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With the ongoing pandemic, many families are seeking safe domestic spring break destinations.
Airbnb is a great lodging option since it offers a socially distanced stay where families can spread out.
We found family-friendly spring break destinations across the US, plus top family rentals for each.
It’s been more than one year since the COVID-19 pandemic upended family life, changing the way kids learn, parents work, and how we all spend our leisure time. Needless to say, many American families are eagerly awaiting a change of scenery with the onset of warmer spring weather and more daylight hours. It seems, in other words, like we could all use a spring break.
AAA Travel experts advise would-be spring breakers that things will look very different than the last time many took a vacation. “The entire travel experience has been transformed by COVID-19. If you’re considering travel sometime this year, it’s more important than ever to do your due diligence ahead of any trip to ensure it is safe and enjoyable,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel.
Most families this year will be continuing to seek out safer vacation options like road trips and closer-to-home domestic getaways. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up domestic spring break ideas for families in locations where enjoying socially distant and outdoor activities is easy, from uncrowded mountain towns to beach getaways where you can have your own private boardwalk.
One other way to have a safer spring break? Choose a vacation rental instead of a standard hotel. According to HomeToGo, the world’s largest vacation rental search engine, vacation rentals for families are already up by nearly 30% over last year, and it’s easy to see why.
Vacation rentals provide an attractive option to stay in a private and spacious setting with convenient amenities like full kitchens, and fun perks like pools and game rooms. Even more importantly right now, experts and the CDC say private home rentals are safer than hotels due to the lack of interactions with any staff or other guests.
However, keep in mind that there’s still no guarantee of safety when it comes to travel right now. We always advise following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask in public spaces. Additionally, consider your family’s risk factors and take extra precautions if you plan to travel to or from a hotspot area.
We chose top spring break destinations and family-friendly Airbnbs based on the following criteria:
All are domestic locations with plenty of outdoor family fun for a safer, socially distanced getaway.
Each rental is for the entire home, per current expert recommendations.
Every Airbnb listing has a high rating of at least 4.88 or above.
Rentals are especially great for families, with multiple bedrooms and cool, kid-friendly amenities.
We kept affordability in mind, but chose options at varying price points, ranging from $98 to $489 per night to start.
Here are the best spring break destinations in the US for families, plus where to stay at each.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
According to Trip Advisor, Tennessee is the top searched for family-friendly destination so far in 2021. And Pigeon Forge, at the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of the top destinations for families within the state thanks to its stunning natural areas and easy access to Dollywood and Ober Gatlinburg mountaintop ski and recreation area.
The three-story, newly built Bella Vista vacation home delivers jaw-dropping views from a double-high wall of windows. Inside, you’ll find a gourmet kitchen, a nine-seat screening room, and a 10-foot indoor climbing wall that kids will go nuts for. A game room provides even more opportunities for some friendly family competition with an air hockey table, pool table, and video games galore.
Outdoors on the multiple-level deck, you’ll also find a large private hot tub where you can literally soak up the views.
On the coast between Santa Monica and Huntington Beach, Long Beach is especially ideal for families with small children. Thanks to a breakwater off the shores here, there are no large waves, a boon for beginner swimmers. Traveling with your family’s dog? Long Beach is also home to Rosie’s Dog Beach — the only legal, off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County.
Plus, you’ll find the newly expanded Aquarium of the Pacific here with 11,000 water creatures ranging from sharks to jellyfish.
Where to stay: Cottage one mile from the beach, $98
This shore-themed cottage close to the beach is set in a quiet neighborhood. It’s a super kid-friendly setup, and even comes equipped with a stroller and pack’n play. The kids will go wild for the private playground jungle gym set in a large sandy area in the yard.
There’s also an outdoor grill and firepit, and indoors plenty of games, books, kid-friendly kitchen gear, and even a foosball table. The beach theme is elegantly incorporated throughout the home via nautical pillows and quilts, and the bold red kitchen features a lighthouse painted over one of the shelves.
Between the Southern culture, amazing outdoor experiences like rafting down the James River — public art, and historic sites, there is something that will make every member of the family happy to explore the charming Richmond area. April is a particularly beautiful time to visit with the destination’s gardens in full bloom and miles of hiking and biking trails to traverse with kids.
