It's a myth that you need to go to the Caribbean or Mexico to find a fantastic all-inclusive resort. There are wonderful kid-friendly resorts right here in the United States where you can take advantage of all-inclusive pricing with no passport required.
Families will enjoy guest ranches, lodges, and beach vacations with plenty of activities for all ages and family-pleasing food. All-inclusive usually means that accommodations and meals are included for one price. However, different resorts offer a variety of all-inclusive programs including recreation options and supervised children's activities.
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Nestled on the shores of Lake Champlain in northwestern Vermont, the 165-acre Tyler Place Family Resort pioneered all-inclusive pricing during the Great Depression and has been helping families create awesome summer family vacation memories ever since.
With nine age-staggered groups from babies through teens, the children's program is simply the best there is. (Tyler Place is also on our shortlist of top vacations with a baby and toddler.)
Other highlights include a spectacular lakeside setting, raft of adult-only activities and classes, delicious farm-to-table meals, and the perfect mix of family time, me time, and couples time. Parents can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail alone, for example.
There's a tremendous spirit of generosity at the Tyler Place, where every guest, no matter what age, gets a free loaner bike for the week. They have all types of bikes including cruisers, mountain bikes, choppers, banana seats, tandems, trail-aways, and wee bikes with training wheels. It's the sort of old-school summer camp where families return year after year, as evidenced by the 90-percent return rate.
Early and late-season rates can be significantly lower than peak summer rates.
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Dude ranches almost always offer all-inclusive pricing, and Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is one of the most family-friendly around. Rates include accommodations in private cabins or lodge rooms, all meals and beverages, and activities that range from horseback riding and mountain biking to fly-fishing and river rafting. In the evenings, there are just-for-fun rodeos that kids will love. Kids need to be 6 or older for horseback riding and some other experiences.
During your stay, you can expect a few adult-only candlelight dinners while your kids get to experience "Dine and Dash," a nutritious but kid-friendly meal, followed by a hayride, treasure hunt, or game of "Capture the Flag."
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Just a short two-hour hop from the Big Apple brings you to the 251-room Mohonk Mountain House. This Victorian castle in New York's Shawangunk Mountains overlooks sprawling grounds containing a pristine lake, 85 miles of hiking trails, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, stables, and a grand lawn where families can watch movies in the open air.
Kids ages 4 to 12 can participate in the award-winning children’s program that includes guided nature walks, animal tracking, and fossil hunts. Rates include accommodations, meals, afternoon tea and cookies, and most resort activities.
Sign up for e-mail alerts so you find out about special offers. Several times a year kids 12 and under stay and eat free when you visit mid-week.
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Club Med makes our list of top vacations with a baby or toddler. For starters, kids under 4 stay free and there's a full-service nursery along with Baby Club Med and Petit Club Med programming for the under-3 crowd.
For older kids, standout programming includes a tennis academy, golf academy, and circus school. You can go kayaking, sailing, and stand-up paddle boarding on the St. Lucie River.
There always seems to be a sale going on at Club Med, often with savings of up to 45 percent. You should never pay full price.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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To make your stay all-inclusive, simply book the Family Fun Package, which includes accommodations in either the main lodge or a cottage, all meals, and a huge choice of activities including zip-lining, kayaking, archery, tennis, boating, biking, rock climbing, and hiking.
Men should pack a jacket to wear in the Windsor dining room; ties are optional.
There’s also an excellent supervised children’s program. And golfers get a bonus that’s virtually unheard of—unlimited greens fees. During the winter, activities include skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, skating, and tobogganing.
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Rocking Horse Ranch is a popular, extremely kid-centric dude ranch in the hinterland of New York's Hudson Valley, just 90 minutes north of New York City.
It's more of a western-themed resort than an authentic dude ranch, but it is so well-run and offers so much fun that nobody really minds. Besides the usual ranch activities such as horseback riding (kids must be at least 7 years old) and hay rides, there's an enormous wagonload of other fun things to do such as rock climbing, archery, swimming, tennis, and even water skiing and banana boat rides on the ranch’s small private lake. There’s also a large indoor “fun barn” containing a bouncy house and two-story ball pit.
Before your first trail ride, attend the excellent horseback riding demo held each morning.
Kids 5 to 12 can attend the free day camp on a drop-in basis, though there is so much to do at the ranch that most families use it sparingly. Parents with children ages 1 to 4 years can take advantage of the nursery located in a spacious building near the pony ride corral; the nursery is one of the few amenities that incurs a fee.
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A Poconos resort in Pennsylvania owned and run by the same family for over 50 years, Woodloch Pines Resort offers a family-friendly, non-stop-fun experience rivaling that of a cruise ship.
