While the popularity of camping continues to grow, the methods by which people enjoy the activity has steadily evolved, as well. Gone are the days where the only option for sleeping is a ground tent that takes 30 minutes of fumbling with poles to set up. Campers today have many options for how they sleep including travel trailers, roof-mounted tents, or, the latest craze, truck-bed tents.
As the name suggests, truck-bed tents sit in the empty bed of a truck to create a similar structure to that of a ground tent. Like the size of the truck beds themselves, these tents vary in size, shape, and ease-of-use. The best models feature a sewn-in floor to offer added protection, while others have large awnings to provide added shade or an area to keep dry while it rains.
Even before I first used one, it was easy to see their benefit. Like rooftop tents, they allow you to sleep off the ground, protecting you from animals, insects, and an uneven sleeping surface. Most are designed to have plenty of interior space as well, creating a roomy sleeping area that affords campers enough room to store additional gear.
After spending just one night in a truck bed tent, I was hooked – it delivered on the perks I mentioned above and then some. Though using one does require all gear in the bed of a truck to be cleared out (which can admittedly be a bit annoying), the sleeping area it creates made me wonder why I ever slept on the ground while truck camping.
If you’re still on the fence, that’s understandable. Not only is it an odd way to camp but knowing where to even start looking for a tent can be difficult – not to mention knowing all the features one should have. To help, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite truck bed tents that are perfect for warm-weather campers, owners of compact trucks, and everyone in between.
The Napier Outdoors Backroadz fits a wide range of truck bed sizes, has a full floor, can fit around truck-bed toolboxes, and features an easy-to-pitch design that can be set up in roughly five minutes.
Though the market for truck-bed tents continues to grow, no brand does it better than Napier Outdoors. With the Backroadz, Napier delivers a tent with quality materials, thoughtful design, and a fully-covered floor that’s easy to assemble. Not only is it our favorite tent we’ve tested, but it’s one of the least expensive.
The tent features 5.5 feet of headroom which may not allow most people to comfortably stand up but does give the interior a roomy, spacious feel. Its fully-covered floor means that it’s able to sit on top of even the dirtiest truck beds without bringing any of that dirt or grime inside. It also helps keep rain from dripping down the sides and into the tent.
Its color-coded tent poles make it incredibly easy to pitch, and it can even be done with just one person, though we recommend getting a second person to help. The tent is also versatile enough to be pitched on the ground and moved into the truck bed, or constructed in the bed itself.
The Backroadz comes with an included rain fly to protect against rain or snow, and its entryway extends to the end of a bed’s lowered tailgate, providing extra space to store luggage, gear, or pairs of shoes. One downside, however, is that it doesn’t come with an extended awning, which would offer even more protection in inclement weather.
With a price tag under $200, a roomy interior, and an easy-pitch design, the Napier Outdoors Backroadz is not just our favorite truck tent but one of the best on the market.
Pros: Inexpensive, color-coded poles make pitching easy, 5.5 feet of headroom, and fits many truck bed lengths
Cons: Doesn’t feature an extended awning
The best durable
Gear takes a beating while camping but the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is designed to withstand whatever the outdoors throws at it, thanks to its watertight, waterproof 100% cotton duck canvas exterior.
One of the most important qualities of any type of camping gear is its durability. Regardless of its use, you want it to last. For the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent, durability is its best asset.
Constructed out of a 100% cotton duck canvas shell (Kodiak Canvas calls it Hydra-Shield), the tent is tough enough to withstand a beating. Its heavy-duty materials don’t limit the tent elsewhere, however, as it’s still highly breathable and offers a watertight fit into the bed of a truck.
The actual design of the tent differs from the others in our guide in that it’s shaped like a tunnel, and less like dome. This helps maximize the amount of interior space and helps it feel much roomier, even though it only has a 5-foot tall ceiling. It also has an extended awning that helps prevent rain from getting inside and creates a sort of staging area for getting in or out of the tent.
Its interior features gear pockets to stow headlamps, smartphones, or other smaller pieces of gear. Since it extends to the end of a truck’s tailgate, the opening creates a small area to store backpacks or duffle bags, as well.
One downside is that it doesn’t come with its own floor. This means the bed of the truck stays exposed the entire time. It also isn’t as comfortable as a tent with a built-in floor. We brought along a sleeping bag to help with this.
It’s the most expensive tent on this list, but for anyone who camps often and wants something capable of holding up in extreme conditions, the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is the best pick.
Pros: Has a durable canvas exterior, its awning adds protection from the elements, able to be used in nearly any weather condition
Cons: Expensive, doesn’t come with its own floor
The best for rain
When the inevitable rainstorm hits, the Napier Outdoors Sportz tent has you covered with its 6-by-6-foot awning and rear access door, which lets you get inside your truck’s cab without having to step outside.
Camping in the rain doesn’t have to be a miserable experience, so long as you’re prepared. With the Napier Outdoor Sportz truck bed tent, being prepared is as simple as pitching a tent. Featuring a nylon exterior, tape-seamed rainfly, and a huge extended awning, this tent offers plenty of protection from inclement weather.
Measuring 5.6 feet in length with 5.5 feet of headroom, the Sportz offers enough interior space for two people plus gear. It even has a built-in gear loft which helps free up valuable floor space. The Sportz also comes with a sewn-in floor, which is considered a luxury for truck-bed tents.
Its tape-seamed rainfly and nylon exterior work well in keeping moisture like rain or condensation out, yet still provide enough ventilation to keep it from getting too stuffy. Its best feature is its 6-by-6-foot awning, which works well at keeping the entryway dry while also creating a sort of staging area directly outside. This is great for changing into dry clothes or having an area outside the tent for fresh air.
Napier color-coded the tent poles to allow for easy setup, though pitching the tent is much easier with two people. Expect the process to take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on if there’s help or not.
The Sportz is well worth the investment for anyone who camps in areas with frequent rain, or who enjoys camping in either spring or fall. Napier makes some of the best truck-bed tents available and its Sportz is no different.
Pros: Has a large, 6-by-6-foot awning, features a rear access door for entry to a truck’s cab, has a built-in gear loft, and comes with a sewn-in floor
One of the biggest factors to keep in mind before buying a truck tent is knowing the length of the truck bed you’re shopping for. You don’t want to be stuck pitching a large tent on a short truck. For smaller trucks, Rightline Gear’s Compact Truck Tent is the best option available as it’s compatible with a wide range of compact trucks from brands like Nissan, Toyota, or Ford.
The tent is constructed of water-resistant fabric with fully-taped seams, making it viable in both warm weather or rain. Setup requires just a few color-coded tent poles and can be done with just one person, though we recommend two to make it easier.
Its interior is noticeably smaller than other picks on this list, but Rightline Gear does a good job with the design to make it feel roomier. The tent’s shorter length and headroom is easily noticeable for taller people, but for a short truck bed, there aren’t many viable alternatives.
The tent features a large D-shaped entryway, a sky view window for stargazing, and several mesh windows which allow for increased airflow. Interior storage pockets flank either side of the tent and are good for storing smaller gear like smartphones or headlamps. It also features glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls and a lantern hook.
Pros: Fits shorter truck beds easier than a standard truck tent, weighs just 10 pounds, features glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls, and has fully-taped seams
Cons: Less than five feet of headroom can feel cramped for taller campers
The qualities that make a good truck bed tent aren’t entirely dissimilar from what you’d find in a standard tent, though there are some key differences. Here are some answers to the questions I hear asked most often:
What makes a truck bend tent different from a normal tent?
The name “truck bed tent” is no play on words; these kinds of tents are literally designed to be pitched in the bed of a truck. Aside from that major difference, truck bed tents are mostly carbon copy replicas of their on-ground kin. There’s a zippered door for getting in and out of the tent, likely a few windows for air circulation, and various other features like storage compartments, rain flys, and awnings.
What features should a truck bed tent have?
Most quality truck bed tents come with the same selection of features including a durable footprint (i.e. the bottom or floor of the tent), an entryway that sits at the tailgate of the bed, a set of windows that can zipper open and closed, and some form of storage.
More advanced truck bed tents may also come with some sort of extended awning that can act as outdoor shelter in inclement weather. It’s also recommended that you look for a tent that comes with an included rainfly. Even if you don’t plan on camping in the rain, it’s always smart to have a rain fly with you just in case.
Are truck bed tents harder to pitch?
The pitching process of a truck bed tent is probably its most glaring difference compared to on-ground tents. Though you’ll still use a series of poles to erect the tent, there are also a number of straps that you’ll need to use to actually secure the tent to the truck. This process can be a little tricky, especially for first-timers, but it’s always a good idea to follow any included instructions on how best to secure the tent.
What do I do with gear I’ve packed along in the bed of my truck?
One of the major downsides of a truck bed tent is having to clear out all gear or equipment you’ve packed along that’s in the bed of your truck. Though some campers may very likely already have everything unpacked and set up around camp, I’m the kind of person who leaves at least a cooler and a bag or two floating around while camping.
It’s certainly a hassle to have to essentially unload your gear from the bed of the truck and then reload it into the cabin, but it’s your only option when camping with a truck bed tent. Of course, you could leave any unloaded gear around your campsite, though I do recommend taking extra precaution and locking it up inside your car when you’re asleep.
How we test truck bed tents
Each of the truck bed tents featured in this guide went through a series of field tests to see how well they stacked up across these four categories: Ease of setup, durability, comfort, and value. Here’s how each category specifically factored into which tents made the cut:
Ease of setup: Setting up a truck bed tent certainly isn’t a walk in the park but you don’t want to be fumbling with tent poles and straps for 30 minutes. What I looked for when testing was both how intuitive the pitch process was and how clear the manual laid out each required step. Truck bed tents by nature are hard to set up but a clear explanation for how to do it can make a major difference.
Durability: Truck beds aren’t exactly soft, cushy areas to lay a tent — though, they are a bit less harsh than the actual ground. This means that any truck bed tent (namely, its footprint) should be able to withstand being in constant contact with the hard surface of a truck bed. This includes during setup, but also while you’re actually inside the tent and moving around. The tent should also be able to hold up to a variety of weather conditions (rain, wind, maybe even light snow).
