Everyone could use a vacation. You’ve been staying later and later at the office. Your spouse is bringing work home for the weekend. The kids’ school schedules and after-school activities are a never-ending marathon. Everything feels repetitive and a break would work wonders. You and your spouse have a long list of dream destinations for the two of you, but that’s for another date. The kids are coming on this vacation and there has to be ample activities for everyone. So how do you go about it? It’s a big world out there and the all-inclusive resort’s market is a big one. To save you all the searching (like you have the time anyway), we’re here to make things a little easier. From horseback riding on the beach in Turks and Caicos to skiing the Italian Alps, here are our top picks for the best all-inclusive resorts for kids.
1. Club Med Punta Cana – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is the big leagues when it comes to resorts, and the list of accommodations options there is long. However, no resort does as much for kids as Club Med. If you’re bringing an infant along, there are groups of professional caretakers ready to take on infants as young as four months. So when you and the rest of the family want to hit the beach and not have to worry about sun exposure, you can leave the baby in an air-conditioned room with all the care they need. If the kids are on the older side, there are groups for teenagers up to 17 to meet other kids on vacation and take on some of the more physically demanding water sports that might not appeal to everyone.
As you probably know already, Punta Cana is best known for its beach cabanas and calm turquoise waters. We’re confident that the office will feel pretty darn far away.
2. Beaches – Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Part of the Sandals all-inclusive resort company, Beaches is one done by the pros. Like Punta Cana, Turks and Caicos is home to some of the Caribbean’s best resorts, but unlike some of the other more popular destinations, the island never feels as crowded or overwhelmingly touristy. Beaches is family-friendly fun without the nonsense that comes with other all-inclusive vacations.
So what makes Beaches such a great balance between fun for you and fun for the kids? Well, picture this: you can grab a cabana, put your feet up and sip a cocktail with nothing but the sound of the waves as a soundtrack while not too far away, your kids play at the Pirate Island water park, with water slides and a pirate ship. They’re two different worlds right there on the same resort. Beaches even has a partnership with Sesame Street and the characters are on-site for meet and greets and performances. The resort also offers spa treatment if Mom isn’t quite as enthusiastic about meeting Big Bird.
3. The Ranch at Emerald Valley – Colorado Springs, Colorado
What if you’ve done the Caribbean already and you’re looking for something a little more rustic and wild? Maybe you’re city folks looking to get out and see the great outdoors. For that kind of vacation, The Ranch at Emerald Valley is hard to beat. You and the kids can stay in a cabin, ride horses on the surrounding trails, fish for trout in the nearby pond, roast marshmallows over wood fires and stare in awe out over the Rocky Mountains. We’re also big fans of the gourmet cookouts that happen twice a week.
We love this one because it’s a break in the routine and gives families an opportunity to get out in the open and enjoy one of the most beautiful spaces in America. It’s also a dose of classic American rustic life that can be hard to find these days.
4. Lewa Safari Camp – Nairobi City, Kenya
A lot of your friends may take their kids to all-inclusive resorts and it’s never appealed to you. It seems so, well, boring, and cut along the lines. You’ve always been an adventurer and you want your kids to have that same spirit. What better way to ignite that spark than to bring them to Kenya to explore a 62,000-acre wildlife reserve?
Families can book a few of the resort’s spacious luxury tents and spend their days hiking with the Masai people, fly-fishing in the local river and exploring the reserve looking for beasts of the Serengeti. This is the kind of all-inclusive vacation that might inspire your kids to make these kinds of trips a staple in their adult lives.
5. Club Med Pragelato Vialattea – Pattemouche, Italy
Club Med Pragelato is the skiing family’s dream. Tucked high in the Italian Alps, the resort offers ski-in/ski-out access to 240 miles of some of the world’s best skiing. Naturally, families that choose this kind of vacation are going to have some skilled skiers. However, on other ski trips, there is often some debate about who can come and who has to stay behind for fear that not everyone will keep up. Well, leave that concern behind. Thirty of the mountain’s runs are for beginners, so the less-experienced members of the group will have plenty to explore.
Pragelato Vialattea also stands out as being great for kids due to its clubs, nature programs and ski-alternative activities (think snowshoeing and Nordic walking) that are available for kids aged between 2 and 17.
6. Coconut Bay Beach Resorts and Spa – Eau Piquant, St. Lucia
And back to the Caribbean we go. Naturally, the beaches and water activities are an attraction, but Coconut Bay goes beyond. The kids clubs, family karaoke and movie nights are perfect ways to stay active and strengthen family bonds that might be a little strained under the pressure of everyday life at home. There’s also zip lines and a rock wall if the water activities get old for the kids.
Coconut Bay does a great job of giving the kids and adults their separate spaces when necessary. Kids have their own pool area for cannonballs and water games, while adults have a calmer pool area for catching rays and sipping alcoholic drinks. Of course, the idea is to bond, but we understand both sides need their space from time to time.
So whether it’s the tropics or the mountains, you don’t have to leave the kids behind for your next adventurous getaway. The world’s best all-inclusive resorts have changed the way family’s do vacation. So get planning!