4 Ways Going to Royalton Bavaro in Punta Cana for a Family Vacation Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

If you’re looking for a weekend escape to warmer weather or your family needs a week to relax at the beach, Royalton Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, may be the family-friendly vacation spot you’re craving. The all-inclusive Caribbean resort features a variety of activities, amazing accommodations, and a bevy of dining options, so everyone in your family will have an entertaining, relaxing vacation.

I’ve been to a few all-inclusive resorts in my day, and I know each one has a distinct personality and offers something a little different and unexpected. So, I jumped at the chance to stay at Royalton Bavaro to see what the family-friendly resort has in store for its visitors—and how it will make even the most grown-up of adults feel like kids again.

RELATED: 10 Things to Protect Your Home While You’re on Vacation

You can participate in your favorite childhood activities—or be adventurous and learn a new skill.

If lounging on the beach reading a book or catching up on magazines doesn’t sound like enough activity for you while on vacation (sounds like heaven, if you ask me!), Royalton Bavaro has enough activity to keep your entire family entertained for hours.

Remember the days of visiting water parks as a kid when the only ride you could go on was the lazy river (or maybe that’s your child’s current situation)? While the thought of only spending time on the lazy river may not fill you or your child with excitement, I guarantee you’ll feel glee when moseying along the one at Royalton Bavaro. With single and double tubes, water-splashing features, water slides, and a float-up bar (offering both adult and kid-friendly drinks), you could spend an entire afternoon lazing on the water rather than by the water—and you better believe the group I was with did just that. There’s also Splash Pad, a mini water park for kids, with slides and splash features.

royalton bavaro punta cana lazy river

The lazy river can get a little crowded on hot afternoons, but it’s well worth the wait for a tube. And don’t forget to coat yourself and kids in sunscreen!

If learning a new water skill is more appealing, you can test your balance and learn to surf on the resort’s Flowrider without the worry of being out to sea. And if standing on a mini surfboard is not something you even want to attempt (I wiped out almost immediately), you can bodyboard on the endless waves. Don’t forget your camera—you’ll definitely want to capture the outrageous wipeouts on video or Boomerang for a good laugh after the fact!

Another activity that harkens back to childhood glee is mini golf, and the resort has its own nine-hole course. Mini-golf tournament with the fam, anyone? (My group didn’t have a chance to host our own competition because we were too busy having fun at other resort locales.)

For those few times you want to have a couple of hours relaxing on the beach or perhaps a date night with your spouse without the kids, Royalton Bavaro also offers Clubhouse Kids Club for ages 4-12 and Hangout Teens Club for ages 13-17. Clubhouse gives younger children the chance to make new friends with other guests, and they can watch cartoons or play games inside or play on the playground. Kids can also enjoy live appearances, themed activities, and evening entertainment with the beloved sibling bunnies, Max & Ruby. Hangout gives teens the opportunity to socialize with each other and play video games, beach volleyball, tennis, or ping pong, or participate in non-motorized water sports including kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, and catamarans.

If you go on an excursion, you may just be reminded of what you wanted to be when you grew up.

Punta Cana has a lot to offer in terms of cultural attractions, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and adventure, so my group left the grounds of Royalton Bavaro for a catamaran excursion arranged through Nexus Tours. If you choose this excursion, make sure you bring a waterproof camera to snap some shots for your family vacation scrapbook!

After a relatively quick drive (approximately 30 minutes) to the boat departure locale, we boarded a catamaran and set sail for the Cortecito Reef area along the Bavaro coast. I donned my snorkeling gear and life vest, and as I jumped off the boat and into the water, I realized I was about to check off a bucket list item: snorkeling in a coral reef. During the 30-minute snorkel session, I saw a variety of fish (a school of fish even circled me a few times), and I thought to myself why didn’t I pursue my childhood dream of being a marine biologist?

snorkeling with nexus tours in punta cana

Keep your eyes peeled for colorful fish when snorkeling; you’ll see some pretty cool creatures!

When our underwater time was up, we boarded the boat again, with music blasting, and danced while we motored over to the natural pool area off the coast of Bavaro. This is a shallow area close to the coast (about 4-feet deep) where the water is warm. All the boat tours hang out here for a few hours after snorkeling, making it one big party area. Close by is an old pirate ship re-creation that you can board and pretend you’re a pirate on with your kids for a few hours Let’s be real—who didn’t want to be a pirate—or at least pretend to be one—when they were little?

Someone else will cook all of your food for you, no matter what you’re craving.

Royalton Bavaro has eight different restaurants to dine in, in addition to 24-hour room service. Yes, you read that right: eight restaurants. And with two of the restaurants as buffets (Gourmet Marché, featuring local ingredients, international flavors, and a special kids’ section, and Oceanside, featuring an open-air dining experience), you could eat something different for every meal. Grazie Trattoria features an authentic Italian menu; Zen offers teppanyaki and sushi; you can watch the chefs prepare your dinner at Hunter Steakhouse; Rio brings the flavors of Brazil to you; and SCORE is a sports bar and lounge. The only restaurant that isn’t included in your stay is Culinary Experience, which offers a seven-course meal with musical selections perfectly paired with each dish. 

Most importantly, if you have any dietary restrictions, the resort offers gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options at each of its restaurants. And if you’re allergic to anything, the chefs will create meals according to your needs.

The luxury accommodations will make you feel like royalty, not just playing dress up.

Royalton Bavaro touts itself as a luxurious vacation experience for all, and the rooms and suites resort-wide are just the beginning. The property has 730 rooms and suites, and regardless of where on the resort you’re staying, everyone has access to the pools, beach, dining options and activities. All rooms include unlimited Wi-Fi (perfect for those tweens who just can’t put their devices down, or if you need to text each other to check in throughout the day), a fully-stocked mini bar with drinks and snacks, 24-hour room service, and USB charging stations, plus either a balcony or terrace. And if you’re lucky enough to snag a ground-floor room, you may just have your own, semi-private swim-out pool.

royalton bavaro swim out terrace pools

There’s no better way to enjoy your morning coffee than hanging out in your own semi-private swim-out pool.

If you really want to live in luxury during your stay, you can upgrade to the Diamond Club, which includes all of the above, in addition to butler service; a beach area, pool, and bar that’s just for Diamond Club members with food and beverage service; lounge access with hors d’oeuvres, afternoon snacks, desserts, and select premium drinks; and discounts on spa services, among other special amenities. Let’s just say that after my weekend as a Diamond Club member with a swim-out pool as my terrace, it was difficult to readjust to my normal, everyday life in the city.