FFE Magazine

The holiday dilemma: Head to the Beach or Jump into the Pool?

Good day! I just came back from the most amazing holiday in the Philippines. Guess where my family and I visited… the beach of course! Many of us who go home to the Philippines for a holiday have one purpose in mind – to get a cool dip into the pristine waters of the country’s famous beaches.

Did you know that the country has 23,396 miles of coastline? That makes us top four in all countries in the world with the longest coastline! But the best thing is a great part of the coastline has been put to good use: from the vast Anguib to lively Boracay, the frontiers of El Nido to the sandbars of Britania Islands, beaches are what make the Philippines a true gem of the Pacific.

However, how much we enjoy our swimming holidays depends on who we bring with us. I would have loved to frolick with my hubbie in the beaches of Boracay and enjoy the night scene. But with kids on board, it wasn’t the safest option.

How did we choose the best place to take our holiday? Should you drive for the beach or book a pool resort?

Pool-only holidays

What I learned in the process of looking for a beach or resort was that adults and kids enjoy beach and pool resorts in different ways. While most may quickly choose the beach over pool resorts, there were some advantages to the latter:

1. No big waves. Pools are essentially calm. Unlike beaches, my hubbie and I didn’t worry about the dangers of waves. There are resorts in the Philippines with swimming pools that simulate waves, but even with them parents can be sure about the height and intensity of the waves.

2. Accurate water levels. Beaches have different sand consistencies and wave intensities which tourists often only learn about once they get there. Pool resorts, on the other hand, have pools reaching up to specific heights that cater to swimmers of all ages. These include kiddie pools, Olympic-size pools and others.

3. Limited swimming area. Children who are particularly active will be safer in pools because there are specific swim areas for swimmers of any age. Wandering around and getting lost is also unlikely to happen in resorts, unlike in some beaches where there aren’t any fences to separate the grounds from nearby private properties.

4. Pool facilities. Pool resorts have slides and diving boards that allow kids to have more fun. Because of calmer waters, children’s inflatable toys are also safe within the confines of the pool.

5. Parents can monitor their kids from afar. My hubbie and I didn’t have to worry about our kids wading into deeper waters or wandering too far from the huts thanks to a limited swimming area. This means that we did not have to stay beside our kids all the time – we were able to monitor them even when we were in the hut preparing the meal. It gave our kids the freedom to enjoy the water on their own, and my hubbie and I some alone time.

6. No sand. Not everyone enjoys getting sand in their trunks. I particularly find it annoying to remove bits of sand that get into my bathing suit, so it was good to have pool resorts as a tidier alternative.

7. No salt. The salty beach water leaves a stinging sensation in the eyes that could irritate and make holidays un-enjoyable. We were on holiday in Italy once and my eldest did not particularly enjoy the swim.


Beach resort in Puerto Galera.

Choosing pools over beach resorts are great for families with young kids like ours. But beaches or beach resorts are still great for families with older kids because they have appealing activities that aren’t available in pool-only resorts. Games that can be played on the sand, like volleyball and sand-castle formation, are not available to those who go to pools-only resorts.

Adults can also enjoy the most extreme water activities only in the beach. Surfing, wakeboarding, banana boats and jet-skiing are some of these common activities. Strips with night life in the form of bars and beach performers are also attractive to adults, but may not be the best choice for those who are bringing their kids with them.

For families who are looking for a compromise, there are fortunately plenty of resorts with both options available. So as not to alienate the kids in beaches that are tailoured for adults, families can instead check into resorts with both beach and pools in them. This guarantees the best of both worlds.

Beach resort with a pool in Davao.

A number of beaches in the Philippines offer multiple amenities that are geared for people of all ages. Big resorts also have areas for specific activities so that all visitors can find a space where they can enjoy what they want to do. For example, there are resorts that have volleyball areas or karaoke systems for adults and playgrounds for kids.

As for us, we chose to check into a pool resort because the atmosphere was calmer and because our kids’ safety was our main concern. We really weren’t into extreme sports anyway, and the kids wanted to bring along their inflatable toys.

Take it from my experience: when going for a swimming holiday with the family in the Philippines, it is wise to look for a middle ground where every member of the family can enjoy the visit. An irritated hubbie on one hand and crying kids on the other is certainly not a recipe for a great holiday. Luckily for us, at the end of the day, my hubbie and I got our much-needed alone time and our kids were able to enjoy the tropical sun to the fullest.

Choose a pool resort or a beach not just because it’s close to your area. Consider every family member’s wants and you won’t have to worry about ending up with a boring holiday.

What about you, what’s your first choice? Pool or beach? What makes you choose one over the other? What are your most memorable pool or beach vacations so far? Share your thoughts by commenting below.



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