Hard to please at times and with minds (and itineraries) of their own, teens can be the most challenging -- or on a good day, the most pleasant, of traveling companions.

Increase the odds that your next family vacation will be enjoyable for all, by checking out these top teen-friendly resorts, each fittingly designed for an active group getaway.

Written by Jackie Perrin
For water-loving teens who love their space, Atlantis Paradise Island delivers a sea of aquatic adventures along with regular “me time,” in “Club Rush,” a specially designed breathing room just for them. Encompassing 97 acres on Paradise Island's north coast, the Bahamian resort is a massive aquatic playground, with 20 swimming areas, the world's largest open-air marine habitat and Aquaventure, a 63-acre waterpark with extreme slides and a power-driven “river ride.” Add in a state-of-the-art climbing center, teen pampering treatments at Mandara Spa and a dolphin interaction program, and you’ve got a boatload of potentially brag-worthy vacation memories. Among six accommodations options, The Reef and Harborside Resort offer the friendliest quarters for families.

Read our review of the Atlantis Resort.

Skiing isn't the only way to play outdoors in the Green Mountain State. In summer (June-September), Smugglers Notch Resort, a four-season destination, offers "Notch Squad," a full-day experience for ages 11 to 15, with active games, high and low rope courses and unique sports like mountain boarding. Daredevils up to age 15 can sign up for “High Adventure Experience Camp" -- summer camp on steroids with climbing, kayaking and zip lines -- while older teens (ages 15 to 17) get the freedom to explore it all with the "Mountain Explorers" program, creating action-packed itineraries from a diverse menu of options. Of course, winter brings an array of snow-filled fun, as well as a similar array of lively activities, with traditional snow-sports camps as well as a la carte lessons. Two Teen Centers give the crew a place to escape the ’rents, and condo-style accommodations (up to five-bedroom townhouses arranged in five resort “Villages”) mean teens can have the space they need, while affording the rest of the family some well-deserved peace and quiet.

Read our review of the Smugglers' Notch Resort.

Action and adventure take center stage at Universal Orlando Resort, where two popular theme parks and a sprawling entertainment district will keep your teens entertained both day and night. On select nights, visitors ages 15 through 19 can get their groove on at CityWalk, a dance club at Universal’s 30-acre entertainment and dining complex, which plays host to regular teen nights.

Onsite lodging choices include the 650 room Hard Rock Hotel (check out rockin' pool with underwater tunes), the 1,000-room Loews Royal Pacific Resort (recently renovated) and the 750-room Loews Portofino Bay Resort, which boasts the largest standard guestrooms among all three properties as well as Mandara Spa, offering treatments just for teens. A resort room key serves as an "Express Pass," affording overnight guests front of the line access to rides, preferred seating at shows and select dining venues, and complimentary resort transportation.

Read our review of Universal Orlando Resort.
Image conscious adolescents needn’t lose their cool when they check in to Beaches Turks & Caicos, part of the all-inclusive resort chain known for an entertaining parade of Sesame Street characters. Located on beautiful Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, this all-inclusive resort is an attractive playground for active teens as well as their younger siblings. After a day spent sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing and scuba diving, teens can try their foot at surfing on a SurfStream simulator, make their own CDs at Scratch DJ Academy, chill at Trench Town Lounge or hang out at Xbox 360 Game Garage or Liquid, an aqua-themed dance club. Treatments for teens at Red Lane Spa include "Irie Manicures" and "Reggae Pedicures," and since snacks and seconds are included, they can indulge growing appetites, without draining your bank account. In May, 2009, the resort opened The Italian Village, containing 162 family suites.

Read our review of the Beaches Turks & Caicos.

