Whether it’s planning a trip for your everyday family crew or a multigenerational trip with grandparents, cousins, and other relatives, we all know how challenging and time-consuming it can be to find options that make everyone happy. Choosing a family-friendly resort as your vacation base takes a lot of pressure off your trip planning, especially when you choose to stay at one of the best all-inclusive resort brands.
With an all-inclusive vacation, you don’t have to spend hours finding suitable restaurants in an unfamiliar location. The cost of all those meals and drinks is also taken care of as part of the package. The best all-inclusive resorts offer a range of activities and amenities for everyone in the family, often providing more options than you can fit into a single trip. These activities typically include everything from kids clubs, babysitting, and fun pool areas to water sports, evening entertainment, and luxurious spa treatments. And, of course, there are no hidden costs at all-inclusive resorts because everything's included in the package price.
But which all-inclusive resort chains make the best family vacation ideas? As a parent and a travel industry professional with years of experience planning family trips, I know a thing or two about what makes the best all-inclusive family resorts stand out. So, whether you’re an all-inclusive veteran or you're dipping your toes into everything-included vacations for the first time, here are the resort brands that offer the best all-inclusive vacation experiences for families.
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1. Beaches Resorts
A beloved go-to choice among all-inclusive resort brands for families, Beaches Resorts has three locations in the Caribbean: Beaches Turks and Caicos, Beaches Negril, and Beaches Ocho Rios. An exclusive partnership with Sesame Street means that characters like Cookie Monster and Elmo make appearances to lead story time, crafts sessions, dance parties, and other activities for kids.
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Accommodation options at all three Beaches locations include rooms and suites with separate kids' rooms with bunk beds, plus multi-bedroom villas ideal for big family groups. Your whole family will find lots to do at these all-inclusive resorts, with activities and amenities like an on-site water park, loads of dining options, and complimentary water sports, including snorkeling and kayaking.
The resort brand's kids club, called Beaches Kids Camp, is operated by certified nannies who are members of the International Nanny Association, and programming is tailored for different age groups, from infants all the way to teens. Beaches is also the first all-inclusive resort brand in the world to complete the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards and Autism Certification. Its kids club is also recognized as Advanced Certified Autism Centers, with specialized team members trained to work with children on the spectrum or other special needs.
2. Club Med
One of the world's best-known all-inclusive resort brands and a pioneer in the concept of all-inclusive vacations, Club Med operates almost 70 all-inclusive beach and mountain resorts worldwide. The brand opened its first children's club in 1967 and has continued to expand and innovate its offerings for kids of all ages in the decades since. Today it provides programming for babies through teens, allowing parents to escape for some alone time and the kids to participate in age-appropriate activities with other young guests. Those include yoga, archery, circus school, and tennis lessons for the 10-and-under set and snorkeling, tennis, and trapeze classes for tweens and teens.
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There's also fun for the whole family, from pools, beaches, and water sports to tennis courts, golf courses, and family-friendly activities and entertainment. Dining options spotlight local cuisines and range from upscale to casual, with kid-friendly menus to boot. Club Med resorts offer lodging options well-suited for family vacations, including connecting rooms, two-bedroom suites, and dedicated family zones. You can’t go wrong with any of the Club Med branded properties, but I particularly recommend Club Med Cancun, Club Med Punta Cana, Club Med Quebec Charlevoix, and Club Med La Caravelle as terrific options for families.
3. Royalton Luxury Resorts
A stay at one of Royalton Luxury Resorts' all-inclusive Caribbean properties includes everything from gourmet meals and nightly entertainment to kids' activities and all kinds of water sports. And when you bring the kids to one of Royalton's family-friendly resorts, there's even more fun to be had. This is an all-inclusive resort brand that's known for its kid-friendly pools, splash pads, kids clubs, special hangout spots for teenagers, and water parks (including one of the largest on-site water parks in the Caribbean at Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun).
Rooms and suites at Royalton's resorts feature comfy beds with luxe bedding, the brand's signature rain showers, and complimentary Wi-Fi for when the kids need some screen time. In addition to Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun, other family-friendly, all-inclusive Royalton resorts include Royalton Riviera Cancun, Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay, Royalton Negril, and Royalton Grenada. Children under two stay free of charge, and child and teen pricing is offered for kids ages two to 17. If your family travels frequently and loves racking up loyalty rewards, bookings at Royalton resorts earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
4. Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts
As a much-loved television network home to faves like "Sponge Bob Square Pants," "Paw Patrol," "Rugrats," and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Nickelodeon knows what kids like. So, it’s no surprise Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts' all-inclusive properties in Mexico and the Dominican Republic are more like fantasy-filled playgrounds than your standard beachfront hotels.
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At both Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana and Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya, the action is all centered around an area called Nickelodeon Place, where you can find favorite characters ready for photo ops, the Club Nick zone with supervised activities for ages four to 12, and the Aqua Nick water park offering slides, a lazy river, splash zones, and even opportunities for family slimings in true Nickelodeon style.
Even the dining options are filled with playful twists, featuring menu choices like the family-sized Machete Burger and Slime Smoothies presented to guests upon arrival. Grownups can enjoy some just-for-them amenities like spa services and over-the-top cocktails, and little ones get pampered with courtesy strollers, cribs, kids' robes, bottle warmers, and other gear. The fun continues when it comes to the accommodations at the all-suite resorts, which include swim-up rooms, pool suites, and special themed suites that have to be seen to be believed.
5. Grand Velas
One of the most popular all-inclusive resort brands in Mexico with locations in some of the country's best beach destinations, Grand Velas is a AAA Five Diamond Award-winning luxury resort brand that's a huge hit with kids and adults alike. Its three resorts are Grand Velas Los Cabos, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, and Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
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At all three Grand Velas resorts, the grownups in your group will love dining on gourmet cuisine and indulging in some spa time, while the kids will enjoy making a splash at the pools and beach. Plus, the whole family can spend time together serving and volleying on the pickleball or tennis courts, paddling a kayak, or taking part in a wide range of family programming and activities.