Comfort: The exact comfort level of a truck bed tent can be improved upon based on the kind of sleeping bag, sleeping pad, or mattress you use, but comfort as it relates specifically to the tent deals more with how much available interior space there is. Cramped tents don’t make for many happy campers, and since there’s really no reason for a truck bed tent to not be at least as big as the bed it’s going into (along with what’s essentially an infinite amount of vertical space), a quality truck bed tent should never skimp on comfort.
Value: Value among outdoor gear is most often subjective to how you plan on using it, how often you plan on using it, and when you plan on using it. Truck bed tents are no different. While the tents I recommend aren’t exactly inexpensive, they are worthy investments that offer a great deal of value for anyone interested in doing more truck bed camping.
Rooftop tents attach to the roof of a vehicle or in the bed of a truck to give you an elevated and secure place to sleep while camping. We found the best rooftop tents for multiple people, for overlanding, for a low profile, and more.
When you’re car camping, gear weight isn’t an issue, so you can choose a tent with plenty of space and all the extra features you and your camping buddies could want in a home away from home. We rounded up our favorite options.
Luggage deals include 30% off top products, including carry-ons, weekenders, checked bags, and more.
Between now and March 30, Away luggage is running “The Surprise 30% Off” sale. As the name implies, the Away sale includes 30% off many of the brand’s most popular luggage, including their classic carry-ons, checked bags, weekenders, totes, packing cubes, and more.
The Away sale is a rarity. This is only Away’s second major sale ever, so it’s wise to take advantage of the savings and snap up these discounted luggage deals while you can.
We gathered a list of top-rated Airbnbs across major destinations in Florida.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Sunshine State continues to eagerly welcome visitors since lifting most of its travel restrictions. And while many travelers are thirsting for a warm-weather escape or a trip to the beach, most vacationers have safety as a top priority right now.
Although vaccine rollouts have started, there is still no firm guarantee when it comes to travel safety. It’s crucial to follow guidelines and advice from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and practice safety measures including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing. This is especially true when visiting popular and potential hotspot areas like Miami, which recently started enforcing curfews to curb crowds.
However, if you are considering a closer-to-home getaway or even a staycation, it’s worth noting that experts say private Airbnbs are likely safer than hotels. This is because entire homes with full-size kitchens reduce interactions with others, especially when compared to busy hotel lobbies and elevators. Airbnb also announced rigorous new procedures as part of its Enhanced Clean Program that all hosts must now follow.
With pandemic fatigue setting in, vacations within easy driving distances have been on the rise. Florida, in particular, is easily accessible from many American cities and an especially appealing option for East Coasters looking for some sunshine.
You can browse all the best Florida Airbnbs below, or jump directly to a specific area here:
Located near the trendy Brickell neighborhood in Miami, this home is named “La Casita Blanca” by the host for its all-white exteriors. It features modern decor throughout in soothing neutral tones, but here it’s really about enjoying time outside in the stunning and fenced-off yard. In addition to the lush lawn and garden wall, there’s a cute eating nook and lounge chairs for relaxing and soaking up some sunshine.
When you’re ready to cool off, dive into the kidney-shaped pool featuring dolphin mosaic tiles. However, keep in mind that while this is a guest house that’s completely separate, the yard and pool are shared with the main house nearby.
This home has wide availability starting at the end of June.
Unlike many other Miami listings, this property offers the chance to stay in a house rather than an apartment. For this listing, it’s all in the details. The bright blue “Eat” sign in the kitchen matches blue accents that appear across the home, right down to the bowls in the cabinet. Beach towels, an umbrella, and beach blankets are provided, and a travel crib is also available for new parents.
Many reviewers cite the outdoor space as an advantage, specifically noting the various decks, grill, and even an outdoor garden as top features. One reviewer called the yard “gloriously tropical and serene; the photos simply don’t do it justice.”
The full-sized kitchen and washer/dryer make it a great fit for a week-long stay, and it’s walking distance to Midtown Miami and the Design District.
This home still has some dates in April and has plenty of availability from May onward.
Rated five stars for communication, check-in, and location, the apartment’s Superhost thinks of even the smallest of details, including a bottle of champagne upon arrival.
The apartment has a refreshingly clean, simple, and elegant feel with clear dining chairs, a small writing desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests also have access to a pool, hot tub, and gym, though those facilities may be impacted by COVID.
Coconut Grove is charming and full of shops and restaurants. If you seek the sand, the beach is just a short ride away.
This apartment has some availability starting in May.
Nothing is more pleasing than staying in an Airbnb that feels like a hotel and this property has all the makings of a dream beachfront stay.
The sleek, modern decor is coupled with resort-like amenities such as the pool, gym, and tennis courts, in addition to the prime beach location. It’s also likely cheaper than you’ll find at a nearby hotel in peak season.
This home has good availability over the next few months.
If you’re looking to take advantage of Miami’s vibrant art district, consider a base in vibrant Wynwood. This listing is just a short walk from the revered Wynwood Walls, which are an anchor of the local art scene, surrounded by plenty of shops and restaurants.
The home harbors the same aesthetic of Wynwood itself: young, hip, and trendy. Its four-guest capacity is perfect for small groups (despite only having one bedroom), and the apartment is part of a larger complex with a pool and gym.
This home has wide availability starting in mid-April.
The downtown Miami apartment features sleek white and gray interiors and plenty of contemporary art decking its walls. One serious perk is the huge, private balcony with views of the skyline and Biscayne Bay. King-size beds and a Roman tub for a sumptuous stay, while a dedicated workspace in one of the bedrooms means you can also use this spot as a home base for a working vacation.
A shared gym with a dry sauna, plus a pool area that includes four separate hot tubs are building amenities. Restaurants, shops, and a convenience store are also right downstairs.
This home is an elegant base in the upscale Colee Hammock neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. Built in the 1960s, the building was crafted a huge oak tree in the courtyard.
Inside, you’ll find uniquely shaped rooms and minimalistic but updated decor that still has beachy flair via palm-print wallpaper in the white kitchen and a leopard rug in the living area. A private patio adds additional hangout space, complete with a charming hammock.
The property has plenty of availability over the next few months.
The granite kitchen, serene bathroom, and in-unit washer/dryer all make this home a great pick for a week-long stay for up to four guests. The interiors are thoroughly modern with a tile backsplash in the kitchen, a long kitchen island that doubles as a bar with black stools, and uniquely tiled flooring in the bedroom.
Past guests praise the shower as the highlight, with one describing it as “a dream shower with great pressure.” The fenced-in pool is shared only between three units, so it’s easier to maintain social distance than at a larger complex. There’s also a backyard with a pool, grill, and lounge chairs.
This home still has scattered dates open, with more days opening up in May.
Beach house with private pool in Fort Lauderdale, $235
This contemporary house is right near the beach and is especially ideal for families. It features plenty of space for spreading out and one room with Twin-size beds that’s just right for kids. The open-concept living area includes a media console and comfy couch for at-home movie nights, and the modern kitchen is great for enjoying meals in.
Large sliding glass doors lead to a fenced-in yard with a private pool and huge patio area that includes a gas grill. If you’re driving here, you’ll especially enjoy that this home has a driveway for free and easy parking.
The property still has some availability during the months of May, June, and August but is booking up fast.
Get a taste of vintage Florida charm in this high-end kitsch space with bright colors everywhere you look. A light blue couch is accented by pink floral pillows, while an egg chair in the corner and turquoise stools are equally eye-catching seating options.
This listing is especially ideal for couples looking for a quirky and fun stay. It’s located in Winter Park just outside downtown Orlando, making it great for nights out enjoying the dining and nightlife scene of the area. But if the beach is on your radar, the apartment also provides complimentary beach essentials for you to use during your stay.
There are still scattered dates in April and May with a wide-open calendar starting in June.
Condo with pool near Disney Springs in Orlando, $110
You won’t have to worry about traveling too far to hit the theme parks at this condo that’s just one mile from Disney Springs.
This place is packed with great family amenities, including a shared, on-site pool. The apartment itself features a private hot tub, bunk beds for the kids tucked in the hall, and a plush King-size bed for parents in the bedroom. Contemporary decor, like an elegant gray couch, glass dining table, and pop art pieces, add an upscale feel. There’s even a small balcony for enjoying the view.
Located in a gated community, availability is good starting in April.
Huge townhouse with a private pool in Orlando, $231
This an appealing listing for numerous reasons, especially for large families or pods of friends traveling together. The interiors are sophisticated with leather sofas earth-toned accents throughout.
But it has a playful side too, with some of the bedrooms including Star Wars and Disney motifs that kids will surely love. Another major draw here is the private pool, ideal for a lazy day at home or cooling off after a busy day at the parks.
Lake Buena Vista and all its attractions are right at your fingertips making this listing’s location an equally attractive reason to book.
There’s scattered availability over the next few months, with full availability starting in August.
This huge, five-bedroom townhouse is only five miles from Walt Disney World. It’s well-equipped with a full-sized kitchen and themed bedrooms for the kids or kids at heart, decked out in full Disney paraphernalia.
When you inevitably tire out from the theme parks, retreat to this cozy space or take a dip in the community’s on-site pool. However, it’s worth checking with the host on if the space is currently open.
This home still has good availability over the next few months.
Harry Potter fans, we’ve found the ultimate house for a future visit to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just a 10-minute drive to the theme park, every inch of this home is covered in Hogwarts nostalgia and can accommodate up to 13 wizards or muggles with five themed bedrooms.
One reviewer raves: “This place is simply one of a kind, location is great and the communication with Sofi was outstanding. Despite having nine guests nobody felt cramped and all which is a testament to how well the property is designed. This is the Gold standard for being a host.”
This home still has some availability in April, with more dates open in May and beyond.
This cozy apartment is small but expertly laid out to maximize space. It includes a comfy Queen-size bed, a full kitchen with modern granite countertops, a separate dining area, and an oversized wardrobe for easy unpacking. It even has a small, furnished deck that’s an ideal spot for your morning coffee.
