Happy Spring! The weather is finally warm again in Arizona and I’m so excited to finally be able to play with Diego outside without wearing 5 layers of clothes, haha! It’s also the time of year that I start planning for summer and looking for the best family vacation spots that we can go to, especially with toddlers.
If you’re in the same boat, this post is for you! I’ll be sharing some of the best family vacation spots, both inside the U.S. and outside, so you can start planning your perfect kid-friendly vacation!
What Makes a Perfect Family Vacation Spot?
Our summers started looking a little different after Diego was born. My priorities for what our family vacation should look like shifted from really fancy amenities to making sure they could accommodate our little family of three. And while the amenities are still important, they now take second priority to family-friendly locations. When looking for family vacation destinations, I like to focus on five main things:
- Price: Taking our family of three on vacation will cost more in general, however, I still like to find something that’s reasonably priced. All-inclusive resorts make this easy to do. Pay once, and be done!
- Amenities: I like looking for places that have plenty of Children’s services. Whether that’s a nice pool, crib rentals etc., knowing the place has everything we need for a comfortable stay helps in my preparation for the trip.
- Family-Friendly Food Options: This is a BIG one for me. I want to make sure Diego (and myself) have food we can enjoy when we are on a family vacation.
- Room Quality: Does the room have a kitchen? A separate room that Diego can nap in during the day? Is the room clean? These are just a few questions to consider.
- Kids Activities: I like to make sure the place we’re going has plenty of children’s activities like a kids center, kids camp, splash pool, etc. Anything that allows them to have fun while they are there!
My Must-Haves For Family Vacations
Whether it’s a tropical beach, dude ranch, or snowy mountains, I have a few things that I ALWAYS pack with me. Check it our here:
The Best Family Vacation Spots
Now that you know what I look for in a family vacation destination, here’s a list of good family vacation spots. Whether you want to stay in the U.S. or if you want to travel to other tropical places outside of the U.S., there’s something for YOU on the list!
This list is one that I created based on research I’ve done for family vacations; I haven’t stayed at them personally. If you have stayed at any of these, let me know in the comments below.
International Family Vacation Spots
Getting out of the country is sometimes the best way to unplug and unwind. Here are some great international family vacation spots.
Azul Beach Resorts Riviera Maya, Mexico
As you know, I’m from Mexico and any excuse to go back, I’m there! This resort is super family friendly and rates high on most things I’m looking for. The amenities they offer for kids is great. I can rent strollers and cribs for Diego, which makes packing and traveling a lot easier. They even have “Azulitos Playhouse by Nickelodeon” if we want to take Diego to a safe place to run around, as well as 5 different pools.
This family vacation destination has many different restaurant options. Some are more family-friendly than others. As far as rooms go, there are many options depending on how many are in your family and what you are looking for. The Deluxe Room can fit 2 adults or 2 adults + 1 child, which would work well for my family of 3. However, other suite options provide separate rooms to accommodate a sleeping baby, they are just more expensive.
Price Range for a family of 3: $1,091 – $1,977.
Beaches: Turks & Caicos
Give me all the tropical paradises, please! Even though I’ve never been here, the photos look absolutely breathtaking and the Beaches Resort has it all. There are plenty of restaurants (21 to be exact), Kids Camp, and Pirates Island Waterpark. While Diego still may be a bit young for the water park on his own, there is still a wide variety of things to do here as well as five different “villages” to stay in.
The nice thing about this resort is the availability of rooms with kitchens. Additionally, the rooms and amenities would accommodate nicely for larger families; it may be a bit much for my family of 3. This article from U.S. News and World Report gives more information on the overview of this resort.
Price Range: $8,800 – $20,000+ for a full week.
This is one resort that I have actually been to! Let me just say, it’s amazing. One thing that really blew me away was all the different food options. Their website boasts over 25 different dining options, from Steakhouses and Asian food to Italian, basically, whatever your heart desires.
There are 4 different areas you can choose to stay in for your trip and each offers a slightly different experience. Regardless of where you stay, there will always be a pool. They also have a nature trail that you can walk or bike with the family, as well as an “All Day Camp” for younger kids that includes kayaking, archery, boat tour and more.
Price Range: $210 – $1,148+ per night, depending on the desired room and area.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau Bahamas
When I think tropical, I think the Bahamas. The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau Bahama’s looks clean and elegant but still works for families, however, it is not all-inclusive. They have plenty of restaurant options; ‘Costa’ is one in particular that their site identifies as family-friendly. Additionally, they have 6 swimming pools and a Kids Club & wildlife experience. Their website does not say anything about crib and stroller rentals.
