Cute (But Functional) Toiletry Bags So You Never Experience A “Shampoo Leak” Again

When it comes to trips and getaways, toiletry bags may be our most important item, second only to our iPhone charger. And maybe portable crib if we have an adventurous baby on board. We’re lost without our toiletry bag. After all, they hold all the necessities: everything from our makeup to our medication. And there’s all sorts of styles out there, depending on your needs. There’s hanging toiletry bags, TSA-approved travel bags, clear plastic cases, foldable bags, the list goes on. 

And trust us, you don’t want to risk it and just cram all of your products into a plastic ziplock baggie, toss it in your suitcase and hope for the best. Anyone who’s experienced a shampoo leak all over their clothes knows it’s the worst. So whether you’re traveling or just need a toiletry bag for your bathroom counter or vanity table, we’ve pulled together the best options out there.

Best Toiletry Bags for Women:

Calpak Clear Cosmetics Case

If you prefer a clear toiletry bag so you can see everything easily, opt for this large cosmetic case from Calpak. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s also the (insert expensive car) of toiletry bags. Its smart design and durable (yet chic) material make it stand out against the rest. Also, check out the travel brand’s chic suitcases while you’re there.

$85 AT CALPAK

TSA Approved Quart Size Toiletry Bags, 5 Pack

Making sure all your toiletries meet TSA requirements can be stressful, but this 5-pack of “TSA approved” carry-on travel bags makes it easy. We love that the bags are clear so that we know exactly where all our carefully organized products (lol, yeah right) are. This 5-pack may only be $13, but the material is sturdy and the bags are built to last.

$12.99 AT AMAZON

MKPCW Lemon Print Toiletry Case

This travel toiletry bag has a near-perfect average rating on Amazon, and it comes in a pretty lemon print. Customers love that it’s shake-proof and spill-proof, making it hard for bottles to budget. Plus, its square shape fits nicely into luggage.

$12.98 AT AMAZON

Relavel Marble Makeup and Toiletry Case

If you want a case with customizable compartments, this gorgeous marble print toiletry bag comes with adjustable dividers so you can switch them out easily. Made with oxford fabric, it’s durable yet lightweight, waterproof, shockproof, and spill-proof.

$19.98 AT AMAZON

Lay-N-Go Drawstring Cosmetic Bag

If you’re always getting frustrated digging through your toiletry bag, this drawstring cosmetic bag lays flat so you can easily find that tiny pair of tweezers instead of them getting lost at the bottom. Plus, it’s water-repellent and washable.

$19.99 AT AMAZON

Victoria’s Secret 4-in-1 Travel Case

You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this Victoria’s Secret travel case that comes with 3 pink striped toiletry bags stacked inside a larger clear toiletry case — like a Russian doll. For those who are picky about where their products go, we totally recommend this gem.

$48 AT VICTORIA'S SECRET

Rude Cosmetics Makeup Case With Mirror

Toiletry cases made from hard plastic instead of nylon are excellent, because they’re extra durable. This one is designed similarly to a professional makeup artist’s tool kit.

$68 AT RUDE COSMETICS

Ban.do Mental Vacation Toiletry Bag

Even if you can’t go on an actual vacation, you can always go on a mental vacation. This extra-cute bag from Band.do comes loaded with pockets on the inside and outside. It’s made from a nylon material (both interior and exterior), and has a mesh pocket for convenience and accessibility. Plus, it’s honestly just dang cute.

$24.95 AT BAN.DO

Best Hanging Toiletry Bags:

Bagsmart Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag

Hanging toiletry bags are great, because they save precious countertop space and make it easy to access all your products. This one comes in 16 different colors and prints (soft pink pictured here), is made of a water-resistant material, and folds back up to be a bag when you want it to be. 

$22.99 AT AMAZON

Flamingo Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag

This ultra-affordable (under $10!) toiletry bag comes in 32 different colors, patterns and sizes if flamingos aren’t your thing. Made with soft fabric that’s waterproof, it has several smartly designed compartments for all your products so they’re easy to store and find.

$9.99 AT AMAZON

Airlab Hanging Toiletry Bag

This hooked toiletry bag has a “cooler shape,” making it perfect for taller, full-sized products like shampoo or hairspray. Featuring 12 mesh pockets, it can hold plenty of bottles. It’s also water-resistant and super light weight.

$15.89 AT AMAZON

Mossio Cheetah Print Hanging Toiletry Bag

If your closet is full of animal prints and you want something under $20, go for this pink cheetah print toiletry bag. Made of durable, water-resistant polyester, you don’t have to worry about accidental spills. With multiple compartments that makes it so you can separate your lotions from your toothpaste, this roomy toiletry bag is pretty ideal. Plus, it comes with a hook so you can easily hang it in the bathroom for convenience (if you want).

