The Caribbean islands have long been famed for their beaches, making them an incredibly popular destination for relaxing or romantic holidays. With warm and sunny weather usually guaranteed no matter what time you visit, these tropical islands promise plenty of coastal scenery and sunbathing opportunities.
If you’ve got children then you might have swapped your relaxing holidays for trips to more family-friendly destinations that offer plenty of attractions and activities to keep the kids entertained. The Caribbean might not be the first place you think of when planning a trip with your family, but some of the islands are perfect for multi-generational travel and make an ideal location for an unforgettable family vacation.
There are almost 30 island nations in the Caribbean, so there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to choosing the best Caribbean destinations for families. However, some of these islands are much more suited to adults-only holidays due to their accommodation and attractions, whilst others require multiple flights that younger children might struggle with.
If you’re thinking about planning a family holiday to the Caribbean, we’ve shortlisted four of the best islands to visit with children. With family-friendly accommodation, lots of things to do and beaches that are perfect for travellers of all ages, these destinations are ideal for your next trip away together.
One of the most popular Caribbean islands for families is Barbados, which is in the east of the area and experiences some of the best weather thanks to its location. Barbados has been catering to tourists for years, so it’s well-equipped for families and has an incredible offering when it comes to things to see and do around the island.
Barbados is only 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, so it’s pretty easy to drive from one side of the island to the other and back in a day. This means that you’re able to explore all corners of this tropical destination when you visit, providing plenty of adventures for you and your family.
If you’re visiting Barbados with children then you’ll probably want to stay on the southern or western coast, as the beaches here have calmer water conditions which make them better for younger children who want to splash about in the sea. Places like St James and St Peter on the west coast are known for their luxurious atmosphere and are ideal for basing yourself on a Barbados holiday.
Plenty of families visit Barbados in the winter months between December and February because it offers much warmer weather than a lot of countries in the northern hemisphere. Barbados is a year-round destination however with high temperatures at all times, so if you’d prefer fewer tourists and better deals then the summer is an excellent time to visit.
Things to Do in Barbados with Family
The beaches in Barbados are one of the main attractions for a lot of visitors, and families are no different. With miles of soft white sand, calm and warm water to paddle or swim in, and secluded coves and bays offering shade and shelter all day long, you need to plan at least one beach trip when you’re visiting the island. Paynes Bay, Dover Beach and Mullins Beach are some of the most popular spots.
Snorkelling and watersports are also great activities for older children who want to try something new on their holiday. There are plenty of companies around the island that offer guided sessions, trips out to snorkelling spots or equipment hire for things like paddleboards and sea kayaks, and catamaran tours are a must do as kids will get to swim with turtles!
Barbados has a lot of tropical wildlife, and a great thing to do with children on the island is spot creatures like monkeys, turtles and colourful birds. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is an ideal place to appreciate a lot of native (and some non-native) creatures in one place, especially if your visit coincides with feeding time! If your children like to learn new things and explore new kinds of environments when they travel, a visit to Harrison’s Cave is recommended, where you’ll be led on a tour of the underground cavern filled with limestone formations.
If you’re planning a family trip to Barbados, one of the best accommodation options is to hire your own villa so you all have a place to relax and spend time together as a family without interruptions. We have a range of luxury villas around Barbados with plenty of family-friendly options, many of which also have their own pool and garden.
With two distinct regions sitting side by side, St Lucia has a lot to offer for a small island. The landscape is mountainous and covered in greenery, there’s a good selection of historical attractions for curious visitors looking to learn, and the outdoor activities on offer are fantastic for families that like to get active when they’re on holiday.
One of the reasons that St Lucia is one of the best Caribbean islands for families is that there are regular direct flights from the UK, so it’s easy to visit. The weather is driest between February and May and temperatures are tropical throughout the year, but even in the ‘rainy’ season, the coast doesn’t see too much wet weather.
St Lucia’s small size means that it’s another Caribbean island for families that you can drive from one side to the other in a day, albeit on pretty windy roads! The north of the island is generally considered to be the best area for groups with children, with Rodney Bay being the popular hub for shops, restaurants and accommodation.
Things to Do in St Lucia with Family
One of the biggest attractions on St Lucia which is great for families is the Sulphur Springs at the Soufrier Volcano, which markets itself as the ‘world’s only drive-in volcano’. Not only can you tour the inside of the volcano, but there’s also the option to bathe in the mud baths, pools and waterfalls around the area, which is a great activity for families with teenagers.
St Lucia’s landscape has plenty of hills, peaks and valleys, so if you’re a family that loves outdoor adventure, there are plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails ready and waiting to be explored. If you’d like to see the rainforests from the air, there’s an aerial tram in Chassin which provides incredible views and wildlife spotting opportunities.
