The right hotel or resort sets the mood for the entire vacation. This will be your home base for the next week or two, so it must have the right balance of kid-friendly entertainment.
That means more than a kiddy menu and a ping-pong table. Some hotels and resorts go above and beyond for families, catering to their every whim.
These incredible lodging options are available no matter where in the United States you travel.
Although it was a tough ask, I managed to narrow it down to 15 of the top spots where you’ll want to book a reservation ASAP for your next family getaway.
1. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Are you planning a trip to Disney World? You have so many lodging options on the park grounds and especially outside.
While the latter is cheaper, there’s something so magical about staying in a Disney Park resort, especially the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
This resort hotel is designed in the style of the African kraal, or an enclosed village of huts. The rooms overlook a series of savannahs where more than 200 wildlife species roam.
Some of the animals the kids could spot are flamingos, gazelles, zebras, kudu, and giraffes. Your room will include a Wildlife Field Guide for identifying every species.
Accommodations are available no matter the size of your family.
A standard suite or room or a deluxe studio sleeps four, while upgrading to a club-level suite has room for eight.
You can also choose from single-bedroom to three-bedroom villas, the latter of which has room for 12.
Why head all the way to the Typhoon Lagoon Water Park when the Animal Kingdom Lodge has an 11,000-square-foot sparkling swimming pool and a sloping water slide?
If the biggest pool fills up with families, the Samawati Springs Pool nearby offers a water playground called the Uwanja Camp, two whirlpool spas, and its own water slide.
Uzima Pool is for young children who aren’t strong swimmers. They can wade in the water and cool off while parents enjoy one of two whirlpool spas.
Disney’s world-class dining comes straight to you when you stay at the African Kingdom Lodge. You can eat five-star, African-inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
2. Kingsmill Resort
Kingsmill Resort is renowned for its golf, but if you look beyond that, you’ll find a family-friendly resort just waiting for you to book a stay.
The AAA Four Diamond Condominium Resorts are incredibly spacious, but you have options if you find yourself seeking something larger.
You can rent a cottage with a full kitchen, up to four bedrooms, up to 4.5 bathrooms, a laundry room, a dining area, and a living room.
One of the best parts of the cottage stays is the view, as you can view the James River whenever your heart desires.
The private vacation villas boast up to four bedrooms, an oversized living room, a back deck with a grill, a sunroom, and a television in every room.
The villas are between 3,000 and 5,500 square feet.
Whether you have a stretch of sun-drenched days or a few cloudy ones, the indoor pool is a reliable fallback.
It’s open daily between 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. so you have time to slot it into your day (or night!).
Kingsmill Resort offers bike rentals and tennis.
You’ll also love its proximity to all the places on your travel itinerary, from Busch Gardens Williamsburg to Colonial Williamsburg and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.
3. Kelleys Island Venture Resort
Kelleys Island, Ohio
Kelleys Island went from a hidden gem to one of the most sought-after family vacation destinations.
While you could stay at a smaller, quainter boutique hotel, if you’re of the mindset to go big or go home, Kelleys Island Venture Resort is the place for you.
Only about a mile from the downtown area and Cedar Point Amusement Park, the Venture Resort is a picture-perfect slice of heaven.
Select from more than 20 luxury suites with flat-screen televisions, kitchen appliances, and an upper-level loft area if you’re traveling with a big group.
You can request DVDs for nightly entertainment, and cribs are available if you’re traveling with babies.
The Glacier Suites have a sleeper sofa and king-sized bed for two adults and two children. A stay in the Marblehead Suites offers unparalleled views of Lake Erie.
The Iroquois Suites are a step up and can accommodate six, while the Cunningham Suite offers the most space and luxury.
These suites feature three bedrooms, a full kitchen with appliances for cooking in your suite, a private balcony, a washer and dryer, and a living room.
Keep the kids cool all day with the gorgeous outdoor pool. Rent a bike on a cooler day and carve out some time for enjoying the children’s playground.
