Best Places to Travel with Baby in the United States
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Use Resort Concierge Services
Many resorts offer child care programs or have concierge services who will help you arrange the right sitter, for a fee, for your baby and older siblings. I spoke with Christelle Martin, President/CEO of Sitters In A Second, an independent agency with locations across Florida, California and Washington, DC which provides "the highest quality professionally screened childcare to traveling families in hotels and resorts nationwide".
Christelle shares some great advice:
“I think year-round warm weather hotels and resorts are a great options for families with babies. Being outside in the fresh air is so important. Beach resorts are terrific because going to the beach and into the ocean is something parents can do and enjoy with young children, and those usually come with a pool.”
(Make sure to check out our tips for sun protection here).
There’s nothing better than baby’s giggles as the waves tickle little toes! Most resorts with pools will also offer free swim diapers for babies. Martin continues:
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“Beach resorts located in warm, beautiful areas are perfect for strolling with babies. They’ll nap, so a good spa, pool and/or golf course are important to help moms and dads relax, in addition to good shopping for a little retail therapy. After all that activity, babies go to bed early so quality restaurants and nightlife are important for a couple's night out. In order for parents to truly enjoy a vacation to the fullest, make sure you use professionally screened sitters whom you’ve booked well in advance.”
Overwhelming Choices for Travel Ideas
Last month, I attended the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism and learned some staggering facts about travel and online research when determining where to travel: 8.7 billion minutes are spent annually viewing travel content in the United States.
The choices can obviously be overwhelming when deciding where to vacation with your baby! I’ve put together this resource, both from research and personal experience, to help you navigate the oceans of info when researching travel with an infant. Get out there and take baby on vacation!
(Note- if there is an asterisk * next to the location, I have personally been there and can highly recommend, too!)
Best Places to Take Baby on Vacation in the United States
Founder of Sitters in a Second, Martin, recommends the following three locations as her top picks for vacations with baby and services these locations with her team of professionally screened nannies and sitters.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando, FL *
Guests can relax by The Ritz-Carlton pool or float along the JW Marriott’s 24,000-square-foot, winding lazy river, which holds 672,000 gallons of water and circles the property in a loop. It’s amazing! Bring a baby inner-tube and swim diaper and you’ll always remember the giggles! Outdoor play areas and dive-in movie pool parties are also available, and families with older children can enjoy bocce ball, play sand volleyball, and ride around the expansive resort paths on surrey bicycles or just for a stroll.
Request the in-room camping experience and check out the Ritz Kids program for older siblings. Kids can grasp some incredible sensory experiences with real life animals and more, based on Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, which offers crafted experiences based on four key pillars:
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Water: Emphasizing the importance of sea life and health.
Land: Encouraging exploration and discovery.
Environmental Responsibility: Promoting the environmental health of our planet for the future.
Culture: Exposing young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs and history, as well as cuisine.
The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL *
You’ll never run out of things to do at the world-famous Breakers Hotel on the Island of Palm Beach. Stroll the walking paths behind the enormous Beach Club, where baby will undoubtedly frolic and giggle in the sand (and maybe ingest a few handfuls), and you’ll find The Breakers’ Family Entertainment Center. With 6,100 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, it’s completely dedicated to kids’ activities including:
* A huge outdoor playground featuring slides, tunnels, bridges, puzzles and interactive games
* Toddler and children's playroom, complete with toys and games for little ones
* Extensive variety of activities tailored to older siblings, including nature walks, science labs, snorkeling lessons and more
* Utilize babysitting services or take your little one for a stroll along the famous shops of Worth Avenue and ride past President Trump’s home of Mar-A-Lago. You’ll love the nearby restaurants, including our favorite family-friendly local gourmet spots, Buccan and Grato, and the fantastic Palm Beach Zoo, drive through Lion Country Safari, and Science Center.
The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Coast, CA
Plenty of family, beach and pool time await in Southern California. Moms and dads will enjoy the spa, strolling paths, golf, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. While the resort doesn’t offer infant specific care and you’ll need to utilize an outside screened sitter service, older siblings will have their own resort vacation at Camp Pelican. An ocean-view retreat filled with activities that entertain and nurture creativity, kids are constantly engaged with something new every day. They’ll have fun in their own space, making friends while you work on your swing, tan, or simply enjoy peace and quiet.
More Top Picks for Baby Friendly Destinations
Club Med Sandpiper, Port St. Lucie, Florida
Right in my backyard, where Coastal Living magazine calls nearby downtown Stuart, “the Happiest Seaside Town in America,” is Club Med Sandpiper Bay. Paradise awaits, ready to pamper the whole family in style at their award-winning all-inclusive property. Parents have 24-hour access to baby care rooms, complete with bottle warmers, a microwave, fridge, mixer, sterilizer, and loaner items including strollers and other baby necessities.
