We all know the line about needing a vacation after your vacation—that between the packing and unpacking and driving and moving from place to place and hitting the hard theme-park cement all day, what you really need is some time to relax and recover. But there are some places where your family holidays don’t have to be that way. Take, for instance, Grand View Lodge; I’ve spend the last few days at GVL, and this will be the first of three dispatches about the resort’s family-friendly features. Located in the heart of the state’s Northwoods (home to the legendary, axe-wielding Paul Bunyan and his bovine companion Babe, the blue ox), GVL offers the Minnesota version of all-inclusive. Now, you may prefer the Caribbean version—where you can drink margaritas to your heart’s content and eat ten pizzas a day without touching your wallet—but, I must say, the Minnesota version ain’t too shabby. In addition to the indoor pool (with waterslide and hot tubs), fitness centre, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits, and beautiful beach on Gull Lake, GVL offers a surprising array of activities, included in your room rate, no strings (or secret resort fee to be revealed at check-out) attached: water skiing and tubing, pontoon cruises and fishing, bike rides, camp tours (more on that later), and ice cream socials, bonfires and s’mores roasts at the beach. Worthwhile add-ons include 63 holes of championship golf (spread over three courses, including Deacon’s Lodge, reputed to be one of Arnold Palmer’s best designs), horseback riding (just 30 bucks for an hour, a bargain), and a truly fabulous spa (for those afternoons when you need a little time away from the kids). You can just park the car, let the kids run free, and enjoy a week that requires no recovery.
– Tim, CF‘s contributing editor