The dreaded three words — “I am bored” — won’t be uttered when you stay at one of our readers’ 12 best family-friendly resorts in the U.S. Plenty of resorts offer a comfortable room and a great night’s sleep. What sets these resorts apart are the amazing amenities and activities they offer guests. When it’s time to leave, you’re likely to hear, “Let’s come back!”
1. Woodloch Resort (Winner)
Located on beautiful Lake Teedyuskung in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, Woodloch Resort has been a family favorite for generations. The resort offers more than 30 daily activities, all-inclusive dining options, nightly live entertainment, and accommodations that range from more traditional hotel-style rooms to homes large enough for several families.
The activity offerings are immense and many are included with your stay. There’s a climbing wall, go-karts, bumper boats, miniature golf, scavenger hunts, art classes, wine tastings, and paintball adventures. There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, plus paddle boarding, kayaking, and waterskiing on the lake. You can also take a guided pontoon boat tour.
In the winter, there’s ice skating, hockey, and tubing. When you’re ready to relax, choose one of the amazing spa experiences.
2. The Resorts At Schlitterbahn
New Braunfels, Texas
A stay at The Resorts at Schlitterbahn gives guests early access to one of the best waterparks in the U.S., Schlitterbahn New Braunfels, which means less time waiting in line and more time having a blast. The waterpark has several pools, a lazy river, a wave pool, surfing, tubing, and plenty of waterslides for thrillseekers.
There are seven different hotels and resorts on the property including condos, cabins, homes, and lodge accommodations. The resorts offer movie nights and other activities for families who want a resort day.
Be sure to explore the city of New Braunfels, one of our readers’ favorite midsize cities to visit in the U.S. It’s located between San Antonio and Austin, in the southeastern part of Texas Hill Country.
3. Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort
Huntington Beach, California
Amenities include beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, boogie boards, kids’ toys, and even a locker for guests who bring their own surfboard. There are also yoga mats and record players in every room! A yoga class is offered every Sunday morning.
When you’re not at the beach, take one of the complimentary bikes for a spin around town, play chess with the large chess set, and enjoy nightly s’mores.
4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
There are more than two dozen beautiful resorts to choose from on Walt Disney World property in Orlando, but it’s difficult to top the one that has giraffes, gazelles, kudus, zebras, and other beautiful creatures to view from your balcony.
Every Disney resort is expertly themed. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, the rooms, lobby, restaurants, and outdoor areas are inspired by Africa’s amazing landscapes. While you’re likely to spend most of your days at the theme parks, enjoy a resort day relaxing at the pool listening to the sound of drums. In the evening, roast s’mores on the campfire and watch a Disney movie under the stars.
If you’re planning a Disney vacation, take a look at these 11 hidden gem experiences our experts love.
5. Hawks Cay Resort
Duck Key, Florida
Located in the middle of the beautiful Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key feels wonderfully remote and includes amazing amenities for a perfect family vacation. The views — and activities — are endless. There’s snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and sunset cruising. Despite the oceanside location, the resort hasn’t forgotten about land lovers with pickleball, yoga, pool parties, dance lessons, crafts, and family game nights. You can even learn how to sword fight with some of Duck Key’s most fearsome pirates!
From intimate rooms to cottages for an extended family vacation, all of the accommodations have a refined Caribbean décor. There are even family rooms with bunk beds the kids are sure to fight over.
6. YMCA Of The Rockies
Estes Park, Colorado
Intrigued by a YMCA location making the list? You’re in for a treat! YMCA of the Rockies is bordered on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park, making it an ideal, and affordable, location to explore the fantastic beauty of this national park gem.
There are dozens of summer activities including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, climbing, roller skating, and photography. Colorado and winter are practically synonymous and you’ll love skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snowshoeing.
Lodging includes hotel-style lodges, cabins, and adorable yurts. Rocky Mountain National Park does require a timed-entry reservation if you plan to visit from the end of May through the end of October.
7. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
The amenities of Disney combined with the unrivaled location of Hawaii create a, well, magical family getaway at Aulani on Oahu. The Aulani experience immerses guests in Hawaiian culture offering lei-making and hula classes, fireside storytelling, and surfing lessons.
Guests will love snorkeling in the resort’s private lagoon and lazily lounging on a tube in the Waikolohe Stream. Of course, your favorite Disney characters, dressed in their finest Hawaiian attire, roam the resort to the delight of young and old.
8. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort And Spa
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Nestled in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa is adjacent to Dollywood theme park. If you plan to visit the theme park, this is the perfect location offering early entry, a free shuttle, and other perks during your stay. However, the resort offers an amazing experience for guests who just want to relax in the Smokies. Camp Dollywood will keep your children as busy as you’d like and there’s a wonderful spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and six dining options. If you’re truly looking for a unique experience, book Dolly’s tour bus for a night or two.
9. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort And Spa
Beaver Creek, Colorado
The Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek Village places families in the ideal location for hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, and fly fishing in the summer. During winter, you are steps from the lift, with little effort to carry your skis and boots.
It’s perfect for families who want to feel a part of everything but need the flexibility of having a location close to care for littles who may need a nap. The rooms offer beautiful mountain views and guests love the warm cookies passed around each afternoon.
10. Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains has a welcoming feel the moment you drive onto the property. Perfectly located on the shores of Table Rock Lake just south of entertainment mecca Branson, Big Cedar creates a wonderful multi-gen experience with lodge-style rooms, lakeside cottages, and private log homes available. Kids love the multiple pools, lazy river, miniature golf, paddle boats, and canoes. There’s also a calendar of daily activities that includes trivia, painting, scavenger hunts, s’mores, and movies under the stars. Shuttles are available for all guests to get from place to place, which is amazing when the kids are tired of walking or if a family member has difficulty walking long distances.
Nearby, enjoy a golf cart ride through Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail at Top of the Rock and brunch or dinner at Osage Restaurant. Don’t miss the sunset ceremony that includes bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” and the firing of cannons as the Sun disappears behind the hills.
11. Kaanapali Beach Hotel
Kaanapali Beach Hotel is a beautiful oceanfront property located on the island of Maui. The resort immerses you in Hawaiian culture with daily activities that introduce guests to the Hawaiian language, instruments, songs, dances, weaving, and lei-making.
Spend a day, or your entire vacation, relaxing on the beach and taking in the amazing ocean views. The resort also offers snorkel gear and stand-up paddle boards for rent.
If this is your first visit to Maui, you won’t want to miss these experiences on the island.
12. C Lazy U Ranch
Don’t let the word “lazy” in the name mislead you, there are endless activities at C Lazy U Ranch. This gorgeous all-inclusive dude ranch is located in Granby, Colorado, near Rocky Mountain National Park. The location, amenities, and dining combine to create an exceptional experience.
Families will enjoy breakfast and lunch together, but in the evening, counselors handle getting the kids fed and keeping them entertained while the adults enjoy a beautifully prepared gourmet meal.
Daily activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, fly fishing, a ropes course, archery, beehive tours, and yoga. In the evenings, enjoy karaoke, a talent show, a barn dance, and s’mores with the family. Recharge for the next day in the beautifully furnished cabins with perfect mountain touches.
Be sure to browse our readers’ picks for the 8 Best Glamping Experiences in the U.S., Top 14 Luxury Hotels In The U.S., 10 Favorite Inns and Bed and Breakfasts, and all of our 2023 Best Of Travel Awards winners.