4. YMCA of the Rockies
Estes Park, Colorado
Estes Park is a great getaway in the winter and summer, with many low-cost and no-cost activities for families.
The YMCA of the Rockies is at the center of it all, overlooking the magical Rocky Mountain National Park.
Your stay comes with a boatload of inclusive activities for entertaining the children, from disc golf to access to biking and hiking trails to basketball, mini golf, roller skating, and an indoor pool.
While booking your stay, you can reserve spots for activities like horseback riding, dog sledding, arts and crafts, archery, and the onsite escape room.
Are your kids eight or older?
YMCA of the Rockies has team-building activities, outdoor and indoor activities, and private group activity sessions to keep your little ones entertained all day.
How does staying in a yurt sound? Or a luxurious cabin? Those are some of your lodging options at this hotel.
You can also camp or stay in a traditional room. These memory-making lodging options afford stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
You might start your day with songbirds tweeting outside your window rather than wake up to the blare of your alarm!
The cabins offer Wi-Fi, a porch or deck, wood or gas fireplaces, and fully-equipped kitchens.
5. San Diego Mission Bay Resort
San Diego, California
The new and improved San Diego Mission Bay Resort in Southern Cali is an ideal getaway. You’re steps away from Mission Beach, but you could always lounge in the waterfront pool.
The kids will enjoy the shallow wading pool with splash features, as it’s just the right depth for little swimmers.
When the sun sets on another exciting day, make a beeline back to the hotel.
At 6 p.m., you and the family can lounge at a beach fire pit and make s’mores. This seasonal activity will end the day on a sweet note.
The hotel also offers movie nights.
The nautical feel of every suite and room will set the mood for your vacay, and traditional guest rooms, studio guest rooms, and San Diego Suites are available.
The smallest rooms offer 365 square feet of space, but a San Diego Suite is anywhere from 671 to 1,463 square feet.
Those suites will showcase beautiful gardens or the appealing sights of Mission Bay, with up to two king or queen-sized beds available. A private patio or balcony is your own little retreat.
6. Hawks Cay Resort
Duck Key, Florida
One of the best Florida resorts for kids’ vacations is Hawks Cay Resort, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. USA Today voted the resort its top family resort of 2020.
You can enjoy family-friendly activities galore, from swimming pools (five on the hotel grounds) to a sports field with a putting course, inland flat fishing, and even dolphin experiences!
That’s just scratching the surface, by the way. Camp Hawk is for children between the ages of five and 12.
While you relax the day away, the kids will be well taken care of.
They’ll spend their time playing with slime, feeding tarpon at the marina, pretending to be superheroes, or playing as pirates and mermaids.
You must reserve a slot 24 hours in advance. Camp Hawk is available Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and lunch is included.
Coral Cay Activities & Adventures is a kids’ club with food, sports venues, and swimming pools. Kids of all ages will stay entertained for hours.
I greatly appreciate how the hotel has family guest rooms. These rooms are 480 square feet with one king-sized bed and a bunk bed.
The bunks have a top twin-sized bed and a bottom full-sized bed, so there’s sleeping space for five.
7. Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa
Lake Placid, New York
Living the Adirondack lifestyle has never been sweeter than a stay at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa.
The kid-friendly activities here include access to the private Mirror Lake beach, lawn checkers, and s’mores nights every Saturday.
Busy the older kids at the Whiteface Club, which offers golf and tennis lessons.
You can also take the children fishing with a guided tour or take a long bike ride on Whiteface Mountain or Mount Van Hoevenberg.
Mirror Lake has an assortment of family rooms to retire to.
The Little Whiteface Suite has room for five, the Skylight Suite is generously sized at 1,200 square feet, and Osprey Overlook has two bedrooms with a king-sized bed in each.
The Lakeside Family Suite is 600 square feet, the Bear Cub is a three-bedroom resort of over 700 square feet, and the Fox Den is cozier at under 500 square feet.
8. Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
Kids might not recognize the Jimmy Buffett song that inspired this Hollywood resort, but they don’t have to, as they’ll still have an amazing time.
The Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is brimming with kid-centric, family-friendly activities. Guests can use the FlowRider Double surfing simulator on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk.
The hotel offers nature tours, rentable kayaks and paddleboards, dual pools, chaise lounges, and full-service cabanas.
You’re also very close to the boardwalk, museums and art galleries, shopping, dining, and sailing.
Margaritaville Hollywood is conveniently located near the Miami Children’s Museum, Museum of Discovery & Science, Young at Art Museum, and Dave & Buster’s.
Parakeet Kid’s Club for children between five and twelve is a daily activity for young ones with holiday events, arts and crafts, swimming, and beach games.
You can register 30 minutes before the club opens, but with only eight spots available, openings go fast!
Morning and afternoon sessions are available, as are full-day sessions and night camp.
The guest rooms invoke the Hollywood atmosphere, with beachy colors and décor as far as the eye can see.
The Jimmy Buffett Suite for eight boasts three beds, flat-screen televisions, ocean and pool views, a private balcony, and kitchen facilities.
It’s a 2,649-square-foot Presidential Suite, so it has all the fixings you need to create an incredible family vacation.
9. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Like the theme park Dolly Parton spearheaded, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa is full of whimsy and adventure.
It fosters family togetherness, teaches the wonders of storytelling, and is so close to Dollywood that planning your vacation will be effortless.
Your stay even includes complimentary trolley service.
Pack your swimsuits, as indoor and outdoor pools mean you can swim no matter the weather. Six dining locations on the grounds give your family plenty of variety.
The hotel also includes a kids’ club called Camp DW.
Stay in a standard room, a generously sized suite, or the new Dolly Suite 1986, a motorcoach experience with Parton’s personal stamp.
Her design touches are everywhere. Now’s your chance to sleep on a tour bus (with accommodations for two) while the rest of the family lounges in a guest room for four.
Does your family need even more space?
The DreamMore Resort & Spa offers Bear Cove Cabins through the Smoky Mountain Cabin Rental Company.
These dream cabins with mountain views offer privacy, space, and an immersive backdrop.
10. Enchantment Resort
Sedona is only minutes from the Grand Canyon and is close to activities and sights like Red Rock State Park, Cathedral Rock, Slide Rock State Park, and the Montezuma Castle National Monument.
Enchantment Resort is at the heart of it all. The resort offers countless activities like hiking and guided Grand Canyon tours, but it’s the family activities that make me recommend this resort.
You and the kids can rent bikes and hit the dusty trail, hike together, play a game of pickleball in the spirit of friendly competition, tour in a pink Jeep, ride in a hot air balloon, or take an arts and crafts class.
These classes teach beading, watercolors, and pottery glazing.
Camp Coyote is for kids between four and 12 years old and includes cooking experiences, scavenger hunts, painting, nature walks, and more.
You can book your kids for a half-day in the mornings or afternoons, a full day, or an evening. Schedule a slot at least 24 hours in advance.
Little Shredders is a mountain biking camp for kids eight to 15. Over three days, they’ll learn how to ride from experienced bike guides.
Book your stay in a suite, with up to two bedrooms available and swimming pool access. You can also stay in a luxury casita that can sleep up to four.
11. Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions are spread out nationwide, including in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Sandusky, Ohio; Round Rock, Texas; and Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania.
The resorts feature an indoor water park, so if you’re staying in a location like the Pocono Mountains, you can pack the swimwear and enjoy a summery day in the middle of the winter.
The hours of the indoor water park are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily but may vary.
Kalahari Resorts also has an outdoor water park that operates between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
However, the season can vary by resort, so check in with yours to confirm the availability before planning your vacation.
The kids will be in heaven at the water parks, but that’s far from all that Kalahari Resorts has to offer.
You and the little ones can play all day at the arcade, enjoy indoor rides and attractions across thousands of square feet, go ziplining, and knock down pins at the bowling lanes.
You can dine at the waterpark, in your room, or at the delicious restaurants scattered across the hotel. Retire to a villa or suite when the day ends.
