By Barbara L. Nelson, Content Writer
Travel is back on the agenda. And 2023 is the year for family fun! So, why not take a Caribbean vacation in one of these five locales famous for their tropical beaches, endless outdoor activities and just plain fun or relaxation in the sun?
In a place as diverse as the Caribbean, there’s a perfect island vacation for every taste and budget. With a plethora of activities awaiting you in each locale, including scuba diving lessons, dolphin swims, water skiing, rainforest excursions, and visits to centuries-old forts and fortresses, why wait? Book now for your next family dream getaway, and let Damon’s Getaways take care of all the details for you! Read on to find your next perfect family vacation.
US Virgin Islands
The “America’s Caribbean Paradise” is famous for its irresistible tropical charm. These three islands of St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix boast spectacular kid-friendly beaches with gentle waves and shallow waters. Perfect for snorkeling and water sports. From quirky museums to an educational marine park, you’ll also discover a cornucopia of amazingly fun things to do in the U.S. Virgin Islands with kids. And with this locale, you can experience more than one island, including dancing at a Carnival parade, enjoying walking among moko jumbies (stilt walkers), and hearing the Creole dialect while enjoying the spices in a saltfish pate (all without losing your cell phone reception). You’ll receive plenty of pampering, undisturbed nature and colonial history. All are included in one vacation.
St. Thomas is called “Rock City” for its hilly, craggy horizon. Known to attract those seeking luxury, you’ll see the mega-yachts moored in the harbor and shop the high-end storefronts along Main Street. However, St. Thomas is also one the most family-friendly vacation destinations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, offering zip-lining, parasailing, and hiking, plus a visit to the Coral World Ocean Park & Undersea Observatory.
Located a short ferry ride east, St. John attracts nature lovers, with more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland, along with pristine beaches. With most of the island left in its original state, many might wonder…is St. John good for kids? Yes! From calm beaches, underwater snorkel trails, and fun hikes, kids will have a ball here.
Way down south in the Caribbean Sea, St. Croix allows visitors to explore the island’s colonial heritage and the history of slavery at several different forts and plantations. St. Croix offers family fun by combining activities for kids of all ages with an endless Caribbean summer vibe. Take the family for a day trip to Buck Island, where you can snorkel, float and enjoy a beach barbecue. You’ll also find the Cruzan Rum Distillery on this island.
The Virgin Islands Ferry services make it easy to island hop, and because they are a territory of the U.S., like Puerto Rico, travelers can enjoy passport-free travel to and from the islands.
There are many stay options throughout the islands, from all-inclusive luxury to mid-range resorts and hotels or B&Bs. Whatever you’re seeking, Damon’s will find something to suit your taste and budget.
Jamaica is the perfect place to enjoy fun family time. There are miles of shoreline to roam where you’ll find gentle, shallow beaches ideal for children. Visit the more popular public beaches, including Doctor’s Cave Beach, Ocho Rios Bay Beach, or Long Bay Beach Park in Negril. These beaches offer beach chairs, lifeguards, shower amenities, and authentic Jamaican seafood and jerk dishes.
For more adventurous activities, all across Jamaica, there are several locations where you can rent an ATV or dune buggy for a fun ride along the shoreline. Or take the family on a zipline over a Caribbean forest or zip down the famous Dunn’s River Falls after an invigorating climb to the top.
If you have some history buffs in the family, a great way to learn about Jamaican culture and heritage is to visit the Jamaican Institute in both Kingston and Montego Bay. Here you’ll find art exhibitions and hear stories about Jamaica’s past.
Whatever your budget and desire, there are endless stay possibilities for families in Jamaica, from family all-inclusive resorts to spa resorts. A valid US passport is required to visit Jamaica.
Puerto Rico has much to offer families seeking a fun Caribbean vacation. It’s budget-friendly, easy to get to, has tons of kid-friendly things to do, uses American money, and you don’t need a passport as it’s a U.S. territory.
Many families stay close to San Juan in the popular resort area known as Condado, where you will be close to all of the attractions in the northeast part of the island, such as great beaches, the El Yunque rainforest, and the bioluminescent bay.
One of the top attractions for families is taking a visit to Old San Juan. With blue cobblestone streets, colorful facades, and colonial architecture, wandering through the streets is a memorable and cultural experience. The whole family will love exploring many centuries-old buildings, beautiful doors and historic churches. You’ll also find many colorful murals tucked down narrow alleys and streets.
All kids love fortresses and castles, and San Juan has two of them! The old defensive forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal are impressive fortresses originally built to protect the island from invaders. Nowadays, they are historical sites and museums that are fascinating to visit. With lots of kid-sized nooks and crannies to explore, kids of all ages will be sure to enjoy themselves.
And don’t forget the beautiful Puerto Rico beaches, including those near Rincon, on the island’s west side and those near Fajardo on the east side. But even within the capital city of San Juan, there are several beaches where kids can swim and play in the waves or sand.
