T+L’s Editors Share the Best Trips to Take With Mom
But while we all like to open a prettily wrapped package, don’t ignore the power of a well-planned experience. After all, this is the woman who took you on all your trips growing up, from camp to family vacations. So now it’s time to spoil her and return the favor.
Could your mom use a little dose of luxury? We’ve got some of our favorite luxury family vacations right this way. If you and the gang want to spoil her with a trip to the beach, you could refer to these ideas here. Don’t want to sweat reservations for dinner while you’re away? Then consider some of the best all-inclusive resorts out there.
If it’s something a little different you’re after, our editors put our heads together to create a list of our ideas for the best trips to take with your mom. Ours are culled from experiences we’ve had — from tornado-chasing with adventurous moms in the Midwest to road-tripping along Ireland’s southern Coast — to trips we plan to take, tracing a family’s roots in Hungary or China, or crossing off a bucket list item like visiting the vineyards of Mendoza or lounging in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. The common thread among them all is the shared experience of family and history, so perhaps that’s the best place to start.
Think about the places that are most meaningful to you and your mom, and get to planning. We promise it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Lake Balaton, Hungary
“My mother was born in a castle on the shores of Lake Balaton, often referred to as ‘the Hungarian sea,’ on V-E Day in 1945. I would love to go on a pilgrimage there with her. This part of a Hungary is quite picturesque, with high-end resorts and an emerging wine-growing region, so the trip would be not only personally significant but also quite pleasant.” — Jesse Ashlock, Executive Editor
New York City
“My mum, who's British, has never properly visited me here in New York City. She came once, very briefly, one February, but the weather was so awful we barely made it out of the apartment. I would love to spend three or four days showing her around — preferably in spring or fall, when the city is at its best. We'd probably start in the West Village, where I live. She's a big reader, so we'd go to Three Lives book store: I know she'd love the well-read, left-leaning staff there. She very into Henry James and Edith Wharton, so we'd take a tour around Washington Square, then see if we could get a seat at the bar at Babbo for lunch. We'd visit The Met, of course, and The Frick, and perhaps stop at Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie for tea and a slice of linzer torte. After a few days of this treatment, hopefully she would be inspired to visit more frequently — and bring my father with her next time, too!” — Flora Stubbs, Features Director
“My parents took a trip (sans kids) to the island a number of years ago, and my mother still raves about it. They indulged in fresh lobster rolls, rode bikes for miles, and enjoyed the maritime charm — you won’t find much of that where I grew up in the Midwest. I know my mother would love to return, and I, having never been, would be thrilled to share all of the wonderful experiences she often reminisces about.” — John Scarpinato, Assistant Editor
“Something strange happens when my mom and I go on vacation: This normally demure, well-bred, ninth-generation Southern lady turns into a total scofflaw badass. Over the past few years, our travels together have focused on the Nordic countries, and we’ve now crossed all five off our bucket lists—I hope she enjoyed her time there, as I don’t think Mother will be welcomed back to the region anytime soon. In Iceland last summer, she racked up $500 in speeding tickets within an hour of clearing passport control. In Denmark, she faked sick and pulled the emergency alarm because she was hungry for smørrebrød and the Ferris wheel was ‘taking too dang long.’ By the time our gravlax appetizers arrived at a group dinner in Sweden, she’d already insulted the governor of Utah in front of his entire family. In Finland, she mistook fancy, 4€-a-pop chocolates for free samples, stuffing her cheeks like a chipmunk before we were asked to leave. And most recently, on my 30th birthday in Norway, she took the GPS directive to ‘turn right’ very literally, not waiting for the intersection a hundred feet ahead but instead plowing through hedges and into a pedestrian-only park. ‘Hey, at least we’ll have a good story’ was her only calm remark as our runaway rental flattened the landscaped flower beds, terrified Norwegians leaping from the path of this normally demure, well-bred woman.” — CB Owens, Copy and Research Editor
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
“A college trip took me to Italy's most famous coast for two days, and I distinctly remember thinking two things: ‘I will be back here someday,’ and, ‘My mom would love this place.’ We'd lounge on Positano's best beaches, browse cliffside ceramic shops, admire the postcard-perfect pastel villages from a boat tour, and wine and dine under a lemon tree canopy. Oh, and every day would end with gelato, but that's a given.” — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor
