Family vacations are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable, but sometimes finding the right hotel, making restaurant reservations, and booking endless activities for the kids can seem more like a chore than a restful getaway. So we here at Oyster took on the impossibly taxing job of traveling to the Caribbean (we know, it's a tough life) in order to find the best all-inclusive, family-friendly resorts the islands have to offer. At the all-inclusive properties that make our list, you'll have a stress-free vacation where all meals and activities are included and easily accessible. All you'll have to worry about is which on-site feature you'll want to try out next!
-- Alex Creange, Oyster.com
You won't find a more kid-friendly resort on the island of Turks and Caicos than Beaches. With 10 pools, a beautiful beach, a 45,000-square-foot water park, an Xbox Games Garage, a Sesame Street kids' camp, and even a DJ-spinning academy, the hotel is determined to rule out any inklings of boredom. But, these amazing features do come at a cost: expect impersonal service, never-ending crowds, and dingy standard rooms. Should you care to upgrade to newer rooms or villas, expect to pay a hefty price.
Looking for a kid-friendly resort that's still upscale and quiet enough for couples? Look no further than The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana. Appealing to both adults and kids, The Reserve features 132 one-bedroom units with separate living/dining areas, pull-out sofas, and spacious bathrooms with jetted tubs. There are several pools (including one for children) and a multitude of dining and entertainment options, both on-site and at the larger (and more crowded) sister property next door. Families will love the gorgeous beach, free bike rentals, Asian-style spa, and personal service the hotel prides itself on.
Iberostar Rose Hall Suites All-Inclusive is a mid-range option for families looking to stay on Montego Bay's northern shore. Rooms are large enough to share with the kids, and the affordable all-inclusive rates cover all meals and drinks (including top-shelf liquor) at the property's 12 restaurants and bars. Kids will love the lazy river, water park, kids' club, and video game center, while their parents will most certainly enjoy the ocean-view infinity pool and free activities such as tennis, non-motorized water sports, and PADI dive center. However, the restaurant reservation process is a pain and rooms are just "meh" for the price.
With a beautiful beachfront location along Druif Beach, unlimited food and drink across two properties, and lively nightly entertainment that includes everything from jazz bands to salsa dancing, you really can't go wrong with Divi Aruba All Inclusive. The resort has three pool areas, and outdoor enthusiasts will love the free water sports at the beach, tennis courts, and rock-climbing wall. Rooms are clean with flat-screen TVs and large balconies, but the decor is nothing to write home about.
For families on a budget, Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach offers a great deal of amenities for a reasonable price. Located on the southeast shore of Grand Bahama, the resort is situated on lovely stretch of Churchill Beach. The compact, yet spacious, grounds feature multiple pools, a water sports center, and even a trapeze, which guests can use with the help of instructors. There are three restaurants and two snack bars, and a contemporary main bar and lounge that stays open late. However, guests complain of sub-par food and drinks, and a rowdy atmosphere.
Kept in pristine condition, Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe sits on a gorgeous stretch of white-sand beach and features cool, modern rooms with bright colors schemes and large balconies. The hotel has numerous pools that rarely feel over-crowded, which means you'll never have to rise before dawn to grab those coveted pool chairs. There are tons of dining options here, and the nightlife includes a 24-hour casino and a disco. However, the place is massive, so getting around can take some time.
With two beaches, three pools, a nearby national park with nature trails, and an on-site mini-golf course, the Verandah Resort & Spa offers great family features with a laid-back Caribbean vibe. Suite-style rooms, while a bit generic, have sleeper sofas and small kitchenettes. The resort's four restaurants offer a wide array of dining choices, though the fine-dining European option isn't included in the all-inclusive price. The staff is personal and polite, but there is no room service and the hotel's beachfronts are small.
Just 10 minutes from Oranjestad, Aruba's capital and bustling tourist center, the Occidental Grand Aruba is located on a lively beach with lots of activities. Service is speedy, if somewhat impersonal, but rooms are large with comfortable beds. There's a large lagoonshaped pool, but the gym is tiny and the on-site restaurants are mediocre at best. There are great bars and restaurants nearby, but unfortunately they're not part of the all-inclusive plan.
You'll never be bored at Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club, a beachfront property loaded with fun activities and awesome freebies. If the gorgeous, private beach, five swimming pools, and swim up bar aren't exciting enough, there's lots of fun to be had at the Pirates Island Waterpark, Sesame Street Kids Club, and XBOX Garage. But kids aren't the only ones who have all the fun at Beaches. Parents will love free water sports like kayaking, scuba diving, and paddle boarding, and free golf on a private course. There are a variety of dining options ranging from seafood to barbecue, and contemporary rooms are some of the brand's largest in Jamaica. The downside? You and your family won't be the only ones enjoying this incredible resort. Public areas tend to get crowded and sometimes a little noisy.