Fun Family-Friendly Vacation Destinations In The Caribbean, According To Travelers

A region named for the sea that is its defining feature, the Caribbean is a huge draw for anyone in search of sun, sand, sea, and scenery to remember. Its moniker is derived from the indigenous Caribs that lived here, and today, this region has become synonymous with the idea of a tropical paradise, one well connected to cities around the United States. There is a wide range of countries and islands located around the Caribbean Sea. Some of these island groups are strictly situated in the Atlantic but are often lumped together with those in the Caribbean. These destinations offer enough variety to attract travelers with diverse tastes.

Whether you love lazing on a beach, exploring historic ruins, diving in clear seas, hiking up forested mountains, dancing the night away, or watching sunsets from a waterfront restaurant, the Caribbean has you covered. For families, though, some places stand out. Looking at data, including crime statistics, and scouring information on family-friendly facilities, we've put together destinations in the Caribbean that families will love.

Punta Cana

The genesis of this bustling resort area on the east coast of the Dominican Republic dates back about 50 years when the Punta Cana Club opened with a small number of rooms. An international airport, which launched in 1983, brought a wider audience to Punta Cana, and gradually more properties appeared. Punta Cana is now populated with all-inclusive resorts that draw families, couples, and more to its long strips of sandy beach and gorgeous clear seas. 

Punta Cana is also home to a new attraction park, which opened in March 2023 as the first theme park in the Caribbean. Katmandu Park has rides like Legend of the Desirata, a simulation adventure that takes riders to a magical realm in the Himalayas. Other fun options that are likely for the family include a crazy golf course where one hole winds below a waterfall and a high-ropes course. It features bridges, nets essentially, where adventurers must clamber and grapple, and sections that will test the balance of even the most nimble participant.


A destination beloved by Americans, Cancún has some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, but it's not the only appealing aspect of this Mexican getaway. Families here can find shopping malls and snorkeling tours — a submarine where they can get a close-up view of the local marine life. Day trips to islands and cultural parks are also easy to arrange. The town has something special that will bring kids and parents a feeling of fantastic wonder. Every evening, would-be pirates can book an excursion with Captain Hook and board a galleon-style boat for a cruise on the waters and a dinner. 

The staff are dressed as marauders of the high seas, and the adventure unfolds with entertainment, mock fights, food and drink, and a lively light show. Best of all, for families with younger children, kids under the age of 12 can participate for free. For a youngster who has flirted with the idea of being a real pirate of the Caribbean, this is a chance to dress up and make that dream a reality.


Online forum users often comment about how Aruba is one of the safest destinations for travelers to the Caribbean, and visitors can come here knowing that their security isn't something they have to fret over. Aruba sits at the southern end of the Caribbean, outside the hurricane belt, so it's a dependably sunny year-round destination. The tourism infrastructure is well-developed, with a good road network up and down the island. Parking is easy to find everywhere, and tons of hotels, resorts, and vacation homes are dotted around the country. Families will especially enjoy Baby Beach, in the south, where they can walk out for hundreds of feet in warm, knee-deep water or see pelicans dive for fish in the depths of Arashi Beach. 

For an even more fun animal encounter, the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary is where visitors can get close to friendly beasts. More than 100 donkeys are here today, descendants of animals originally brought to the island centuries ago to transport goods and people. Volunteers at the sanctuary ensure the donkeys' well-being, and visitors can offer donations, pet the animals, and feed them carrots. For young kids it's something they will never forget.

St. Thomas

Along with St. Croix and St. John, St. Thomas is one of the three main isles within the United States Virgin Islands. It promises a wealth of things to do and places to explore that will entertain the whole family. The beaches are sublime, with Magens Bay Beach among the highlights — the sand is soft and sugary, the rainforest behind the beach dense, and the water, cupped by headlands, calm and stunning in its color and clarity. Thrill seekers will get great views of the bay from the zip lines and rope bridges at Tree Limin' Extreme, which is set up in the forest of St. Peter Mountain. Animal encounters are the draw at Coral World Ocean Park, a destination much more than an aquarium. 

During a dolphin-swim excursion, guests might get to kiss a dolphin, while the marine mammal can also be seen in the course of a kayak trip. Visitors can swim with sea inquisitive lions, while the truly daring can get in a tank with juvenile sharks. All the traditional trappings of an aquarium are also on offer, from a viewing area that sits under the surface of the sea to touch pools and areas with various other marine animals.

Paradise Island

A small island that sits off the main Bahamas hub of Nassau — a port that pulls in cruise ships throughout the year — Paradise Island is appropriately named for anyone seeking family-friendly fun since it's home to Atlantis, the ultimate family resort. At the heart of all the enjoyment is the Aquaventure Water Park, a fitting centerpiece for a resort named after a mythical underwater city. There are water slides galore, from the show-stopper Leap of Faith, which supplies an almost sheer vertical drop as it leaves a recreation of a Mayan Temple, to more relaxed options, like one that passes below large creature-filled water tanks. 

