America's Best Family Hotels 2010

  • Sandpearl Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Sandpearl Resort

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    Travel + Leisure Family’s list of the best hotels for families in the U.S. and Canada.

    From October 2010 By , ,

    You’ve heard the story before: overworked parents spend hours of free time planning their family vacation, only to arrive at a hotel that’s “under construction,” a pool that’s “being retiled,” and a backseat full of kids who’d rather be anywhere else.

    Time off with your children is a precious thing—so why stay in a property that’s less than stellar? To help plan your getaway, T + L Family presents the top 50 family-friendly hotels in America, ranked in order by our well-traveled readers in the Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards poll.

    Want to camp out in a safari-style hotel abutting a 33-acre grassland preserve, where zebras and giraffes roam free? No need to fly to South Africa—just take the clan to Orlando, FL. Not surprisingly, you’ll find several Orlando-area Disney hotels on our list—many of which have cracked the top 10. And at the No. 3 hotel, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can climb Arusha Rock, an elevated platform beyond the lobby, to look for roan antelope, waterbucks, and white-bearded wildebeests. Or join a Wanyama Safari to get nearly too close to them for comfort.

    If lounging under a sun umbrella is more your speed, check into Oahu’s Kahala Hotel & Resort, where the iconic blue-tile pool has been the center of the action since 1964 (everyone from John Wayne to Julie Andrews has stretched out on the poolside lounges). Kids love swimming with their resident bottlenose dolphins in the 26,000-square-foot lagoon (note: the hotel offers “trainer for a week” programs to the Flipper-obsessed).

    In fact, lots of these top 50 hotels have dreamed up fun diversions to make your visit more memorable. In San Antonio, TX, for example, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa hosts Iron Chef–inspired family cook-offs.

    And if you’re looking for a great family ski hotel for the upcoming season, we have you covered. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, set right on the mountain at Beaver Creek Resort, has ski nannies who will shepherd your brood to the slopes while you decompress with a private yoga lesson. And kids will love meeting Bachelor, the ski lodge’s friendly Labrador retriever.

    But no matter where you end up this year, if you’re looking for a great family hotel, this is the list to consult. —Alison Miller and James Jung

  • Sea Pines Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of The Sea Pines Resort

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    #50 Sea Pines Resort
    Hilton Head, South Carolina

    Score: 88.50

    Bustling island vacation community with a peppermint-striped lighthouse as its centerpiece. Doubles from $259.

  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando

    Photo: Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

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    #49 Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
    Florida

    Score: 88.52

    Guests at this South Pacific–inspired property get front-of-the-line access to Universal attractions. Doubles from $274.

  • Hilton Waikoloa Village

    Photo: Courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

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    #48 Hilton Waikoloa Village
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 88.53

    Navigate this splashy playland on Waiulua Bay via mahogany canal boat or air-conditioned tram. Doubles from $299.

  • The Broadmoor

    Photo: Courtesy of the Broadmoor

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    #46 The Broadmoor
    Colorado Springs

    Score: 88.57

    Rocky Mountain mainstay since 1918, with rock climbing, rafting, and much more for families. Doubles from $300.

  • Park Hyatt Aviara

    Photo: Courtesy Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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    #46 Park Hyatt Aviara (formerly Four Seasons Resort Aviara)
    San Diego

    Score: 88.57

    Spanish-colonial getaway with open-air living rooms that make the ideal crash pads after a busy day at nearby Legoland. Doubles from $395.

  • Villas of Grand Cypress

    Photo: Courtesy of Grand Cypress Resort

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    #44 Villas of Grand Cypress
    Orlando, Florida

    Score: 88.75

    Just down the street from Disney World, a golf resort with a summer academy that accommodates kids as young as five. Doubles from $475.

  • Montage Laguna Beach

    Photo: Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

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    #44 Montage Laguna Beach
    California

    Score: 88.75

    On a plateau overlooking the Pacific; a new summer program for teens includes beach volleyball, movies, and plein-air painting. Doubles from $695.

