Courtney Omell | 

Visit Resorts With Hotel Day Passes for Cheap Summer Fun (Like Under $30 Cheap)

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Paying for a weeklong vacation for a family is no longer possible for many families. Groceries are expensive, flights are pricey, and budgets are tight. But there is a way to get away for cheap this summer. Resort and hotel day passes are a less expensive way to enjoy some relaxing pool time if you can’t quite swing that five-night family vacation this year.

I compared hotel costs to day passes using Resort Pass and other platforms that offer hotel day passes. I’ll get into what’s included in a pass, what type of pass is a good bargain, and whether or not you should rent a day room with your pool pass.

For more summer fun on a budget, check out these 78 free things to do with kids this summer, dollar store summer activities, and cheap summer concert tickets.

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What are hotel day passes?

A woman sitting poolside with a sunhat

A hotel day pass is a one-day access ticket offered by hotels to individuals who are not staying overnight. It allows guests to enjoy the hotel’s amenities, such as pools, beaches, gyms, and restaurants, without booking a room. This option is popular among locals or travelers who wish to experience the hotel’s facilities and services for a limited time without committing to an overnight stay.

By purchasing a day pass, you can access facilities at a lower cost than booking a full room, making it a more affordable option for a brief and relaxing getaway on a tight budget.


Hotels and resorts with more poolside activities offer more bang for your buck.

Water slides at a hotel resort pool

At a minimum, you’ll get access to the hotel or resort’s pool and select amenities for the day. This is normally the lowest-priced option and often includes:

  • Access to the pool and/or hot tub
  • Towels
  • Lounge chairs on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Food and beverages available for purchase

Some hotels also offer a few extras, even with the most affordable passes. Hotels near Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California often offer the most family-friendly options with things like waterpark access and kid-friendly activities.

  • Waterslides and poolside activities
  • Tennis or basketball courts
  • Access to the fitness center
  • Free Wi-fi
  • Free (or discounted) parking

For an upcharge, you can score more perks and amenities for the day. Depending on the property, you can pay anywhere from $75 to $400 for upgraded benefits.

  • Day room at the hotel; usually eight hours of hotel room use with checkout in the afternoon.
  • Shaded day bed area; a private area for families, usually space for four people.
  • Pool cabana; likely available in hourly increments or to rent for the entire day, ideal for groups of six.

Related: Cheap Cruise Deals


Day passes are almost always a good deal. Day rooms are often not.

Two friends hanging out at a resort eating some food

This is going to vary widely by location and hotel property, but here’s what you can expect to pay for hotel day passes and day rooms.

Day Passes

On average, an adult rate of $20 to $25 per person is a good price. Let’s break down the costs at the Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort. This property has $20 adult day passes and $10 kids’ passes, even on weekends. So for a full day, you’re looking at $60 for a family of four. This includes access to two pools, a water slide, hot tubs, lounge chairs, outdoor lawn games, Wi-fi, and free parking. With a fee and tax, my total was $69.49.

At the same hotel, an overnight Saturday-to-Sunday stay in a basic room is $150 (that’s if you prepay and waive the right to cancel after booking). Add in the resort fee and tax, it totals $169.82. If we split the rate in half so it’s covering the cost of a single day, you’re still paying $85. It may be worth the additional $15 for your family to have a room on-site overnight, but then remember you’ll be spending on food and drinks for two days as well. All in all, the day passes at local hotels close to your home are money-savers.

Day Rooms

I have rarely found day room rates to be as affordable as they should be. Normally I see rates around $100, which isn’t a bargain in most cases. In fact, many times it’s a better bargain to get the hotel for an overnight stay. I usually break it down to the hourly rate to gauge whether it’s worth the cost. A typical hotel stay is normally from 4 p.m. to 11 a.m. or 19 hours. If a room is $150, that works out to $7.89 per hour. If you get a day room for 8 hours, a good rate would be around $63 for the day.

So while the day rate is cheaper overall, you’re really not getting a true deal. It costs more per hour for the use of the room. But if it makes more financial sense for you to spend the lower out-of-pocket amount on the daily rate and have a place to relax for the day, I absolutely won’t stop you! I will say, if you’ve got a child that still naps or are in a very hot climate that would benefit from some A/C time, by all means, take that into consideration when tallying up the cost of a day room. Or if day room parking is free, but overnight parking is an additional fee, that also affects the overall cost.


Day pass cabana rentals are rarely a true bargain.

Cabanas along the side of a pool

Now we’ll break down the cost of a cabana rental for the day at the same Sheraton property. To rent a cabana day pass, you’re looking at $250, or $289.55 with fees and taxes. Again, you’ll spend about $170 for a room overnight. Cabanas are not free to hotel guests either, so you’ll still need to pay for a rental. The weekend rate for a cabana rental is $99 per day. So if we add the room rate of $170 to the $99 cabana rental, we’re at $269 which is still less than the daily cabana pass. However, remember that the cabana rental is only for the day and if we break down the hotel stay to a per-day cost, it was $85. So a single day at the hotel plus the cabana works out to $184 for one day. You’re actually getting a better deal on the cabana if you stay overnight at the hotel.

That being said, much like with the day rooms, if paying less out-of-pocket for a more luxe experience is what you’re looking for, book a cabana! The point is to get away and relax and if that means spending a little extra per hour on some well-deserved shade from the sun, I support it.


Who offers a day pass?

