There is no better group of islands to consider for family vacations than the Caribbean.
The islands are some of the safest places in the world with amazing cuisine, warm weather and stunning beaches.
In this article, we provide a comprehensive list of Caribbean islands which believe will be spectacular for your next family vacation.
Read on for further details and explanations on what are the best Caribbean Islands for families. This article was written by a Caribbean National who lived and traveled throughout the islands.
Our first recommendation is the island of Barbados which is located in the Southern Caribbean.
Known as the birthplace of the superstar Rihanna, the island is safe with amazing beaches.
Additionally, the island has easy access to international cities with numerous daily non-stop flights.
Furthermore, the island has numerous activities which you can enjoy with kids such as a visit to Harrison caves which is truly key attraction and natural wonder on the island.
The capital city of Bridgetown and its Garrison have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its excellent architecture.
These buildings were constructed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and were well preserved until today. Some of the 30 sites and attractions include:-
- Barbados Museum & Historical Society
- National Heroes Gallery & Museum of Parliament
- George Washington House & Museum
These are wonderful to explore as a family.
One cannot summarize Barbados without speaking about the amazing beaches on the island. Brighton Beach and Accra Beach are two locations to consider for children due to their calm waters.
Both locations have restaurants and snack bars nearby to make a day at the beach enjoyable.
Folkestone Martine Park is a venue that is perfect for both adults and children.
It features a playground so children can run as well as picnic benches for relaxation.
Also, individuals can snorkel and dive the Stavronikita which is an artificial reef. It is recommended that only experience divers attempt this activity.
The official language of Barbados is English and the currency used on the island is the Barbadian dollar.
Nonetheless, US dollars are widely accepted for transactions across the island.
2. St Lucia
Another spectacular destination to consider for families in the Caribbean is St Lucia.
The island is only 238 square miles and is known globally for its famous twin peaks called the Pitons.
The Gros Piton is 2462 feet while the Petit Piton is 2619 feet and these have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004.
The Gros Piton is the official hiking trail while the Petit Piton is rarely climbed.
Though climbing the Gros Piton is one of the key attractions on the island, the hike may be strenuous to complete with small children.
In terms of beaches, St Lucia does not have amazing white sand beaches when compared to its Caribbean counterparts due to the volcanic nature of the island.
Nevertheless, there are numerous magnificent black sand beaches to explore. Two fantastic black sand beaches to visit include Anse Chastanet and Anse Cochon.
In terms of white sand beaches, Reduit beach is one of the most famous on the island.
Additionally, the beach has the only waterpark called Splash Island Waterpark. Children can enjoy waterslides, climbing walls, a trampoline, and a lot more!
Diamonds Falls Botanical Gardens is an ideal attraction for families that love nature.
This six acre property is home to several varieties of wildlife, flora and fauna. There is a waterfall and Hot Mineral Bath Springs as natural feature in this garden.
If you are on a budget and enjoy island hopping, St Lucia is a great choice as there are ferry services via L’Express Des IIes to the island of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica.
The official language spoken on the island is English. However, patois which is a broken form of French creole is used by locals for day to day interactions.
As stated about Barbados above, the US dollar can be used seamlessly on the island with the official currency being the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.
3. US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands are an exceptional choice to consider especially for first time visitors to the Caribbean as it gives you the benefits of the region but still remaining on US soil.
The group of islands is an overseas dependency of the United States of America (USA) and as such no passports are required by US citizens to enter the islands.
Moreover, the US dollar is also the currency used for day to day transactions.
The US Virgin Island consists of four major islands being St Croix, St Thomas, St John and Water Island and about 50 smaller islets and cays.
The largest island is St Croix being 84 square miles, then St Thomas which is 32 square miles and St John being the smallest of the three major islands at 19 square miles. Water Island is only 491 acres.
St Thomas is the location of the Cyril E King International Airport and is the centre of commerce and trade among the group.
St Thomas has over 40 beaches with Magens Bay being one of the favorite of locals and visitors to the island.
Magens Bay is a beautiful one mile stretch of white sand.
It has calm waters with no reefs or sharp currents which makes this beach perfect for swimming and great for children. An entry fee is charged to keep the beach and facilities in good order.
In terms of snorkeling, Coki beach is one of the more preferred options. The reef of this beach is located near the shoreline which makes it easy for individuals with little or no experience to enjoy snorkeling.
A wonderful activity to do as a family is a visit to the Coral World Ocean Park in St Thomas. This park is an amazing way to see and learn more about sea life on the island.
There are activities available for all ages such as educational shark and sea lion tours. In addition, you can enjoy kayaking with the dolphins while at the park.
4. Puerto Rico
Another option for families who prefer to remain on US soil but still experience the beauty of the Caribbean is Puerto Rico.
The destination is an archipelago that consists of 143 islands, cays and islets.
Moreover, as a part of the USA no passports are required by US citizens for entry and exit on the island.
The US dollar is also the official currency used for financial transactions.
Puerto Rico is known for having amazing beaches with Flamenco beach being one of the best on the island.
This location is gorgeous and calm which makes it perfect for children.
