My husband and I became members of our timeshare club while visiting one of our favorite places—New York City. For us, membership resolved the potential “beach house dilemma” of vacationing in the same place year after year. Our passion was to explore new places and discover new cultures.

Our love of travel had begun when our family lived in Luxembourg for four years. It was one of those experiences that stayed with us forever, and as the years moved on, it became a desire of ours to create new memories with our two oldest grandsons. So, when they were nine and 11 years old, we decided to take them on a trip through Europe.

Our first European destination was London. We stayed at our timeshare resort for the first week of our two-week adventure and enjoyed every aspect of our vacation. The second week brought us to Brussels and Paris. We loved showing the boys the neighborhood their father had lived in, and we were enormously surprised at our resort in Luxembourg—it was so spacious and beautiful.

The city of Paris never fails to endear itself to travelers, but, while our grandsons were thrilled with the Louvre and the stunning scenery, they were most impressed with our accommodations—located right next door to the Eiffel Tower!

Throughout our vacation, our grandsons loved listening and learning from the different city guides, and got a thrill from sampling new and exotic foods—like the moules in Luxembourg, hot chocolate in Paris, and traditional European breakfasts everywhere.

Although my husband and I had spent many years in Europe before, traveling with our grandsons was particularly special. Back then, we couldn’t afford upscale hotels or the simple indulgences of a family vacation, so nothing feels better than being able to share the benefits of our club membership with our family and loved ones … for years to come.

–Phyllis Hopkins

This year my family had such a memorable Thanksgiving holiday thanks to our stay at our timeshare resort in Orlando, Florida. Back in February I decided it would be a great idea to get our entire family together for a vacation. My goal was to have my mom and my sister there because they live in different states, but the plans just kept growing and growing and eventually we ended up having 38 family members (spanning four generations!) coming together in six different rooms.

As the “official” vacation planner, I created three family newsletters before the trip with information and pictures of the resort, a summary of on-site activities, and even tips for packing and check-in. To prepare for the big feast, each one of our families signed up to bring an item or two and I put together a Thanksgiving menu. After months of hard work and planning, I stood in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day watching my family before dinner and I cried tears of joy.

The associates at our resort were amazing, even helping us to get two tables in our dining room and porch so that we could all eat together. It was such a gift to have the whole family come together. My mom turned 80 in 2013, and I have already begun planning our next family vacation at the resort. There are just so many activities for everyone, I only wish we had more time.

I’m so glad I can share my vacation ownership with my family. As I sit here writing this I’m starting to cry again, I’m still that emotional over it!

— Sharon Grupe

For our thirtieth wedding anniversary, my husband wanted to take our family to Hawaii. Reservations had been planned, with confirmation on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, when, unfortunately, the economy turned worse. The cost for air travel had nearly tripled. Family members agreed that it was just not wise to splurge over our budget. We contacted our timeshare company, and our week in Hawaii was reluctantly relinquished to exchange for something closer to home—Breckenridge, Colorado.

It was a beautiful summer vacation for the two grandparents, son, daughter, their spouses, and two infant grandsons. It would likely be the last time for many years we would all be able to schedule a vacation together. Father and daughter enjoyed a hot air balloon ride of a lifetime, and part of the family went on an exciting whitewater raft trip.

Knowing all too well how quickly families grow, health declines, and loved ones leave us, this time together was a wonderful chance to bond and make happy memories.

Exchanging our time-share from Hawaii, closer to home, was a better choice for us to enjoy our family vacation—change of plans and all!

–Andrea Kuhn

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time vacationing with timeshare. Our Cape Cod resort had so much to offer!

We appreciated how close the pools were and that there were both indoor and outdoor. There was a great exercise room if we were up for that…or if we just wanted to relax after a long day, we could just hang out, fix dinner, eat, and catch a movie together.

The townhouse was very comfortable, roomy, tastefully decorated, and clean. We loved that there was plenty of room for our family of five. The staff that greeted us in the lobby was very friendly and extremely helpful.

The resort was kid-friendly, with plenty of activities for children, including themed socials like the ice cream sundae social and pie social that our kids loved.

When we take family trips we enjoy sightseeing. We loved walking the old streets of Falmouth and just taking in the sights and the atmosphere. There were local people and those that were vacationing just like we were, but you didn’t feel rushed as if you were at a beach crowded with people. The weather was perfect! We loved the fact that the day was warm but the nights were very pleasant.

Just being together in this environment and hearing the laughs and sighs of our children made the long trip from North Carolina to Cape Cod all worthwhile.

— Angela and Eric Rader

Our first visit to our timeshare resort in Rangeley, Maine ‎was pure “heaven” to us! It was relaxing, peaceful, and a great time for family bonding. With my husband (who is in the Navy) being deployed quite a bit, this vacation gave us the best “family time” we could ask for.

We love to hike the many trails that surround the lakes…from the top of Bald Mountain to the Majestic Angel Falls, our hikes show us so much of the beauty of the area. Our new family tradition is to take the short seven-mile drive to Smalls Falls, not just for the beauty, but because the kids really love jumping off the rocks into the lower pool. The water is cold, but so refreshing!

Swimming at the resort’s own dock area is always fun. The kids can canoe, paddle boat, swim, or fish. We have had some great times down on the lake, including the times we rent a pontoon boat and cruise around the lake. My favorite thing to do is to take pictures. I love going out and looking for moose and other wildlife to photograph. I have captured some of our most cherished family memories here.

We love our timeshare vacation so much that even when we had to move to the West Coast, we still made time to get to Rangeley for our summer vacation!

–Dina Auger

For nearly 20 years I’ve been vacationing at a timeshare resort in Myrtle Beach. Over that time, we’ve seen many changes… to the resort, the city, and our family.