  • Kahala Hotel & Resort

    Photo: The Kahala Hotel & Resort

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    #43 Kahala Hotel & Resort
    Oahu, Hawaii

    Score: 88.97

    Surfing and paddleboarding lessons are complimentary for all ages, but the iconic blue-tile pool remains the center of the action. Doubles from $515.

  • Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa

    Photo: Courtesy Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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    #42 Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa
    San Antonio, Texas

    Score: 89.05

    A stone’s throw from SeaWorld, with activities that include Iron Chef–inspired family cook-offs. Doubles from $350.

  • Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida

    Photo: Mark Wieland

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    #41 Ritz-Carlton
    Naples, Florida

    Score: 89.07

    High-service Gulf Coast getaway—one of Ritz-Carlton’s flagships—with a pioneering marine-biology program for kids. Doubles from $549.

  • Samoset Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Samoset Resort

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    #40 Samoset Resort
    Rockport, Maine

    Score: 89.09

    Seasonal hotel on Maine’s mid-coast favored by New England’s old guard for more than a century. Doubles from $299.

  • Fairmont Kea Lani

    Photo: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

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    #39 Fairmont Kea Lani
    Maui, Hawaii

    Score: 89.13

    Spacious suites and villas, and the Hawaiian Canoe Experience—learn to paddle like a pro and sing native chants. Doubles from $399.

  • Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Loews Hotels

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    #38 Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort
    Henderson, Nevada

    Score: 89.23

    Great Value Laid-back lakeside spread that’s only 30 minutes (via free shuttle) from the action on the Strip. Doubles from $189.

  • Grand Wailea

    Photo: Courtesy of Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa

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    #37 Grand Wailea
    Maui, Hawaii

    Score: 89.27

    Mega-resort where everything is outsize—a 20,000-square-foot kids’ club; nine pools on six levels, with the world’s first water elevator. Doubles from $429.

  • Tides Inn

    Photo: Courtesy of Tides Inn

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    #36 Tides Inn
    Irvington, Virginia

    Score: 89.33

    Crabbing, croquet, and kayaking at a 1946 resort on its own river-flanked peninsula. Doubles from $320.

  • Disney's Vero Beach Resort

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #35 Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
    Florida

    Score: 89.38

    Calm compound on the Atlantic that’s the perfect pre- or post- Orlando furlough. Doubles from $310.

  • Four Seasons Resort Whistler

    Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons

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    #34 Four Seasons Resort Whistler
    British Columbia

    Score: 89.47

    At the base of Blackcomb Mountain, with the biggest rooms in town and ski concierges to wax your boards and warm your boots. Doubles from $385.

  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

    Photo: Prince Resorts Hawaii

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    #33 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 89.57

    On one of Hawaii’s best stretches of sand, where Keiki Club members can build sandcastles and go on beach scavenger hunts. Doubles from $450.

  • La Costa Resort & Spa

    Photo: Courtesy of La Costa Resort and Spa

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    #32 La Costa Resort & Spa
    Carlsbad, California

    Score: 89.71
    Immensely appealing for both kids (playroom, water park, and Guitar Hero–equipped teen center) and parents (43,000-square-foot spa and holistic center founded by Deepak Chopra). Doubles from $429.

  • Westin La Cantera Resort

    Photo: Westin La Cantera Resort

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    #30 Westin La Cantera Resort
    San Antonio, Texas

    Score: 89.73

    Oasis with a clay-tiled roof on a mesquite- and live oak–covered plateau 30 minutes from the historic downtown. Doubles from $279.

  • Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

    Photo: Courtesy Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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    #30 Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
    Hawaii

    Score: 89.73

    Free-form pools and a shallow, sand-bordered lagoon by day; sky-gazing with an on-site astronomer by night. Doubles from $394.

  • Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

    Photo: Courtesy of Mauna Lani Resort, Big Island

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    #29 Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 89.74

    Kohala Coast resort with the only children’s golf course in Hawaii. Doubles from $455.

  • Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas

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    #27 Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
    Dallas

    Score: 90.00

    Gracious peach-colored hotel in a leafy residential neighborhood, plus a driver at the ready to whisk you to area destinations. Doubles from $595.

