Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but there's still time for one more family trip. We polled our professional inspectors and asked their favorite places. The top 10 picks are below and, for even more great ideas, click to see the complete list of suggestions.
Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station, Indianapolis, Indiana (Three Diamond rated)
Stay in a former railroad station in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. For extra fun, choose one of 26 guestrooms converted from authentic Pullman train cars. Nearby family entertainment includes several downtown sports arenas, White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Three Diamond rated)
For families who love wild animals, this is the place to stay. The hotel’s balcony rooms offer around-the-clock views of animals roaming the savannahs in the 43-acre wildlife preserve. African architecture, interactive exhibits and year-round kids’ programs make the entire property part of the experience.
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas (Four Diamond rated)
Through Labor Day, guests can take part in the sixth annual SummerFest featuring four and a half acres of indoor gardens transformed into Alice’s Wonderland Adventure. Visitors who wander in Wonderland will encounter giant art and strolling entertainers including Alice, The Queen of Hearts and The Hatter. Special extras include pool parties, family dine-in movies, dessert dine-arounds, fireworks and Sunday tea.
Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky, Ohio (Three Diamond rated)
This resort offers weather-proof family fun with an indoor water park featuring Fort Mackenzie, a four-story, interactive water fort. Every evening around 8:15, kids in pajamas and slippers head to the lobby Clock Tower to wind down with story time. Older kids enjoy the Northern Lights Arcade.
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, Cambridge, Maryland (Four Diamond rated)
This Eastern Shore resort offers families a pick of getaway experiences, including poolside movies, miniature golf, beach volleyball and walks through the hotel’s 18-acre Blue Heron Rookery nature preserve. At Camp Hyatt, kids have opportunities to make friends and learn new skills. Additional activities include an 18-hole championship golf course and spa. Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Bernalillo, New Mexico (Four Diamond rated)
Resort visitors become immersed in beautiful Southwestern décor featuring Native American artwork. Children of all ages enjoy multiple swimming pools, walking trails and horseback riding. A camp program caters to younger children. The Rail Runner train stop in nearby Bernalillo offers service to the cultural centers of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Lost Valley Ranch, Deckers, Colorado (Four Diamond rated)
The friendly owners extend a warm welcome, assigning families their own luxurious, Western-themed cabin. Ranch counselors host programs and activities for infants to teens to adults. Options include horseback riding, hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing and rafting.
Moody Garden Hotel, Spa and Convention Center, Galveston, Texas (Four Diamond rated)
Here you'll find an aquarium, rainforest, golf course, swimming pool, beach, an IMAX theater and 4-D theater. Summer weekend activities include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, pool coin dives, a bounce house, kite flying, clown face painting, karaoke and Wii competitions.
Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Three Diamond rated)
This high-energy family hotel ensures kids have fun and families create messy memories. The property features water parks, interactive pools, poolside shows, slime, games, 4-D theater, a kid’s spa, character breakfast and a nightly Nickelodeon show. Central Florida’s popular theme parks are just minutes away.
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, East Harwich, Massachusetts (Four Diamond rated)
This waterfront resort offers an outdoor amphitheater and pirate-themed interactive water playground with treasure chests, fountains and a pirate ship with slides and swinging ropes. The high-tech children’s center features a 135-inch HD screen for Wii, PlayStation and Xbox 360 gaming. Activities include dive-in-movies, teen gaming nights and lessons in swimming, sailing and tennis. Read more inspectors' family favorites, listed by state plus Mexico and Canada.