This is a list I’ve compiled of all-inclusive resorts that offer child care (or kid’s camps) as part of the cost. I love resorts that go above and beyond to make it easier for parents to travel with their children.
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My husband and I LOVE doing activities on vacation… we want to try to windsurf or relax on the beach without worrying about someone running off into the ocean. We don’t generally get take a break when we’re home so having some support on vacation is a MUST for us. If we are going to trek 3-4 hours or more with two toddlers on an airplane, pack, etc. then there’s got to be a chance for us to relax in the mix there somewhere.
Last July, we went to FDR Resorts in Jamaica and it was wonderful. FDR was a cozy resort… small, intimate, and easy to find your way around.
Everyone was really friendly.
You’re assigned a vacation nanny from 9-4:40 or thereabouts who can spend the day with you or take your kids to the play areas. Great stuff. We’re introverts though and there’s something to be said for being able to get lost in a crowd when you want to go into your “zone.”
So this year, we wanted to try something new, preferably with a daycare type setup that he might do better in, so we checked out several options. It seems like the options for young children are pretty limited. Once you hit 4 yr+ then your options for resorts with supervised play areas opens up, but even then many of the options involve EXPENSIVE daycare costs. We checked out cruises, but not only would we be paying just as much per person for our children as the adults, but we’d also need to pay for their daycare program. That adds up FAST. Also, boats… toddlers who like to climb up railings.. we’ll wait until they’re a bit older.
So here’s what I found for options that appealed to us and some various thoughts. We ended up choosing Beaches Negril for our trip in October 2015. Our sons were 4 and almost 2 years old when we went.
Please note these trips require a passport. The links to the Beaches sites and Club Mobay are affiliate links and if you use them, you help support my site. Thank you! The other links are not, at this time, affiliate links:
- Beaches- Negril, Jamaica: We opted for this one because the resort looked like they had better water play areas for our sons’ ages than the Ocho Rios resort, and it’s closer to the airport. It’s also higher rated. But airport proximity is huge for us… it’s still a bit of travel, but less that Ocho Rios.For my review of the resort, check out: Our Trip to Beaches- Negril, Jamaica.
- Beaches- Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Slightly further away from the airport than the Negril resort and it looks a lot smaller than the Negril location. It still looked awesome, and Ocho Rios is going to be closer to some activities if you plan to go off site. We don’t with kids as young as ours.
- Beaches- Turks and Caicos: Located closer to the airport than the Jamaica resorts. I’ve heard the airport is really small so if there’s a delay it’s not much fun to hang out in. I’m not sure how it compares to Jamaica’s airport which is also small, but we like that Jamaica has the (affiliate link) Club Mobay to make arrivals and departures easier. This place is WAY bigger and looks AMAZING though… it was more expensive so we opted for Jamaica, but I’d love to check it out in the future.
- Coconut Bay All Inclusive, St. Lucia: We wanted to go here SO BAD. We were ready to book. There’s horseback riding on the beach, paintball, and an adults only area… the play areas looked amazing and included a petting zoo. I heard the beaches aren’t quite as nice because they get a lot of seaweed, but we weren’t super concerned. But I looked up flights from BWI and Dulles and there were no non stop flights.UPDATE (January 2016): We decided to take a family vacation here and found non stop flights from Philadelphia which isn’t a long drive. We’re planning to drive to Philly the day before, spend the day at the museum, then catch a flight the next morning. It will still save us time and make the trip easier. Sometime in April 2016, I’m sure I’ll write a post about our experience at Coconut Bay Resort so keep an eye out.
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- FDR Resorts, Jamaica: We went last year and loved it. Wanted something a bit bigger this year, and with a daycare center instead of 1:1 nanny care.
- Almond Beach Resort Barbados: I haven’t researched this one a lot, but I came across it recently and wanted to add it to the list of possibilities. Apparently it may have been bought by Beaches so I wonder how to resort will be in a year or two.
If you go to Jamaica… I have to repeat… Club Mobay is key here.
Customs lines aren’t awesome on the way in, especially if you’ve just gotten off a 3+ hour flight with kids. We’re using Club Mobay for our October visit because last visit we ended up in a terrible customs line with hungry, wiggly children.
If you use Club Mobay, they hold signs up and direct you to a special waiting area where they give you food, beverages, and a play area for the kids. If you’re traveling without kids, they have an adults only room too. I’ve heard it’s worth every cent. I wish we’d known it existed last trip.
I highly recommend finding vacation options that work for your family. I know many people leave children with family which is… by the way… wayyyyyyy cheaper, but we really love having our kids with us. We just want an option to spend time together as well. It also gives the kids a wonderful opportunity to meet new children and interact with adults other than us.