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Top 6 Bucket List Resorts for Families with Toddlers

Skating at Kinderhotel, Germany

I learned a valuable travel lesson now that I have a toddler. “Family-friendly” doesn’t always include toddlers! Travel with children to some luxury resort destinations and you get the feeling that kids are an afterthought. Childcare and babysitting services can be non-existent or grossly overpriced and amenities and services are solely focused on adults. To help you make the most of your precious family vacations, toddlers included, we’ve traveled the world in search of the best resorts for families with toddlers. These resorts offer more than just a craft area, a playground and a children’s pool. From a wide range of exciting activities tailored to the different age groups of children to a child-sized buffet bar equipped with plastic silverware, mini plates, a mini drink fountain and bite-sized, kid friendly foods, these resorts have thought of everything to make your vacation truly family-friendly. Here are our top 6 bucket list resorts for families with toddlers.

Top 6 Bucket List Resorts for Families with Toddlers

Top Six Bucket List Resorts for Families with Toddlers

1. Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica
Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica

All of Jamaica offers a casual, carefree atmosphere, but the moment you walk into Beaches Negril Resort & Spa you feel that laid-back vibe that works well with families. Add 18,000-square-feet of Pirate Island water park, and Beaches Negril becomes a family haven of fun in the sun.

The Kids’ Club offers age age-appropriate activities for kids of all ages, from tots to teens. All nannies and Kids Camp staffers at Beaches Resorts are members of the International Nanny Association, America’s oldest and largest in-home childcare association. To become accredited, each nanny must meet the minimum requirement of 2,000 hours of child-care services. Additionally, the nannies have been trained in safety, nutrition and child development. They offer programs for infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teens.

Besides the Kids Club, kids will love the variety of small ways the resort caters exclusively to young tastes, beginning with self-serve ice cream. Sesame Street characters are featured throughout the property, from parades to stage shows, and children can enjoy such “sunny day” activities as baking with Cookie Monster and bird-watching with Big Bird. For mom and dad, treats range from certified nannies to golf and a full-service spa. 

Everything you can possibly imagine is beachside at Beaches Negril.

2. Club Med Ixtapa, Mexico
Club Med Ixtapa, Mexico

Take your family South of the Border for some Club Med-style family fun. The charming Club Med Ixtapa Village quickly woos kids and parents with its seemingly endless roster of activities for all ages.

Situated on 37 acres along Mexico’s western coast, Ixtapa plays host to over 20,000 visitors a year, 60% of whom are under age 11.

A variety of clubs are designed to entertain children throughout the day. Divided by age groups, Baby Club, Petit Club and Mini Club keep kids ages 4 months – 13 years busy with outdoor activities, shows and crafts. Ixtapa offers adult activities including tennis, scuba, archery, kayaking, water polo, volleyball and picnics.

3. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji (1)

The all-inclusive Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji assigns a private full-time nanny to each child younger than 5 at no extra charge.

The complimentary Bula Club operates from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for infants to 12-year-olds, offering conservation-­oriented pursuits like snorkeling and mangrove planting. Parents can use the free time to unwind at the yoga pavilion, explore the island’s rain forest and markets or take a short boat ride to dive the world-famous Namena reef, a protected marine park created by Fijian chiefs and home to some 1,100 fish species.

Other diversions include kayaking Savusavu Bay, fishing for marlin and mahimahi, and a low-tide reef walk accompanied by a marine biologist.

The 17-acre property has just 25 accommodations, all traditional thatched-roof bungalows with decks, overhead fans and daybeds.

4. Cotton Bay, St. Lucia
Cotton Bay, St, Lucia

Set on a St. Lucia beach, Cotton Bay provides Montessori-certified nannies for two hours a day – free! Additional nanny services are available upon request for an extra charge.

The Hummingbird Kids’ Club is also open daily for children ages six months to three years.

Summer activities are planned in their “Going Bananas Fun” program. Family packages are typically offered, allowing children to eat for free, and providing educational tours to area attractions.

One of the nicest draws of Cotton Bay is its luxurious villas, complete with separate rooms for parents and children, not to mention living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens.

