Florida Vacation Recap

Last week, Matt and I took Riese on a family vacation – our first big trip as a family of 3! We hadn’t done any air travel with Riese yet and decided it was time to get brave and go for it. :) We spent a couple days researching (aka Googling “best vacation spots with one year old”), and decided we wanted to go somewhere warm and beachy, but stay in the U.S. – Florida it was!

After looking around the web and reading reviews, we ended up deciding to stay at Club Med Sandpiper Bay (affiliate link), near West Palm Beach. I’d heard of Club Med before but never been to one; I always thought they were more for the party scene/singles, but reading reviews we learned that some of the Club Meds have wonderful baby + kid clubs, and the Sandpiper Bay location was one of their hotels that did have the “Baby Club Med” option. It is also apparently their only location in the U.S.!

best vacation spot with one year old

They made air travel with a baby easy because their baby package includes a pack ‘n’ play in your room, a car seat in the car/shuttle that takes you to and from the airport and resort, and a stroller for you to use while staying there. Sweet, right?! It was really nice to not have to travel with all that bulky stuff – made the airport situation way easier. We checked both our suitcases so we ended up just having our backpacks and the diaper bag while in the airport. I had Riese in the carrier and didn’t have to take her out to go through security (not sure if that’s just because we have TSA pre-check or not). Easy!

Riese’s first flight went well – I nursed her on takeoff and then we gave her some water from her straw cup when landing to help with her ears. We lucked out with timing that it was her naptime, so after a bit of chaos she fell slept for most of the flight in my arms (which I loved – she never does that anymore!). I can’t say the same about the flight home – lol – it was kind of a hot mess but we made it. ;)

air travel with one year old

As for Florida, it was lovely! It was a bit cold earlier in the week but warmed up nicely by the end of the week. One of the other appealing things about Club Med and their “baby club Med” was that they offer childcare! We wanted to spend a lot of time with Riese and to have a lot of family fun on the trip, of course, but we also thought it would be nice to have some adult only time, too. It was really nice because we were able to take Riese to the daycare for her naps (she ended up switching back to two naps a day while on vacation vs. the usual one at home because she didn’t sleep as long at daycare, and because she had to stay up later because of the dinner timing situation), so we weren’t just stuck waiting around in the room during the day while she slept.

club med sandpiper bay

We ended up settling into a nice routine. After waking up and playing for a bit, we would head to breakfast together – the breakfast buffet was open from something like 7 to 10, so it was a nice big window. (One morning, I went to an 8 a.m. outdoor yoga class – so lovely – and then met Matt and Riese at breakfast, but every other morning we just went together.)

club med sandpiper bay outdoor yoga

After breakfast, we would play with Riese for a bit in the cool baby gym they had in the kid’s area, or in the little playground outside if it was warm enough.

baby play gym club med sandpiper bay

By the time she was starting to get tired, around 10/10:30, we would take her to the daycare for her nap, and Matt and I would go off and play some tennis! They had a bunch of nice courts (and pickleball courts, which we also tried a couple times – it was like mini tennis on a mini court with paddles and lighter plastic balls – fun!) and renting rackets and balls was included/not an extra fee, so that was nice. Matt and I love playing tennis together and hadn’t played in ages, so it was fun to have this time together most of the mornings!

club med sandpiper bay tennis

We asked the daycare to call us when Riese woke up from her nap, and whenever she was up (usually right around noon), we would go pick her up and head to lunch together – again at the buffet (it’s an all-inclusive resort – including alcohol which was pretty nice). Riese really loved all the fish – especially the salmon – and all the fruit! And it was easy since it was a buffet to give her a bunch of stuff to try vs. having to worry about ordering her a specific meal she maybe wouldn’t like.

club med sandpiper bay buffet food

After lunch, we would get changed into swimsuits and go play in the pool for a couple hours! Sometimes just our feet earlier in the week when it was too cold – but by mid week it was nice and warm and a couple of the pools were heated so we went in those. So fun – Riese loved the water and exploring the rest of the pool area too! We brought her down to the mini beach area (on the bay) once too, but she was not into the sand. :)

By the time Riese was getting tired and hungry, we would get her cleaned up and drop her back off at daycare for her snack and another nap – usually around 3/3:30. The pool always really wore her out!

There were a bunch of fun included (no extra fee) activities available for guests that we took advantage of in the late afternoon when Riese was napping, and since last week was a slow week at the resort, there was no wait to do anything! Matt and I took out kayaks one day…

kayaking club med sandpiper bay

Went sailing twice (an instructor goes out with you if you want, and they will teach you how to sail if you want to try it yourself – fun! or, you can go out solo).

club med sandpiper bay sailing

AND they had a trapeze – how fun is that?! They had set times for “walk ups” and from 3p.m. on was when adults were able to start using it (kids were earlier in the day). We went twice and went a few times per visit – it was so fun and SUCH a workout! Remember when I did a trapeze class back in 2013 in DC?! I was able to get my legs over the bar and let go with my hands again – hizzah! My abs were soooo sore after this! The ladder was the scariest part… the rest was fun. (I put a video of me in action on my Instagram stories today if you want to check it out!)

trapeze club med sandpiper bay

After our various adventure sports, Matt and I would spend the rest of our time before the daycare closed at 5 relaxing at the adult only pool! Usually with some bubbly (all inclusive FTW) in hand. :)

club med sandpiper bay adult pool

After picking Riese up we’d head to the beach to watch the sunset. Watching the sun set over the water is the best! Riese was not as into it as we were, but that’s okay. ;)

Squirmy baby sunset collage:

