From SpongeBob to St. Lucia, there’s an all-inclusive resort for every type of vacationer

The combination is hard to beat: warm sand, ample sunshine, brisk salt air and the hypnotic ebb and flow of ocean waves. There’s just something about the beach that allows our cares to drip away, leaving us refreshed and reinvigorated in the process. No wonder Americans make more than 409 million visits to the beach each year, according to pre-pandemic figures tabulated by the U.S. Lifesaving Association, which trains and sanctions lifeguards.

But there’s something that can be even better than a beach trip: a beach trip where your accommodations, food and drinks are already paid for, where days are loaded with activities and nights with torch-lit luaus, where there’s a pool — maybe with a swim-up bar or a waterslide — for those who want a break from the sand. We’re talking about an all-inclusive beach resort, the kind of place where everything is part of the package, and the warm rays, fish tacos and piña coladas can keep coming for as long as you want them to.

All-inclusive resorts are not for everybody. Non-drinkers may find the alcohol flows rather too freely, and adventurers may feel a bit trapped given that everything is centered on the resort. On the other hand, they’re typically luxurious and located in idyllic locations, and they take the hassle out of planning. Plus, there’s a resort for just about every type of vacationer.

While all-inclusive resorts are most commonly found in Mexico and the Caribbean, the trend has spread across the globe. So grab a coconut-husk drink with a little umbrella in it, and let’s examine some of the best all-inclusive resorts for families, couples and singles, beginning with one that’s a relatively easy drive from Atlanta.

Families

Looking for a traditional beach resort? On the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, Club Med Cancun Yucatan is surrounded by white-sand beaches, and features parent-friendly amenities like the Club Med Kids Club, available babysitting, and even rooms with separate sleeping areas for kids and parents. Beaches Turks and Caicos has a sumptuous 12-mile beach, a massive waterpark, 10 swimming pools, appearances by Sesame Street characters and even an Xbox lounge.

Credit: From Beaches Resorts

Credit: From Beaches Resorts

If your kids dream of vacationing with SpongeBob SquarePants, Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana boasts several pools, a waterpark, a villa modeled after SpongeBob’s pineapple-shaped home, and, yes, even the chance to get “slimed.” For a more refined experience, there’s Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, which features kids’ activities both on and below the water, and where every child under 5 is assigned a nanny for the duration of their stay. Older kids can spend all day in the “Bula Club,” allowing parents to relax on their own. Another piña colada, please.

Couples

Lots of all-inclusive resorts are for adults only, and one of the best is Sandal’s Grenada, which offers a staggeringly beautiful view from its wide beach in addition to 10 restaurants, scuba and water sports opportunities, and tons of evening entertainment. Amid the mountains and towering palms of St. Lucia, Serenity at Coconut Bay ramps up the romance quotient with 36 suites complete with their own plunge pools, poolside and beachfront cabanas, and even chauffeured golf cart rides to and from your room.

Credit: From Marquis Los Cabos

Credit: From Marquis Los Cabos

On Mexico’s Baja peninsula, Marquis Los Cabos is an ultramodern resort where couples can play golf or tennis, whale watch on the Sea of Cortez, or just unwind in one of the beguiling infinity-edge pools. Half a world away, Centara Ras Fushi Resort in the Maldives is set on an atoll that’s reached by speedboat, and features villas overhanging a sparkling emerald lagoon.

Singles

Traveling alone? There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts that accommodate singles as well, among them the recently redesigned Club Med Turkoise in the Turks and Caicos, where you’ll discover golf, tennis, sailing and trapeze schools, and lots of white sand on Grace Bay Beach, rated as one of the best in the world. Body Holiday, in St. Lucia, is a wellness resort with lots of group exercise classes and daily spa treatments included in the price. Closer to home, Bungalows Key Largo in Florida features conversation starters like cooking classes and sunset sailing cruises.

If you’re looking for nightlife, the party never stops at Temptation Cancun Resort, which is big on neon colors and themed activities that can venture into the risqué — it’s a bit like spring break for grown-ups. Or you can kick back and enjoy the slow pace of Belizean Dreams in Belize, with its nine standalone villas and hammocks overlooking a blissfully undeveloped beach. But don’t worry — drinks are still part of the package.