5. Finest Punta Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Finest Punta Cana Playground

A lot of Caribbean resorts have a number of features that make them family-friendly, but Finest Punta Cana is one of my favorite Caribbean properties for traveling with a toddler. There are so many aspects that make it particularly toddler-friendly like the size of the resort, the staff, and the amenities.

The playground is located directly in the center of the property. It’s not massive but it has the perfect equipment for toddlers to explore and have fun in a safe environment. There are two colorful slides, climbing ropes, and a number of climbing areas for toddlers to enjoy.

The are a total of seven pools on-site at Finest Punta Cana, including the beachside main pool that has splash pools, a bounce mountain, and games for little ones. If toddlers aren’t quite ready for the giant bounce mountain, there is a smaller one in a toddler-sized pool directly next to it. All pools also have steps and ledges that make them extra comfortable for kids.

When you want to get out of the Caribbean heat during the day, the Kids Club is the perfect place for curious toddlers to play and enjoy plenty of indoor activities and fun. For babies and toddlers, the Finest Kids Club offers a space created especially for little ones and parents to play together. There are splash pools and shaded areas as well as comfortable amenities like a kitchenette and a naptime room.

6. Kinderhotel Oberjoch, Germany
Kinderhotel, Germany

I saved the best for last. Kinderhotel is the most toddler-friendly, all-inclusive property that I’ve visited. It’s a family-friendly Paradise that truly understands the needs of families with younger children.

Kinderhotel offers kids club for children as young as infants to age 16. Kinderhotel provides age-appropriate childcare and many exciting opportunities based on strict paedogogical standards. In addition to ensuring your child’s well-being, they provide a wide range of exciting activities tailored to the different age groups of children.

Their all-inclusive gourmet dining includes a generous breakfast buffet, a selection of delicacies at lunch, a cake, ice cream, and snack buffet in the afternoon and changing themed buffets in the evening. All non-alcoholic drinks from the fountain are available around the clock for free! Then there’s a child-sized buffet bar equipped with plastic silverware, mini plates, a mini drink fountain, and bite-sized, kid friendly foods all within her reach.

There are 145 guest rooms including 80 family suites that provide everything from nursing pillows, baby bath tubs, step stools, baby wipes, and even strollers. The brilliant facilities include a swimming and sauna complex with panoramic views, indoor and outdoor pools, giant whirlpool, children’s “Splashing Around the Farm” pool, Germany’s longest hotel water slide (128m), several themed saunas, and a panoramic relaxation room.

Most impressively is the indoor play area with a theatre, cinema, gym, go-karting, soft play area, and year-round skating rink. Outdoors, guests enjoy a climbing forest with 15 stations and a mini zoo with alpacas, rabbits, donkeys, ponies, ducks and birds. For both adults and children, there is scheduled hiking, walking, snowshoeing (in the winter), and fantastic ski and hiking areas with free ski passes in winter and free mountain cable car in summer. They even offer toddler ski courses and weekly in-house theatre performances.

Have you visited a truly toddler-friendly resort that caters to children under the age of three? It’s an oddity. Please share your favorite resorts for families with toddlers below so other families can experience them for themselves. 

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84 thoughts on “Top 6 Bucket List Resorts for Families with Toddlers

  1. Robin says:

    Great list!

    One of the hotels we have featured that includes babysitting for those aged 1 and up and offers a freshly made baby food of the day is the Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmaraldo. I would also add the incredible toddler playroom at the Langham Chicago hotel. The Montage Laguna Beach also starts child programming at age two, I think. I am headed there at some point, so I will report back on that one, but the others we have photo reviews of.

  2. Robin says:

    Great list!

    One of the hotels we have featured that includes babysitting for those aged 1 and up and offers a freshly made baby food of the day is the Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmaraldo. I would also add the incredible toddler playroom at the Langham Chicago hotel. The Montage Laguna Beach also starts child programming at age two, I think. I am headed there at some point, so I will report back on that one, but the others we have photo reviews of.

  3. Lesley says:

    I’m going to check out Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmaraldo right now. Thanks for the head’s up.

    The Montage is just down the street from me so I may have to check that out as well.

    Have you visited any of the above?

  4. Lesley says:

    I’m going to check out Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmaraldo right now. Thanks for the head’s up.

    The Montage is just down the street from me so I may have to check that out as well.