$16.99 AT AMAZON

The Container Store Parisian Stripe Hanging Toiletry Organizer

This striped hanging bag from The Container Store is simple, sturdy and no-fuss. While it does spread out, you can easily fold it together so that it fits in your suitcase. We love that the pockets are clear, so you can easily reach for the product you need.

$16.99 AT THE CONTAINER STORE

L.L.Bean Large Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag

If you’re camping or going on a more rustic trip, this travel toiletry bag from L.L.Bean is extra roomy, water-resistant and perfect for outdoorsy adventures.

$39.95 AT L.L.BEAN

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You Don’t ‘Need’ A Vacation

When the COVID-19 wave crashed onto the west coast and then rolled its way across America last February, folks were frantically and reluctantly cancelling travel plans. The novel coronavirus wasn’t just a new virus; it also meant we were forced to embrace a new way of life. Seemingly the most difficult adjustment was being told “no” to non-essential travel and social outings. Folks were big mad about not getting to see the Broadway play they’d bought tickets for. People were real cranky about being on hold with airlines. The disappointment of not getting to go to Disney was comparable to losing a limb.

I understand why people were upset that their vacations were cancelled, but I laughed and rolled my eyes when their tantrums included the words “deserve” and “need.” The underlying hurt for these people was that something they felt entitled to have was being taken away. They had desperately needed that escape and now it was gone. No one needs a vacation. Let’s see if we can unpack the privilege of that sentiment.

If your biggest heartache during the pandemic has been cancelling or rescheduling your vacation, then consider yourself fortunate. Oh, and shut up about it on your social media feeds. We can all agree that everyone wants a vacation, but the ongoing reminder that you have been robbed of what many people never get to experience is cringey AF.

I often remind my kids about the difference between needs and wants. They want a lot of stuff, and sometimes those wants fall under the need category: food, shelter, and clothing aren’t sexy wants, but they are desired. The real head turners are new LEGO sets, a cell phone, skateboards, or a trip to a water park. These are the items I tell them to put on their Christmas or birthday list. Or I tell them to save their money because those are wants; while it would be nice to have everything their hearts desire, that’s not how life works. I’m thankful and privileged to be able to give my kids what they need, and I’m not shy to point out to them the security in which they live.

Most of the time, my kids know not to tell me they need something that is actually a want, and yet some adults fail to understand this concept. I’m embarrassed for the folks who throw tantrums for not getting said wants, especially during a pandemic when so many people’s health is at risk and folks are losing jobs and living on suspension bridges with rotting boards without safety nets. The longer people long for their vacation homes and what they call a “much needed” escape, the closer many others get to losing everything.

We all need an escape right now, but for some folks, a fast food drive-thru instead of cooking, reading a book or going for a walk instead of doom scrolling, or putting the kids in front of a screen and taking a nap are the most escape they can hope for. Even those may be impossible for some people, so if you’re claiming a “need” to get away from it all with a vacation, you’re ignoring the actual hardships many people have faced. And when you plan a getaway and post photos of said getaway with captions talking about how much you “needed” this, you tell me and others that you are painfully unaware of your financial privilege. Having extra money to spend on travel or even time off is a luxury — please spare me your feelings of being victimized and shamed. Don’t tell me you deserve a vacation because you worked hard or made sacrifices. Don’t claim your mental health was too important to not get away.

I don’t doubt your work ethic or discomfort. And I will always advocate for taking care of your mental health. However, do you think people who don’t have money to take a vacation don’t work hard or make sacrifices? And if someone can’t take a vacation, are they to blame for their mental health struggles? The benefits of therapy, support, and medication are the roots to improving mental health, not a trip to your favorite beach. Sure, a vacation can reduce stress, but stress is much different than crippling anxiety and depression. Let’s not confuse mental illness with wanderlust.

Everyone deserves time to relax and recharge, but not everyone has the means to travel and be pampered at all-inclusive resorts in order to do so. Shuffling or earmarking money that is already extra is much different than going without or adding more work to your plate to save money. Vacations, even during the best of times, are often reserved for the upper middle class and the wealthy. Yes, people of all economic backgrounds take vacations, myself included and I’m a middle class earner. But I would never claim that I’m entitled to one. I’m grateful for what I have and recognize my privilege, but I also know how to read a room.

My advice is to avoid humblebragging or oversharing what to others could seem like an embarrassment of riches. And please stop praising Jesus for your good fortunes or claiming effort is all one needs to benefit from frivolity. Opportunity has allowed both, and if you still have the opportunity to plan a trip and travel during a pandemic, then I hope you have the time to do some self-reflection and use some decorum while so many people are struggling. Also, waiting until the pandemic is over to take your trip will make it safer for everyone, especially the most vulnerable folks who can’t think about a vacation because leaving their house is too dangerous.