This home’s best amenity is its location. Found just a block from Duval Street, the lively main drag, you’ll be close to many of Key West’s top attractions. As an added bonus, it also comes with a free and private parking spot.
This spot is popular, but has a few scattered dates open over the next few months.
For a truly unique stay, consider this spacious sailing yacht. The ship is more spacious than you might think, with three full bedrooms that feature a Queen, Full, and Twin beds.
The vintage Mason boat is decked out in midcentury modern furnishings with fun turquoise accents and wood trim. Enjoy a meal with a view in the cozy eating nook that features big windows. There’s a four-burner gas stove, an oven, and a refrigerator and freezer in addition to a grill for making meals onboard.
When you’re ready to enjoy the ocean, just hop right into the water.
This boat has a few open dates in May and June, with more dates opening up starting in July.
The idyllic Florida Keys are known for remote scenery and relaxed vibes, and this property makes it easy to savor both. The apartment is actually part of a beach resort with breathtaking views, beach access, a great pool and hot tub, as well as tennis courts, though you should confirm their operation with the host before booking.
It’s newer to Airbnb so reviews are limited, but the resort itself has an 8.0 rating on Booking. Aside from the basics, the resort also offers many perks, such as a poolside bar, an on-site restaurant, decks for fishing and boating, and grills.
The apartment itself has a modern kitchen with high-end appliances, and includes beachy details like starfish lamps, palm leaf-patterned bedding, and ocean-themed artwork.
Hardwood floors, a gorgeous kitchen, and minimalist lighting — you might want to live here. This apartment fit for four people is sophisticated and includes amenities like a lovely balcony, community pool, gym, and grill, and the host recently noted that the pool is now open for guests, though the gym and some other amenities remain closed until further notice.
It’s also a quick five-minute drive to downtown Tampa. If this home gets snatched up, the Superhost also lists some other beautiful properties around Tampa.
This home still has a few openings in April and more dates open starting in May.
Panama City has long been the epicenter of spring break activity in Florida, but lately its turned its party reputation around and become a quieter destination for families, too. In line with that, this picturesque beach house promises to be far more peaceful than you might expect of PC.
Drink your morning coffee while gazing out at the ocean from the waterfront balcony, or grab an appropriately-spaced chair by the beach or pool. With a King-sized bed and bunk beds, it accommodates up to six guests and would be great for families or small groups.
This home is popular and largely booked up, but still has a few scattered dates in April.
This cute and cozy Sarasota home has all the makings of a tranquil couple’s weekend. Facing the Gulf of Mexico, the waterfront studio comes complete with the necessary items to relax and escape, such as a deck dotted with beach chairs, chaise lounges on the water, and even complimentary housekeeping, if you want to request it.
While it does have a full kitchen, the apartment isn’t huge, so it’s best for couples or solo travelers.
This home has good availability over the next few months.
With a minimalistic kitchen and waterfront terrace, this condo embraces luxury with hotel-like perks such as an inviting pool, hot tub, gym, and tennis court. It’s directly on the beach, making it easy to maximize your time on the sand. Best for couples, it houses up to two guests.
Decor is stylish but inviting, with neutral furnishings accented by beachy and bright photographs. There’s also a small balcony complete with two chairs for enjoying the views.
This home has availability in April, but is booking up quickly for summer.
This listing is self-described by the host as “the perfect space for a couple” and comes complete with a waterfront view, beach chairs, and the option to rent jet skis and paddle boards.
Time spent on land will also be positive, based on past guest reviews noting the studio’s cleanliness, coziness, and proximity to Clearwater’s shops and restaurants. The studio has a minimalist chic aesthetic with an entirely wooden wall behind the bed, a midcentury modern-style armchair, and wall sconce light fixtures.
This home has good availability over the next few months.
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Nicknamed the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale has water channels that weave through the city.
A desirable beach getaway in its own right, it’s also a less expensive option than nearby Miami.
From coastal homes to urban lofts, these top Fort Lauderdale Airbnbs range from $75 to $281 per night.
Ask a local why they favor Fort Lauderdale over Miami, and they’ll tell you the coastal city is less crowded and more affordable than its southern neighbor. Just a 30-minute drive north from Miami, Fort Lauderdale boasts similar draws: a vibrant nightlife scene; lively beaches; a strong Latin influence (authentic Cuban sandwiches are never far away); and a massive boating culture.
Nicknamed the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale is home to miles of the Intracoastal Waterway, which fill up with boats that anchor at local sandbars or dock at restaurants along the canals during the weekends.
Florida has no shortage of top Airbnbs, and accommodations in Fort Lauderdale include everything from chic downtown lofts near Las Olas Boulevard, the city’s main street, to coastal homes steps away from the beach for those whose main agenda is sand and sun. Having lived in the city for five years, I’ve visited just about every area and know all the best spots.
I also know that while Fort Lauderdale is alluring all year, the best time to visit is October to May, when you can avoid humid, rainy summers – and hurricane season, which starts in June. Fort Lauderdale can also become crowded during spring break and over three-day weekends, like Memorial Day, so keep this in mind and book far in advance if you plan to visit over popular holidays.
Additionally, though vaccine rollouts are underway, COVID-19 is still a major concern, and travel right now comes at a risk. We always recommend following safety precautions from the CDC, like wearing a mask in public spaces, practicing social distancing, and washing hands frequently.
For the traveler passing through Fort Lauderdale on a layover, this quaint cottage is located in the Croissant Park neighborhood, set between the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades.
Behind the property’s main house, the desert-inspired cottage has its own private entrance where a Queen-size bed and two chairs that fold out into single-sofa beds create cozy sleeping arrangements. Although the home is small, there’s still enough space to fit a tiny, circular dining table with two rustic leather barrel chairs and a workspace, complete with a desk and stool. The home is air-conditioned and includes an updated full kitchen and modern bathroom with funky geometric floor tiles and a walk-in shower.
Complimentary coffee and tea, parking, and two bikes are a few other thoughtful touches.
The property has limited availability until July, so plan ahead when booking.
Modern apartment blocks from Las Olas Boulevard, $125
This modern apartment is an elegant place to retreat to in the upscale Colee Hammock neighborhood. It’s just blocks away from the city’s main drag, Las Olas Boulevard, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries.
The property was designed in the 1960s around a massive oak tree in an enclosed courtyard, which from the sidewalk appears to be sprouting from the building. Minimal decor and high-gloss white vinyl flooring put the attention back on the architecture, which includes uniquely shaped rooms and outdoor spaces. In the bedroom, a sliding door across from the Queen-size bed opens to a private patio with a colorful hammock. Details like a leopard-print rug and palm leaf wallpaper in the kitchen add pizzazz.
In the living room, a cream-colored pullout sofa can accommodate additional guests and a small, secluded outdoor dining area creates additional hangout space. As an added bonus, there’s free on-site parking.
The property has plenty of availability over the next few months.
Victoria Park is central to just about everything the city has to offer. Locals like calling the historic neighborhood home because it’s a short walk to the bustling Las Olas Boulevard, a five-minute drive to the arts district in Flagler Village, and a 10-minute drive across the drawbridge to the coastline.
This open-concept condo has fun tropical touches like palm tree paintings and pineapple accents for a sense of place, but the tasteful midcentury modern furniture in neutral colors keeps it from veering into kitsch territory.
There’s no shortage of greenery, with plenty of plants and succulents filling the bright and airy unit. Free parking on the premise and an updated kitchen complete with basic appliances and cookware make it easy to extend a stay.
The property has plenty of availability throughout the next several months.
This home’s biophilic design brings the outside in and vice versa. There are plenty of plants scattered throughout the open-concept living room, where a white, L-shaped couch decorated with black-and-white throw pillows is the focal point. A Buddha statue sits just above it on the window sill and a full kitchen looks out at the living space, complete with a marble countertop and two stools. A light-filled room with a rustic dining table and four midcentury modern chairs can also be used for sit-down meals.
Each bedroom includes a Queen-size bed and boasts a minimalistic design with funky lighting, including a small chandelier in one and a white urchin pendant in another. The two bathrooms have very different but equally appealing aesthetics; one features a spa-like shower with white marble floors while the other has a contemporary feel and a sliding barn door.
But the real draw here is the expansive backyard, featuring a faux grass wall and various seating areas. It’s especially ideal for pet owners since the yard is fenced in, and in the front, there’s free parking on the premise.
Set in a residential part of town, this entire home is filled with Zen decor and playful artworks that embody the M.A.S.S. District that’s just a five-minute drive away. This up-and-coming, trendy part of town set beside train tracks boasts arcade bars, yoga studios, smoothie spots, coffee shops, and more — all usually found inside buildings covered by murals.
The property has plenty of availability over the next few months.
Most of the accommodations in the central Fort Lauderdale Beach area are with major hotel brands and boutiques, making this luxury apartment at the Gale Residences a rare find on Airbnb. The ninth-floor condo is located along the Intracoastal Waterway, just two blocks from the beach and right behind the W hotel, which houses noteworthy restaurants like Steak 954 and El Vez.
The sleek kitchen has stainless steel appliances and opens up to a living room decorated with blue hues that mirror the views of the Intracoastal Waterway just beyond the balcony. The outdoor space features a metal high-top table with matching chairs for an ideal setting to sip morning coffees. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the master bedroom, with a King-size bed and tufted headboard, also boast sweeping sights. The bathroom includes a tiled walk-in shower, and a lacquered desk is tucked into a corner for those who need to balance work and play.
Other communal amenities currently open to guests include a grilling area, pool with chaise lounges, a fully equipped gym, and a theater room. Free parking is available to guests staying for more than 27 days.
This host currently requires a 15-night minimum stay, but the property has plenty of availability from July onward.
Beach house with private pool in North Fort Lauderdale, $235
This ultra-contemporary house near the beach has plenty of space for families or pods of friends to spread out. The open-concept living area includes a media console at the attention of two black leather couches, which are separated by an oval-shaped coffee table. In addition to a small writer’s desk, there’s also an expansive dining table that can seat up to eight under oversized light fixtures. The full kitchen beckons home cooks with its glossy white cabinets and a subway-tile backsplash.