    Have you visited any of the above?

  5. Robin says:

    I did the review of the Langham Chicago. It was amazing to have the toddler playroom in a city hotel during the winter. I am planning to head down to Playa del Carmen after editing that review for a week. Looks incredible, doesn’t it?

  6. Robin says:

    I did the review of the Langham Chicago. It was amazing to have the toddler playroom in a city hotel during the winter. I am planning to head down to Playa del Carmen after editing that review for a week. Looks incredible, doesn’t it?

  7. Wow. These all look wonderful!

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you visited any of them? What’s your favorite family-friendly resort?

  8. Wow. These all look wonderful!

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you visited any of them? What’s your favorite family-friendly resort?

  9. Will says:

    Dont have kids but this may be the inspiration i need!

    1. Lesley says:

      Are you thinking about a family, Will?

  10. Will says:

    Dont have kids but this may be the inspiration i need!

    1. Lesley says:

      Are you thinking about a family, Will?

  11. They all look fabulous, whether you are travelling with toddlers or not! Would love to try out the one in St Lucia.

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you ever been to St. Lucia before? It’s one of my favorite Caribbean islands. We stayed at Windjammer Landing and it was so luxurious. We had our own private pool at a villa on the top of a mountain. AMAZING!

  12. They all look fabulous, whether you are travelling with toddlers or not! Would love to try out the one in St Lucia.

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you ever been to St. Lucia before? It’s one of my favorite Caribbean islands. We stayed at Windjammer Landing and it was so luxurious. We had our own private pool at a villa on the top of a mountain. AMAZING!

  13. Awesome list. Would love to go to Cotton Bay!

  14. Awesome list. Would love to go to Cotton Bay!

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you been to St. Lucia before? It’s such a stunning island – one of my favorites in the Caribbean. Do you have a favorite resort?

  15. Jennifer says:

    I’d love to go to some of those places – even without kids!

    1. Lesley says:

      Me too! I love resorts with water slides and tons of activities. I’m definitely a big kid.

  16. Jennifer says:

    I’d love to go to some of those places – even without kids!

    1. Lesley says:

      Me too! I love resorts with water slides and tons of activities. I’m definitely a big kid.

  17. Wow, great list! That’s great that some of the resorts offer a nanny for free- which is more than helpful for parents to relax a bit. The last resort, Kinderhotel Oberjoch sounds really awesome, if I ever have kids, I wouldn’t mind taking them there. Have you been to Aulani, a Disney resort, in Hawaii? Would you consider going there?

    1. Lesley says:

      Aulani is one of my favorite resorts but they cater to kids three and up. I’m already thinking about going back now that my daughter is 3.5 years old. They have endless activities for all ages. I loved the reef and water slides. The nightly shows were great for the whole family. Have you been to Hawaii before?

  18. Wow, great list! That’s great that some of the resorts offer a nanny for free- which is more than helpful for parents to relax a bit. The last resort, Kinderhotel Oberjoch sounds really awesome, if I ever have kids, I wouldn’t mind taking them there. Have you been to Aulani, a Disney resort, in Hawaii? Would you consider going there?

    1. Lesley says:

      Aulani is one of my favorite resorts but they cater to kids three and up. I’m already thinking about going back now that my daughter is 3.5 years old. They have endless activities for all ages. I loved the reef and water slides. The nightly shows were great for the whole family. Have you been to Hawaii before?

  19. Sarah Ebner says:

    You’re definitely right that you need different “family friendly” activities depending on the age of your family – things which are very important when the kids are small disappear as they grow up. All of these destinations sound fabulous, although we have only visited one, Beaches Negril, which was amazing, and I think perfect for all ages.

    1. Lesley says:

      All of these resorts are fantastic for older ages and adults. Do you have a favorite family friendly resort that you love?

  20. Sarah Ebner says:

    You’re definitely right that you need different “family friendly” activities depending on the age of your family – things which are very important when the kids are small disappear as they grow up. All of these destinations sound fabulous, although we have only visited one, Beaches Negril, which was amazing, and I think perfect for all ages.

    1. Lesley says:

      All of these resorts are fantastic for older ages and adults. Do you have a favorite family friendly resort that you love?