Teens can ditch the family posse and set out on a wild western vacation trail at this family-owned Jackson, Wyoming-area dude ranch offering a train of adventures just for them. Triangle C Ranch’s Teen Dude Ranch Program (ages 13 to 19) includes overnight mountain bike trips with breakfast cookouts, "Dude Disco" nights and Teen Cowboy classes. Weekly group excursions to Yellowstone National Park (included) and Grand Teton National Park (Snake River rafting-fee) are a draw, even when parents tag along for the ride. Half week (four-day) and full-week packages are available. Summer season runs Memorial Day through August.

Read our review of Triangle C Dude Ranch.

Enjoy exalted status as your teen's new BFF when you treat them to a trip to Kantenah Grand Palladium Resort & Spa. Situated on a prime stretch of beachfront on The Mayan Riviera, this all-inclusive resort, one of four facility-sharing properties in the massive Grand Palladium complex, is a value for parents and a paradise for teens, with lively entertainment and food provided 24/7. Included in your stay are a number of water-centered activities such as kayaking, snorkeling and windsurfing. The Black & White Jr. teen club offers Wii, X-Box 360 and PlayStation 3, and live nightly shows, teen disco parties and a 24-hour beach/snack bar keep teens entertained into the wee hours. If you're vacationing elsewhere in the vicinity, you can purchase a day or evening pass and sample the resort's amenities.

Read our review of the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort.

Lose the Blackberry, the video controls and -- dare we say it -- the TV at The Tyler Place Family Resort, a seasonal Northern Vermont all-inclusive resort that's big on tuning out outside influences, and tuning in to some classic outdoor family fun. From waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing to hiking, climbing and getting from here to there on their own resort-issued bikes, your pre-drivers can express their spirit and independence, without ever once asking for the car keys. Daily programs for kids from infants to young teens (ages 13 to 15) are included in the rate at this exceptionally well-run family resort, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2009.

Read our review of The Tyler Place Family Resort.

Located about 4.5 hours from The South Rim, the Fairmont Scottsdale isn’t exactly convenient to Grand Canyon National Park, but is instead a great stop on a Southwestern U.S. family road trip. Besides golf, tennis and Sonoran Splash (a free-form lagoon pool with two water park-style slides) there's a new Sport Court as well as The Hang Out, a private lounge for guests ages 13 to 17. The hip teen-only haunt has a cyber cafe as well as a video lounge with comfy seating and three X-Box and music video stations. Teen-friendly excursions (available through the resort concierge) include hot air balloon flights, horseback riding, mountain bike trips and off-road ATV, Hummer and Tomcar (military grade utility vehicle) tours. Casitas provide the most spaces for families.

Read our review of the Fairmont Scottsdale.

At this teen-friendly northwest Costa Rican Resort, you can combine harmony with nature with family harmony, in a luxurious setting shared by resident howler monkeys, rare sea turtles and exotic birds. Perched on a narrow plateau 320 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the 45-acre property is secluded, but that doesn’t mean activities are sedentary. Using the resort as a base for exploration, families can surf, snorkel, sea kayak, hike, go horseback riding or zip through the rainforest on a high-flung canopy tour. Three hotel pools are cradled by two popular beaches for chillaxin’ and a nearby Beach Club, Tuanis Teen Center, free cooking and salsa lessons and an on-site spa offering “OMG” treatments provide even more diversions for teens. Lodging options include spacious standard rooms (603 square feet), one- to three-bedroom treehouse canopy suites and private rental homes.

Read our review of the Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo.

Walt Disney World Resort, as a whole, is a teen's fantasy vacation. Thrill rides like Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and originals such as Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are a must for any Orlando adventurer, and recent attractions like Toy Story Mania! and The American Idol Experience give new reason to return at any age. Beyond the theme park gates, Disney's Beach Club Resort features a three-acre water park pool and villas to accommodate larger families and give teens plenty of space.

Read our review of Disney's Beach Club Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort.

You may also want to check out our Choosing Your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel article.

