The 14 best hotels for families in the US, from budget stays with water parks to splurge-worthy Disney resorts

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 – Los Angeles, California

The Magic Castle Hotel

Book The Magic Castle Hotel starting at $159 per night

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.  

Trip Advisor Ranking: 8 of 398 hotels in Los Angeles

Booking.com Rating: 8.8 out of 10

Pros: A budget-friendly stay near Universal Studios with great family perks like apartment-style rooms, free snacks, breakfast included, and complimentary laundry service. 

Cons: The rooms are very basic and could use a refresh.

COVID status and policies: This hotel is currently open. Updated policies include:

  • Optional contactless check-in/check-out.
  • Plexiglass barriers at the front desk.
  • Masks required for all staff. Guests are required to wear masks at all times while in public areas.
  • Masks and hand sanitizer provided in each room.
  • In-room hard surfaces treated with UV light.
  • See more info here.

Kingsmill Resort – Williamsburg, Virginia

Kingsmill Resort

Book Kingsmill Resort starting at $169 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 13 of 71 hotels in Williamsburg

Booking.com rating: 9 out of 10

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.
  • Find more health and safety information here.

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa – San Antonio, Texas

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Book the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa starting at $203 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 35 of 377 hotels in San Antonio

Booking.com rating: 8.9 out of 10

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.

The Limelight Hotel Snowmass – Snowmass, Colorado

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Book The Limelight Hotel Snowmass starting at $206 per night

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.  

Trip Advisor ranking: 5 of 18 hotels in Snowmass

Booking.com rating: 9.3 out of 10

Pros: A new ski-in/ski-out hotel with plenty of activities and programming to keep kids active, including a climbing wall, swimming pools, game room, and more.

Cons: During the most popular winter months prices can soar into the $500s.

COVID status and policies: This hotel is open with new policies in place including:

  • All staff required to wear masks.
  • Social distancing carefully monitored in common areas and public hand-sanitizer stations will be prevalent.
  • The format of the daily signature breakfast has been modified to ensure safety.
  • Housekeeping uses rigorous protocols for guest room cleaning (including the use of hospital-level disinfectants) and electrostatic sprayers used throughout the hotel to sanitize surfaces.
  • See more information on the new policies here.

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa – Aventura, Florida

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Book the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa starting at $233 per night

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. 

Trip Advisor ranking: 4 of 11 hotels in Aventura

Booking.com rating: 8.0 out of 10

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.

Congress Hall – Cape May, New Jersey

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Book Congress Hall starting at $249 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 13 of 37 hotels in Cape May

Booking.com rating: 9.2 out of 10

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.
  • See more information here.

Legoland Castle Hotel – Carlsbad, California

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Book the Legoland Castle Hotel starting at $250 per night

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. 

Trip Advisor ranking: 16 of 42 hotels in Carlsbad

Booking.com rating: 8.8 out of 10

Pros: Well-located right next to Legoland resort, and little Lego fanatics can let their imaginations run wild in the royally-themed rooms and at building stations. 

Cons: Legoland resort park admission isn’t included and will cost extra. 

COVID status and policies: This hotel has recently reopened with new policies in place, including:

  • Advanced reservations or pre-booked tickets are required for all guests.
  • All staff and guests over age 2 are required to wear masks.
  • All on-site payments must be with a credit or debit card. No cash will be accepted.
  • All guests will participate in non-invasive temperature checks as a condition of entry.
  • The park and hotel has reduced capacity and certain areas of the park may be closed entirely.
  • See more info here.

Inn by the Sea – Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Book Inn by the Sea starting at $252 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 1 of 1 hotel in Cape Elizabeth 

Booking.com rating: 9.5 out of 10  

Pros: A coastal beach getaway with multi-bedroom suites ideal for families, direct beach access, and unique kids’ programming options that take advantage of its natural setting.

Cons: During the busiest summer months of July and August, prices can surge into the mid-$400s.

COVID status and policies: This hotel is currently open. New policies include:

  • Touchless curbside check-ins. 
  • Expanded space between tables both indoors and outdoors at Sea Glass restaurant.
  • All staff will be wearing face masks and receive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols.
  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) items will be available for guests upon request.
  • Housekeeping will operate with limited service and only upon request during guest stays.
  • Find more information here.

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach – Clearwater, Florida

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Book the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach starting at $311 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 9 of 97 hotels in Clearwater

Booking.com rating: 9 out of 10 

Pros: A beachfront property located on one of the best beaches in the US. The dolphin-themed bunk rooms will be a hit with kids.

Cons: The pool and beach cabanas get very crowded during peak season and it can be tough to claim a spot.  

COVID status and policies: This hotel is now open with new procedures that include:

  • Seating at the beach and pool allowing at least six feet of separation between groups of guests.
  • Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting with an emphasis on frequent contact areas.
  • Appropriate PPE worn by all team members and all team members will receive COVID-19 safety and facility sanitation protocols training.
  • See more new guidelines here.

The Phoenician – Scottsdale, Arizona

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Book The Phoenician starting at $380 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 15 of 85 hotels in Scottsdale

Booking.com rating: 9.3 out of 10     

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.
  • See the full new policies and procedures here.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Farmington, Pennsylvania

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Book Nemacolin Woodlands Resort starting at $399 per night

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.    

Trip Advisor ranking: 1 of 4 in Farmington

Booking.com rating: 8.9 out of 10 

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.
  • For more information see here

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Orlando, Florida

Grand Floridian Boat

Book Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa starting at $519 per night

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.     

Trip Advisor ranking: 9 of 403 hotels in Orlando

Hotels.com rating: 9 out of 10 

Pros: This Disney hotel not only comes with great park perks but also allows parents to enjoy their own relaxed vacation despite the frenzied park experience.

Cons: It’s the most expensive hotel in Walt Disney World and even standard rooms start at a high price point.

COVID status and policies: This Disney resort is open with new policies that include:

  • Face coverings are required for all staff and guests in public areas.
  • Temperature screenings are required for entry to some locations.
  • Dining reservations at required at some locations and only contactless, cashless payment forms are accepted.
  • Water taxis are not available from this Disney Resort hotel to Magic Kingdom park.
  • See more info here.

Read our full review of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Montage Palmetto Bluff – Bluffton, South Carolina

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Book Montage Palmetto Bluff starting at $595 per night

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.

Trip Advisor ranking: 2 of 6 hotels in Bluffton

Booking.com rating: 9.1 out of 10 

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.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa – Oahu, Hawaii

best family vacation hotels disney aulani

Book Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa starting at $741 per night

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. 

Trip Advisor ranking: 4 of 6 hotels in Kapolei

Hotels.com rating: 8.8 out of 10 

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.
  • Read more info here.
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