Kids will sleep soundly in the Twin-size beds, but parents will surely appreciate the master bedroom, which includes a King-size bed and an ensuite double vanity. Sliding glass doors lead to a private, fenced-in yard with a pool and expansive patio that includes a gas grill. Other notable amenities include a stacked washer and dryer, and a driveway with plenty of parking.
The home is just a quarter-mile away from the northern, less crowded stretch of beach. The house is also on the outskirts of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where you can bike, kayak, stroll through the massive banyan trees, or have lunch at Park & Ocean, a shaded, casual cafe with ocean views.
The property still has some availability during the months of May, June, and August but is booking up fast.
Tropical oasis with private pool near Wilton Manors, $249
Just north of Fort Lauderdale, set between the LGBTQIA neighborhood of Wilton Manors and the coastline, is this listing, which calls itself the “Martini Manor.” The one-story home somehow tastefully meshes pop art with nautical decor.
As the name implies, the house comes ready-made for those looking to have a good time, and includes a coffee bar, wine bar with a cooler, and a fully stocked kitchen. The living room does have a desk and office chair for those who need to work and play, but those are easily overshadowed by the big white sectional sofa, zebra pouf ottomans, cozy fireplace, and dining table with bold red chairs.
By day, relax at the freeform pool in the backyard, which is shaded by palm trees and outfitted with chaise lounges and a daybed. By evening, use the grill for a cookout and dine under the pergola with hanging bistro lights. A washer and dryer, and covered parking are also perks.
The property has availability starting in August.
Charming home with saltwater pool at Sailboat Bend, $263
Get a real sense of old Fort Lauderdale charm when staying in the Sailboat Bend neighborhood. This yellow, one-story home is serving Key West vibes, with a charming seating area on the front porch complete with palm tree cutouts in the lime green wooden shutters.
Although the home has old bones, the interior is updated, with a modern kitchen that even includes a full-size wine cooler and a U-shaped countertop. Lounge in the living room on an L-shaped couch under an aerial photograph of beachgoers, or practice your chess-playing skills on a game table by the window next to a brown leather accent chair.
The bedrooms are decked out in nautical decor, including sailboat art and a hanging ship steering wheel, as well as plush robes for a resort-like amenity. The shared bathroom includes a steam-room-style shower, and in the backyard, guests can take a dip in the saltwater pool and Jacuzzi.
Riverside Market Cafe, a local haunt, is just across the river, and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Museum of Discovery and Science are less than a 20-minute walk away. Keep heading down Himmarshee Street, lined with bars and restaurants, and take a right on South Andrews Avenue to arrive at The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, an open-air space along the water with live music and drinks.
The property has plenty of availability starting in June.
Luxury industrial loft in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, $281
Walk to some of the best parts of town when staying at this downtown loft. Take a 10-minute stroll to the FAT Village Arts District, where warehouses open up for art walks on the weekends and hipstery locals hang out inside coffee shops. Just a seven-minute walk away is one of the city’s highest rooftop bars, Sparrow, on top of The Dalmar hotel, and right around the corner is the Brightline station, where you can ride a luxury high-speed train to Miami in just 30 minutes.
This studio apartment’s vaulted ceiling and exposed pipes create an urban feel, but warm neutral colors soften the design. In the living room area, two cream chairs face a brown pull-out sofa, set on a gray and beige boho rug. Three stools line up at the island in a contemporary kitchen. Close by, two folding chairs and a table create an ideal breakfast nook, while a rectangular dining table and four matching chairs are ideal for larger group meals.
A sliding wall can close off the King-size bed in front of a large, industrial window for added privacy, and the host also provides an air mattress for additional guests. A Pac-Man arcade machine tucked in the corner also adds character, while the building is carefully following CDC guidelines to allow visitors access to the rooftop pool and Jacuzzi.
The property has plenty of availability over the next few months.
The once sleepy port town of Seattle has transformed into a vibrant city filled with museums and galleries, top-notch restaurants, an iconic skyline surrounded by natural beauty. And, of course, incredible coffee.
Of course, I may be biased. I spent most weekends and summers here as a kid and continued to visit regularly as an adult. As such, I know that Seattle is one of the best cities to discover over the course of a week or even just a weekend.
So while you’re busy exploring like a local, you may want to consider living like one too. If you’re wondering if Airbnb is safe, private home rentals are considered by most experts to offer a higher level of safety compared to hotels. They minimize interactions with others, and Airbnb hosts are required to follow enhanced cleaning procedures. However, there’s still an inherent risk to traveling and we recommend following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing, double masking, and washing hands frequently.
For those seeking to skip hotel rooms in line with experts’ guidance, I compiled a list of highly-rated Airbnb Seattle homes that tap into the Pacific Northwest’s quirky spirit.
Here are some of the best Airbnbs in Seattle, sorted by price from low to high.
If you have ever wanted to test drive the tiny house trend without sacrificing all your earthly possessions, check out this tiny house. Located in West Seattle, this teensy retreat, called Tipsy, has everything you need — kitchen, workspace, TV, shower — all packed into a minute package.
The house’s wood lining gives the space a jewel box-like feel with gorgeous detailing and plenty of natural light. The kitchen is pint-sized but functional with a diminutive dining table, plus outdoor benches for al fresco dining.
You’ll sleep under the stars that shine through a skylight over the comfy-looking bed, which is tucked away in a loft beneath a gabled ceiling. While the home is best suited for two, there is room for a third on the couch. All of the restaurants, shops, and attractions in West Seattle are nearby and it’s a quick ferry ride to downtown. Nightly stays are available from March onward.
Ballard is filled with Seattle’s best: coffee shops, indie record stores, locally-owned movie theaters, restaurants, breweries, bars, and easy access to the beach at Golden Gardens Park.
Enjoy it all from this chic studio that is simply furnished, yet refined. Curl up with a coffee picked up from Caffe Umbro on the leather couch, or grab a bottle of locally made beer while watching Netflix or a selection from the DVD stash.
There’s a small but full kitchen, that includes both a Chemex and a Keurig. The mint green bathroom is accented by bird-filled wallpaper, a rainfall shower, and local bath products. After playing tourist, relax in the garden, which features a greenhouse and picnic table. When it’s time for lights out, pull down the Murphy bed from the wall and collapse into a queen-sized bed. Availability opens up for this home in May.
This modern loft in South Lake Union is geographically convenient. It’s near the nightlife in Belltown, the restaurants and shops in Capitol Hill, and the Space Needle.
The first floor has a full kitchen and a dining room table, and the living room has an array of books plus inviting couches to watch HBO Go and Netflix. The home boasts a carefully curated art collection and an assortment of objets d’art that are easy on the eyes but also mean the home is probably not a great fit for families with kids under 12. Well-behaved pups are welcome, though.
Upstairs is a modern sleeping space with an en suite bathroom. The 17-foot tall windows let in tons of light, but there are room-darkening shades when it’s time to snooze. But before tucking in, spend some time on the rooftop deck equipped with a grill. This hot property has bookings available beginning in May.
Why go to the spa when you can stay in the spa? This indulgent retreat includes a Finnish sauna, hot tub, and an outdoor shower to fully relax and recharge. The striking metal, wood, and stone exterior flows to a thoughtfully-designed interior with Japanese and Scandinavian design elements throughout including paper lanterns and a Scandi-inspired dining set.
Gaze out from the massive circular window, sink into the white, minimalist sofa, or chill in the dreamy backyard reading nook. The home has a King-sized bed in one bedroom, as well as a Queen-sized bed in an intimate sleeping loft over the living space.
There are also heated floors in the bathroom, a full-sized kitchen, an airy living room, and even a resident bunny on the property.
Downtown Seattle is only 15 minutes away and Greenwood’s many restaurants and shops are close by. This home has availability beginning in April.
Sleep perched amid the very trees that give the Evergreen State its nickname in this cozy treehouse in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, Washington.
Aptly named The Squirrel’s Nest, this 280-square foot treehouse offers a birds-eye view of the world. It’s fully insulated, heated, and wired, but maintains rustic charm through wooden interiors including beds made from real logs, tree-top swings, and a sky-high seating area. There’s one bed on the main floor and another within a sleeping loft.
However, sleeping in the trees does require a little compromise. The house does not allow children under the age of 2, and there’s only a half bath and a small refrigerator, a few dishes, and a coffeemaker.
On cool nights or rainy days, turn on the indoor fireplace and play games on the wooden floor. When blue skies arrive, enjoy your morning coffee surrounded by firs. Seattle’s restaurants and shops are just a 20-minute drive. But don’t be surprised if you want to stay in the Squirrel’s Nest just a little bit longer. Stays are available starting in July.
Couples looking for a romantic getaway will find a lot to love in this intimate studio in the heart of the city near galleries, shops, and cafes.
The brick-lined loft has soaring ceilings and 14-foot windows that cut a dramatic silhouette and a postcard-worthy view of one of the most photographed signs in Seattle. There’s plenty of comfortable seating for TV watching, a kitchen with a full-sized fridge and gas range, and a nap-worthy King-sized canopy bed surrounded by curtains.
The home is within easy walking distance of the many restaurants, the city’s stadiums, and Pike’s Place Market. Check-ins are available starting in March.
Nearly every Seattle visitor swings through the city’s famed Pike Place Market, but not everyone gets to call it home. This chic apartment offers up-close views of one of the city’s most famous sites.
The sophisticated dwelling has clean lines, giant windows, and decorative pops of color that brighten the space. There is a Queen-sized bed, a pull-out sofa, and even a travel crib. There’s also a full kitchen, which is a must after gathering up fresh ingredients from the market.
The home also includes a washer and dryer, Smart TV with Netflix, and access to an apartment complex with a hot tub and gym. There is plenty of availability from April onwards.
One of the architectural mainstays of Pacific Northwest real estate is the cozy craftsman-style home known for hand-worked details, gorgeous wood, and low-pitched roofs. This Green Lake craftsman bungalow is ideal for families with three spacious bedrooms.
Stroll around Green Lake sipping your latte from Revolutions Coffee before returning to savor the home’s inviting fireplace, full kitchen with a coffee maker and an espresso machine (this is Seattle, after all), and a minimalist dining room. Perhaps best of all, there is also a garden with an outdoor dining area and a hot tub.
