6 Hotels From Sea to Shining Sea to Keep the Family Together

By Joe Baur,

There’s no better form of family bonding than travel. Whether it’s fighting with your sibling in the backseat or the sweet relief of hitting the hotel pool after a long day of exploring, we all have those memories covering the highs (and lows) of family travel.

Whether we realize it or not, the hotel itself plays an integral role in making that memory. Maybe it’s something about that outdoor hot tub with the view of the mountains or the fact that you can hear the screams of joy from one of the world’s best amusement parks nearby — where you stay can make or break a family vacation.

So, we looked around the good ole US of A and put together a little list of six of the best family hotels that you’d be hardpressed not to have a memorable experience at with options for folks looking to travel on a budget and those who don’t mind splurging a little.


North Hollywood, California

★★★s The Garland Hotel | No Invisible Cloak Necessary

The Garland Hotel Room

Craving some relaxation glamour without giving up the hustle and bustle of North Hollywood? Try a stay at The Garland Hotel where you’re just a few minutes away from Universal City. The kids will especially appreciate The Garland’s partnership with Universal Studios that allows guests early entry into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — no invisible cloak necessary to skip the lines.

The Garland Hotel Pool

When your energy is completely zapped after a day at the park, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly activities back at the hotel, including movie nights with films projected on site around the pool. Ready to get back out there? Sign up for a guided urban walk to give your little ones the inside scoop on North Hollywood.

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Lake Tahoe, California

★★★★★s The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe | Welcome To Skiing Paradise

The Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe Pool

Welcoming to paradise, skiing families. Complete with ski-in, ski-out access, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a haven for those families who see “family bonding” and hitting the slopes as one in the same. Then again, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination in and of itself. Gondolas stay open throughout the year to give guests access to the stunning natural surroundings with no shortage of hiking options. For a little old-school fun, take on the Kings Beach Miniature Golf and Ponderosa Golf Course. Once the kids hit the hay, feel free to submerge yourself into your room’s deep-soaking tub and cozy up by the fire afterward.

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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

★★★s Dunes Village Resort | Pools, Beach, Magic

Dunes Village Resort Water Park

Boredom is not an option at Myrtle Beach’s popular (and wallet-friendly) family resort, Dunes Village Resort. Kids will be plenty entertained with more water options than they’ll know what to do with, including an indoor water park, indoor water slide, and an oceanfront pool deck. You can practically hear them shrieking in excitement just reading off the amenities — and we haven’t even gotten to the list of children activities yet. You’ve got arts and crafts, a pirate ship playground, and even magic shows. (Who doesn’t love magic?)

Dunes Village Resort Restaurant

Even better, Dunes Village Resort has two on-site restaurants, so you don’t have to worry about packing everyone in the car again or scrolling through Yelp for something family-friendly. At the end of the day, sit back on your personal hotel room balcony and enjoy that view of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

★★★s Great Wolf Lodge | Unleash Your Inner-Child

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells Water Slide

We couldn’t get through an article on the best 6 national family hotels without mentioning a Great Wolf Lodge property. They are, after all, the largest provider of hotels with waterparks stretching across the whole of the United States. That said, we have a soft spot for their Wisconsin Dells location where you can unleash your inner-child alongside the kids. First, your wallet will appreciate their deal to save up to 20 percent on two or more nights.

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells Log Cabin Hotel Room

Now that we’ve got boring finances out of the way, let’s check out where we can perfect our cannonballs. The property includes an 84-degree indoor water park complete with more tubes and water slides than the kids will know what to do with. Naturally, the fun extends back to the suites where you can choose among a number of themes — like a log cabin or wolf den — and have the kids bunk up. Good luck getting them to leave when the vacation is over!

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Cedar Point — Sandusky, Ohio

★★★s Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky | Unleash Your Inner-Child

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky Hotel Room

Location, location, location. You just can’t beat this location (and price) — at least when you’re thinking with your kid-hat on. This Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky property is Cedar Point-adjacent — frequently rated the best amusement park in the world — and prices are as low as $106 on trivago with kids 19 and under staying for free when sharing their parents’ room. You generally don’t find that kind of deal when searching for a hotel near the world’s best anything. While the focus will certainly be on Cedar Point, there’s a heated indoor pool that will be a strong draw for the kids, too.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky Hotel Pool

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming

★★★s Hotel Terra Jackson Hole | Views from the Hot Tub

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole

There’s a reason why Jackson Hole remains one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the United States. The fresh air coupled with serene, cinematic landscapes — what’s not to love? When it comes to planning your family trip to Jackson Hole, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is at the top of the list. Sustainability is top-of-mind for Hotel Terra, that’s why they’ve made it part of their design to keep that lovely fresh air inside instead of forcing guests to breathe the stale, circulated stuff that makes you feel like you’re back at the office.

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole Infinity Pool Kids

Now keeping the kids in mind, we have to take a look at the pool offerings. Luckily, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole comes with two options that will send kids and parents alike through the roof. On that note, let’s start with the parental option — the rooftop hot tub located at the hotel’s CHILL Spa on the sixth floor. Here you have panoramic views of the valley from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. But when it comes to spending quality family time, you’ll be down at the infinity pool on the third floor where you can enjoy those mountains views while the kids splash away.

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What’s your family’s favorite hotel?

Featured image courtesy of Clara Marie, Unsplash