Q: Hi Playground! I want to take my family of five — my husband and I and our three teens, ages 13, 17, and 19 — to an all-inclusive resort for a summer beach vacation. I don’t want to break the bank, but would love to be able to fly somewhere (we live in Maryland between Baltimore and DC) for a real vacation feel. What would you suggest? ~ NGC
A: Hi NGC, First things first: You need to focus your destination choices, otherwise you’ll be overwhelmed with options. For the best prices, and easiest east coast flights, I’m going to recommend the Dominican Republic. I’ve been seeing all-inclusive packages that will save you money (including ones where you can combine air and hotel for additional savings), and lots of local competition that helps drive down costs. Most importantly though, there are beautiful beaches and family-friendly activities, and lots to keep your teens interested in spending time with you.
Punta Cana’s Bavaro Beach has a Blue Wave designation (meaning it’s one of the top beaches in the world) and all-inclusive resorts lining the coast competing for your vacation dollar. It’s also just 10 miles from the airport, so transfers are quick and easy.
I recently stayed at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana Bavaro Beach with my own teen. Although I would skip the teen club (it’s mostly good for rainy days to play Xbox or pool), the beach is just outside your door and there’s an ocean’s worth of water sports included.
(Aidan and I felt the wind in our hair on a Parasailing adventure, a first for both of us, and totally worth the $40 additional fee.)
Plus, there are restaurants to suit every taste—we especially liked the Indian Bhogali, something we don’t usually have at home— where your teens can eat as much as they’d like and you can enjoy some fabulous tropical cocktails without having to worry about the bill at the end of the night.
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