Opt for a unique accommodation here, like this Trailside Trailhouse that lets families live out their “Swiss Family Robinson” dreams of camping in a tree house. Climb up into this two-story treetop abode for a memorable overnight. Relax on the outdoor decks and enjoy the rustling trees while you swing on the hammocks (or perhaps even sleep in one), or let the kids stretch out in the nest-level bunkbeds.
Another important kid highlight: There’s a slide from the first floor to get you down to ground level. Other standout features include a firepit and lawn games for when you’re not up in the trees. From this central spot by the river, you can easily explore forest trails on foot or with the bikes that are part of the rental.
You want a relaxing Florida vacation. The kids want Disney. You want to stay somewhere without crowds or COVID-19 fears. The kids want Harry Potter. You wouldn’t mind visiting Orlando very quickly, the kids want theme park availability round-the-clock. If that sounds like you, your family wants Kissimmee.
You may not know the name, but if you’ve been to the Orlando area, you’ve probably driven through this Mickey-suburb. You can get all the Central Florida sunshine, hang out by the pool, perhaps dip your toe into actual theme parks, but also enjoy some of the area’s natural wonders, like Wekiwa Springs State Park where you can kayak with manatees.
Though, if you do prefer to be closer to all the theme park action, we have Orlando Airbnb options for you too.
Kissimmee is full of cool rentals kids will adore, including this one called R U Incredible Parents. The answer will surely be yes if you book this home that’s big enough to bring the whole crew and then some. Every single room is more over-the-top themed than any of the “real” Disney or Universal properties.
There’s a Harry Potter bedroom, a Frozen room, an Avengers room, and a Mickey and Minnie-themed retro diner area for the kids to eat in. There’s even a Jurassic Park-style eigh-foot dinosaur in a cage outside that you pass on the way to your private pool.
Located three hours outside of Denver, Steamboat is a cowboy ranching town at heart and an off-the-beaten path winter destination known to many as Ski Town, U.S.A., for having produced more winter Olympians than any other spot in all of North America. Steamboat Ski Resort is renowned for its six peaks of champagne powder, and the resort stays open all the way into mid-April, so you can get your kids on the slopes for a fresh-air, snow-filled spring break.
This family chalet has spectacular views of the mountains, a huge entertaining space including a pool table, a large television lounge, a full custom bar (that you can fill with juice boxes if you’d like), and a convenient walkway out to a private hot tub with views across the valley.
The spacious sitting area features soaring wood ceilings, a cozy fireplace, and numerous plush couches for lounging. Parents will also like that the master bedroom has its own fireplace and a jetted soaking tub. The furnished deck also includes a firepit so you can warm up and roast marshmallows in the evenings.
According to Travelocity, the Gulf Coast beach town of Galveston in South Texas is one of the five most popular family vacation destinations reserved on the site so far in 2021. That’s really no surprise with its sugary white sand beaches and aqua waters. Another classic family draw is the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, which provides some old-school entertainment via carnival games and its 100-foot “Galaxy Wheel” Ferris wheel.
Where to stay: Beachfront home with private boardwalk, $193
This beachfront gem faces the Gulf and provides stunning views of the water through floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s plenty of space to spread out inside the contemporary home, and one of the bedrooms features bunkbeds just right for young kids. A fireplace, a wooden deck with lounge chairs, a massive open-concept kitchen, and a spa-like master bathroom with a deep Jacuzzi tub are all appealing amenities.
But the beach is calling, and you can get there on a private boardwalk that delivers you right from your door to the waves without ever hitting blacktop. It’s great for kids to use a scooter or skates without fear of cars getting in their way, too.
For a quintessential country getaway, it’s hard to beat the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. There are lakes for kayaking, swimming, and boating; adventure activities such as ziplining and alpine slides; small historic towns like Great Barrington with shops and farmstands; cool, kid-enticing art at Mass MoCa; and hiking along the Appalachian Trail. It’s also a great place just to relax and enjoy some quiet and fresh air.
This beautiful Berkshire family house is nestled in the woods just off the Appalachian trail. The listing features an outdoor grill and a spacious screened-in porch. The interiors have a chic cabin feel thanks to exposed wood beams, a potbelly stove, and a soaring pitched roof over the huge living area.
