What to look for in a vacation destination when bringing along the kids is totally different from the adult-focused couples getaway or girls trip. When it comes to planning a family vacation, it’s worth applauding any hotel or resort that eases the process of traveling as a family and offers programs that are actually focused on kids.
It’s so very much appreciated when properties beyond the obvious picks—ahem, Beaches, Disney, and Universal Studios—have amenities and services geared towards the littlest guests that actually help make a family vacation worth the planning, budgeting, and traveling. On top of unheard of amenities, many destinations offer one-of-a-kind learning experiences for little minds. Choose your adventure with options for relaxation-focused or edu-travel experiences for inquisitive little travelers. Read on for 20 of the best hotels for family vacations, both internationally and domestic.
1. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Colorado
Hitting the slopes when you have offspring too young to enroll in ski lessons might seem like a far-gone fantasy. But Park Hyatt Beaver Creek makes it possible for parents to get in a few runs while tots are looked after by a local sitter or at Small World Play School. However, the real draw of this mountainside property is the quality family time. There’s a cozy in-room camping amenity that includes a tent with a sleeping bag, faux fire pit, s’mores, and PJs. Milk and fresh-baked cookies at turndown, and a crib for your little to (hopefully) sleep through the night also sweeten the deal.
2. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
Lauded for going above and beyond for all generations, the 383-key Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea has a robust lineup of kids edu-vacation offerings. On any given trip, that might look like touching starfish and sea cucumbers at the Maui Ocean Center or learning about the history of the island during hands-on voluntourism at the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. There’s also a special outrigger experience that brings parents into the mix and teaches the whole family about Polynesian wayfinders.
3. Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection, New York
Getting tech-obsessed tykes and teens off their iPads and engaged in the world around them might seem like an uphill battle. Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection promises to make it a whole lot easier—and, dare we say, even enjoyable. Set on 140 acres between the heart of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills in New York, this eco-conscious luxury escape allows guests of all ages to meet the local farmers, get up close and personal with plants, and talk to chefs about the benefits of farm-to-table cooking.
4. Kimpton Alton Hotel, California
Completely refurbished from head-to-toe—and clearly redone with young families in mind—the Kimpton Alton Hotel is located in a stroller-friendly neighborhood just steps from all the excitement of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Bottle feeding or breastfeeding and require proper storage? “Mini-me milk fridges” are free of charge upon request at the front desk. Another great offering at the San Francisco outpost and a handful of other Kimpton properties is the ability to call ahead and reserve a complimentary 4moms Breeze Plus Playard with a bassinet and changing table attachment, Cleanwater Tub with a built-in thermometer, and the popular MamaRoo4 Infant Seat.
5. Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Florida
Every single property in the Loews portfolio participates in the brand-wide “Loews Loves Families” initiative. We’re particularly partial to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, one of the rare places in the area that provides such stellar family programming and proximity to the sand. A partnership with Little Spoon makes it possible to feed tots fresh, organic baby food through room service or in any of the on-site restaurants. Since the property is stocked with Hello Bello baby products, ranging from diapers to shampoo and lotion, parents can spend less time running out to the store and more time creating cherished memories as a family.
6. The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are a particularly easy Caribbean getaway for families because passports aren’t required. Mitigating the stress of family travel even further, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas—which was already a favorite thanks to its private pool cabanas, splash pad, waterslide, and gratis shovels, pails, beach balls, and baby sunscreen—has a partnership with French baby goods brand BEABA. The baby concierge service as we’re calling it, allows parents to rent bassinets, high chairs, and pack-n-plays at no cost. Forgot bibs, cutlery, sippy cups, and insulated jars for beachside snacking? Not to worry—all that is available for purchase without leaving the resort.
7. Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
Surrounded by 20,000 acres of maritime forests, tidal creeks, and salt marshes, Montage Palmetto Bluff places an emphasis on family togetherness and invites guests from every age group to participate in conservation initiatives. One of the most popular things for parents and kiddos to do together is the dawn chorus walk. Sure to inspire the next generation of ornithologists, this early morning stroll led by the resort’s resident naturalist puts little eyes and ears in proximity to 300 different species of migrant and perennial birds.
8. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, Hawaii
The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua tops the list of most luxurious family-friendly resorts in Hawaii. A partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society only ups its cred, with parents keen to impart some eco-education between building sandcastles and splashing in the pool. Through the Ambassadors of the Environment program, little ones get to learn about the behaviors, nesting patterns, and significance of Hawaiian wildlife courtesy of hands-on activities like naturalist-guided searches for green sea turtles.
9. Hotel del Coronado, California
Families have been flocking to the Hotel del Coronado since 1888, yet this iconic oceanfront resort continues to come up with clever ways to excite and educate kiddos. The newly-launched Ocean Explorers program immerses LOs in the world below the waves through activities like shark-themed games and actually touching sea creatures in the interactive tide pool. Parents and budding oceanographers will also be pleased to learn that a portion of the tuition goes toward supporting the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s conservation efforts.
10. Mohonk Mountain House, New York
Proof that expanding horizons doesn’t have to happen too far from home, Mohonk Mountain House is a storied family retreat that’s surrounded by 40,000 acres of forest in the Hudson Valley (for reference, that’s about a two-hour drive from New York City). The kids club has an award-winning junior naturalist program. Fossil hunts, nature walks to the lily pond, animal tracking, and plant identification are just some of the many fun and informative methods of fostering a deeper connection between youngsters and the Earth.
