By Jeanenne Tornatore
Remember the days when resorts were akin to the Kellerman’s Resort in Dirty Dancing? Days full of family activities on the lawn, from croquet and bingo to log rolling and horseback riding? While today’s resort have certainly evolved, families looking for a classic resort experience with activities they can enjoy relaxed environment will find that there are still plenty of great choices.
1. South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island, FL
If your looking for a family beach escape in a truly natural setting, with classic family activities abound, this Florida resort is the one for you.
Set on beautiful Captiva Island, you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard into a mangrove forest in search of sea turtles, ospreys, manatees, and hawks.
Families will enjoy fun activities throughout the day, from lawn games, poolside BINGO, kite making, crab racing, log rolling and even a catch and release fishing program taught by resident experts.
Teen programming includes Wii Tournaments, Scavengoogle, and game nights. The entire family can sign up for swimming lessons, and just for the kids – mermaid & pirate photo shoots, complete with mermaid tail!
Explore the exotic creatures and delightful discoveries throughout the resort village’s 330-acre wildlife preserve, and take part in the ScoutAbout discovery kids program. And don’t miss out on the Sanibel Sea School Captiva, an experiential sea-based educational program for kids to explore the vibrant ecosystems of this amazing island.
Charter a boat for some breathtaking back bay fishing, or travel on the trolley that traverses the resort village nature-scape. And savor all the memories with a family portrait session on the beach before you head home.
2. The Sagamore Resort, Lake George, NY
Nestled on a 70-acre island, this historic resort is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and family. From croquet and horseshoes on the lawn to guided nature trail hikes in Adirondack State Park, the activities here are endless.
Enjoy evening bonfires with s’mores, kayaking and fishing charters, learn how to waterski or parasail, or simply grab a pole and fish from the dock.
Sign yourself up for AquaAerobics and yoga classes at the spa, and the kids for the Sagamore Kids Club, ages 4-12, where they’ll enjoy a day full of crafts, sports, nature hikes and scavenger hunts. Kids can even learn dining etiquette and put on a variety show.
At The Rec, the resort’s 10,000 square foot indoor fun center, from ping pong and video games to wiffle ball and classic home run derby, you are sure to find your favorite games or discover some new ones. Challenge family members on the indoor basketball court or perfect your short game on the mini golf course.
3. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI
For a classic Midwest family vacation, the town of Lake Geneva and its iconic resort, the Grand Geneva, is a fantastic choice. You can fill your summer days with horseback riding, golf lessons, indoor climbing, and basketball on its full size court.
Rent bikes and take to the beautiful country trails, or enjoy a leisurely horse drawn carriage ride around the expansive grounds. Kids will enjoy the “Kids are Grand” day programming, while parent can slip away for a round of golf or treatment in the award-winning spa.
Families can travel within the resort via its old fashioned trolley, stop by the main lodge for ice cream, and even take in story time by the fire at its Timber Ridge family lodge. In addition to the outdoor pools, there’s a 50,000 square foot indoor water park and arcade.
Be sure to leave time to head off the resort and into the town of Lake Geneva. It’s a family destination in itself, with water activities, a kid-friendly beach, and a perfect downtown for strolling the quaint shops and eateries. You can even walk full circle around the lake via trail to take in the amazing historic mansions that surround this stunning destination.
4. Loews Coronado Bay Beach Resort, San Diego, CA
This family oasis is nestled on a private 15-acre peninsula bordered by the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. In addition to a dedicated kids pool, the staff keeps things lively with music from up-and-coming local DJs and a host of fun pool activities for the whole family including raft races, limbo contests and dive-In movies.
Families can enjoy an oversized game of Connect Four, chess or a competitive game of ping-pong, and in the evenings roast s’mores over the fire pit. At the on-site marina, rent everything from jet skis, sailboats, kayaks, beach cruiser bikes, baby trailers and even tandem surreys for the entire family.
The “Loews Loves Kids” program features a Kids Kloset that lends out everything a family could need from toys, books, strollers, nightlights, DVD players & movies, even potty training seats. And the Kids Club, for ages 4 to 12, features magic tricks, sandcastle building, and GPS-led scavenger hunts.
Sign up for free fitness classes from yoga, water aerobics, spinning and pilates. Get the family together for a cooking class with their in-house chef.
Take a golf cart ride, or use the pedestrian underpass for a quick walk to the Silver Strand State Beach, and even take surf lessons with the Coronado Surf Academy.
5. Suncadia Resort & Spa, Cascade Mountains, WA
Pacific Northwest residents have one of the most beautiful resorts right out their back door. With unbelievable views of the Cascade mountains and more than 6,000 acre of forested landscape, Suncadia’s location is near perfection.
Take guided bike tours or head out on your own on the ten miles of paved paths and countless miles of scenic trails to explore, or try a motorized scooter tour of the historic towns in the area.
Rent kayaks, canoes or paddleboards, or sign the family up for a river rafting trip or fly fishing lesson. Take guided on-property hiking or bird watching trips and enjoy outdoor concert and cinema series, nature programs, photo scavenger hunts, and storytelling and s’mores by the fire at night.
Campcadia for Kids hosts craft making, wildlife treks, and fun field trips. And with group fitness classes from yoga to Zumba and every kind of pool and waterslide, Suncadia easily entertains the entire family.