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Why Everyone Should Leave Their Hometown

The morning of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections, I was listening to voters being interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition. One voter, Deborah Gordon, described her pride in Trump, her disgust in the “fake” election, and her utter disbelief that the state of Georgia went to Biden. She told the reporter that everyone she knows loves Trump and everywhere she goes supports Trump too—including the two Trump rallies she has attended. (I won’t tell her if you don’t.) Another Georgia voter, Trish White, said this: “I absolutely love President Trump, and I believe the election was stolen in the state of Georgia – absolutely believe it. Look around. No way Biden won this state – no way.”

When you look around and never have your beliefs and biases challenged, it’s hard to see any alternatives to your reality as, well, reality. This is why people must—especially people in rural and small town areas—leave their hometown, if only temporarily.

According to a survey done by North American Moving Services, 72% of Americans live in or near their hometown. 75% of women are more likely to stay in their hometowns, compared to 68% of men. This is what contributes to people’s ability to believe that everyone thinks like them, easily allowing folks to become willfully siloed from others who would be happy to disagree with them.

There’s a lot of comfort in ignorance, and 24% of the people who stayed in their hometown said comfort and familiarity was why they stayed. To be fair, I don’t know if those two Trump supporters have ever left their hometown, but their current place of living isn’t offering much diversity — and this is what pisses me off about humans. People who stay in their safe and like-minded bubbles know what they know because they never put themselves in a position to experience views not their own. They never leave home, and it shows.

College was my excuse, reason, and motivation to get out of my hometown when I was 18, but my degree is secondary and not even directly relatable to any of the jobs I’ve had since graduating from college. The education I got about myself, other people, different religions, races, and ethnicities were the foundation I needed to expand my mind and add peripheral vision to see outside of what I thought I knew. It wasn’t simply the exposure to people who looked and thought differently than myself that helped widen my mind to truths not my own; it was finding commonality in those differences that allowed me to gain a better sense of self and understanding that we all deserve to be heard, seen, and treated equitably. I was fortunate for grants, loans, and scholarships to pay my way through school and I know not everyone will have that opportunity, but going away to college, or moving out of the town you grew up in—even temporarily—is so important.
One study suggests that travel makes us smarter and provides us with more opportunities that allow us to be successful. We all define success in different ways, but survival is the most basic and primal goal. Travel was key to our evolution as a species. The need to find resources and adapt kept the human race moving forward but it also rewired our brains in ways that can’t happen when stuck in the same space, doing the same thing, and around the same people every day. When we surround ourselves with change, we can change too. We can learn. And if we don’t question our own beliefs and what we consider facts by holding them against others’ then how can we be so sure we’re right? How can we know we believe in is right for us? The blue collar, rural town I left at 18 didn’t have enough people to challenge the racist and homophobic views that knitted the community together. It didn’t have enough art or music. It didn’t have enough people from different backgrounds to give each other windows into customs, ideas, and explanations that could start discussions and arguments.
I can’t report on the intelligence of those two voters interviewed by NPR, but their inability to think critically draws me to conclude that they are either brainwashed or not smart enough to fact check. And it leads me back to the assumption that they don’t get out enough or diversify their news sources or vacation plans. They haven’t been asked to adapt, step outside their comfort zone, or allowed any other reality to be considered. Someone who can believe Trump’s lies is either too dumb or too bigoted to believe anything else. Living in a new place and surrounding yourself with new people is mind-opening and forces us to become resourceful as we figure out new standards. Travel introduces us to a wider personal and professional network. Leaving home sheds ignorance and gives us freedom to explore who we are and who others claim to be. Even if after leaving home and our values and voting alignment stays the same, my hope is that we can become more accepting and critical of what we think is the truth. Folks who can second-guess biases are less likely to look around and claim everything they see within eyesight applies to all people.
Because I’m not a hypocrite, I surround myself with people, information, and places that force me to understand nuance while sorting out facts. This means that sometimes I have to admit I’m wrong. I have to research and learn and check my ego. I don’t allow myself to stay stuck in the comfort of ignorance. My agenda includes challenging others to do the same. Because if making people more aware of their own mental limitations is wrong, then I don’t ever want to be right.

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The Best Kid-Friendly Hotels With Waterparks

We all know that traveling with kids isn’t a vacation, it’s a trip. But traveling to a kid friendly hotel with a built-in waterpark is definitely fun for the whole family. These hotels do not mess around when it comes to water features— think year-round 85 degree Biospheres, 1,100 foot lazy rivers, 262 foot-long slides and 50 feet of heart-dropping plunge. These indoor waterparks are as big as 220,000 sq. ft, while outdoor waterscapes, like the Atlantis, span 141 acres. These parks have splash zones for the littles and extreme adventures for the teens. With names like the Leap of Faith, the Barrelling Babboon, Wolf Rider Wipeout, and the Anaconda, you will not be hearing I’m bored on this family trip! And you don’t even have it wait until summer to visit some of these places.

