The 10 Best Family-Friendly Resorts

1. The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

Few resorts are as opulent as The Breakers, with its Italian Renaissance-style architecture and magnificent landscaping. Yet the luxe design hasn't stopped the staff -- particularly general manager Trish Taylor, herself the mother of a 10-month-old -- from scheduling charming parent-and-child activities such as Friday night bonfires at the beach and weekend family kickball contests on the croquet lawn. A kids' camp, with groups for 3- to 5-year-olds and 6- to 12-year-olds, mixes indoor arts and crafts and outdoor fun like sandcastle building and scavenger hunts. Though parents are permitted (but not obligated) to stay, the camp assigns one counselor to every five kids.

At dinnertime, the most popular option with families is the Italian Restaurant, featuring brick-oven pizzas and fresh pastas. Servers deliver kids their entrees while adults enjoy appetizers. Then children can explore the attached 6,160-sq.-ft. Family Entertainment Center, which has blocks, train sets, tumbling mats, arts and crafts stations, a computer, and a small movie theater. All activities are supervised by the resort's staff. Says Taylor: "We created this space for parents whose kids eat dinner in a minute and a half and want to finish their meal at leisure, knowing their children are safe and having fun."

Accommodations:

On 140 acres of oceanfront, the luxury resort offers 560 rooms and 38 suites, all nonsmoking and renovated within the last two to four years; a room with two double beds ranges from 360 to 400 sq. ft.; suites start at 500 sq. ft.

Family Features:

Year-round kids' camp all day and some evenings; private babysitting with screened sitters; playground; free use of bottle warmers, mini refrigerators, stepstools, strollers, infant bathtubs, and childproofing items

Parents' Perks:

Five-diamond restaurant; two championship golf courses; 20,000-sq.-ft. spa; three fitness centers; designer boutiques

  • Boasts five swimming pools -- including a baby pool and a heated family pool, the most in our 10-best list; organized games such as ring toss and underwater checkers take place often, and lifeguards monitor all water activities
  • Has a summer Junior Golf Academy for kids 6 and up and a Tennis Academy for kids 3 and up
  • Commissioned Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey, to design mascots for the kids' camp; the result: parrots Lulu, Loco, and Louie

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