We asked some of the country's leading travel agents to tell us about their favorite finds—the standout hotels for families in search of the ultimate spring or summer vacation. Here, the places they unhesitatingly recommend, from a private Fijian island to an eye-popping Disney hangout for $77 a night. Now, don't say you don't know where to go.
THE AGENT Betsy Donley*
TOP PICK Hideout at Flitner Ranch, Shell, Wyo. "A working cattle ranch, near Yellowstone, with 14 comfortable cabins. The horseback-riding instruction is the best I've ever seen—by the end of the week, you're rounding up cattle."
RESORT INFO 800/354-8637; www.thehideout.com; four-night minimum package $1,400 per person, kids 12 and under $800, all-inclusive; opens April 24.
BEST VALUE Tortuga Lodge, Tortuguero, Costa Rica "Owned by Costa Rica Expeditions, one of the country's best outfitters, this eco-resort offers amazing wildlife viewing. Watch iguanas dive into lagoonsand ogle the glowing eyes of crocodiles at night."
RESORT INFO 011-506/257-0766; www.costaricaexpeditions.com; doubles from $99.
AGENT INFO Camelback Odyssey Travel, Phoenix; 800/445-6527, ext. 439.
THE AGENT Elayne Edelman
TOP PICK Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Hawaii "The beach is glorious—calm, shallow, and perfect for small children. Older kids love the dolphin programs and Hawaiian history classes, parents are partial to the spa's private treatment rooms, and teens can escape to Waikiki on the free shuttle."
RESORT INFO 800/367-2525; www.mandarinoriental.com; doubles from $345.
AGENT INFO Protravel International, Beverly Hills, Calif.; 310/550-6800.
THE AGENT Jerry Greenberg*
TOP PICK Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, Calif. "A Victorian beach resort on 31 acres, the Del lives up to its reputation as a great family spot, with a full kids' activity menu—surfing lessons, sunset sailing—plus easy access to the flat bike trail that runs along the coast to Mexico. San Diego's Sea World, Legoland, and zoo are all within easy reach."
RESORT INFO 800/582-2595; www.hoteldel.com; doubles from $315.
AGENT INFO Baldwin Travel Bureau, Los Angeles; 800/472-8728.
THE AGENT Diane Hilliard*
TOP PICK Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay, Bahamas "At this new property, which offers oceanfront golf and deep-sea yachting, the children's program is complimentary. The Teen Spa has green-seaweed facials and reflexology massages; 5- to 12-year-olds get mini mani-pedis and hair braiding."
RESORT INFO 800/819-5053; www.fourseasons.com; doubles from $495.
AGENT INFO Hilliard & Olander Ltd., Stillwater, Minn.; 651/275-8960.
THE AGENT Michael Mascali
TOP PICK Wyndham's Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, Telluride, Colo. "Post-ski season activities abound: hiking, golf, tennis, concerts, and great restaurants. There's a wonderful spa for adults and children, and amazing views of the mountain."
RESORT INFO 800/789-2220; www.thepeaksresort.com; doubles from $219.
AGENT INFO Protravel Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale, Ariz.; 800/877-5859.
THE AGENT Samantha McClure
TOP PICK Nukubati Island, Fiji "The snorkeling is fantastic at this solar-powered 14-guest private island. It's so easy to get to from the West Coast—it's actually faster than flying to the Caribbean."
RESORT INFO 800/707-3454; www.nukubati.com; doubles from $630, each additional guest $300, no children under 12 (unless you rent the island), all-inclusive; $4,480 per day to rent the entire property.
BEST VALUE Club Med "Their family resorts have superior options for very young children. The property in Ixtapa is the best I've seen at catering to all ages."
RESORT INFO 800/258-2633; www.clubmed.com; seven days from $700 per adult, kids 2-3 $262, 4-15 $367, all-inclusive.
AGENT INFO Small World Travel, Austin, Tex.; 512/495-9495.
THE AGENT Kay Merrill
TOP PICK Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts & Spa, Tofino, B.C. "A remote property made up of a 16-room lodge and luxe tents. There are enough activities—from fishing to horseback riding—to keep everyone hopping."
RESORT INFO 888/333-5405; www.wildretreat.com; three-night minimum package from $3,100 per adult, kids 12 and under from $775, all-inclusive, with airfare from Vancouver.
AGENT INFO Are We There Yet?Family Travel, Corte Madera, Calif.; 888/300-0536.
THE AGENT Ellen Foreman
TOP PICK Bahía Príncipe Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico "The Riviera Maya was the most popular family destination for our office last year, and this place is our favorite. It has its own beach and shares guest privileges with the nearby Akumal resort, which gives it more dining options (nine restaurants) than any other property in the area."
RESORT INFO 52-984/875-5000; www.bahia-principe.com; from $105 per person, kids 12 and under from $53, all-inclusive.
AGENT INFO Central Travel, Toledo, Ohio; 800/775-0495.