Ever wondered what a Club Med Sandpiper Bay family vacation would be like? Let me just spill the beans up front and say, it was AWESOME. Honestly and truly, it’s at the very top of my list of best family vacations ever.
Once a year, we plan a fun family vacation for our 7 kiddos and I share the scoop with you. What’s it like with kids? What’s there to do? What are the pros and cons? You get the idea. In past years, we’ve done Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, Royal Caribbean Cruise, Southern California CityPass*, and Nauvoo, to name a few. This year, we were really interested in finding an all-inclusive on land. (All-inclusives are so easy with kids… and, I’m all about a vacation feeling as much like a vacation as possible!) After a lot of research, we found out about Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida and knew it was the PERFECT pick for my family. All the food is included (yay!), there are clubs and activities all day long for the kids, escapes for adults, and lots and lots to do together. As always, I called up the trusty Get Away Today, my favorite (and free!) travel agency, and had them do all the vacation prepping work for me. We literally use them for ALL of our fun family trips. They booked our rooms, transportation, and chatted with us about everything we need to know to make the most of this Club Med Sandpiper Bay family vacation.
UPDATED JANUARY 2019 *The Southern California CityPASS has been discontinued. Find information about the equivalent HERE.
So, let’s get to it… here’s the scoop on Club Med Sandpiper Bay!
Club Med Sandpiper Bay Family Vacation
Departure Flight: We flew into Fort Lauderdale via Southwest. There are definitely some pros and cons to flying with Southwest. I don’t love that they rarely fly anywhere direct. With kids in tow, those extra stops can really make life tricky with the little ones. That’s my biggest complaint. But, I do love that each passenger gets their free bags checked and the airlines is quite family friendly. It’s nice to be able to board the plane after the “A Group” and before the “B group” as a family, so we can sit by our children.
Mostly, we fly Southwest because we earn points with their Visa credit card and can usually take the fam somewhere once a year with those points. Although, to be honest, every year we say that we should look around at cards for other airlines, as we long to fly direct!!
Once arriving in Florida, we rented a big van to fit the whole fam, and drove about an hour and a half to the resort. We were so glad we rented a vehicle. Originally, we were thinking we would just use Uber and not worry about a car, but it was nice to have one, as we used it to run to the store, head to the beach, and hit up a Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Utah Jazz in the NBA playoffs. 😉
Club Med Sandpiper Bay Arrival: Because of the size of our family, we needed to have two rooms for the week. Get Away Today helped us so that we could get our rooms right next to each other. It made it so convenient! I will say that when we walked into the rooms I was a little surprised, in a bad way. I started to wonder if I had made a mistake booking at this resort and that the room was a representation of the entire resort. It’s not that it was dirty, by any means. The rooms are just SUPER weird… that’s the best word I can think of to describe it. Super old seeming, kooky layout, odd features, muggy, and clean-dingy… if there is such thing. Similar to an old, cheap motel. LUCKILY, this was only a concern for about the first 30 minutes, until we actually left the room and started exploring the resort. After that, I don’t think we thought twice about the weird room because the resort MORE than made up for it. Oh, except that the 100% tile floors are sand-magnets and with no broom in the room, we had to carefully brush our feet off any time we sat or slept on the bed. I never got used to that. Needless to say, my entire family is dying to go back! We want to bring friends, cousins, everyone… Club Med Sandpiper Bay is that fun!
My little Utah gal was a bit freaked out by her feet touching the sand.
Exploring the resort. We had such a fun week ahead of us!
Activities for the Family: The coolest thing about the resort is all of the activities. There is something going on at all hours of the day and SO many things to do, just waiting for you. For the kids, there are kid clubs for different age groups. There was a schedule on a downloadable app that had a list of all of the happenings. My kids could pick and choose what they wanted to do. If they were older than… I believe it was 10 (or around there), if parents agreed, they could check in and out of the activities on their own. If they’re younger, they stay until the parents come and get them. My kids went to the pool with their age group, on the trapeze, to the circus school, to lunch, arts and crafts, mini golfing, and more. They loved it… especially my little ones. I thought it was neat that the kid club leaders would know all of my kids’ names and be so excited when they came to the activities and sweet to them when they left. The employees at the resort were AWESOME. That was definitely something that stood out to us.
Anyway, keep reading and I think you’ll be as impressed as we were with the zillions of activities available!
Isabelle, trying the trapeze for the first time…
Even my little 5 year old was brave enough to climb the super high ladder and swing down!
My boys were super excited about the nice outdoor basketball courts. They’re always up for an intense game of 21, with their dad!
Even the resort’s buffet chefs would come join the boys for ball, on their time off from work.
I loved sneaking off to the gym while my kids were still sleeping or at the kids’ clubs.
Trying to help Grace get used to the sand on the resort’s playground.
If you want to win a family mini-golf tournament, you definitely don’t want me on your team! Here’s Dan and Audrey kicking our butts.
Let’s talk about the eating situation. That’s an important part of vacation! So, 3 times a day the buffet is open for a couple hours each (or so.) The food choices vary each day and there is LOTS to choose from. We’ve been on many cruises, and compared to those buffets, we loved the food at Club Med Sandpiper Bay WAY more. There are a couple sections to eat in… if you’re childless and want to remain that way while you eat, there is a special area for you. If you have kids with you or simply like to be around kids, there’s a much bigger area available. Either way, there are lots and lots of employees walking around, willing to help and make your dining experience as simple as possible.
Beside the buffet, there is also an outdoor grill that we would often hit up between buffet service. The hamburgers there are much better than the buffet burgers and they serve up custom omelets on some of the mornings.
If bars are your thing, there are a couple of those too… or one. Either way, it’s there. 😉
Benny was a little irritated that he couldn’t have pop for breakfast!
The water at Club Med Sandpiper Bay is sadly unswimmable, for the most part. Every now and then, you’ll see someone venture in, but the rumors of pollution tend to keep most people out of it. HOWEVER, there’s nothing stopping you from snagging a kayak and having a peaceful paddle around the lake. You can even get sailing lessons or take out a paddle board!
Blowing bubbles and enjoying the sunset by the water…
If playing IN the water is a must for you, like it was for us, you’re in luck… the ocean and beach is just a short drive away. This is why we were so glad we rented a car for the week!
There was about an hour that everyone was required to get out to the water because of some unknown alarming issue… Sharks? Drowning? Tired Lifeguards? It got a little boring and super hot, so it was the perfect chance to convince another beach dweller to snap a family photo.
Squeezing in a round of golf. The resort is right on the course!
The kiddie pool was just right for my littlest kids.
There are a couple big pools at the resort. One of them always has something fun going on, like games, music, dance parties, etc. Soooo… we would go to the other pool and get the whole thing to ourselves!
I really can’t say enough about how PERFECT Club Med Sandpiper Bay was for my family. We love being active and playing together. We also love friendly, laid-back staff and lots of food. There was so much to do and it was one of the few vacations we’ve done where I actually felt like I was on vacation too, as a mom. Despite having all of the kids there, it was perfectly relaxing for me and not one of us was ready to go home. Get Away Today will definitely be helping us plan this same trip again soon! I super recommend it. 🙂