Their unique program called “Baby Club Med” for infants of four-months to twenty-three months is sure to make baby smile! The schedule includes indoor and outdoor activities, healthy meals and an afternoon nap. Petit Club Med offers activities for toddlers ages 2 and 3 including entertainment, meals, the open air Baby Gym, and downtimes. Older siblings and parents have tons of activities to choose from, like my favorite, sailing on their private lake.
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Rent a Vacation Home near Seaside, Florida *
Seaside, the quaint backdrop town for the Jim Carrey movie "The Truman Show", is one of our favorite destinations on the planet. We’ve been on a family trip to the South Walton area at least once a year for the last four years. Each time, we’ve reserved our home-away-from-home luxury lodging through the hospitable Newman-Dailey Vacation Properties. The team will match you, and possibly your family pets, with the perfect vacation rental.
You might choose the nature-filled Sanctuary at Redfish, an oceanfront condo like the Jade East Towers in Destin, or one of the other hundreds of fully-equipped properties in their portfolio. Their team can help you arrange a sitting service and they frequently offer travel incentives. Bring your games, books, and favorite wine, and soak in the relaxation of the Emerald Coast.
Seaside is full of completely walkable charm. The town square, amphitheater and green space is encircled with boutique shopping and dining choices, just across the famous Highway 30A from the Gulf. If you stay in Seaside, you can walk to everything, including miles of trails and the pristine, white powdery sand of the Emerald Coast Gulf waters. The entire South Walton area feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Unique modern amenities and ultimate charm await.
The 30A corridor is home to some of Florida’s best state parks and incredible biking or walking trails. Neighboring towns of Watercolor, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach and more are all within a few miles and present their own charming day-destinations. If you’re looking for a little more “city” scene with chain restaurants and shopping, the town of Destin is just a short drive away with a plethora of choices. Make sure you dine on the Gulf at Bud & Alley’s and check out Sundog Books and Duckie’s Shop of Fun with the kids.
Sanderling Resort, Outer Banks, North Carolina *
The Sanderling is one of those places where you can retreat and get away from it all in luxury. The Outer Banks beaches are incredible, and accommodations/views are stunning. Sanderling has a zero-entry family friendly pool with fun water spouts that is perfect for small children. Their Lifesaving Station Restaurant is delicious and accommodating with high chairs and kids coloring menus/crayons. Of course, the fire pits and s’mores are great family activities.
While you’ll probably need the assistance of the concierge to arrange for sitting services, the Sanderling is a perfect place to get away if you really want some family time. In the summers, they offer incredible eco-programming for older siblings and families including ghost crabbing, surf fishing, jewelry making and beach scavenger hunt/walks. The nearby North Carolina Aquarium has touch tanks, and you’ll want to make a stop at some of the Outer Banks quaint shopping villages, world famous Kitty Hawk Kites and Duck Donuts.
The Houstonian Hotel *
An exclusive members-only location with such regulars as delegates, ambassadors, businessmen and even former President Bush, the Houstonian Hotel and Club offers special programming for youngsters while mom and dad are pampered in luxury with impeccable service and dining. The Houstonian features world-class fitness, aquatic and court sports and a magnificent spa. The Bungalow provides a supervised play area for children ages six weeks to five years, stocked with age-appropriate toys.
The Kids' Gym offers older children, ages six through 12, a wide variety of opportunities such as games, movies and arts and crafts in addition to a state-of-the-art, three-level indoor climbing structure. You’ll feel like a member at their club-atmosphere pool. Try the in-room "glamping" package for older siblings, including a tent prepared for sleep and play, complete with a lantern, stuffed animal and sleeping bag. Your child(ren) will treasure the memories forever! We did! Houston is famous for it’s zoo and children’s museums, so off- site visits are educational and fun.
Hilton Waikoloa Village *
We've stayed all over the world, and often in Hilton properties, but the Village at Hilton Waikoloa is at the top of our list for favorites. The 9-acre property on a protected side of the bay is exactly what you’d expect from a dream Hawaiian vacation. They’ll provide cribs and necessary amenities to your spacious room. Ride the monorails or boats around the resort or lounge in a hammock.
Enjoy the numerous pool and our favorite, the safe and sheltered lagoon. The property’s concierge will help you arrange a babysitting service, and Camp Menehune offers day or night camps with crafts, games and water activities for older keiki (children) ages 5 through 12, with something different everyday. Daily activities include crafts, games, and water activities geared toward the theme of the day.
I've given you a lot of great suggestions above, but don't get too bogged down in the selection. If you take anything away from this, hear me when I say: no matter where you go, just make sure you go on vacation with baby!
Wherever your destination, making memories on vacation with your baby and family are priceless experiences you will cherish for the rest of your lives.