Family Beach Vacation: Florida vs. Mexico All-Inclusive

September 24, 2019

Is a family vacation in Florida cheaper than a family vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or the Caribbean? We compare costs here.

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I'm kathryn potter!

I'm an ocean-obsessed Midwesterner with a travel agency specializing in all-inclusive resort vacations & destination weddings.

My signature accessory is dog hair. My love language is witty sarcasm. I could eat Chipotle every day. I listen to Guns n Roses while decorating the Christmas tree because Welcome to the Jungle works in any situation. Try as I might, I just can’t quit the Real Housewives.

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I often have people tell me they don’t think they can afford to take the family to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean or Mexico so they opt for yet another trip to Florida.

I know affordable an all-inclusive resort can be, so I decided to do a mock-up of costs associated with two different family beach vacations: One in Florida and one in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Every family vacations differently, so YMMV when it comes to the estimated costs I’m sharing. This is one of the wonderful things about an all-inclusive resort; you can truly stick to your budget because it’s all included!

Family Beach Vacation All-Inclusive Resort

The Criteria:

4-star resort located on the beach
Must be a family-friendly resort with great pools
Nonstop flights (from Kansas City)
Room to accommodate family of 4
Includes transportation in destination

My mock-up priced out a 7-day vacation for 2 adults and 2 children in June. I chose a 4.5 star all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico and a 4-star resort in Clearwater, Florida.

The all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya package includes:

  • 13 restaurants where you can order anything you want
  • Complimentary kids and teen clubs
  • 24-hour room service
  • Top-shelf drinks
  • Non-motorized watersports such as kayaks and paddleboards
  • Daily & nightly entertainment
  • 2 swim-up bars and 6 Jacuzzis
  • 2 kids pools including a kids splash zone water park
  • Fitness center
  • Yoga & Pilates
  • Meditation garden
  • Miniature golf – 18 holes
  • Beach soccer, beach volleyball, pool volleyball
  • 4 lit tennis courts, 1 basketball courts
  • Bicycles, billiards, ping-pong, table games
  • Noir Nightclub
  • Wired teens lounge
  • Children’s playground
  • Dolphinarium – operated by Dolphin Discovery
  • A $1500 resort credit to use for spa treatments, golf, excursions and more (16% service charge applies)

The Clearwater, Florida resort has:

  • A room with a kitchen
  • 3 dining outlets (not included with your stay)
  • Room service (not included with your stay)
  • Fitness center
  • Pool and kids’ pool
  • Kid’s club (additional cost)

Just take a look at what each resort has to offer. The all-inclusive resort in Mexico has enough to keep the entire family busy for days on end! It MUST be expensive, right?Wrong! Let’s compare package costs for flights, accommodations and transportation.

All-inclusive resort in Mexico: $4983
Resort in Florida: $3050

OK, but the resort in Florida is still nearly $2000 less. That’s a big difference! True, but we haven’t factored in food, drinks or entertainment yet.

We’ll do this two ways. First, we’ll eat/drink/play just like we do at an all-inclusive resort. Everything is included and you can order whatever you want!

Breakfast: Omelets for the parents & pancakes for the kids. Coffee and OJ & the occasional mimosa/bloody mary. Total cost: $450

Lunch: Poolside snacks such as nachos, sliders and chicken nuggets. Total cost: $300

Daytime fun drinks: Don’t forget the umbrella drinks! Two drinks a day, plus soda or smoothies for the kids. Total cost: $330

Dinner: If we’re matching the experience of the all-inclusive resort then you’ll be dining on Mexican, Italian, Brazilian, a Steakhouse, Sushi/Teppanyaki and Seafood. And don’t forget wine with dinner! Oh boy, this is going to add up. We’ll play it conservatively and say you spend $100 every night on dinner. Total cost: $600

So now we’ve added $1680 to the total.

But hey, you’ve got a kitchen at your resort. You don’t have to dine out all the time!

Let’s make Mom & Dad go grocery shopping, cook and clean on their vacation. That sounds fun!

New budget meal plan:
Breakfast & lunch made in your kitchen. $300
Dinners out at moderately priced restaurants: $400

OK, so now we don’t feel like we’re on vacation so much anymore, but we’ve only spent $700 on food for the week!

But wait…what if the kids want to play minigolf? Or they want to go to the fun Kid’s Camp at the resort? What if we want to try kayaking? Those things all cost money. There’s another $300.

Now that we have meals, some drinks and activities accounted for, let’s do our comparison again:

All-inclusive resort in Mexico: $4983
Florida resort – We’re on Vacation! Mode: $5030
Florida resort – We’re on a Budget! Mode: $4050

And these are just the monetary costs. Let’s not forget about the stress factor that comes with having to possibly cook your own meals on vacation, drive to a restaurant every night for dinner, find things to keep the kid’s entertained in the evenings, deal with the melt-downs when you tell them they can’t have that ice cream cone, etc.

An all-inclusive resort is fun and relaxing for EVERYONE in the family! And now you know it’s also very affordable. I chose a very nice resort for this comparison, but there were some great family-friendly resorts that priced lower.

My specialty is all-inclusive resorts and I know I can find one that’s perfect for YOUR family! So next time you’re planning a beach vacation don’t write off that tropical all-inclusive resort. Schedule your complimentary consultation & let’s make it a vacation to remember!


Ready to plan your next epic all-inclusive getaway? Snag your spot now for a no-obligation consultation call with Kathryn at KP Travel Group. I can’t wait to hear all about your vacation plans!

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I'm Kathryn, travel advisor & owner of KP Travel Group 

I’m your boots-on-the-ground, been-there-seen-that resort expert. In an age where the right angle and Instagram filter can turn a pigsty into a palace, I'll help you plan a vacation that really delivers on that picture-perfect promise.

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