One of the things cruise passengers like best is the somewhat all-inclusive nature of cruise vacations. Lately, we've been hearing from cruisers who would like to enjoy a similar land-based vacation within North America. All-inclusive resorts are a perfect fit for cruise lovers - and there's an added plus. These properties often include even more in the base price of the vacation than cruise ships do, particularly for those who enjoy sodas, watersports, outdoor adventure activities and room to spread out for families.
If you're considering trying out a land-based North American all-inclusive vacation, check out these top twelve properties:
Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida: Club Med is one of the best-known all-inclusive brands in the world, and their 307-room property set alongside the river in Port Saint Lucie, Florida knows how to please its guests. The water sports, circus school and tennis academy here are very popular. The resort offers excellent daily free kids and teens programs for children 4 to 17 years of age, as well as a well-staffed nursery for little ones ages 4-23 months old and tots program for 2-4 year olds, both available at an extra charge. For more information, visit www.clubmed.us.
Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana: For over 65 years, this family owned and operated 2,000 acre all-inclusive property has been delighting families seeking a wide selection of unlimited water sports, horseback riding, mountain biking, fully inclusive kids & teens’ programs, and other activities. Located directly on 30-mile long Flathead Lake, this resort includes water skiing, wake boarding, sailing, kayaking, and more as part of its all-inclusive water programs. Horseback riding programs here are excellent as well. Guests can take rides through the lodge’s private 500 acre Elk Preserve and a Junior Wrangler Program is also offered. For more information, visit www.flatheadlakelodge.com.
Grand Hotel, Michigan: Opened in 1887 and accessible only by ferry or plane, this historic hotel is located on laid-back Mackinac Island where cars and motorized vehicles are not allowed. Travel+Leisure Family readers have named this property one of the “top 10 kid-friendliest resorts in the U.S. and Canada” due to its wide array of activities and kids programs for ages 5 and older. Both afternoon and evening programs for children are included in the hotel’s per person rates, as well as a full breakfast and a five-course dinner. Children 11 years of age and younger stay and eat free. For more information, visit www.grandhotel.com.
Lodge on Little St. Simons, Georgia: Located on private Little St. Simons Island, this family-owned resort accommodates only 32 guests in six well-furnished cottages and is a paradise for families and nature lovers. This 10,000 acre barrier island is filled with abundant wildlife, seven miles of white sand beaches, maritime forests and marshlands. Rates at this intimate nature sanctuary include three full meals each day, all beverages and snacks, unlimited island activities and use of recreational gear, and boat transfers to and from the island. For more information, visit www.littlestsimonsisland.com.
Lost Valley Ranch, Colorado: This dude ranch delivers exceptional all-inclusive family vacations with its own special brand of Western hospitality. Located about two hours from Denver, Lost Valley Ranch caters to families and multigenerational groups with superb horseback riding instruction and twice daily rides for all experience levels, guided hikes, kids and teens programs, tennis, fishing, and much more. Inclusive kids programs, complete with activities and riding instruction, are offered for ages 3-5, 6-12, and teens. Babysitting for tots ages 2 and under is available for an extra fee. For more information, visit www.lostvalleyranch.com.
Mohonk Mountain House, New York: This cliff-top Victorian castle overlooking Lake Mohonk in New York's Hudson Valley is a perennial family favorite. Rates at this 259-room resort include three delicious meals daily, afternoon tea, and most activities including lake and indoor swimming, boating and fishing, hiking through thousands of acres of forests and the Shawangunk Mountains, ice skating, snow tubing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and daily kids and teens programs for ages 2-3, 4-6, 7-12, and teens 13-17 years of age. An included Junior Naturalist program is also available. For more information, visit www.mohonk.com.
Paradise Guest Ranch, Wyoming: For more than 100 years, Paradise Guest Ranch has been catering to families with kids of all ages. This dude ranch’s rates include three meals daily and all of the ranch’s regular activities, including an extensive horseback riding program, fly fishing, hiking through the Bighorn Mountains, and fully supervised kids programs for tots through teens. Paradise Guest Ranch’s horseback riding programs begin at 6 years of age. Guests can take two-hour rides and well as half-day and full-day excursions. Special events, such as the Amateur Talent Show, Gourmet Night, and a Kid’s Rodeo are also offered. For more information, visit www.paradiseranch.com.
Skytop Lodge, Pennsylvania: Located on 5,500 acres in the scenic Poconos Mountains, historic Skytop Lodge has been delighting families and multigenerational groups since 1928. Amenities include the resort’s Adventure Center, a large private lake, a championship golf course, and spa. Rates at this superb year-round vacation resort include three full meals daily and lots of activities which vary by season, including miniature golf, hiking, archery, swimming in the property’s indoor and outdoor pools, sledding, tobogganing and much more. Kids programs and special family-oriented all-inclusive packages are offered during the summer season. For more information, visit www.skytop.com.
Three Bars Guest & Ranch, British Columbia: Set amidst the Canadian Rockies between Banff and Glacier National Park, Three Bars Ranch is well known for its exceptional riding and adventure-oriented vacations. The ranch offers one of the most extensive programs of included activities available, from horseback riding, hiking and river rafting to mountain biking, swimming and tennis. The Beckley family owns and operates this 35,000 acre ranch and they are intimately involved in the ranch’s day-to-day operations. Their extensive horse training and ranching expertise makes a tremendous difference in the quality of the horses and the overall experience. Excellent kids’ and family activities are also factors contributing to their high guest repeat rate. For more information, visit www.threebarsranch.com.
Tyler Place Family Resort, New Hampshire: Families love this 165-acre all-inclusive located directly on Lake Champlain. In fact, the resort enjoys a 90% repeat guest rate. With daily kids’ and teens programs for 9 separate age groups and 250 dedicated staff, the Tyler Place’s award-winning all-inclusive childcare programs and guest service levels are superb. In addition to three delicious daily meals (dinners are adults only affairs), rates at this resort include a wealth of sports and family activities such as biking, tennis, boating, kayaking, canoeing, a field house gym, ziplines and trampolines, mini golf, hiking and much more. For more information, visit www.tylerplace.com.
White Stallion Ranch, Arizona: Owned and operated by the True family since 1965, White Stallion Ranch caters to families with their own special brand of Western hospitality. The ranch is located on 3,000 acres next to Saguaro National Park near Tucson, allowing guests to take extensive trail rides and guided hikes through starkly beautiful Sonoran vistas that have attracted Hollywood filmmakers for years. White Stallion Ranch offers excellent riding programs for all abilities and prides itself on finding the right horse for every guest. The ranch focuses on families vacationing together and offers a variety of all-inclusive activities. For additional information, visit www.whitestallion.com.
Woodloch Resort, Pennsylvania: Nestled on Lake Teedyuskung in the Pocono Mountains, this four-season family-oriented property has been owned and operated by the Kiesendahl family for over 50 years. Set on over 1,200 acres, Woodloch caters to families of all ages with unique activities and programs such as G3 – Generation Granparent and Woodloch’s “Cruise on Land” American Plan including accommodations, three daily meals, nightly entertainment, and a wide array of fun activities and family events like the Amazing Race, Carnival, athletic contests, summer and winter Olympics, lake activities, hiking, biking, bumper cars, and much more. For more information, visit www.woodloch.com.