  21. samiya selim says:

    All of these look lovely! Don’t have toddlers anymore but can imagine these places would have been great when our two were little 🙂

    1. Lesley says:

      I like these places just as much for me as for my daughter 😉

  22. samiya selim says:

    All of these look lovely! Don’t have toddlers anymore but can imagine these places would have been great when our two were little 🙂

    1. Lesley says:

      I like these places just as much for me as for my daughter 😉

  23. We visited several of the Beaches resorts when our kids were toddlers and loved them. Of course Negril was one of our favorites and we agree with you completely. This way you can have the kids with you, but also break away for a little adult time. Wonderful choices.

  24. We visited several of the Beaches resorts when our kids were toddlers and loved them. Of course Negril was one of our favorites and we agree with you completely. This way you can have the kids with you, but also break away for a little adult time. Wonderful choices.

    1. Lesley says:

      What other Beaches have you visited? Which other ones would you recommend for young children?

  25. Beth Blair says:

    What a wonderful list! I can’t believe I haven’t been to any of these. Thank for the suggestions.

  26. Beth Blair says:

    What a wonderful list! I can’t believe I haven’t been to any of these. Thank for the suggestions.

  27. Awesome list! I’d love to check them all out, but the one of Whistler is at the top of my list.

    1. Lesley says:

      We’re not really winter people, but with resorts like this I can make an exception. 😉

  28. Awesome list! I’d love to check them all out, but the one of Whistler is at the top of my list.

    1. Lesley says:

      We’re not really winter people, but with resorts like this I can make an exception. 😉

  29. Orana says:

    There´s a great hotel in Phuket called The Sands that has a great play area and kids pool!

    1. Lesley says:

      I’m going to look into it now. We’re hoping to visit Phuket in the next few months.

  30. Orana says:

    There´s a great hotel in Phuket called The Sands that has a great play area and kids pool!

    1. Lesley says:

      I’m going to look into it now. We’re hoping to visit Phuket in the next few months.

  31. I wish I could have visited one of these as a toddler.

  32. I wish I could have visited one of these as a toddler.

  33. The German resort looks so unique! I plan to check out a couple of family wellness facilities when in Germany this summer:)

    1. Lesley says:

      It was my favorite family-friendly resort ever! I’ve added their other properties to my list. Kinderhotel really understands what it means to be family-friendly.

  34. The German resort looks so unique! I plan to check out a couple of family wellness facilities when in Germany this summer:)

    1. Lesley says:

      It was my favorite family-friendly resort ever! I’ve added their other properties to my list. Kinderhotel really understands what it means to be family-friendly.

  35. These all look wonderful. Your post actually made me feel good – I put a lot of pressure on myself to see the world while I’m young and beat myself up about the fact I’m not out there in the world right now. I guess you CAN still travel when you have a family!

    1. Lesley says:

      I travel with my family regularly and we always enjoy our experiences. It doesn’t have to be resort style travel either. My three year old daughter has joined me in Africa, the Caribbean, North America & Asia.

      I haven’t stopped my adventurous lifestyle because I have a family either. I just returned from gorilla trekking in Uganda a couple weeks ago and I sailed to Antarctica on a tall ship this year as well. You can have the best of both worlds if you’re open to testing the waters. 🙂

  36. These all look wonderful. Your post actually made me feel good – I put a lot of pressure on myself to see the world while I’m young and beat myself up about the fact I’m not out there in the world right now. I guess you CAN still travel when you have a family!

    1. Lesley says:

      I travel with my family regularly and we always enjoy our experiences. It doesn’t have to be resort style travel either. My three year old daughter has joined me in Africa, the Caribbean, North America & Asia.

      I haven’t stopped my adventurous lifestyle because I have a family either. I just returned from gorilla trekking in Uganda a couple weeks ago and I sailed to Antarctica on a tall ship this year as well. You can have the best of both worlds if you’re open to testing the waters. 🙂

  37. Vanessa says:

    Forget the kids – I want to go check out some of those pools myself! They are so beautiful.

