Planning a family vacation can be stressful. Most resorts have so much to offer, but lots fall short when it comes to entertaining the kids. Kids want to have fun just like mom and dad, but mom and dad do not necessarily want to do what the kids want to do all day. Sipping mojitos by the pool sounds like a blast to us adults, but swimming in the pool can only last so long for active, energetic kiddos.
Kids’ programs vary by resort, by destination and even by time of year, but having a list of some of the good ones makes the planning process a little smoother. The programs highlighted are some of the most popular kid and parent-approved programs that are worth taking a second look at.
1. Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Quest Club Summer Camp – Boca Raton, Florida
In addition, each week includes a field trip and guest entertainment corresponding with that week’s theme. The Mad Science and Amazing Magic themed week in August includes a field trip to the nearby Fort Lauderdale Museum of Science and Discovery with a mad scientist guest where kids will be able to learn about the cool side of science through a variety of hands-on activities.
Why We Like This Program: We love that this program includes a field trip. This is great for the older kids to help them learn more about the local area.
2. Ponte Vedra Inn and Club – Kids Summer Camp – Ponte Vedra, Florida
Each themed camp week features a flexible program of fun activities for children four to 12 years of age directed by a trained staff of recreational counselors. Weekly themes include Little Historians, Sports Fans, Foodies, Games Shows and more.
In addition to traditional summer camp fun, each day will have a special activity showcasing that week’s theme; the Animal Lovers week includes a birdhouse making activity on Monday, sea turtle tutorial with a sea turtle rescue on Tuesday, Jacksonville Zoo field trip on Wednesday, make your own aquarium activity on Thursday and ocean animals on Friday.
Why We Like This Program: You can choose the best program for your child depending on their likes and dislikes. Tailor your vacation dates to the specific weekly program.
About the Resort: Ponte Vedra Inn & Club also offers families two picturesque 18-hole golf courses, 15 Har-Tru hydro tennis courts, three oceanfront pools, various water sports, 30,000 sq. ft. luxury spa and nine restaurants, bars and lounges, most with oceanfront views. A variety of family-oriented packages are also available. Nightly rates from $299. For more information, visit www.pontevedra.com.
3. El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Camp Coqui – Fajardo, Puerto Rico
For example, during the “Coqui Kids in the Kitchen Day,” kids can enjoy food-themed activities such as making piraguas, which are popular pyramid-shaped Puerto Rican snow cones, while on the “Fun in the Sun Day,” kids can enjoy beach activities such as sand sculpting on the resort’s 100-acre private island, Palomino Island.
Why We Like This Program: Not only do kids get to enjoy themselves at the beach and in the kitchen, but they get to learn about the history of Puerto Rico and it’s natural surroundings.
About the Resort: Dramatically set atop a 300-foot bluff on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, El Conquistador Resort spreads across 500 acres overlooking the converging waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This summer, the resort is offering a “Fun in the Sun” package with free daily admission for a family of four to the resort’s Coqui Water Park and a $50 nightly resort credit. Package rates start from $240++ per night, based on a three-night minimum stay. For more information, visit http://www.elconresort.com/play/camp-coqui/.
4. Azul Hotels by Karisma – Azulitos / Nickelodeon Experience – Riviera Maya, Mexico
About the Resort: Karisma Hotels and Resorts, an award-winning luxury hotel collection which owns and manages properties in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, comprises an impressive portfolio including El Dorado Spa Resorts and Hotels, Azul Hotels and Villa by Karisma, Generations Resorts by Karisma, Allure Hotels by Karisma and Karisma Hotels Adriatic. Properties have been honored with the industry’s top accolades including Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 100 Hotels in the World.” Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 30 Hotels in Cancun,” TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice “Best Family Resort in the World.” and “Best Hotels for Romance.” and AAA’s “Four Diamond Award.” Karisma has received worldwide recognition for its creative approach to hospitality management and product innovations. For reservations and a full list of Karisma properties, please visit www.karismahotels.com.
5. Grand Velas Los Cabos – Kids’ Club / Teens’ Club – Los Cabos, Mexico
6. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit – Kids’ Club and Teens’ Club – Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
7. Grand Velas Puerto Vallarta – Kids’ Club – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
8. Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf and Spa Resort – Adventure Kids Club – Los Cabos, Mexico
Whether playing board and video games, making crafts, learning Spanish, or just splashing around in the kids’ pool, your children will have the time of their lives while you relax and enjoy your well-deserved time off.
Extras: We’re happy to organize special events like birthday parties for your children. Please call the Kids Club at least 24 hours in advance to start planning.
About the Resort: The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort offers a variety of options for guests to enjoy a romantic getaway. The resort can help create romantic memories to last a lifetime, from breathtaking wedding venues, to peaceful honeymoon retreats to romantic anniversary celebrations.
9. South Seas Island Resort – Skully’s Family Interactive Center – Captiva Island, Florida
Ages: 12 mo – 16 years+
Why We Like This Program: This program has something for every age. If you need to take some time to play with your tiny tots, the Turtle Tot program is perfect. We also love the Kids’ Night Out for ages 4 – 11.
About the Resort: A 330-acre destination beach resort and wildlife preserve, South Seas Island Resort is located on Captiva Island, just off the Florida Gulf Coast. With two and a half miles of exclusive white-sand beaches, the resort is designed to take advantage of its renowned location, offering a destination rich in recreation and surrounding native wildlife. The resort boasts 471 accommodations ranging from guestrooms and suites, one to three bedroom condominiums, and private home rentals, all featuring balconies or lanais to enjoy water views and wildlife. The resort features an array of activities for guests of all ages with 20 swimming pools, beachfront golf, tennis, full service spa, waterfront dining options, children’s programs, watersports and boutique shopping. In addition, guests delight in world-class shelling, eco-cruises and nature tours, epic fishing, fitness center and yoga studio, an on-site photography studio, painting classes and special event and meeting space.
For more information, please visit www.southseas.com.
10. Beaches Resorts – Kids Camp – Turks and Caicos, Negril and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Beaches Turks & Caicos: US$15/hr. After 11PM, clients are required to pay an additional US$20 for nanny’s transportation.
Beaches Ocho Rios: US$10/hr. After 11PM, US$15/hr
Beaches Negril: US$10/hr. After 11PM, $15/hr and an additional US$20 for nanny’s transportation.
Ages: Newborn – 18+
Cost: Varies per location – mostly all-inclusive
Why We Like This Program: Beaches offer the most detailed kids’ program we’ve ever experienced. The entire Turks and Caicos resort is kid-centric and is an ideal family-friendly Caribbean destination. The staff is some of the friendliest we have ever met and truly makes the resort feel like a home away from home for the kiddos. Upon arrival, the concierge gives you an itinerary of activities going on at the resort, sort of like a cruise. This is super helpful and ensures that you don’t miss a beat.
About the Resort: When you’re looking for the best family vacations in the Caribbean, there’s no place better than Beaches, where their all-inclusive family vacations offer something for everyone, from unlimited land and water sports to gourmet dining choices for every palate. Grown-ups will enjoy up to 13 bars serving premium brand liquors and varietals Mondavi wine. Kids and teens will get a variety of fun activities, with sprawling water parks, Xbox Play Lounge and the Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street®. Best of all, everything is included at our family all-inclusive resorts. Visit www.beaches.com to learn more.