After the sunset fun, we would head back to the room, shower, and then hang out for a bit before dinner opened. This was the one downside to the resort – the dinner buffet didn’t open until 6:30, which is usually when Riese goes to bed. (They had an earlier grill place open, but it was just burgers/fries so not great baby food.) But, we made it work. A few of the nights she did great, and a few of the nights she was a total mess and we had to shovel food into our faces and race out as quickly as we could. (One of the more hilarious lowlights was one night when she was flipping out and somehow managed to rip off her diaper while I was holding her trying to get her to calm down – she was in a dress with no pants – omg. #momlife #fail) If anyone from Club Med is reading this – please open your dinner buffet earlier since you cater to kids/babies! There were lots of other melting down little ones there so I’m guessing we are not alone in this request. ;)

Anyway – once we got Riese to bed, the rest of the night was spent relaxing! I usually read in bed and was asleep by 9 – it was glorious. Apparently Club Med has fun shows every night of the week, and they do have a “pajama club” where they will put your kids to bed for you, but I felt bad doing that because it would mean having to wake Riese up to transfer her, and I wasn’t sure how she’d do with strangers putting her to bed in a strange place anyway (probably not great). So, we opted to not try that. No worries! Matt did make it out one night solo to see the circus show which he said was cool – maybe next year! ;)

Such a wonderful family trip – we are so grateful to have been able to take the time to go! It was a great week to travel – as I mentioned the resort was not full at all, and prices were way cheaper too (vs. this week or next week for Christmas). We would totally go to Club Med again, too – the whole baby/kid set up there is so nice to have that mix of adult only and fun family time. Apparently some of their international locations have the baby/kid clubs, too… might be fun! And it was nice and easy that it was all inclusive so we didn’t have to worry about any added fees or anything either.

Until next time, Florida… thanks for the good times. :)

club med sandpiper bay adult pool


  1. 1

    So funny – my whole extended family did a trip to Sandpiper Bay last fall for my grandmother’s 90th birthday, and my cousin and I kept complaining about the late dinner time as well because our kids were under 2 at the time. They really need to open a bit earlier, or have a better alternate option, for younger kids who need to eat before 6:30pm! Other than that, we really enjoyed it, and it’s a perfect place with young babies/toddlers – a really nice destination.

    • 2

      Love that you went there too! And yeah, we talked to a few of the other parents about the dinner timing too – rough!! But it was worth it because otherwise it was a fabulous place. Super nice staff, too – we had fun chatting with some of them over meals and while doing the activities!

    • 3
      Karee Smith says

      How expensive was it for daycare for a 6 month old?

  2. 4

    Sounds amazing, I want to check this out. My youngest daughter would have loved a cheeseburger and fries for dinner ;)

    • 5

      Haha I’m sure Riese will love that soon, too… She does love hamburger meat! Haven’t tried fries just yet… I figure there’s plenty of time for her to eat fries when she actually knows what they are ;)

  3. 6

    Woohoo! Looks like it a was a fun trip and major success! :D Glad you guys got some sunshine, fun beach activities, and Riese had a big adventure! :)

  4. 7

    This sounds like such a great getaway minus the evening dining hours! Our son is 9 months and we haven’t traveled with him yet because he’s not a good sleeper at night and he still naps twice a day so we felt like we would sit around an airbnb/hotel room during naps and just be exhausted in another zip code. Ha. But this place sounds like it would be a good option for us, maybe after he’s sleeping better and down to 1 nap! We usually try to go somewhere in February each year because the Minnesota winters get soooo long, but we didn’t go last year since I was due in March so it’s been so long since we went away! Maybe we can get our act together and go somewhere in Feb of 2020. That sounds sooo long off but given how fast 2018 went, it will be here before we know it! ;)

    • 8

      Yeah, the daycare aspect was really helpful so we weren’t just sitting around in the hotel half the day with the nap situation. We are lucky she’s a good nighttime sleeper, though – that makes everything feel more manageable! Definitely recommend this place, though, when you are feeling ready to travel!

  5. 9

    What a wonderful trip and adventure. Kudos to the two of you for having the courage to do this. Sounds like great fun — and also sounds like you made the most of it! Well done! Most impressive!

  6. 10

    This is the kind of experience that great memories are made of. :)

  7. 12

    We’re heading to the Keys for spring break this year and I researched SO many resorts for baby friendly options. I am sad I didn’t hear of this one but we’re going to Tranquility Bay and excited for the towntown style so we can be on the porches during naps.

  8. 14

    What a neat idea for traveling with a baby – I Never thought about resorts offering childcare but that’s such a great way to do it!

  9. 16

    Glad to hear you had a fun trip! I had a question about your kiddo’s bedtime. If she typically goes to bed around 6:30 p.m. when does she typically wake up in the morning? I guess I am curious as to your schedule; I have a six month old and I always like hearing (or reading!) about the bedtime/sleep schedules of other families!

    • 17

      We are really lucky that she’s a good nighttime sleeper — she usually sleeps from 6:30 until 6:30/7. Occasionally 7:30 if we’re lucky ;)

  10. 18

    Sounds like a lovely trip! Did you book the childcare in advance or once you arrived? We are visiting later this year and on the fence about booking in advance for our 3 year old, because we don’t want to pay for it all day every day, just some of the days, or maybe some half days. And good to know about the later dinner time!

    • 19

      We did it in advance because it was a package option so it was a decent deal to add the childcare + the crib etc. all at once. We didn’t use it all day but liked the flexibility with being able to take her when we wanted. I am not sure if they offer half days or not or if you can book day of/play it by ear? I’m guessing they need to know ahead of time to know how many childcare providers to have on site… Def worth asking though!


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