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After an in-depth review of more than 200 resorts in the U.S. and Caribbean, Parents uncovered these family-friendly beach getaways. Some pump up the energy, others have a laid-back vibe, and all are great fun for both you and the kids! (Rates and offerings are subject to change. Contact each resort for the most up-to-date information.)
Montage Kapalua Bay (Maui, Hawaii)
Treat your family to the “aloha” spirit at Montage Kapalua Bay in Maui, Hawaii. The resort features luxurious one- to four-bedroom amenities, multiple swimming pools, and access to the pristine Kapalua Bay Beach.
While parents are lounging poolside or at Spa Montage, kids can spend the day at Paintbox children’s program, specifically designed for those ages 5 to 12. Half-day and full-day sessions are available, where your little one might explore tide pools, make instruments, observe sea turtles, and more. Kids can also compete for “Montage Merit” badges by completing Hawaii-focused activities.
The entire family will enjoy Hawaiian cultural offerings—such as lei-making, “Talk Story sessions, and ukulele lessons—led by the Montage Kapalua Bay’s onsite Cultural Ambassador. When it’s time to eat, families can dine at a variety of onsite restaurants, including the signature Cane & Canoe. They may also choose to cook in their full-sized kitchen or travel just 10 miles to the historic town of Lahaina.
South Seas Island Resort (Captiva Island, Florida)
Practically all beach resorts in the Sunshine State offer summertime specials, and this charming one located at the edge of the Gulf Coast is no exception. The South Seas Island Resort offers an impressive array of accommodations from the amazing tennis courts to nature activities, and family outings to luxury rentals a stone’s throw from the beach.
Speaking of the water, the waves at the beach are mild, the white sand is teeming with shells, and chances are good that you’ll see dolphins and manatees offshore at least once during your trip. In fact, this 330-acre resort, more than half of which is preserved, is a nature lover’s paradise.
Kids have their own pirate adventure when they use the Scout About Treasure Map to explore the island or sign up for the Sanibel Sea School where little ones can make fun ocean discoveries.
Club Med (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)
Club Med Punta Canta offers a diverse and vast array of vacation packages that are flexible enough for families of every size. They offer plenty of perks like their babysitting service including the Pajama Club for little kids all the way up to teen-centered activities designed to give your oldest kids a vacay experience at their own pace.
While the kids are having the time of their lives, you can enjoy the coconut tree-lined beach, sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing, and fitness classes. Club rooms (the least expensive type) are comfortable, and families with infants automatically receive a changing table, baby bathtub, and bottle warmer in their room as part of the resort’s “Baby Welcome” program.
Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
When you rent one of the 2,000-plus rooms at Atlantis, you gain access to the mind-blowing water park and aquarium—attractions that would add up to at least a couple hundred dollars daily in the States.
In the resort’s underwater tunnels and nine open-air lagoons, there are more than 50,000 sea creatures from more than 250 species, a number that rivals the grandest U.S. aquariums.
Many of the 100 acres of water attractions are thrilling—like the 50-foot water slide in total darkness—but require kids to be at least 48 inches tall. Smaller children will have a blast at several shallow pools and at Splashers, a Mayan-themed water-play area with a pirate ship and water canyons that is just for tots.
If you and the kids need to take a break from the sun, you could retreat to the Atlantis Theatre for a free G- or PG-rated flick or to the pottery studio. But this resort is really best for families who never seem to tire of the water and who have at least one child who is 6 or older so you’re not paying for attractions that your children are too small to use.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (Vero Beach, Florida)
Two hours from the hustle and bustle of the Orlando theme parks, Disney offers a family experience that’s easier on your feet and your wallet. Although Vero Beach is part of the Disney Vacation Club line, you don’t need to buy into a time-share to stay there; a one-bedroom with a full kitchen and washer-dryer runs a couple hundred per night for nonmembers.
Family activities—including catching a glimpse of loggerhead sea turtles in their nesting sites, miles of unspoiled beaches and nature preserves, golf, games, movies, and more for everyone in the family.
A Mickey Mouse-shaped swimming pool plus a splash area for preschoolers round out the fun—and, yes, life jackets and pool toys are free.
Beaches Negril (Negril, Jamaica)
Set on what’s arguably the best beach on the island, Beaches Negril is all about giving parents and kids an amazing vacation. While you take advantage of tennis, kayaking, windsurfing, the “Lazy River”—or simply collapse on the white sand—your kids can join a supervised program.
Babies hang out with trained counselors in a comfortable nursery setting while toddlers and preschoolers absolutely love Sesame Street-themed activities, as well as shell collecting, face-painting, and magic shows.
Since all your meals, most activities, and the kids’ club are included in the price, you really need to take advantage of everything to get your money’s worth. So this resort (and others like it) are best for parents who are looking to spend a couple of hours alone every day.
Hilton Hawaiian Village (Honolulu, Hawaii)
This family favorite spreads across 22 acres on Oahu, the easiest (and usually least expensive) Hawaiian island to get to from the mainland. Hilton Hawaiin Village’s six pools, including a specially designated one for children, are the hub of the action here.
There are free snorkeling lessons for kids who know how to swim, plus lei-making classes and hula lessons for the whole family on the deck. Other no-cost activities include Friday-night fireworks, lawn bowling, and ukulele lessons. The resort is home to about 60 wildlife species such as flamingos, turtles, and koi fish.
Camp Penguin for kids offers field trips to the nearby Honolulu Zoo, Bishop’s Museum, or Waikiki Aquarium as well as fun activities around the resort. Just be sure to bring along your child’s birth certificate or passport; Hawaiian law requires proof of age for admittance into the club.
