How to Make the Most of Mother-Daughter Getaways

With Mother’s Day approaching, rekindle your mother-daughter bond with these getaway tips and selected packages.


For some of us, the thought of spending 48-plus uninterrupted hours with our mother or daughter strikes us with fear. However, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, now is the perfect opportunity to strengthen that special link you share with your mother or daughter and embark on a journey dedicated to enhancing your relationship.

With a positive outlook and some careful planning, these trips can be remembered years to come for the laughs and good times you shared, rather than the screaming matches. In fact, they even present the opportunity to shed previously existing boundaries and, in turn, allow each woman to gain enhanced fulfillment from the relationship.

As Roni Cohen-Sandler, clinical psychologist and the author of Trust Me Mom—Everyone Else is Going explains, “When traveling, there is a natural easing of authority lines and greater equality among the generations, which allows women to explore new and usually more desirable facets of each other.”

Getaway Guide

Below are our ground rules for charting new territory with the very person who can be both your biggest fan and critic. Just remember to bring sunscreen, a camera and a smile, and be prepared to take your relationship to new dimensions.

  • Decide as a unit what kind of trip you want. Are you looking simply to unwind or are you in the mood for more adventure? Based on this, you can both suggest ideas accordingly—i.e., a trip to a spa for those seeking relaxation or surf lessons for those craving activity.
  • Don’t let one person coordinate every detail of the trip. Rather, take turns and make compromises with the planning so that each person feels that her needs and interests are being represented. If you are crazy about cooking and she is all about horseback riding, arrange the vacation so that you can take a cooking class one day and go on a horseback ride the next. That way, you both have something to get excited about.
  • Since money can be a major source of tension, determine who will be paying for what beforehand. Are you splitting everything 50-50, or will you be paying for the airfare and rooms, while she covers the meals and day-to-day activities?
  • Remember, it’s all about the quality, not the quantity. Before you book a two-week cruise, think about your past travel history. If you’re used to only spending the holidays together, opt for a beachside destination or a long three-day weekend.
  • Just because you’re committed to spending quality time with your mother or daughter, doesn’t mean you can’t embark on a group activity, such as whitewater rafting or a nature hike. In fact, the presence of strangers may prompt you to act on your best behavior and meet new families with similar interests.
  • Likewise, a mother-daughter getaway does not mean that you have to spend every single breathing second with one another. Both of you should bring along a good book or even set alone time so you can take an occasional break from one another. Encourage her to take a dip in the pool while you check out the local flea markets. You’ll come back feeling reconnected and eager to continue where you left off.
  • Turn off your BlackBerrys, cell phones, iPods and what-have-you when spending time together. This only disrupts the mood and makes the other person feel as if they’re not being valued.

Special Packages 

Following are some resorts with mother-daughter getaway packages, good for Mother’s Day or throughout the year.

  • Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
    Rough it out with her at any of the four Cowgirl Bootcamps offered throughout the year. The next one takes place May 4-7; the bootcamp held in late February each year is designed exclusively for mothers and daughters. This all-encompassing package includes accommodations, meals, horseback rides, line dancing and more.

    Total Mother Daughter Cowgirl Bootcamp package price starts at $2,295 based on double occupancy; total Cowgirl Bootcamp package price starts at $2,450 based on double occupancy; 1054 Alisal Road, Solvang, Calif. 93463; tel. 888-4-ALISAL.

  • Canyon Ranch
    Lenox, Mass.: Tell your mom or daughter how much she means to you this Mother’s Day with a long weekend at this luxe spa resort in Western Massachusetts. Share a room, and one guest pays full package rate with package services included while the other enjoys 50 percent off the nightly rate, sans services. On Mother’s Day morning enjoy a special brunch in the resort's Demo Kitchen. Three-night stay minimum.

    165 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass. 01240; tel. 413-637-4100.

    Tucson, Ariz: A similar package is available at Canyon Ranch’s Tucson location. When a parent and child (age 14 or older) share an accommodation, the child receives 25 percent off the nightly rate, along with a $120 allowance toward services. Four-night stay minimum.

    Total package is $3,880 for the parent and $2,640 for the child; 8600 E. Rockcliff Road, Tucson, Ariz. 85750; tel. 520-749-9000.

  • Lake Austin Spa Resort
    Throughout the year, this award-winning destination offers several Mother/Daughter Weeks, exploring topics such as healthy cooking, etiquette, body image and more. When a mother pays the private rate on a three-night or longer Refresher Package, the daughter stays with her for 50 percent off the rate.

    Refresher Package starts at $3,094 and includes all meals, fitness classes, activities and a $290 spa and fitness allowance per person (tax and gratuity also included); 1705 S. Quinlan Park Road, Austin, Texas 78732; tel. 800-847-5637.

  • Surf & Sand Resort
    On May 3, 4 and 10, mothers and daughters can treat themselves to a 50-minute spa treatment of their choice, followed by a bistro-style seated lunch in the courtyard. All guests will receive a complimentary gift tote bag including handmade soaps and other goodies.

    Package is $165. Room rates start at $500; 1555 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach (Orange County), Calif. 92561; tel. 949-497-4477.

Destinations: Tucson, Orange County, Austin

Themes: Family Travel, Spas

Activities: Cooking Classes, Horseback Riding, Spas

User Comments

Forwarding to Mom I'm emailing this article to my mom...could have used the tips during our recent trip to Thailand!

wow I'm so excited about the trip planning feature; I just added this article for ideas of things to do for mother's day :)

Kripalu My mother and I went to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and it was one of the best weekends of my life. We left our weekend trip feeling rejuvenated and closer than we had in a long time.

Mother-Daughter Vacation I just spent a fabulous week in the Caribbean with my away-at-college daughter. We spent some time apart, but had an amazing time together whether in activity or lounging on the beach. Just Fabulous!!!

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