One of our all-time favorite vacation spots is at an all-inclusive resort pool. The refreshing water, swim-up bar serving unlimited drinks, and cushioned loungers make for a relaxing getaway that's hard to beat. But as COVID-19 has caused us to press pause on our trips, we're looking for ways to recreate that fun and stress-free environment in our own backyards. Fortunately, we've been to enough all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico to know what makes them so appealing. Check out how to create an all-inclusive resort pool in your backyard below. Go ahead, set up adults-only hours -- it's your pool.
Want more all-inclusive inspiration? Check out the 16 most luxury all-inclusive resorts in the world.
If you don’t already have a pool in your backyard, that’s the first thing you’ll need. While building an in-ground pool would take months and cost a pretty penny, you can have an affordable inflatable pool up and ready in no time. Sure, it’ll lack the lazy rivers and waterslides of some of our favorite all-inclusive resorts, but for a refreshing dip on a sunny day, it gets the job done. The Intex Easy Set Inflatable Pool measures 12 feet across and two-and-a-half feet deep, making it suitable for both kids and adults. It takes just 10 minutes to fill with water thanks to a filter pump. Last one to the pool’s a rotten egg!
Whether you want to watch the kids play in the pool, listen to music while you sunbathe, or chat with your hubby while sipping a cocktail, you’ll need a reclining chair to do it. Opt for the Best Choice Products Zero Gravity Lounge Chair Recliners (set of two), which has an ergonomic zero-gravity position, lightweight, foldable design, and removable tray containing two cup holders, a phone holder, and a tablet holder. Now sit back, relax, and turn on sounds of waves crashing against the beach.
One thing we feel too few all-inclusive resorts offer are inflatable loungers for the pool. Why? Because they allow you to gently bob with the pool, chat with your partner who wants to swim while you stay dry, or allow for easy pool access when you want a quick cool off. Fortunately, you can create your ideal pool setup in your backyard with the Intex Canopy Island Inflatable Lounge. It has a comfy back rest, and comes with a detachable sun shade. While it’s big enough for two people, we wouldn’t fault you for keeping it all to yourself.
While we love soaking up the sun’s rays (with sunscreen on, of course), having an umbrella for shade is key to enjoying your backyard pool. We’re partial to the Sunnyglade Outdoor Umbrella, which is nine feet in diameter and can easily provide protection for two chairs. Other pros? It’s waterproof and can be tilted for optimal sun blocking.
No all-inclusive resort pool time is complete without a cold beverage. So while you’re home, keep all of your household’s favorite drinks cold — beer and bottles of wine, or juice boxes for the kids — in a well-insulated cooler that can be kept outside. From the beloved, highly rated Yeti brand, the Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler is a stellar, durable option for its patented design that will keep ice and whatever else is in it cold longer than the sun is out. Say hello to your new best friend.
While the Yeti cooler is ideal to keep outside near your pool, it’s not as convenient for when thirst strikes while you’re actually inside the pool. So, recreate the convenience of an all-inclusive resort swim-up bar with an inflatable cooler that can follow you around in the water. This Intex Mega Chill Inflatable Floating Cooler is an inexpensive option that has six cup holders, a removable ice chest, and a repair patch to fix minor tears. We love a swim-up bar with no lines.
From huge family-friendly hotels to peaceful adults-only properties, Mexico and the Caribbean have the best all-inclusive resort pools around. Even better? The unlimited frozen drinks that you can get at the swim-up bar or poolside on your lounger. Since you can’t jet off to Cancun or Jamaica right now, bring the tropical cocktails to you with the Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker. The 36-ounce blending jar includes a no-brainer design tool with perfect measurements for creating the perfect margarita, pina colada, and daiquiri. Psst, we won’t tell if you add a bit more tequila.
Up the fun and vacation feel of your cocktails with the Sunnylife Cocktail Party Kit. The cute palm-motif kit comes with one cocktail shaker, six coasters, six cocktail umbrellas, six paper straws, six stirrers, six ice cubes, and four cocktail recipes. For a sophisticated look, skip the red Solo cup and opt for stemless wine glasses (plastic by the pool, please). Ahh, we can practically feel the ocean breeze.
