Everybody loves a bargain, and the search for the ultimate vacation deal has led many a hapless traveler astray. If you're traveling solo, you pay the consequences and move on. But if you're planning your family's only annual holiday, the stakes rise. Naturally, every parent's definition of what constitutes a "bargain" resort or hotel is going to differ, but many agree that when you're planning a trip with children, certain amenities can't be sacrificed, no matter how enticing the rate.

We've gathered our favorite resorts that offer a great deal for families. Each property features something special for the kids, without breaking the bank. We haven't put a price on what constitutes a good bargain, since, let's face it, $200 a night in Maine will buy you a lot more than $200 in Maui. These resorts offer a great value when compared to others in the area, rates that are less than at nearby competitors and amenities that are comparable or superior. When it comes to your bang for your buck, these properties deliver.

Written by Carrie Calzaretta
Located in the Province of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, eco-friendly Si Como No's 60 rooms are surrounded by jungle and sea. The property is secluded enough to feel like you are a million miles from civilization, yet there are ample amenities and activities to make it entertaining for the kids. These include two onsite restaurants, two pools (one family pool with a waterslide), a small movie theater and wireless Internet.

What Makes It a Deal?
The room rates at Si Como No are surprisingly affordable given its spectacular location, and also include a complimentary breakfast buffet, free shuttle to nearby Manuel Antonio National Park and free passes to the Butterfly Botanical Gardens at Fincas Naturales Wildlife Refuge across the street. But perhaps most importantly, you’ll feel good knowing your money was well spent. The owner of Si Como No is renown for his efforts to help preserve the rainforest.

Located just three miles from Colonial Williamsburg, Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg offers families the ability to mix a healthy dose of culture with a giant dose of fun. If your children aren't keen on the idea of period clothing and Civil War, this ought to be enough to get them there.

What Makes It a Deal?
The indoor water park. If your kids are into them, this one is well worth every penny. The resort has a 300,000-gallon indoor water park with eight waterslides, a wave pool, lazy-river, pool for basketball, Flowrider surf pool, and the highlight of the property: The Howlin' Tornado, which sends four-person rafts down a six-story funnel and spits them out into an exit pool. And of course, with the Williamsburg location, you're getting two vacations for the price of one -- that is, if you can manage to tear the kids away.

Set on 165 acres in northern Vermont, Tyler Place makes a great outdoor escape for the family, but without sacrificing amenities and luxuries. This intimate resort, open May through September, is located on the shores of Lake Champlain, with children's programs, outdoor fun, indoor and outdoor swimming poounds, bicycles and more.

What Makes It a Deal?
Although the resort is a summer property, great deals can be found in May and September, and the all-inclusive pricing for activities, meals and accommodations makes it easier to budget for the getaway.

Located on Lake Superior, Lutsen Resort features cabins, condos and luxury homes, but for those on a budget, it offers Lutsen Sea Villas, located just a few miles south of the resort's main building. They're admittedly dated and less spacious than other accommodations, but still provide up-close views of the lake. Plus, all guests get to partake in a number of activities, such as sea-kayaking lessons, swimming, biking, hiking, fishing and golfing in the summer, and skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months. Lutsen Resort also offers complimentary, year-round events, which often include family festivals with fireworks, food and races.

What Makes It a Deal?
Lutsen Resort continually offers killer rates, often below $80 per night. It also offers a plethora of inexpensive packages (typically under $150 a night), which might include breakfast or ski lift tickets to nearby Lutsen Mountains.
Located on 300 acres of coastline about 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, El Capitan Canyon resort is two parts rustic, one part luxury. The experience is referred to as "glamping" or "glamorous camping." Families can stay in charming private cabins that have kitchenettes and private bathrooms with soaking tubs, or safari tents. Fire pits in the cooking area allow families to prepare their own meals. Family activities include storytelling, Saturday night barbecues and concerts in the summer. There is also a heated swimming pool.

What Makes It a Deal?
You are not paying for extras at El Capitan. By bringing your own food and making use of the kitchenettes and participating in the free activities offered, you’ll save a bundle.

Of all the Disneyland hotels, the modest Paradise Pier Hotel actually offers the largest guestrooms (standard rooms sleep up to five guests) and the lowest rates. It also has a few key amenities, which make it a great choice for families, namely an arcade, movie theater and a really cool rooftop pool with a waterslide and great views (which include fireworks sightings on select nights), along with onsite character dining.

What Makes It a Deal?
You can't beat Paradise Pier's location and Disney touches for the price. Disney always offers little incentives to make its properties more appealing than the others, like park re-entry (the ability to scoot back to the hotel for meals or naps and then re-enter the park) and free transportation to and from the park. You'll also have access to a Disney movie room and in-room babysitting.

Campy Point Sebago Resort is a great budget-friendly resort for families looking to get back to basics and spend some time close to nature. Located on Sebago Lake, Southern Maine's largest lake, the resort covers 775 shorefront and wooded acres and offers loads of activities for families, all at an affordable price.

What Makes It a Deal?
What's great about Point Sebago is that you have a wide variety of accommodation options, so you can decide for yourself how much or how little you want to spend. You'll have the option of everything from a tent or RV to a much-less-rustic park or vacation home. The resort also runs a terrific kid's program, which is free for all guests and provides tons of outdoor fun for children ages 3 and older. Families can also save money on food, as all lodging options include some kind of cooking facility, be it a campfire or fully equipped kitchen. Many families opt to cook their own meals, purchasing goods at the onsite general store. Those who prefer to be served can dine at the onsite Lakeview Restaurant.

Let's face it: Maui ain't cheap. But the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel offers a beautiful location on 11 acres of the island's famous Ka'anapali Beach, along with lots of genuine Hawaiian touches and personalized service hard to come by at some of the larger resorts. The hotel has a neat whale-shaped pool and beautiful landscaping, too.

What Makes It a Deal?
The location on Ka'anapali Beach can't be beat for the price, and the hotel's Aloha Value rooms (which face exterior lawns or surrounding hotels) are a great deal. The hotel also offers a free "Aloha Passport for Kids" program for families with children ages 12 and under, which guides families through the property while they participate in activities like hula lessons and flower and lei making. Kids also get a free Hawaiian souvenir.

The Bahamas' Comfort Suites Paradise Island is the best way to experience Atlantis Resort and Casino on a budget. Directly adjacent to Atlantis, a few extra steps could save your family several hundred dollars, if you don’t mind returning to less-luxurious accommodations than your friends residing at Atlantis. A nice resort in its own right, the 229-room Comfort Suites has a lovely pool with a swim-up bar, free continental breakfast, an onsite restaurant for breakfast and lunch (less expensive than dining at Atlantis) and a refrigerator in every room.

What Makes It a Deal?
The major draw is that you get full access to all the facilities at Atlantis Resort and Casino, including the pools, waterslides and river rides, spa, Kids Club, Dolphin Cay and Aquaventure. Yes, seriously! You can also ask for signing privileges at Atlantis restaurants (though you will not have access to Atlantis meal plans), which means you can spend the entire day there and return only to sleep.
Considered one of Disney World's Value Resorts, Pop Century Resort is admittedly a little more dated, and a little less amenity-friendly than some of the other Disney properties. But for families looking to visit Disney on a budget, it's an ideal option. Located near Epcot, this sprawling 2,880-room resort has three pools, an arcade, a playground and a large food court.

What Makes It a Deal?
The rates are extremely reasonable for a Disney property (you can often find rates for less than $100 per night, and for as low as $65 per night). All Disney Resorts offer advantages to staying at a non-Disney property, including extra Magic Hours, which allow you to arrive early and stay late at the park on certain days, avoiding lines -- a privilege that is well worth it, especially during peak season -- and free bus transportation to all Walt Disney World Resort destinations.

Club Med Cancun Yucatan's rooms and suites sit alongside what is arguably the best beach in Cancun. The wide, mile-long expanse of sandy beach is perfect for families. Some may remember that prior to Hurricane Wilma in 2005, the resort was adults-only. But it re-opened in November 2006 after undergoing $20 million in renovations, including the addition of Club Med's signature children's program, Mini Club Med for ages 4 to 10 and Club Med Passworld for ages 11 to 17. And in 2014, it welcomes even more family amenities, such as new beachfront accommodations for families, an additional kids club, new playground, new dining options and more.

What Makes It a Deal?
Club Med is a good bargain because of the quality of the kids' programming you get for the price. While you will find other all-inclusive resorts that offer children's programs and might have more luxurious accommodations and more sophisticated dining options, what you get for the price at a Club Med makes it a good choice. This particular Club Med rates even higher than most on the value scale because of its top-notch beach.

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11 Best Budget-Friendly Family Resorts
Si Como No Reviews
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Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg Reviews
stumer - Jun 20th, 2014

My family vacationed, our first visit, at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA in August 2013. We had not told our kids, ages 6-12, where we were going in advance, so it was pure surprise & "WOW" for all of us looking through the big window in the ... read more
6mohrmans - Jun 5th, 2014

Went for a moms and kids getaway during the school week- gasp! Two years later, after countless trips to beaches, sailing in FL and NYE in Dominican, kids still say it was their favorite place. SMH but some things are just best through the eyes of ... read more
Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg reviews
The 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
The Tyler Place Family Resort reviews
 
El Capitan Canyon Reviews
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Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel Reviews
sgrap - Aug 4th, 2014

We stayed for the first time at the Paradise Pier Hotel in May 2014. To be fair, we have previously stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel, which is the nicest hotel of the resort, so it is a bit unfair to compare one to the other. The cost of ... read more
luvpresli - Jul 18th, 2011

I can't even being to explain how our trip to Disneyland was. I am 24 years old and had never been. My husband, growing up in LA, had been several of times. It wasn't until Feb. of this year that we booked our 6 night stay there in the Paradise Pier ... read more
Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel reviews
Point Sebago Resort Reviews
juliejoyce - Jul 7th, 2013

Just coming home from our 4 days at Sebago, it had been a couple of years since we last visited & frankly I was nervous after reading some of the reviews. So, let me put everyone at ease....We had a blast & my kids were bummed when we packed ... read more
sillich01 - Jul 4th, 2012

We have been coming to Pt Sebago for many years. In general we have enjoyed our vacations here. I have heard an undercurrent of trouble with management and customer service, there are many complaints logged onto the internet. Until yesterday I ... read more
Point Sebago Resort reviews
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel Reviews
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Disney's Pop Century Resort Reviews
brucemcsharkbite - Jun 30th, 2014

The only bad thing I can say about this resort is the fact that maximum capacity is 4 per room. It has the best food cafe, courtesy staff, neat Disney towel friends, convenient location for laundry, excellent gift shop the list goes on..... If we ... read more
cbwilliams2010 - May 30th, 2014

Disney was very creative with the development of the Pop Century Resort. The resort celebrates trends and inventions from the 1950's to the 1990's such as the Yo-Yo, Play Doh, and various dance styles during these periods of time. I was born in ... read more
Disney's Pop Century Resort reviews
Club Med Cancun Yucatan Reviews
luckyskimom - Nov 15th, 2011

Club Med Yucatan (Cancun) In February of 2010, my three teenagers and I went to the Club Med in Cancun and had the greatest time. As a single mom with three teens, it was the perfect vacation. We had a room with the ocean on one side and a lake ... read more
luckyskimom - Apr 28th, 2011

We have gone to this club two years in a row now as my kids had so much fun. They meet people from all over the world and even the shyest one is dancing and participating in the fun. My daughters could use their French and my son could practice ... read more
Club Med Cancun Yucatan reviews


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