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The Gramping Travel Trend: Why Grandparents and Grandkids Should Travel Together

January 23, 2020

Bond with the grandkids on a fun (and camping-optional) "skip-gen" trip where you can meet the Coca-Cola Polar Bear or zip around Iceland on a Zodiac boat.

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Photo: Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources

State and National Parks

Move over, glamping. Gramping is the newest travel trend. This "skip-gen" travel lets grandparents and grandkids take off to bond and have fun, leaving the middle generation — parents — at home. School breaks are ideal times to gramp, but you can go anywhere, anytime; it's especially good for retirees and kids on summer vacation. Just choose a place to stay or a destination that offers something everyone can enjoy.

Parks are ideal for gramping if you're on a fixed income or budget. Some state parks have free admission while others charge a small fee, and national parks sell a lifetime senior pass. Georgia’s Crooked River State Park in St. Marys, shown here, offers geocaching, fishing, biking and other fun for all ages.

Before you gramp, ask if there are age or weight limits for the things you plan to see or do. Ask about discounts, too, for seniors or children.

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Photo: Stuart Thurlkill/The Resort at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up, Montana

Many seniors are active and fit, but you don't have to be a triathelete to go gramping. Look for a property like The Resort at Paws Up, in Greenough, Montana, with low-impact activities that are easy on the knees but fun enough to keep the younger set happy. Take the littles fishing, let them saddle up for pony rides, ride electric bikes or go aloft in a hot air balloon (the resort says it's a favorite with seniors). The resort, which encompasses the Blackfoot River and over 100 miles of forested trails, is also ideal for walks, wildlife viewing and photography, or you can swim and kayak at nearby Salmon Lake. At night, roast s'mores together over a fire.

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Photo: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

Many families gramp to celebrate milestones like birthdays, graduations and other special events in their grandchildren's lives. Look for a destination with a fun and festive atmosphere, like Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. If mobility issues are a concern, catch an Uber or take an easy walk along the Potomac to shop for souvenirs and see amazing views from atop the 180-foot high Capital Wheel. Summer brings movies to the waterfront and the addition of a small beach, so kids can play in the sand. Back at the hotel, everyone can enjoy the indoor pool, and with seven on-site restaurants to choose from, you don't have to leave the property for dinner.

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Photo: Oku Japan

Kansai Region, Japan

Don't make it obvious, and the grandkids will never guess that your skip-gen trip is also a learning experience. Treat ages five and up to a tour of the Kansai region in Nara, Japan, with a Family Adventure: Treasures of Japan's Heartlands trip. Everyone can take Japanese drumming lessons, feed wild deer roaming free in Nara Park and create pottery and paper lanterns. The trip also includes a scenic boat ride on the Hozu River to meet local residents in the rural community of Sasayama. Later, put the kids to bed on futons in a traditional, Japanese-style inn, or ryokan. Who knew learning about a different culture could be so much fun? Starting at $2,550 per child under age 18 at the time of travel and $2,865 per adult.

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