The Ultimate Family Retreat Planning Guide

Are you looking for a fun and memorable family retreat? Have you been dreaming of the perfect getaway, but don’t know where to start? The Ultimate Family Retreat Planning Guide is here to help.

This four-step guide provides helpful tips on how to plan and enjoy an unforgettable get-away with your loved ones. We’ll cover everything from choosing a destination and creating an itinerary that meets the unique needs of everyone in your family, to packing the right gear and staying within budget. With the four-step guide, you can be sure you have a plan to create lasting memories that everyone in your family will cherish. Let’s begin the journey towards planning the ultimate family retreat!

At the end of this guide, we have included answers to some frequently asked questions about planning a successful family retreat and the advantages of a family retreat over a vacation.

This guide will help you to:

Choose an amazing location for your retreat

Create an itinerary that suits the unique needs of your family

Pack the right gear for your trip

Stay within budget

And hopefully you’ll choose Rock House Retreats for your next family vacation 😉

Location, Location, Location:


1. Availability of fun activities for your family:

When planning the location for a retreat, consider what activities are available for kids to engage in during their stay. It’s important that there are enough activities to keep them engaged and having fun throughout their time at the retreat. Rock House Adventures has list of fun activities to do during your retreat so you won’t need to bring a bunch of extra gear, or plan off site activities if you don’t need to.

2. Travel time:

Make sure the location meets your travel needs. A family retreat is not a road trip. It’s a relaxing time together. Keep that in mind when you are thinking about driving or flying a long distance to get there. Try to choose a place that is within about 1-4 hours of your home or something central to your family’s home locations.

3. Accessibility:

Consider how accessible the retreat will be for all participants – including any who may need special accommodations due to physical or cognitive disabilities – before booking a venue or signing contracts with vendors. Make sure the property is appropriate for all ages.

4. Safety:

Make sure you research any safety concerns related to the area where you plan on hosting your retreat. Airbnb and other OTAs have a section in the listing that identifies any hazards that you may want to be aware of. If your family is accustomed to camping and other outdoor activities then a rural vacation will be great for the entire family. If you have small children in the group, you should be sure to choose a location where the host has made every effort to insure the safety of little ones of all ages for your family camp.

5. Understanding expectations

Take into account as many of the expectations of your whole family as possible when selecting a destination; make sure everyone involved is on board with the decision so they can enjoy an optimal experience at your family camp. Here’s a helpful hint! Ask each child and member of the family what they would like to do with the family from a selected list of events. Explore, rest, connect, hike, relax, swim, outdoor adventures, enjoy nature. You get the idea. You can be more specific and hone in on what exactly would be a great family memory for each person before ever creating your itinerary, so that you can include something for each family member.

While it’s possible to have a family retreat at home, picking a location that has something for everyone and gets you away from every day activities, is the best way to ensure an unforgettable time together. By considering availability and variety of adventure, travel time, accessibility and interest level when choosing your destination, you can make sure all participants – including those with special needs – are able to enjoy their stay. Safety should also be taken into account if you plan on hosting your retreat in a rural area or somewhere unfamiliar. With careful planning and consideration of everyone in the families needs, you can create lasting memories that your kids will be telling stories about forever.

Create an itinerary that suits the unique needs of your family

a. Be careful not to over schedule your time together

When family members come together for a retreat, it is important to be mindful not to overschedule the life out of it. Overplanning can lead to family members feeling overwhelmed and cause exhaustion, stress, and even resentment. All too often the planner of the family has a vision of all the things that the family will do together. Certain personality types get a kick out of doing everything that was scheduled, and its easy to forget that other members of the family may not want to live by the schedule like they do in their everyday lives.

As a rule, it’s best to plan for only 1, or at most 2, organized events in the day and let the family pick form a range of available activities and leisure times and play beyond that.

b. Start your retreat off with an opening ceremony.

  • Talk about the plan and the fact the plan has some flexibility
  • Establish a few (very few) rules. Make sure everyone has a good ideas of any safety issues that need to be addressed.
  • Create a theme. This should be based on the conversations you had with kids or family members during the planning phase.
  • Make sure you are focused on growing through fun together. Think summer camp not bootcamp.
  • For a more in depth guide on planning specific family retreat activities check out our Family Retreat Activities Guide

c. Plan your meals around the schedule and not the other way around


Planning meals around your schedule can help make family retreats more enjoyable and stress-free. It’s important to plan ahead so you don’t have to worry about meals during your family retreat. When planning for a family retreat, it’s easy to overlook the small details, like what types of meals to eat at certain times.

For lunch, you can pack simple sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly, or make a picnic-style lunch with cut-up fruits, veggies, cheese and crackers. You can also opt for a light meal such as a chicken salad that can be tossed together from refrigerated components, which will make clean up at any lodging easy.

d. Make family memories by planning a mix of things that are new with some things from your everyday lives.

Going on family trips can be intimidating because you might have to do new things. It’s ok though, because it’s a family trip, and you can do some activities that you already know how to do. That way, everyone can make memories together while also having fun and not getting too stressed out.

e. The most important thing about a family retreat is quality time.

The family bond is essential to strengthen relationships. Quality time spent together as a family can come in many forms, from playing outdoor sports to simply talking together over dinner. While the activities chosen for family retreats should be enjoyable for everyone involved, it’s important to remember that it’s the family time itself that matters most.


Creating family retreats can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to remember that family time is the most important part of the plan. An organized person may forget this fact in the midst of planning a family retreat and trying to organize activities, meals, and other events around a structured schedule. To avoid this, parents should spend time and focus on getting to know kids beforehand. It feels a little silly to say that, but you need to keep in mind that your kid changes a little bit with every experience they have as they move forward in life. You will have a great time in community with your family and show your commitment to the success of your week if you focus on them as much as you focus on the plan.

Pack the right gear for your trip

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, there are some important things to consider when packing and preparing for your trip. From kayaking gear to board games, the last thing you want is to be ill-prepared for the adventure ahead. At the Rock House we have taken care of so many of these that you could almost just show up, but you may not be booking the Rock House. To make sure nothing is overlooked before setting off on your family retreat, here are 4 things you should always consider.

Weather considerations during family camps

Consider the time of year and the kind of activities you’ll be doing. Checking the range of temperature will help you to determine what kind of clothing and how much to bring.