All-inclusive pricing means you don't have to worry about racking up a huge bill for food and entertainment, and you can take part in as many activities as you like. Every morning at breakfast, you receive a schedule of the day's activities. The line-up might include a kid's puppet-making class, organized toddler games, a trivia contest, bingo, a tubing contest, and a kid's yelling contest. Nothing has to be pre-booked, except for babysitting or perhaps a massage. And, just like on a cruise ship, you eat dinner at the same time, at the same table, served by the same waitress, every night.
At breakfast, request snack bags to take along for the day's activities. This can be a lifesaver for small kids who love to graze or eat off-hours.
Named as one of America's best family resorts by Parents, Better Homes & Gardens, and Family Circle, Woodloch is a place where families return generation after generation.
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Known for its excellent, family-friendly horseback riding program, the upscale Tanque Verde Ranch outside of Tucson, Arizona, also offers a spa, swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, mountain biking, and age-staggered children's programs for kids ages 4 to 12. Families can work on teams to complete the "Ride and Seek" scavenger hunt.
There are no TVs in the accommodations so bring reading material and other entertainment. With mild weather, you'll probably be interested in wandering the grounds, enjoying the wildlife, and catching a stunning sunset.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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Looking for something very special? Reachable only by boat, the intimate and luxurious Lodge on Little St. Simons Island is located on a private island off Georgia’s coast. Built in 1917 as a private hunting lodge, it can accommodate just 32 guests and offers a VIP experience that includes gourmet meals and top-notch service.
Yet what really sets this place apart is its setting inside a 10,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, which families can explore through naturalist-led hikes, reptile safaris, kayak tours, fishing trips, and evening owl prowls. Rates include meals, snacks, beverages, all activities, and boat transfers to and from the island.
Kids of all ages are welcome during the summer but children must be 8 or older to visit October to May.
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This beachside summer camp takes place on the University of California Santa Barbara campus in southern California and earns raves from families for its enthusiastic counselors and the wide array of activities for kids and adults.
Families stay in multi-bedroom student suites, and kids can participate in one of three programs: baby and toddler care from one month to 2 years; children's camp for ages 3 to 11; or teen activities for ages 12 to 18.
All-inclusive rates cover lodging, meals, and a roster of activities that include hiking, mountain biking, tennis, and simply kicking back by the pool. Be aware that some premium adult activities—wine tastings, sea kayaking, horseback riding, surf lessons—are at an additional cost.
Families can book a one-week stay or try out a four-day “mini week.”
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A summer resort since 1887, Grand Hotel is one of America's most iconic resorts and boasts the longest front porch in the world. Set on Michigan's storybook Mackinac Island—where motorized vehicles are prohibited and folks get around on bikes and horse-drawn carriages—the hotel is a step back in time and offers myriad ways for families to enjoy the resort and island together, from biking to horseback riding to swimming in the 220-foot pool. The hotel has strict dress codes so be sure to pack accordingly.
Book the Full American Plan, which includes a full breakfast, lunch buffet, and five-course dinner. Kids under age 12 stay free and can participate in the complimentary children's program during the summer, with activities including outdoor Quidditch matches, butterfly house visits, duck-pin bowling, stable tours, croquet, and scavenger hunts.
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Affordable and decidedly unpretentious, Fair Hills Resort on Minnesota's Pelican Lake is beloved by a legion of families that return year after year.
You stay in rustic lake cabins, get called to meals by a bell, and spend long summer days with scavenger hunts, kayaking, swimming, fishing, tennis, golf, sailing, and pony rides. Cabins by the water offer pretty views and are quieter than those close to the main lodge.
The American Plan includes accommodations, meals, and a full roster of activities that includes water sports. Kids 5 and under stay free.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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Since 1945, the family-owned 2,000-acre Flathead Lake Lodge outside of Glacier National Park has been welcoming families looking for a dude ranch experience as well as unlimited lake water sports, mountain biking, mountain laser tag, and myriad other activities.
There's also extensive programming for babies through teens, including Junior Wrangler sessions for ages 6-12 and teen-only guided rides.
The long list of water sports on 30-mile long Flathead Lake includes water skiing, wake-boarding, sailing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. Horseback riding guests can explore the lodge's private 500-acre Elk Preserve and enjoy a weekly kids' rodeo.
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This traditional Maine lake lodge, which opened in 1916, is somewhat of an open secret as an amazing family destination. Migis Lodge is the kind of place families return to again and again, generation after generation.
Families can stay at the luxurious main lodge or in one of 35 cottages that dot the forest along the Sebago Lakeshore. For families, there are myriad ways to have fun together, from water sports to hikes and bike rides.
In addition, there is a wonderful kids program that runs noon to 5 p.m. for children ages 4 to 12, and teens can enjoy waterskiing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, playing disc golf, and attending organized teen activities such as ping-pong and pool tournaments, lake relay races, island capture the flag, and more. For kids under 4, babysitting is available.