The big question is where to book your next waterpark adventure. If you’re looking for a Southwest staycation or Midwest getaway (even during the winter), there are great options within just a few hours drive. If a tropical waterpark out in the open with views of the beach is more your speed (raises hand), then hop a quick flight to Florida or the Caribbean. The choice is yours— depending on your budget and time.

We’ve found 15 of the most family friendly resorts with waterparks in the U.S. and Caribbean. Pack up your bathing suits, sunscreen and swim goggles— you’ll need multiples!

Now if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind waterpark day trip, the brand new DreamWorks Water Park at the American Dream Mall in NJ has opened its doors. This indoor waterpark (only 5 miles from NYC) is the largest indoor waterpark in North America. It features the world’s largest indoor wave pool, the tallest indoor body slide, and the longest hydromagnetic water coaster. 

Kid-Friendly Hotels with Waterparks in the US:

Crystal Springs Resort- Hamburg, NJ

Barely one hour from New York City, this incredible resort is upscale enough for couples yet chill enough for family fun. The Biosphere Pool Complex is a 10,000 sq ft indoor tropical paradise with a retractable roof built for swimming, sliding and steaming in 84+ degree temps year round. Kids will love the petting zoo and the 16 hole golf putting course (with glow-in-the-dark balls for night) while us adults love the food— especially the Chef’s Garden nestled within the resort’s very own garden. And the views—  every member of the family will be wowed by the surrounding scenery.

$ PRICES VARY

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa- San Antonio, TX

Thanks to the balmy Texas weather, even in winter, you can waterpark outdoors all year round. Day and night! The 1,100 foot lazy river is just one of the incredible attractions at this JW Marriott Resort in San Antonio. The River Bluff Water Experience is spread over nine acres and includes tube slides, water slides, an activity pool, the Pedernales River (a more real-river experience) and…an adults only pool. Whether San Antonio is a destination or a stay-cation, you’ll feel like you are on a vacation surrounded by foliage, pool-areas and views for days.

$ PRICES VARY

Woodloch Pines Resort- Hawley, PA

Take your kids, grab the cousins, and pick up grandma and grandpa— this is the place for a family reunion! Located in the Pocono Mountains, this lakefront vacation spot has been wowing families since 1958. Outdoors, kids can swim, kayak and play Bumper Boats before heading to the Indoor Splash Zone for the Superdome and Double Corkscrew super-slide. You can also snow-tube, ice skate on the lake or take ice skating indoors all year round. This pristine mountain/lake setting offers enough space to spread out when the kids want some kid-time then get back together when they aren’t too embarrassed to watch mom and dad try to climb the rock wall. It’s truly camp for the whole family here at Woodloch Resort.

$ PRICES VARY

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa- Aventura, FL

It’s not all about golf at the Turnberry Resort & Spa— located 30 minutes from each Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Their spa is top rated and their BOURBON Steak restaurant is highly acclaimed. But we’re here to talk family fun! Their Tidal Cove waterpark has something for parents and kids— from exhilarating slides with twists, turns and drops to the first-ever FlowRider Triple surf simulation pool in the nation to the lazy river. Whether you’re a local looking for staycation fun or a visitor seeking Florida’s tropical weather and sandy beaches, this hotel’s built-in waterpark makes it a favorite vacation destination.

$ PRICES VARY

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions- Pocono Mountains, PA

Go big or stay home should be the motto when it comes to Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. There are currently three locations (PA, WI, and OH) but a mega-resort is opening very soon in TX. This Poconos property has it all— mini bowling, game rooms, laser tag, an escape room, treetop adventures, mini golf and much more. Then there’s the water park— the largest indoor waterpark in America at 220,000 sq ft. Here you’ll find adventures like the Kenya Corkscrew, the Flowrider, the Anaconda, and the Barrelling Babboon. These slides are like no others! Plus, you can also wear your very own mermaid tail or float on the lazy river (that’s for you, Mom and Dad). We can pretty much promise that your kids will get the best sleep ever— we’re exhausted thinking about all of the family fun!

