Whether splashing in the waves, searching for fishies while snorkeling, or sipping a tropical drink from a lounge chair, nothing says “family vacation” more than a day at the beach! I asked some of the best family travel bloggers to tell us about their picks for the best beach hotels for kids. From where to take a dip with babies and toddlers to the best beach hotel for active families, there’s sure to be something on this list that will appeal to you. As a beach-loving mama, I couldn’t resist including one of my favorites too!
Last summer I posted a story about the 10 Best Family-Friendly Hotel Pools. There must be a lot of water lovers out there because this is consistently one of the most popular posts on Travel Mamas. Grab your sunscreen and sand toys – this year we're headed to the beach!
Most Superb Slice of Tropical Paradise
by Sharlene Earnshaw, Trekaroo
With its lagoon surrounded by white sandy beaches, three unique pools, relaxing spa, two championship golf courses, and dolphin program, it’s hard to beat the family friendly fun at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii. Where else can you snorkel with sea turtles, slide down a 175-foot waterslide, take a luxurious coconut milk bath, and chow down Polynesian style at a luau without ever leaving the resort? Kids will love the crafts, games, and water activities they can participate in at the resort’s Camp Menehune, while parents experience some child-free time participating in one of Waikoloa Village’s many activities or simply savoring some peace and quiet at the adults-only pool. With so much to do at this tropical island resort, your family may never want to board that airplane home!
Grande Dame of Beach Hotels
by Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama
Lucky for me, the Hotel Del Coronado on the Coronado peninsula across from downtown San Diego is a mere half-hour drive from my home. A tourist attraction in its own right, many people stop by “The Del” (as it is known to locals) just for the day to eat its famed brunch, enjoy its immaculate stretch of beach, peruse its fancy-schmancy shops, or snack on fresh crab legs and sip martinis in its swanky seaside bar. Adding to its old-school charm and glamorous vibe, many movies have been filmed here, most notably Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe. This is a favorite place to bring out-of-towners; its stunning beach and turreted architecture always elicit oohs and ahhs. During the summer, the resort offers family-friendly activities like S'mores Night on the beach and Flick N’ Float movie night, where kids can watch a film from an inner tube. For the holidays visitors and guests alike can take a spin on its oceanside outdoor ice skating rink!
Most Affordable Beach Hotel for Busy Kids
by Jennifer Close, Two Kids and a Map
Holiday Inn on the Beach Destin, Florida is perfect for parents on a budget who are looking for activities to keep their kids busy. The hotel's KidSuites come complete with bunk beds, a separate area for mom and dad, and video games. The Buccaneer Program for kids runs through the summer and includes carnivals, treasure hunts, Parent's Night Out and much more. There is a DVD rental box for watching movies in your room but there is plenty to keep the kids busy in the clubhouse area. Besides sitting on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, there are two pools (one of which is inside for those rainy afternoons). The hotel is also very close to many family friendly activities like Big Kahuna's Waterpark, miniature golf, and tasty restaurants.
Best Beach Resort for Babies & Toddlers
by Corinne McDermott, Have Baby Will Travel
Sapphire-blue Pacific water meets the golden sand of Playa Quieta to create a wonderful setting for a fabulous resort that welcomes every member of your family. Club Med Ixtapa Pacific offers spacious, renovated rooms, lush gardens and grounds, two great pools, plus all the usual Club Med activities. There's the Mini Club for kids four and up, the Petit Club for guests aged two to four, and the Baby Club, for babies as young as four months. You'll also find baby-welcoming amenities like cribs, high chairs, baby baths, baby food and snacks, as well as several stations for preparing baby's food and bottles.
Best Quiet Island Beach Retreat
by Andrea Fellman, Have Kids Still Travel
Mallorca is just off the coast of Spain and is apart of the Baleric Islands. It is the hottest European vacation destination and for good reason, it has over 200 beaches! Unlike the neighboring party island of Ibiza, Mallorca is a great family destination. Viva Cala Mesquida Resort is a perfect choice for a private family getaway. The hotel even has a mascot, Bufo the Galactic Super Hero! Bufo entertains the kids nightly at the Bufo Disco. Plus, the Bufo Mini Club offers childcare daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. The resort has two sandy playgrounds complete with all of the buckets, shovels, and toys your kids will need. The kiddie pool has a few different slides and is shallow enough to splash around with young ones. The beach is only a short walk down a paved path and it is set in a very private and secluded bay.
