By Maya Kachroo-Levine
February 02, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Ocean Key Resort & Spa

My mother and I are at our best when unwinding on the beach with a piña colada in hand. It’s not that we don’t love adventurous travel, just that our travel styles are different. She’s all about going with the flow, and I love to have a plan and a well-balanced itinerary. But one thing we both appreciate is a good tropical resort — and a hotel hot tub. Beautiful pools and a view of the water are where our travel styles meet.

Whether you’re looking for a local tropical getaway to surprise your mom with for Mother’s Day, or the two of you are ready to escape real life and book a last-minute flight, these tropical getaways are perfect for the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime.

San José del Cabo, Mexico at the Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort

Credit: Courtesy of Solaz

San José del Cabo should be at the top of your tropical list. It honestly has everything a mother-daughter trip could ask for—stunning beaches, art, culture, great food, and breathtaking resorts. For a truly memorable mother-daughter getaway, Solaz Resort Los Cabos opened in 2018 on one of the rare (and particularly stunning) swimmable areas of beach along the Sea of Cortez. From dining at Al Pairo, where innovation and seafood reign, to floating in the beachfront infinity pool with a piña colada, to experiencing a spa treatment at Ojo de Liebre, the lone Thalasso therapy spa in Baja, it’s a perfect spot to leave real life behind.

Kauai, Hawaii at The Lodge at Kukui’ula

Credit: Courtesy of Kukui'ula

If you and your mom haven’t made it to Hawaii yet, Kauai is a stunning introduction to the collection of islands. Kauai is the beachfront, palm tree-lined, idyllic paradise you’re hoping for — but it also has room for endless adventure. Stay in the Clubhouse villas at The Lodge at Kukui’ula for close proximity to their Makai pools. With a view of the Pacific Ocean, the freshwater infinity pool waterfalls into an expansive saltwater lagoon. You can also source your tropical mother-daughter breakfasts right from Kukui’ula’s organic 10-acre farm. The flowers on the farm will be fully in bloom for Mother’s Day, and you can pick mango, passion fruit, fresh vegetables, and eggs for a full farm breakfast.

Key West, Florida at Ocean Key Resort and Spa

Credit: Courtesy of Ocean Key Resort & Spa

When the calendar flips to May, my thoughts turn to baseball. And while I missed spring training this year, there’s no reason why I can’t capture some of that Florida magic with a mother-daughter weekend in the Florida Keys. From Key Largo — the largest key — to Key West at the very tip, you could mother-daughter road trip from Miami through some 1,700 islands and arguably the most spectacular scenery in the country. If you and your mom aren’t wild about the close quarters of a four-hour drive, fly in to Key West International Airport and book yourself into the Ocean Key Resort and Spa. Key West has a lively and eclectic bar scene, replete with old-time saloons and classic watering holes, and welcomes fishermen, adventure seekers, and artists alike. If you and your mom are literary scholars, follow in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Key West for over 10 years, and wrote some of his best work here. A visit to the Hemingway Home and Museum is a must, complete with its 40+ cats, many of whom are of the six-toed variety.

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica at Lapa Rios

Credit: Courtesy of Lapa Rios

Looking for the southeast Asian villa vibe without trekking halfway around the world? Costa Rica, has stunning resorts that combine jungle luxury with beach views. Visit the Osa Peninsula, where you and your mom will have access to rain forest hikes, nearby waterfalls, and native wildlife. Stay at Lapa Rios where ecotourism and pura vida wellness are top of mind. If you and your mom are city dwellers who desperately need a change of scenery, Lapa Rios has complimentary yoga classes, on-property waterfalls, and ocean-view bungalows.

Palawan, Philippines at The Funny Lion, Coron

Credit: Hemis/Alamy

Touted as the peace and serenity that Bali has lost over the years, Palawan is a haven of limestone, jungle, and white sand beaches. Named Travel+Leisure’s best island twice — in 2013 and again in 2017—Palawan is ideal for a mother-daughter trip because it doesn’t have all the party undertones of the Thai islands. A Mother’s Day vacation is ideal timing for a trip to Palawan, as May is one of the best months to visit; the dry season runs from December to May. Try staying on El Nido or Coron, where you can book a luxury hotel for an affordable price. The Funny Lion, a boutique hotel on Coron, lays claim to some incredible sunset views. And make sure to island-hop while in Palawan to get the full archipelago experience. You can even zipline from El Nido to Depeldet Island.

The Algarve, Portugal at The Luxury Guest House

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The Algarve, the southernmost region in Portugal, conjures up images of stunning natural beauty and quaint little towns and villages. There are multiple lists of best towns to explore in the Algarve and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so here’s a proposed game plan for you and your mom: Fly into Faro, the Algarve airport, and plop yourself down at The Luxury Guest House. Once relaxed and rejuvenated, you can take a couple day trips, heading east one day to explore Estoi and Tavira, and heading west another day to explore Portimão and Lagos. Don’t forget to try the Portuguese specialty of grilled sardines at Dona Barca in Portimão, and experience petiscos, the Portuguese version of tapas in Lagos at Arc’da Velha.

Coronado Island, California at Hotel del Coronado

Credit: Courtesy of Hotel del Coronado

If you and your mom are after a tropical vacation but need a more local option, Coronado Island — right across the bay from San Diego — is a great choice. It has both gorgeous beaches and a small town charm you won’t find in San Diego or Los Angeles. In the evening, stroll along Orange Avenue, where you’ll find great galleries, restaurants, and shopping. During the day, you ladies can go for bike rides by the water, where you’ll find Newport-esque waterfront mansions and beautifully curated gardens. Stay at Hotel del Coronado — if you and your mom are fans of Some Like it Hot (which my mother and I very much are), the property was prominently featured in the Marilyn Monroe classic.

St. Marteen, Caribbean at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort

Credit: Courtesy of Sonesta

Where can you wander from France to Holland, alternately spending Euros or Guilders? Not in Europe, where the two countries don’t even share a border, but in the Caribbean, on the Friendly Island, as St. Martin/St. Maarten is often called. Cruise ships typically pull into the Dutch side, docking in St. Maarten’s capital city of Philipsburg, where you’ll find nightlife, great duty-free shopping and the beautiful Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino and Spa whose name says it all. On the French side of the island, St. Martin’s capital city of Marigot is worth a visit, where an array of cafés await, each more enticing than the last. Try Le Sous Marin where the Chicken Cordon Bleu is divine, then venture out to Pic Paradis (a 15-minute drive), the highest point on the island, where the views are spectacular and the breeze is warm.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador at Pikaia Lodge

Credit: Courtesy of Pikaia Lodge

For the moms and daughters who want equal parts island and adventure, the Galapagos are a perfect choice. The wildlife is a huge draw, of course, as you can spend quality time with the (friendly) sea lions and sea tortoises along the island’s shores. This is also a trip you could start planning with your mom on Mother’s Day — because the summer months are a prime time to visit the Galapagos. Staying at Pikaia Lodge will give you access to the resort amenities you both want on a vacation, while also setting you down right in the thick of a Galapagos adventure. Using Santa Cruz island as your home base, Pakaia Lodge provides guided daily tours of the surrounding islands aboard their fleet of exploration yachts.