The 6 Best Caribbean Islands for Families with Kids
The problem with making best-of lists for the Caribbean is that there are so many choices, and so many things that can be best – it all depends on what you’re looking for. It’s easier to narrow down destinations when the topic is the best Caribbean islands for families with kids.
First, ask yourself a few questions: What kind of kids? How old are they? Are they rainforest adventurers or waterpark types? Are they good on their own, or would they rather stick with the family?
No matter what kind of kids you have, there’s an island on this list that will satisfy them – and you too.
Before we get to the list, here are some general tips for your trip:
Tips for a Caribbean Vacation with Kids
Consider a family cruise
Cruises are a microcosm of the Caribbean: There are so many, and so many choices.
Fortunately, many choices are family- and kid-friendly. There are character-themed ships and cruises, waterparks galore, family-friendly restaurants, and even over-the-top amenities like racetracks and trampoline parks.
Cruises let you see multiple islands and take family-friendly side tours and excursions. If you can’t decide on one island, you don’t have to! Just take a cruise.
Rent a vacation home
It’s easy to DIY it in the Caribbean, in part because it’s so easy to rent a vacation home. Not only does it lend itself to intergenerational memory-making, but it’s budget-friendly and lets you set the agenda. Remember to let your kids do some of the planning – and handle some of the responsibilities (if they’re old enough)!
With that said, here are some Caribbean destinations with a plethora of resort choices, rental properties, and activities for kids and their parents:
The Best Caribbean Islands for Kids
The Bahamas have it all for families – everything from white-sand beaches to easy scuba diving to activities you wouldn’t expect to find in the Caribbean, like horseback riding.
Check out the family-friendly Atlantis Bahamas, with its famous 141-acre Aquaventure water park and its opportunities to interact with dolphins and other marine life.
For families looking for a high-energy, kid-friendly resort experience, they’ll likely find it in the Dominican Republic – Punta Cana in particular.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana offers a kids’ climbing wall and the KIDZ BOP Experience, which lets them appear on stage. Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana has indoor and outdoor kids’ activity areas, a themed waterpark, and character dining, along with experiences you don’t get anywhere else – like the opportunity to stay in a villa inspired by SpongeBob’s pineapple home.
On the more placid side, Occidental Caribe has family-specific rooms plus a theater, trapeze and rock climbing for kids ages four to 12.
Puerto Rico is perfect for families who don’t want to deal with passports but still want a varied Caribbean experience. Rent a beachside villa and start exploring sights like the El Yunque National Forest, which gives families a chance to walk through a real rainforest jungle, Vieques' glowing Mosquito Bay, or the caves of Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy – great for younger adventurers.
Off the beaten path but not terribly so, Dominica is the place to go for nature-loving, active families. Dominica has incredible biodiversity, with hundreds of native rare or endangered species. And it’s one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands, with black-sand beaches, steep cliffs and incredible waterfalls.
For families who are also fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, good news: The second and third installments were filmed here, and tours are available to locations featured in the movies, like Ti Tou Gorge, High Meadow and Hampstead.
And did we mention that Dominica is the whale-watching capital of the Caribbean?
One of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands, St. Lucia, offers mountains, rainforest and miles of gorgeous beaches, all in a condensed area. It might have the perfect balance between wilderness and resort life, with large kid-friendly properties like the Coconut Bay Beach Resort, whose kids’ club specializes in delivering authentic (but kid-oriented!) Caribbean experiences, alongside kids-only snorkeling trips and pirate-themed adventures.
On the other end of the spectrum, Windjammer Landing offers one- to four-bedroom beachside villas that feel like they’re a world away from the hustle and bustle – perfect for intergenerational bonding.
The U.S. Virgin Islands offer a more active Caribbean for families, starting with Virgin Islands National Park and Trunk Bay Beach on St. John. Coral World Ocean Park is also a must-stop for families.
In general, it’s smart (and cheaper) to stay in the U.S. Virgin Islands and plan a trip to the BVI, but to each their own. Like every other destination in the Caribbean, there’s plenty for visitors of all ages – you just have to choose.
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Whether you’re worried about having to cancel your vacation, medical emergencies on your trip, lost bags or a stolen passport, our plans can help you rest easier while relaxing on your white sandy beach in the sun.
Enjoy your family Caribbean vacation – but do it safely and Travel Smartertm!