“It's been on my Mom's bucket list for years — and it's one of the few places that I've been, and she hasn't. That said, I will HAPPILY go back and repeat the experience of staying in an overwater bungalow, lying on the beach and drinking champagne, and swimming with reef sharks.” — Jacqueline Gifford, Travel Director
“My mom is one of my absolute favorite people to travel with, so it's difficult to choose just one trip, but there's something extra special about being together in a place that's connected to your family history. My mom's side of the family is from Sicily, and I knew she would love Taormina for its old-world beauty, stunning beaches, and of course, the food and wine. But the most memorable part of all was how the people there made us immediately feel like part of their family, from Roberto the cannoli master to the staff at Hotel Villa Carlotta, who became lifelong friends and have even visited my family in New York City since.” — Nina Ruggiero, Senior Digital Editor
Wales, Scotland, Britain, and Ireland
“My mother is the family genealogist; she has spent hours researching the roots of our family pre-North America and gifting us the DNA tests to confirm her research. Tagging along on an ancestral journey — trekking all over the U.K. from the main sites in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England to the more remote areas like Mid Yell on the Shetland Islands and Aberdeenshire, Scotland — would be the trip of a lifetime to share with my mother.” — Mariah Tyler, Associate Digital Photo Editor
“All four years of high school, I had dreamed of packing up my bags and heading west for California’s mountain views and sunny skies. So to celebrate my graduation (and to fulfill my wildest Hollywood dreams), my mom and I went to southern California for my first west coast adventure. Our trip started in San Diego, where we hit up the zoo and Point Loma, only stopping to eat the most delicious fish tacos I’ve ever had. On our second day, we drove up the ever-beautiful Highway 1 on our way to Los Angeles. When we got to the city, we did the most touristy things we could think of, from hiking Runyon Canyon and exploring Griffith Observatory, to taking selfies in front of the Hollywood sign and eating ice cream on Santa Monica pier. And because we couldn’t get enough of the Pacific coastline the first time, we drove it all the way back down to San Diego. It was the best graduation present I could’ve imagined.” — Elizabeth Preske, Digital Editorial Assistant
Napa Valley, California
“My mom and I don’t exactly have the same travel style, but one thing we can always, always agree on is wine. Together, we’ve tasted flinty whites in the massifs of Normandy, volcanic reds in the Canary Islands, and wines from Thrace in the waterside cafes of Istanbul. This Mother’s Day, what better place to treat ourselves to a few glasses (or bottles) than in Napa Valley, where a steady stream of new openings are helping the tourism industry get rolling again after last fall’s fires. We would stay at The Ink House, a just-opened St. Helena inn in the historic manor house of one of the region’s first Gold Rush settlers. From our beautiful home base, we could tour the county’s classic estates and younger, hipper projects, like Tank Garage Winery in Calistoga, a new tasting room housed in a refurbished 1930s-era gas station; the new nano-brewery from St. Clair Brown, the region’s only winery-brewery, with beers now joining the wine selection at their downtown Napa tasting room; or The Charter Oak, the acclaimed new restaurant from Napa Valley fixture Chris Kostow with rising star chef Katianna Hong helming the kitchen. And, of course, a lunch tour on the Napa Valley Wine Train, which is exactly what it sounds like.” — Hannah Walhout, Assistant Editor
“My mom doesn't have a ton of international destinations on her wish list but repeatedly mentions that she'd like to go to Ireland. She has absolutely zero specifics in mind (other than wanting to see green rolling hills), so when she finally agrees to let me plan a trip for us I'm turning to several T+L colleagues — who raved about their spectacular trips to the Emerald Isle with their own parents — for advice. I'm hoping to spring for at least one night at the spectacular Ballyfin hotel, no matter where the rest of our trip might take us.” — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor
“My mom has a taste for the finer things in life, so my dream Mother’s Day trip would be Italy’s Lake Como, where we’d spend our days touring grand villas, wandering manicured gardens, and dining alfresco at lakeshore restaurants like Le Pergola. In a perfect world, we’d stay at Il Sereno Hotel, a high-design bolthole on the lake’s southerneastern shore. The property has an infinity pool, sumptuous guestrooms decked out in custom-design furniture, and a restaurant helmed by three-star Michelin chef Andrea Berton. Also on offer: an all-wood Riva motorboat perfect for more pulse-quickening Mother's Day thrills.” — Siobhan Reid, Associate Editor