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Top five value resorts for families: Bahamas, Mexico, Florida, more

SmarterTravel

When choosing a resort for your family, the most important factor is not the price, but how much value you get for your money. To help you make a good choice for your next vacation, we’ve highlighted five resorts that offer beautiful settings, comfortable accommodations, a wide range of activities for all ages, quality on-site amenities and children’s programs, and a good value.

Atlantis Resort, The Bahamas

As one of the biggest and most extravagant resorts in the Caribbean, The Bahamas’ Atlantis Resort is not merely a place to stay, but the destination for many of the families that vacation there. The 2,300-room resort is a kind of ocean and archeology-themed recreation park, featuring a full-size depiction of the ruins of Atlantis, a replica of a Mayan temple, and 11 million gallons of water for pools, water slides, a snorkeling lagoon, and more. Atlantis also boasts the largest man-made marine habitat in the world, home to about 50,000 sea animals. Other on-site amenities include 35 restaurants, bars, and lounges; a sports center with tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course; the Caribbean’s largest casino; Discovery Channel Camp for kids ages four to 12; and a teen center for kids ages 13 to 17.

Despite the resort’s lavishness, it’s possible to stay there without breaking your budget, especially if you can visit in the late spring, summer, or fall. Rates start at $225 per night, with kids under 12 staying for free. Atlantis also offers discounted packages from time to time, particularly for travel in the fall. To learn more, visit the Atlantis.

Smugglers’ Notch, Smugglers’ Notch, VT

Situated in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Smugglers’ Notch makes the most of the region’s seasons, offering families ski packages in the winter, camp and outdoor recreation packages in the summer, and low-cost recreation packages in the fall. Stay in condo-style accommodations and take advantage of age-specific activities and amenities including childcare for babies as young as six weeks old; kids’ programs for children ages three to 17; and special activities, classes, and day trips designed for adults. Several restaurants, lounges, and shops are also on site.

In the winter, book ski packages that include accommodations, lift tickets to the resort’s three mountains, and ski/snowboard camp or lessons. Per-night rates start at $99 per adult and $79 per child ages three to 17. During the summer, take advantage of FamilyFest packages that offer camp and outdoor recreation activities for kids and adults, plus use of the resort’s eight pools, four waterslides, 12 tennis courts, and other sports facilities. Four-night summer packages start at $976 for a family of four. To save money, go when the weather is cooler in September and October. AutumnFest recreation packages start at $287 for a family of four staying two nights. For more detailed resort information, go to the Smugglers’ Notch website.

Club Med Ixtapa, Ixtapa, Mexico

If you’re looking for the ease of an all-inclusive vacation and a resort that has enough activities and options to keep everybody happy, Club Med is a good choice. The location in Ixtapa, Mexico, is among the best Club Med resorts for families, offering children’s programs for kids ages four months to 17 years old. The age-specific children’s and teens’ programs are led by trained counselors and include activities such as circus arts workshops and rock-climbing lessons. Other activities open to everyone include in-line skating, mini-golf, basketball, flying trapeze lessons, and more.

All resort stays include luxury accommodations, three gourmet meals and all-day meal service, full open bar, live entertainment, land and water sports, use of resort amenities and grounds, Mini Club Med for kids, and all gratuities. There is an extra fee for kids ages three and under to participate in the Baby and Petit Club Med activities.

While Club Med vacations can be pricey, you can save hundreds by taking advantage of the resorts’ recurring Seven-Day Weekend package, which offers seven nights for the price of three during off-peak months. Currently, you can book this package at Club Med Ixtapa for stays this spring and fall starting at $630 for adults and $263 for kids. Read more about the resort on the Club Med website.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Sandestin, FL

With activities designed to please everyone from toddlers to grandparents, Sandestin makes a perfect choice a multigenerational resort getaway. A sprawling 2,400-acre recreational resort on the northwest coast of Florida, Sandestin features 7.5 miles of beach, four championship golf courses, a 98-slip marina, 11 pools, and a nature park. Indoor facilities include a fitness center, aday spa, and a pedestrian village with more than 40 restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

Chose from accommodations in condos, single-family houses, one- to four-bedroom villas, or rooms in the Bayside Inn. Rise and Shine Packages including accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, and select free activities start at $93 per night in winter and $166 per night during spring and summer vacation. In the spring and summer, kids ages three to 10 can participate in free supervised children’s programs. Or, for an extra fee, kids 17 and younger can take part in tennis camp or golf lessons. Learn more about the resort by visiting the Sandestin website.

Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island, Hawaii

For a luxurious Hawaiian getaway that’s not too pricey, consider Hilton’s Waikoloa Village, located on the southern Kohala Coast of the Big Island. This 62-acre oceanfront resort features a unique village-style layout with gardens and a snorkeling lagoon. Kids can enjoy the resort’s three fresh water pools—two with waterfalls and waterslides—while adults play on one of two championship golf courses or eight tennis courts. Nine restaurants and eight lounges offering everything from Italian food to lu’au dinner shows are also on site.

We checked prices online for a family of four and found rates starting at $219 per night in the spring and $254 in the summer. For an additional charge, kids ages five to 12 can take part in a day and evening kids’ camp, and guests of any age can swim and interact with dolphins through the Dolphin Quest program. Visit the Hilton Waikoloa Village website for additional information.

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