The sprawling wooded yard comes complete with swings, hammocks, and a firepit and offers kids plenty of room to roam in a safe environment. Even though you’ll have ample privacy, you’re only five minutes to the village with a local store, as well as a nearby swimming lake with a sandy beach and lifeguards.
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With the ongoing vaccine rollouts, many are starting to look at taking vacations again, including families.
Expectations are high when it comes to family vacations and picking a hotel to please all isn’t easy.
These US hotels feature spacious rooms and family-friendly perks, such as water parks and kids’ activities.
With vaccine rollouts happening around the country, many people are beginning to plan vacations again. Families especially may need a getaway after kids have spent months cooped up at home and parents are worn thin from acting as teacher, playmate, and caretaker all wrapped up into one.
With many schools still virtual and plenty of parents continuing to work from home, family vacations aren’t necessarily as limited to summer and school breaks as usual. Some families are even eyeing long-term Airbnb rentals and work-from-hotel stays for an extended change of scenery.
However, it’s important to know that there’s still no guarantee for safety when traveling right now. We talked to experts to weigh in on travel risks from flying to staying at hotels, but you should also consider your own family’s risk factors and always follow guidelines from places like the CDC and WHO. Handwashing, wearing a mask in public areas, and practicing safe social distancing are all measures that should be taken no matter where you plan to go. And, don’t forget to check state guidelines and regulations before booking any travel.
If after weighing the risks you do opt for a family vacation, choosing a hotel is no easy task. There’s a lot of pressure to please a range of personalities, from young children who need safe play areas to teens who want their own space, and parents seeking relaxation.
And that’s not all. A great family vacation hotel needs to hit the right blend of on-site activities to keep kids busy, while still offering a vacation parents and perhaps even grandparents will appreciate, too. And of course, rooms should be spacious, or better yet, come with multi-bedroom options. Plus, parents now need to consider new health and safety policies to make sure everyone in the family will be as safe as possible.
I’ve spent several years covering family travel as a writer and editor and as such, I’ve combed through, stayed at, and compared hundreds of hotels across the country. I know that it takes a lot more than a basement kids’ club or a dinky playground slide to impress.
I’ve carefully selected the best family vacation hotels based on the following criteria:
I’ve used my own extensive experiences and knowledge of the family travel space to choose these hotels, but I’ve also ensured that all hotels have excellent reviews and rankings on sites such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com. Each is 4 out of 5 stars on the former and a minimum of 8 out of 10 on the latter.
Each one of these hotels goes above and beyond to deliver strong family offerings, whether that means unique kids’ programming, large rooms with full kitchens, or incredible amenities such as sprawling waterparks and VIP theme park access.
I’ve kept affordability in mind, but also chosen properties at a range of price points to suit various tastes and needs. Most of the hotels start under $400, with the cheapest option starting at just $159 per night. But there are a few options for those looking to splurge too.
Read on for the best family vacation hotels in the US, sorted by price from low to high.
The Magic Castle Hotel is not officially associated with its exclusive neighbor, the Magic Castle Club, but staying here provides access to the iconic landmark that has served as the headquarters of the Academy of Magical Arts for over 50 years. It bills itself as the “most unusual private club in the world,” and is a famous gathering spot for magicians and magic enthusiasts.
At the hotel, budget-friendly apartment-style suites sleep up to six guests and come with full kitchens, and include breakfast. The rooms are extremely basic, and could generally use a refresh, but the hotel makes up for it with perks like a free snack bar, free daily ice cream, and a magical popsicle hotline that kids will surely get a kick out of using.
The property is also conveniently located just a few minutes from Universal Studios, and there’s a heated on-site pool with a few scattered lounge chairs. Laundry service is also free, which means families can pack lighter.
In Colonial Williamsburg, kids and families can learn about the foundations of our country in a thrilling way thanks to a living-history museum with interactive simulations and fascinating artifacts. After a day of strolling through the past, retreat to Kingsmill Resort, a hotel firmly rooted in the present with a host of great family amenities.