$ PRICES VARY

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World Resort,- Orlando, FL

While you are booking your trip to the “happiest place on earth,” don’t discount the fact that you may have a *free* waterpark at your own hotel. We love that we can spend days between park visits enjoying the pools, slides and water facilities offered at many of the Walt Disney World Resorts. One of our favorites is the Finding Nemo themed waterpark at the Art of Animation Resort with its Big Blue Pool and Schoolyard Sprayground. The Polynesian Village is a true classic that brings us back to our first time at Disney (remember your first time on a monorail?). It’s the same lush, South Pacific oasis you’ve loved with a newly updated waterpark.  Kiki Tiki’s Splash Play area is part of the Polynesian Resort Lava Pool. It features wading pools, water jets, waterfalls, and two slides. End your day with a tropical drink at the luau style dinner show and you’ll be sleeping as happily as the kids.

$ PRICES VARY

Great Wolf Lodge- Minneapolis, MN

With over 19 locations to choose from, the Great Wolf Lodge practically defines the word waterpark across the US. The Minneapolis location is near the Mall of America. Adventure abounds at this 75,000 sq ft waterpark where kids of all ages can try the River Canyon Run tube ride, Wolf Rider Wipeout surf simulator, Otter Run and Alberta Falls (4 stories of sliding). Outside of the water-zone there is bowling, arcades, and climbing walls. Warning, there is also a Build-A-Bear here, so get ready to get suckered into a new stuffie. When it’s hot as hell or cold as sh*t, pack up the car and drive to the nearest Great Wolf Lodge for serious family fun.

$ PRICES VARY

Camelback Resort Lodge- Poconos, PA

It’s not just winter skiing, tubing and sledding in the Poconos, thanks to Camelback’s Aquatopia Indoor Water Park. They bring the temps indoors (seriously, you need sunscreen because you are getting actual SUN) so the whole family can go wild year- round. You can surf the Bombora Flowrider and slide the Skydive Plummet, the Paradise Plunge, the Storm Chaser or Venus Slydetrap. If the kids make it through the whole waterpark, they can try the bumper carts, climbing walls and escape room— on dry ground.

$ PRICES VARY

Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark- Grand Geneva, WI

Just a short drive from Chicago and Milwaukee, Timber Ridge is the midwest getaway your family has been craving since summer came to a quick close. This 50,000 sq ft indoor/outdoor water park has chill options for parents (lazy river), fun water activities for the littles (Tiny Timbers Pool) and more adventurous choices for the big kids and teens starting with a 35 foot-high slide. Follow 300 feet of adventurous twists and turns until you land in the calm, heated pool. Free waterpark passes come with suites (4 per a one bedroom or 6 per a two bedroom) so book a weekend and know that the amazing water-fun is already included.

$ PRICES VARY

The Waterfront at Bridges Bay Resort- Lake Okoboji, IA

If you’ve been thinking about a Lake Okoboji vacation (or have never heard of it before if you’re not from the Midwest), Bridges Bay Resort is a lake-front staple. During the summer season you can enjoy all the water activities you loved at camp as a kid, plus Bridges Bay has water slides of varying heights, a huge pool and a swim up bar. But water-fun doesn’t end when the season does. The Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark is the only one in the area. There are tube slides, a lazy river and even a pirate ship with water cannons. It’s like a G rated version of Pirates of the Caribbean without Captain Jack, of course.

$ PRICES VARY

Hilton Anatole Hotel- Dallas, TX

Downtown Dallas offers a lot of fun for a family vacation, but the Hilton Anatole Hotel makes staying in the city better than ever. Exclusive to hotel guests, the use of the JadeWaters pool complex is included in your stay.  It’s a great place to get together with family and friends after a day of touring. Hell, skip the city tours and let this built-in waterpark be the vacation. JadeWaters features a 630-foot long lazy river, two 30-foot-tall/ 180-foot-long slides (one enclosed, one open) and a kids splash and play area. There’s also an adult-only pool nearby with a swim-up bar, so if you’re lucky enough to get a break (or put Dad to work), you might even get a breather during all the family fun. PS-Kids under 12 stay free when they’re sharing a room with adults.

$ PRICES VARY

Kid-Friendly Beach Hotels with Waterparks in the Caribbean/Hawaii:

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa- St Maarten

Just because your kids love a good waterpark doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a beach vacation with a waterpark. Done and done at the Sonesta Resort in St Maarten. Just a four-hour flight from the NY area, your family can be appreciating 10 acres of stunning beachfront at Maho Bay by the afternoon. In addition to the Oasis Pool with swim up bar (for you and your SO), the littles can join Iggy Iguana, Penelope Pelican and Maarten Roots at the Beach House Kids Club and Aqua Park— featuring a 1400 sq ft pool, pool deck and animal-themed slides. Everyone wins on this family trip. It may even qualify as an actual vacation.

As a treat, Sonesta has hooked us up with a discount code. Book with MOMMY50 to receive a $50 resort credit. And if you’re taking a trip sans kids, use the code for the adult only property next door— Sonesta Ocean Point Resort.