Someone looking up hotel day passes on the Hotel by Day website

If you’ve got a swanky hotel in your area, just give them a call directly and see if they offer day passes and what’s included for the price. Bust out your calculator and double-check that the daily pass rate is less than an overnight stay, even with fees and taxes. Once you’ve confirmed that, go ahead and book a pass.

If you aren’t sure where to look for a day pass and/or you’re open to visiting hotels and resorts outside of your town, there are several websites and apps that can hook you up. Resort Pass is the most widely known platform and partners with 900 hotels across 250 cities, passes start at $20. Daycation is also a large platform accepted at 26 hotels in the U.S., their passes also start at $20.

For the most part, many of the prices are the same between the two platforms. However, you can sometimes find cheaper day pass rates using one or the other. For example, I booked the Tidal Cove Waterpark at The JW Marriott Miami on both platforms. With taxes and fees, Resort Pass charges $174.54 per person. For the same-day pass, Daycation charges a total of $112. Alternatively, the Confidante in Miami Beach was $58 on Resort Pass and $65 on Daycation. This is a great option for price comparison if you live in or near any of the 26 properties partnered with Daycation.


So which hotel pools should you visit?

A family together at the pool with their child in a pool float

This obviously depends on where you live, but throughout my research, these are the hotel day passes I’d opt for. When picking out a day pass, look for the most amenities given at the lowest price. Properties with poolside activities and free parking are ideal. I consider these day passes a good bargain.

Hilton Orlando in Orlando, FL

Adult passes start at $29, kids start at $19, and infants are free.

  • Large main temperature-controlled pool with winding waterslide and whirlpool
  • Quiet adults-only pool with whirlpool
  • Kids splash pad with “spray ground” water features
  • 892-foot lazy river with complimentary tubes, waterfalls, fountains and water cannons
  • Poolside food and drink service
  • 15% off at FastBreak Sports Bar
  • Discounted self-parking for $25 (parking fee is waived with a $75 minimum dinner purchase at Fast Break)


The Confidante Miami Beach in Miami, FL

Adults’ and kids’ passes start at $35.

  • Outdoor heated family pool
  • Outdoor heated adults-only pool
  • Pool lounge chairs (first come, first serve)
  • Poolside service with food and drinks available for purchase from The Backyard from 11:00am – 6:00pm
  • Outdoor showers
  • Indoor and outdoor fitness center
  • Complimentary poolside popsicles and cold-scented towels (offered at 12:00pm & 2:00pm)
  • Complimentary fruit-infused water served poolside and beachside
  • Complimentary wifi
  • Valet parking available at a discounted rate


Paradise Point Resort & Spa San Diego in San Diego, CA

Adult passes start at $30, kids start at $15, and infants are free.

  • 5 pools, including an adults-only pool, Main Pool, Waterfall Pool, Lagoon Pool, and Meadow Pool
  • Food and beverage available for takeout and grab-and-go
  • Activities available at resort (tennis, basketball, mini-golf, and more)
  • 14 miles of waterfront bike and walking paths
  • 15% discount on food and beverage from Tidal Restaurant, Barefoot Bar and Grill, Tropics Cantina and Island Market (excluding alcohol)
  • Complimentary self-parking


The Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Kids are free at this resort, adult passes start at $30.

  • 3 outdoor pools
  • Hot tub
  • Poolside service with food and drinks available for purchase from Cafe Cabana
  • Additional food and drinks available for purchase from The Market, JD’s Restaurant & Lounge, and Garden Court
  • Fitness center
  • Complimentary wifi
  • Complimentary self-parking


Hilton Anatole Dallas in Dallas, TX

Adults start at $55, and kids at $35.

  • Access to Verandah Athletic Club & Spa
    • 25-meter, 7-lane indoor heated lap pool
    • Heated outdoor spa pool
    • 2 eucalyptus steam room
    • 2 jacuzzis
    • Dry sauna
    • Cardio machines and strength-training room
    • Basketball, racquetball, and squash courts
    • Indoor cycling and kinesis training studio
    • Cross-training and boxing gym
  • JadeWaters resort pool
  • Poolside food and drinks available for purchase
  • Spa treatments available for purchase
  • Complimentary wifi
  • Parking is available for a fee


Many international resorts offer hotel day passes as well.

I’ve booked day passes at luxury resorts during cruise excursions. Resort For a Day (a sister site to DayPasses) offers day passes at the most popular cruise destinations like the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Mexico. If your cruise is already booked, you’ll enter the cruise line, ship name, and departure date and see if there are any available resort passes during your trip.

It is worth noting that prices are higher than domestic hotel passes but often include unlimited food and drinks for an all-inclusive experience.


Day Pass FAQ

A group of friends hanging out in a pool next to a hotel restaurant

Can you use the bathrooms?

Yes, you will have access to the public bathrooms near the pool area as well as any public bathrooms in the lobby or hotel restaurants.

Do you have to book a room?

No, a room is not required for hotel day passes. In some cases, you can book a day room, but as mentioned above, that is not always the most economical choice.

Are kids ever free?

Most properties offer discounted day pass rates for children. Some also allow infants in for free. Ages for discounted and free rates vary by hotel.

Can you eat or bring food?

Most hotels don’t allow you to bring outside food onto the premises. In most cases, you will have access to restaurants to purchase food and drinks. Some all-inclusive resorts have day passes that include unlimited food and drinks, but those day passes are more expensive — often around $75 per person for an adult pass.

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