When you factor in naps, meals, and the occasional temper tantrum, summer vacations with young kids don’t always feel like vacation. That is, unless you have built-in babysitters—dozens of them—and a pre-arranged schedule of kid-friendly adventures like swimming, canoeing, biking, archery, trampolines, ziplining, arts and crafts, fake pirate ships, and climbing to keep the little ones busy while you play. That’s the program at Tyler Place Family Camp, a sprawling, all-inclusive resort on 165 private acres on northern Lake Champlain.
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Parents are free all morning to swim, sail Hobie Cats in the bay, mountain bike on nearby Isle La Motte, paddle a mile of undeveloped shoreline, play tennis, or lounge with a book on their own private hammocks. During afternoon family time, adults and kids can cruise the camp on one-speed bikes (everyone gets one at check-in—including trailerbikes and balance bikes for the littlest ones), swim in two heated pools, or go canoeing. But cocktail hour and dinner at the Inn—sourced locally from more than 30 Vermont farms—are strictly adults only; kids eat and play with their camp groups. Don’t worry: Your brood will be having too much fun to miss you, and vice-versa.
For an extra fee, Tyler Place maintains a team of instructors who can teach you to sail, improve your tennis game, or waterski. If your little ones balk at too much time away from you, resort staff are happy to pack a picnic and send you off on a family day.
The 80-year-old family compound, located about 45 minutes north of Burlington, has 69 guest cottages and suites in the Inn. Overlooking the lake, the three-bedroom Kingfisher cottage sports a private screened porch and terrific water views. (from $109 per person per night; kids 10th grade and younger, from $83 per night, all inclusive).
The resort is open from Memorial Day until the week after Labor Day, and requires a minimum stay of one week during prime time in July and August. If you have very young children, late August and early September is quieter—families with school kids have gone home—and the lake is still warm enough for swimming.
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