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7 hotels with saltwater lagoons for swimming without the swells

July 11, 2022
7 min read
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The ocean can be a scary place for kids (and even some adults). There are big waves that might knock you over, slimy seaweed you might step on and all manner of sea critters lurking just beneath the surface.

Related: From Hawaii to Connecticut, 8 great US beach hotels you can book with points

If your kids aren't quite ready to jump into the deep blue sea, let them dip their toes into one of these shallow saltwater lagoons first.

We found beachfront hotels in Hawaii, Mexico and Florida with their own saltwater lagoons where kids can enjoy everything they love about the sea and avoid the things they don't.

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The Lodge at Kukui’ula — Koloa, Hawaii

The Lodge at Kukui'ula. (Photo by Mike Coots for Kukui’ula)

Located on Kauai's south shore, The Lodge at Kukui’ula luxury rental resort actually has seven pools on property.

In addition to a peaceful, freshwater infinity pool with in-pool loungers, The Makai Pool complex has a series of saltwater lagoon-style pools, all interconnected by waterfalls and surrounded by palm trees and lush, green gardens. There's also a waterslide and a beach area that leads into one of the saltwater pools.

Rental types range from one-bedroom bungalows to four-bedroom homes with private plunge pools. Rates start at around $1,000 per night, excluding taxes and fees. If you are a Platinum Card member with American Express staying for two nights or more, you will be eligible for a room upgrade at check-in (when available) and a $100 hotel credit to spend during your stay if you book through the Amex Travel portal.

This property is also a member of the Destination by Hyatt collection and can be booked for as low as 35,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

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Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa — Koloa, Hawaii

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The saltwater lagoon at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa spans 1.5 acres of sand and sea – but without the large waves favored by surfers in Kauai. Families can swim in the salty water or play on the lagoon's shores. Cabana rentals are available along the shore and include two loungers, juices and waters and complimentary floats to use while enjoying the lagoon.

Related: 12 hotels with the best lazy rivers to beat the heat and float away

The pool complex is also home to multiple pools, a lazy river and a 150-foot waterslide. Or you can make the short walk to the beach.

Room rates start at around $700, excluding taxes and fees, or 21,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa — Kapolei, Hawaii

Disney's Aulani Resort. (Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer for Disney Destinations)

If you are planning a Hawaiian getaway, there are endless reasons to take your family to Aulani Resort. They have an amazing kids club, Disney character meet-and-greets, Dole Whip and one of the best hotel pool complexes for families.

Related: How to save money booking a trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort

As well as the requisite pools, waterslides and a lazy river, Aulani has not one, but two saltwater lagoons. One is a beach area situated on the Ko Olina lagoons, protecting it from the waves and currents beyond the lagoon's natural barriers. This is where families can swim or explore the waters on a boogieboard or stand-up paddleboard (complimentary life jackets are available).

Related: 10 things kids will love at the Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii

The second lagoon is a private snorkel lagoon called Rainbow Reef, home to bright and beautiful tropical fish. There is a fee to enter the lagoon, which includes the use of snorkel gear.

Room rates start at around $600 per night, excluding taxes and fees.

Hilton Waikoloa Village — Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Hilton Waikoloa Village. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Hilton Waikoloa Village has a 4-acre saltwater lagoon where guests can get out on the water in kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats or water trikes. The lagoon is ocean-fed and you can rent snorkel gear to watch the reef fish and sea turtles that find their way into its waters.

Related: 9 things to know about the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort

The resort has two towers — Makai Tower and Palace Tower. If you are looking to spend time in the resort's saltwater lagoon, opt for the Makai Tower for the closest proximity, but the lagoon, pools, lazy river and waterslides are accessible from both towers.

Related: How to use Hilton points for a Hawaiian vacation

Room rates start at around $430, excluding taxes and fees. or 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas — Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Grand Solmar. (Photo courtesy of Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas/Facebook)

Located on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is well known for its luxury beachfront resorts, including the Grand Solmar. The resort has lavish suites, gourmet dining and a Greg Norman-designed golf course.

The resort's pool area has a large lagoon with fun features for kids and adults. There are two waterslides, a rope swing, a sandy beach area, poolside games and kayaks, and private cabanas available to rent.

Room rates start at around $400 per night, excluding taxes and fees.

Hawks Cay Resort — Duck Key, Florida

Hawks Cay Resort. (Photo courtesy of Hawks Cay Resort)

Hawks Cay Resort is located in Duck Key, Florida, a small island in the middle Florida Keys, and offers the best of Florida's fishing, boating and swimming. This includes a fully-enclosed, ocean-fed saltwater lagoon where guests can swim or navigate the waters via rental kayak or paddleboard. You may even glimpse fish or turtles who make their way in from the ocean.

The hotel also has multiple pools, including a kids pirate ship pool, an adjacent family pool and a quiet oceanview pool.

Hawks Cay Resort offers standard rooms, suites and two- to four-bedroom villas that are ideal for families. Room rates start at around $400 per night, excluding taxes and fees.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort — Honolulu, Hawaii

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki is a massive, 22-acre resort (possibly too massive) right on Waikiki Beach. It only makes sense that a hotel so large would also have a large collection of pools where guests can cool off on a hot Hawaiian day.

There are pools and slides galore, but if you are after a true beach experience, head for the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, a 5-acre saltwater lagoon that is available for swimming, kayaking and other watersports.

Room rates start at $275, excluding taxes and fees, or 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Bottom line

Whether you are looking for a calm beach experience, a place to practice your paddleboarding, or a way to gently introduce your kids to the ocean, hotels with saltwater lagoons may just provide the environment you are looking for.

All of these are located on or near the beach, too. Who knows? Maybe your kids will decide they are ready to conquer the real thing before your vacation fades away with the tide.

Featured image by (Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.