10 Best All-Inclusive Travel Resorts
Azul Beach Hotel Riviera Maya by Karisma, Cancun, Mexico
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Ages 4 to 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 20 minutes LOWEST RATES August 1 to October 31
Fabulous food for both you and the kids is the big draw at this "Gourmet Inclusive" resort. Most of the veggies and herbs for the resort's restaurants are grown at a nearby greenhouse, bartenders infuse their own tequila, and chefs will whip up puree for your baby. "My 3-year-old son loved the chicken-skewer appetizer at the Latin restaurant so much that our waiter brought him a plateful," says Jennifer Birkenmeyer, of Edwardsville, Illinois, who also traveled with her daughters, ages 4 and 7. Made-to-order crepes and, at a special breakfast with Nickelodeon characters, a "green-slime" smoothie were also favorites. The kids' club is themed after Dora the Explorer and other Nick faces and has meaningful programming such as piñata-making and Spanish lessons. While the kids are busy, you can try the Latin dance classes and beach soccer. The accommodations are pretty genius too—you may opt for a swim-up suite, where you can step into a pool from your balcony.Summer rates start at $373 per adult per night, $100 per night for ages 3 to 12, free for newborn to 2; karismahotels.com. Airport transfers aren't included.
Franklyn D. Resort & Spa, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Newborn to age 16 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 1 hour LOWEST RATES April 5 through late summer (typically closed in early fall)
This 78-room Mediterranean-style resort in one of the island's most scenic areas isn't fancy at all, but it's so family- focused that guests swear that they don't miss the luxury amenities. The biggest perk: Each family receives its own nanny at check-in to help with the kids all day long (and at night too, if you pay an extra $9 per hour). They usually keep children busy at the small, protected beach, where they can feed fish and turtles, or in the kids' club with activities like shell hunts, jewelry- making, storytelling, and playing with the pet bunnies. Little ones also love rides in a glass-bottom boat or going down the small slides into the pool. Meanwhile, you can sprawl out on the larger stretch of beach, play tennis, or go kayaking. The food
is simple but satisfying: lots of fresh grilled fish, jerk chicken, and a kids' buffet with pasta, chicken, veggies, fruit, and other favorites.
Summer rates start at $170 per adult per night, $30 per night for ages 6 to 15, free for newborn to 5; fdrholidays.com. Scuba diving and spa treatments are an additional cost.
Beaches Turks & Caicos, Providenciales
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Newborn to age 17 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 15 minutes LOWEST RATES May and September
Your family will be spoiled rotten at this luxury resort on a 12-mile stretch of white-sand beach. The pampering starts at arrival, when you're greeted with a warm towel and a glass of rum punch; the kiddos receive an alcohol-free version. All of the kids'-camp staff has at least an Associate degree in early-childhood development. The activities—from pizza-making to reggae jams—are seemingly endless. "You never know what is going to thrill the kids, so the more options, the better," says Colleen Padilla, owner of ClassyMommy.com, who visited the resort with her family. Padilla's children, ages 6 and 8, raved about the camp as well as the swim-up ice-cream bar, snorkeling, pop-up Sesame Street parades (the resort offers a slew of programming themed around the beloved characters), and the nine slides at the pirate-themed water park. "Although we spent a lot of time as a family, I escaped with a book— you can find a hammock shaded by coconut trees," says Padilla. All rooms in the resort's Italian section are suites, with a separate kids' sleeping area, and there are 20 restaurants to choose from for meals.
Summer rates start at $378 per adult per night, $68 per night for ages 2 to 18, free for newborn to 1; beaches.com. Sesame Street–character breakfasts and tuck-ins, some brands of wine, scuba-diving certification, and the Scratch DJ Academy aren't included.
Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB 4 months to age 17 (extra charge for kids under age 4) DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 30 minutes LOWEST RATES Spring and fall
The most budget-friendly resort on the list is still brimming with one- of-a-kind activities like the circus school, which offers juggling lessons, tightrope-walking, and flying on the trapeze—safely harnessed—for kids ages 4 and up. While your child is having fun, you can take a snorkeling excursion or a deep-sea fishing trip. And all of you will enjoy the turtle-release watch party at the beach (in late fall until spring) when dozens of hatching sea turtles are sent off into the surf at sunset.
Summer rates start at $115 per adult per night, $80 per night for ages 12 to 15, $58 per night for ages 4 to 11, free for newborn to 3; clubmed.us/ixtapa. Horseback riding, dolphin experience, big-game and deep-sea fishing, and premium brands of alcohol aren't included.
Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Newborn to age 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 5 minutes LOWEST RATES April 16 to June 30 (closed in September)
Your tiny tourists won't want to leave the CocoLand Kidz Klub, which offers a mini zip line, a rock- climbing wall, and a petting zoo for rescued animals. "The staff gave us a huge list of activities so the girls could pick their favorites," says Alexey Edwards, of Mountainside, New Jersey, who visited with her kids, ages 4 and 9. Programming like Creole lessons and scavenger hunts is divided by age—3 and under, 4 to 7, and 8 to 12. At drop-off, you receive a cell phone with the kids'-club numbers so you can stay in touch. The family will enjoy guided nature walks, the beach's gentle surf, and a water park with slides and a lazy river. The food is exceptional. Says Edwards: "We had a hibachi-style lunch with more choices than a hibachi restaurant we go to in New York City."
Rates start at $179 for summer and $159 for fall per adult per night, $63 per night for ages 3 to 17, free for newborn to 2; cbayresort.com. Kitesurfing, windsurfing, and paintball aren't included.
Sunny Hill Resort & Golf Course, Greenville, New York
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Ages 3 to 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 40 minutes LOWEST RATES June 19 to 23 and mid-September (closed in winter)
Established in 1920, this resort in the Catskill Mountains focuses on nostalgic family fun. Paddleboats, obstacle courses, lawn concerts, and movies under the stars are part of the jam-packed daily programming. Many activities are for families to do together, but the resort offers a drop-off morning camp so you can take advantage of the two golf courses, spa, or fishing tournaments. Meals feature quintessential comfort food—like the traditional Friday- night turkey dinner—and are served family style. There are 12 no-frills lodging options to choose from—some with separate rooms for kids.
Summer rates start at $205 per night per adult, $70 per night for kids ages 9to13,$60 per night for ages 4 to 8, free for newborn to 3; sunnyhill.com. Alcohol and golf aren't included.
Velas Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Ages 4 to 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 10 minutes LOWEST PRICE April to December
Originally envisioned as a condo development, this oceanfront resort—with spacious suites that contain a mini kitchen— instantly makes you feel at home. The fridge is stocked with beer and other beverages. Plus, snacks are refilled every day. Iguanas and peacocks meander the lush grounds, which include coconut trees and flowers galore. You can drop the kids off at the club, where they'll go on treasure hunts or paint ceramics, while you enjoy the swim-up bar and taco tastings at the nearby pool. (You have to pop into the kids' club every 45 minutes or so to renew your child's stay.) Ecotours and Mexican cooking classes are also offered for adults and kids. And at dinner, a mariachi band may serenade your family.
Summer rates start at $161 per adult per night, $60 per night for ages 5 to 16, free for newborn to 4; velasvallarta.com. Airport transfers and golf aren't included.
Drowsy Water Guest Ranch, Granby, Colorado
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Newborn to age 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 90 minutes LOWEST RATES May 27 to June 2 and August 19 to September 1 (children's programs end September 1)
Your little cowboys will flip over this dude ranch two hours northwest of Denver. In the Buckaroo program, kids 5 and under take pony rides, play ranch games, and go on picnic hikes during the day while older ones hone their riding skills plus swim, raft, and learn archery. "Every guest gets
a horse for the entire week so they usually form a great friendship," says co-owner Justin Fosha. Families come together for meals, including chuckwagon lunches and open-hearth barbecues. Sing-alongs, s'mores-roasting, campfires, and even a carnival keep everyone entertained until they hit the sack in a Western-style cabin.
Summer rates start at $340 per night per adult, $298 per night for ages 6 to 12, $185 per night for 2 to 5; $128 for newborn to 1; discounts for weeklong stays; drowsywater.com. Massages, guided fly-fishing, and zip-lining aren't included.
Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, Montego Bay, Jamaica
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Ages 4 to 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 20 minutes LOWEST RATES August 19 to October 31
While this resort keeps families busy during the day—with canoeing, tennis lessons, and a water-park section—it really shines at night. You can drop your child off at the club for dinner and an evening activity, like a pirate party, kids' disco, or a talent show. Then you can enjoy dinner at one of the four restaurants or have a Jamaican BBQ on the beach. Come back together later for family-friendly shows in the resort's theater.
Summer rates start at $277 per night per adult, $138 per night for ages 4 to 12, free for newborn to 3; iberostar.com/en. Snorkeling, golf, and airport transfers aren't included. Fall rates start at $175 per adult; children are free from September 1 to October 31.
The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
SUPERVISED KIDS' CLUB Ages 1 to 12 DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT 20 minutes LOWEST RATES September to November
This oasis for families—with exclusive access to both kid- and adult-only pools and a child-focused concierge— is located within the Paradisus Palma Real Resort, on Bávaro Beach. The beach recently won a Travelers' Choice award from TripAdvisor based on the community's reviews and ratings. Many activities focus on enrichment: Kids ages 5 to 12 can take part in an art workshop at the mangrove while the younger ones feed flamingos, fish, and turtles. With the kids occupied, you can try a salsa class, learn how to make sushi with one of the resort's chefs, or take a yogalates workshop.
Summer rates start at $275 per night per adult, $137 per night for ages 2 to 12, free for younger kids; melia.com. Airport transfers and motorized water sports aren't included.