1. Return to Africa. More than 30 years ago, Montanan Maxey Megrue and her now-late husband traveled to Tanzania. This year, she decided to relive the experience and share the thrill of visiting the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater with her son and two grandchildren. She called upon the expertise of tour operator Born Free to assist with the planning and details. "It is a thrill for me to share this wildlife adventure with the next generations," she said.
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2. Salmon River rafting. "I love the idea of sharing unstructured time with my grandchildren," said Susie Weeks, a Florida resident who schedules an annual gathering with her extended family. This year's outing included a week on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. "We wanted to enjoy time on the river, rafting, kayaking and fishing, but also appreciated the extra amenities offered by Far and Away," Weeks said. The Sun Valley-based outfitter offers what Weeks was looking for: "luxury in the wilderness," when guests book their American safari on one of the West's most pristine rivers.
Contact: 1-800-232-8588; http://www.far-away.com.
3. Alaskan adventure. Spokane, Wash., residents Linda and Mark Jeffries decided to combine their love for their three grandchildren with their passion for nature by exploring Alaska's Inside Passage with National Geographic Expeditions. The chance to see bears, whales, icebergs and fjords in tandem with their favorite young explorers was an educational and family opportunity they did not want to pass up. Knowing there would be naturalists and local experts on board made all the difference, they said.
Contact: 1-888-966-8687; http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/expeditions/alaska-family-cruise/detail.
4. History at the Homestead. New York resident Rob Lawrence chose the historic setting of the Homestead Resort to gather his expanding clan. Opened in 1766, the storied resort has welcomed guests to the 3,000-acre setting in western Virginia's Allegheny Mountains since before the American Revolution. The Lawrence family follows in the footsteps of Thomas Edison and a long list of presidents and dignitaries who have enjoyed the region's beauty as well as hot springs, horseback riding, golf, the spa and clay shooting.
Contact: 1-800-838-1766; http://www.thehomestead.com.
5. Beach time. The Preston family had been escaping Arizona's summer heat for decades. Destination: Coronado Island, in breezy Southern California. The gang now makes the annual trek with grandkids in tow. Among favorite spots is the Loews Coronado Bay Resort where family members can choose from beach activities, pool time and ideas spurred by the pros at the kids' activity desk. Guests can call ahead to reserve child-friendly resources ranging from cribs and baby swings to pool toys and strollers. Check out the lounge and spa room designed for teens.
Contact: 1-800-815-6397; http://www.loewshotels.com.
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes is editor of FamilyTravel.com: lohayes@FamilyTravel.com