$ PRICES VARY

Atlantis Paradise Island- Bahamas

Hey mom and dad, we’ve got one word for you— Bahamas! The Atlantis has five different hotels that all share stunning beachfront property and the unrivaled Aquaventure waterpark. The 141-acre waterscape is an adventure of thrilling slides and river rides. It’s integrated into the largest open-air marine habitat in the world— over 50,000 marine animals from 250 species make their home in the ocean fed environments. This is part dream vacation, part educational experience— even teens will leave the Atlantis with a lifetime of memories— especially after they experience the The iconic Leap of Faith waterslide. This 6-story, open air, near vertical drop takes you through a shark infested lagoon! It’s a rite-of-passage for all Atlantis guests.

$ PRICES VARY

Grand Wailea Resort- Maui, Hawaii

While Hawaii doesn’t usually = waterpark, why the hell not? If you can pull yourself away from the ocean or beach, the Grand Wailea’s pool is not to be missed. Add to that the Lava Tube Slide for hours of family fun. This 262 foot long slide has a 3 story drop and 360 degree turn, promising 22 seconds of slide-time. When you finish your turn, head over to Wailea Canyon for the 6 waterfalls, whitewater rapids slide, and the Tarzan Swing. Even your teens will think this is the *coolest* trip ever. And you’ll agree, it’s Hawaii after all, it can not be anything short of incredible.

$ PRICES VARY

Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa- Montego Bay, Jamaica

You can tell the kids you’re going for the waterpark (it’s not a lie really), but we know you’re in it for the beach. This is Montego Bay, Jamaica, after all. The Sugar Mill Falls Water Park, the largest water park in Jamaica, lets you zip down the 280-foot slide, drift along the lazy river, or lounge by one of three pools (be sure to grab a drink at either of the swim up bars). Families looking for more adventure will enjoy kayaking on the pristine turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea at this all-inclusive resort’s private white sandy beach. The kids can have the slides— we’ll take the view.

$ PRICES VARY

Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19, we suggest calling ahead to insure the location has safety protocols in place and will remain open during the time you wish to visit.

The post The Best Kid-Friendly Hotels With Waterparks appeared first on Scary Mommy.

The Best Kid-Friendly + All-Inclusive Resorts 2020: These Places Are Open & Welcoming Guests

Right now, putting down the sanitizing wipes and booking the fam at a kid-friendly all-inclusive resort probably sounds like a total fantasy. After so many months of quarantining, your cabin fever’s raging and you’re ready to get the heck out of Dodge. But what about travel restrictions? Safety measures? Costs? Well, Mama, we’ve got news for you. It turns out there are plenty of resorts open and welcoming guests, they’ve implemented stricter sanitary and safety measures, and they’re chock-full of kid activities. There are even all-inclusive resorts for cheap (well, cheaper) family vacations that are big on fun but not on price. Maybe you’re even bold enough to cross country borders for resorts in Mexico and Jamaica (Hello, Cancun and Montego Bay!). But if not, you can still have fun in the US; and in particular, you can swim, sightsee, and see attractions while staying in resorts in sunny Florida and Texas.

Since COVID-19 makes trip planning more complicated, we enlisted travel experts to share their top kid-friendly and all-inclusive resorts that you can book right now. Check out their picks below, plus links detailing COVID-19 safety initiatives. While travel may be different for the foreseeable future — for instance, you may have to stash the kids’ face masks in your carry-on — it doesn’t mean your family can’t have a memorable vacation. So grab your travel gear, and get ready for a much-needed getaway!

Note: While we worked to provide you the most updated information at the time of writing, we highly recommend visiting the resort’s website and/or contacting them about available amenities before booking.

Florida: Best Kid-Friendly Resorts

 

Westgate Town Center Resort | Kissimmee, Florida

Westgate Town Center Resort

The Westgate Town Center Resort in Kissimmee puts you in close proximity to Disney at a super affordable price. That said, there are tons of action-packed activities right on the property. Spend the whole day (or two, or three) at the Shipwreck Island Water Park, which is filled with slides, bridges, fountains, and things to climb. There’s also the Jurassic Park Mini-Golf Course for a pre-historic adventure, the Disney Movie Theater for kid-friendly entertainment, sports fields, bike rentals, playgrounds, and more. And when the crew gets hungry, there are eight on-site drink and dining options to choose from, including an Italian chophouse, sports bar, and ice cream shop. 

Most of the Westgate Town Center Resort amenities are open except for a few of the pools, and you can view an up-to-date list here. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE and travel advisory HERE.

Sirata Beach Resort | St. Pete Beach, Florida

Sirata Beach Resort

If you’re looking for a relaxing seaside escape or you have an infant that’s too little for most kiddie attractions, consider the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach your idyllic getaway. Is your family content staying seaside? The 13-acre property’s stretch of private beach, plus three onsite restaurants, two pools, and two beach bars, ensure you won’t even need to rent a car if you don’t want to.

