The pool at Tanque Verde Ranch has a view of the Rincon Mountains.
Photo courtesy of Tanque Verde Ranch
For a wallet-friendly vacation (or at least one that doesn’t require you to constantly take out your wallet), settle in at an all-inclusive resort where daily activities, meals, nonalcoholic beverages and accommodations come at one price.
Many people associate all-inclusive resorts with Caribbean getaways, there’s no need to leave the states to enjoy this vacation style. The continental U.S. boasts a number of terrific all-inclusives, too, with options from lakeside retreats and island escapes to dude ranches and luxurious tented hideaways in the mountains. Here are 10 of our favorites.
Families enjoy boating and fishing on private Lake Loree.
Photo courtesy of Sunny Hill Resort
Sunny Hill Resort, Greenville, New York
This family-run resort welcomes both new and returning guests—including families who have been coming here for generations—to its 200-plus acre property.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, this resort in the Great Northern Catskills is operated by third-, fourth- and fifth-generation members of the Nicholsen family.
Activities abound, including shuffleboard, mini golf, face painting, magic shows and movies under the stars. Sign up for a fencing class, a golf clinic or lawn bowling. When the sun goes down, the fun cranks up with hayrides, live music and rides in monster trucks, vintage fire engines and a comical Bumble Bee car.
Dining: Meals are served family-style in a glass-enclosed dining hall that affords spectacular mountain views. In summer, enjoy a patriotic Friday Night Lake Party with free hot dogs, soda and ice cream. The festivities conclude with a fireworks show over Lake Loree.
Lodging: The resort boasts a variety of lodging styles, from standard motel-style rooms to quaint family cottages. Those requiring a larger space can inquire about The Lodge, a full-house rental with three bedrooms, a kitchen and a deck.
Bumper boats and banana boats provide thrills for kids of all ages.
Photo courtesy of Tyler Place Family Resort
Tyler Place Family Resort, Swanton, Vermont
This mountain resort helps parents return from vacation feeling refreshed, not run down.
Spanning six generations, this resort has been welcoming families to the shores of Lake Champlain since 1933. An old-fashioned formula of (mostly) separate fun for children and parents has been the norm for more than 85 years.
In the morning, parents participate in adults-only activities such as canoe trips and skeet shooting while their children join 1 of 10 age-staggered peer groups for kid-oriented fun. Newborns and infants have their own programs, which include water play and crawling mats. In the afternoon, families reconvene for a few hours
for farm tours, sailing regattas, ice cream socials and fishing trips.
Adults-only entertainment kicks off at 9 or 9:30 p.m. each night with live music and lakeside bonfires. With the exception of a welcome cocktail, alcohol is not included in the rate.
Dining: Families start the morning together in the breakfast room for the first of three delicious meals served buffet-style. When evening comes, parents meet up for cocktails and dinner while kids nosh on kid-friendly foods in their peer groupings.
Lodging: The resort’s 72 accommodations include two-bedroom bungalows in the woods, two- and three-bedroom cottages, and several houses divided into multi-room suites as well as a modern inn that has 12 family suites and studio-size rooms.
Water lovers can swim in Lake Teedyuskung as well as in Woodloch Pines’ indoor and outdoor pools.
Photo courtesy of Woodloch Resort
Woodloch Pines, Hawley, Pennsylvania
Tucked in the Pocono Mountains, this idyllic lakeside retreat is just right for families.
The day begins with buttermilk pancakes and a review of a daily activity sheet that brims with 30-plus organized activities, such as knockout basketball, family bowling contests and kickball tournaments, in addition to go-karts, bumper cars and mini golf.
Seasonal activities include kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Teedyuskung in the summer as well as snow tubing and snow shoeing in the winter. Nearly all resort activities are included in the daily room rate. A handful, such as paintball games and mixology classes, require a small participation fee.
Dining: Resort guests choose either a two- or three-meal dining plan, with meals served family-style in the main dining room. Fare includes such favorites as golden jumbo butterfly shrimp and prime rib. In between meals, quick bites are available for purchase at the Country Store and North Lodge Bar.
Lodging: Accommodations range from classic-style motel rooms and suites to three- and six-bedroom guest homes with kitchens (all options require a meal plan). A free shuttle takes guests around the 1,300-acre wooded property.
