All-inclusive vacations offer an enticing getaway for everyone, but many all-inclusive hotels and resorts are lacking when it comes to activities for older kids. Most options have amazing pools, golden beaches, and round-the-clock food and drink options, but they often fail to entertain the 12- to 17-year-old crowd with stimulating activities that keep their idle hands – and minds – busy.
Fortunately, some all-inclusive resorts go out of the way to offer attractive deals and packages along with innovative teen-friendly activities. While some of the best all-inclusive resorts for teens are in tropical locales with beach activities galore, others are in the mountains where older kids and teens can get their hands dirty and stay busy with outdoor recreation and sports.
If you’re planning to travel with teens and leaning toward an all-inclusive vacation, these getaways should be high on your list.
Beaches Resorts: Jamaica; Turks and Caicos
(Courtesy of Beaches Resorts)
Beaches Resorts are well known for upscale all-inclusive offerings, but few people know just how much these properties cater to teens. The resorts – which overlook the ocean in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, as well as Ocho Rios and Negril in Jamaica – offer several unique amenities for older children who want to have fun, learn something new or mingle with their peers.
Options include an Island Impact program, which lets students volunteer in local communities while vacationing at Beaches Resorts; teens-only dance clubs; Xbox and arcade rooms; and teen spa experiences. Younger visitors can also hit the beach while on vacation and participate in unlimited scuba diving and other water sports, as well as land sports such as volleyball, basketball and golf. Recent travelers seem to agree that Beaches properties are great for teenagers due to the plethora of activities for the whole family, the diverse selection of dining options and the beauty of the destinations they are located in.
Moon Palace All-Inclusive Resorts: Jamaica; Cancun, Mexico
Moon Palace Resorts locations in Ocho Rios and Cancun offer an array of all-inclusive options for families with kids of all ages. Teens can soak up the sun along beautiful beaches or dive into the resorts’ crystal-clear pools. They can participate in unlimited nonmotorized watersports and even try their hand at riding some waves at an on-site surf simulator. Moon Palace’s resorts also offer the Wired Lounge, which is equipped with gaming stations and relaxation spaces where teens can mingle. Upscale family-friendly food options also cater to teens at Moon Palace, with fresh smoothies and plenty of opportunities for a healthy bite.
Moon Palace is set to open another family-friendly all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic in late 2024. This property, situated alongside the stunning beaches of La Costa del Coco, will also offer amenities and activities for the whole family.
Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
(Courtesy of Royalton Luxury Resorts)
An all-inclusive getaway at Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa is perfect for families with kids of all ages, including teenagers. Choose from several larger room options, including one- and two-bedroom suites with separate living space and small kitchenettes. The resort also has a teens-only club with space for hanging out, as well as table tennis and a rock climbing wall.
Visitors will also find a nine-hole mini-golf course, a meandering lazy river with a swim-up bar, several large pools and a FlowRider surf simulator. Recent guests were impressed by the beauty of Bavaro Beach, as well as the food options and the excellent service offered at the resort. The best part? Royalton Bavaro is less than 20 miles away from the Punta Cana International Airport.
Woodloch Resort: Hawley, Pennsylvania
(Courtesy of Woodloch Resort)
Teenagers are sure to enjoy a stay at Woodloch Resort in the Poconos for more reasons than one. This all-inclusive resort offers all kinds of entertainment each evening, from magicians and variety shows to comedians and live music. Activities offered on-site also run the gamut, including options like archery, baking wars, athletic competitions and scavenger hunts. There’s even a petting zoo at the resort, plus a selection of swimming pools, a rock climbing wall, bumper boats, bumper cars and mini-golf.
Family-friendly room options are available at Woodloch, including guest rooms that sleep up to six people and a range of vacation rental homes. You can also choose from an included dining plan that comes with either two or three meals per day, based on your family’s preferences and travel style. Travelers seem to agree that the resort is well-kept and that service is exceptional across the board; many say they’ll come back due to selection of activities that make it easy to have fun with kids and create memories that last a lifetime.