Beachy Destination Most Worthy of the Journey
by Amie O'Shaunessy, Ciao Bambino
Most people think of Cinque Terre or Positano when they dream about the coast in Italy. Both are incredible and must be experienced. For families with young children, however, these destinations can be tough with rugged terrain and limited open space for running around. Not so in Forte dei Marmi. A plethora of beach clubs offering chairs, umbrellas, and fresh meals plus calm waters and a flat sandy beach make this venue a joy for a family beach holiday, Italian style. We recommend the California Park Hotel in Forte dei Marmi on Ciao Bambino. This hotel is just blocks from the beach with friendly service and a comfortable atmosphere for all.
Top Pick for Pampering
by Kara Williams, The Vacation Gals
I have at least a half-dozen favorite family-friendly beach hotels, but one that really stands out among my frequent tropical vacations in Mexico is the all-inclusive 98-room Azul Beach. Kids are greeted with smoothies (parents get champagne!). The resort partners with Fisher-Price, so you can borrow toys for use during your stay. Also on complimentary loan for little ones: a baby monitor, stroller, bathtub, bottle warmer and more. For older children (ages four to 12), every day brings fun activities at the Azulitos Kids' Club. My family loved lolling on one of the comfortable beach beds just steps from the ocean, especially because we enjoyed the services of our very own beach butler! He brought us cold drinks and offered snacks, and when we left our bed to frolic in the mellow waves, he'd fluff the pillows, tidy it up, and leave our kids towel animals! If Azul Beach is booked when you're looking to travel consider the sister property, Azul Sensatori, just down the beach. This is a newer and bigger property, with 438 spacious rooms, including guaranteed family connecting suites. Both Azul properties are near Puerto Morelos, on the Riviera Maya, a short 20-minute drive from Cancun International Airport.
Awesome Active Family's Resort
by Amie O’Shaunessy, Ciao Bambino
I get restless on the beach so it’s always important for us to find beach hotels that have plenty of alternate activities. The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida fits this requirement in every way. Golf, tennis, a world-class spa, boating, croquet, shopping, excellent restaurants…check! They also offer top-notch children’s amenities including a kids’ club for ages three to twelve and an enormous game room. There’s no getting bored at this hotel, even in bad weather. Top it off, the service is exceptional and there is nothing that staff won’t do to ensure every age is happy and relaxed while on vacation. Read our complete family-friendly hotel review about The Breakers for more information and offers.
Beach Resort Most Deserving of Multiple Visits
by Glennia Campbell, The Silent I
My favorite beach hotel in the world is the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club on Kalapaki Bay in Kauai, Hawaii. My family likes to try a new place for every vacation, but Kauai Marriott is one of the few places we go back to repeatedly. The hotel is situated on a strip of golden sand overlooking peaceful Kalapaki Bay. The beach is usually far less crowded than Poipu on Kauai's South Shore. If you don't want to get sand in your suit, there is a narrow strip of grass shaded by palm trees where you can pull up a deck chair and read while the kids frolic in the gentle waves. The last time we visited, our nine-year-old took a surfing lesson right in front of the hotel while we sat and watched from the patio at Duke's Canoe Club, tropical drinks in hand. The hotel also boasts the largest single-level pool in the state. We love the Kauai Marriott so much, we bought a half timeshare so we can go back “home” every other year.
Coziest Seaside Cottages
by Debbie Dubrow, Delicious Baby
Crystal Cove Beach Cottages in Newport Beach, California are the perfect place to recuperate after a few days at Disneyland. These restored historic cottages, located in a secluded cove, aren't fancy, but you and the kids will be outdoors enjoying the sunshine, the sand, and the tide pools all day anyway. Each cottage has a microwave and refrigerator, so while you won't be doing any heavy cooking, you can certainly pour yourself a cold glass of wine after the kids are in bed. Reservations can be made up to seven months in advance and the cottages fill up quickly.
Did your favorite beach hotel for kids make the list? Leave comment below about which beach hotel you like most and why!