The Top Family-Friendly Retreats for Your Summer Vacation

Parents and children alike will love the amenities at these kid-friendly properties and campgrounds.

By Hannah Cheney, Staff WriterMay 17, 2016
By Hannah Cheney, Staff WriterMay 17, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

The Top Family-Friendly Retreats for Your Summer Vacation

Family playing with a beach ball by the sea.

Start planning your fun in the sun now.(Getty Images)

Located in the 13 destinations featured on this year's Best Family Vacations in the USA ranking list, these kid-friendly hotels and campgrounds will help your family create memories that will be talked about for years to come. To find these kid-approved spots, we combed through our Best Hotels database to find the properties that offered the best amenities for youngsters and their parents. Some hotels are located on private islands or situated inside theme parks, while others boast their own waterslides or kids camps. Despite their varying amenities, they all have one thing in common: Each hotel ensures that families are the top priority. Here are standout places to take the crew this summer.

Enchantment Resort

Though technically located in Sedona, Arizona (about 120 miles south of the Grand Canyon), Enchantment Resort is the ultimate crash pad for families wanting to explore the Grand Canyon. The resort offers three Grand Canyon packages, and on the property grounds families have access to heated pools, tennis courts, putting green and spacious accommodations equipped with private decks featuring panoramic views of the surrounding red rocks. Plus, Camp Coyote is available to kids ages 4 to 12, and includes activities such as stargazing, scavenger hunts and Native American-inspired arts and crafts.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Designed with kids in mind, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Honolulu provides families with kid-friendly pools, water play areas and its own snorkeling lagoon. There's also a craft room, movie nights, a playground and Goofy-led dance parties at the pool. And when parents want to unwind at the spa or hit the links at the 18-hole Ko Olina Golf Club, kids ages 3 to 12 can be dropped off at the complimentary Aunty's Beach House, the resort's supervised activities club. When the gang is back together again, head to one of the resort's 10 eateries.

Yellowstone Campgrounds

Let's be frank. You came to Yellowstone (this year's No. 3 family-friendly vacation destination) to experience nature, so the best place for you to stay is in the park's 2.2 million acres. Book a spot at one of the park’s 12 campgrounds and spend your days as a family exploring the park's vast trails and learning about its history. Schedule a day or two to take in the views at Yellowstone Lake and Mammoth Hot Springs, and don't miss Old Faithful. If pitching a tent isn't exactly your cup of tea, reserve a spot at one of the RV-friendly campgrounds like Fishing Bridge RV Park, which is the only campground at Yellowstone that offers water, sewer and electrical hookups.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando At Walt Disney World Resort

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando At Walt Disney World Resort is located within the Disney World resort complex, which should be enough of a reason to make this list; however, the on-site amenities are what truly set it apart. The hotel boasts a 242-foot waterslide, an 11,008-square-foot lazy river and a complimentary Kids For All Seasons camp for ages 4 to 12. There's also Explorer Island, a family-friendly recreation area with a lazy river and pool, as well as The Hideout – an area with video games and activities. Plus, the Four Seasons offers its own Disney character breakfasts, complimentary park shuttle service and a Disney Planning Center – a separate concierge desk designed for mapping out park itineraries and purchasing tickets.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

Sitting about 3 miles south of Yosemite National Park's southern entrance, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite offers chalet-style accommodations for those looking to experience the natural beauty of the area without having to sleep in a tent. Aside from comfort, the lodge also offers the Sierra Adventure Club for guests ages 5 to 12, as well as an evening kids camp. The Sierra Adventure Club's activities rotate with the seasons, and include activities such as mountain biking, sledding and archery.

Omni Shoreham Hotel

The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, District of Columbia, has hosted presidents, world leaders and inaugural balls, since 1930. The hotel sits just blocks from the National Zoo and the metro, the subway system that connects visitors and locals alike to restaurants, shops and historical landmarks. And the Omni Sensational Kids program ensures little ones receive a backpack filled with an activity book, healthy snacks, crayons and games, plus free milk and cookies on the first night of their stay.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Located on a private, 44-acre island in San Diego's Mission Bay area, Paradise Point Resort & Spa is flanked by beaches. Amenities include five pools, an 18-hole miniature golf course, five tennis courts, a surf school with daily lessons and plenty of lawn games. Kids can also take advantage of the seasonal Island Adventure Club, complimentary poolside activities and child- and teen-friendly spa services. The resort also offers bicycle rentals that are perfect for active families who want to explore the 14 miles of trails surrounding the property.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa spellbinds kids and adults alike with its over-the-top amenities, California-inspired decor and private entrance to Disneyland. Located within Disney's California Adventure Park, the hotel's spacious guest rooms easily accommodate groups, and even provide sleeping bags for kids if the evening calls for a slumber party hangout. When the gang isn't exploring the park, little ones can play at the on-site Pinocchio's Workshop, a kids club available for ages 5 to 12, while parents sip a glass of wine at Napa Rose. And together, families can enjoy outdoor movie nights, a ride on the hotel's 90-foot-long waterslide and a private excursion at the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Downtown Disney.

North Beach Plantation

With accommodations ranging from condos to private cottages, all of which include in-unit laundry and full kitchens, North Beach Plantation caters to families. This Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, retreat also offers a complimentary kids club, child-friendly pools, lawn games and a life-size chess board. Plus, parents will appreciate the swim-up pool bar, 17,000-square-foot spa and the sushi and steak menu at 21 Main. What's more, all ages will love the indoor lazy river and the 3-acre Caribbean-themed pool, which includes private cabanas.

Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina

Skirting the coast of Frenchman Bay from its central Bar Harbor perch near Acadia National Park, Maine (No. 10 on this year's family-friendly vacation destinations list), the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina has welcomed visitors since the early 1900s. Modern updates include simply dialing 0 for a "Consider it Done" agent, who can register children ages 5 to 12 for the complimentary Bar Harbor Kids Club. There are also tennis courts and two pools on-site. Meanwhile, hiking, boating and whale watching excursions can be enjoyed off-site.

Williamsburg Inn

While the Williamsburg Inn may be fit for royalty - Queen Elizabeth II stayed here more than once on state visits – it's also a great place for families. As guests of the inn, kids enjoy exclusive access to special events, including marching with the militia from the hotel to Revolutionary City. When you and the group want to stay indoors, the inn houses an indoor pool, tennis courts and a spa that offers services for teens, including facials and manicures and pedicures.

Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront

Overlooking the beach and just five blocks from the Ocean City, Maryland, boardwalk, Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront is an ideal hideaway for families. Complete with seasonal magic shows and activities, a game room and a childrens pool that has a lazy river, waterslides and fountains, this Hilton outpost is stocked with kid-friendly amenities. Plus, the popular boardwalk beckons, as do the roller coasters at Jolly Roger Amusement Park and the Splash Mountain Water Park, both of which are located a few blocks south of the hotel.

The Broadmoor

With a dedicated children's concierge, a seasonal kids camp and junior tennis clinics, The Broadmoor is an ideal choice for groups staying in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Traveling clans can play golf, explore surrounding trails via mountain bike or check out Play, an on-site dining and activity venue. Horseback riding and guided pony rides are also available, and paddleboats and motorized boats can be rented during the summer. Plus, there's an 11,000-square-foot infinity-edge swimming pool at Cheyenne Lake, which features waterslides and a separate kids pool.

Corrected on May 24, 2016: A previous version of this story included an activity that is no longer offered at the Williamsburg Inn.

Hannah Cheney, Staff Writer

Hannah Cheney is a Senior Editor for the Travel section at U.S. News, where she manages the ...  Read more


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