Considering a Family Reunion? Plan a Texas Cabin Adventure!
When asked what is important to the average American, most will answer with the basics we all desire to achieve: health, love, a secure home – and family. Having the support of those who know and love you, is something money just can’t buy.
Yet if you’re like most people today, your busy life means you’re communicating more via social media than face-to-face. Families are more geographically far-flung than ever (and in many ways, are much busier). Gone are the days of a cup of coffee and an afternoon of laughter and support from extended family.
We’ve felt the lack. And we’ll bet you have, too. Luckily, there’s a solution. Want to bring those you love together? Then plan a family reunion! It’s a lot easier than you think. If you plan a mega get-together in a locale that offers fun, atmosphere, amenities and scenic photo ops, AKA, Cedar Lodge Texas, you’ll be surprised (and thrilled!) at how many “yeses” return to you via RSVP. The more the merrier – and with our tips, the organization will be a snap!
Here’s how to put together a big bash everyone will want to attend – and will talk about for years to come.
Planning the Locale
Many families are scattered nowadays. Even if they’re not, getting people “away from it all” is the chief draw to a family reunion that’s well worth the vacation time from work.
At the same time, you want a location that can house one and all, is scenic, and has fun, and modern-day amenities that mean vacation and relaxation. (The more relaxed you all are, the more fun you’ll have – this means all age groups and every possible quirky personality!)
Texas cabin rentals like ours, located steps away from Lake Buchanan, make a great choice! Why? Our community of cozy log cabin rentals and reunion halls provide the perfect amount of space to bring out the entire family, which is why we’re such a natural choice for a large group get-together such as an extended family reunion.
Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, this type of vacation offers a whole host of activity options, like hiking, guided tours, canoeing, fishing, jet-skiing, or even boat tours of the lake! That means everyone is happy and memories get made – exactly what you want out of your family reunion!
Take a Head Count
The first order of the day when planning a family reunion is to get a reasonably close count of attendees. Aim to get a rough idea of this “head count” well ahead of time. You’ll be booking rooms and planning activities based on how many people will be there.
Try an online invitation system to make things easiest. Or you can do things the old-fashioned way and write or print out invitations, then mail.
FUN TIP: in days gone by, placing the mailing stamp upside-down was a secret code for “I love you.” If you’re hand-mailing your invitations, try this and when family members ask why your answer is certain to make them remember exactly why they’re so glad to be a part of the family.
Larger groups will probably need a series of rooms. Book cabins to house families so they can stick together and feel comfortable at night after the activities are over. Here at Cedar Lodge Texas, you’ll all be close enough to one another to knock and have a cup of coffee, but separated in case of tired, cranky kids, elderly family members who need their downtime, or just for a chance to grab a quick shower between the potato sack races (see below) and lake activities.
Book in advance so you get the exact dates you’re wanting – cabins go quickly during the Spring and Summer months, so get yours before someone else does! Texas cabin rental vacations are highly popular; our property offers the accommodations that will meet your needs and fit your budget.
Ask About Amenities
Do keep in mind: while you’re booking your cabins/rooms, you will want to ask about local amenities. Some family members may need wheelchair-accessible rooms, for example. Others may be small children and would love recommendations about kid-geared activities. We would love to answer any questions you may have about special needs or requests during your stay.
If you are planning a stay at Cedar Lodge, ask us about our on-site lake tours and local guided fishing excursions. You may be surprised by how many outdoor, family-friendly activities we have for guests to do during their stay at our Texas Hill Country lake cabin rentals.
Time for Fun! Planning the Reunion Activities
The time of year you book may dictate some of your activities. If you have an outdoorsy group, Spring and Summer is the BEST time of year to plan your reunion with us. Still like the outdoors but not a fan of the Summer heat? Fall is also a wonderful time to visit and experience all the beauty of Hill Country nature – without the fear of heat exhaustion.
If you’re choosing a Texas cabin family reunion, there are dozens of Texas destination spots that will allow outdoor activities in and around their cabin facilities; but our property offers a unique venue that’s quintessential Hill Country with plenty of outdoor space for guests to roam around and explore. Plus, our proximity to iconic Lake Buchanan only sweetens the pot!
Here are some awesome outdoor activities for your family reunion that can be had on our property:
Potato Sack Race
Yes, the old standby is alive and well! You may remember how the potato sack races of your youth left everyone laughing. The fun was as much in falling all over one another as it was in winning…and if you didn’t win, you were having too much fun to care. Now THAT’S an activity for everyone!
Here’s how to have a potato sack race:
- Before the race, buy or make prizes. Have a “big prize” for the first-place winner, a smaller prize for second place, and a little trinket for everyone else. Prizes can be small gift certificates ($5 or $10 should be fine) a small handmade gift, or sacks of candy (biggest and best for First Place, descending sizes for Placers). Or make/print out just-for-fun winner “ribbons” to pin to the chests of the contestants after the race.
- Have a sack or large pillowcase (the latter can be even funnier, as contestants will be bent down) available for each racer.
- Mark a place for “start” and one for “finish.” You can use landmarks: for example, start in front of the picnic tables and finish at a designated tree.
- Ask contestants to put both feet into the sack.
- Countdown and yell “start.” Contestants must hop to the finish line.
- Give out the prizes after the race. Be sure to take loads of pictures!
- Have a spoon and one boiled egg available for each contestant.
