Anyone who has traveled before having children — and then after — knows the two experiences differ greatly. Instead of spending your time scoring reservations at the buzziest restaurant in town or lining up all-day adventures, your priority becomes making sure that the crib you requested is actually in your room on arrival.
Of course, making the most of your family vacation also means knowing the best places to stay that are age-appropriate. If you’re planning a family vacation, our top 7 picks for an oceanside retreat could be perfect for you.
Infants - 5
With to many amenities to list, Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, is nothing if not thorough when it comes to their youngest overnighters. Conrad‘s comprehensive infant program features a surfeit of amenities. There are Nuna Sena Aire pack ’n plays with blackout solutions, baby cameras, monitors and sound machines for nighttime, and for feeding the offer of nursing pillows, bottle warmers, Inglesina high chairs, baby food and a list of local lactation consultants. Guests can also request a tub kneeler with bath products, and a foam play mat, mineral sunscreen and swim diapers.
Children 5 - 12
Families are treated right at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach. The resort sits on four miles of docking for sailboats and luxury yachts. Seven miles of pristine beach is accessible through the hotel's skywalk. Take a glass-bottom boat ride and see angelfish right beneath you! Families can splash around in the outdoor pool, tour the tropical gardens, even board a real pirate ship for a swashbuckling adventure at the Bahia Mar Marina docks. There are four tennis courts at the resort and many golf courses are in the surrounding area. Rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet, coffee makers and pay-per-view movies and games. Guests can choose rooms with views of the courtyard, marina or ocean. A few casual restaurants and delis are at the resort, and there are many dining options in the area. Oh, and did we mention, free chocolate chip cookies upon check-in?
The Hilton has a reputation for luxury, and that’s just what you’ll get when you visit Hilton Resort in Fort Lauderdale, which is great for families. There are different types of room options that includes simple two-bedroom units through to more luxurious suites. Each unit is equipped with amenities like air conditioning and wi-fi, and each unit has a small kitchen for great holiday breakfasts. Leisure activities abound for children through their exclusive children’s program with Funky Fish Ocean Camp. Geared towards children aged 4-17 and a ratio of 1 Instructor – 7 children, they keep the size of our program small and the experiences big with days filled with snorkeling, boogie boarding, skimboarding, eco-art, oceanology and more. For younger and older kids alike there’s free access to a huge pool with several sections.
B Ocean Resort offers families 486 guestrooms and suites with views of the beach and ocean. Accommodations come with king or double beds, sofa beds, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and snacks via a B-Treated Tray. The resort has two outdoor pools and direct beach access for guests and the B Borrowing Program featuring Custom Beach Cruisers, Board Games, Children’s Beach Toys and Sports Equipment is a nice bonus. Dining is available onsite at the Salty Siren and the Wreck Bar, the latter of which has family-friendly mermaid shows on the weekends.
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The Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach offers families 230 guestrooms that sleep up to four with king or queen beds and sofa beds. All have mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV’s and coffee makers. Cribs are available upon request, too. Where the hotel shines though is it's proximity to everything your teen child may want to experience, all within walking distance so their not too far. The fact the hotel has a swimming pool ( for them ), a pool bar ( for you ) and is across the street from the sandy beach is a great start. Kids will love the Ball Box kiosk on the pool deck as well offering a range of beach gear and sports equipment to rent for that impromptu game of football on the sand. There are also casual restaurants within a one block walk, and even a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company attached below. The hotel also sits next to Las Olas Oceanside Park, which hosts a number of free, family-friendly events ranging from concerts to movie nights and a farmers market every weekend.
Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach
The Westin has a reputation as a great line of family-friendly resorts, and the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is no exception. If you’re visiting with smaller kids, they offer a range of activity programs and a fully-supervised pool. Heading over to the beach is also a breeze on their dedicated skywalk. Rooms have Wi-Fi, a small kitchen, a smart TV and access to room service so you can order in. If you want to take a walk, check out some of the restaurants located around the resort. A bonus for mother-daughter getaways is their full service spa, Heavenly Spa at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach. Offering an extensive menu featuring a variety of revitalizing treatments in a peaceful sanctuary. Indulge with a massage, facial, water therapy session, manicure, pedicure, or any combination of the above. Their Heavenly Day Packages include carefully crafted spa packages that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
With 23 impressive layout options, every family can easily find a unit to suit all needs at W Fort Lauderdale. Over 515 rooms, suites, two-bedroom flats and just about everything in between feature upscale amenities, including DVD players and a media library, balconies the overlook the ocean or the waterway and contemporary peek-a-boo glass bathroom walls. Larger units offer separate bedrooms, full kitchens, laundry facilities and dining areas. For fun, families can start at the two infinity-edge swimming pools overlook the ocean. And if your “kids” are of the four-legged variety, the chic hotel features an impressive PAW Program (Pets Are Welcome), with goods and services more than live up to the name. For a $100 non-refundable pet fee and a nightly fee of $25, your stay includes a plush dog bed and a Bark Box filled with pet-friendly goodies delivered to your room.