18 Family-Friendly Destinations You'll Love at Any Age
Family-friendly travel has evolved beyond spending a weekend eating all the treats at Disney World (though that's not a bad way to spend a vacation either). For both kids and kids-at-heart, hotels all over the world have incredible activities and programs, whether you're looking to immerse yourself in nature, do something active, or simply lounge in a lazy river. Here are 18 destinations the whole family will enjoy.
Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, SC: This sprawling resort has everything you need all in one place: a variety of accommodations, on-site restaurants, movie nights, activities just for kids, bike rentals, pony rides, pools, and the beach just a few steps away.
Jumeirah Mina A'Salam, Dubai, UAE: Jumeirah Mina A'Salam, part of Madinat Jumeirah Resort, combines beachfront luxury with Arabian architecture. You can travel around the resort's connected waterways via abras, or water taxis. On site, there are multiple pools, restaurants, a 95-shop souk, and guests get complimentary access to nearby Wild Wadi Waterpark. Friday brunch at the next-door Al Qasr hotel (also part of the resort) has 35 live cooking stations and is a must-do for the whole family. And if you are looking for something cool and off-resort, head to the Mall of Emirates and its indoor ski resort, where you can ski or meet some real penguins.
Fairmont Orchid, Kohala Coast, HI: Relax in the warm Hawaiian sun on the big island, where every sunset is spectacular. The Fairmont Orchid hosts various summer events for guests including sunset luaus, outrigger canoe paddling, and dive-in movies. There's also a year-round Keiki Aloha program for an additional fee, where kids ages 5 to 12 can participate in daily activities like hikes to the Petroglyph field, tide pool explorations, or gecko hunts.
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, Lost Pines, TX: There are activities aplenty to keep guests of all ages entertained, including horseback rides, archery and tomahawk throwing, zip-line tours, and an on-site waterpark complete with a lazy river and two-story waterslide.
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, OR: Enjoy the great outdoors in the foothills of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. Plan an adventure in nearby Bend or Crater Lake, learn about wildlife at the resort's nature center, take a horseback trail ride, or just lounge by the pool.
Baha Mar, Nassau, The Bahamas: This three-hotel resort sits on the white sand beaches of the Bahamas and has food trucks and a variety of water activities. There's also a nature sanctuary that invites guests to learn about wildlife and meet sea turtles and nurse sharks in person. Plus, no matter how old you are, you'll get a kick out of seeing the flamingoes that live on the property.
Sands Resorts Macao, Macao: With seven hotels and over 150 restaurants, Sands Resorts is a wonderland of entertainment. The Parisian Macao alone, for example, has a 20,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor play area, shopping, a theater for live performances, a mini Eiffel Tower, and Aqua World, a pool area with multiple waterslides.
Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel, CA: Located in the charming town of Carmel, Carmel Valley Ranch has a number of children's "camps" that offer wilderness exploration, craft-making, swimming, and story time. For the more adventurous, the apiary offers guests big and small a chance to learn all about bees and beekeeping.
Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton, Key Largo, FL: This resort is located on a former pineapple plantation and its beachfront location is perfect for a laidback family vacation filled snorkeling and diving, sailing, charter boat rides, eco-educational activities, and other water sports.
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY: A Victorian castle built in 1869, Mohonk Mountain House is surrounded by 40,000 of forest in upstate New York. In addition to hiking and kayaking on the lake, the resort offers an immersive Junior Naturalist program that allows kids to have hands-on experience with tree and plant identification, animal tracking, fossil hunts, and walks to the lily pond.
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Wailea, HI: When you're not hanging out at one of the Grand Wailea's nine pools, lounge in the 2,000-foot lazy river, hit the tennis courts, or drop off the little ones at "The Rock," a mini-resort with a gaming lounge and daily activities like hula and lei-making.
Aruba Marriott Resort, Aruba: During the summer and holiday weekends, kids have their own fun check-in area, and year-round, families can participate in scavenger hunts on the property, dine poolside, watch evening performances, or sign up for cooking classes.
Colony Club, Barbados: Colony Club has games and activities for kids big and small, as well as bespoke water sports, sailing, and a stand-up paddle and turtle snorkel tour, where you'll be able to hang out with the island's hawksbill and leatherback turtles.
Tru By Hilton Hershey Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania: For a super sweet vacation, head to the town of Hershey, where chocolate is the name of the game. The Tru by Hilton is near both Hersheypark and Hershey's Chocolate World, and the hotel has a customizable breakfast bar and gaming area for the whole family to enjoy
Tides Inn, Irvington, VA: You'll love the quietness of Chesapeake Bay's Tides Inn, where you'll find fresh seafood, fishing and crabbing opportunities (including a Children's Fishing Academy), a Kids' Club, and a variety of garden games such as cornhole, garden chess, pickle ball, and disc golf.
Gurney’s Star Island Resort and Marina, Montauk, NY: In partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, Gurney's Kids Club will host educational exhibits and hand-on activities such as caring for shellfish and oyster reef restoration. For a little sweet treat, s'mores are also offered Saturday evenings in the summer.
Rosewood Bermuda, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda: In the summer, Rosewood Bermuda offers family-friendly programs, as part of a brand-wide Rosewood Family Time initiative, that include tennis and golf, science experiences, baking cookies, and arts and crafts. The hotel has also partnered with the Living Reef Foundation to provide guided snorkeling tours and the opportunity for families to "adopt" their own coral gardens.
The Kinney SLO, San Luis Obispo, CA: Relax at this Central Californian hotel, which is located in low-key San Luis Obispo and has a year-round heated pool and sundeck and a pub with family-favorite games like vintage Skee-Ball, Connect Four, and Scrabble.
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Lesley Chen is a California native who writes about travel, health/fitness, and other lifestyle topics. She has a serious case of RBF and exercises mainly to balance out an aggressive candy addiction.