Price Range: Around $274 a night
Tryall Club, Jamaica
This resort seems to be how I would want to go to Jamaica. With your own private Villa for the stay, it gives everyone plenty of room for their own space. This resort also features amenities for the kids. They provide babysitting and nanny services, as well as a kids club (Diego would need to be with a babysitter to participate in their toddler activities).
There are numerous places to eat, however with a chef available throughout your stay to make your meals, you won’t need to worry about going out every night! This is a HUGE plus for me. Even though I’ve grown to enjoy cooking a little more, if someone wants to do it for me, I’ll gladly let them, haha!
Price range: $3,500 – $70,000 per week.
Paradisus La Esmeralda
Mexico makes the list again! Located in Playa Del Carmen, this is an all-inclusive resort. The website shows that it has many activities and services like a splash water park, daycare service for 12 month-olds to 4 years old, games on the beach and more.
As far as food and restaurants, they have plenty to choose from. While some are adults only, they do have a variety that is open to everyone, including the kids. For lodging goes, they offer different rooms depending on your needs. For example, some rooms are prepared with families in mind (think mini robes and slippers for the kids) while others are perfect for just adults.
Price Range: $226 – $354 per night.
The Best Family Vacation Spots in the U.S.
If international travel isn’t your thing, no problem! Here are a few places that might pique your interest in the U.S.
Located in Hawley, Pennsylvania, Woodloch Resort takes you off the beach and into the beautiful forest. Amenities and activities for the family include an indoor splash zone, ice rink, snow tubing, Go Carts, and other events they host while you’re there. Additionally, there are a few food plans to choose from. You can choose from having 2 or 3 meals a day or no meal plan (they have restaurants there to eat).
Whether you are traveling with your whole extended family or just your immediate family, lodging options here range from a single room (hotel-style) or full-fledged house. So, the choice is up to you!
Price Range: $5,691 – 16,097 per week.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
No list of the best family vacation spots is complete without a trip to Hawaii. While Maui often gets all the credit, consider a Kauai getaway. The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa has all kinds of amenities for kids and adults. Not only do they have an impressive pool and lazy river, but they also have ‘Camp Hyatt for Keiki’ which is a camp with activities for the kids.
This resort also offers suite rooms or simple hotel style rooms, however, the only one to provide a full kitchen is the presidential suite. That said, you may need to be prepared to eat out. This place does offer restaurant options. Specifically, the Seaview Terrace says it’s got a kid-friendly menu.
Price Range: $450 – $499 a night
I have heard so many great things about this place from friends who have gone. And do you expect anything less from Disney?
Disney is so great about being family oriented and based on their website, there are so many fun things that the kids can do. Aunty’s Beach House is a place for 3-12 year-olds to come a make crafts, watch movies and more. There’s also the Keiki Cove Splash Zone in the family pool area… which I know Diego would just love! And other pools like Waikolohe Pool and Waikolohe Stream. Honestly, there is so much family fun at this resort; see the full list of activities here. It’s also nice because you can choose from a room or suite or a villa (featuring a kitchen, washer/dryer, etc.)
Price Range: $494 – $3,539, depending on Villa or Standard Room.
Disney also has great cruise options coming up for the summer of 2019! So if taking to the open sea is more your speed, you can check that out here.
San Diego, California
I LOVE California and the nice thing about San Diego is it’s an easy drive/short flight for my family from Arizona. It has everything from amazing beaches (think Coronado Beach) to LEGOLAND and Sea World. Not to mention, San Diego is just beautiful in general.
Here are a couple hotels and Airbnb’s that you can stay in if you decide to go:
- Fairmont Grand Del Mar: This hotel features a pool and they will drop you off at the beach! They also have a few dining options that kiddos can enjoy. The other nice thing about this one is its only 20 miles from LEGOLAND (ETA will vary on traffic 🙂
Resources to Help You Find Your Next Family Vacation Destination
- This article by Goop lays out the perfect itinerary for a weekend with the kids in Santa Barbra. Santa Barbra is one of the prettiest places you can visit in California, so this trip is one that I definitely recommend.
- If you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, this article in Goop outlines a trip with the kids to Basque Country in France. While I have personally never been, it sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and if it’s family-friendly, count me in!
- Hawaii is always a go. This article gives the full run-down of things to do and places to stay in Oahu.
- The Conde Nast Traveler is a great resource whether your traveling with or without kids. It provides information on international and local places. Check it out for unique and fun ideas!
Summer travels are just around the corner! Where are you and your family traveling? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram!