There's a lot going on with kids, and more than ever, it seems like a lot of it is happening on their phones. After all, it's how they communicate with their friends, document their life, and stay tuned in to what's going on in their world. But when you take your family on vacation, the last thing you want your little ones to be doing is staying glued to their devices. It's a time for them to look up and around instead of down. Luckily, there's enough going on at these five hotels in family-friendly destinations to keep kids entertained IRL (that's in real life) instead of on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.
1. Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa, Dominican Republic
There's no rowdy spring break crowd at this Punta Cana property. Instead, families come here for both the beach and activities available for the junior members of the clan. For starters, the pool is one of the largest in the country. There are also dance lessons, aerobics classes, arts and crafts, teen discos, sporting events, and more. Kids up to 12 years old can take part in the nature tours via the Explorer's Club, which provides parents with free cell phones to stay in touch with staff while their kids are out and about. Parents on the beach will rest easy knowing that there's an active lifeguard on duty as well. For tweens and teens who want a little more independence, this is a very good perk.
2. Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes
Located an hour outside of Los Angeles in Rancho Palos Verdes, Terranea Resort has teens dialed in. There's a pool with a waterslide, of course, but there's also kayaking, surfing, and free nighttime events just for teens. For younger members of the family, there's the Tide Pool Kids Club, where guides take children on an adventure to learn about the area's history via science and art. Little ones can also enjoy buried treasure hunts, coming up with their own circus, and learning about wild birds of prey and astronomy.
3. Half Moon, Jamaica
If a two-mile beach isn't enough to keep little ones, tweens, and teens occupied, this 400-acre resort also offers up a plethora of memorable activities the whole family can enjoy. The youngest (ages three to 12) can join in the Anancy Children's Village, a model Caribbean village with supervised activities, including story time, a wading pool, crafts, and more. After picking the kids up, families can take advantage of the early seating at Seagrape Terrace. There's also a summer camp-style option for kids with daily or weekly rates. Teens can hang out in their own area, which features a game room with foosball, ping pong, and air hockey as well as a lounge with karaoke and discos. For families looking to explore the property together, the resort also has bike rentals, mini-golf, and a private dolphin cove. Bonus: Kids under 16 eat and sleep for free.
4. The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Yes, it's on the Strip. Yes, it's a casino. And yes, it's a really great hotel for families. Las Vegas is the land of over stimulation, so if it takes a lot to get your child to look up from their phones, this is the place. Cirque du Soleil, which will capture the attention of older kids, and puppeteer Terry Fator, who puts on shows for the younger set, both perform here. Plus, there are plenty of top-notch food options (California Pizza Kitchen and Carnegie Delicatessen, to name a few) right on the property that will suit even the pickiest of eaters. The Siegfried & Roy Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat allows kids to come face-to-face with lions and dolphins, while the enormous pool and nightly volcano eruptions top off the memorable experience.
5. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Oahu
This 642-acre property in Hawaii is a great way to give the kids a Disney experience without battling the peak season crowds. The pool area is at the center of the resort. Disney outdid itself here, constructing a "volcano" around which most pool activities take place. Two waterslides, a lazy river, a play area for kids, and a man-made reef are all impressive -- and tailored to impress the kiddies, though adults may also enjoy plunging down one of the the slides or hopping in a tube to float down the lazy river. The 5,200-square-foot Aunty's Beach House is a kids club where little ones (ages three to 12) can explore Hawaiian culture, art, and music. Here, you'll find game tables, arts and crafts, a costume closet, an enclosed backyard with a play structure, and Disney touches like enchanted fireplaces. There are also comedy and hula classes for free, plus a surf-themed party. But that's not all. Expect family treatments in the spa (all the way down to toddlers), dance parties, kids' menus at every dining facility, and of course, plenty of Disney characters, including the new Hawaiian Disney princess, Moana, who wander around the grounds.