Club Med Resorts: Caribbean; Mexico; Florida
(Courtesy of Club Med)
Club Med resorts offer all-inclusive packages and amenities all over the world, as well as a range of programs created specifically for older children and teens. For the 11 to 17 crowd, Club Med offers Passworld spaces – customized areas for teens with sporting and artistic activities, dance floors, video games, and more. Club Med Punta Cana, Cancun Yucatan and Ixtapa Pacific also have teen clubs where kids can mingle and socialize with other travelers their age during their vacation. Teenagers at Club Med can also try their luck on the trapeze as they learn to balance and glide through the sky, or simply enjoy relaxing along the beach.
Recent travelers have said the properties seem well managed, and that they were impressed with the rooms and the food. Some also rave about the entertainment teams and how much fun they had with the on-site activities, including golf and trapeze.
Mohonk Mountain House: New Paltz, New York
(Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House)
If you’re looking for a family-friendly all-inclusive vacation that’s far from ordinary, consider the Mohonk Mountain House nestled in the Hudson Valley. Surrounded by 40,000 acres of forest and protected wildlife, the hotel offers teens a natural escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The property’s teen program, designed for kids ages 13 to 17, includes tomahawk throwing, mountain bike tours, hiking, disc golf and more.
Along with benefits and amenities for teens, this property also promises healthy farm-to-table dining options for the whole family, endless lake and outdoor activities, a heated indoor pool, golf with green fees included, and yoga and meditation classes. Lodging options can also appeal to families with kids and teens who want their own space: For example, the resort has family suites with up to three rooms and multiple layouts to choose from. Traveler-favorite attractions and features at this property include the stunning lake and mountain views, the excellent service, and the delicious food.
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort: Cancun, Mexico
(Courtesy of Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort)
The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort in Cancún has one of the best beachfronts in the entire region due to its location at the north end of the city’s Hotel Zone and the partial shelter it receives from nearby Isla Mujeres. Not only that, but the resort offers several room options that make sense for families traveling with kids, including penthouses and oceanfront suites with up to four bedrooms.
Families with teenagers will love the fact they can order room service 24 hours a day, or have food and drinks delivered directly to their loungers at the beach or one of the stunning pools. Teens can also access unlimited nonmotorized water sports, such as kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkeling. With its ideal location, the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort is great for families who want to leave the resort with their teens to experience local entertainment and nightlife. Recent visitors have said the food at this property is amazing, and most tend to agree that the resort’s French restaurant Le Basilic left a lasting impression.
Grand Velas Resorts: Mexico
(Courtesy of Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit)
Grand Velas luxury resorts in Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos offer tailored teen clubs and spa treatments for ages 13 to 18. The clubs feature extensive game rooms with Xbox Kinect, pool tables, air hockey, pingpong and more, along with karaoke sets and a dance floor. Teens who need a break from parents while on vacation can mingle with new friends and enjoy teen-friendly snacks and mocktails while taking in panoramic ocean views along the beach. Plus, teenagers who want to relax can enjoy leisure activities like a spa day, complete with a new hairstyle, a manicure, a pedicure and hydrotherapy (for an additional charge).
While Grand Velas properties are located in stunning beachfront locations, the feature that impresses travelers the most seems to be the food. Recent visitors have said dining options offered at all three properties were both delicious and healthy.
Vista Verde Guest Ranch: Clark, Colorado
(Courtesy of Vista Verde Guest Ranch)
This luxury guest ranch offers the perfect place for active families to get away, especially since there are so many unique activities to choose from. What you can do at the ranch varies by season. Summer is for horses, cookouts, hiking and barn dances, whereas winter is for sledding, sleigh rides, hot tubs and hot chocolate. The all-inclusive ranch even offers a tween club for ages 11 to 13 and a teen club for ages 14 to 17, both of which include a range of group activities like horseback riding, cow herding, paddleboarding and late-night bonfires.
Many larger lodging options at the ranch can work well for families, including rustic cabins with up to four bedrooms. Travelers have said they bring their kids here due to the many family-friendly amenities and features at the property – plus the fact that they can participate in activities like hiking, fishing, white-water rafting and archery right alongside their children.
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Holly Johnson is a travel writer veteran who has visited more than 50 countries by herself or with her husband and two teenage girls. Johnson frequently covers all-inclusive resorts in various destinations around the world, and she has stayed in most all-inclusive brands throughout Mexico and the Caribbean with her family.