Where? The Bahamas
It’s officially Spring which means I’m dreaming of my summer beach vacation already. Last year I was fortunate enough to take my entire family of four (kids ages 3 and 1 at the time) to the beautiful Bahamas to stay at the Paradise Island Atlantis Resort. You might have seen the commercials for this resort, or perhaps have even stopped by on a cruise ship tour. Staying at the resort was a blast for my family and I do recommend this as a family-friendly destination trip.
While Out and About Friends primarily specializes in DFW, we occasionally include locations we love to take our kids to outside of this area. Be sure to check out our other international and domestic reviews.
If you’ve never been outside of the United States, remember even brand new babies need a passport. You can apply for one here. Both of my kids have passport pictures from when they’re five months old and bald. Quite the keepsake! Additionally, traveling with little ones is complicated! There are a lot of items to remember and lug around. I highly recommend the Cosco Apt 50 Car Seat for easy traveling as it is only 11 lbs, economically priced, and still ranks high in safety ratings. You can carry it on the plane (for FREE on any airline) if you have paid for a seat for the child. If you prefer to check it at the gate, don’t forget the gate check bag. A good option if you’re not bringing a stroller but want a way to move quickly through the airport, consider purchasing the Britax Car Seat Travel Cart. Simply strap your car seat, with the child in it, onto the travel cart and wheel it with ease. This way you don’t have to carry the car seat or the child. Genius!!!
Upon arrival to the Island, my kids and I took a taxi to the hotel. The massive pink towers are impressive and definitely live up to the ads and pictures you’ve seen on TV. Everything in this hotel is done on a large scale and my children were in pure amazement. What struck my husband and me the most about the hotel is their massive aquarium filled with exotic sea life. Do not miss going down to the lower level in the lobby and walking through the aquarium. We found it towards the end of the trip and couldn’t believe we almost missed this hidden gem. Best part, it’s FREE. If you’re visiting on a cruise ship, make sure to wander through if you come to the hotel.
From our balcony/window (we never opened it because NERVOUS parent alert) we could see the sprawling resort filled with pools, sea creatures, ocean, and beaches. Literally, right below us were sea turtles and sharks! I’m fairly certain this will be my son’s first memory. He STILL talks about it.
The resort is HUGE and has more than 20 pools and 11 slides. I do recommend bringing a stroller or baby carrier if you have very young kids. I didn’t realize this while we were there, but according to their Kid’s Concierge page, you can rent strollers onsite. The slides are very fun and obviously a big attraction to the resort but, be advised, there are height restrictions. My adventurous son was heartbroken to learn you have to be 48 inches to go on the “shark slide” (the slide you’ve seen on the commercials where you literally go through a shark tank). He could, however, wait in the viewing area (a large aquarium with sharks swarming all around) and watch as I came through on the tube (there are two slides, the fast, big drop or the slower, tube slide). He thought I was pretty cool for doing that. I did too! It was so fun!
I brought our son’s puddle jumper as he wasn’t proficient at swimming alone just yet, as well as my daughter’s life jacket. Life jackets are available onsite but the 30 pounds and under ones go FAST so I’d consider bringing your own if you want to completely ensure you have one daily.
There are a lot of fun things for younger/shorter kids to do as well. Several pools feature smaller slides and attractions which are more suited to a younger age level. Both of my kids had a ball on those. The resort also offers several kiddie pools specifically designed for the youngest guests, as well as a more kid-friendly lazy river. There is also a more intense lazy river for older guests which was also thrilling.
Besides the pools, you have the huge casino, spa, gym (with classes!), golf course, restaurants, beaches, comedy and nightclub, shops, arcades and Kid’s Club (DO IT!!!!!). We stayed active and did something new every single day, never leaving the resort, except to go to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville across the road. I’d venture to say it is basically impossible to get bored here.
If I had to choose the best thing we did, I’d have to tell you swimming with the dolphins and sea lion. This is an extra charge but totally worth it. My son and I did the sea lion adventure first with no intention of doing the dolphins too, but we had such a wonderful time that my husband wanted to join in the fun the next day. We were even able to take the baby with us. Fun fact, dolphins are attracted to fast heartbeats so if you’re pregnant, with kids, or are just REALLY nervous, the dolphin will pay you extra attention. Our dolphin, Sasha, kept swimming right up to my baby girl. My daughter LOVED it.
All in all, this vacation was an amazing experience for us. We did encounter some customer service issues and the hotel is starting to show its age in places. This resort is catered to families (and full of kids!) so if you’re wanting a romantic getaway with your spouse, this might not be the best place. But overall, I would highly encourage you to check this resort out as a place to REALLY get out and about with your family.
Your Out and About Friend,
Time and day we visited? August 2017
Level of crowds? High
Changing Table? Yes
Cleanliness of Bathroom? Very Good
Recommended age? All (although some height restrictions apply)
Food Options? Yes! Many dining options
Stroller friendly? Yes
Wheelchair accessible? Yes
Safety concerns? Yes, water safety and wildlife concerns at the waterpark and beach