  • Pelican Hill

    Photo: Courtesy of Pelican Hill Resort

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    #27 Pelican Hill
    Newport Beach, California

    Score: 90.00

    On 504 acres, sprawling Pacific-facing bungalows and villas, as well as an indoor-outdoor kids’ club. Doubles from $495.

  • Hawk's Cay Resort

    Photo: Lee Page

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    #26 Hawk’s Cay Resort
    Duck Key, Florida

    Score: 90.13

    Breezy West Indian–style villas and family rooms, an on-site dolphin program, and a full menu of aquatics for teens, including sailing lessons and reef dives. Doubles from $399.

  • The Breakers

    Photo: Courtesy of The Breakers Palm Beach

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    #25 The Breakers
    Palm Beach, Florida

    Score: 90.42

    A 1926 Italian Renaissance–inspired icon with newly redesigned suites and family-pleasing pool bungalows. Doubles from $499.

  • Sandpearl Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Sandpearl Resort

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    #24 Sandpearl Resort
    Clearwater, Florida

    Score: 90.50

    The most sophisticated digs in this part of the Gulf Coast, with citrus-hued rooms and apartment-like suites. Doubles from $379.

  • Cloister at Sea Island

    Photo: Courtesy of Sea Island Resorts

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    #23 Cloister at Sea Island
    Sea Island, Georgia

    90.67

    Beloved by generations of well-heeled Southerners, a 1928 Mediterranean-style spread with three pools, an ice cream parlor, a tennis club, and a movie theater. Doubles from $395.

  • The Greenbrier

    Photo: Courtesy of The Greenbrier

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    #22 The Greenbrier
    White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

    Score: 90.77

    Great Value Dress for dinner at this Georgian beauty in the Allegheny Mountains, home to an off-road driving school and a former top-secret Cold War bunker. Doubles from $249.

  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

    Photo: Courtesy Universal Orlando Resort 2010. All rights reserved.

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    #21 Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
    Florida

    Score: 90.82

    Fanciful Italian-themed resort (a waterslide modeled on a Roman aqueduct; arias performed on balconies) that is a quick water-taxi ride from Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Doubles from $304.

  • Vail Cascade Resort & Spa

    Photo: Courtesy of Vail Cascade Resort & Spa

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    #20 Vail Cascade Resort & Spa
    Colorado

    Score: 91.00

    Right outside downtown Vail, with the area’s biggest fitness facility and a chairlift servicing Vail Mountain. Doubles from $349.

  • Kiawah Island Golf Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Kiawah Islad Golf Resort

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    #19 Kiawah Island Golf Resort
    South Carolina

    Score: 91.25

    Great Value Five hundred vacation villas that share the same barrier island and amenities as the Sanctuary (#6). Villas from $205.

  • Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa

    Photo: Courtesy Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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    #18 Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
    Lost Pines, Texas

    Score: 91.58

    Horseback riding, skeet shooting, and hayrides add Texas twang to this compound outside Austin. Doubles from $339.

  • Four Seasons Resort, Jackson Hole

    Photo:  

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    #17 Four Seasons Resort
    Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    Score: 91.67

    Ski-in, ski-out lodge at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain, with year-round active adventures (from rafting to geocaching). Doubles from $275.

  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #16 Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 91.97

    Lagoon-side grande dame with windows overlooking Cinderella’s Castle, on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop. Doubles from $575.

  • Whiteface Lodge

    Photo: Jim Westphalen

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    #15 Whiteface Lodge
    Lake Placid, New York

    Score: 92.00

    Nouveau Adirondacks great camp with its own ice-skating rink and bowling alley. Doubles from $477.

  • Disney's Polynesian Resort

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #14 Disney’s Polynesian Resort
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 92.03

    Tiki-themed expanse: a four-story “volcano” feeds the pool and luaus take place nightly. Doubles from $510.

  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

    Photo: Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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    #13 Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
    Hawaii

    Score: 92.09

    Thrills for all ages, from a 150-foot winding waterslide to a Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course on an oceanside cliff. Doubles from $540.