Along Isla Verde, hotels and family-friendly resorts line long, pristine stretches of soft sandy beaches. All beaches in Puerto Rico are public, so even if you are not staying at one of the hotels, you can visit and enjoy the beaches in front of them.
Many stay options await you in Puerto Rico. Let Damon’s Getaways book your fun family vacation today.
The warm and sunny weather, the great scenery, the kid-friendly hotels and the wealth of its culture make the Dominican Republic an ideal destination for families.
The Dominican Republic is famous for its beaches, but they aren’t just for sunbathing. Sheltered bays, calm seas and warm water are heaven for little kids, but older children can snorkel, swim or learn to surf. There is also wind and kite surfing. And you can learn to scuba dive here, too.
Families looking for a high-energy, kid-friendly resort experience will likely find it in the Dominican Republic – Punta Cana in particular.
Punta Cana, located on the eastern tip of the island nation, has it all: amusement parks, beautiful coastlines, shopping districts, museums, destinations for outdoor adventure, and many more attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
You can visit Three Eyes National Park, located 10 minutes from Santo Domingo’s colonial zone. This nature reserve features a limestone cave system home to three crystal-clear lakes, where the Three Eyes name comes from. The lakes inside the caves are freshwater pools, and the nearby walking paths offer interesting viewpoints for your family to see.
Another attraction located on the island’s northern part is the Damajaqua Cascades, a collection of 27 waterfalls in the Corridor mountains where you can slide, jump, drop from vine swings, and swim in cool, crystalline waters. You can reach the falls by way of a scenic hiking trail or opt for a vehicle tour. You’ll see unique rock formations and beautiful native flora on the trails and amongst the falls and pools.
For those more interested in the historical perspective of the island, you can take the family to Conquista Park, a thematic museum and park where you can learn all about the native Taino people and the arrival of the first Europeans in the Caribbean. You can get to this park just east of La Romana near the southern shore.
From family resorts to all-inclusive stays, there are many stay options to choose from. Let Damon’s book your next family vacation to the Dominican Republic. A valid U.S. passport is required for all U.S. citizens seeking to enter or transit through the Dominican Republic.
Last but certainly, not least is the Bahamas which encompasses roughly 700 islands that make up the archipelago.
With its sunny skies, warm temperatures, and miles of pristine, powdery-soft beaches, the Bahamas has been a top family vacation destination for decades. At this locale, your family will enjoy family-friendly attractions like waterslides, live encounters with several species of sea creatures, a pirate-themed museum, a marine habitat, and much, much more.
Families may choose to stay in vibrant Nassau or Grand Bahama for attractions and entertainment. There are several all-inclusive or family-friendly stays at both these locations for all ages to enjoy.
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is located on New Providence Island, the most populated island of the two islands. Here you’ll find a plethora of family activities and nightlife, including:
Pirate Museum: The Pirates of Nassau Museum, where the kids can climb aboard a replica pirate ship and learn all about The Bahamas’ colorful past, including a hotbed of pirate activity!
Horseback riding: Children over 12 can enjoy a horseback ride at Happy Trails Stables, which offers guided trail rides suitable for beginning riders. No experience is necessary. Enjoy a leisurely ride and breathtaking views.
A Marine Habitat: Dolphin Cay is one of the world’s largest open-air, man-made marine mammal habitats. This 14-acre habitat includes an 11-acre lagoon complete with coves and sandy beaches, seven connected pools, an education center, an animal rescue rehabilitation hospital, and a separate sea lion center.
Forts of Nassau: Where ages four and older can explore Nassau’s forts, dating back to the 1700s and entertaining children for years! They’re open to the public every day.
The Dig: The Dig is where the whole family can come face-to-face with over 250 species of fish ranging from 1,000-pound Manta Rays to Goliath Groupers and seahorses. The Dig also features an interactive touch tank filled with conch, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, starfish and horseshoe crabs.
Grand Bahama Island is a great place for families. The northernmost island in the archipelago is filled with beautiful beaches, family-friendly sights, and attractions that make for an unforgettable island getaway. Here you will find family-fun galore, including:
The Garden of the Groves: Where you can discover exotic plants and flowers, waterfalls, migratory birds, and butterflies. Get your Zen on at the spiritual labyrinth while the kids play at the children’s playground.
UNEXCO: A place where the entire family can interact and swim with dolphins, scuba dive and snorkel, all while in a relaxed island setting.
Lucayan National Park: The Lucayan Cavern includes over six miles of caves, caverns and charted tunnels and is one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world! Part of the protected park is Gold Rock Beach, which supports Grand Bahama’s mangrove ecosystem and features a spectacular variety of tropical vegetation.
Freetown Farm: A working farm with miniature horses, horseback riding, fruits and vegetables, sugar cane, 250 chickens and ten horses.
Grand Bahamas Nature Tours: This tour operator caters to families searching for kayaking and snorkeling adventures.
A valid U.S. Passport is required to visit the Bahamas.
If by now you are having a hard time choosing the locale for your next Caribbean vacation, we don’t blame you. All seem so enticing. Contact us for additional information, and we will help you find the perfect location for your next family getaway!