11. C Lazy U Ranch, Colorado
Outdoor recreation, campfire cookouts, and western-tinged fun are certainly the hallmarks of a family-friendly dude ranch vacation in the United States. At C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, skill-building under the supervision of trained counselors also comes with the territory. Little cowpokes will have a blast learning to ride horses and fly fish. It’s all about increasing competence and confidence in the great outdoors while enjoying blues skies, fresh air, and quality time with your crew.
Editor’s Note: When researching or booking international family travel, it’s important to be cognizant of the latest travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State. Click here to view all current travel advisories.
12. Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, St. Barts
Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France welcomes kiddos with open arms and just about the swankiest setup a baby could ask for (if they could talk). Perched on Flamands Beach, spacious villas and suites have multiple bedrooms, private swimming pools, and all the essentials that would be borderline impossible to haul on a plane—high chairs, cribs, changing tables, and bottle warmers. The culinary team will happily whip up veg-forward purees and tasty solids recipes. A newly launched experience led by an expert therapist gives parents the chance to learn and practice calming baby massage techniques. The hotel also offers aqua-osteopathy for babies.
Families with children have always loved the extensive lineup of activities like treasure hunts, eco-cruises around the lagoon, and piñata making at the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya – a Concept by Hyatt. The newest addition to the lineup is geared toward an even younger crowd. Designed for guests 3 months to 4 years old, Kimbo Baby provides a dedicated space with age-appropriate toys and Mexican tassel-adorned cribs for safe fun and snoozing under the supervision of trained childcare professionals who can also administer bottles and change diapers. In other words, it’s like a really awesome vacation daycare.
14. Rosewood Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands
For a BVI holiday with a baby or toddler, it’s hard to compete with Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Set on a secluded crescent-shaped beach with sugary sand and calm water, this five-star property appeals to families with its stellar service, multiple swimming pools, and a luxe array of niceties for every member of the family. Most parents—especially if it’s their first time doing a big trip—prefer one-on-one care, so it’s great that the resort supplies babysitting and nanny services. Thoughtful conveniences for the littlest guests include monitors, high chairs, cribs and linens, pint-sized bathtubs, towels, diaper pails, bottle warmers, play tents, and strollers.
15. Martinhal Cascais, Portugal
Hotels that pride themselves on being family-focused often cater ridiculously well to kiddos. Sometimes though, less so to parents seeking boutique ambiance moments of quietude. Martinhal Cascais combines the best of both worlds with a sprawling kids clubhouse, outdoor playgrounds, multiple swimming pools, stylish two-bedroom villas, and a spa. New parents can literally rest easy dropping little ones ages 6 months to 3 years old at the Creche, a sun-lit daycare facility with a storytelling corner, puppetry area, ball pool, games, and trained caregivers. Even the pickiest little palates won’t be able to resist the baby’s first solids menu, featuring homemade purees using local ingredients.
16. Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, Mexico
Baja California bliss for guests of all ages awaits at the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas. The list of complimentary amenities for the most youthful crowd is truly extraordinary. Cribs, high chairs, and diaper genies? Of course. Bottles, warmers, and sterilizers? You bet. Forget the white noise machine? You won’t lose sleep over it. No need to bring a bathrobe, shampoo, soap, or swim diapers for your tiny humans either. Need some grown-up time? Rest assured the trained babysitters will watch over your LOs while you enjoy a pampering massage at the spa or a romantic dinner.
17. Six Senses Ibiza, Spain
The most popular of the Balearic Islands may have a reputation for partying hard, but Six Senses Ibiza puts relaxation and learning over raucousness. (To that end, the hotel also has an industry-leading sleep wellness program that’s ideal for overtired parents.) LOs can partake in wellness-oriented activities like yoga and learning how to craft sustainable spa products in addition to becoming “climate warriors” by doing quizzes, games, crafts, and experiments at the Earth Lab. Seeing composting and upcycling in action are great ways to bring eco-efforts to life. Just note that current booking availability starts on April 1, 2024.
18. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
A long-time leader in edu-travel (way before it was trendy), the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort continues to stay true to its eco roots. Sure, traveling to Fiji with kids presents some challenges, but we promise it will be worth it to watch your favorite little people become better stewards of the planet through Bula Club activities such as marine biologist-guided glass-bottom boat excursions and rock pool exploration. Meanwhile, the junior chef’s program teaches guests ages 6 to 12 about planting, harvesting, and composting organic crops.
19. Oil Nut Bay, British Virgin Islands
Many private island resorts opt for extravagance above education. Oil Nut Bay in Virgin Gorda takes an entirely different approach. Only accessible by boat or helicopter and spread across 400 ocean-fringed acres, this family-friendly property has an interactive nature center to educate guests of all ages about local wildlife and the importance of ocean conservation. The junior ranger program awards kiddos who complete skill-based activities such as palm tree identification and knot tying with badges (and bragging rights).
20. Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico
Rosewood Mayakoba ranks among the best resorts for a kid-free getaway. But once you visit sans children, there’s a solid chance you’ll want to return with your LOs. The good news is this luxurious slice of Riveria Maya paradise supplies a slew of interesting environmental and cultural pursuits. Lagoon boat tours accompanied by a biologist, Spanish lessons, and traditional Mayan storytelling engage younger guests in active learning. Think of it as the perfect complement to carefree frolicking in the pool and movie nights on the beach.