10 digital-detox getaways for the whole family

Toting our iPads, laptops, and smartphones on vacation has become as second nature as packing socks and underwear. Nomophobia — that fear of being out of mobile phone contact — is growing, and it is becoming harder and harder to get away from it all, to truly unplug, even for kids. Digital-detox getaways allow families to tune back into their surroundings and each other.

Here are 10 destinations that fit the bill. Some are officially unplugged escapes, while others are off the grid by virtue of their isolation.


  • Montana This African-inspired luxury camp, just 10 minutes from the entrance of Yellowstone National Park, offers amazing views, an on-sight restaurant, and a variety of activities including fly-fishing, kayaking, and horseback riding. Choose from the spacious safari tents or more basic but comfy canvas tipi tents. Starting this summer, Moab Under Canvas will be opening in the desert just outside Arches National Park, with family diversions ranging from ballooning to rafting. All activities are organized for guests at both resorts, so all you have to do is switch off the phone and tune into nature. The lack of electricity will make that pretty easy.,

Susan Davis for Earthshine Disco


  • Lake Toxaway, N.C.
    One of the country’s premier digital-detox family vacation resorts, Earthshine offers tech-free all-inclusive family getaways with bells and whistles such as zip-line canopy tours, high ropes obstacle courses, and a huge array of family activities to make staying unconnected a breeze. The 13 cozy rooms are set up family style, with mom and dad downstairs and the kids upstairs in a loft on two twin beds.


  • Grand Canyon National Park Lodge, Ariz. The only lodging facility below the canyon rim, the ranch — recommended for families with older children — can be reached only by mule, foot, or rafting the Colorado River. The camp offers 11 rustic cabins (and communal bathrooms) and hearty, family-style meals. There’s not even a pay phone down there.

Priscilla Healy


  • New Hampshire  Step off the boat onto Sandy Island on Lake Winnipesaukee and step back in time to an era when summer fun came technology-free. This 112-year-old property has 54 cabins in the pines, a fully outfitted lakefront, and a clanging bell for announcing meals. Campers range from newborns to grandparents, and activities abound for all ages. There are organized programs for children 3-12 in which they sail, fish, tie-die, water ski, play tennis, and generally exhaust themselves. The heart of the 66-acre island, the Lodge hosts daily activities from talent shows to dances.

Jeremy Francis


  • St. Elizabeth, Jamaica The 49 rooms and funky cottages on secluded Treasure Beach have no TV or Wi-Fi, so you have more time to enjoy on-site activities, including fishing, cycling, yoga, cooking classes, watercolor classes, glass mosaic workshops, crafting for children, and a soccer-based sports park. For families, Jakes provides board games, a shallow pool, high chairs, and nanny services. Children and teens will dig the spa’s mini menu of services including nail art and hair braiding.

Lori Duff/AMC


  • New Hampshire and Maine The Appalachian Mountain Club offers the ultimate in low-tech, all-inclusive family vacations. Stay in a cozy hut or wilderness lodge with the smell of pine trees and the gurgle of a nearby river as adventure guides and naturalists lead you on hikes, fly-fishing expeditions, GPS treasure hunts, rafting trips, and pond studies. Activities, tailored for each location, are geared for parents and children ages 5-12, while Wee Wanderers trips are two-night, three-day programs designed for families with children ages 3-5. Cardigan Lodge and Lonesome Lake Hut are offering a kids-stay-free deal all summer.


  • Dominican Republic This eco-friendly resort is located on the northern coast on a private, unspoiled beach. The 10 bungalows feature kitchenettes, cribs, and laundry and baby-sitting services. A seaside spa, yoga classes, and water sports are available. If you’re looking for more action, try kite surfing at world-renowned Kite Beach in nearby Cabarete. www.naturacabana

Nicola Cornwall Pikey


  • McCoy, Colo. This all-inclusive dude ranch near Vail keeps even the youngest cowboys in your family (ages 6 and up) entertained. Activities include unlimited horseback riding, fly fishing, trap and skeet shooting, whitewater rafting, a trip to the rodeo in Steamboat Springs, and a cattle drive.


  • New York, Illinois, California Looking for a Little House on the Prairie-type getaway? These three working farms are completely unplugged and geared toward families. Stony Creek Farm, a 100-year-old working dairy farm, is nestled in the ruggedly beautiful Catskills in Walton, N.Y.; Kinnikinnick Farm is in the rolling hills of northern Illinois, near the Wisconsin border; and Chaffin Family Farm is a 2,000-acre orchard-filled estate at the base of Table Mountain in Northern California. Guests can roll up their sleeves and pitch in with farm chores.


  • Anguilla The seven-night Isolation Vacation package includes daily breakfast, four dinners, a three-day car rental, a deep-sea fishing excursion, and a private day trip to an uninhabited island. Package holders are blacklisted from plugged-in pursuits during their stay. Perks include free baby-sitting and complimentary doll tea parties.

Caitlin Hurley can be reached at
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