This home is for future planners: it’s booked until fall.
Architectural wonder with a Lego-themed kitchen in Matthews Beach, $371
Architecture enthusiasts of all ages will find a lot to love in this midcentury modern Airbnb Plus home located on a secluded wooded lot just one block from Matthews Beach on the shores of Lake Washington.
The modified A-frame’s exterior is reminiscent of a glass and wood Christmas tree, while the interior has minimalist ski chalet vibes. Three of the four bedrooms are on the upper level, set into the slanted roof for a snug feeling. Two and a half baths mean no waiting — although folks might be tempted to linger in the giant soaking tub.
Colorful accents dot the living room and study, however, it’s the whimsical design surprises throughout that truly delight. There is as a Mondrian-inspired ceiling in the bath, and a Lego-themed kitchen with a center island crafted out of the iconic building block. In fact, guests are prompted to complete a search and find activity among the plethora of little Legos.
Burke-Gillman trail is a bike ride away, as is nearby Wedgwood. This house has availability for bookings in March and April.
Townhouse with postcard-ready views im Queen Anne, $420
This large and open townhouse serves as a gorgeous perch above the city with stunning views of the Space Needle, Kerry Park, and Elliott Bay.
Billed as a city sanctuary, this 2,600-square foot two-bedroom home includes a fireplace for cold nights, sumptuous velvet couches, a well-stocked kitchen, and a dining room. The spacious master bedroom has a full bath with a deep soaking tub and more stunning views. The second bedroom offers a comfortable place to sleep with a Queen-sized bed and room-darkening shades.
The vaccine rollout is slowly nudging travel back to pre-COVID times, but international trips are still months away. This spring and summer, domestic trips amid the great outdoors will continue to be the top choice for US travelers.
As such, lakes offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. These sun-kissed waters are often framed by bucolic woodlands or mountains and are the ideal antidote to city life. As a travel guidebook writer, I’ve visited and researched many of the regions listed below and have been consistently struck by their rural beauty.
For a family vacation or new work-from-home base, we compiled a list of Airbnb lake homes that are close to outdoor activities both on and off the water. Though, if you do prefer a hotel, read our guide to the best lake hotels in the US.
A lake trip is also well-suited to social distancing. If you’re wondering if Airbnb is safe, private home rentals are considered by most experts to offer a higher level of safety compared to hotels. They minimize interactions with others, and Airbnb hosts are required to follow enhanced cleaning procedures. However, there’s still an inherent risk to traveling and we recommend following guidelines from the CDC, practicing social distancing, double masking, and washing hands frequently.
Jump directly to Airbnb lake homes by region here:
Peace and tranquility await guests in this relatively remote cabin that sits in prime woodlands located a couple of minutes’ drive to the shores of Upper Klamath Lake in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The scenic Cascade Mountains and Crater Lake National Park provide a picturesque backdrop, and this traditional, A-frame cabin offers rustic comfort.
The wooden interiors and open beam ceilings reflect the woodsy surroundings, and after a day exploring or hiking, lay back in the cabin’s hammock and listen to nature. The property comes with decks, a fire pit, grill, and picnic table.
There’s some availability through the spring but the property opens up more from August onwards.
Arty bungalow in Bombay Beach, Salton Sea (CA), $125
Bombay Beach is the lowest neighborhood in the US, at some 223 feet below sea level. It is also a thriving artistic hub, and the local homes reflect this creative character. This vintage-style bungalow is like an art installation in itself, with striking geometric exterior stripes, eye-popping art pieces, and a rooftop abstract installation that all make the home hard to miss.
Inside, wood paneling and a burnt orange color palette frame a myriad of photos, paintings, and other original art pieces. The Salton Sea, which is actually a lake, is right outside, and after dark, the night sky becomes a canvas for stargazers. This home is a slice of inspirational solitude for creative minds.
The place has great availability from early April onwards.
Dazzling chalet by Sunnyside in Lake Tahoe (CA), $200
A classic, Alpine, double A-frame aesthetic built with modern architecture in mind awaits at this Lake Tahoe Airbnb. Light floods in through the huge windows and shines across this spacious, sleekly-designed spot.
Douglas Fir flooring and white, Scandinavian tiling make for a clean, contemporary interior and cast iron bathtubs, a full kitchen, and open plan living spaces add to the allure. The home is ensconced by the surrounding forest and Lake Tahoe is just at the end of the lane, a couple of minutes’ walk away. Tahoe City, a couple of minutes by car, has plenty of options for boat or kayak rentals.
This Lake Tahoe vacation rental has lots of availability from April onwards.
A large family would love this huge, four-bedroom house that comes with a host of on-site activities including a pool table, darts, videos, and board games. The property, built over a double lot, enjoys a plum location two minutes’ drive from Lake Almanor with its beaches and country club. A boat slip is available over the summer months, and the location on the peninsula makes the entire lake accessible.
Your family or group will love the sense of space, with multiple living rooms and a garage that was converted into a games room. Farmhouse-style slate fireplaces and striking diagonal wooden wall panels create an evocative, comfortable interior and tall trees provide shade over the various decks. Fire up the grill and serve up a family dinner in the picnic area, graced by woodlands and fresh country air.
The house is booked for July but has good availability before and after.
It doesn’t get much closer to the water than this. Lakefront views are available from almost every window in this impressive home that’s actually located on an island within Lake Havasu City.
Recently remodeled, there is a Queen-size bedroom and additional pull-out sleeper, a sleek bathroom, a fully-equipped kitchen, high-speed Wi-Fi, and cable TV. Though the real draws are outside where an expansive deck is furnished with a large table, plush couch seating, a grill, and outdoor speakers. From there, private stairs lead directly down to the water with a buoy to tie a boat to in front of the home. Dock rentals are also available for a small fee for 24 foot or smaller boats.
The house has wide availability throughout the rest of the year.
With 4,000 square feet of space for up to eight people, this indulgent home offers strong value for families and groups. All the wood in this log cabin-inspired home was locally-sourced, and cathedral ceilings and craftsman-like paneling complement wood-burning fireplaces complete the bucolic idyll.
Nearby Big Bear Lake is just a couple of minutes’ drive down the hill, and the slopes of Bear Mountain are all ripe for exploration. The town of Big Bear Lake – about ten minutes away by car – has all the rental facilities you might need for a day out on the water. It would be a delight to return home to this cozy, cottage-like house with its outdoor hot tub and comfy living spaces.
There’s great availability from March onwards through the spring and summer.
Lake house on a quiet cove in Lake Martin (AL), $182
The lake views come at you from every direction thanks to the large, light-giving windows that grace this beautiful, waterfront property. On the placid waters of Lake Martin, the three-bedroom house comes with a large deck and a private dock with an upper deck and boat slip, so boat owners can bring their vessels and moor up overnight.
White painted wooden ceilings and traditional hardwood floors frame a classic-looking interior, with classy, cream-colored soft furnishings and open plan living and dining rooms. Subtle, aquatic-themed accessories and touches like a vintage cocktail bar and an antique kitchen table make for a refined look, and there are playful additions such as an indoor swing seat.
There is some availability from April to July, and then much more from August onwards.
Guests have to bring their own boat or take a water taxi to reach this secluded cottage that dates back to the 19th century. Set on five private acres on St John’s river leading into Lake George, Florida, the property comes with a private deck, a boat lift, and prime access to superb fishing.
The large, open-plan living and dining rooms mix contemporary furnishings with exposed wooden ceilings and wicker baskets, wooden barrels, and a farmhouse-style kitchen. There’s a family-sized table for eating the catch of the day and the vintage flair evokes a lodge-like aesthetic. It’s truly a place to get off-grid and enjoy the surrounding nature.
For an easy meal, boat three miles upstream to the locally-loved seafood and steakhouse restaurant, Renegades on the River.
There’s good availability from March onwards, through the summer.
Unique bayou home by Lake Pontchartrain (LA), $325
With a name like The Pelican’s Retreat, you’d likely expect a lovely coastal location and easy, marine-adjacent living. You’d be right here, as this three-bedroom house sits on the water at the end of Bayou Bonfouca, which leads into the expansive Lake Pontchartrain.
Inside is bright and breezy with a turquoise and white color palette, and there’s a fully equipped kitchen with an air fryer and Instant Pot for cooking up whatever you catch. Later, unwind than in the six-person hot tub.
The property has some availability in March and April but opens up into the spring and summer months.
This two-bedroom condo is a nice option for families given its location within The Ledges Condominiums, a popular lakeside community situated right on the Lake of the Ozarks main channel at the 21-mile marker. Staying here comes with access to two lakeview pools, a sandy beach, playground, and easy fishing or swimming from the on-site docks.
Inside, the place appears modern and spotless with bright and airy rooms that offer an impressive vantage point to watch the water and passing boats. Indeed, the master bedroom is lined with oversized windows next to a King-sized bed with flat-screen TV, Roku, and a private bathroom. An second bedroom has two additional beds.
The open living area flows to the kitchen and also includes a sofa bed and sliding glass doors that lead to a patio with panoramic views of the main channel.
The house has open availability throughout the rest of the year.
This cottage is two minutes from the waters of Saginaw Bay, one of the most scenic corners of Lake Huron. There’s a beach within a mile of the property and the hosts provide five bicycles and two 10-foot kayaks to explore with ease.
Staying here feels all-American with a red, white and blue exterior, traditional white fence, and a farmhouse-style aesthetic that includes gingham curtains, wooden cabinets, crocheted bedspreads, and country chic dressers. Though, you’ll likely spend most of your time outside on the furnished deck that comes with its own barbecue grill.
There’s good availability from April onwards, with just a few dates booked up over the summer.
Country living is easy in this historic farmhouse with preserved original fittings, some of which date back to the late nineteenth century. The shores of Lake Red Rock are just a couple of minutes away, and Des Moines Airport is less than 30 minutes by car.
The house enjoys beautiful craftsmanship, from the elaborate woodwork around the staircase and window frames to stained glass windows and original edged glasswork on the front door. Large evening meals are best enjoyed on the huge, three-tier deck with its own gazebo and gas grill.