The Rapids River extends for about a mile and amplifies the lazy river experience by adding drops, rapids, and sudden pulses of water to the mix. The park has 11 pools, some of which are perfect for kids, and long strands of sand fronted by crystalline water. Guests can swim with sea lions and dolphins at Dolphin Cay, snorkel among colorful fish, practice lobs, drop shots, and smashes on the tennis court. There is even a nightclub dedicated to kids aged 13 to 17.


An island that sits south of Cancún, Cozumel is a popular cruise stop, but the island itself is largely untouched, with more than 90% covered in forest. The beaches and sea here are spectacular, and there is fabulous snorkeling all around the island, with vibrant reefs teeming with marine life. The chance to swim with dolphins and manatees is also an option. One of the more unique aspects of the island, which will provide families with an experience that is different and educational, is a visit to a pearl farm. Located on the north of the island, Cozumel Pearl Farm is a small operation that has been in business for about two decades. It claims to be the only pearl farm in the Caribbean.  

A tour of the farm is fun since it can only be reached by boat, taking visitors past tracts of forest and over expanses of striking turquoise and jade waters. The tour demystifies the painstaking, laborious process behind pearl cultivation, and visitors can snorkel around the section where the pearls grow. There is a statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe and an artificial reef here. There is also an opportunity for relaxing on a beach and a bite to eat, but for some, the real highlight is the chance to buy some of the pearls grown on-site.

Grand Cayman

For divers, the Cayman Islands are high on the bucket list of places to plunge into and explore. The sudden drop of the ocean floor close to the shore makes this a great location for wall diving, and the clean water and healthy reefs have helped marine life prosper. One of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean is also in Grand Cayman, one of the three Cayman Islands. Seven Mile Beach is a long sweep of sand that seems to never end, gently curling up the island's west coast, with sugary sand and silky water guaranteed. It's a great place to experience the fabulous seas here, as is Stingray City, which brings an extra element of excitement to the aquatic opportunities. 

This is possibly the best place in the world to get close to stingrays and is an outing for the family that will definitely provide lots of joy. Located many miles off the coast of Grand Cayman, Stingray City describes an area of sandbars where travelers can stand in shallow water as the graceful creatures glide around them, sometimes brushing their legs. The encounter is one of a kind, and the photo possibilities defy belief, though visitors are reminded that they shouldn't chase, harass, or pick up stingrays, even if they see others doing so.

St. Martin/St. Maarten

On this island, which is split between a French and a Dutch side, it's fun to simply drive between them. Often, you might not even know you have crossed over to the other half since there is no formal border nor any security, just small, blink-and-you'll-miss-them signs that you have entered into the other jurisdiction of the island. But it's fun knowing that you can go over to one side and get flaky croissants at a French boulangerie or head over to the other half, where Dutch pancakes are on the menu. One of the most exciting things on the island is visiting Maho Beach. 

It's a beautiful section of shoreline, with soft sand and breathtaking light blue water, but what really draws the crowds is the beach's proximity to the international airport — it sits just to the west of the airstrip. In practical terms, this means that the beach is a fantastic place to watch incoming planes, with large jets flying low overhead in preparation for touchdown. It is a visceral moment when a giant aircraft roars so close overhead and then lands a few seconds later, and this occurrence, repeated several times a day, has become a bonafide tourist attraction. You can experience more excitement and tension on the island with a session at the escape rooms of Dutch Blonde Beach Bar.


Even though the Turks and Caicos are a chain of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, south of the Bahamas, they are often considered a Caribbean destination. Politically a British Overseas Territory, the low-lying isles are known for their stunning waters — clean, clear, and hypnotic in their shades of turquoise, spreading as far as the eye can see. Providenciales is perhaps the most famous island in the archipelago, known for its luxe resorts, all-inclusive properties, and glitzy villas along Grace Bay, one of the most stunning beaches anywhere in the world. This island shaped a little like a smile, is also where families can enjoy a horseback ride that takes participants into the stunning waters. 

Provo Ponies welcomes guests with any riding experience, with group rides the most suitable option for beginners. The horses casually trot along the beachfront, and the highlight of the trip is when they wade into the shallows of Longbay with riders seated on top. The feeling of sitting in the water atop a tall horse is hard to describe, as though you are grounded and yet floating on the sea. It's both exciting and soothing to have the shallows splashing around your legs.