The island also has historical forts with Castillo San Felipe Del Morro, Puerto Rico being one of the famous landmarks.
This historic site was built between the 16th and 18th centuries in San Juan.
The El Morro fort was a strategic point in the World Wars and hence an important part of American history.
Bonaire has a landmass of 111 square miles and is a Dutch Caribbean island and is truly a divers’ paradise.
The island is quiet and safe which makes it a perfect location for a family.
The highest point of elevation is The Brandaris at 784 feet located at Washington Slagbaai National Park.
One of the most visit venues on the island is Washington Slagbaai Park.
This national reserve located at the northern part of the island. The park is over 40 years old and you pay about USD$25 to enter per person.
The US dollar is the official currency of Bonaire and is located outside of the hurricane belt.
Fondly referred to as the island of Spice, Grenada is a fantastic choice to consider for Caribbean vacation for families.
This destination is one of the safest in the Caribbean with unique cuisine, beautiful beaches and friendly people.
For an unforgettable day at the beach, Grand Anse beach which is two miles long strip of amazing white sand is our principal recommendation. This beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
The area of the beach near to the Catholic Church is usually the calmest and hence is perfect for children.
There is no fee for entry to Grand Anse Beach with Camerhogne Park nearby which has area for children to play.
Other notable things to do in Grenada with children include visiting the Grand Etang Lake, stopping by Concord waterfalls and exploring history at the Caribs Leap to the North of the island.
Grenada is not one of the busiest tourism destinations in the Caribbean and hence even in the peak of the tourist season attractions are not overly crowded.
Additionally, there are not a wide selection of international flights when compared its regional counterparts such as Barbados and St Lucia.
Be that as it may, Grenada is an awesome destination to explore as a family and we are confident that you will have a momentous time in the isle of spice.
The Bahamas is the largest destination in terms of landmass on this list being 5,359 square miles consisting of about 700 islands, cays and islets.
The official currency of the islands is the Bahamian dollar. However, the US dollar is widely used across the islands.
One advantage of choosing the Bahamas as a location is its proximity to the USA. The average time from Miami International Airport to the Bahamas is a little less than one hour.
This makes the destination an easy one to consider especially for families with small children.
The Bahamas has some of the most amazing beaches in the Caribbean including extraordinary pink sand shores as well as the opportunity to swim with pigs in Exuma.
Gold Rock Beach, Cable Beach and Tropic of Cancer Beach are three of the spectacular spots to visit for beautiful white and powdery sand in the Bahamas.
One venue to consider for children is the Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Centre.
Established in the 1950’s by Jamaican Hedley Edwards, this garden is perfect for both adults and children.
The garden is home to over 135 species of animals including the Caribbean flamingos as well as a variety of flora and fauna.
Bermuda is a British overseas territory located 650 miles East of North Carolina United States of America.
It takes approximately two and a half hours from Miami International Airport to Bermuda which is not too stressful of a journey with children.
Bermuda is only 20.54 square miles and it is an archipelago consisting of a total of 181 islands.
The official currency if the Bermudian dollar with the US dollar being used interchangeably on the island.
Bermuda is known for having beautiful pink sand beaches with Horseshoe Bay being the most famous shores.
It is well loved for its pink sand and turquoise waters. The beach is about a quarter of a mile long.
One of the most fascinating places to visit on the island is Crystal Caves. This natural wonder is one of the most visited natural attractions by visitors to Bermuda.
It features a beautiful lake with various crystal formations from the ceiling.
9. Turks & Caicos
Turks and Caicos is another British Territory in the Caribbean. It is located South East of the Bahamas group of islands.
The destination is only 366 square miles with 40 different islands and cays of which only 8 are inhabited.
Despite being a British territory, the US dollar is the official currency used on the island.
Turks and Caicos islands are known for having some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Grace Bay located on the island of Providenciales is the pride of Turks and Caicos and it has won many awards both regionally and internationally.
It is part of Princess Alexandra National Park and known for its calm and turquoise waters.
It stretches three miles long and there is a barrier reef located about one mile off shore to keep the beach still and safe especially for children.
Aruba is only 69.5 square miles in terms of landmass but it is one of the most visited tourism destinations in the Caribbean.
The island is very flat and desert like in appearance with the highest point of elevation being Mount Jamanota which stands at 620 feet.
Aruba is a popular destination due to its beautiful beaches with turquoise waters.
Also, the island is located outside the hurricane belt. Therefore, the chances of a storm making landfall in Aruba is rare.
Moreover, Aruba also has amazing beaches with Eagle beach being the leader of the pack.
It is located in Oranjestad, the island’s capital city and is over 1000 metres long. Additionally, Eagle Beach is the widest beach in Aruba.
It is known for its white powdery sand and there are shaded areas with parking available. Turtles are fond of nesting on Eagle beach.
There are certain beaches on the northern side of the island that have strong undercurrents.
Usually there are sign on the beaches to indicate this and therefore it is wise to read all signs.
The island has many direct and non-stop flight options for traveling to international cities.
Furthermore, US citizens can clear US customs and immigration in Aruba which makes the arrival process into the USA seamless.
Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island with a landmass of 171 square miles.
The capital city is Willemstad known for its unique and colorful architecture and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The official currency of Curacao is the Netherland Antillean Guilders or Florins.
The Netherland Antillean Guilder is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of USD $1 to $1.79 ANG.
Nonetheless, the US dollar is accepted island wide
Dutch is the official language of Curacao. Papiamentu which is broken form of Portuguese is regularly spoken by locals on the island.
English is taught on the island in the school system and as such visitors will have no difficulty communicating with the locals.
In terms of beaches, there are numerous ones to explore.
Some of the popular beaches on the island include playa piskado which translates to fisherman’s beach where you get to swim with sea turtles in Curacao.
In addition, you can swim with dolphins at Jan Thiel beach.
12. Antigua & Barbuda
If you are longing for a beach vacation of a lifetime, Antigua and Barbuda is the ideal destination to consider.
Antigua and Barbuda are fondly known as the Caribbean island with 365 beaches being one for every day of the year.
To assist visitors in narrowing their options, the authorities have designed a beach personality quiz.
Dickenson Bay is the most famous beach on the island and is frequently visited by tourists to Antigua.
Water activities are numerous, and the shallow, calm waters are ideal for children.
One of the marvelous attractions on the island is Nelson’s Dockyard which is perfect for families which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This dockyard allows visitors to enjoy the park’s beauty. There is also the dockyard museum which provides deep insight into the dockyard’s history and current research on the island.
Additionally, there are other conveniences such as shops and marina businesses.
`13. St Maarten
St Maarten is a remarkable choice for a Caribbean family vacation. The island is unique in that there are two cultures which exist on the same landmass.
The Dutch side, St Maarten is located on the southern part of the island and the French side which is the northern area of the island called St Martin.
Based on square miles, St Martin has the bigger landmass being 37 square miles. On the other hand, St Maarten is only 13 square miles.
One of the favorite and well-loved beaches on the Dutch Side is Mullet Bay Beach. This beach has white sand, clear turquoise waters and great landscape all around.
Mullet Bay Beach is a good option for beginner snorkeling as you can see fishes near the shoreline.
There are no full restrooms but there is a port-a-potty available and usually there is a crowd on weekends.
A wonderful family friendly activity to try on the island is a visit to the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit.
Located in Front Street, Philipsburg this museum is a must visit attraction for both Star Wars and movie fans.
It is located approximately 15 minutes walking from the cruise port.
14. St Kitts & Nevis
The island of St Kitts & Nevis is located in the Northern region of the Caribbean.
It is a twin island nation with St Kitts consisting of 69 square miles and Nevis 36 square miles respectively
St Kitts is the island where the majority of trade and commerce is conducted. The destination is a major port especially for cruise ship visitors to the Caribbean.
While the destination will not stand out when compared to its regional counterparts for beaches, there are numerous formidable shores that a family can enjoy.
Pinney beach is a one of the most popular beaches on the island of Nevis and Cockleshell bay and Banana Bay are some of the must visit beaches in St Kitts.
One of the key attractions to enjoy as a family is the ride on the scenic train. This experience gives you an opportunity to ride the last railway in the West Indies via a 3 hour tour.
This adventure makes a 30 mile circle around the island with the total time of the tour being approximately 3 hours for 18 miles.
The remaining 12 miles is covered by bus.
The rail was built between 1912 and 1926 to bring sugar cane from the plantations to sugar factories on the island.
Another extraordinary place to visit in St Kitts is Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. There you will enjoy the most panoramic views of the island.
The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a 17th and 18th century military fort that is of historical, cultural and architectural importance on the island.
The fort officially became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and was built by African slaves to protect the island from attacks.
St Kitts and Nevis shares the Eastern Caribbean dollar as its official currency with seven other Caribbean territories.
There are ferry services which operate multiple times a day to Nevis which is an excellent day trip activity.
Our final destination is Anguilla which is a British Overseas territory. Despite its connections to the United Kingdom (UK), the Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the official currency used on the island.
Anguilla’s key attractions are its amazing beaches with Shoal Bay being one of the favorite of both locals and tourists.
This beach truly embodies Anguilla’s slogan tranquility wrapped in blue. This beach is long strip about 2 miles with perfect pinkish white sand and clear blue waters.
Shoal Bay shares its shoreline with many hotels, restaurants and beach bars. The beach is perfect spot on the island for diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
One disadvantage of the island of Anguilla is the limited international flights that visit the destination. Furthermore, there is no public transportation on the island.
The only international airline that currently serves the island is American Airlines which currently has daily flights from Miami International Airport.
Therefore, international travelers from various cities may consider flying to Antigua or St Maarten and transfer unto smaller airlines such as Seaborne or Winair to Anguilla.
Nevertheless, the island is very close to St Maarten/ St Martin which is accessible via ferry services which is a perfect for a day trip.
We hope that you found the details above informative as you are planning a family vacation to the Caribbean.
Most importantly, the hurricane season in the Caribbean starts June 1 and ends November 30 annually.
Therefore, it is critical to consider travel insurance especially if you are planning to visit the region during this season.
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