There’s good availability for April and May, and plenty of dates still open over the summer.
Garden cabin on Lake Fanny Hooe and Lake Superior (MI), $175
Lake Fanny Hooe is kind of an aquatic annex to Lake Superior, separated only by a thin stretch of land, so in effect, you’re getting access to two lakes for the price of one. This thoughtfully-designed cabin is right on the water with a shared boat dock, its own beachfront, and multiple decks around the property to enjoy the views.
As well as having its own dock, the cabin has craftsman-built wooden interiors, hardwood floors, and wood-burning heaters for a sumptuously cozy quality. Exposed beams, a wooden kitchen island, and slate bathrooms add to the decor. There are trails surrounding the cabin that are good for year-round hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and skiing.
April and May still have availability, with a busy summer and dates in fall opening up.
Idyllic, modern A-Frame close to Lake Michigan (MI), $239
Curated design and impeccable taste are on show here, just a few hundred feet from the shores of Lake Michigan. This gem of a cottage comes with quirky, pebble-dashed and wooden exteriors made from reclaimed materials from a historic rollercoaster.
Charming interior design comes together with midcentury modern armchairs, modernist lamp stands, an understated stone fireplace, and cool ceramic tiles. Lake Michigan is just beyond the woodland, and very accessible via service roads within a couple of minutes by car.
The cottage has good availability from mid-April onwards.
The fashion for tiny house living has been an enduring one, and this bungalow just a few minutes from Lake Erie is a wonderful example. Small but exquisitely formed, the house is near the shores of the fourth-largest Great Lake — at the end of the street, it’s just a couple of minutes’ drive. Downtown Eerie is also close with a plethora of rental outlets for whatever aquatic adventures you’re planning.
Low-slung leather sofas have a cool midcentury look, while wooden kitchen cabinets resemble an update on the classic craftsman style. Wicker hampers, woven rugs, and charmingly folksy artworks add character. There’s even a dedicated workspace to accommodate the rise in remote working.
The house has some availability over May and June, and then more open dates in July.
Private sanctuary on Irondequoit Bay, Lake Ontario (NY), $116
A lakeside spot in upstate New York is a pretty prestigious perch, and the price for this lovely apartment makes it a real bargain. Panoramic Irondequoit Bay views stream in through the windows, and the property comes with access to its own basic but perfectly functional dock for boat users.
The interiors are a contemporary symphony of white and cream shades, giving the place more of an urban vibe rather than rustic, which is a refreshing alternative to most vacation rentals in the area. There’s a beautiful white-tiled bathroom, a gourmet kitchen, and a shared on-site exercise room for guest’s use. The great outdoors is on the doorstep and ample fishing in the nearby waters.
The property is wide open from April onwards.
Mountain view chalet on Lake Winnipesaukee (NH), $282
Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire and is surrounded by the foothills of the White and Gunstock Mountains. This striking Alpine chalet is set back from the lake shores, just under 10 minutes down the winding hillside roads. Once there, Lakeshore Park has boating and fishing equipment rentals.
The property has some notable features such as its overhanging roof, a popping blue paint job, and tall chalet-style windows through which light pours in. The place comes fully loaded with an exterior shower, hot tub, outdoor fire pit, and a huge wraparound deck. Rustic yet contemporary, other whimsical touches include a foosball table.
There’s good availability in May and August, with some dates still open in between.
Flanked by local wine and brewery trails and the stunning coastline of Seneca Lake, this villa in upstate New York is a sweet spot to kick back with a nice bottle of vino. In fact, you can enjoy it on the balcony overlooking the lake itself, which is just a couple of hundred feet away.
The home is spread over two stories with dark hardwood floors, a shared fire pit and grill, and French doors that open up onto the aforementioned balcony with gorgeous lake views.
There’s good availability up to July when it gets busier for the summer months.
Sebago Lake getaway with private waterfront (ME), $479
With skiing at nearby Shawnee Peak in the winter and the glorious Sebago Lake in warmer months, this spot really does have year-round appeal. A ferry service is five minutes’ away to whisk you across the waters to picturesque Frye Island, a perfect jaunt for lunch or dinner.
The property comes with 190 feet of private waterfront and its own basic dock. Take out a kayak or just relax in the hammock with a good book. The house is very tastefully appointed, with gorgeous hardwood floors, a statement slate fireplace, and lots of colorful, abstract modern art.
Summer is busy, but there’s good availability in spring and fall.
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It may be known for entertainment, but L.A. is also rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity.
Amidst the pandemic, Airbnbs provide a safer alternative for travelers compared with hotels, experts say.
These are among L.A.’s best Airbnbs, with top reviews, amenities, and accessible price points.
Los Angeles is best known as the entertainment capital of the world, but there’s much more to the sprawling city than just that. As diverse as it is culturally, L.A. is also diverse in its natural landscapes and attractions, from stunning beaches and coastline to easily accessible hiking trails to a world-class dining and arts scene.
Of course, there are plenty of standout Los Angeles hotels to choose from for a visit. But at a time when travelers are choosing private vacation rentals for coronavirus safety because these pose a lower-risk option than hotels, Airbnb offers an attractive range of options. Plus, Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Initiative buttoned up host cleaning protocols to bolster guest safety and peace of mind, so this style of lodging remains a popular choice among travelers.
There are seemingly endless options for Airbnbs in California, and the dwellings for rent in L.A. run the gamut in terms of style, size, and price point. Choose from beachy bungalows steps from the sand, century-old Spanish-style homes just bursting with bougainvillea, or gleaming, modern spaces apropos of Hollywood’s reputation for poshness.
Do remember that while the vaccines continue to roll out, and there is reason for travel optimism, the virus continues to spread around the US and there are risks associated with any travel. We recommend following CDC, WHO, and other reputable organizations’ safety guidelines. Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and practice good hand hygiene, wherever you go.
That said, if you are planning a trip, I’m a Los Angeles native who has traversed just about every neighborhood in the city countless times over. For this list of the city’s best Airbnbs, I selected a variety of choices I’d recommend to any friend (and where I’d gladly stay myself) for their amenities, comfort, and location.
The best L.A. Airbnbs were also selected based on the following criteria:
All listings are for private units in keeping with current expert recommendations for distancing; some of these spaces share amenities with other homes or listings, but all are private and have a separate entrance.
Every listing is highly rated, with a minimum rating of 4.9 out of a possible 5 or higher; some are included in Airbnb’s elevated Plus category.
We looked for standout stays with exceptional features, such as ideal locations, city views, and top-end design. Every listing is located in a desirable neighborhood for sightseeing or centrality.
We included listings at a range of price points to suit different budgets. Choices range from starting price points of $161 to $481 per night.
Listings include affordable options within the city for solo travelers, couples, and families from the same household, as well as larger and more amenity-rich options.
All listings display the badge for Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning standards and all listings come from Superhosts.
Here are the best Airbnbs in L.A., sorted by price from low to high.
Historic apartment half a block from the beach in Venice, $161
This cozy, charming, and historic apartment is found in one of Venice’s original Craftsman houses, built in 1910. Located less than half a block from the Venice boardwalk, you can’t beat that location for access to the beach, biking, skating, coffee shops, restaurants. The home even comes with vintage beach cruiser bicycles, a surfboard, a boogie board, a skateboard, two beach chairs, a beach umbrella, beach towels, and blankets to enjoy it all.
Though the listing has extra sleeping space via a sofa bed, it’s best for couples or small families. The home has a dreamy feel to it, with a mostly white design that’s accented via a blue wall in the kitchen and orange and blue pillows and throws. A pale blue clawfoot tub from 1910 nods to the home’s roots. Coveted parking (tandem) for two cars seals the seal.
This home still has scattered dates open in May and June, with more days opening up in July and August.
This Mt. Washington listing offers sweeping views above the city. There’s also access to the pool and spa, with gated parking included. The mountaintop location in this historic neighborhood is central to areas on the East side of the city, making downtown, Hollywood, and the neighboring communities of Glendale and Pasadena all easily accessible by a short drive.
The vibe here is all about a city retreat. The home itself features an open layout, high ceilings, and modern styling, like a low platform bed frame for the Queen-sized bed, gray tile floors throughout, and a sleek modern bathroom with a large walk-in shower. The living area includes a futon, but for extra seating, open the doors off the bedroom to find a spacious back deck complete with brown wicker furniture and a barbecue grill.
This home still has a few scattered dates open in June and July, but availability really opens up in October and beyond. It may be worth booking this popular listing well in advance.
This second-floor guest house in prime West Hollywood is an ideal home base for a couple, with a Queen-sized, pillow-top bed decked out in yellow linens and flower accent pillows. But the most outstanding feature here is the outdoor living room, found at the top of a spiral staircase. It includes a hammock chair, 60-inch TV, a couch, armchairs, and a table so you can enjoy the sunset or sipping morning coffee.
Back inside, the 600-square-foot space was newly renovated in 2018. It boasts vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass, as well as a vintage clawfoot tub, Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper, and a small but nicely appointed kitchenette.
West Hollywood is well known for its vibrant LGBTQ scene, with seemingly endless dining, drinking, and shopping options.
This home has a few dates open over the next few months and full availability starting in July.
Home with views of the Hollywood sign in Silver Lake, $201
This solar-powered guest house is an architectural standout with views of the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park Observatory above the Silver Lake reservoir on L.A.’s cool, cultural, and hipster-friendly east side.
The airy, light-filled, loft-style home has 12-foot ceilings and walls of glass that wrap the building; motorized shades close easily when the sun goes down. Newly built in 2017, the building’s architecture was inspired by Bauhaus. The kitchen has top-end Miele, Thermador, and Bosch appliances. Although the space is just 450 square feet, it feels spacious given its open plan. Plus, it features a private outdoor deck that nearly matches the inside space in size for plenty of lounge areas.
This home has availability starting in June.
Vintage Craftsman home with pool in Mid-City, $222
This 1919 Craftsman cottage is located in the supremely central and lively Mid-City/Miracle Mile area, giving guests easy access to the Grove, LACMA, and the La Brea Tar Pits, as well as endless dining options, and so much more. (This one’s near my own home and I can’t say enough good things about the area.)
