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Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families
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A new HomeAway Kidfluencer Survey, conducted by independent market research firm YouGov and HomeAway, the world's leading vacation rental marketplace, reveals kids are often the mini-decision makers when it comes to where to vacation.
The survey asked more than 2,800 kids, ages 6 to 18, in the U.S. and four European counties, what they want when they travel with their families. One in three American millennial parents let their little ones execute full control over the final vacation decision.
If your kids are like those surveyed and will be involved in planning your next getaway, they will love these 11 all-inclusive resorts for families that offer incredible, kid-focused activities. You'll be beyond pumped too, because when you visit one of these amazing all-inclusive vacation destinations, you can leave your wallet at home and just bring your sense of adventure!
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
If your family loves the beach and water park fun, consider the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. The stunning all-inclusive property features an exciting main pool and a large water park area with 17 waterslides, splash areas and fountains. The resort also offers clubs for kids of all ages, from a Baby Club to a Supervised Kids' Club for ages 4-12—with crafts, a playground, sports and eco activities—to a Teens' Activity Program for kids ages 13-17 that features music, pool tables and beach soccer. For adults, there's golf, tennis and an on-site spa. The Xcalacoco Experience will introduce the entire family to the Mayan and Mexican culture. All resort restaurants offer kids menus, and nightly entertainment is available. Rates start at $109 per person per night and include food, beverages and activities.
Ski Portillo, Chile
If your kids prefer skiing over surfing, check out Ski Portillo, the most renowned ski resort in the southern hemisphere. Your all-inclusive Chilean vacation includes seven nights of accommodations at a hotel that is the ultimate in hassle-free family ski vacations, because everything originates from there. Also included: seven days of lift tickets, four meals a day, and all amenities at the resort, including the fitness center, pool, and yoga classes. Ski Portillo also offers a kids' game room, climbing wall and movies. Scheduled activities each week for kids include learning to make bread, races, tubing and a torchlight parade. Free childcare is available for kids ages 4-7. Complimentary transfers from Santiago are included. It's recommended guests book at least 60 days out. Prices start at $2,100 per person for the week, based on double occupancy. Kids under age 4 are always free. They also offer "kids free weeks" when kids ages 4-17 stay, ski and dine free.
Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If your family is looking for a truly different experience than your average all-inclusive resorts can offer, CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil at Club Med Punta Cana may be for you. From world-renowned, all-inclusive vacation company Club Med, comes a completely unique concept: CREACTIVE. This brand new opportunity allows you and your family to experience 25 circus acrobatic and artistic activities like acrobatic bungee, flying trapeze, aerial silk, tightrope, juggling, dance and mask painting. Starting June 15, families are invited to enjoy custom designed experiences built around learning new skills, playing together and having fun under the supervision of Cirque du Soleil trained staff. This Club Med vacation includes accommodations in one of 553 pastel decorated rooms, dining at three international restaurants, spa relaxation, access to 2,000 feet of white sandy beaches on the Atlantic, golf, water sports, shows and nightlife. Rates start at $129 per person, per night, and children under 4 years old stay free.
Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, N.Y.
The woodland setting of the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, N.Y., will take your breath away. Evoking the splendor of the historic Adirondack Great Camps, this award-winning resort is luxury all the way. Stay in one of 94 guest suites, ranging in size from 700 to 2,300 square feet and from one to three bedrooms. Play in the lodge's pond, where kids can enjoy catch-and-release fishing using complimentary equipment, or in the swimming pool, three hot tubs, family game room, 56-seat movie theater, old-fashioned ice cream parlor and two-lane bowling alley. Your vacation includes nightly family bonfires with s'mores, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boating. During the summer, Kamp Kanu, a complimentary on-site adventure program that keeps kids engaged with crafts, sports and field trips, is available seven days a week. Summer rates start at $356 per night.
Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, Leavenworth, Wash.
Nestled along the banks of Icicle Creek in the Cascade Mountains, the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort is the place to go if you seek a peaceful, all-inclusive retreat. Relax in cabin accomodations in a remote setting rich with history and tradition. Reconnect while enjoying outdoor activities, like hiking, fishing, horseback riding, hayrides and tennis during the summer, and downhill, Nordic and back country skiing, tubing and sleigh rides in the winter. Families can also take part in a scavenger hunt, a self guided art walk and seasonal bird walks and garden tours. Then tuck into a gourmet dinner and hearty breakfast. Many ingredients are sourced from Sleeping Lady's own two-acre organic garden. You'll want to keep an eye out for the owner and her dog, crossing the river on her personal gondola to hunt for fresh produce. Rates are $263 per night. It's recommended that guests book their vacations one to two weeks in advance during non-peak times.