  • The Homestead

    Photo: Courtesy of The Homestead

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    #12 The Homestead
    Hot Springs, Virginia

    Score: 92.26

    Great Value A 1902 white-columned classic in the Allegheny Mountains with an equestrian center, fly-fishing, and a spring-fed indoor pool. Doubles from $185.

  • Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu

    Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

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    #11 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 92.63

    Ocean-view bungalows, plus a tricked-out teen lounge and baby-proofed rooms for guests with infants. Doubles from $655.

  • Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

    Photo: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

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    #10 Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
    Avon, Colorado

    Score: 92.68

    Majestically scaled lodge on Beaver Mountain with ski nannies who will shepherd your brood to the slopes while you decompress with a private yoga lesson. Doubles from $779.

  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #9 Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 93.23

    Porthole mirrors and crisp striped curtains evoke a nautical mood at this lakeside resort in Disney World. Doubles from $465.

  • Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #8 Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
    Anaheim, California

    Score: 93.27

    Disneyland’s crown jewel has its own entrance to California Adventure, getting you into the park a full hour before the crowds. Doubles from $395.

  • Disney's Boardwalk Inn & Villas

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #7 Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 94.32

    Nostalgic take on a seaside village, complete with carnival games, jugglers, and a boardwalk-edged lake. Doubles from $475.

  • Sanctuary at Kiawah Island

    Photo: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

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    #6 Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
    South Carolina

    Score: 94.47

    Golf-centric resort (five courses, four with family tees) where activities range from beachcombing to butterfly walks. Doubles from $435.

  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #5 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 94.51

    Woodsy Arts and Crafts–style compound inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom with a geyser that gushes on Old Faithful’s schedule. Doubles from $375.

  • Disney's Beach Club Resort

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #4 Disney’s Beach Club Resort
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 94.65

    Blue-shingled spread with the feel of a historic hotel, offering direct access to shipwreck-themed Stormalong Bay water park and free transportation to Disney World. Doubles from $465.

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Photo: The Walt Disney Corporation

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    #3 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 95.87

    Safari lodge near the theme park on a 33-acre African grasslands–style preserve where zebras, giraffes, and gazelles roam free. Doubles from $375.

  • WaterColor Inn & Resort

    Photo: WaterColor Inn & Resort

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    #2 WaterColor Inn & Resort
    Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

    Score: 96.00

    New Urbanist vacation rentals and a David Rockwell–designed inn on the Florida Panhandle, tucked between a dune lake and a stretch of glittering sand. Doubles from $325.

  • Inn at Palmetto Bluff

    Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

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    #1 Inn at Palmetto Bluff
    Bluffton, South Carolina

    Score: 97.90

    Plantation-style cottages and a Jack Nicklaus golf course at a low-country retreat that’s a popular spot for family reunions. Two-bedroom villas from $1,300.

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  • Sandpearl Resort

    You’ve heard the story before: overworked parents spend hours of free time planning their family vacation, only to arrive at a hotel that’s “under construction,” a pool that’s “being retiled,” and a backseat full of kids who’d rather be anywhere else.

    Time off with your children is a precious thing—so why stay in a property that’s less than stellar? To help plan your getaway, T + L Family presents the top 50 family-friendly hotels in America, ranked in order by our well-traveled readers in the Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards poll.

    Want to camp out in a safari-style hotel abutting a 33-acre grassland preserve, where zebras and giraffes roam free? No need to fly to South Africa—just take the clan to Orlando, FL. Not surprisingly, you’ll find several Orlando-area Disney hotels on our list—many of which have cracked the top 10. And at the No. 3 hotel, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can climb Arusha Rock, an elevated platform beyond the lobby, to look for roan antelope, waterbucks, and white-bearded wildebeests. Or join a Wanyama Safari to get nearly too close to them for comfort.

    If lounging under a sun umbrella is more your speed, check into Oahu’s Kahala Hotel & Resort, where the iconic blue-tile pool has been the center of the action since 1964 (everyone from John Wayne to Julie Andrews has stretched out on the poolside lounges). Kids love swimming with their resident bottlenose dolphins in the 26,000-square-foot lagoon (note: the hotel offers “trainer for a week” programs to the Flipper-obsessed).

