The 7 Best All-Inclusive Family Vacations
Vacation…a time to relax, unwind or, if you’re a parent, stress-pack (Will the TSA confiscate my fruit squeezer pouches?!) and devote an entire checked bag to swim diapers, then pray that’s not the bag that gets lost. Since you have about 11 minutes to plan your next kid-friendly yet not soul-flattening getaway, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just pick from a list of seven fabulous all-inclusive options and be done with it? Yeah—we got that.
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Where it is: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
What you get: Your nightly rate incorporates all food, drinks (including room service; score!) and activities. Those range from wilderness tours, swims in underground springs called cenotes, visits to the property’s bird sanctuary and turtle lagoon, participation in a tree-planting ceremony and (drumroll, please) Aquapark, the on-site water park with 29 water slides—17 of which require guests to be under 4 feet tall.
CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil at Club Med
Where it is: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
What you get: An all-ages immersive experience in a “circus-inspired playground.” Think bungee jumping, flying trapeze, aerial silk lessons and juggling classes—all steps from breathtaking turquoise waters. Also, two words: L’Occitane Spa.
Where it is: Lake Placid, Upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains
What you get: All custom packages include luxe, log cabin accommodations, breakfast, movies in the on-site theater, games in the bowling alley and nightly s’mores. Add on à la carte activities like services in the award-winning spa (Oh hello, 80-minute, four-handed massage), horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, mountain gondola excursions and professionally-driven bobsled rides at the nearby Olympic Center (site of the 1932 and '80 winter games).
Beaches Turks & Caicos
Where it is: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
What you get: Personal butler service, the 45,000-square-foot Pirates Island water park (featuring swim-up soda bars, a surf simulator, whirlpools and water cannons), unlimited scuba diving and water sports (hydrobikes!), a DJ Academy and teen disco (called “Club Liquid,” obvs). Pay extra for action with legit Sesame Street characters like baking with Cookie Monster, bird watching with Big Bird and night-time tuck-ins with Elmo.
The Ranch at Emerald Valley
Where it is: Up the mountain from the Broadmoor Luxury Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado
What you get: A dude ranch with five-star hotel amenities. All packages include horseback rides, archery and hikes up the mountain that—according to local lore—inspired the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” Once-in-a-lifetime extras include zip-lining across canyons, shimmying over Indiana Jones-style suspension bridges, marveling at the 181-foot Seven Falls waterfall, riding a 125-year-old railway up to the 14,000-foot summit, hot-air balloon rides, cattle drives and falconry. (Can’t find that at Bubbie’s pool club in Boca.)
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Where it is: The banks of the Tortuguero river in the Costa Rican rainforest
What you get: Free Wi-Fi but no AC—to better concentrate on the sounds of the tropical rainforest. Visit during turtle nesting (July through October) or hatching season (late August to November) and cheer as the offspring of 300-pound green sea turtles first make their way to the water. Pay extra for a boat tour with a local naturalist guide and observe three-toed sloths and multiple monkey species in their natural habitat.
Lewa Safari Camp
Where it is: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
What you get: If you’re still reading this, you are all about “Twende”—Swahili for “Let’s go.” That adventurous spirit will come in handy as you settle into your thatched-roof family tent with en-suite bathroom; navigate 65,000 acres of private, protected wilderness; and observe the world’s largest concentration of Grévy’s zebra—plus rare black rhinos, elephants and vistas of Mount Kenya—all on the property where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton.