When you think of an all-inclusive vacation, you probably envision a mega beach resort in the Caribbean or Mexico. But all-inclusive vacation options expand far beyond the typical pool parties, kids’ clubs and endless buffets. From villas with private chef services (instead of traditional restaurants) to week-long river expeditions, these unique all-inclusive experiences will surprise and delight everyone in the family.
1. Bluefields Bay Villas – Bluefields, Jamaica
In Jamaica, Bluefields Bay Villas features six luxury villas with expansive views, private pools, and dedicated butler, chef and maid service. The secluded, open-air villas offer two to six bedrooms, accommodating families of all sizes. The resort also offers a private beach with water sports and activities including glass-bottom boat tours. But the best part about this all-inclusive experience may just be the location—Bluefields Bay Villas is situated in a fishing and farming village next to the bay.
2. Adventures by Disney – Multiple Locations
Adventures by Disney is a unique all-inclusive vacation option for families in particular, with impressive itineraries in destinations worldwide. Immersive experiences include making pasta on a Tuscan farm in Italy, learning the tradition of samurai swordsmanship in Japan, and swimming in Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon. Most meals and all accommodations are included in rates. You don’t have to travel far to experience Adventures by Disney, either. North America itineraries include Arizona and Utah; Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.; Boston; and New York City.
3. Playa Viva – Guerrero, Mexico
Playa Viva isn’t your grandfather’s all-inclusive resort. This eco-focused, luxury resort is located on a beach and working farm, where kids can collect eggs from chickens, identify and pick vegetables, collect cacao pods and make chocolate, assist in caring for the resident goats, and swim in the ocean (or pool)—all in the same day. Of course, many meal ingredients are sourced from the farm, and all meals are communal so guests can interact with other families. Accommodations include chic suites, casitas and an actual treehouse! Guests are also encouraged to visit the local turtle sanctuary, where they can watch the release of baby sea turtles on a regular basis.
4. VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations – Multiple Locations
VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations offers all-inclusive tours across the globe, with guide-led or self-guided options available. Best for families with active teenagers and college-age adults, VBT allows you to tour on bike or foot (hence the name), choosing destinations and itineraries based on your skill level. An example of a family-friendly itinerary is Vermont: Lake Champlain Islands, Burlington & Stowe. The six-day, easy/moderate cycling trip includes overnight accommodations, 11 meals (five breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners), and activities such as a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, a tour of the Shelburne Museum, and a picnic lunch by the lake.
5. Adventures on the Gorge – Lansing, WV
Try whitewater rafting, ziplining, rock-climbing and more at this adventure resort in southern West Virginia. Have daredevils who want an even bigger challenge? Walk the 24-inch catwalk nearly a mile above the New River on the New River Gorge Bridge! Other highlights at this remote resort include the Canyon Falls Swimming Pool, kids’ camp, and “learn to” programs that are especially ideal for families.
Families can customize their vacation with two different experiences—”action packed” and “more relaxed”—and choose a pre-paid meal plan that includes breakfast and dinner at the resort (with lunch served on the tours). Adventures on the Gorge offers a variety of accommodations, onsite restaurants, and transportation—all covered in rates.
6. Tauck Bridges – Multiple Locations
Tauck Bridges offers all-inclusive vacation tours and cruises designed specifically for families. Among our favorite options is Tanzania: A Grand Family Safari. This trip features private game drives in open-top safari vehicles inside four national parks known for wildlife (including the Big Five); a visit to a local school to meet the school children; and a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti at dawn. The cost also includes round-trip flights, accommodations at luxurious safari lodges, and meals. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip your kids will never forget.
7. Ambergris Cay – Turks and Caicos
There’s all-inclusive island resorts, and then there’s all-inclusive private island resorts. Located on a 3-mile-long, 1-mile wide remote island, Ambergris Cay offers a luxurious all-inclusive experience, beginning from the moment you arrive via private air transfer from Providenciales International Airport. Aside from the jaw-dropping views, resort highlights for families include a complimentary Deserted Island Catered Lunch Experience; the Explorer’s Hut Arts & Craft Room for kids ages 4 to 12; guided nature walk, standup paddleboard, and kayaking excursions; and bicycles to explore the island. Water sports range from snorkeling to sailing, and guests can also take a boating lesson. All meals are covered in rates, including 24-hour room service. Bonus: one 30-minute spa treatment per adult, per day, is included in rates.
8. Far and Away Adventures – Middle Fork of the Salmon River, ID
Trade the luxury resort for a six-day luxury river safari on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. Offered by Far and Away Adventures, this unique trip includes lodging in tents with raised beds, rugs, nightstands and lamps, and riverside meals with fine stemware, real china, and specially selected beer and wine. Aside from rafting down the river, activities include cornhole, backcountry hikes and soaks in hot springs. Up to six family members can travel in one raft, and kids as young as 6 can participate. While Far and Away Adventures offers several trips, this one is particularly ideal for families.
9. Austin Adventures – Multiple Locations
Kids as young as 7 (or even younger on customized tours) can embark on any one of the all-inclusive excursions offered by Austin Adventures. Popular itineraries for families include Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, with activities such as whitewater rafting through the Snake River Canyon; kayaking Jackson Lake; biking amidst otherworldly backdrops; and plenty of wildlife viewing. Of course, a visit to the Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful erupts multiple times a day, is also part of the trip. Other ideal trips for families include Thailand, the Galapagos via an expedition ship, or a bike tour through Holland.
10. Select Yachts – Multiple Locations
Charter your own yacht! How’s that for a unique all-inclusive vacation? Several tour operators, such as Select Yachts, offer charted excursions in the Caribbean; Europe and the Mediterranean; Thailand; South Pacific; and even Antarctica! Meals and accommodations on the yacht are included in rates.
11. Dude Ranches – Multiple Locations
Want to get away from it all? Try a dude ranch vacation! This all-inclusive experience encourages families to ditch their devices for trail rides on horseback, archery, fly fishing, ziplining, lake swimming, chuckwagon dinners, and bonfires. Some dude ranches go beyond the typical ranch experience with activities such as whitewater rafting, national park excursions and even spa treatments! Dude ranch amenities and accommodations range from rustic to luxurious (re: The Resort at Paws Up), and while you’ll find the majority of dude ranches are located in the West, there are some surprisingly great dude ranches on the East Coast, too. Think your kids might like a dude ranch vacation? Check out our picks for the best dude ranches for families.