When our kids were little, we made it a tradition to head to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina every summer. You may not live in the Mid-Atlantic area, but most coastal areas will have a similar family friendly resort you could look for. Whether it was for only a few days, or an entire week, it was the perfect getaway that was also close to home and a change of pace from Disney or other popular family vacations for small children. It also had a different feel and pace, distinct from popular beach locales. The resort is located in Cambridge, which is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The hotel overlooks the Choptank River and even has a small beach where the kids can play in the sand and water.
We started going to the hotel before our kids were born and started taking them when they were as young as 6 months old. We would often bring their grandparents as it was easy for them to travel there and relaxing for them as well. The rooms are sizeable, and they provide you with a pack and play. There are even family suites that have bunk beds that make it much roomier as the kids get older. There is plenty of room both inside and outside of the hotels for little ones to run. One year, our little guy was just fascinated with going up and down the stairs in the main lobby.
This is the type of hotel where you can literally sit by the pool all day and do nothing, or stay as active as you can possibly imagine. The hotel has an indoor and outdoor family pool and an infinity pool. The outdoor pool even has a great water slide that is perfect for kids of all ages. You can also bring (or they sell) inflatables for the pool. Our boys had a huge turtle that they would just float around on from the time they were babies. The indoor pool also has a volleyball net and basketball, and the hot tub is indoor/outdoor so you can swim from inside to outside even in the winter.
Each day the hotel has a list of activities for families, and we participated in everything from the hot dog eating contest, the cannonball contest, catching crabs in the river, three-legged races, and swim-up movie night in the indoor pool. There is an arcade with video games and ping pong, and pool tables are found throughout the resort.
While there is a Camp Hyatt where the kids can go to hang so you can have some adult time, we found that there was so much to do as a family we did not really need the camp (and having the grandparents with us also helped!). The huge lawns outside the back of the lobby were also perfect for pick up games of soccer and catch. The patio has a large fireplace where they roast s’mores every night and there is a giant chess set for anyone to use. If you are into tennis they also have a number of tennis courts. The waterfront also has paddle boards, kayaks and pedal boats for rent. For those nature lovers, there is an 18-acre nature preserve called Blue Heron Rookery where you can take a walk and check out the local wildlife including the Blue Heron and even bald eagles!
For those that are golfers, the River Marsh Golf Club on hotel the hotel premises is one of the prettiest on the Eastern Shore. The 18th hole runs right along the Choptank River and is in perfect view of the hotel guests, so we often took the kids there to watch their dad and grandpas when they would be coming in. They also used to run a family foursome where you could play late in the day and only play 4 holes. Not only was this ideal to get the boys their first real course experience (even when they were really little), but it was at the perfect time of day when the course was absolutely beautiful as the sun set over the river. For those that don’t want to play the actual course, there is a free, 9 hole mini-golf course too! Our one guy would just go around and around and around that course all afternoon!
We know this blog is for advice for people with kids, but we have to give a shout out to the Sago Spa at the hotel. We have visited spas around the country and on countless cruise ships, and this spa, is one of our absolute favorites. The river stone massage is perfect to unwind at the end of the day and the facials are also fantastic. The manicurists are wonderful as well and the entire spa is so clean and relaxing.
Now on to the food. There are a few options right within the hotel, and then our favorite, which is a brief walk down the boardwalk along the river at the marina. Inside the hotel, you will find the Water’s Edge Grille. This is your fine dining option that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It overlooks the crescent, infinity pool and river. The food is good, but with smaller children the more formal environment was one we didn’t frequent often, though we did a few breakfasts here.
Right around the corner, and off the main lobby, is Michener’s Library. This is a large cocktail lounge with floor to ceiling windows that are two stories high. While you cannot get a full meal here, they do serve small bites and their cocktails and wines are amazing. There are many low tables and seats where children are welcome before 6pm, as well as a pool table off the one end and a game room.
Also off the lobby is the Bay Country Market where they have a Starbucks as well as snacks and grocery items to buy. Our favorite thing to do at Bay Country Market, however, is to grab an ice cream after dinner and take it outside on the patio to eat.
Dock’s Poolside offers your typical poolside snacks and cocktails and is a great place to grab lunch and not have to change out of your swimsuits. They also have refillable cups complete with a lid and straw that the kids would get at the start of the vacation so they could keep a drink as we went around the resort and get refilled themselves. The Eagle’s Nest Bar & Grille is at the golf course and just a few steps from the main hotel. This was a great place to grab lunch with the guys when they would get back from golfing each day.
As we mentioned earlier, our favorite restaurant is Blue Point Provision Company. This restaurant is only open during the summer and usually only for dinner, but is definitely worth the walk! The kids really enjoyed walking the seashell paved boardwalk along the river to get to the marina where they could look at all the boats. The restaurant sits above the marina with a perfect view of the sunset over the resort. The seafood there is top notch and a great place to try some of the local favorites. They make a shrimp cocktail that we would get every time we ate there that was served in a martini glass and was out of this world!
We have many fond memories of this resort, and just writing this post makes us want to take the kids back there again to see what they remember. Once we bought a small house at the beach we stopped going to the resort but it might be a fun little getaway this summer.
What made these summer trips great:
- Everything is right on the resort so you never have to leave unless you want to.
- It is perfect for all ages, and a great place to go on a trip as an extended family, i.e., grandparents, cousins, etc.
- The indoor pool and arcade are perfect on a rainy day.
- The activities the resort plans each day are fun for all ages and a great way to make memories as a family.
- There are plenty of quiet spots as well, to sit and read a book, do a puzzle, or play cards.
- It was only a short drive from our home and the scenery on the drive down is beautiful – many sunflower farms on the way.
- The baby pool was perfect for when the kids were tiny and the slide is the perfect speed and size for even the newest swimmers.
- The rooms are sizeable and we could get connecting rooms with the grandparents to have built in babysitters in case we wanted a night alone.
What we do wish we had done that we didn’t:
- The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park and the nearby museum and educational center – it only recently opened, but we would like to take the kids back there to visit the museum. It is less than 10 miles from the hotel.
- Visited the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge—considered the “Everglades of the North”. It is known for its bald eagle sightings. This is right near the hotel, but given that there was so much to do on premise, we never really ventured off. This is also only about 8 miles from the hotel. There are nearby adventure companies where you can rent kayaks or stand up paddleboards, or you can hike, bike or simply drive through the refuge if you prefer.
Was this truly kid appropriate and kid approved: Definitely. It is definitely better for younger kids, but again, also appropriate for entire families with all ages tagging along. We stayed there (without the kids) for one night this past summer and all we could do was reminisce about the times we spent there as a family when the kids were little. This is a hotel and vacation we would recommend for kids from 1-99. A great weekend or week-long family getaway for sure!
PS – this hotel is also pet-friendly!