Accommodations at C Lazy U Ranch include the main lodge, Patio House (pictured here) and a variety of Western-style cabins.
Photo courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch
C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado
This century-old guest ranch on 8,500 acres in the Rocky Mountains charms with Western-style fun.
Guests spend their days fly fishing, mountain biking and hiking in summer. Winter brings sleigh rides, snow tubing and cross-country skiing. Daily horseback trail rides run year-round.
Upon arrival, guests are matched with a horse for the entire week (from among 200 resident horses), giving human and animal the chance to bond. Kids as young as three years old can ride horses on hand-guided rides, but only kids age six and older are assigned a horse.
Counselor-led activities keep kids busy by day while adults spend time riding horses, trap shooting and even hatchet throwing. Kids who want to a take a break from riding horses can partake in a counselor-supervised ropes course and mountain biking.
Dining: Morning starts as a family with cowboy coffee and hearty breakfast favorites (think biscuits and gravy), and the family reconvenes to eat lunch together as well. In the evening, adults dine separately on such elevated fare as grilled mahi-mahi and braised beef short ribs while kiddos chow down on mac and cheese and other crowd-pleasers.
Families reconnect after dinner for games and a campfire. On Saturdays, guests show off newly acquired skills at the weekly Shodeo. Kids trot and canter while adults compete in pole bending, barrel racing and other equestrian events.
Lodging: The 40 well-appointed Western-style cabins have one to three bedrooms. The resort is open year-round. Guests book weeklong stays during the summer; in the off-season, there’s a two-night minimum.
The lake at Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge
Photo by Noah Clayton, courtesy of Avrill’s Flathead Lake Lodge
Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Bigfork, Montana
A third-generation family dude ranch awaits on the unspoiled shores of Flathead Lake.
Horseback riding is central to the ranch experience at this resort, as are sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Grab a saddle for morning trail rides and a paddle for breezy afternoons on the lake.
A robust children’s program includes counselor-led activities such as arts and crafts, trail rides and water sports. A Junior Wrangler Program for kids ages 6 to 12 teaches the basics of horse care (children must be 6 or older to ride horses).
Children’s programs begin after a family breakfast. After that, families choose what they want to do for the day. They can go horseback riding as a family or separate for kids, teens and adult trail rides across the ranch’s 2,000 acres.
Dining: All meals are made from scratch and served family-style. Children eat at 6 p.m., followed by the evening children’s program. Adults sit down in the lodge at 7 p.m. for gourmet meals.
Lodging: There are 48 rustic-elegant accommodations, including guestrooms in two historic lodges and four cabins that date to the 1930s and 1940s. Open in summer only, the lodge requires a minimum seven-night stay.
Accommodations at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tuscon feature Southwestern decor and spectacular views.
Photo courtesy of Tanque Verde Ranch
From horseback riding and desert hikes to bird watching and mountain biking, family activities abound at this rave-worthy ranch, which has earned a slew of accolades, including a coveted Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award in 2019.
On arrival, kids are grouped by age and invited to learn the basics of horse care as well as to participate in tennis, hiking, swimming and nature programs. Kids can ride horses with peers or with their family.
Adults can set off on their own to hike Saguaro National Park, ride mountain bikes in the desert, go on horseback trail rides or indulge in deep-tissue massages at the on-site spa.
Dining: Three gourmet meals a day are served in the main dining room or as part of dining events throughout the week, such as breakfast rides and cowboy cookouts. Beginning late afternoon, the Dog House Saloon features a menu of quick bites, like chicken wings and street tacos.
Lodging: Southwestern-style lodgings include rooms, adobe-style casitas and larger haciendas, all decorated with painted ceramics and brightly colored woven textiles. Settle in on a porch or patio for views of the cacti-dotted desert and mountain landscape.
A Georgia-style Low Country boil is a culinary highlight of a stay at the Lodge on St. Simons Island.
Photo courtesy of Lodge on Little St. Simons Island
Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Georgia
Accessible only by boat, this eco-resort captivates with nature.
It’s a 15-minute ferry ride to this island sanctuary that encourages guests to connect with nature. Enjoy strolls on seven miles of untouched beaches as well as twice-daily naturalist-led activities, including bird-watching and observing loggerhead sea turtle nests.
