On the Island

The Family Experience

All Star 1 Family Conference Profile

However your family is made up, Star Island is your summer getaway. Both July and August are full with weeklong programs that you and your family can take advantage of, and are completely open to anyone.

Spending a week on Star attending one of these programs can best be compared to your entire family going to summer camp. There are unique and quirky traditions that any camper admires, and songs to sing while roasting marshmallows. Water sports start on our dock, and other outdoor fun can be found around the island.

Bringing your family to Star is about realizing you want a vacation that means something. You won’t be surrounded by tourist traps and backed up traffic. You will be surrounded by mesmerizing ocean views, and amazing people from all over the world.

The community aspect is huge, and Star’s welcoming atmosphere is fit for people who enjoy activities in large groups, or who relax best in solitude. There’s an option available at every turn.

Your Choices

The first choice is which summer program to attend. Our weeklong family-focused gatherings generally fall in the July and August months. Click here to see a full list of these programs. Once you get to Star, you and your family will be greeted with a number of choices.

Your Morning: Wake up to the sun rising and shining through your window, or stay in bed until the morning singers stroll pass exclaiming the breakfast menu and today’s weather. Others in your family might sleep longer, maybe even through breakfast, but you can find coffee on the front porch and a rocking chair waiting for you. Watch the morning Polar Bear swimmers jump off the dock for a rush before the breakfast bell rings. When it does, people will gather up their eggs and bacon, or oatmeal and fruit and head to one of the long tables. More coffee or tea is available. Kids might be running in late. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.

Children Putting on life vests

After Breakfast: Theme talks and workshops start shortly after breakfast. And youth groups meet in various places around the island to start their day. You can choose to attend a talk and listen to a leader in his or her field share important information on that week’s topic. Or, grab a newspaper from the Oceanic Hotel’s front desk and scan the news. A copy of the crossword puzzle is also available to try, and you might spend the morning hours focused on this. The front porch will come alive again as workshops break for coffee and conversation, and will quiet down again as people head back to work on art projects, practice for a talent show, or learn more from a speaker.

As you continue reading the newspaper, you see a youth group donning life jackets and heading down the ramp to the row boats. They’ll soon head over to Smuttynose Island for a day of exploration.

Lunch: The front porch buzzes with activity again as the crowd gathers by the dining hall doors waiting for the hostess or an appointed child to ring the lunch bell. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, salad and bread, cold water and juice wait at every table for eager guests to devour. You might find yourself eating with your entire family, or new friends. Children are probably gathered at several tables with the friends they just made in a youth group or while testing out the swing set waiting for the lunch bell to ring.

After dessert comes out, made by hand in our island’s bakery, you can head off for a leisurely walk along the boardwalk or around the half mile dirt road. While the views are plenty to hold your attention, walks are great for talking with a fellow Shoaler — our name for people who spend time on Star or any of the Isles of Shoals. You might discuss that day’s theme talk, plot out your act in the talent show, or wonder about the line-up for the afternoon softball game.

After Lunch: Before heading to an afternoon workshop, the dock is a great place to jump off of to cool down. Time your visit right, and the entire dock could be yours, or go down with your family for a cannonball contest. Heading back to the hotel to change into dry clothes, you’ll find our staff setting up the scoreboard for a softball game.

Star Gathering 2 Family Conference Profile

The afternoon, like the morning, is up to you. Will you attend a workshop or play a tennis match? Continue with whatever you’d like, and you’ll find that you’re spending your time on Star Island exactly the way you want to. And your family will be enjoying their time, as well.

When you hear cheering from the front lawn, you’ll know the softball game is about to start and one of your family members is up to bat. The weekly game finds staff and guests playing against each other for a year’s worth of bragging rights. The friendly games provide young and old an opportunity to work together.

The Evening: After social hour, and with dinner concluded (another tasty dessert put away, too), escape to the front porch or Summer House to watch the sunset. Afterwards, meander back to the hotel and find your seat for the talent show, or bring out a board game to play in the snack bar alcove with friends and family. And if you’re going to be that close to the snack bar, might as well order a classic lime rickey to sip on.

As the island seems to quiet down, the chapel bell will ring to signal it’s time to process to an evening service. Grab a candle lantern and head up the stone path to the chapel built in 1800. Find your seat and place your lantern on one of the wall sconces as singing starts to fill the old meetinghouse. This contemplative time allows people to reflect on their day, and often provides perspective on mainland life. Whether the chapel is a spiritual or Spiritual experience, the beauty of the minimalist services go hand-in-hand with time on Star.


Late Night: If you’re not exhausted from a day full of activities, an impromptu musicale might be happening in Newton where the festive atmosphere of social hour is alive again. Dance with friends and family to live music, or join a trivia game going on in another room.

As you step outside, you’ll see stars – lots of stars. Clear night skies on the island provide star gazing unequaled for miles.

Then you’re off to bed. A day on Star Island complete, a day full of choices on how you want to spend time with your family.

Click here to explore the array of multi-generational weeks perfect for families of all sorts.