Doug Stallings, senior editor of cruises and resorts at Fodor's recommends Beaches, saying it is a popular all-inclusive family resort brand with several locations in the Caribbean. Stallings told Parenting.com, "Two of the best are Beaches Ocho Rios, from $490 per person, and Beaches Turks & Caicos, from $550 per person. All resorts have Sesame Street programs for kids with characters, extensive kids clubs and programs, and elaborate water parks and pools. Beaches Turks & Caicos is the best and biggest of the resorts in the Caribbean, and it has the nicest rooms, including a new villa section that gives families more room to spread out. At Beaches resorts, almost everything is included, [even] scuba diving and motorized water sports."
YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado
A great budget-friendly all-inclusive option is the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado. Its two resort-style properties in Estes Park and Winter Park, Colo., are each set on more than 500 acres of Rocky Mountain landscape. Guests experience outdoor adventure activities from hiking to fly-fishing, swimming, zip-lining, horseback riding, arts and crafts, ice-skating, roller skating, swimming, yoga, dog sledding, nature hikes and archery. Prices start as low as $59 per night for a basic room and $150 for a private cabin. Dining is buffet-style or via takeaway boxes for outdoor excursions.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
Do you have little ones who love luxury? With ocean views from every room, Curtain Bluff in Antigua is the ultimate five-star all-inclusive resort. Enjoy activities like snorkeling, sailing, water-skiing, kayaking, yoga, pilates and tennis. Kids are invited to play sports and partake in beach activities. Or enroll the kiddos in the full-time kids camp that centers around a shaded "basecamp" by the beach and offers a range of activities, from chocolate making to crab races. Included in your vacation: three daily meals—no buffets here—all meals are fresh, including local fish, like mussels, salmon and grouper. Plus, teatime sandwiches and cookies, hors d'oeuvres at cocktail hour and alcoholic beverages are included. In fact, the resort's owner, Chelle Hullford, lives at the aptly named Bluff House at the top of the bluff. Every week, she invites guests into her home for a cocktail reception, where they can mingle and learn about the resort's history in a relaxed and lovely setting. Rates vary seasonally and by room. Children under 2 stay free; kids 2-5 years old are $85 per day.
Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa in Nicaragua
If you're imagining a tropical rain forest destination for your next family vacation, then imagine Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa in Nicaragua. Featuring six active volcanoes and 550 miles of coastline with stunning beaches, the luxurious Mukul experience includes an 18 hole golf course overlooking the ocean, fishing expeditions and spa treatments. The Kul Kids program offers professional childcare and Nicaraguan adventures for kids ages 4-12, such as making Nicaraguan-style art, collecting shells, hiking, releasing turtles back into their habitat, looking out for monkeys and swimming. Rates start at $849 per night.
Marble Mountain Guest Ranch, Somes Bar, Calif.
Hey dudes, Marble Mountain Guest Ranch is a thrill-seeker's dream all-inclusive dude ranch vacation destination. Activities include horseback riding and whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly fishing and jet boating. The Youth & "Buckaroo" Programs are available for little ones who aren't ready to participate in the more challenging activities. Rates include lodging, meals and activities for 5 days and 6 nights: Adults, $1,700; Kids 5-13, $1,560; Kids 3-4 $1,200; and kids younger than 2 are free.
Nickelodeon Experience at Azul Hotels by Karisma
The Nickelodeon Experience at Azul Hotels by Karisma allows kids to vacation with their favorite Nickelodeon characters, including Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Kids are awed by a custom check-in, Nickelodeon Concierges, a Nick Toy Lending Library and special Nickelodeon themed amenities. Families can dine with characters, enjoy meet and greets, and let loose in the themed Azulitos Playhouse by Nickelodeon. Families will enjoy gourmet meals and premium alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Complimentary offerings include gourmet baby food, jogging strollers, a My Gym Children's Fitness Program, and at some resorts, entry to The Breeze Club for teens. Rates start at $750 per night.