    In fact, lots of these top 50 hotels have dreamed up fun diversions to make your visit more memorable. In San Antonio, TX, for example, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa hosts Iron Chef–inspired family cook-offs.

    And if you’re looking for a great family ski hotel for the upcoming season, we have you covered. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, set right on the mountain at Beaver Creek Resort, has ski nannies who will shepherd your brood to the slopes while you decompress with a private yoga lesson. And kids will love meeting Bachelor, the ski lodge’s friendly Labrador retriever.

    But no matter where you end up this year, if you’re looking for a great family hotel, this is the list to consult. —Alison Miller and James Jung

  • Sea Pines Resort

    #50 Sea Pines Resort
    Hilton Head, South Carolina

    Score: 88.50

    Bustling island vacation community with a peppermint-striped lighthouse as its centerpiece. Doubles from $259.

  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando

    #49 Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
    Florida

    Score: 88.52

    Guests at this South Pacific–inspired property get front-of-the-line access to Universal attractions. Doubles from $274.

  • Hilton Waikoloa Village

    #48 Hilton Waikoloa Village
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 88.53

    Navigate this splashy playland on Waiulua Bay via mahogany canal boat or air-conditioned tram. Doubles from $299.

  • The Broadmoor

    #46 The Broadmoor
    Colorado Springs

    Score: 88.57

    Rocky Mountain mainstay since 1918, with rock climbing, rafting, and much more for families. Doubles from $300.

  • Park Hyatt Aviara

    #46 Park Hyatt Aviara (formerly Four Seasons Resort Aviara)
    San Diego

    Score: 88.57

    Spanish-colonial getaway with open-air living rooms that make the ideal crash pads after a busy day at nearby Legoland. Doubles from $395.

  • Villas of Grand Cypress

    #44 Villas of Grand Cypress
    Orlando, Florida

    Score: 88.75

    Just down the street from Disney World, a golf resort with a summer academy that accommodates kids as young as five. Doubles from $475.

  • Montage Laguna Beach

    #44 Montage Laguna Beach
    California

    Score: 88.75

    On a plateau overlooking the Pacific; a new summer program for teens includes beach volleyball, movies, and plein-air painting. Doubles from $695.

  • Kahala Hotel & Resort

    #43 Kahala Hotel & Resort
    Oahu, Hawaii

    Score: 88.97

    Surfing and paddleboarding lessons are complimentary for all ages, but the iconic blue-tile pool remains the center of the action. Doubles from $515.

  • Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa

    #42 Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa
    San Antonio, Texas

    Score: 89.05

    A stone’s throw from SeaWorld, with activities that include Iron Chef–inspired family cook-offs. Doubles from $350.

  • Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida

    #41 Ritz-Carlton
    Naples, Florida

    Score: 89.07

    High-service Gulf Coast getaway—one of Ritz-Carlton’s flagships—with a pioneering marine-biology program for kids. Doubles from $549.

  • Samoset Resort

    #40 Samoset Resort
    Rockport, Maine

    Score: 89.09

    Seasonal hotel on Maine’s mid-coast favored by New England’s old guard for more than a century. Doubles from $299.

  • Fairmont Kea Lani

    #39 Fairmont Kea Lani
    Maui, Hawaii

    Score: 89.13

    Spacious suites and villas, and the Hawaiian Canoe Experience—learn to paddle like a pro and sing native chants. Doubles from $399.

  • Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort

    #38 Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort
    Henderson, Nevada

    Score: 89.23

    Great Value Laid-back lakeside spread that’s only 30 minutes (via free shuttle) from the action on the Strip. Doubles from $189.

  • Grand Wailea

    #37 Grand Wailea
    Maui, Hawaii

    Score: 89.27

    Mega-resort where everything is outsize—a 20,000-square-foot kids’ club; nine pools on six levels, with the world’s first water elevator. Doubles from $429.

  • Tides Inn

    #36 Tides Inn
    Irvington, Virginia

    Score: 89.33

    Crabbing, croquet, and kayaking at a 1946 resort on its own river-flanked peninsula. Doubles from $320.

  • Disney's Vero Beach Resort

    #35 Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
    Florida

    Score: 89.38

    Calm compound on the Atlantic that’s the perfect pre- or post- Orlando furlough. Doubles from $310.

  • Four Seasons Resort Whistler

    #34 Four Seasons Resort Whistler
    British Columbia

    Score: 89.47

    At the base of Blackcomb Mountain, with the biggest rooms in town and ski concierges to wax your boards and warm your boots. Doubles from $385.

  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

    #33 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 89.57

    On one of Hawaii’s best stretches of sand, where Keiki Club members can build sandcastles and go on beach scavenger hunts. Doubles from $450.

  • La Costa Resort & Spa

    #32 La Costa Resort & Spa
    Carlsbad, California

    Score: 89.71
    Immensely appealing for both kids (playroom, water park, and Guitar Hero–equipped teen center) and parents (43,000-square-foot spa and holistic center founded by Deepak Chopra). Doubles from $429.

  • Westin La Cantera Resort

    #30 Westin La Cantera Resort
    San Antonio, Texas

    Score: 89.73

    Oasis with a clay-tiled roof on a mesquite- and live oak–covered plateau 30 minutes from the historic downtown. Doubles from $279.

  • Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

    #30 Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
    Hawaii

    Score: 89.73

    Free-form pools and a shallow, sand-bordered lagoon by day; sky-gazing with an on-site astronomer by night. Doubles from $394.

  • Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

    #29 Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 89.74

    Kohala Coast resort with the only children’s golf course in Hawaii. Doubles from $455.

  • Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas

    #27 Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
    Dallas

    Score: 90.00

    Gracious peach-colored hotel in a leafy residential neighborhood, plus a driver at the ready to whisk you to area destinations. Doubles from $595.

  • Pelican Hill

    #27 Pelican Hill
    Newport Beach, California

    Score: 90.00

    On 504 acres, sprawling Pacific-facing bungalows and villas, as well as an indoor-outdoor kids’ club. Doubles from $495.

  • Hawk's Cay Resort

    #26 Hawk’s Cay Resort
    Duck Key, Florida

    Score: 90.13

    Breezy West Indian–style villas and family rooms, an on-site dolphin program, and a full menu of aquatics for teens, including sailing lessons and reef dives. Doubles from $399.

  • The Breakers

    #25 The Breakers
    Palm Beach, Florida

    Score: 90.42

    A 1926 Italian Renaissance–inspired icon with newly redesigned suites and family-pleasing pool bungalows. Doubles from $499.

  • Sandpearl Resort

    #24 Sandpearl Resort
    Clearwater, Florida

    Score: 90.50

    The most sophisticated digs in this part of the Gulf Coast, with citrus-hued rooms and apartment-like suites. Doubles from $379.

  • Cloister at Sea Island

    #23 Cloister at Sea Island
    Sea Island, Georgia

    90.67

    Beloved by generations of well-heeled Southerners, a 1928 Mediterranean-style spread with three pools, an ice cream parlor, a tennis club, and a movie theater. Doubles from $395.

  • The Greenbrier

    #22 The Greenbrier
    White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

    Score: 90.77

    Great Value Dress for dinner at this Georgian beauty in the Allegheny Mountains, home to an off-road driving school and a former top-secret Cold War bunker. Doubles from $249.

  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

    #21 Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
    Florida

    Score: 90.82

    Fanciful Italian-themed resort (a waterslide modeled on a Roman aqueduct; arias performed on balconies) that is a quick water-taxi ride from Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Doubles from $304.

  • Vail Cascade Resort & Spa

    #20 Vail Cascade Resort & Spa
    Colorado

    Score: 91.00

    Right outside downtown Vail, with the area’s biggest fitness facility and a chairlift servicing Vail Mountain. Doubles from $349.

