Surprisingly, the Caribbean was never a place that I seemed to visit when I was younger. Although it’s convenient to visit from the East Coast of the United States, there were always other places that I ended up visiting. But things changed once I visited Grand Cayman on a press trip. I was immediately in love with the wonderful people, the fabulous Caribbean resorts, the delicious food, and the gorgeous beaches. Visiting the Caribbean with kids became a vacation priority.
Since then, I’ve visited a number of Caribbean islands for family vacations – both individually and as part of cruise line itineraries. We’ve always enjoyed our visits. Because I haven’t been to all of the best Caribbean islands with my kids, I asked some fellow family travel bloggers to recommend their own favorites. Here’s where we recommend to visit in the Caribbean with kids.
Note: I’ve visited several of these locations as part of complimentary press trips or with a discounted rate. Some of the travel bloggers quoted may have also received free or discounted rates. All opinions are our own. We recommend that you research any location for security concerns before traveling as things can always change. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
The Best Caribbean Family Vacations
(Yes, we know some of these locations aren’t technically considered in the Caribbean, but we are still including them because they are often thought of as Caribbean islands).
Grand Cayman is where it all started with us. This beautiful, kid friendly island offers lots of great activities for families, including the Cayman Turtle Farm and Stingray City. There are several gorgeous beaches – we typically stay on Seven Mile Beach and then visit Rum Point for a day trip.
Many of the resorts on Grand Cayman offer family friendly activities, including water sports, kids programs, and beautiful pools. While I love spending time at the beach, it’s always nice to have some other activities to enjoy. For a break from the beach, visit Camana Bay, a waterfront complex that offers activities, shops, and restaurants. There, you’ll find an observation tower and a movie theater. With all of these fantastic activities, we think that Grand Cayman is one of the best Caribbean vacations for families.
Turks and Caicos
The first time I saw a photo of the beautiful turquoise Turks and Caicos water, I knew I had to visit. I’ve since been three times, and seeing that beautiful sea never gets old.
Turks and Caicos is made up of several different islands, although you will most likely be flying in through Providenciales. If you are taking a cruise to Turks and Caicos, you’ll probably visit Grand Turk.
On Providenciales, you’ll find wonderful family resorts, including the popular Beaches Turks and Caicos all inclusive resort. Beaches offers kids’ clubs, entertainment, a water park, a lazy river, parades, and so much more.
If you’d rather not stay at an all-inclusive, there are other options as well. We enjoyed a stay at the West Bay Club, which is located on the beach and offers gorgeous rooms and a nice pool.
Roatan by Desert Chica
West Bay Beach on Roatan is the perfect slice of heaven for families that enjoy both relaxation and fun. You can rent a beachfront condo and spend your days swimming, snorkeling, building sand castles on white sand beaches. If you need a little more action, book a fishing charter boat, parasailing trip or scuba diving adventure right from the beach. Nearby you can swim with dolphins at Anthony’s Key Dolphin Encounters or zip line and see other animals at Gumbalimba Park. And don’t pass on the fresh banana donuts from the famous ‘Banana Donut’ man walking up and down the beach. They are delicious!
Aruba by Kids are a Trip
Stay right in the United States with a visit to Puerto Rico. During our visit several years ago, we stayed at the El Conquistador Resort, located about an hour and a half from Old San Juan near the El Yunque National Forest. The El Conquistador offers a private island (with a water shuttle that runs all day), a water park, activities, and restaurants.
If you’d prefer to stay closer to San Juan, there are lots of family friendly resorts. You can see reviews of resorts and hotels in Puerto Rico here.
Grenada by Wandering Wagars
The small south Caribbean island of Grenada has long held the title of the “Spice Island.” This mountainous paradise is located just northwest of the more popular destination, Trinidad and Tobago. Grenada received the title of The Island of Spice due to its production of aromatic nutmeg and mace spices. Spice tours are one of the many unforgettable activities on the island. The Grenada spice tours offer a chance to step back in time and see how spices such as cinnamon, and delicacies like chocolate are dried, ground, and prepared. You can also experience some of the island’s magical history. Head inland to explore the walls of Fort George. Peer out at one of the most beautiful bays in the Caribbean while learning about how the fort was built to protect the city from invaders.