- Each contestant places the handle of the spoon in his or her mouth and then puts the boiled egg into the bowl of the spoon.
- Line contestants up at a start locale. Countdown to “start.”
- Contestants must run to the finish locale without dropping the egg out of the bowl of the spoon. Dropping the egg means returning to Start and starting over.
- Hand out prizes like the potato sack race instructions above.
Who Did That? Family Memories Game
- This is one game that may bring laughter, but is sure to wind up sentimental! Gather together index cards and pens and have contestants sit at a picnic table or in the largest cabin – wherever you’ll all fit and will all feel comfortable.
- Ask contestants to pick ONE memory of ANOTHER person at the table. The contestant must write his/her memory without using his own name or the other person’s name, or the name of anyone else (for example, say “this person’s mother…” not “Aunt Clara”).
- Gather the cards and mix randomly. Read the first card to the first person directly to your right. This person must guess who wrote the memory.
- If they guess incorrectly, they get one point off. A correct guess receives 2 points.
- If she/he guesses incorrectly, the person directly to their right gets to guess, and so on along the circle. If nobody guesses, the person who wrote the memory receives two points.
- The winner is the person who achieves the highest amount of points. Award him/her with something homey and family-oriented: a delicious baked goody from Grandma’s recipe box, a handmade collage of family photos, or another sentimental gift.
Sign the “I’m a (Family Name)” Board
- Using a root family name if possible – for example, your great-grandfather’s last name – buy an inexpensive, large-size piece of plywood. If the family consists of more than one root ancestral name, write them with a slash (i.e. “I’m a Robinson/Shakley”).
- Cover the plywood with thick paper and tack down firmly. It’s best to use plain white or very light-colored, non-patterned paper as the base color here, as it will be written on.
- Decorate the four border sides with stick-on stars, glitter, drawings of flowers, the initial of your root family last name or however you’d like. Adorn each corner with a colored ribbon. Keep the border narrow if possible so there’s plenty of room for people to write on the paper.
- Write “I’m a (Family Name)” or whatever heading you’d like at the top of the white paper area.
- Tack a length of yarn to the top of the board off to one side; tie a capped pen or marker to the other end of the yarn.
- As people arrive at the locale, have each sign and write a small message on the board. This will be a keepsake; take a picture of it after everyone has arrived and signed, and send the pic to each attendee after the reunion.
Making Memories with Specialty Family Snapshots
Besides the fun activities above, there are other ways to make memories of your amazing Texas cabin family vacation.
We mentioned locale and scenery, and there’s a reason: all those amazing pictures you’re planning on taking. Not only will invitees find the locale appealing and RSVP with a “yes,” they’ll love taking lots of awesome pics for social media and for their walls at home with a gorgeous backdrop of a Texas lake, or the rolling hills of the Hill Country.
- Take advantage of what our cabin rental offers in the way of outdoor or outdoor-backdrop activities. Snap lots of action shots of the joy you’re having at the reunion.
- Take a “We Were Here” pic: get everyone together near a sign or locale marker, stand way back to get everyone in, and snap the shot. Send the image to attendees’ phones or email or if you have the time later, download the shot, make copies and mail it (one to each household).
- Be outdoors as much as possible, but if you have family members who have physical considerations and can’t get around as much, we have plenty of shaded picnic and indoor common areas so they can still get in on the fun! Have them surrounded by other attendees and everybody smile!
Remember These Tips for Your BEST Family Reunion
- Even though most of the adults and many of the children at your family reunion probably have cell phones, buy cheap disposable cameras for the kids who will be in attendance (this is so much fun). Ask each child to snap pictures of the fun and festivities. Afterward, collect all the cameras and have the pictures developed the old-school style.
- Take plenty of pictures for your own fun! Have your camera available everywhere you go (except places where you’ll be in the water if your phone isn’t water-resistant). You’ll want to remember this wonderful time.
- If a special birthday (say, Grandma Harris’s 80th) or anniversary falls around Reunion Time, have a special dinner or event for the person or couple, or gift him/her with tickets to a local show. We have plenty of kitchen, prep, and seating for a large family gathering.
- Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask siblings, your parents, cousins or anyone in the family to pitch in with one part of the arrangements. For example, ask your sister to call the cabin rental agency to ask about wheelchair-accessible accommodations; ask your dad to help your aunt make travel arrangements to the locale; get together with cousins to make the contest prize gifts.
- Send an email around in advance of the reunion asking for suggestions on activities. You don’t have to say “yes” to them all (that’s overwhelming), but you may find you get some great, easy ideas you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.
- Be aware of, and control, your headcount. Make sure all family members are clear, for example, on whether their invitation is a “plus one.” For instance, you may not offer “invitation plus one” to your teen niece so she can bring her new boyfriend, but you will almost certainly want to invite your brother’s fiancé.
- Once the reunion is over, plan the next one! Ask attendees whether anyone would like to be the Master of Ceremonies, taking over the position you filled this time around. Let them know they’ll have plenty of help. When you get a volunteer, give him or her tips based on what you’ve learned to organize the current reunion. You can have it every year, every two years, every three – whatever is do-able for all of you. We give our guests first pick to plan their gatherings for the same time, next year! Making it easy to guarantee your spot and take the stress of picking a location off your hands.
Make your family reunion a tradition you can show and pass along to the next generation. You’ll be glad you did – and you’ll make memories that will last you a lifetime here at Cedar Lodge Texas!
– Gwen and Bryan