  • Kiawah Island Golf Resort

    #19 Kiawah Island Golf Resort
    South Carolina

    Score: 91.25

    Great Value Five hundred vacation villas that share the same barrier island and amenities as the Sanctuary (#6). Villas from $205.

  • Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa

    #18 Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
    Lost Pines, Texas

    Score: 91.58

    Horseback riding, skeet shooting, and hayrides add Texas twang to this compound outside Austin. Doubles from $339.

  • Four Seasons Resort, Jackson Hole

    #17 Four Seasons Resort
    Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    Score: 91.67

    Ski-in, ski-out lodge at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain, with year-round active adventures (from rafting to geocaching). Doubles from $275.

  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    #16 Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 91.97

    Lagoon-side grande dame with windows overlooking Cinderella’s Castle, on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop. Doubles from $575.

  • Whiteface Lodge

    #15 Whiteface Lodge
    Lake Placid, New York

    Score: 92.00

    Nouveau Adirondacks great camp with its own ice-skating rink and bowling alley. Doubles from $477.

  • Disney's Polynesian Resort

    #14 Disney’s Polynesian Resort
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 92.03

    Tiki-themed expanse: a four-story “volcano” feeds the pool and luaus take place nightly. Doubles from $510.

  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

    #13 Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
    Hawaii

    Score: 92.09

    Thrills for all ages, from a 150-foot winding waterslide to a Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course on an oceanside cliff. Doubles from $540.

  • The Homestead

    #12 The Homestead
    Hot Springs, Virginia

    Score: 92.26

    Great Value A 1902 white-columned classic in the Allegheny Mountains with an equestrian center, fly-fishing, and a spring-fed indoor pool. Doubles from $185.

  • Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu

    #11 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu
    Big Island, Hawaii

    Score: 92.63

    Ocean-view bungalows, plus a tricked-out teen lounge and baby-proofed rooms for guests with infants. Doubles from $655.

  • Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

    #10 Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
    Avon, Colorado

    Score: 92.68

    Majestically scaled lodge on Beaver Mountain with ski nannies who will shepherd your brood to the slopes while you decompress with a private yoga lesson. Doubles from $779.

  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort

    #9 Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 93.23

    Porthole mirrors and crisp striped curtains evoke a nautical mood at this lakeside resort in Disney World. Doubles from $465.

  • Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

    #8 Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
    Anaheim, California

    Score: 93.27

    Disneyland’s crown jewel has its own entrance to California Adventure, getting you into the park a full hour before the crowds. Doubles from $395.

  • Disney's Boardwalk Inn & Villas

    #7 Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 94.32

    Nostalgic take on a seaside village, complete with carnival games, jugglers, and a boardwalk-edged lake. Doubles from $475.

  • Sanctuary at Kiawah Island

    #6 Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
    South Carolina

    Score: 94.47

    Golf-centric resort (five courses, four with family tees) where activities range from beachcombing to butterfly walks. Doubles from $435.

  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge

    #5 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 94.51

    Woodsy Arts and Crafts–style compound inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom with a geyser that gushes on Old Faithful’s schedule. Doubles from $375.

  • Disney's Beach Club Resort

    #4 Disney’s Beach Club Resort
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 94.65

    Blue-shingled spread with the feel of a historic hotel, offering direct access to shipwreck-themed Stormalong Bay water park and free transportation to Disney World. Doubles from $465.

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge

    #3 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Score: 95.87

    Safari lodge near the theme park on a 33-acre African grasslands–style preserve where zebras, giraffes, and gazelles roam free. Doubles from $375.

  • WaterColor Inn & Resort

    #2 WaterColor Inn & Resort
    Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

    Score: 96.00

    New Urbanist vacation rentals and a David Rockwell–designed inn on the Florida Panhandle, tucked between a dune lake and a stretch of glittering sand. Doubles from $325.

  • Inn at Palmetto Bluff

    #1 Inn at Palmetto Bluff
    Bluffton, South Carolina

    Score: 97.90

    Plantation-style cottages and a Jack Nicklaus golf course at a low-country retreat that’s a popular spot for family reunions. Two-bedroom villas from $1,300.

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