Kalahari Resorts has accommodations for up to 44 people at some of its resorts, so even if you have a larger family, you shouldn’t have to stress about a lack of space.
The suites and villas are available in different styles with varying square footage, and you can get into the onsite waterpark for free with your stay.
12. Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale is only 13 minutes from Branson by car. This wilderness resort near Table Rock Lake is a forested paradise.
The Top of the Rock Lost Canyon Cave on the hotel grounds is 2.5 miles.
Part canyon, part nature trail, you and your young ones can ride in a golf cart, witnessing Table Rock Lake, waterfalls, and rock formations.
If you opt for this experience, you also receive complimentary admission to the nearby Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum.
Thunder Alley go-karts will rev up your kids’ heart rates as they race on a paved course. Don’t worry, there are rubber bumpers and tires on either side of you to keep everyone on track.
The Kids’ Adventure Club at Fun Mountain will keep the kiddos entertained while you exercise at the fitness center or relax at the spa.
Available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., then 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., kids will enjoy a skill lesson and an outdoor excursion.
They can do outdoor scavenger hunts, practice archery, shoot BB guns, or go fishing.
You can stay on the property or just outside of it. If you lodge on the property, you and your loved ones can room in a private log cabin, a lodge room, or a lakeside cottage.
The off-premises options include Camp Long Creek and Angler’s Lodge.
Camp Long Creek has family glamping units for up to four people.
Don’t worry, this isn’t roughing it like it sounds, as you’ll have access to cooling and heating, a king-sized bed, and a room with a chandelier and wooden flooring.
13. Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Your dream vacation awaits at the Grand Wailea. The keiki or kids will get treated like royalty here as they’re issued a Grand Passport, which is a map spotlighting all the activities they can participate in.
Each time a kid checks something off the list, they should show their Grand Passport to a resort staffer, who will stamp it.
You and the children can surf, charter a boat to a nearby island, or soak in the sun at any of the beaches nearby.
The pool variety is exceptional, with a 262-foot Lava Tube Slide, a 4,850-square-foot Hibiscus Pool, and an activity pool with a sand baby beach, rope swing, and six waterfalls.
The Napua rooms and suites can accommodate up to four. Guests can see the ocean and surrounding gardens from their rooms and dine at the Napua Lodge.
The Ho’olei Villas have the space for up to eight guests. These rooms are 3,400 to 4,000 square feet with 3.5 separate bathrooms and a separate living area.
14. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Of course, you had to expect another Walt Disney World resort, as they’re experts at producing unforgettable kid-friendly memories.
Experience the wonders of the South Pacific while staying in Florida at this great resort.
The built-in sandy beach might not allow for swimming due to gators, but that’s fine, as you have plenty of great options for dipping your toes in.
The Oasis Pool adjoins a beautiful garden and is appropriate for guests of all ages. The Lava Pool offers a water slide that’s more than 140 feet.
The entry point has no depth, so even young kids will feel confident wading in, with parental supervision, of course.
The Seven Seas Lagoon is available for fishing and boating by day. At night, it comes alive as the Electrical Water Pageant gets underway.
The lighted, floated structures look like dragons and other mystical sea creatures, and the music will get your whole family tapping their feet.
The rooms, suites, and deluxe studios have room for five, and the bungalows offer sleeping space for eight.
Your bungalow stay includes a private plunge pool and deck, a washer and dryer, separate bedrooms, designated dining and living areas, and a full kitchen.
15. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa
Make it a Westin vacation at the Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, conveniently located by downtown Savannah.
The four-diamond resort sits on the Savannah River, so it has gorgeous views to immerse yourself in.
The Riverfront Resort Pool overlooking the Historic District is heated, so you and your loved ones can still soak away your troubles on a cooler day.
The main lobby has games on certain days, and the hotel offers Savannah S’mores seasonally at the Riverside firepits between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Kids can also partake in crafts (like making masks), coloring in the afternoon, and tea and cookies in the main lobby.
Luxury accommodations will suit your family, no matter the size. The Champion’s Suite has one bedroom and one and a half bathrooms.