A baby concierge takes care of the needs of tiny guests, offering access to everything from baby bathtubs and cribs to highchairs and professional childcare services. Children ages four to 12 can head to the kids' clubs for crafts, games, cooking classes, movies, and other supervised activities. And when the teens in your family need a break from everyone else, they can gather with their peers at the teen club, where they’ll find board games, video games, karaoke setups, and plenty of snacks to fuel their fun.
6. Bahia Principe
Family-friendly, all-inclusive Bahia Principe resorts can be found throughout the Caribbean and Spain, serving as ideal spots for sun-filled family getaways. Kid-friendly pools and waterslides, beach access and water sports, babysitting services, a range of dining options with special kids' menus, and spacious rooms and suites are just some of the reasons why Bahia Principe consistently ranks among the best all-inclusive resort chains with kids and parents.
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Kid-friendly entertainment and shows are offered at many of the resorts, and the Bahia Scouts Program caters to younger guests with organized games, crafts, cooking classes, and other activities. The brand’s recommendation page helps you narrow down the list of possible vacation destinations by matching a Bahia Principe resort with your interests. My family picks include Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica, Bahia Principe Fantasia Punta Cana, Bahia Principe Grand Tulum, and Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo.
7. Hard Rock Hotels
A getaway to one of Hard Rock Hotel's all-inclusive resorts is music to many families' ears. Rooms and suites are done up in rock-star style, and the brand's The Sound of Your Stay program delivers Fender guitars, turntables, and vinyl records right to your room to enjoy during your vacation. The Hard Rock Roxity Kids Club offers games, crafts, and many music-related activities for younger guests, and some of the brand's resorts also have teen clubs and Music Lab programs where guests 12 and up can live out their guitar hero and pop star fantasies.
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All-inclusive stays at Hard Hotel Hotels include meals, snacks, cocktails, access to pools and beaches, daily activities, and nightly entertainment, sure to please even the toughest critics. Hard Rock has all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit, and Punta Cana.
8. Palace Resorts
With nine all-inclusive oceanfront resorts in Mexico and Jamaica, Palace Resorts is a great option for a family beach vacation. Kids will feel just as pampered as the adults during a visit to one of the properties, where family suites include kid-sized slippers and robes and a minibar just for them (stocked with Hershey's milkshakes and other fun treats). There's good news for your vacation budget at this all-inclusive resort brand: Palace Resorts frequently offers promotions that let kids and teens stay free.
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The brand also recently unveiled a new kids concept called The Dreamery, designed to give young travelers a memorable vacation with activities, games, special food and drinks, and other surprises during their stay. Guests ages four to 12 can also visit the resort "Playroom" for face painting, arts and crafts sessions, video games and movies, and other fun activities.
The whole family can enjoy Palace Resorts' pools and beaches, entertainment options, great restaurants, and water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. Palace Resorts has all-inclusive properties in Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos, and Jamaica that are great for family trips; a few of my favorites are Moon Palace Jamaica, Beach Palace Cancun, and Cozumel Palace.
9. Planet Hollywood Hotels and Resorts
Nothing beats vacationing in celebrity style as a family at the Planet Hollywood Cancun and Planet Hollywood Costa Rica all-inclusive resorts. Hollywood memorabilia can be found throughout the glamorous resorts, and the Stars Kids Club for ages four to 12 continues on the theme with "talent managers" who help kids act, dance, create costumes, design sets, and shoot and edit scenes. There are pools and splash zones, spas and fitness centers, and movie- and music-themed events that are fun for the whole family.
You'll also enjoy unlimited reservation-free dining and 24/7 room service at both of this family-friendly resort brand's properties, offering lots of flexibility when it comes to mealtimes. Stylish suites feature amenities like stocked minibars and private terraces and balconies, and you can upgrade to Star Class, which includes butler service, preferred room locations, access to private areas, nightly turndown service, a pillow menu, and other perks. Special child and teen pricing is offered for kids ages two to 17, while children under two stay free of charge. Stays also earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
Whether you’re dreaming of a sunny escape to Mexico or the Caribbean or a getaway by the beach in Europe or Africa, the Iberostar brand of family-friendly all-inclusive resorts can make those vacation dreams come true. Book a family suite or connecting rooms for your crew, then enjoy amenities like outdoor play structures, kid-friendly pools with waterslides, waterfalls, lazy rivers, and other features, and beach activities like snorkeling and kayaking.
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Iberostar’s Star Camp has different programming options for kids ages four to seven, eight to 12, and 13 to 17. Activities like cooking classes, group games, and science experiments engage young guests and shine a spotlight on sustainable habits, an area of focus for the all-inclusive resort chain. For example, kids might learn how to use leftovers to create new dishes or use recycled materials for arts and crafts projects.
There are lots of Iberostar properties to choose from, but some of my top picks for families include Iberostar Paraíso Beach in Mexico, Iberostar Playa de Muro in Spain, and Iberostar Playa Gaviotas Park in the Canary Islands.
The article 10 all-inclusive resort brands that cater to families originally appeared on FamilyVacationist.com.
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FamilyVacationist.com and TourScoop.com are owned and operated by Vacationist Media LLC. FamilyVacationist covers family vacation ideas; family vacation spots; all-inclusive family resorts; and must-have travel accessories for families. TourScoop covers guided group tours and tour operators, tour operator reviews, tour itinerary reviews and travel gear recommendations. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Family travel idea: 10 all-inclusive resorts catering to families