Take out a complimentary bike for a beach ride on hard-packed sand, or sail away in a kayak or motor-powered skiff. In summer, shelling, sunning and surf fishing are popular beachside activities.
Dining: All meals are locally sourced and served family-style. Think oyster roasts and traditional Low Country boils with shrimp, corn, onions and potatoes. An on-site vegetable garden provides spinach, carrots and herbs for many meals. Beer and wine are included with dinner. In between meals, look for gratis grab-and-go snacks.
Lodging: The resort offers the only lodging on the 11,000-acre island, accommodating a maximum of 32 guests in the main lodge’s spacious guestrooms and in five cottages with views across Mosquito Creek.
The resort is open to all ages during summer season but limited to kids ages 6 and up in the off-season. Large parties have the option to rent out the entire island.
The riverside beach at Club Med Sandpiper Bay
Photo courtesy of Club Med Sandpiper Bay
Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Port St. Lucie, Florida
The iconic Club Med brand has a family-friendly tropical resort between Orlando and Miami, just a 10-minute drive from barrier island beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.
Nestled in a quiet cove along the St. Lucie River, the Sunshine State’s Club Med wows guests with world-class children’s programs, land and water sports aplenty, and even trapeze lessons at its circus school.
Kids’ camps keep little ones busy with cooking classes, talent shows and soccer workshops. Infants as young as four months can go to camp at Baby Club Med (a daily camp fee applies to children younger than four years old). Kids love the three pools and splash park.
It’s not hard to keep active thanks to fitness classes, such as spinning, Zumba, yoga and Pilates. On the water, take out a kayak, catamaran or stand-up paddleboard. There’s even an on-site Sports Academy with top-ranked coaches.
Dining: Restaurants include the buffet-style Marketplace, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; The Riverside for gourmet dining in the evening; and Soleil Terrace for off-peak dining, such as late breakfasts and early dinners.
Lodging: Guests stay in bright, spacious condos accented with manicured gardens. More than 330 guestrooms that sleep up to eight people are spread across seven tidy buildings.
The San Juan Mountains in Colorado await just outside your tent at Dunton River Camp.
Photo courtesy of Dunton River camp
Dunton River Camp, Dunton, Colorado
This outdoor-oriented luxury camp is tailor-made for active travelers.
Daily guided hikes, mountain biking, fly fishing, horseback riding in the San Juan Mountains and detoxifying cleanses at the riverside sauna beckon at this nature-inspired oasis.
Dining: Organic gourmet fare is standard here, where chefs source local foods, such as lamb from pastoral meadows and fresh vegetables from the on-property farm. Exceptional wines are on offer, too, and are included in the rate. After dinner, guests can gather around the fire pit for s’mores and hot chocolate.
Lodging: Retire for the night to one of eight luxurious tents with mountain or river views. Each has a king-size bed, a private bathroom, double sinks and a full-size tub. Every tent comes with two mountain bikes for exploring the trails.
Open from June to mid-October, the camp welcomes all ages but is best suited to children ages 5 and up. The entire camp can be rented out for groups of up to 16 guests.
Lake Austin Spa Resort features fitness classes, hiking, yoga, paddleboarding, à la carte spa treatments and a host of other activities.
Photo courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort
Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas
Water is therapeutic at this sanctuary on the shores of Lake Austin.
The underlying principle at this wellness-inspired resort is that water has healing properties. It’s the core of all the resort’s programs, including wake surfing, tubing and paddleboard yoga.
Guests spend their days on the sparkling lake; at one of three pools, including an indoor lap pool; or in a whirlpool or steam room. Up to 20 daily wellness activities, from strength training and restorative yoga to meditation and aqua barre, are offered. Rejuvenating spa services, including massages and facials, are available à la carte.
Dining: Three locally sourced gourmet meals (known as “conscientious cuisine”) in the main dining room are included, as are healthy mid-afternoon snacks. Seared fresh sea scallops and saffron red bird farm chicken garner rave reviews. Guests may also enjoy lunch at the elegant Aster Café inside the LakeHouse Spa.
Lodging: Forty cottage-style guestrooms are spread across 19 acres in Texas Hill Country. The minimum age for guests is 14.
While no vacation is one-size-fits-all, all-inclusives offer something for everyone along with the peace of mind of one upfront price, helping to ensure a successful vacation.