Set on hundreds of acres along the James River, Kingsmill was founded by the Busch Family, as in Budweiser Beer and Busch Gardens amusement park (which is not far away). The sprawling property has plenty of water features (lazy river, waterslide, outdoor pool, indoor pool, hot tubs, and more), plus two 18-hole golf courses (including family golf), tennis courts, miles of biking paths, and more. There’s also a full-service marina where guests can rent jet skis, pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddle boards.
The resort offers basic guest rooms, as well as one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos. If you really want to stretch out, splurge on the four-bedroom estate that was once the private mansion for the Busch Family with its own private chef and custom golf carts for getting around.
Pros: A large resort conveniently located by Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Williamsburg (with free shuttle service), and Water Country USA water park. There are plenty of restaurants and activities on-site, so you never really need to leave the property.
Cons: Condo buildings do not feature elevators, and the daily mandatory resort fees that start at $22 do not include all activities.
COVID status and policies: The hotel is currently open with new procedures including:
Implementing the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Safe Stay industry-wide initiative, developed under the guidance of an Advisory Council.
Resort guests and employees will be required to wear a face mask in all indoor settings.
The game room is currently closed until further notice.
The spa is open by online appointment requests only.
The River Pool is open under Phase III mandates and protocols.
The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa is 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio and makes a strong case for staying outside the center with sprawling grounds and a curated slate of programming and activities.
The standard rooms are fairly simple when it comes to decor and amenities, but rustic details like wood panel art and leather armchairs add charm. Rooms with two beds only come with Double beds, not Queens, so parents will have to squeeze or opt for two rooms, or a suite.
Family-friendly activities include making s’mores at fire pits, outdoor movies on the lawn, and ranger-led nature walks. The hotel even has its own mascot, Sammy the Squirrel, who will pose for photos with the kids for a souvenir. Like most Hyatt properties, Camp Hyatt is available for kids ages 4 to 10. During popular times like spring break, the hotel offers additional activities like organized water balloon tosses, animal encounters, and flag football tournaments.
But the best kid-friendly feature by far is the whopping 5-acre water park with a lazy river surrounded by oak trees. It even looks and feels like a true natural body of water. Kids can also take a turn on the two-story waterslide and FlowRider wave machine, while parents go for a dip in the adults-only pool.
Pros: A Hyatt property with a plethora of organized activities for kids, plus a massive 5-acre waterpark.
Cons: While there are six different dining spots to choose from, the on-site food is mediocre. Luckily there are plenty of delicious barbeque options and other restaurants nearby.
COVID status and policies: The hotel is open but has noted there is limited service available and frequent changes to food service, bar service, housekeeping, and the fitness center and pool area. As a Hyatt property, this hotel will follow Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, which includes:
Detailed training at hotels with internal and third-party audits.
Facemasks required in all public areas.
Trusted medical experts and leading industry professionals from organizations like Georgetown University Medical Center, American Airlines, Ecolab, the Global Wellness Institute, and hygiene managers appointed at every Hyatt hotel by September 2020.
Learn more about Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment program here.
Aspen Snowmass is a popular mountain destination for families seeking a ski vacation and The Limelight Hotel Snowmass is the mountain’s newest hotel built with kids in mind. It has an open-concept plan with a courtyard area for games in the summer, which turns into an ice rink during winter. The on-site game room, two large swimming pools, and 55-foot climbing wall run by Aspen Skiing Company is free for hotel guests keeps active kids busy.
The rooms have simple but cozy decor, and families needing more space can book multi-bedroom residence condos with kitchens and slope views. The hotel is ski-in/ski-out in winter so there’s no need to haul equipment at the end of the day. It’s also an excellent summer destination with hiking outside the front door, and the nearby Breathtaker Alpine Coaster does just what its name implies.
Located in Aventura, an enclave in North Miami Beach roughly 30 minutes from downtown Miami, this idyllic property with ocean views has an inviting resort-style feel.
Standard rooms are spacious and suites with kitchenettes are available, too. But the real reason families love the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa is the new on-site water park, Tidal Cove. The park features seven epic water slides, a lazy river, a lagoon pool, and a FlowRider surf simulator where kids can catch the perfect wave every time. The cabanas lining the area are an ideal spot to take a break from the Florida sun.
The property also sits on two championship golf courses. Kids and parents can work on their swing with private lessons and kids under 15 can play for free every afternoon. The hotel also offers engaging activities like scavenger hunts, cooking classes, and complimentary family photoshoots.
