Many times I hear that kids are too young for international travel, but it simply isn’t true. There are so many family friendly destinations and you would be surprised at just how many kid friendly activities there are – especially at Caribbean destinations where you can fill your days splashing around the turquoise waters year round. Best of all is that most of these cost very little or no money at all to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination for your next vacation, the Caribbean is a great option. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities to keep everyone happy, from exploring the vibrant reefs to building sandcastles. And of course, there’s no shortage of beaches to relax on.
I’ve always been an advocate of family travel and for good reason. Travel is where family bonding meets personal growth – for everyone!
Here are just a few of the many water activities that the whole family can enjoy in the Caribbean:
Kid Friendly Caribbean Water Activities
Body Boarding (aka Boogie Boarding)
A great activity for kids of all ages, body boarding is a fun way to catch some waves without having to stand up on a surfboard. A cheap styrofoam body board can make for an epic day riding the waves. If they can hang on, they can ride.
Make it a family affair by having one parent launch, while the other catches.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Stand up paddle boarding is an awesome way to explore the Caribbean’s coastline and it’s also a great workout!
This activity is perfect for families because it’s easy to learn and kids of all ages can enjoy it. On calm seas or in harbors, an afternoon paddle boarding can be a great adventure looking at sea life or taking in the sunset.
Paddle boards are stable, so even small children can stand on them and paddle around. The youngest can even sit at the front of a board while mom or dad take turns paddling and let the kids be the captain of their ‘ship’.
A few minutes afloat could land you in some great non-tourist areas that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible on foot!
Most resorts offer stand up paddle boarding lessons, so you can easily find a tour that’s perfect for your family.
One of the best free things to do at any beach location is to go exploring. While some may like to spend hours scouring the shore for shells, if you look just past the surf and into the ocean you’ll be treated with all sorts of kid friendly sea life.
For a more active adventure, kayaking is a great option. You can paddle around calm bays or go exploring in mangrove forests. Two person kayaks are also great for doubling up and exploring below the ocean as well as above.
Dad can do the diving while Mom and the kid(s) can inspect and discuss his finds. Sand dollars, conch, crabs and more, this adventure makes for a memorable afternoon – just be sure to put back anything you find that is living!
There’s also the option to go on a guided kayak tour, which is a great way to learn about the local environment and spot some wildlife.
Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
Despite the fact that many adults have never been snorkeling, it is actually a very family friendly activity! The warm, clear waters of the Caribbean are perfect for snorkeling. With its crystal clear waters and vibrant reefs, the Caribbean is a snorkeler’s and scuba diver’s paradise. There are plenty of colorful fish and interesting coral reefs to explore.
Many resorts offer snorkeling excursions, so you can easily find a tour that’s perfect for your family. Masks and snorkels often create confidence in those still learning to swim and you can make it a smooth experience by practicing breathing through your snorkels before hand.
Kids as young as four or five years old can put on a mask and fins and enjoy seeing the fish swim by. If your kids are a little older, they might want to try SNUBA or traditional scuba diving. Most resorts offer beginner diving lessons for kids ages eight and up.
Be sure to wear life jackets – they will not only help make your adventure last longer but also make it easy for mom and dad to tow along poor swimmers too.
Pro Tip: Bring along water friendly sunscreen like Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 70+. It works on wet and dry skin, is water resistant, hypoallergenic and oil free.
Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without building a sandcastle (or two… or three). The Caribbean has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and its soft, white sand is perfect for building sandcastles. This is a classic beach activity that the whole family can enjoy.
Let the kids build their dream castle while you take advantage of the opportunity to relax in the sun. Be sure to bring along a bucket and shovel so everyone can get in on the fun.
The Caribbean is home to some amazing caves. Many of these caves can be explored without a guide, making them perfect for families.
Caves are often found along cliffs or in the mountains and are full of stalactites and stalagmites. They’re also home to bats, so be sure to keep an eye out for these creatures as you explore.
Some of the most popular caves in the Caribbean include the Bat Cave in Antigua, the Harrison’s Cave in Barbados and the Dominican Republic’s Cueva de las Maravillas.
When exploring caves, be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring along a flashlight. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going in case you get lost.
If you’re looking for a place to cool off, then a water park is the perfect option. Water parks are great for kids of all ages and offer a variety of different activities.
Some of the most popular water parks in the Caribbean include Aquaventure Bahamas, Dolphin Discovery Grand Cayman and Sesame Place Aruba.
These water parks often have slides, pools, wave pools and more. They’re also a great place to meet other families who are vacationing in the Caribbean.
A surprising number of resorts now offer water parks for kids (and the kids at heart). The whole family can spend the day on the lazy river or gliding down slides
So, there you have it! These are just some of the many kid friendly activities that you can enjoy in the Caribbean. With its warm weather and beautiful beaches, the Caribbean is the perfect destination for a family vacation.