We take other vacations throughout the year, but we use this week for our family to spend time together, relax, and grow closer. My children have been here every year of their lives!

They’ve gone from floating around in the baby pools at the age of one to chasing girls in their teens. Our timeshare resort is a strong part of our family’s history and is a tradition we look forward to all year long.

–Richard Todd

It was 5:15 p.m. on a humid afternoon. My wife, daughter, and I emerged from traveling miles of sun-drenched north Florida roads. We finally reached town. We were weary, but determined as we went on a search for our reserved lodging.

Asking our waitress for the location of our resort, she replied in a slow drawl, “It’s…oh, I don’t know how many miles. It’s just down the road on the right.”  The waitress’ customers looked on as if this afternoon would last forever. They had no particular place to go as they looked at me as if I had lost my mind. They were probably correct in their assumption. I was on a mission to find our room for the night. We were definitely worlds apart.

“I’m on the right path,” I announced to my wife and daughter as they shot me skeptical looks. I hurried back to the car, slammed the door shut, put the pedal to the floor mat (or close to it) and got back on Highway 51 north. We arrived at our destination within minutes.

“We got here in time for check-in!” I exclaimed, while parking the car at the welcome center. I ran to the front door, eager to meet the resort’s staff. Every door was locked and most lights were off. The sign informed me that the office closed a half-hour ago.

“It’s only 5:30! How could this happen?” I asked no one in particular. I glanced next to the door where there was a note with my name on it. It instructed us to go to our cottage and phone the staff if we had questions. I called the number on the paper and got the property manager. “Just go on to the cottage. Everything you need is in there,” he answered in his folksy tone.

We arrived at our two-story, front-screened porch, one-bedroom cottage. As we unpacked, we were reminded that we weren’t in the big city anymore. We were in Steinhatchee (pronounced Steen-hatch-ee), Florida at a resort for those seeking an outdoor-type vacation with all of the comforts of home but within walking distance to the Steinhatchee River where guests can kayak, canoe, swim and fish.

After unpacking, we relaxed on the cottage’s front porch just talking. We could have zoned out to cable TV, watched a movie or even listened to CDs a few feet away in the cottage’s entertainment center. Instead we connected. We felt like we were at camp. The crickets were singing, the stars were shining and the outside fans were whirring. It doesn’t get any better than this if you’re seeking serenity. On a typical day, many of us are bombarded with moving images in our modern media world. Every now and then, we need to detoxify at places like this.

Steinhatchee is a boating-fishing-hunting hamlet filled with beer, deer and pickup trucks. The locals welcome visitors to this part of the world with open arms. If you would like a getaway that doesn’t involve those same old “pristine sandy white beaches,” go to where the sun is warm, the beer is cold and the fish are biting.

–Robert Nebel

Growing up as one of seven children, it was always a big deal to get everything together for vacations and holidays. As the years passed and everyone started moving away and having their own families, it became even harder to get everyone together for holidays. We really wanted to make a habit of vacationing together again, especially so the kids could have a chance to see each other and stay close. Hotels were always small and cramped, and it was hard to find a place with amenities for everyone to stay busy, but family time was important so we did the best we could.

In 1995 my family made the decision to purchase a timeshare in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After we purchased, several other family members also purchased timeshares at the same resort. Our tradition of meeting at our resort for Christmas every year had begun. It was just a perfect place for everyone to meet.

Over the years our family gatherings have been a great way to keep up with and meet new members of the family. We now have three generations of relatives that typically make the trip, ranging from six of us up to 20 or so at times, from all over the country. We always stay in several chalets next to each other, which provide plenty of space, kitchens, laundry, and bedrooms with private space for everyone.

Because of the age range in the group, we all have different interests, but the area offers so much local flavor that there is always something to do. Some of us enjoy shopping, riding the trolley to different sites in the area, and definitely taking in the natural beauty of the area. Between the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and all the other tourist things to do, it’s easy to stay busy.

Even if we split up during the day to do our own activities, we always gather together for dinner in the evenings to share the day’s adventures. We either grill out or use the kitchen in the chalet if eating in, or head out into town for a big dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Every winter for the last thirteen years, I’ve received the best holiday gift a person could ask for—my entire family coming together for a week during Christmas. I feel so lucky to be able to have a place where we can all be together, while at the same time having our own space. Nothing can top the warm feeling I get inside while watching the twinkling lights of town from our balcony and spending Christmas with ones not seen nearly enough.

Overall, it was one of best things I could have done for my family to make sure that at least once a year, we always get to be together as one big family.


For forty some years now, whenever my sister and I have vacationed together, we’ve always had our children nearby, then grandchildren, and the vacations have, rightly, centered around the kids—their activities, their interests, their bedtimes, their food. It seemed as if every time we saw each other, it was for one of the children’s’ weddings, and for the family—those are not vacations.

Now that we’re up to a combined total of 10 children and 8 grandchildren, I thought it would be a novelty for my husband and I to ask my sister and her husband, a retired Lutheran minister, to share our condo in Aruba for a week…alone. Just the four of us spent a beautiful seven days enjoying the beaches, a tour of the island, a snorkeling trip, shopping for strange vegetables with strange money, cooking small dinners in our little kitchen together, eating barefoot at a beach restaurant the last night, chatting, chatting, chatting, about everything from death to careers to retirement to the wonders of the island.

In between eating and talking, we four played bridge every night until we were too sleepy to bid any more, then again the next day, and the next, even at the airport as we left for the U.S. We adore all our children, and in fact prayed together for all of their job security in these difficult times. And we love our collective grandchildren and showed each other all of their latest pictures, but this was our time away, and my sister and I felt like just sisters again.

–Julie Hatfield