Pros: Tidal Cove, the new on-site waterpark, is an outstanding family amenity with everything from tubing water slides to a surf simulator.
Cons: It’s about a 30-minute drive from downtown Miami so you’re not right in the city, if that’s something you seek.
COVID status and policies: This hotel is currently open though which facilities are available to guests is subject to change. As a Marriott property, this hotel is following Marriott’s new guidelines that include:
Elevated and rigorous protocols to thoroughly clean guest rooms with hospital-grade disinfectants and placing disinfecting wipes in each room.
Hand sanitizing stations installed at hotel entrances, front desks, and elevator banks.
Enhanced technologies including electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel.
Find more information on Marriott’s policies here.
Overlooking Cape May’s wide beach on the southern New Jersey Shore, Congress Hall is one of the most historic hotels in America, dating back to 1816. The property was opened by a developer named Thomas Hughes, who thought Americans would like to have a vacation getaway by the ocean. He was right: Over the years, Congress Hall has hosted plenty of families in search of sun, fun, and relaxation, as well as five presidents. It even used to be called the Summer White House.
The L-shaped yellow brick hotel has a wide porch lined with rocking chairs, a sprawling lawn, two pools (one is adults-only), as well as classic Adirondack chairs. Families love the varied programming, including bonfires with s’mores, croquet on the lawn, wilderness adventures, sock hops, and more. There are also several places to eat, including the buzzing Blue Pig Tavern, the Boiler Room (a basement pizza parlor), Tommy’s Folly Café for light bites, and the poolside cafe.
In the summer, rent a cabana on the beach and watch dolphins frolic in the waves. Guests may also take excursions to Beach Plum Farm, a 62-acre working farm that supplies many of the ingredients for the hotel’s restaurants.
Pros: This historic hotel is conveniently located just a few steps to the beach in one direction and downtown Cape May in the other, so you don’t need a car when staying here.
Cons: Rooms overlooking the porch may experience noise carrying from guests talking downstairs. The hotel’s restaurants are popular with locals and can book up fast; make reservations in advance.
COVID status and policies: Congress Hall is currently open with the following new policies in place:
Updated the public space HVAC systems with Ionizers and added air purifiers to guest room cleaning.
Staff will be deep cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day, with a focus on high-touch areas.
Guest rooms will be sanitized using a combination of UV-light technology, air purifiers, and EPA-approved cleaning products. Additionally, guests will receive in-room amenities including alcohol wipes and personal size bottles of hand sanitizer.
All guests and staff required to wear a face mask.
Kids who love playing make-believe can take it to the next level here with themed adventure rooms inspired by what else, Legos. Lego woodland creatures await in the Princess rooms, dragons and potions are found in the Knight and Wizard rooms, and extra Legos are always supplied for playing.
The Lego theme continues outside the rooms too, from the Lego wizard who greets guests in the entranceway to the more than 2,000 models found throughout the property built by Master Model Builders, and the royal-themed Lego restaurant. Building stations throughout the hotel give kids a chance to make their own creations, and Legoland characters make appearances to bring the fun to life. Families can cool off at the on-site pool with interactive water features, or at an open-air movie screening.
The hotel is located right next to Legoland resort in California, but park admission isn’t included in the room price unless you upgrade and book a special package.
A charming Northeastern coastal getaway is found at Inn by the Sea, a quick 15-minute drive from downtown Portland. Upon arrival in this scenic spot, you’ll likely feel more like you’re staying at your own beach house than a large hotel.
The spacious, multi-bedroom Beach and Cove Suites are ideal for families with full kitchens, large living rooms, and balconies or patios overlooking the front lawn, where guests play games like cornhole or take part in family yoga.
A short wooded path leads directly to a picturesque stretch of beach, and there’s also a small on-site pool open seasonally. Special programs like art classes and gardening are offered, as well as Bug’s Life, where children dress up like insects while learning about the ecosystem alongside a naturalist teacher.
Even pets are pampered here. Not only does the delicious on-site restaurant have a special dog menu, but pooches enjoy their own turndown service, including homemade dog treats.