Feel like venturing out? Downtown St. Pete is just a short (Uber or cab) ride away, and you’ll find museums, craft breweries, restaurants, and more. Suncoast Water Sports, which offers activities like parasailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and sunset cruises, is also nearby, and Sirata guests get 10 percent off. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE

The Grove Resort & Water Park | Orlando, Florida

The Grove Resort & Water Park

For some fun in the sun right here in the US, The Grove Resort & Water Park is guaranteed to bring thrills to action-loving families. Namely, there’s the Surfari water park, which guests are welcome to use without an admission charge. There, you can experience the FlowRider surf simulator, float along the lazy river, zoom down twisting water slides, splash in the kids’ activity pool, or hang in your own private cabana. If you need some reprieve from the sunny rays, there’s also plenty to do indoors at the Kid’s Activity Center (with scheduled activities Friday-Sunday) and Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center for some friendly competition and arcade games.

If you’ve got Disney magic on the brain, this resort is conveniently close to the parks. But when it’s time to take a break from the hustle and bustle, you’ll love coming back to The Grove to unwind at the spa or lounge by the pool. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE.

Mexico: Best Kid-Friendly + All-Inclusive Resorts

 

Planet Hollywood Beach Resort (All-Inclusive) | Cancun, Mexico

Planet Hollywood Cancun

First, keep in mind that the Planet Hollywood Beach Resort doesn’t open until December 15, 2020. But if you’re looking for a getaway that’s posh for you but full of play for the kiddos, the soon-to-be brand-new resort promises the best of both worlds. Here, you and the fam will get the star treatment with fun and relaxing options for everyone: There’s a fitness center, swimming pools, and lazy river; and you can’t miss the Labyrinth mini golf course, Jurassic Splash Park, or the Planet Play Adventure Park.  There’s even a Stars Kids Club™ or PH Teens Club where the kids can hang when Mom and Dad need some alone time (perhaps a trip to the PH Spa & Beauty Bar is in order). Bonus: When you book certain suites, you’ll get a $500 resort credit.

“The resort rolls out the red carpet of fun with monthly special events and daily activities for guests of all ages,” says Jurgen Stutz, SVP of Sales, Marketing and Distribution for Blue Diamond Resorts. “From screenings of your favorite comedy flicks and classic films in the theater to beach parties and movies under the stars, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!” View COVID-19 initiatives HERE.

Royalton Riviera Cancun (All-Inclusive) | Cancun, Mexico

Royalton Riviera Cancun

This all-inclusive resort offers a host of activities for kids of all ages. At the Clubhouse Kids Club, vacationers ages 4-12 can enjoy supervised activities, and for teens ages 13-17, the Hangout Teen Club will be their gaming paradise. Adds Stutz, “The resort’s Vibe Team ensures families are entertained from morning to night with games, obstacle courses and nightly themed shows on the main stage, such as Lion King renditions, Michael Jackson tributes, and full-blown dance parties.”

Included in your stay will be dining at nine specialty restaurants, a cafe, and a dozen bars, access to 11 pools, a children’s splash park, non-motorized sports, activities and entertainment, and more. And if you’re willing to spend a little extra dough, you can book a motorized water sports excursion, visit the casino, or even hire an on-site babysitter so you can spend some one-on-one time with your honey. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE

Marival Emotions Resort & Suites (All-Inclusive)| Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Marival Emotions Resort & Suites

Located in the resort area Nuevo Vallarta, Marival Emotions Resort and Suites is proudly all-inclusive so you can spend more time with your family and less time paying the bill. Included in your stay are food and drinks from the property’s six restaurants and seven bars plus fitness classes, mini golf, loaned bicycles (and a guided tour of the area), Marival Theater shows, and one round of golf per adult per stay. Kids and teens can also head off to designated resort clubs, which is perfect if you want to splurge at the spa (babysitters are also available for a fee). If that’s not enough, there’s always the option to add on excursions like diving, zip-lining, and tours in the nearby Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.

Concludes Mel Dohman, Senior Communications Manager at Travelocity, “This kid-friendly resort offers plenty of amenities for the whole family, from beach and pool toys, bath and splash accessories, to entertainment items like outdoor games and game consoles, to a planned picnic for the whole family.” View COVID-19 initiatives HERE

Jamaica: Best Kid-Friendly + All-Inclusive Resorts

 

Royalton Blue Waters (All-Inclusive) | Montego Bay, Jamaica

Royalton Bl
Royalton Blue Waters

The Royalton Blue Waters resort is your ticket to paradise. Another Blue Diamond Resort property, this place has all-inclusive perks that include reservation-free dining, your choice of cuisine at several restaurants (including buffet and à la carte-style), bars with handcrafted cocktails, non-motorized sports adventures, daily entertainment, and evening shows.

