Winter weekends can be crazy-making for parents and kids alike, cooped up in the house, waiting for the weather to warm. This year, avoid the cold-weather doldrums with a surprise long-weekend escape somewhere warm. We've picked resorts that are easy to access (direct flights or easy connections from many cities), have memorable children's programs (think nature camps, dolphin experiences, waterparks, and circuses), and offer attractions that will please parents (good restaurants and entertainment on-property or nearby). From The Breakers in Palm Beach to Grand Wailea on Maui, these are the best resorts for a quick family getaway. — Emily Wasserman
WHERE: Palm Beach, FL
Escape the winter chill in Palm Beach at The Breakers, a top pick for families. The resort offers interactive camps for kids, tweens, and teens, including a night camp so parents can enjoy a night out while their children participate in dinner and activities. The resort is also home to a 6,160 square-foot Family Entertainment Center with an arcade, game room, movie room, outdoor sports court, and playground.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Palm Beach Guide
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa
WHERE: Honolulu, HI
Located on Waikiki’s widest stretch of beach, Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa gives families plenty of room to play. The resort features five swimming pools, including the “Paradise” family activity pool with the longest waterslide in Waikiki. Children can enjoy activities and themed excursions at Camp Penguin Kids’ Club, and families can participate in complimentary activities like hula and ukulele lessons.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Honolulu Guide
La Costa Resort and Spa
WHERE: Carlsbad, CA
La Costa Resort and Spa offers a wide variety of child-friendly amenities. Sandy Beach Family Pool provides shallow wading areas for families with young children, and splash-landing pools feature play areas and large waterslides. Kidtopia, an exclusive kids club, has night camps and age-appropriate activities for younger guests. The resort also features a number of family-friendly activities, including s’more roasts, “dive-in” movies, surf camp, and a “radical reptile” show.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Carlsbad Guide
WHERE: Maui, HI
Families visit Maui for its pristine beaches, but Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa is an attraction itself. Resort amenities include an activity pool with waterslides and waterfall and snorkel lessons with green sea turtles. Children can also visit Camp Grande, a mini-resort that offers poolside workshops, video games, and activities like Hawaiian lei making.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Maui Guide
Atlantis Resort and Casino
WHERE: Paradise Island, Bahamas
Families can get in touch with nature at Atlantis Resort and Casino. Stop by Dolphin Cay to swim with bottlenose dolphins, or get an up-close view of marine life at the resort’s famous glass-windowed marine habitat. Atlantis is also home to Aquaventure, a 63-acre waterpark with a mile-long tubing adventure, nine water slides, and 11 pools.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Paradise Island Guide
WHERE: Las Vegas, NV
For anyone who has wanted to run away with the circus, Las Vegas’ Circus Circus is the perfect remedy. The larger than life resort is home to the world’s largest permanent circus and America’s largest indoor theme park. Kids and their parents can visit Carnival Midway to watch daily live circus shows, or choose from one of 25 rides at Adventuredome. Circus acts include trapeze performers from Mexico, foot jugglers from China, and aerial cradle artists.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Las Vegas Guide
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
WHERE: Orlando, FL
Walt Disney World has practically become synonymous with families, and Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of its most popular destinations. The property boasts more than 1,700 animals and 250 species, and families can participate in privately guided, VIP safaris. In addition to interactive encounters with animals and indoor activities, the resort offers theme park rides and games for every age.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Disney World Guide
Club Med Ixtapa Pacific
WHERE: Ixtapa, Mexico
Located between the Sierra Madre Mountains and shores of the Pacific Ocean, Club Med Ixtapa is a dream destination for families for its age-appropriate kids clubs, which accommodate guests as young as four months old. Special, child-friendly facilities include a children’s restaurant and a teen spa. There are also sports activities and programs geared toward specific age groups.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Ixtapa Guide
Beaches Negril Resort and Spa
WHERE: Negril, Jamaica
Located on prime beachfront location is Beaches Negril Resort & Spa. The all-inclusive resort features an 18,000-square-foot water park, an Xbox gaming lounge, and two family-friendly restaurants. Older children and their families can also participate in water sports, or stop by the “Scratch DJ Academy” to learn how to mix music.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Negril Guide
The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman
WHERE: Cayman Islands
Families can embark on eco-adventures at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. Located on the island’s Seven Mile Beach, the resort’s family programs introduce children and their parents to the area’s stunning natural beauty. Parents and children can participate in snorkel lessons, kayak through mangroves, take an underwater photography class, or explore shipwrecks on Cayman’s reefs.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Cayman Islands Guide
Las Casitas Village
WHERE: Fajardo, Puerto Rico
A “Scout About” program at Las Casitas Village allows children and their parents to participate in a large, resort-wide scavenger hunt. But the real draw for families is the resort’s Coqui Water Park—the only seaside water park in the Caribbean. The park features a speed slide, lazy river, rope-bridge, and kids pool, as well as a 25,554-square-foot main pool deck so parents can lounge while children play.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Fajardo Guide
Iberostar Paraiso Maya
WHERE: Playa Paraiso, Mexico
The Iberostar Paraiso Maya beachfront resort accommodates children and their parents. Facilities are geared toward different age groups, so children can visit Lucy’s Club, a supervised facility with interactive games and activities, while teens can enjoy nightly live entertainment at the teen disco. The resort also features a wave pool, water park, and game room for guests who want to take a break from the beach.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Mexico Guide
Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Esmeralda
WHERE: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Located in a private bay, Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Esmeralda is the ideal getaway for families. The resort’s Family Concierge program offers preferential reservations for facilities and activities, private pools, board games, playing cards, and a personal tour of the resort. Families can also enjoy group activities like swimming classes, painting, and arts and crafts workshops.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Mexico Guide
Beaches Turks and Caicos
WHERE: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Beaches Turks & Caicos is one of the Caribbean’s premier, all-inclusive family resorts. Amenities are geared toward different age groups, and guests can find activities to suit their individual interests. Children can attend a supervised kids camp, teens can visit Trench Town—a teens-only game room, and the whole family can explore the resort’s 45,000-square-foot waterpark. Adventurous families can also participate in a comprehensive PADI certified scuba program and experience maritime life firsthand.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Providenciales Guide
Moon Palace Golf and Resort
WHERE: Cancun, Mexico
Families will enjoy activities in and out of the water at Moon Palace Golf & Resort. The resort's dolphin discovery program allows guests to swim with the dolphins, and learn how to perform tricks like a kiss, handshake, and belly ride. Younger guests will enjoy “The Playroom,” a kids club with game rooms, a beauty salon, two playgrounds, and interactive games and activities.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Cancun Guide