Budget-Friendly All-Inclusive Family Vacations
Few things can sour a fun-filled family vacation faster than stressing about the mounting costs of snacks and activities. On an all-inclusive family vacation, instead of asking how much snorkeling, horseback riding or a pina colada costs, all you need to say is, “Yes, please!" Granted, “all-inclusive” doesn’t mean the same thing at every resort. So we’ve done the homework for you -- check out our picks for the most budget-friendly all-inclusive family vacations.
Tucked among 300,000 acres in northern Idaho, Red Horse Mountain Ranch Resort gets children as young as 3 involved in the great outdoors with trail rides accompanied by a wrangler. The all-inclusive rate also includes a private cabin or suite, meals (daily fresh breads, salad bars, dinners paired with regional wines, and outdoor western ranch cooking), cocktail hour, laundry, fly fishing, archery, zip lining and fishing on the Coeur d’Alene River and Chain Lakes.
Rates: Full-week stays range from $1,650 to $2,600 per person; price varies based on week of stay.
If you’re looking for a little luxury in your family ranch vacation, then Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Steamboat Springs, CO, is right up your alley. Along with typical dude ranch offerings like horseback riding and fly fishing, Vista Verde offers gourmet dining (dishes like line-caught Alaskan halibut and tempura-battered summer vegetables, along with premium wine pairings). Kids’ programs are geared for children ages 6 and up. In addition to daily horse rides in Routt National Forest, kids can visit the ranch’s newborn foals, ride on an antique fire truck to the Clark Store for ice cream, and explore the ranch’s 540 acres, home to activities a low ropes course, scavenger hunts and panning for gold.
Rates: An all-inclusive week in the summer runs from about $3,000 to $4,000 per adult, depending on the dates and whether you prefer a lodge or 1- 3-bedroom private cabin (each comes with an outdoor hot tub). A $600 discount is given for children 12 and under. You can also save up to 25% by booking open cancelation slots that may open up at the last minute.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay Resort
If a more traditional all-inclusive resort with pools, drinks and sun is what you’re after, then check out the family-friendly Club Med Sandpiper Bay Resort on Florida’s east coast. This all-inclusive resort’s children’s programs include a circus school -- children as young as 4 can learn skills like walking on a tight rope, jumping on the trampoline and juggling like a clown. The resort also offers family rooms with a private room for parents, a separate bedroom for children, and a large living space complete with a fully stocked mini-fridge. There is even a Baby Club for children 4 to 23 months.
Rates: An all-inclusive week ranges from $2,500 to $3,500 for a family of 4, based on the dates and type of accommodations selected. Children under 4 stay free.
A fixture of northern Vermont since the 1930s, Tyler Place Family Resort is a magical blend of a summer camp on Lake Champlain, with relaxing perks for parents such as an adults-only policy for cocktails and dinner. The kids eat earlier with their new friends, then head on a hayride on the 165-acre resort or go waterskiing on Lake Champlain. Camp counselors tailor activities for each age level, such as bike rides with helmets and training wheels for 4 to 5 year olds, and climbing walls and ropes courses for 8 to 9 year olds.
Rates: Nightly prices range from $109 to $381 per adult (based on 1 week, double occupancy), and $83 to $127 nightly for children 2 1/2 and up. The price varies based on date and choice of accommodation (cottage or suite lodging).
The Disney resort Aulani opened in Oahu in 2011 as a semi-all-inclusive family-friendly resort -- semi because meals and drinks are not included, but some other unique activities, including evening celebrations like the Starlit Hui or gathering around a traditional Hawaiian fire pit for tales told by a master storyteller are part of the package. You and the kids can also enjoy the accompanying waterpark, complete with 2 tubing slides, an 8,200-square-foot, zero-entry pool with tunnel body slide, and interactive Menehune Bridge, which offers 3 water slides. Also included is access to childcare for potty-trained children at the 5,200-square-foot Aunty's Beach House kids' club.
Rates: Start at $399 per night for a standard room, excluding taxes and fees (check for discount packages through AAA). This price includes access to childcare at the kids' club, the waterpark, and many on-site activities and entertainment options.