Another reason why St Lucia is a great choice for Caribbean holidays for families is that it has a history of chocolate making. There are several experiences available around the island that give visitors more insight into the process and legacy that the export has given the island, along with opportunities to taste the chocolate and even get involved in making it.
If you think St Lucia sounds like the perfect place to visit on a Caribbean family holiday, why not consider staying in a villa on the island and enjoying the peace and privacy of your own holiday home on the coast. Take a look at our range of villa options based on the north of the island.
Antigua is often referred to as the gateway to the Caribbean and is known in particular for its beautiful beaches. It’s one of the best Caribbean islands for families to vacation on, with plenty of attractions geared towards all ages and an authentic atmosphere that makes this a great choice for families with young children or teenagers who like to relax when they’re away.
Antigua is one of the largest English-speaking Leeward Islands. Direct flights are available from around the UK, with the majority of families staying on the west or north coast of the island.
If you’re looking for some winter sunshine then Antigua has plenty of that on offer between December and April, but May and June are also great months to visit if you want to enjoy shoulder-season deals but still relatively dry weather. It’s a great destination for a range of family groups, with a lot to offer in terms of the beaches and water sports activities.
Things to Do in Antigua with Family
There are famously 365 beaches in Antigua – a different one for every day of the year! Each of these is open to the public and offers classic Caribbean white sand and bright blue sea, so you’ve got a fantastic selection of places to choose from if you and your family want to spend time on the coast.
If sightseeing is on your itinerary in Antigua, English Harbour and Shirley Heights are great places to visit to see the ruins of historic buildings that are connected to the sugar trade. Betty’s Hope is another site that is great for learning about the island’s history, whilst the capital of the island, St John’s, has a small collection of attractions that are well worth a visit.
One activity that makes this one of the brilliant Caribbean destinations for families is the opportunity to swim with stingrays in Antigua. After being introduced to the best way to interact with these marine creatures, you’ll have the chance to swim with and even feed them, which is a fantastic activity for all ages and perfect for children who love animals.
If you’d like to stay in Antigua on your Caribbean family holiday, then renting a villa gives you plenty of space for you and your loved ones to play and relax in privacy on the island. Take a look at our collection of villas in Antigua, or for a more luxurious and exclusive experience, consider staying on a private island just off the coast called Jumby Bay.
The Bahamas is a tropical archipelago in the Caribbean that is an ideal setting for great Caribbean vacations for families. Across 14 main islands and over 700 smaller islets and cays, there’s a fantastic selection of places to stay and things to do which make this a brilliant place to visit for families of all shapes and sizes.
If your children are a little older then a great way to enjoy as much of the Bahamas as possible is to travel between several islands throughout your holiday to get a feel for the different cultures and atmospheres. If you’d rather stay in one place for your trip, the Abaco Islands, Harbour Islands and the Exumas are great choices for travellers with kids.
As with many Caribbean destinations, the Bahamas are most popular in the winter between December and April, as the weather is driest at this time of year. You’ll still enjoy tropical temperatures and a good amount of sunshine at other times of the year however, so if you’d rather visit with your family when it’s quieter, April and May are good choices.
Things to Do in the Bahamas with Family
If you’re visiting the Abaco Islands then spending time on the beach is a highlight, with various cays providing the perfect setting for snorkelling trips. If your children are old enough, taking trips between the islands provides you with a lot more variety in places to visit, with Great Abaco Island, Elbow Cay and Man-O-War Cay being favourites amongst families.
Harbour Island is one of the best Caribbean islands for families with teenagers and is particularly famous for its pink sand beaches. It’s quite small and rustic, but there are plenty of great watersports activities on offer as well as all of the incredible beaches and some fantastic independent restaurants and bars.
Exuma is another Barbados archipelago that is a great option for families that don’t want to visit somewhere overcrowded with tourists and instead want time to themselves on the beaches or out in the water. Water sports and wildlife spotting are some of the best things to do here, and boats around or between the islands can also be really fun as a family.
Whilst there are hundreds of islands to choose from when visiting the Caribbean, travelling as a family means that it’s often best to opt for destinations that are easy to get to with direct flights that make travel as simple as possible. Larger islands are also good options as they tend to have more on offer in terms of child-friendly activities and a better selection of holiday accommodation that will suit a range of families. Our recommendations take all of this into account, suggesting some of the best Caribbean destinations for families at all times of the year.
If you’re thinking about a trip to one of the islands mentioned above, and are searching for the best Caribbean villas for families, look no further. The Villa Collection has a hand-picked selection of villas across the Caribbean islands that are perfect for families, offering amenities such as private pools, terraces and beach access. Take a look at our Caribbean villas or get in touch to talk to the team about what you’re looking for.
Sign up for emails and be the first to know about new villa, offers and more.