In the center of the country is Grand Etang National Park, a rainforest which offers beautiful hiking trails through the mountains and a large crater lake. The hikes are friendly even for little feet. The park is also home to a family of Mona monkeys, which are not shy about going up to humans and looking for snacks.
Just like its neighboring islands, Grenada is home to many beautiful beaches. Grand Anse Beach has a two-mile stretch of white sand lining calm blue water. You can rent kayaks and join other water sports or just relax and enjoy the clear, warm waters.
Read more here.
Curaçao, by Lillie Marshall of Around the World “L”
I’d visited Nassau a few times as a port of call on the Disney Cruise Line, but hadn’t stayed there for a longer visit. Several years ago, I was able to visit the Nassau/Paradise Island area on a press trip, and my son and I really enjoyed our visit.
Nassau is home to several fun museums that kids will love, including the Pirates of Nassau Museum. Of course, the area is most known for Atlantis Bahamas, the huge family-friendly resort located on Paradise Island.
Atlantis offers so many fantastic family activities and amenities, including the Aquaventure Water Park, several beaches, animal encounters, water sports, pottery painting, and more. There are also several restaurants and beaches on site.
Key West, FL
I’d heard so much about Key West over the years, but hadn’t visited until I was on the Disney Magic earlier this year. This US island, which is the Southernmost point in the continental United States, is a fun and convenient place to visit with kids.
There are plenty of things to do in Key West with kids, including the Ernest Hemingway House (kids will love seeing all of the cats at the home) and the Conch Trolley Tour. The whole island has a fun relaxed vibe, and since it’s in the US, you won’t have to worry about customs, passports, or exchange rates.
Martinique by All Over the Map
Martinique is a delightful little piece of France in the Caribbean. Not a territory or a forgotten outpost, either, but an actual integral department of France, with all the benefits that go along with that. The roads are good and you can find good cheese and butter and baguettes all around. The food is distinctly French, but with fresh Caribbean ingredients.
Work off all that delicious food by hiking Mount Pelée, a dormant volcano with a variety of trail options to its 4000+ foot peaks. If you’re not up for a summit hike, the Grande Riviere trail will take you partway up and treat you to a 30-foot waterfall along the way. Kids might enjoy hearing about the eruption that flattened the nearby city of St. Pierre in 1902, leaving one sole survivor: a prisoner in a cell so secure it kept its inhabitant safe from lava, ash and fire from the eruption. You can visit the ruins and see the sturdy cell that remains.
The volcano is also responsible for the black sand beaches of Anse Couleuvre and Anse Noire. Snorkeling is spectacular at both beaches, but the latter has the added bonus of daily visits from green sea turtles.
The history of the island is rich, from the indigenous Caribs, to the arrival of Columbus, to colonialism and slavery under French rule. La Savane des Esclaves is one of those wonderful places that secretly educates your kids while entertaining them. It is a recreation of a slave settlement, with displays showing the hardships faced in daily life by slaves and former slaves on the island. Tours are in French only, but displays are written in English.
The Dominican Republic by Walking on Travels
The Dominican Republic is one of the easiest Caribbean islands to visit with kids. Families can get find adventure, history, and beach life all in one trip. There are numerous all-inclusive resorts on the eastern shore of the island in Punta Cana that cater to families at various price points, including the Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana. The beaches offer white sand, clear blue waters, and loads of activities, from kayaking to sailing and some of the best snorkeling around. Adventurous families can head to the north shore of the Dominican Republic, the home of kite boarding.
Head to Cabarete to surf, kite board and windsurf all day. Don’t know how? There are multiple schools that can teach you. For those looking for a nice hike, you can book a tour to see the Damajagua 27 waterfalls outside of Puerto Plata. This is a favorite for cruise day-trippers, but it’s even better if you are staying on the island because you will have time to explore all 27 waterfalls, instead of just twelve.
Families looking for a little island history won’t be disappointed in Santo Domingo, located on the south side of the island. Colonial buildings, such as the El Alcazar de Colon and Cathedral Santa Maria La Menor, are beautiful examples of the early European history on this island. No matter what you chose, you won’t be sorry when you fly down to this beautiful island, filled with friendly people, great food, and enough adventure to keep the kids entertained, but enough relaxation time to keep parents happy.