Family-friendly resorts in the South By Jan Ross
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center (Courtesy Marriott)
Resorts are the perfect family destination because they offer a wide variety of activities for every member of the family without ever having to load up the car and drive somewhere else. Many come complete with restaurants, pools, plenty of on-site activities and even complete kids camps; and most are located in beautiful, idyllic destinations as well. When you are planning your next family vacation in the southern United States, check out these options.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee
Step into the astonishing Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, and you may not be able to believe your eyes as this is truly a unique location. The hotel has 9 acres of lush indoor gardens, waterfalls, and a wandering river that runs through the entire area, right inside the hotel! Be sure to book a room with a balcony overlooking the interior of the hotel as it’s quite an amazing sight. You will also want to take the riverboat cruise on the river, which takes you around the inside of the entire hotel. With two outdoor pools, an indoor pool and a special pool for kids, it’s easy to find a place to swim and have fun. The hotel has several different restaurants but Stax on the Delta Island is great for kids since you can create your own burger and choose the sides to go with it.
Bay Point Wyndham Resort, Panama City Beach, Florida
Bay Point Wyndham Resort (Courtesy Wyndham)
This wonderful and undiscovered location is not on the crowded beach in Panama City Beach, but situated beside the beautiful and calm St. Andrews Bay in a 1,100-acre wildlife preserve. The Bay Point Wyndham Resort has lovely hotel rooms but families will enjoy the golf villas, which have one or two bedrooms, a living room, and a small kitchenette. With five pools, tennis courts, plenty of water sports including Jet Ski rentals, and a shuttle to local, unspoiled Shell Island to collect shells and enjoy the beach, there is plenty to do.
Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, Florida
Sandestin Resort (Courtesy Sandestin)
Located right on the gorgeous, sugar white sand of the Gulf Coast, Sandestin offers accommodations that range from hotel rooms to expansive and beautiful rental homes. Dozens of pools dot the property, bike paths wind through the resort and bike rentals are available, tennis courts are everywhere, water sports abound, and they even offer a daily kids club. Of course, you can always spend time at the gorgeous beach as well. At Baytowne Wharf, a charming village in the resort, there are tons of kid-friendly activities, restaurants, and local shops.
Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Wild Dunes Resort (Courtesy Wild Dunes)
Lovely Isle of Palms is a quiet, undiscovered paradise and Wild Dunes Resort is the perfect place to enjoy it. Hotel rooms, condos, and rental homes are all available and the resort comes complete with plenty of pools, kayaking and other water sports, fishing, tennis, bike rentals, a kids camp, and, of course, the beautiful beaches on the island. There are plenty of restaurants available but pop in Hudson’s Market for deli sandwiches, chips, cookies, drinks, and have a picnic right on the beach!
Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sonesta Resort (Courtesy Sonesta)
Located on 11 acres of lush foliage and blooming flowers, Sonesta Resort is just steps away from the Atlantic Ocean. A zero entry lagoon-style pool and a kids pool make this a young swimmer’s paradise; and there is easy access to tennis, bike rentals, and water sports in the area. The one-bedroom suite with a separate living room, dining area, and kitchenette is a perfect choice for a family. Several restaurants are available in the resort and families should definitely partake of the amazing breakfast buffet at Heyward’s.
Whichever destination you choose for your next family vacation, book a stay at a resort and your entire family will be so glad you did!
Jan Ross contributed this to MiniTime. She writes for a variety of venues, both print and online, and often travels with her photographer husband.