Our guide to finding America's best family-friendly golf resorts

Whatever your family wants to do outside of golf, there's a resort to match.
A dad enjoys a round with his two children using a four-seat golf cart at Sandestin Golf Resort in Florida.

It's tough trying to fit golf into a family vacation.

It's especially difficult if the kids are too young to play or just not interested in the game. Justifying the five hours away from family bonding feels like a selfish act.

Fortunately for you, I've learned a trick or two (read here) about teeing it up while traveling with my non-golfing family - a wife, daughter and son. Just play early and devote the bulk of your day to keeping the crew happy.

More than a few golf resorts understand this plight and are more than up for the challenge. Balancing golf and family time is what they do, specializing in good courses that complement diverse resort amenities, amazing natural surroundings and unique programming that ensures all ages have their fun.

I've come up with a way to find the right golf resort for your family. Just pick what you're looking for in a vacation - the beach, amusement and water parks, outdoor adventures, etc. - and let the fun begin. Here's where:

  1. Adventure is out there
    Zip-lining at the Honoli'i Mountain Outpost with KapohoKine Adventures introduces beautiful waterfalls near Hilo.

    Ziplining. Hiking volcanic craters. Ocean sunset sails. Desert jeep tours. Glock and skeet shooting.

    Sound like a James Bond movie? Hardly. These are all excursions I've done staying at various golf resorts around the country.

    When my kids were little, we adopted the line from the movie 'Up'. My wife and I would remind them "Adventure is out there!" whenever we planned a family activity the kids were unsure of. Everybody eventually had a good time, whether it was hiking in Colorado, ocean kayaking the sea caves of La Jolla or riding the summer gondola at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

    Many of the best golf resorts capture the beauty and essence of their serene and natural settings with interesting programming and excursions. Swimming in the resort pool is fine for most vacationers, but not for families that truly want to get out and experience some adventure. Here's a few unique ones I've found:

    * My family took traditional surfing lessons at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's famous North Shore years ago, but my teens will be jealous about the new choices: Surfing and stand up paddle boarding with dogs, swimming with sharks or dolphins and snorkeling or kayaking with sea turtles.

    * The famed Greenbrier in West Virginia offers more than 55 indoor and outdoor activities, including falconry and mountaineering experiences (tomahawk throwing!).

    * In Virginia's Blue Mountains, the Primland Observatory, home to the largest telescope on the East Coast, provides a night-time "Tour of the Universe" for the future astronaut in your home.

    * The Hawaiian Canoe Experience is a great complimentary offering to guests at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. A guide paddles a group into the ocean in an outrigger canoe, while telling stories of the land and its people. It's both educational and stimulating.

    * The Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale is one of many Arizona's luxury resorts in the Valley of the Sun that takes advantage of the surrounding Sonoran Desert. Guests can ride in a hot air balloon or a Hummer adventure.

    * When I showed my daughter pictures of the treehouse accommodations at Skamania Lodge in Washington, she just about fell over with glee. The Adventure Park of ziplining and ropes keeps the adventure alive among the treetops.

    FROM $277 (USD)
    PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE | Enjoy 3 nights' accommodations at The Boulders Resort & Spa and 3 rounds of golf at Troon North Golf Club Pinnacle Course, The Boulders South Course and North Course.

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Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Our guide to finding America's best family-friendly golf resorts