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Top 10 Florida Family-Friendly Resorts

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A resort is defined as "a place providing recreation and entertainment to vacationers." I think of a resort as being in a world of its own – once you arrive you never have to leave to have your needs met.

The following properties definitely live up to my definition of a resort. I can attest that once you arrive you not only will not have to leave... you won't want to. The best thing about these resorts is that they cater to children. The second best thing is that they are in Florida!

1. Nickelodeon Family Suites - Orlando

Located within five minutes of Disney World, the 800-room Nickelodeon Family Suites has been turned virtually into a kids camp. For starters, the kid-friendly suites are occupied with your kids favorite Nickelodeon characters and the resort's "pool" is a full-fledged water park. A complimentary nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball courts and plenty of family entertainment including a state-of-the-art theater are also part of the fun.

This family-friendly resort is such a complete package that it would be easy to skip the nearby theme parks.

2. All-Star Resorts: Movies, Music & Sports - Orlando

Bigger than life might describe the icons celebrating movies, sports and music. They are huge, but in contrast to the enormity of the icons at Disney's All-Star Resorts is the hotels' price structure... the lowest on Disney property.

While any of these properties are fun, it's the new All-Star Music Resort Family Suites that make it particularly family-friendly. The new Family Suites will sleep a family of six and the added amenities — two full baths and a kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator — satisfy a previously unavailable accommodation for families visiting Disney World.

3. Gaylord Palms Resort

In 2011, Gaylord Palms and DreamWorks Animation announced they would be bringing iconic movie characters to Central Florida for the Gaylord Palms' DreamWorks Experience. Families can meet and greet their favorite characters — Shrek, Princess Fiona, Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots and friends — at breakfast and during special events like the popular holiday ICE! celebration. This luxury resort is casual enough for the kids to feel welcome, but also has the amenities and service mom and dad are seeking.

4. Club Med Sandpiper - Port St. Lucie

Families on the go... go to Club Med Sandpiper. Golf, tennis and an awesome children's program are just the beginning of the fun your family can have at this all-inclusive resort.

Your vacation with the kids will turn into a circus... a real one! Club Med Sandpiper offers "circus school" with a flying trapeze and all, as well as a full activity schedule for every age — from the diaper set to testy teens.

The bottom line is that whether the kids are on property or off on an adventure to one of the neighboring theme parks, you can be assured they will be well supervised... but having the time of their young lives!

5. Amelia Island Plantation - Amelia Island

Although upscale and environmentally conscious, this resort is surprisingly family-friendly. Besides offering families a place to play together, there are specially planned programs available for time away from mom and dad.

Tiny tots to testy teens can be treated to Kids Camp and Teen Explorers programs offering nature clinics, tennis and golf clinics, games, arts & crafts, field trips and much more. The newly renovated game room rocks too!

6. Cheeca Lodge - Islamorada

This year-round vacation destination offers luxury accommodations and plenty of activities for every age.

Camp Cheeca provides children ages five and up a half day of fun activities that include fishing off Cheeca's pier, arts and crafts, lagoon swimming and snorkeling, scavenger hunts, hermit crab races, sand sculptures and beach exploration.

7. Casa Ybel Resort - Sanibel Island

Casa Ybel Resort lies off the mainstream path along the shell-studded natural beaches of Florida's Sanibel Island. While in operation since the turn of the century, a modern and renovated Casa Ybel offers adults a true sanctuary — a place to "get away from it all" — while offering the kids plenty of adventure as well.

The Casa Kids Club is a great time for ages 4 to 11. The three-hour daily program consists of indoor and outdoor games and various craft projects. Swimming and other activities are sometimes available, depending on the ages and abilities of the children in attendance on any given day.

8. Caribbean Beach Resort - Orlando

Vacation in the Caribbean without a passport. Well, at least Disney's tropically-themed resort has the feel of a brightly colored Caribbean village. This moderately-priced island vacation experience is the perfect setting for a family-friendly vacation.

We like the kid-friendly pirate-themed rooms and Parrot Cay island play area for children. Footbridges stretch over the lake to connect the "mainland" with the one-acre adventure. There is also a marina that rents small watercraft. Also, a wide variety of dining experiences from a table service restaurant to a food court offering typical American fare satisfies even the pickiest eater.

9. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort - Sandestin

Located in Northwest Florida, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers a picture-perfect village of shops and restaurants and a collection of accommodation choices that are family-friendly.

This resort has always featured great kids programs, but last year they added additional children's programs that now include day and night activities for teens, kid-friendly golf and a 9,000 sq. ft. adventure playground and waterpark.

10. The Breakers - Palm Beach

The Breakers is a classic, stylish Florida grand hotel that welcomes families. Kids 17 and under stay free and the 6,000 sq. ft. family entertainment center that includes a glassed-in toddlers room, arcade, arts and crafts center, playroom, plus a computer X-box room and family-friendly Italian restaurant is a great amenity.

Children three to 12 can join the Coconut Crew Interactive Camp for tennis, golf, arts and crafts, lawn hockey, swimming, and more. The resort also offers free use of baby gear such as bottle warmers, strollers, baby bathtubs and child proofing items.

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