But it’s not just about location. It’s also about the pool. Lounge in the water or around the pool terrace, soak in the hot tub, or gather at the firepit. Inside, the renovated home has hardwood floors and a spacious, open-concept living area. An Airbnb Plus listing, the tasteful decor includes a long dining table that can seat six, a gray velvet sectional couch, and plenty of succulents and terrariums throughout.
There are a few open dates over the next few months and full availability in August.
Charming bungalow with a pool in Sherman Oaks, $249
It’s well known that your money goes much farther in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, and this Sherman Oaks home demonstrates that value. Plus, it’s still located centrally to explore locations like Hollywood, Universal Studios, and the Getty Center.
The airy space is located on a cul de sac and completely private. The backyard opens onto a park with a track and exercise equipment, and the listing has its own pool and lush garden. There’s a bright office space leading onto a small deck for those who want to make their stay a working visit. A tile fireplace, a deep soaking tub in one of the bathrooms, access to laundry, and a big dining area are additional highlights. Small pets are allowed, but kids under 12 are not.
This striking Hollywood Hills home was recently renovated — and it looks it. Polished concrete and wood floors, a lush zen bamboo garden, a gleaming what kitchen, a spiral staircase, and tons of natural light all make for a posh atmosphere.
Note that this home is located on a large lot with another home (sharing one address), but each is completely separate and fenced apart. This listing is an ideal launch point for visiting the many entertainment options in Hollywood, and although it’s sequestered in the hills for good privacy, it’s also central, with easy access to downtown and areas all over L.A.
It would be hard to overstate just how expensive Malibu beachfront real estate can be, so this is your chance to get location, location, location at a relatively affordable price considering the area. This Plus category listing is an open-plan beachfront apartment with a deck right over the water. A wall of windows maximizes the epic view.
Bright white furnishings and exposed wooden beams create a chic but accessible vibe, and the marble bathroom is downright spa-like. It’s all-white color scheme and vintage accents create a romantic vibe that’s especially great for a couple’s retreat.
This listing is incredibly popular and books well in advance. There are a few scattered dates open, but it may be worth booking as far out as a trip for 2022 now.
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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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Lively outdoor dining, entertainment, and activities make Atlanta an attractive place to visit.
Nature enthusiasts will also find rivers, trails, and parks to explore in the “City in a Forest.”
We’ve chosen well-located Airbnbs in the city and just beyond, ranging from $75 to $169 a night.
The historically busiest airport in all of America may be a little less so these days due to the ongoing pandemic, and Atlanta’s famous nightlife is a little more subdued due to related restrictions in place, but that doesn’t mean the Big A’s asleep. There’s no mistaking that the vibrant capital of Georgia is still hot, and heating up even further alongside the weather.
The city’s gorgeous climate means mild, short winters and lots of sunshine, which makes it especially appealing thanks to a longer season for COVID-conscious outdoor dining and activities. Miles of green space, like city parks, playgrounds, raw and paved trails like the BeltLine and Silver Comet, and the wide, chill- or thrilled-filled (depending on your chosen activity) Chattahoochee River ensure you don’t forget that this bustling destination is also known as “The City in the Forest.” Not to mention the architectural gems that take visitors on a time-traveling tour of design and innovation, despite the city’s infamous torching amidst the Civil War.
We rounded up the best Airbnbs in Atlanta based on the following criteria:
We only included entire homes or standalone guesthouses with private entrances, per current expert recommendations.
All are highly rated with a 4.6 score or higher, with the exception of a couple brand-new listings that are not yet rated.
Some listings are technically in neighborhoods OTP (Outside the Perimeter), but in ones with their own attractions and that are still relatively convenient to the city’s center. I not only used my own knowledge as a local, but also consulted with Atlanta native and top realtor, Ariel Baverman of Keller Williams First Atlanta to ensure all listings are in desirable areas, from long-time downtown favorites to up-and-coming gems.
We’ve kept affordability in mind, but chosen a range of rentals to suit various price points from $75 to $169 per night to start.
Every property is a standout in either design, location, history, amenities, or uniqueness.
Here are the best Airbnbs in Atlanta, sorted by price from low to high.
Private guesthouse near historic Marietta Square, $75
Like a stay at grandma’s house, this guesthouse feels homey, comfortable, and familiar, with simple but fun accents from the yellow bed quilt and floral ottoman to the antique pinball machine in the living area. The home also has a private patio that overlooks the main house, which was built during WWII for the nearby Lockheed airplane factory — a great example of working-class housing during that time.
Be aware that this guesthouse is located on the same property as the host’s main home, but it is entirely separate and has its own private entrance. The grassy lawn provides a nice area to play or enjoy a picnic, and an extra Twin rollaway bed makes this a nice option for small families.
Located just six blocks from Marietta Square, which you might recognize from “Dumb and Dumber To” and the upcoming Aretha Franklin documentary, “Genius: Aretha,” this area less than half an hour from Midtown Atlanta is rife with charm. Its picturesque square is surrounded by trendy and traditional eateries, shops, and even breweries, and offers events both big and small, such as Taste of Marietta and Tuesday night bluegrass.
On the other side of the square, by the Marietta Museum of History, is the Marietta Square Market, an urban-style food hall with some of the best affordable, casual dining in Atlanta. Its parking lot turns into a bustling farmer’s market on weekends that’s ideal for grabbing some snacks before or after a self-led tour of the many uniquely designed historic homes that line nearby Cherokee, Whitlock, and Church Streets.
Book your stay from May onwards; it’s fully reserved until then.
Vinings loft with air hockey table near Truist Park, $79
Just across the ‘Hootch from the Paces division in upscale Buckhead, this unique neighborhood is among the city’s most desired. It’s here that the walkable Vinings Jubilee shopping center is located, with specialty stores and restaurants inlaid in a village-like design. This area is home to the historic Old Vinings Inn and the iconic Canoe restaurant, as well as residential neighborhoods with homes set to stun. Closer still is Truist Park, where the Braves and local residents play, and Cumberland Mall, the first four-anchor mall built in Georgia.
Vinings also puts you right at the foot of some great trails along the river, but staying at this loft, you needn’t go too far to get your workout in. Located within a development, there’s a walking trail right on property, along with shared tennis courts, and a resort-style pool. Not to mention the fitness center and on-site studio great for yoga, spin, pilates, or barre workouts.
This listing boasts steel cable-strung stairs that lead to a roomy loft bedroom, with sunlight streaming in from a row of windows at the base of the dramatically high ceilings. Below, you’ll find a blue velvet couch, a four-person dining table, and a full kitchen with granite countertops. There’s even an air hockey table for those who want a little friendly competition.
For the best outdoor views, head to the patio around the lake in the complex. There, bistro tables give guests a spot to take a deep breath and enjoy some sunshine.
The calendar is wide open for this new listing, so stake your claim now.
The Chattahoochee Plantation neighborhood is unique not just for its architecturally diverse mega-mansions and its many entrances to the nature preserves along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, but also for its stubborn history. For years, this tiny, ten-foot by seven-mile city was the only thing standing between the city of Atlanta creeping into the boundaries of Cobb County just north of Sandy Springs.
This studio is on the Atlanta side of the river to its obstinate neighbors on gawp-able Paper Mill Road, Columns Drive, and Atlanta Country Club Drive, but gives you plenty to go ga-ga over right on the grounds. Attached to a huge contemporary home overlooking a scenic wooded creek, it has its own private entrance. Just inside, you’ll find an absolutely spectacular indoor pool and hot tub.
Under soaring ceilings held up with exposed beams are walls of windows and a posh seating area with cabana curtains for privacy, creating an experience not unlike an oversized hydrotherapy room in an upscale resort spa. From there, a back deck and outdoor grill are at guest disposal to better enjoy Marsh Creek views.
This home has good availability over the next few months.
For anybody who ever wanted a tree house as a child and now wants style and character as an adult, this novel rental is just the ticket. Half an hour out from Midtown Atlanta in the suburb of Kennesaw, near the mountain, battlefield, and university of that same name, is this charmer with its own private driveway. Once parked, follow the outdoor string lights to find a handcrafted staircase the leads to a vintage front door.
The exterior is all rough, raw wood, but the inside is a quintessential example of the rustic-chic farmhouse aestehtic. Tall ceilings soar up to a high peak over a stained glass window, while additional floor-to-ceiling windows lend light and airiness to the space. Hardwood flooring, stunningly distressed, contrasts with clean-whitewashed wood plank walls, and a country chandelier hanging over the bed. Antique-style accents like a reading chair, handmade bench, and 100-year-old cabinet are offset by modern amenities like an electric fireplace, heating, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi.
Outside are two rocking chairs, set on a porch that overlooks a backyard meadow. Steps from there is a surprisingly nice outhouse with a composting toilet and a sink powered by a manual water dispenser. Guests staying for two or more nights get use of a basement shower just 30 steps away.
Stays are available as soon as you’re ready; dates are widely open.
This stunning space in Midtown is everything city-lovers imagine in an upscale urban high-rise, including its prime location. Eye-level with the skyline, you can plan your day just by looking down and out and pointing where next to explore. Floor-to-ceiling windows make up the walls of the bedroom, spacious living room, and even the marble kitchen — a massive benefit of a corner unit.
Another perk is the large wraparound balcony that boasts it is “large enough for a morning workout.” But if you need more space than that, there’s an all-glass-view gym in the building too, complete with a workout studio, plus a heated outdoor pool and working spaces, just in case you play too hard and feel like you ought to make up for it.
After all, in this location, it’s not difficult to have too much fun. Midtown, the “heart of the arts,” is where all the city’s action really is. Public transportation via the MARTA is more accessible here than almost anywhere else in the city, but if you’re driving in and taking advantage of the included secure parking of this home, everywhere you might want to visit is only minutes away.
Over 150 restaurants, clubs, and bars are scattered throughout this neighborhood, and Piedmont Park and the BeltLine are only steps away from this high-rise. Follow that paved trail to find tiny doors and the Ponce City Market, the city’s largest adaptive reuse project with shops and an incredible food hall of chef-led innovation.
