By now, many Americans have forgotten the feel of sunshine on their skin. This winter’s relentless chill has kept everyone bundled up or indoors. So where better to go for a midwinter break than the Sunshine State? Florida’s sun, sea, and citrus are waiting. Florida also has the advantage of being a family-friendly destination. Kids won’t run out of things to do on the beaches and in the parks, and many resorts have kids’ clubs and childcare so parents can have some time together to really unwind.
1. Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is in Orlando, and thus a terrific base for exploring the Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios, and Sea World.
The hotel has 750 rooms, all large enough for a family of four and some of which connect. Bunkbeds are available and refrigerators can be requested.
Hotel guests have free use of the resort’s 21-acre private lake and its 1,000 feet of white sand. Pedaloes, kayaks, and canoes are also free. Families can take riding lessons, hit the spa, play golf or tennis, or go for a sail—all within the resort. The half-acre swimming pool has waterfalls, water slides, and a swinging rope bridge.
Camp Hyatt, open in high season from 9-4pm for 5-12 year-olds, offers arts and crafts, swimming, movies, boating, and other activities. Meals can be provided. The camp also runs on weekends during the low season. Other facilities include day care and babysitting. The hotel store offers organic products for children and a range of prepared food.
Orlando Airport is 30-45 minutes from the resort.
Learn more about Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
2. Sundial Beach Resort
Sundial sprawls across a beach on Sanibel, a barrier island just off the Gulf Coast of Florida, very close to Fort Myers. Just 12 miles long, the island has more than 26 miles of bike trails and 17 miles of beaches renowned for their beauty and seashells.
The resort offers 270 elegantly appointed one- and two-bedroom suites, featuring screened balconies, fully equipped kitchens, and large bathrooms. Many suites include separate living areas, as well as dramatic views of the hotel garden and the Gulf of Mexico.
Guests have access to a variety of restaurants, five swimming pools, the Dunes Championship Golf Course, 12 clay tennis courts, water sports, and dolphin cruises. Nature walks and photography are also offered on the island.
Sundial offers the Explorer Kid’s Club, ECO Center (seasonal) for 4-12 year-olds, arts and crafts, beach games, swimming pool games, day and night camps, and seashell collecting. Kids also have the chance to feed the crabs, turtles, and other marine life in the hotel’s coastal observatory.
Sanibel is a 30-minute drive from Southwest Florida International Airport – which has connecting flights from Tampa. It is also a three-hour drive from Miami or Orlando
Learn more about Sundial Beach Resort
3. Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida
Nestled in the stunning Florida Keys, Hawks Cay is a laid-back Caribbean-style resort surrounded by coconut palms and crystal waters.
Hawks Cay has 177 rooms and 295 villas. All standard rooms are spacious and air-conditioned with a king size bed or two doubles and a private bathroom. They’re equipped with refrigerators and private balconies or terraces.
Duck Key offers some of the world’s best fishing, as well as a saltwater lagoon, large swimming pools, scuba diving, glass-bottomed boat rides, sailing, a fitness center, five restaurants, and a dolphin discovery program.
Kids can play on the Pirate Ship in the children’s pool, or at the adventure playground. There’s a fully supervised children’s club for 3-11 year-olds, as well as a babysitting service.
Hawks Cay is ninety miles south of Miami, and eight miles from Marathon airport.
Learn more about Hawk’s Cay Resort