Ocean Edge Resort and Spa (Brewster, Massachusetts)
At this affordable resort on Cape Cod, you’ll find scavenger hunts, beach fires with s’mores, and baseball and soccer games on the front lawn. On weekdays, kids can do cool craft projects, like making kites and tie-dyeing shirts, for a small additional price.
Two of this resort’s lifeguard-staffed outdoor pools are ideal for young children—as is the beach, with water that tends to be a little warmer and milder than on the other side of the Cape. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the resort is the only property on our list that has an indoor pool; in fact, it’s got two of them.
Loews Coronado Bay (San Diego, California)
A short walk or shuttle ride from quiet Silver Strand Beach, Loews Coronado Bay offers so many family activities—from cooking your own pizza to animal presentations to family movies shown poolside—that it has a separate kids’ activity desk to help keep you informed.
The conveniences are as abundant as the activities. Every family who requests a crib also gets a baby swing and a lullaby CD. Rooms can be childproofed in advance; request it when making your reservation. If you have a toddler or preschooler, you’re welcome to borrow a step stool, potty seat, stroller, and toys.
Other thoughtful features include children’s menus that offer old favorites and adventurous options like mini eggs Benedict; free use of pool toys and sand buckets; and hourly-rate options for the children’s program (unlike most resorts, which require a half- or full-day session).
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico)
Aloe-soaked towels and fresh fruit are the kind of greeting you’d expect at one of those resorts where one night costs more than your monthly mortgage payment. But in summer, rooms at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico start around $200 daily, including the resort fee. Another cost-saver: You don’t need a passport to get to Puerto Rico.
But it’s the range of activities that makes this place special. Your family can go horseback riding, tour the nearby rain forest, learn how to do the salsa and other island dances, feed an iguana, and play tug-of-war at the beach—all in one day.
Or you could hang out at the lifeguard-staffed pool, which has a water slide and fabulous kiddie area. The entire hotel is nonsmoking, and rooms come with a mini fridge and a marble bath.
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa (Carlsbad, California)
The La Costa Resort & Spa comes with a children’s program (known as Kidtopia) and a water-play area. It’s a great choice for families who want to split their time between the beach and Legoland, which are both just a short drive away.
You won’t be bored with the hands-on activities available for the whole family. From hoola-hoop competitions to s’mores and “dive-in” movies there is plenty to do to keep everyone entertained and relaxed. The Kidtopia club for kids offers child care services, day camps, and a full range of games and activities for kids ages 6 months to 12 years.
The Villas of Amelia Island (Amelia Island, Florida)
About 40 minutes from the Jacksonville airport, the Villas of Amelia Island is a sprawling resort has two large swimming pools, a kiddie pool, and its own Nature Center—something that Camp Amelia, a supervised program for kids ages 4 to 10, taps into for activities.
You can get around the island in style with bikes, Segways, and island hoppers while your whole family enjoys museums, community theatre, beaches, and nature exploration.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa (Maui, Hawaii)
The Hyatt Regency Maui is set on 40 acres of beautiful Ka’anapali Beach where your family can spend hours exploring. The kids will love playing in their activity-packed children’s pool with a sand island.
For an extra fee (but a lifetime memory) you can book tickets to join in an epic traditional lu’au. The site is also one of the world’s best star gazing places on the planet, and your whole family can enjoy a guided star tour on the hotel’s rooftop astronomy.
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort (Hilton Head, South Carolina)
It’s not on the beach, but just a five-minute shuttle ride away Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is 3.5 miles of private oceanfront—featuring a beach house you can duck into for a break from the sun. Kids as young as 3 can learn about marshes and butterflies and can take part in nature scavenger hunts at this resort.
Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)
The Sawgrass Marriott offers a mini golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, three kid-friendly swimming pools, shark-tooth hunts, and a small private beach. If your family has any big golf fans, then you’ll love the special guest privileges of playing a round of golf (and even scoring a free lesson) at the famed TPC Sawgrass gold club.
Holiday Inn Montego Bay (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Montego Bay is already a little slice of heaven, and the Holiday Inn Resort will let your family experience the highlights with the tropical gardens and white sand beaches. There are loads of freebies for kids like on-site entertainment, mini golf, pool games, and meals. And it’s very close to the airport too.
The whole family can check out local tours that include glass-bottom boat rides, snorkeling and windsurfing, and more.
Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa (Riviera Beach, Florida)
Spacious, modern rooms, including a kitchen with a stainless-steel fridge, are what make the Marriott at Singer Island Beach near Palm Beach so cool. A pool with a waterfall and a supervised program for kids ages 5 to 12 doesn’t hurt either.
Plus, the hotel features a cute Ocean Club for kids that include the Kids Zone where kids will get supervised activities and games, giving the parents a chance to duck out for a quiet dinner.
Beaches Ocho Rios (Ocho Rios, Jamaica)
At Beaches Ocho Rios, the kids will love the golf clinics and the large Pirates Island water park with a shallow pool, squirting sea horse, and misting crab. Plus, there’s 22 acres of tropical gardens, white sand beaches, and plenty of gourmet restaurants that cater to family dining so you can explore the local cuisine without worrying if your kids will find anything they’ll like.
Sebasco Harbor Resort (Sebasco Estates, Maine)
The closest beach is just a mile away from Sebasco Harbor Resort. But with a saltwater pool, ice cream stand, and supervised children’s program, you and the kids may not want to leave the resort. The whole family can enjoy vintage candlepin bowling, schedule a cruise on the Atlantic with Captain Phil, and don’t miss exploring the tide pools where kids can learn about all the magic of ocean life.