Grandma. Grandpa. Granny. Pops. Whatever term of endearment your kids use, chances are their grandparents haven’t heard it quite as often as they would have liked this year. As Ontario families begin to reconnect with extended family members, it’s a great time for grandparents and grandkids to enjoy activities together again. Enter the gramping getaway!
Gramping, also known as “skip-gen” (for skip a generation) travel, refers to a getaway that grandparents and grandchildren enjoy together, sans parents. In addition to providing quality time for the grandparents and grandkids involved, it also offers parents some welcome relief from some of their “adulting” responsibilities.
The first step in planning a gramping getaway is to choose who is leaving and who is staying. For some families, organizing a staycation that allows grandparents and grandkids to have the comforts of home may be easiest. If that’s the case, it’s the parents’ job to get out of town, and there are endless options in Ontario’s Southwest!
Ontario’s Southwest Parental Escape Perfection: Press Pause at the Spa
For parents who are eager to unwind from months of keeping the kids entertained, booking a stay where there is an on-site spa for a relaxing massage or other spa treatment is a great idea. Elm Hurst Inn and Spa in Ingersoll and Idlewyld Inn and Spa in London are both excellent choices.
Ontario’s Southwest Parental Escape Perfection: Tee Up Some Time On The Links
Parents who love golf can pack their clubs and book a stay somewhere that makes it easy to hit the greens. Grand Bend’s Oakwood Resort has a beautiful 18-hole course on site. Guests at Port Stanley’s charming Kettle Creek Inn enjoy discounts at both the Kettle Creek Golf and Country Club and The Bluffs Golf Club.
Ontario’s Southwest Parental Escape Perfection: Say Cheers to Craft Beer
Craft beer-loving parents can pair a one-of-a-kind room at Chatham’s upscale Retro Suites Hotel with an afternoon of exploring the area’s many eclectic craft breweries, including Bayside Brewing Company, Sons of Kent and Red Barn Brewing Co.
Ontario’s Southwest Parental Escape Perfection: Savour the Lux Life
Parents who enjoy the finer things in life will love the modern suites filled with little luxuries like Frette robes, L’Occitane skin products and Nespresso coffee at Sarnia’s Insignia Hotel.
Ontario’s Southwest Parental Escape Perfection: Wine Country Wandering
Parents who want to escape to wine country for a weekend can use the charming lakeside town of Kingsville as a home base and book a cozy room at The Grove Hotel. It’s harvest season and with 14 wineries located just a short drive from the hotel, there’s no shortage of great options for sipping the day away.
Ontario’s Southwest Parental Escape Perfection: Bliss Out in Nature
Parents that need to unwind in the great outdoor will enjoy the beautiful fall colours as they hike the Tallgrass Prairie trail. Dunnville’s The Reeve Bed and Breakfast is a great place to rest weary heads after a day of unwinding through the winding trails. Another option for parent’s that are nature enthusiast is to hit the trails along the river at Komoka Provincial Park, and stay at the secluded Fernwood Hills Loft.
If it’s the grandparents and grandkids who choose to leave the parents at home, finding activities that both the kids and the kids-at-heart will enjoy during their time away together is key. The following trip ideas will help narrow down your options for a few days away that all generations involved will remember forever.
Gramping Getaway Itinerary Inspiration: A Royal Escape
Grandparents can treat grandchildren like the little princes and princesses they are with an overnight getaway in a castle. Woodstock’s Chateau la Motte Guest House is a historic Queen Anne Revival-style mansion that will make grandkids feel like they’ve stepped back in time. Schedule your visit to coincide with one of their afternoon tea parties hosted on the mansion’s expansive verandah for some socially distanced sipping! Oxford County’s many excellent golf courses are another fun option for anyone in the group who prefers tees to tea!
Gramping Getaway Itinerary Inspiration: Camping and Fishing With A Few Extra Perks
If traditional camping seems a little too ambitious to organize, consider some gramping glamping at Long Point Eco Adventures Elite Pods in Norfolk County. All Elite Pods have hydro and water to keep guests comfortable during the cold months. Spend the day axe throwing and hiking on-site and tuck in for the night in a luxurious pod, the perfect mix of camping and cottage.
Photo from Long Point Eco Adventures Elite Pods.
Gramping Getaway Itinerary Inspiration: Farmyard Fun
Give grandkids a taste of the country life with an overnight getaway to Elgin County. Using Nature’s Oasis as a home base, Clovermead Adventure Farm is nearby and open until October 31. After meeting the farm’s friendly goats, chickens and rabbits, kids can conquer the corn maze and pick some pumpkins. If you plan to visit after October, Clovermead's Honey Shop is open until December 24 so that you can pick up some treats for the kids. Sydenham Valley Cottage is another great vacation rental option for families looking for some rural relaxation.
Gramping Getaway Itinerary Inspiration: Budding Birdwatchers
Have some fun of the feathered variety with a visit to one of Ontario’s globally recognized important bird areas, Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Wander the walking trails, check out the view from the 40-foot observation tower that overlooks the Big Creek wetland and cool off on Lake Erie’s sandy shores. For accommodation in the heart of it all, book the Holiday Beach Cottage vacation rental, the only cottage located within the Conservation Area. Magnolia Ranch in Harrow and HoriZen Bnb in Leamington, are also great options for easy access to birding hotspots in the Windsor area, including Ojibway Park.
Gramping Getaway Itinerary Inspiration: Pack Up The Pooch
To give parents the ultimate break from taking care of others, bring the family dog along for some fun too. London’s The Park Hotel welcomes pets. The Park’s two-room suites feature sliding barn doors that separate the living and sleeping areas, which is convenient when putting younger children to bed before the rest of the group.
Are you a parent looking for a much-needed escape or a grandparent who can’t wait to spend some quality time with your grandkids? Share your gramping getaway photos with us on Facebook or Instagram by tagging your posts with @OntariosSouthwest.
To learn more about what you can expect when visiting Ontario’s Southwest and how businesses are trying to keep you safe and following government guidelines, click here.