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Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas Reviews
jdks01 - Aug 7th, 2015

First and formost I have been coming here for years. Way back when it was Merv Griffens hotel. I was a child then however I just love the Bahamas!!! I modeled for a huge part of my life so many shoots were done on the beaches of the Bahamas. It ... read more
Dwayne - Jul 21st, 2015

Firstly, I have to say that before my family and I left for Atlantis, Paradise Island, I read the reviews that are here and we were seriously having second-thoughts because there was so much negative. Fortunately, we continued our plans and we just ... read more
Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas reviews
Smugglers' Notch Reviews
Beachbabe - Apr 6th, 2015

Our family had a wonderful experience at SMUGGS. We loved the kids ski school. My 9 and 11 year old learned to ski in just one day! My son has a medical disability and the instructors took great care with him and we felt very comfortable leaving our ... read more
dandfox - Mar 30th, 2015

What a great experience. From the front desk to the guys at the rental shop stopping to check my name to talk to me. The people on the mountain were beyond friendly and always willing to help. The room was cozy and clean and everything was ... read more
Smugglers' Notch reviews
 
Beaches Turks & Caicos Reviews
Greg bortner - Aug 8th, 2015

My wife and I paid a great deal of money to take 6 people to Beaches Turks and Caicos. We stayed in the Caribbean Village. The rooms were substandard for the amount we paid. The room was to be supplied with alcohol,It was not. We requested it ... read more
geetalaw8 - May 7th, 2015

This is my 3rd visit to this resort. The second time with my children. I did not use the kids camp because a lot of the activities were during the peak sunburn hours of 11am to 2pm. I could see that by that time my kids were becoming hot and ... read more
Beaches Turks & Caicos reviews
Triangle C Dude Ranch Reviews
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Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa Reviews
SeaDebi - May 18th, 2010

After quite a bit of research to find a hotel that we would like we finally chose the Grand Palladium! Our family absolutely loved our stay. We went in late March and was certain we would run into Spring Breakers, however to our delight we had no ... read more
sunlover74 - Oct 13th, 2009

We couldn't believe the size of this place when we arrived. It is huge and that is an understatement. We loved that it was so large, however. We like to walk around and also love long walks on the beach. Our room was comfortable. We had two ... read more
Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa reviews
Tyler Place Family Resort Reviews
mowright71 - Jun 11th, 2013

Our favorite family vacation (and we've taken several great family trips too) was Tyler Place in upstate Vermont. I've recommended this all-inclusive family vacation to several friends and co-workers and we are planning on going back in 2014. Kids ... read more
kjchronister - Jul 1st, 2012

Everything you've read is true... and then some. This is by order of magnitude the best vacation and favorite place of ours ever. The staff - amazing. The food - amazing. The activities - amazing. The accomodations - amazing. I have never, ever, ... read more
Tyler Place Family Resort reviews
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Reviews
irvinefamily4 - Dec 3rd, 2011

While there was a "teen hang out" available, the equipment was missing or broken, there were no other teens there to hang out with, and there were no organized activities on property to encourage teens to gather or meet. It was an empty ... read more
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess reviews
Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo Reviews
dhodges1721 - Feb 11th, 2015

Terrible service. The meatballs were recommended by our server and I have had better frozen hamburgers. Expensive and disappointing. Other than the beer and the wine, I thought it was terrible. This restaurant wouldn't last 1 month in NYC. ... read more
Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo reviews
Disney's Beach Club Resort Reviews
chris8591 - May 29th, 2014

I honestly can not say one bad thing about Disney's Beach Club resort!! I have been a Disney fan for 22+ years and have went every year. I have stayed all over property and off of property and hands down the Beach club resort is my home from now ... read more
kcottom - May 17th, 2014

Been to Disney many times. We always stay at Disney properties. Contemporary, Animal Kingdom Lodge etc. The Beach Club was the BEST! Ideal location, walk to Epcot, ferry to Hollywood Studios. LOVE the pools. Great service. Nice rooms. Will ... read more
Disney's Beach Club Resort reviews