    1. Lesley says:

      Secretly, that’s why I go. It’s totally more about me 😉

  38. I haven’t been to any of these sadly but would love to go to the 
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in 
Fiji, and then take the nanny home with me 🙂

  39. I haven’t been to any of these sadly but would love to go to the 
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in 
Fiji, and then take the nanny home with me 🙂

  40. Alicia says:

    These resorts all look beautiful! Can you still go even if you don’t have kids?! I hope so!

    1. Lesley says:

      Sure can! They are fantastic choices for any age group or any traveler. With the exception of singles looking to hook up, I’d recommend it for anyone.

  41. Alicia says:

    These resorts all look beautiful! Can you still go even if you don’t have kids?! I hope so!

    1. Lesley says:

      Sure can! They are fantastic choices for any age group or any traveler. With the exception of singles looking to hook up, I’d recommend it for anyone.

  42. Brenda says:

    All these 6 resorts look fantastic. For families traveling with a toddler, resorts are a pleasure to be in. My choice would be the one in Fiji because I love the Cousteaus.

  43. Brenda says:

    All these 6 resorts look fantastic. For families traveling with a toddler, resorts are a pleasure to be in. My choice would be the one in Fiji because I love the Cousteaus.

  44. BonBon says:

    Aaaaaw… really wanna go to Whistler, BC:) Thanks for this post… I’ll check Westin then:) Please check my site as well for related topics:) Thanks http://bon-bonvoyage.com/?p=443

  45. BonBon says:

    Aaaaaw… really wanna go to Whistler, BC:) Thanks for this post… I’ll check Westin then:) Please check my site as well for related topics:) Thanks http://bon-bonvoyage.com/?p=443

  46. Katie Baird says:

    I’ve been dreaming of visiting a Beaches resort with my kids. And Jamaica looks amazing. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  47. Katie Baird says:

    I’ve been dreaming of visiting a Beaches resort with my kids. And Jamaica looks amazing. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  48. JodyR says:

    Yes! Those Kinderhotels in Europe are amazing! I stayed at one once in Austria and nothing comes close.

  49. AApuzzo says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! Our first family vacation was to Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. It’s an all inclusive resort and each room is assigned a nanny from 9 a.m. To 5 p.m. If you want an additional nanny it’s only $20 a day!!! You can’t beat that price! The nannys are fantastic. I was a little skeptical leaving my children alone but it’s a gated resort and you feel comfortable from the moment you are greeted. My husband and I hired out nanny for after hours so we can have dinner dates. We spent the day with our kids since they were 3 and 10 months. It’s not a fancy resort but it truly is family oriented and the staff know how to have a good time. My husband loved the food!

  50. AApuzzo says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! Our first family vacation was to Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. It’s an all inclusive resort and each room is assigned a nanny from 9 a.m. To 5 p.m. If you want an additional nanny it’s only $20 a day!!! You can’t beat that price! The nannys are fantastic. I was a little skeptical leaving my children alone but it’s a gated resort and you feel comfortable from the moment you are greeted. My husband and I hired out nanny for after hours so we can have dinner dates. We spent the day with our kids since they were 3 and 10 months. It’s not a fancy resort but it truly is family oriented and the staff know how to have a good time. My husband loved the food!

  51. Mike Bran says:

    Bucket list for me is Club Med Ixtapa, Mexico for sure! We’re on the west coast and not a summer goes by that I don’t hear from friends “Dude, you have to go Ixtapa, Mexico with the fam at Club Med”. Def gonna give it a try soon. Seems like a lot of fun and beauty,

  52. Mike Bran says:

    Bucket list for me is Club Med Ixtapa, Mexico for sure! We’re on the west coast and not a summer goes by that I don’t hear from friends “Dude, you have to go Ixtapa, Mexico with the fam at Club Med”. Def gonna give it a try soon. Seems like a lot of fun and beauty,

  53. Colin Bones says:

    Ubud in Bali is definitely somewhere I would recommend. I had an apartment there for $350/month with it’s own pool! Can live there off nothing and great weather year round.

    1. Jamie Miller says:

      Bali! I’ve always wanted to go visit.

  54. Colin Bones says:

    Ubud in Bali is definitely somewhere I would recommend. I had an apartment there for $350/month with it’s own pool! Can live there off nothing and great weather year round.

    1. Jamie Miller says:

      Bali! I’ve always wanted to go visit.

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