Travel agents say that more luxury vacationers are opting for upscale destination resorts and hotels featuring a variety of family activities in one location.
Daniel Mullarkey, travel agent with Destinations in Florida, said families are looking for resorts with extra amenities like a water park or supervised poolside activities, "so parents can lounge at their own private pool for some stress-free time … and keep the kids are entertained, as well."
The water flume and lazy river are the main draw for guests at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. Families can enjoy surfing, kayaking, golfing, tennis or a picnic on the beach. A supervised, educational kids' club is also popular. Nightly rates start at $270; visit www.hammockbeach.com.
The Loews Don Cesar Hotel, on the sugary sands of St. Pete Beach, features a kids camp with daily scavenger hunts, dive-in movies by the pool at sunset and plenty of family-friendly games like pingpong, foosball and corn hole. Rates begin at $299; visit www.loewshotels.com.
The historical Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Ponte Vedra offers golf and tennis, biking, a lagoon excursion and horseback riding. Rates begin at $322; visit www.pontevedra.com.
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando offers 25 themed hotels and resorts, each with its own distinct theme and amenities for families. The popular Grand Floridian Resort and Spa offers a 181-foot-long water slide, while the Animal Kingdom Lodge is surrounded by a 46-acre savanna and preserve with 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes and gazelles. Rooms start at $488 per night at Disney's Grand Floridian and $284 at Animal Kingdom; see https://disneyworld.disney.go.com.
At the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, many families decide to choose the hotel's VIP tours at local theme parks.
"We always think it's a best option for families who don't want the 24/7 theme park experience," said Michelle Valle, director of public relations. "Parents can retreat back to their oasis and relax, and go to the parks as needed."
Daily activities around the Ritz pool include hair braiding, arts and crafts and games. An in-room camping experience is a big request among guests in executive suites, where two kids can "camp" in a tent with bedding, a keepsake stuffed animal, book, battery-operated lantern and s'mores kit, for an extra $75.
The resort also offers the supervised Ritz Kids program for ages 4 to 12, focusing on eco-fun as part of the hotel's new partnership with Jean-Michal Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society. Educational activities are divided into four categories: environmental responsibility, water, land and culture. Nights start at $369; visit http://the-ritz-carlton.grandelakes.com.
Water is the main attraction at Hawks Cay resort in the Florida Keys.
"We are surrounded by water so you can see the sunrise and sunset in one place," said Sheldon Suga, managing director.
From fishing and boating to kayaking and paddleboarding, guests can enjoy the open water or choose a secluded lagoon area.
Younger children may want to try snuba — using a long hose to breathe under water — as an introduction to underwater experiences.
The resort's signature experience is its dolphin connection program, allowing either one-on-one interaction with dolphins dockside or becoming a trainer for a day.
Per-night rates begin at $329; visit www.hawkscay.com.