The entire family will have a blast, whether you’re dipping your toes into the turquoise sea, drifting on the on-site lazy river, or zooming down the waterslides at the pirate-themed splash park. And when it’s time for the grownups to enjoy some time at the spa, the kiddos can head to the Clubhouse Kids Club or Hangout Teen Club to chill. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE

Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa (All-Inclusive) | Montego Bay, Jamaica

Hilton Rose Hall

This Hilton property is a water lover’s paradise. Namely, it’s home to the Sugar Mill Falls Water Park, an expansive hub for outdoor fun with three pools, a lazy river, waterfalls, the jungle garden play area, and — to parents’ delight — a swim-up bar for frosty cocktails. If that’s not enough,  the property’s 2,500-long strip of white sand beach will provide the backdrop for the perfect beach day.

But there’s plenty more to do during your all-inclusive stay besides swim and lounge by the water. The cost of your stay also includes the use of the tennis court and tennis lessons, evening entertainment, access to the Kidz Club and Teen Zone, and plenty of food and beverage options. You can also choose from optional add-ons like spa services, golf games, and other excursions. As a bonus, kiddos under 5 get to stay for free! View COVID-19 initiatives HERE

Moon Palace (All-Inclusive) | Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Moon Palace

In addition to its all-inclusive package, Moon Palace Jamaica is offering an incredible deal. “For a limited time, kids and teens under 17 stay free until December 2021,” explains Dohman. Even better, your family can extend your stay because “rooms come with free enhanced WIFI for remote schooling and work.”

Some of the resort’s inclusive perks include top-shelf drinks, non-motorized water sports, plenty of gourmet and casual dining options, 24-hour room service, nightly entertainment, access to four pools and a wave simulator, the Wired Lounge arcade, state-of-the-art activity rooms, and more. Of course, you can also indulge at the spa for an additional cost. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE.

Texas: Best Kid-Friendly Resorts

 

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa | Lost Pines, Texas

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines

For an escape to nature (without escaping too far), the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa offers an outdoorsy experience combined with upscale creature comforts. This lakeside retreat is 23 miles outside of Austin and is set against a backdrop of Texas countryside. Although your family will enjoy some quiet relaxation, there’s still plenty for the kiddos to do: Kayak down the Colorado River, hike through nearby McKinney Roughs Nature Park, or go on a horseback riding adventure. You can also spend a laidback afternoon hangin’ by the pool or floating down the resort’s lazy river.

And you won’t have to go far to find some tasty nosh. From the Southern-inspired Firewheel Cafe to McDade’s Emporium and Ice Cream Saloon (a kid’s paradise), there are several onsite eateries to choose from. Come nightfall, you can grab a seat by one of the two roaring firepits for s’mores, cocktails, and screen-free good times. (Note that there are currently some limitations in amenities and dining options.) View COVID-19 initiatives and closures HERE

The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas | Dallas, Texas 

Bringing the kids along on vacation doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxury. The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas both offers a posh urban experience while welcoming young visitors to enjoy their stay. “The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas’ distinct family allure is derived from our commitment to fostering a warm and inviting environment,” explains Andrew Davidson, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. “Children of all ages can feel comfortable amidst luxury with interactive learning opportunities that encourage them to explore the property and city surroundings using their imagination.”
So, what’s in it for them? The Ritz Kids program features activities like scavenger hunts and creative projects that teach environmental responsibility and cultural awareness. Also included is the VIK (Very Important Kid) check-in experience and milk and cookie turndown service so they know that they’re valued guests, too. The Ritz is also conveniently close to family-friendly attractions like the Dallas World Aquarium, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Now, try finding all that at your average 5-star hotel! View COVID-19 initiatives HERE

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa | San Antonio, Texas

JW Marriott San Antonio

Situated on 600 acres of leafy green landscape, the JW Marriott in San Antonio offers the best of both worlds with the solace of nature plus proximity to the city’s amenities. That is, if you leave the resort at all. The property’s River Bluff Experience offers an expansive lazy river, multiple pools, and adrenaline-spiking slides. Afraid it’ll be too cool to swim? The water’s heated for year-round enjoyment.

But if the fam is feeling waterlogged, there’s plenty of other things to do. Onsite, you’ll find multiple eateries as well as a golf course and spa. Or, you can head off-premises and into town; you’ll find the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium, Seaworld, Shops at La Cantera, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas nearby. View COVID-19 initiatives HERE.

Love these vacation ideas? See more of our mom-approved Spotted picks, designed to make your life easier.

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