Moms and dads of the World Wide Web. I know why you’re here and I only have to guess once to get it right. You’re exhausted. Did that hit the sweet spot? Yes, bearing and raising children is one of the most fulfilling things you’ll ever do in your short existence on this planet – but sometimes all you really want to do is freeze the current moment, not to enjoy it, but to run away without the kids. Can I get an AMEN?
Unfortunately, doing just that isn’t a reality for a lot of us in especially the first few years of parenthood but don’t fear – a solution is near. Amazing hotspots that are kids and parent friendly have been popping up all over North America, and it’s time for you to explore them. Not only would you introduce your children to travel and different environments by going, but you’ll also find out that it’s possible to relax with them in tow.
What are you waiting for? Keep on reading to find out about 15 Amazing Family Friendly Resorts In North America.
15. Severn Lodge in Muskoka, Ontario
Once you visit Severn Lodge in the Muskokas, you will never go anywhere else. Or that’s what hundreds have attested to on reviews and blog sites online.
This place is a dream come true for parents who want their kids to finally have other kids to play with and give them a little break – supervised kids programs run all day and are divided into age groups. Toddler (2-4), Junior (5-8) and Youth (9-12) programs are structured with a lot of activity on the playground or nature, crafts and scavenger hunts, water sports and so many other things. Even babysitting is available when booked!
Parents can relax when knowing the kids are enjoying their time away in a safe and fun environment and head out on a canoe ride, romantic dinner or intense mountain bike session or hike.
14. Travaasa Hana in Maui, Hawaii
A trip to Travaasa Hana with your family will create memories to last for a lifetime. In its own words, it’s Maui’s last truly in-tact Hawaiian place, offering the bounty of nature with sounds, sights and experiences both kids and adults will enjoy.
From receiving pampering at the luxury spa, finding zen through guided meditation or getting down and dirty by learning how to spear throw, snorkel or net fish – a multitude of activities that introduce you to the real Hawaii await you at this island getaway. I would recommend it for kids that are older and will be able to really take part in the unique activities calendar that also included going on cacao farm tours, learning to hula, make leis and how to husk a coconut.
13. Rancho de Los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona
If your kids have never experienced a real dude ranch and if going to one has always been on your bucket list – family-operated Rancho de Los Caballeros is your best bet. This ranch really focuses on traditional Southwestern activities and bases it’s Kids Club Program on tiring out those kiddos so they’re more than ready for bed when you go pick them up – this means early rising, learning horsemanship skills and swimming, crafts as well as marshmallow roasting.
The Los Caballeros Restaurant is a dream for Southwestern food lovers – think meaty buffets, hearty carb-filled dishes, waffles, rack of lamb, tortilla soups and the like. Relax by the fire pit after dinner once the kids have gone to bed and watch the wonderful sunrise the next morning over 20,000 acres of High Sonoran Desert.
12. Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine
Just head over to the reviews on Trip Advisor talking about the magic of Nonantum Resort and you’ll be itching to book your stay. It seems like hospitality is really their forte, since the resort staff goes out of their way to make your stay especially memorable. Surprises for birthdays that weren’t expected and seeing your kids light up when they’re offered some Pirates and Princesses program to take part in during dinner make this a one-of-a-kind place.
Find out when the annual Fire & Ice party happens for a special treat, head there for their unique Christmas Prelude event, and consider yourself lucky that you’ve secured accommodations so close to Dock Square, Kennebunkport’s village centre. You’ll probably love exploring it since it’s filled with many little boutiques and interesting restaurants with a view of the Kennebunk River that empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
11. Shamrock Lodge in Lake Rousseau, Ontario
Another family-owned gem just 2 hours north of Toronto, the Shamrock Lodge offers your entire family a tight-knit community experience through the various activities, home-made meals and cabin-style accommodations. This is a place that will make you feel like you matter – and your kids will benefit greatly from this kind of confidence boost. This is a place that also offers all-inclusive stays which include all meals and almost all of your activities, so you have one thing less to worry about while scurrying around your kiddos.
Of course there is a Kids Club (the owners, the Bryant family, clearly look out for your alone time) and if you want to head out on the water for some canoeing, you have some peace of mind that the Kids Club supervisors look after children as young as 1 years old. There is a sandy beach perfect for little ones to play in and the groundskeepers take pride in keeping the lodge grounds very clean.
10. Fern Resort in Orillia, Ontario
This is a nice gem to go to, but definitely not a luxury resort. However, its charm lies in the pride that the owners have in their 115 year old history and the beginnings of the hotel. The kids and you will love splashing and lounging around in the huge indoor or outdoor pool and the online booking system is built around showing you what different activities are available during the four seasons so you can build your own adventure.
Fern Resort is also equipped with a climbing wall and classic 9-hole mini putt course, in addition to hiking trails and a spa the adults can get a break in.
9. Aspen Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado
This one is for all of you who just can’t stay away from the snow. Aspen is the ideal winter wonderland to introduce your kids to skiing or snowboarding. It could provide the perfect setting to re-visit each year and work on upping those skills to an Olympic-level. Their kids programs infuse both playtime and ski instruction in a way the kids don’t get overwhelmed.
Aspen Snowmass also offers activities for those who aren’t exhilarated about the cold, simply head there in the summer. It’s a hit with especially those who love to stay active and healthy (think hiking, mountain biking, tree-top walking, music events and weekly farm-to-table outside dinners).
8. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida
Would this list even be complete without a mention of Walt Disney World? Roughly the size of San Francisco, Walt Disney World has an epic amount of attractions, restaurants and 20+ hotels to stay in when visiting – just go look at it on a map.
My biggest advice for heading here is to play to stay for a bit longer than a week if your budget allows. There is just no way possible you’ll be able to visit the 4 theme parks, 2 waterparks, and handle a child’s schedule at the same time in a 3 day period, for example.
7. Yellowstone National Park Camping in Wyoming, Montana
I love camping and this trip seems like a dream to take on, especially if your kids are 4+ and you’re not worrying about diapers and them attracting bears (I bet you didn’t even think of the possibility – but you should). If you don’t want to shlep all the camping gear with you just to experience this natural phenomenon, rent a room at the Gray Wolf Inn and Suites and head into the park as a day trip.
Alternately, and to make your life a lot simpler, stay right in the cabins available in the park. Yellowstone hosts Junior Ranger programs that will teach your kids about the park’s history, flora and fauna through fun activities – but there really is not need for structured events in a setting as diverse as this. Whether you’re 4 or 40, you will be entertained simply by observing multicolored hot springs, exploding geysers and going for a hike.
6. Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Florida
For a luxurious yet simultaneously small-town feel, spend some leisure time in Boca Grande, Florida. Make Gasparilla Inn your main hub and you’ll feel like you walked right into a 1960s summer movie. Truly a place of elegance, brimming with history, it is a gem in the Florida peninsula. It may be better suited for older kids that are needed (and can appreciate) some rest and relaxation.
However, if you’re with smaller kids, it’s still a good bet. Stunning beaches with a 360 degree view surround the hotel and are perfect for little ones to make sandcastles in while you lounge back and enjoy a Pina colada. If you really can’t get them to sit still, take them on a ferry ride and head over to the Cayo Costa State Park.
5. Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California
You may vaguely remember this resort from the popularity it gained hosting the 1960s Olympics. People saw something special in it back then, and continue to flood its doors to this day. The Resort at Squaw Creek is a luxury hotel and has one of the best views of the mountains surrounding it that I have seen in a long time and caters to both winter-activity and summer-event lovers.
You can visit in winter, naturally, but what I love about this place is how vibrant it becomes in the summer time. Better suited for families with older kids, you’ll be able to play a round of golf with the most breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe ever, try your hand at guided fly-fishing or may opt to just lounge by the pool. Neat tidbit: the resort spa prides itself on continuing to use healing traditions of the ancestors of the land.
4. Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario (and several US locations)
Exclusive to guests who stay the night (meaning there are no day-passes to these hotels), the Great Wolf Lodges have locations all over the USA, one in Canada, and provide a fantastic waterpark experience with the ability for your kids to make lifelong friends. If the idea of your kids getting rambunctious and running around in water terrifies you, you’ll be glad to know that all lodge water activity is heavily supervised by the many attending lifeguards around.
You bet that there’s also an adult-only hot tub area in most resorts (like the one that exists at the Niagara Falls location), a full-service spa, and an incredible lazy river you can finally just chill and relax in. Once all tuckered out from water play, grab some dinner at the on-site restaurant and head out for a game of bowling – but only long enough not to miss bedtime story time. Each night, the kids meet in their pyjamas in a main area of the lodge and are lulled to slumber by listening to a narration of a story, saving you a chunk out of your bedtime routine.
3. Four Seasons in Chicago, Illinois
Marketing itself as a “home away from home” for families of all ages, the Four Seasons in Chicago is in a dreamy location for all of you who love to window shop and explore a new place on foot. The hotel offers complimentary dining for children 5 years of age and under and is conveniently close to Chicago’s premier commercial district, the Magnificent Mile.
Head there with your kids to go on a sightseeing tour or take a boat out onto Lake Michigan. If you have little ones with you, head to the Navy Pier for a stop at Chicago’s Children’s Museum or Adler Planetarium that is bustling with activities for them and is interesting enough for you to get educated, too.
2. Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica
If you can’t say no to a good all-inclusive vacation, you will need to check out Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I know it seems hectic to get onto a plane and shuttle your entire family to a remote destination – but here me out. Once you arrive at the lush paradise, you’ll regret having complained even for a minute on the way there. Your kids will love the special welcome they receive, mocktails included.
If you have older kids, Hal Moon Resort offers interconnected rooms to give them some space to be independent, or you can rent entire villas for your family’s stay that come with the services of a personal butler, cook and housekeeper. If your partner and you want to spend some time alone, the resort nannies gladly will entertain your children as a price or take them to history-rich Anancy Children’s Village, a craft-and-play hub for kids.
1. An Air B&B in San Francisco, Halifax, Or Anywhere, Really!
The beginning stages of planning a vacation may seem wonderful, but it can quickly become overwhelming as you come to terms with budget and appeasing everyone who’s coming. As you try to ensure there’ll be something for everyone, you realize it may not be possible if go to a place that has a specific way of doing things. So why not build your own adventure?
Rent an Air B&B in San Francisco, stock up on grocery food and pretend you’re just another ‘Ciscan as you save money on eating out and take the tram the same way local folks would. If you want a Canadian ocean getaway, head to the Maritimes and spend a week in super walkable and budget friendly Halifax. Head online to research things-to-do and rent a car to propel the family around. These are just 2 examples of locations that will save you a lot of money renting an Air B&B in, as opposed to staying in a serviced hotel.