You'll find it more restful and relaxing than a trip to Disney, and a whole lot cheaper.
Many Catholic singles, couples, and families are finding a retreat is the best use of their vacation time. Not only does the whole family find rest, but Catholic values are reinforced.
Retreat centers are also a way to enjoy beautiful spots at reasonable rates.
Some ecclesial groups have family retreats as an essential or important part of their ministries.
For example, the Domestic Church movement, originally founded in Poland, encourages families to make a retreat together every year. Participants with young children note how these retreats, called Oasis retreats, are truly that: an oasis, and the only way to actually “rest” while vacationing with little kids! In Poland, this retreat is able to take advantage of typically lengthy European summer vacations, while here in the States, the retreats are usually just two weeks long.
Opus Dei also has family retreats, and other movements and groups do as well.
Then there are particular retreat houses to consider.
In Darien, Connecticut, a lovely old mansion with sloping green lawns is the home of the Order of St. Bridget, an order of nuns founded by St. Bridget of Sweden in 1370. Overlooking the Long Island Sound, the Vikingsborg Guest House is a peaceful setting for private or group retreats, with beautiful statues, woodland walks, gardens, a private dock for boating and swimming. Nuns in the order’s original habit cook and serve delicious meals. Mass is held in their chapel.
The Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California, is a monastery operated by Trappist monks. Accommodations are simple; there is no pool or TV. One popular retreat offered is self-directed, generally three to four days, but also available for two weeks. The monks urge visitors to simply “be,” in a silent atmosphere. Interested men can participate in prayers with the choir. Share in the daily manual labor is available if the retreatant requests it. The winery produces wine and beer and is interesting to tour. Retreat accommodations are donation-based.
Catholic Family Land in Bloomingdale, Ohio, has been offering a variety of retreats since 1992. Week-long retreats on 800 acres 20 minutes from Franciscan University are geared to families, with cabins or campsites available during the summer months. Inspirational speakers on a range of faith topics are scheduled; Mass, Rosary, Adoration and Confession are interspersed with discussions, swimming, making dinner together, skits, fishing, hiking, scavenger hunts, horseback riding, volleyball, and more. Activities for teens keep them engaged while making friends. They also offer family retreat weekends in Missouri (August 8-11), and Nebraska (September 1-4).
On the Jersey shore, the Marinist Family Retreat Center in Cape May Point offers a wide variety of retreats in a Christ-centered community. An old Victorian estate with a wide front porch greets visitors. There are retreats for couples, individuals, families, high school youth, young adults, as well as special retreats for widows, teachers and more. Family retreats are usually for 8-10 families, and offer relaxation time with ocean swimming, games, sports, peer group discussions. Families are known to return year after year, often with extended family.
You can check for other retreat centers in your area by visiting your diocesan website.