openings soon.

Seattleites will appreciate the Love Our Locals Staycation getaway, with free valet parking, early check-in and late check-out and an up-to-date list of nearby sights with distances and courtesy of Visit Seattle. Seattle’s architectural gem, the Central Library, lies just across the street and Pike Place Market is just a short walk away. Sit outside at Old Stove Brewery, order snacks for the kiddos, and take in the sweeping views of Elliott Bay. Walk the fam down to the Monorail, less than a mile away, and take it to Seattle Center for the Space Needle, MoPOP, and Chihuly–check, check, and check!

Gather the Gang: Request the “We Are Family” package and enjoy movie night together. You’ll receive a complimentary premium movie, and—even better—a Hotel Monaco Tin to take home that’s filled with popcorn, snacks and treats.

Serenity & Connections: Port Ludlow

Sometimes the best family reunions are the ones where everyone enjoys quiet time and quality time. The Port Ludlow Inn provides just such an escape with a shifting, serene tableau and plenty of Adirondack chairs to enjoy the view. Set against picturesque Ludlow Bay leading out to the Puget Sound, the majestic Olympic Mountains loom on the horizon while sunlight dances on the water. Arriving onto the property is like entering a modern English manor where the rooms combine nautical chic with comfy fireplaces and balconies. Savor the bounteous farms and producers of the Olympic Peninsula at The Fireside. Virtually every single thing you can consume comes from the northeast corner of the Peninsula. The tinies will thrill to Chef Dan’s Mac & Cheese. After dinner stroll on the quaint beach, take twilight pics of the David Boxley-carved totem pole or enjoy some house-made s’mores (featuring Theo chocolate) outdoors around a firepit.

The Port Ludlow Marina has kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for rent, to while away the lazy days. Novices and small ones will enjoy the calm water conditions. The resort maintains 26 miles of hiking and biking trails for all skill levels, so stretch those legs and inhale the fresh sea breezes. Jumbo lawn games provide laughter for the whole fam, with Jenga, Connect 4 and Yahtzee available upon request. Port Ludlow Golf Course offers nine- or 18-hole play amidst the natural splendor. The Little Norway vibe of nearby Poulsbo hovers over the locale and makes for a fantastic day trip.

Gather the Gang: Inquire at the front desk about farm tours, wine tastings, pasta making classes and more! Port Ludlow is leading the charge among resorts who are re-thinking corporate group events into family group events.  

Can't Wait to Celebrate: Cedarbrook Lodge

If you haven’t seen the grandparents or cousins in a year, Cedarbrook Lodge is the very best option to get everyone relaxing together right away. This Top 20 Pacific Northwest hotel awaits guests just five minutes from the airport with a free shuttle to get you there (If the shuttle is booked they will order you a Lyft at no extra charge). 167 deluxe rooms and suites are placed in buildings around the outdoor lawn and patio. Each building has its own Living Room that consists of 500-feet of shareable space with a giant flat screen, large refrigerator, stone fireplace, SodaStream and snacks. The kids (and adults) will scream for free ice cream! Notable rooms are the Cascade Suite and the Olympic Suite, with optional adjoining Deluxe Double Queen to create a super space. Opening soon, the outdoor hot tub is a fabulous place to rejuvenate and soak.

Copperleaf Restaurant has indoor/outdoor space to take full advantage of the beautiful surroundings. The property is set on an estuary and feels miles away from the rush nearby. For foodies, The Chef's Garden Dinner allows for your team to eat privately amidst the garden. The kids’ menu is expansive, with teriyaki and BBQ options, plus organic greens to make the adults happy. The real treat is easily the largest bacon cheeseburger on a kids’ menu, ever. Yum! After dinner it’s time to roll out the lawn games. Enjoy croquet, cornhole and more.

Gather the Gang: SyKart is perfect for the speed demons in the group. Go Kart racing for ages eight and up is exhilarating and safe. For a taste of the diversity that makes Seattle so rich, grab lunch at Spice Bridge that highlights immigrant culture and cuisine.

—Natalie Compagno

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