Any all-inclusive resort pro knows to bring a large well-insulated tumbler for drinks instead of relying on those tiny plastic cups most hotels provide, so keep that same mentality for your backyard pool. It’s hard to top the 30-ounce YETI Rambler, which is made of stainless steel and has double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your cold beverages far longer than it’ll take for you to consume. There’s a reason this product has a five-star rating and over 1,700 reviews on Amazon. Beverage of choice not included.
No all-inclusive resort pool is complete without music playing in the background. The easily portable Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker allows you to carry it from your bedroom to the pool lounger to the patio for a snack break without skipping a beat. It can be paired with other speakers for a full-on party, and the battery lasts up to eight hours. Siri, play the ultimate pool day playlist.
While you can’t order a full all-inclusive resort animation staff to organize poolside activities such as dance lessons or beach volleyball, you can get games to provide some entertainment. Suitable for adults and kids, the GoSports Portable Cornhole Toss Game Set is a backyard favorite that comes with two collapsible cornhole boards, eight bean bags, and a carrying case. It’ll also be a great addition for any future lake, beach, or camping trip. Get tossing!
One perk of being home is that there’s no need to wait in line to get a towel from the pool attendant. But leave your bath towel inside and pick out a fun, chic pool towel that will make you feel like you’re at a hip, upscale property in Playa del Carmen. We could definitely get wrapped up in the Slowtide Indigo Sun Beach Towel, which has an attractive tie-dye pattern and is made from absorbent 100-percent cotton.
Of course, one of the most essential pool items is a well-fitting bathing suit that stays with you as you swim, jump, and host underwater tea parties. A classic one-piece, made more modern by a fun color, is the ultimate backyard all-inclusive bathing suit. The La Blanca Island Goddess One-Piece Swimsuit is highly rated on Nordstrom thanks to its flattering shirred fabric around the waist, scooped neckline, and adjustable straps. No funky tan lines or lost bottoms here.
Men, skip the boring swim trunks and opt for a cheery, fashionable look like the Patagonia Baggies Swim Trunks in Spoonbills print. Patagonia’s reputable materials paired with a vintage-inspired design creates a comfortable piece that’s suitable for swimming in the pool, grilling hot dogs, or lounging in the sun.
Your kiddo may not get to go to a fun all-inclusive resort pool, but they can still look the part in your backyard. Channel summer with the Shade Critters Tropical Vibes Reversible One-Piece Swimsuit & Tulle Skirt Set from Nordstrom. The cute girl’s swimsuit has a vibrant pineapple print on one side, and pink-and-white striped fabric with the words “Tropical Vibes” on the other, plus a removable pink tutu skirt. Pairs well with fresh pineapple.
If your little one loves animals, the Mini Boden Animal Kingdom Two-Piece Long Sleeve Rashguard Swimsuit is a fun and colorful swim set. The rash guard top protects against sunburn and abrasions from rubbing against floats or boogie boards. Whether your kiddo likes to jump into the pool for diving rings, do underwater flips, or just splash about, they’ll be well-dressed for the occasion.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the sun, but we also know it’s important to protect our skin from harmful rays. In addition to sunscreen and an umbrella, a wide-brimmed hat is a strong (and cute!) shield from the sun. For a stylish complement to your pool look, don the Brixton Joanna Straw Hat with a black bow, which would also be a great accessory for a date night.
Even if you’re only moving from your pool to the patio to the kitchen, you’ll want a pair of comfortable sandals to protect your feet. The Birkenstock Arizona Essentials takes everything you already love about the brand’s classic sandal and makes it waterproof. Ultralight, flexible, and with a no-slip sole, these sandals are well-suited to days by the pool and beach. They come in multiple colors and the style goes well with just about any swimsuit.
A staple accessory for any outdoor activity is a quality pair of sunglasses. And a perk of keeping them in the backyard? They’ll be safe from the dreaded losing of sunglasses. The Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarers are a classic for a reason: they’re durable, made of quality materials, and look good on everyone in the family.
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