To any parent who has struggled to find balance in family vacations, a visit to the Tyler Place Family Resort can be something of an epiphany. The beloved New England resort offers a marvelous mix of family together time, kid time, couple time, and independent time, where kids experience a fun camp-style week and leave brimming with memories and accomplishments and, importantly, parents also get a tremendous vacation.
One of the best indicators of a fabulously kid-friendly resort is that families choose to return year after year. For 85 years, the Tyler Place has been welcoming families to create old-fashioned, magical summer camp memories, with an off-the-chart repeat guest rate that proves that this place is getting things very right.
This family camp-style resort is located in the northwest corner of Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain. Thanks to its proximity to the I-87 and I-89 interstates, the Tyler Place is easily accessible from New York City, Montreal and Boston. If you live on the Washington DC-to-Montréal corridor, you can also get to the Tyler Place by train.
The Tyler Place has what just may be the best all-around family programming in America. The day allows for kids to have fun with kids, grown-ups to have fun together, and also for families to spend quality time together. There are nine age-staggered groups from newborn through 15 years old, each with its own clubhouse and super-low counselor-to-child ratios.
One of America's best vacations for babies and toddlers, Tyler Place goes all out for little ones. Newborns to toddlers 30 months old are divided into three groups: newborn to 12 months, 12 to 18 months, and 18 to 30 months. Each of these groups has its own playroom, and these youngest children spend their time enjoying activities with puppets, rhyming games, tumbling, bubble play, story time, water play, and nature outings.
Each child is assigned a parent helper for the week, who gives one-on-one care and companionship whenever the child is in their group. In the evenings, your parents helper eats dinner with your child before playtime at The Playhouse or, alternatively, at your accommodation.
Older kids from 30 months to 15 years are broken into six groups, each with its own schedule of activities. They play old stalwarts like Capture the Flag and Kick the Can, go swimming in the lake, play on the giant water trampoline, and go kayaking and boating. There are craft projects, nature outings and scavenger hunts. In the evening group, there are movie nights and pizza parties. In other words, they have a terrific week at camp. Teens 16 and up form a young adult group, which meets up for activities and meals.
One of the reasons so many families return year after year is that the children's program grows with your child. Older kids do many of the same activities as their younger counterparts, but also get exposed to progressively more grown-up and daring activities.
While kids are in the morning group, their parents are also having fun. Each morning, the adult program offers at least a half-dozen optional organized activities.
Fitness classes included Nei Kung, yoga, aqua aerobics, and Pilates. You could go rock climbing, skeet shooting, or fly casting for trout. Creative types could try pottery, watercolor, or silk-screening. There are tennis tournaments, low ropes courses, walking tours, canoe trips, bike rides, kayaking trips, antiques-hunting excursions, and winery tours.
During the four-hour afternoon break, families can do whatever they like, from organized afternoon activities such as family fishing outings and banana boat rides to family nature hikes, arts and crafts workshops, and pony rides. Or just kick back and head to the pool or the lake.
The pool complex features an indoor and an outdoor pool, with a kiddie pool and a Splash Pad that has fun water features like fountains and water guns. Lifeguards are on duty and life jackets are available for children, if needed.
All-inclusive pricing is based on a seven-day, Saturday-to-Saturday stay. Rates include lodging, all meals, the children’s camps, and the overwhelming majority of adult and family activities. One of the best perks of a stay is that every family member gets a complimentary loaner bike for the entire week. (From Barbie bikes with training wheels and trail-away bikes to mountain bikes, easy cruisers and BMX bikes, just take your pick.) Your base price will depend on three things: Your accommodations, number of adults and children, and children’s ages.
Your vacation can be significantly less expensive if you come on the fringe weeks of summer, when rates are considerably lower than in the peak weeks of summer.
Best rooms: The Tyler Place offers over 70 accommodations spread throughout the resort. Most are private cottages, but there are also inn rooms and several apartment-style units carved from larger mansion-style homes. Some units are closer to the inn, others closer to the lake, and they all have various sizes and configurations. The reservation staff is wonderful at helping match each family with the right place.
Visited: Summers 2007-2017
Disclaimer: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.