Is a Multi-Family Vacation Right for You?

Have you ever had that moment when you and your friends are all like, “You know what we should do? We should all, like, rent a big house on the beach together for like a week. That would be awesome.”

Well, we did that.

multi-family group vacation

First,  a little background on my vacation history. Vacations weren’t exactly in the budget when I was growing up. The closest we came to a vacation was driving from Idaho to Minnesota to visit my grandparents in the summer for the few years we lived in Idaho. Not that it wasn’t cool: we stopped at Mt. Rushmore one year, we stopped in Wall Drug, South Dakota a few times – these were good things to see. But, it’s not exactly Disneyland (note: my first trip to Disneyland was in 1990 as a bald 15 year-old, with my friend and her dad, and my first trip to Disney World was in 2013, with my husband and daughters.)

So I don’t have a lot of experience going on vacation. Or rather, I didn’t.

I am in the fortunate situation now of having friends that I really like to hang out with and who have kids around the same age as mine. And just as fortunately, the kids get along. The husbands get along and are friends. It’s all very foreign to me, but lovely just the same.

Being the grown-ups we are, we have the means to act on crazy impulses. Such as taking a vacation together. Which really can’t be an impulse come to think of it, because it requires quite a lot of planning and coordination.

What started as a conversation between two people grew into four families in one house near Santa Rosa Beach in Florida. Eight adults and nine children. And lots of good times.

So, is a multi-family vacation right for you?


My girls are 9 and 5, so last year they were 8 and 4. The older one loves playing with her friends and loves sleepovers. And loves the beach. The younger one? Loves anything the older one loves. So this was a great fit for them.

I do not suggest this type of trip for children who need lots of downtime, lots of mommy-time, or do not get along with the other children who may be on the trip.


My husband enjoys hanging out with friends, having adult beverages, and the beach. This was great fit for him, too. Granted, he bore the burden of driving ten hours (I don’t like to drive and get migraines), but once we were there we didn’t have much driving to do. And though our particular house was heavy on the female side of the ratio, he’s used to that at home. Also, he’s the more financially minded one of the two of us and splitting the cost of one beach house versus trying to afford one on our own made sense to him.

I would not suggest this type of trip for a husband who does not like the other adults involved. Period. Also, it might be a little hard for a husband who needs a lot of quiet time.


I’m not actually very social. I’m kind of anti-social to be honest. But I like my friends. I’ve already accepted them in my social circle so they are there for good (sorry, ladies). And they don’t seem to care that I’m a little cranky. If I really needed some by myself time, I know this group well enough to excuse myself. The upside is I get a lot of girl time, a lot of village support to help with my kiddos, and I only have to cook one night.

I wouldn’t suggest this for wives who need to be in control of every minute of what their children are doing or eating. Nor would I suggest it for moms who aren’t comfortable disciplining their children in front of friends. You have to be a stronger than usual mama when there is a group of kids involved – the kids feed off each other and if you don’t feel comfortable with the other moms and their parenting techniques, this might be a bad fit for you.


For my little familia, this was a great choice. So much so we are doing it again this year. I know eventually we won’t all be able to coordinate our schedules well enough to do this kind of thing, but we will enjoy it while we can.

Have you ever taken a vacation with other families? How’d it go for you? Most importantly: are you still friends??


  1. Suuuuper jealous! My husband and I have wanted to plan one of these for years! Unfortunately, we seem to be the only spontaneous parents (well, as spontaneous as planning a trip like this would entail, as you pointed out) in our friend group. Our crew nod their heads enthusiastically “Yeah, that’d be so much fun!” and then back away slowly with their hands raised so as not to look threatening…. 🙂

    We’ve moved on to trying to plan a cousin reunion in the same vein for next summer instead. Hope it works out! Thanks for sharing your advice and experience.

    • We just got back from year two and it was a success! It’s hard to get the right group of people together and if you’ve never done it before it can seem crazy. But once you’re all there it’s great! Admittedly, the beach helps…

  2. Uhhhhh…..I think it has to be the perfect combination of people. Yes, I’ve traveled to the same city, at the same time that some friends of ours were there, but we didn’t stay together and though we planned some events together, I also planned some “family only” time with just David and the boys. I am pretty particular about being in control of my own schedule and I don’t like disorganization or those who are constantly late!

    So, I guess the moral of my story is – I’m not fit to travel with others!!

    Oh, well.

    You’re so sweet, it’s no wonder others want to vacation with you 🙂

    • Oh, Debbie – you exaggerate! But it’s good to know your limits. It can keep you out of unpleasant situations for sure. 😉