Clearwater Beach is consistently ranked one of the best beaches in the US, aptly named for its truly crystal clear gulf. It’s no surprise the area is a hit with families with its soft, white sands, calm waters, and the nearby Pier 60, where a beach playground, bait house, and sunset views can all be found.
Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach is a favorite beachfront hotel here that caters to families with colorful and lively decor, a large pool, and spacious rooms and suites. Most rooms come with a balcony or terrace that overlooks the ocean.
Kids will especially love the Winter & Friends Bunk Rooms decked out with dolphin-themed decorations featuring Winter, the star of the movie “Dolphin Tale.” Families can visit the real Winter down the road at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and a portion of the proceeds when booking this room go towards the care of rescued marine animals.
A desert oasis in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Phoenician is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, and is an excellent spot to earn or use Bonvoy points for a sophisticated stay ensconced in nature.
Families can choose from different levels of accommodations including the main resort, the Canyon Suites, and the Phoenician Residences. While the Residences come at a higher price, they include multiple bedrooms and full kitchens. However, even standard rooms at the main resort come with plenty of space and start at a generous 530 square feet.
Surrounded by 250 acres, the resort features serene mountain views reminiscent of Palm Springs, and a large outdoor pool complex dotted with palm trees. Lounge decks, cabanas, a nearly 200-foot water slide, and a Kid Zone with a suspension bridge and tree house can all be found at the impressive pool area.
Daily activity options range from property sculpture tours to nature hikes and a round of golf. The Funicians Club is for kids ages 5-12 with fun half and full-day options like Cactus Garden tours, arts and crafts projects, and playing with the resident bearded dragon, but does incur an additional daily fee. Other amenities include tennis courts, bike rentals, a game room, as well as a peaceful spa and calmer adults-only rooftop pool.
There are eight different on-site dining options including a steakhouse, poolside Mediterranean casual spot, a grab-and-go market, and more. The resort also hosts seasonal culinary events.
Pros: A relaxing retreat in the desert with mountain views, multiple room categories, and everything from tennis and pool complexes to a kids’ club and game room to keep younger guests entertained. A spa and adults-only pool means grownups can have fun, too.
Cons: Paying for food, the kids’ club, and the resort fee, on top of the room rate, can quickly add up.
COVID status and policies: This hotel has reopened and is accepting reservations. New policies include:
Introduction of electrostatic sprayers and the highest classification of disinfectant products recommended by the CDC and WHO.
Disinfection of all guest touchpoints repeatedly throughout the day.
Deep cleaning of all guest rooms and disinfection of all housekeeping and service tools used to clean guest rooms and public areas.
Hand-sanitizer stations at all high-traffic public spaces and back-of-house areas and disinfecting wipes in all guest rooms.
Temperature checks for all employees before shifts.
Installation of plexiglass shields in select locations.
Set on 2,000 acres in Western Pennsylvania, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is one giant playground for children with an adventure center offering everything from bungee jumping to ziplining.
The resort also features two golf courses, a bowling alley, and a Wildlife Academy where kids can learn about lions, billy goats, and wolves through interactive educational programs. For an additional fee, head out on a Safari Tour of the area for up-close encounters and feedings with the safer animals. Pony rides and backwood trail rides are also available.
Despite the emphasis on kids’ activities, there’s plenty for parents to appreciate, including elegant room decor, the luxurious Woodlands Spa, and the Holistic Healing Center. In fact, the resort was recently featured as the filming location of Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor.” Rooms range from the stately Chateau Lafayette to the more casual Lodge, or even larger Townhomes.
Off property, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater House is just minutes away. Plus, the entire city of Pittsburgh is ready for exploration an hour and a half drive away.
Pros: The expansive property and grounds make for one giant playground for kids, while the elegant rooms and upscale spa will keep parents and adults happy.
Cons: It’s an hour and a half drive from the closest airport, so queue up a road trip playlist.
COVID status and policies: This hotel is currently open. New cleaning policies include:
Points of entry will be limited to allow the security team to conduct noninvasive, thermal temperature checks.
Hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless whenever possible, will be placed at key guest and associate entrances and contact areas.
All associates will receive training on COVID-19 safety and disinfection protocols.
Industry-leading cleaning and disinfecting protocols are used to clean guest rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch items. The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting has also been increased in all public spaces.
There’s no getting around the fact that this hotel is the most expensive in Walt Disney World. However, it makes the case for spending the extra cash given the location right next to Magic Kingdom and perks like early park entry and VIP airport access.
There’s plenty to entertain younger guests, including the Alice in Wonderland water playground, and kid-friendly pools with water slides. But unlike the other hotels, The Grand Floridian sets itself apart with strong offerings for parents. Disney can be a frenzied vacation spot focused on all things kids, and parents can return frazzled and in need of their own vacation. Not so here.
Inspired by the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, this regal resort brings a sophistication factor adults will appreciate with a white-sand beach, high-end dining, pool bar, boat rentals, and a spa.
In South Carolina’s Lowcountry, families will find a peaceful haven on the banks of the May River. In addition to rooms at the main inn, on-site cottages, suites, and entire homes are available. The five-bedroom homes can even fit up to 16 people, so multi-gen travelers, family reunion planners, and multiple families vacationing together can all find plenty of space here.
Bikes and tricycles can be rented, and pedaling around the massive property is a great way to get outdoors, including exploring two big tree houses complete with wooden boardwalks, rope ladders, and slides that kids will love. There’s an incredible amount of on-site activities available, including tennis, kayaking, golf, horseback riding, archery, three pools, a maritime forest, and more. Particularly unique excursions include Dolphin Discovery Tours sailing through local hidden creeks and spotting bottlenose dolphins, and tubing excursions just for teens.
Young visitors can challenge themselves to earn Montage Merit Badges for triumphs like catching a fish, and everyone in the family will enjoy playing with the property’s canine ambassadors. In warmer months, family’s can stomp their feet to bluegrass, Southern rock, and jazz at the hotel’s summer concert series.
Pros: A quieter southern getaway where there’s so much to do on property kids can’t possibly be bored. Dolphin Discovery tours, kayaking, tennis, and more are all right on-property.
Cons: The hotel is located between Savannah and Hilton Head Island, but both are about a 30-minute drive away, so this is best for families looking to mainly stay on property.
COVID status and policies: Montage Palmetto Bluff is now open for resort guests, but is not reopen to the general public yet. When they do reopen, they will be following new policies as part of their Peace of Mind Commitment, which can be found here.
Hawaii is one of those destinations that’s on the top of every family’s bucket list, and Aulani goes all-in on family fun in typical Disney fashion, but without overloading on Disney paraphernalia.
Situated on 21 acres on the western side of the island of Oahu in the area of Ko Olina, Disney has encapsulated Hawaiian culture in every inch of this resort, including the lobby designed to resemble the inside of a canoe house. They even consulted with the local cultural center to get the details just right.
A central pool area is equipped with a lazy river, two adult pools, a snorkeling grotto teeming with fish, and two infinity-edge jacuzzis overlooking the ocean. There’s also a pristine beach reserved just for guests and the neighboring Four Seasons. Disney provides boogie boards, lounge chairs, and umbrellas for free, and the kids’ club, called Auntie’s Beach House, is also complimentary. Choose from a range of daily free activities such as sunrise yoga, hula lessons, and hearing traditional Hawaiian legends around the fire pit.
Two towers shaped like canoes house various rooms ranging from standard one-bedroom accommodations to huge Grand Villas suites. Some suites come with eat-in kitchens and washer/dryers, adding extra convenience. The rooms are thoughtfully decorated by Hawaiian artisans from the fabric of the duvets to artwork on the walls.
Pros: The nightly hotel rate might seem expensive but offers strong value given the fact that it includes kids club admission, family activities, nighttime entertainment, pools, beach activities and more.
Cons: That being said, on-site dining options all cost extra and can be expensive. There is a grocery store across from the resort so paying extra for a room with a kitchen could help off-set costs.
COVID status and policies: Aulani has started a phased reopening. New policies include:
Rooms, experiences, restaurants, amenities and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure.
Cleaning procedures are enhanced throughout Aulani Resort. Extra attention is given to high-traffic areas and hand sanitizers are located throughout the resort.
Social distancing is enforced and physical barriers have been added in select locations where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines.
Cast Members are trained to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas.
Housekeeping services have been modified to include thorough cleaning of your room prior to arrival and light cleaning during your stay to help reduce contact.