Virgin Gorda

Some places are so iconic that you might see a photo of them and immediately think you want to go there. One such location is The Baths in Virgin Gorda. Officially known as The Baths National Park, this southwestern part of the island comprises a scattering of mammoth granite rocks, some more than 40 feet across, that sit along the coast. It's an area of sublime beauty, not just for the dramatic grandeur of the boulders themselves but the way that they contrast with the dazzling white sand and shimmering turquoise seas. 

There are also fun little pools that form in the gaps and channels around the rocks, which are great spots for kids to explore. Another island jewel is the hike up to Gorda Peak, part of Gorda Peak National Park, which promises visitors incredible island views. Topping out at 1,370 feet, the peak is the island's highest point, the crowing glory of a dry forest set atop a ridge northwest of the island. Scientists have found endangered plants here, as well as the world's smallest lizard, the Virgin Gorda gecko. At the top, a tower viewpoint allows hikers to take in the isles of the British Virgin Islands.


This island might not be as familiar as some on this list, but its beaches and seas are a match for any of the others presented here. Grenada has the world-class Grand Anse Beach as its shining star, although there are plenty of stunning beaches all over the three islands of the nation — Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique. The main island of Grenada keeps families rapt through natural wonders like Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve, a large slash of greenery with excellent hiking. It also comprises a high lake where beautiful flora and fauna include bright lizards, colorful blooms, and birds like the Antillean Crested Hummingbirds. 

More of the outdoors can be explored, and the island's fertile riches can be brought to light during a tour of the spices here, an excursion sure to enthrall families. Grenada might only be home to 100,000 people, but its spices are famous throughout the world, with nutmeg and its shell mace, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and more all growing here. Many operators offer spice tours, and visitors can get a handle on the trove of ingredients that grow abundantly here on a daytime trip.


Residents of Antigua like to boast about their island having 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, and while visitors won't get to see all of them during a stay, there are many amazing ones that shouldn't be missed. These include Ffryes Beach, Galleon Beach, Half Moon Bay, and Rendezvous Bay, to name just a few, places where sugary sand cedes to sublime seas. The water action at Devil's Bridge is a little more kinetic; the limestone promontory eroded by wind and saltwater has been hollowed out from below. And the waves surging into gaps and pockets shoot up through blowholes, creating an impressive aquatic spectacle. 

The coast isn't the only appealing location in Antigua, and adventurers will also find elevated thrills in store. Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours takes visitors out to the canopy on a circuit of zip lines, with choices ranging from six lines to the ultimate rush of 13 zip lines, plus an array of walkways and bouncy suspension bridges. Best of all, the course is set up for participants of all ages, so families can participate in the high jinks, no pun intended.


The beautiful colonial buildings and forts of San Juan are certainly attractive diversions for families visiting Puerto Rico. Still, for a voyage into nature, a trip for Fajardo will be more delightful. Located east of Puerto Rico's main island, it is a great base for excursions into the nearby El Yunque Rainforest and sorties to nearby beaches. In the foothills of El Yunque, Carabalí Rainforest Adventure Park has many fun activities for families, from horseback rides through the rainforest to rumbling, rip-roaring ATV jaunts that can last for two hours. Also near Fajardo, El Conquistador Resort has a water park exclusively for its guests, and it features a water slide that speeds thrill seekers along for more than 250 feet and a lazy river where they can catch their breath. 

The Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve promises fabulous swimming, and the night kayak outings in the bioluminescent section of Laguna Grande provide an evening of enchantment for kids and adults. For a special, hidden gem, families should journey to La Zanja (it means "the ditch"), a narrow inlet formed between rocky headlands that feels like a secret, paradisal swimming hole.


This former British colony, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, has wildly dramatic coastlines, with sheer cliffs dropping to pebble-filled beaches. It's not a place travelers come expressly for the sandy beaches, though there are plenty that will sate the appetite of any beach bum. What is more alluring is the stunning nature of another sort — greenery is everywhere. Tourists will appreciate the lushness of the island on a trip to the Emerald Pool, a shimmering, mesmerizing body of water fed by a waterfall and cupped by dense rainforest. It's located in Morne Trois Piton National Park and is a rewarding place for a refreshing dip. 

For a more testing adventure, the hike to the Boiling Lake takes some beating. A destination that unleashes the latent power within the Earth's core is a volcanic lake that is bubbling with searing hot water. The hike here is strenuous, and this is a full-day trip, but it really is something you will never forget, passing through the chillingly named Valley of Desolation. The lake is 200 feet in diameter, often topped by wisps of vapor dancing in the air, the water gurgling like a witch's cauldron. Book a guide who can shepherd you along the route while also describing the flora, fauna, and geological processes along the way.


To compile a list of fun, family-friendly destinations in the Caribbean, we started with our own deep, first-hand knowledge of destinations around the region. We backed this up with research that looked at crime statistics in the area and then foraged online forums, review sites, and blogs to finalize our choices.