MINI / Family Time

Staycations: How to have a fabulous SWFL getaway, geared toward kids

These local resorts up the ante on family fun, with engaging programs and cool amenities for their youngest guests.

BY February 22, 2023
SW FL Staycations _ Ritz Calrton Naples
In Southwest Florida, kids’ clubs celebrate our natural setting with programs that are educational and fun. (Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón)

Living in paradise means we have access to posh resorts for staycations with all the creature comforts, plus stellar programs for tykes to play and discover. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or hosting out-of-town grandkids, these kids’ clubs are sure to impress. Note: Some resorts are remodeling after Hurricane Ian; call for the latest information.


JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort   

The Tiki Tribe Discovery Day Camp at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort offers education and entertainment for guests ages 5 through 12. Day campers participate in activities rooted in science, art and nature, with indoor fun and wildlife explorations.

Half- and full-day programs allow kids to explore the resort’s three miles of coastline, where they may discover rare shells, sea glass and other treasures from the deep. Children flock to the shores to learn about sea turtles, dolphins, manatees and migrant birds. Aspiring mermaids over the age of 6 can dive into the 90-minute Mermaid Monofin Safety Course at the onsite Sea Shelley’s Mermaid School to learn kicks, tricks, flips, and stretching and breathing exercises. Bonus: there’s an underwater dance party at the end of class. On another day, kids can head to the resort’s 10K Alley, the arcade and mini-golf course for more endless fun.


The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples

In 2021, The Ritz-Carlton Tiburón, Naples, added a waterpark, The Reservoir, complete with a lazy river and dedicated children’s splash and play area. Now, the beachfront The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, is undergoing an extensive transformation, slated to debut this summer.

The resort’s still working on their new kids’ club, but you can expect more environmental-inspired fun, like what they had with the former Nature’s Wonder program, aimed at children ages 5-12. Exploring the grounds, feeding aquarium animals, combing the beach for shells, and learning about mangroves, sea turtles and the importance of recycling are all fan-favorites that excite for what’s next.

The Ritz-Carlton also offers family-friendly activities throughout the year, including the holiday Teddy Bear Tea.


The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa

Known for its sprawling, child-friendly campus—including an onsite waterpark with five twisting waterslides, a lazy river and four swimming pools—The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs offers the perfect family getaway. And, the kid-friendly amenities don’t stop at the pool: Camp Coconut for ages 3 to 12 is complete with half- and full-day programs. 

While the waterpark and camp are still being overhauled after the hurricane, kids have access to a variety of daily activities, including childhood favorites, such as musical chairs, tug-of-war, three-legged races and dance contests. Parents wanting a date night can enroll kids in the weekend evening program, where kiddos engage in movie screenings, bingo and roasting s’mores around the firepit.


South Seas Island Resort

Businesses on the islands have been working ‘round the clock to rebuild after Hurricane Ian. At South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, the team is hopeful for a 2023 return. 

In addition to being a wonderland for kids, South Seas works with the Sanibel Sea School to offer kids’ activities. Every day is a field trip with the Sanibel Sea School Day Camp, for adventurous littles aged 6 to 13. Camp counselors and marine science educators closely watch the kiddos, as they surf on the Gulf, comb the beach for treasures and learn about aquatic creatures. Sessions are tailored to different topics, like sharks, crabs or manatees, for wild adventures that change day to day. Private family programs can also be tailored to suit your clan’s interests. Or, you can sign up for an outing as a family to find shells and spot birds with a marine science educator. Sanibel Sea School also partners with Sanibel Moorings Resort for children’s activities, and they are working to reopen their summer camp at Bailey Homestead Preserve.

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