Happy family arriving at bed and breakfast being welcomed by receptionist during vacation
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Can Bed and Breakfasts Be Family-Friendly?

Bed and breakfasts are quaint, sweet, and often romantic places to stay. However, can they also be a good spot for traveling families with kids? Yes, as long as you choose carefully and ask the right questions. Here’s what you need to know to find a family-friendly bed and breakfast.

When Anuja De Silva’s son was 15 months old, she took him along to the Linden Tree Inn in Rockport, Massachusetts. “I did let them know that we will have a baby, so they gave us a room at an adjoining unit that was an extension, not in the house itself,” says De Silva, the cosmopolitan traveling mom for the popular travel site SheBuysTravel (previously TravelingMom).

She was pleasantly surprised when the bed and breakfast provided a Pack-n-Play and a high chair, which she hadn’t requested. “It was great,” she says. So, yes, bed and breakfasts can be suitable for family travel. You just need to choose them well.

Avoid romantic spots while looking for family-friendly B&Bs

Imagine you’ve blocked off a few days for a delicious getaway with your partner. You picked the quaintest bed and breakfast and are looking forward to romantic evenings together and some fun.

However, you arrive, and instead of the adult environment you’d envisioned, babies are crying, parents are parenting, and kids are playing. None of these things are bad, except this was supposed to be a romantic getaway.

As a traveler, choosing destinations appropriate for your family is essential, and a romantic spot isn’t one of them. Kim Blackham, a licensed marriage and family therapist, owner, and director of Summit View Family Therapy, says that as the mom of four kids, she looks forward to the rare romantic getaways she and her husband take.

Tray with glasses of red wine, candles and rose petals on bed in room
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“On one occasion, we had paid for an especially romantic package, and all evening and again early the next morning, we heard children running up and down the halls. We know how difficult traveling with kids can be, and so that morning at breakfast, we were kind to the family – even though we were disappointed with the situation,” says Blackham.

It’s crucial to do your research, avoiding bed and breakfasts that cater to couples. “If we were to take our children to a bed and breakfast, we would specifically find one that was not heavily marketed as a romantic getaway for fear of ending up in a similar situation,” says Blackham.

Are families welcome at the B&B you are booking?

When traveling with kids to bed and breakfasts, finding ones where kids are more than welcome is key. Rhonda Buess of Knowles Hill welcomes families to her historic inn in Sonora, California, where they can gather eggs for breakfast and play with pets outside. They even have rooms that can be combined to form suites for four. 

“Staying at our bed and breakfast has been an amazing experience for so many families,” says Buess. “Sitting around our formal dining room table is an experience in itself. Children sip their hot chocolate out of tea cups and use linen napkins and fine china.” 

Young Asian father with his cute little daughter sitting on tatami mat in a traditional Japanese style bed and breakfast, chatting and enjoying father and daughter bonding time.
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However, bed and breakfasts aren’t hotels. So, running through the halls is a big no-no (which is a questionable thing to let kids do anywhere). Nadine Fox, the owner of Buck Valley Ranch LLC, a guest ranch, says her bed and breakfast is family-friendly. However, she also ensures that guests know the house rules. 

“I set limits and make sure the children know what they are. I also try not to book families with children when I have adults without children. If adults without children want to book when they are here, I make sure they know they will be here,” says Fox. “Whoever books first determines the makeup of the bookings.

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