Despite being new to Airbnb, this unique serviced apartment isn’t available until July, so book early.
The trendy Atlantic Station neighborhood is perhaps one of the best examples of what it means to live/work/play, all in one luxurious and well-appointed bubble. On the west side of the city, this strategically developed area was built to house 50 shops, a Central Park with live outdoor shows, BODIES The Exhibition, and a movie theatre in a streetscape-like setting. And when the temperatures drop, there’s outdoor ice skating during the short winter season, which ends around mid-February.
Close to Atlantic Station’s big-brand stores, sidewalk cafes, and boutique hotel is this lovely apartment with a modern-eclectic energy thanks to a dynamic mix of patterns and materials, from a green velvet couch to a zebra rug. The balcony offers views of a resort-style saltwater pool that’s enchantingly lit up at night in soothing aqua blues. By day, this pool area is a prime spot to luxuriate under a warm Georgian sun, giving the rooftop with its city views some stiff competition for vacation-luxury vibes.
This bird’s eye view puts into context just how close this location is to some of Atlanta’s biggest attractions, like the High Art Museum and Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. It’s due north of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium — home of the Falcons — and State Farm Arena, and due south of Buckhead, just on the other side of the highway from buzzy Midtown.
This home has good availability over the next few months.
The Old Fourth Ward, affectionately abbreviated to O4W, is one of central Atlanta’s most happening neighborhoods. Just east of Downtown and south of Midtown, it’s now an intriguing combination of new, trendy developments and design right alongside historic sites like Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home. Atlantans love this neighborhood for its miles-long, paved, and elevated BeltLine Trail and the myriad of attractions sprung up around it, like the amazing Ponce City Market.
A block away is where you’ll find this upscale Nordic-style tiny home, whose minimalistic style and plush fur-trimmed accent decor create a sense of Scandinavian simplicity and peace. Every precious inch of this space is used well and Instagram-ready, from the Brazilian hardwood shower that recalls a spa sauna to a lofted bed with skylight window to the small desk that overlooks a rock creek right outside. Also outside is a 125-year-old American sycamore tree in the private yard, and a fenced space that offers a smokeless fire pit and two lounge chairs facing the tiny home’s little patio.
You’ll be walking distance to trails, shops, and restaurants, but should you want to stay in, there’s a UHD Smart TV that’s Netflix-ready, and a kitchenette that comes complete with an induction cooktop, microwave, and a retro-style fridge.
It’s available starting now, with plenty of weekend dates open through early summer.
Buckhead is a posh address shared by the Governor, and this one-bedroom apartment puts you right in the center of it. It’s only a few walkable blocks to Lenox Square, a premium shopping mall with 250 stores spread across nearly 1.6 million square feet. As if that weren’t enough, Phipps Plaza is also only steps away, impressive with its mahogany walls, marble floors, chandeliers, and grand staircase.
But Buckhead isn’t just primed for commerce — it’s good for art and action, too. Around Miami Circle and Bennet Street are clusters of independent art galleries, and the young, affluent professionals that live in this neighborhood frequent the bars, clubs, and chic restaurants along Peachtree and Roswell Roads.
You can prep for a glamorous night out in this light, bright, and spacious apartment, channeling the elegant decor of the apartment. In the bedroom, an upholstered bed is furnished with a memory foam mattress under a trey ceiling, and a minibar stocked with small bottles of liquor and wine offers a pre-gaming amenity. The spacious living area is decked out in a soothing cream and blue color palette, and the modern kitchen includes all-white cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and grey tiling.
During the day, take advantage of the on-site gym and the rooftop pool. The latter overlooks the city skyline, magical any time. Garage parking for one means you can linger as you like.
Availability is immediate for this new addition to Airbnb, with dates open well into summer.
Just east of Midtown, Virginia Highlands has been recognized by “Southern Living” as the fourth best neighborhood in all the South — and it’s no wonder. Its tree-lined streets shade beautiful homes and over 75 restaurants, shops, and bars, including Atlanta’s oldest continually licensed tavern, Atkins Park. It’s host to Summerfest in the (you guessed it!) summer and Tour of Homes for looky-loos in the winter; and puts you within steps of the BeltLine, Piedmont Park, and Atlanta’s Botanical Garden.
Homes here are traditionally the beautiful bungalow-style of the ’20s and ’30s, with high ceilings in the pre-war build. This brand-new loft guesthouse is right off the main strip.
Arrive to a gorgeous Craftsman-style entrance with a rose-strewn portico at the entrance, just off the parking area that’s overhung by the loft’s balcony. Once inside, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide which of the two bedrooms you’d rather have: the ground level one with French doors, plantation shutters, and an outside entrance, or the novelty of the loft suspended over the living space and bounded by steel cables. A soothing palette of blues, creams, and natural woods dominates the aesthetic, creating a cool contrast to the rich brick and brown of the exterior.
There are plenty of open dates over the next few months.
Right on the border of quirky, accessible Edgewood and just south of Inman Park and bohemian Little Five Points, this hotel-style resort apartment is at the crossroads of artsy and independent city culture.
The creative vibe of its location makes it into the decor of a gorgeous common area lounge. It’s stylish and posh, and sexy besides, with splashes of deep reds, rich purples, and bright oranges. The expansive common area also has an oversized shared worktable space with pop-up plugs to keep your gear fully juiced, and a wet bar, dining tables, and TVs to channel more of that city-life workspace feeling. A spiffy gym, also decked out in bold colors, is yours to enjoy during your stay. The apartment has a full modern kitchen, but this close to the Krog Street Market, a world-class and famous food hall, you likely won’t make much use of it.
Outdoors, though, is where visitors find their R&R. The building’s resort-style pool has private cabanas and tanning areas around it, as well as firepits to gather your group of up to four around.
In a city rife with verdant green space, to say that Chastain Park is one of its best is a serious statement. Nonetheless, it’s said by passionate Buckhead and Sandy Springs residents, who love where they live thanks to this outdoor attraction that gives locals and visitors alike easy access to outdoor concerts, walking trails, golf courses, art galleries, stables, and more. It’s also just 15 to 20 minutes to Midtown.
But because Atlanta’s attractions are spread out across various suburban neighborhoods, you need not stray too far from this 1940s cottage on a creek to find activity. A sunny dining area attached to the spacious, well-lit kitchen is just the spot to enjoy a home-cooked meal or takeout from the numerous nearby eateries. There are windows on every wall, all the better to enjoy views of the sprawling parklike grounds. Bedrooms are simple but large, and the host even leaves out spa-like bathrobes to take lounging to the next level.
Across the brook, over the bridge, is a meadow with wild berries and trees, and flowers when in season. Don’t forget to bring your Tesla if you’re lucky enough to have one. There’s a fast, free charging station.
This carriage house may be less than a mile away from Chastain Park, but it almost feels like your own private preserve. Its long meandering driveway takes you to the wooded property before dropping you off at your new doorstep. Once inside, you’ll find a modern, cool aesthetic that includes a new kitchen with granite counters and gray cabinets, and a spacious, bright marble-pattern bathroom. All around are windows with views of the trees beyond and your closest neighbors will be a barred owl and whatever birds happen to visit the feeder.
As nice as these digs are, outside is actually where the greatest attractions for this property lie. The carriage house opens up to its own deck, which then leads to a charming brick path on a sloped hillside. Head toward the hammock to get to the lovely in-ground pool, which even has fountains spouting into it. Between dips, grill up a meal and enjoy it on various premium loungers, the bar table, or the seats around the fire pit. But if you want a fire pit closer to nature, make your way to the treehouse and the large swing beside it. There’s a more rustic fire pit with tree stump seating there.
Reservations don’t open up until July, but that’s also because local COVID restrictions for Sandy Springs has imposed a minimum stay rule of 30 days.
Granted, you’re half an hour or so away from the heart of the action in Atlanta’s Midtown out here in suburban Kennesaw, but that seems like a small price to pay to stay in such a fantastical setting. This true tree house, built into the canopy and in one part, around an actual tree is a self-contained adventure. It even has an escape room-type treasure hunt challenge built into your stay.
Comprised of three floors total across two independent structures connected by a rope bridge lit by fairy lights, the first building features vaulted ceilings with pine beams and a tin roof for rain to gently pitter-patter down. Its walls are made of knotty bamboo walls whose patterns are broken up by a stained glass window and French doors that open wide. Through those doors, access a wraparound porch that leads to the other building, which has a screened-in area with tables and chairs for dining or relaxation, and a ladder fastened against the central tree’s trunk that leads up to a crow’s nest observatory.
Like the rest of the home, the bamboo it’s made of comes from only a few miles away, making it not only a sustainable material, but local to boot. Other local and personal touches include handmade lamps, a cypress and blue resin water pitcher table made with love by the owner, a cedar plank writing desk, and a bucket and pulley system in the crow’s nest. A manmade stream runs beneath, complete with mini waterfalls, a bridge, and hammocks ripe for taking naps to the tune of the gentle gurgle.
A stay here also provides plenty of creature comforts, including a full bathroom with a marble shower and handmade soap just yards from the front steps.
Availability begins in mid-April and for scattered days in the months thereafter.
Developed during the Reconstruction-era, Edgewood has long been a neighborhood with its own character and identity. Since its annexation across the county line from Fulton to DeKalb, it’s done a glow-up of its working-class roots and new construction over the past few years has added architectural diversity to its traditional craftsman bungalow blocks.
This bright and pretty mid-rise apartment is right on the border of this area, close to vintage stores, natural food markets, street performers, edgy art, and many quirks to love. Plus, it’s near a MARTA station, which gets you quickly to in-town neighborhoods like Midtown. Though there’s a secure garage parking available for those with their own car.
Featuring cheery white, yellow, and cerulean decor this property has a Miami resort feel. The shared pool area, with modern takes on Acapulco loungers, add to the sunny vacation vibes. Chic details like a tiered glass coffee table, big ATL letters decorating the walls, and a roomy walk-in shower give this spot an upscale feel. A shared game room, colorful lounge area, and gym round out the on-site amenities.
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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.