With its beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery, the Caribbean is considered to be the perfect getaway for couples. Whilst these romantic islands may be popular with honeymooners, many Caribbean destinations are also perfect for a family vacation.
All of the Caribbean islands offer different qualities, so finding the ‘best’ island really depends on your family’s needs. When travelling with kids, you need to consider everything from cost and convenience, to activities and accommodation.
Of course, your decision also depends on what kind of family vacation you’re planning. Some islands are better for an easy beach break with younger kids, whilst others offer adrenaline-fuelled adventures that older children will love.
In our latest blog post, we take a look at some of the best Caribbean destinations for families. Whether you’ve got an active teen or an inquisitive toddler, you are sure to find an island you all like!
The best Caribbean islands for families
The safest and most child-friendly island in the Caribbean, Barbados is perfect for family vacations. The tourist industry is a huge part of the island’s economy, so visitors of all ages are warmly welcomed by locals.
Aside from the beautiful beaches, Barbados has more things to do per square mile than any other Caribbean destination. You can visit wildlife parks, explore historic sites or tee off on top golf courses. Depending on when you visit, you may also be able to experience one of the island’s many annual festivals.
Family-friendly attractions in Barbados
Barbados has dozens of family beaches, with plenty of top spots for swimming, snorkeling and watersports. The clear waters here are great for spotting the local wildlife – and discovering shipwrecks! If you’d rather stay above the water, you will find a variety of different cruises and boat tours on offer.
Away from the beach, the island’s capital city of Bridgetown is packed with shops, museums and attractions. The local Wildlife Reserve is a great way to get up close with some colorful characters, or you can head underground to explore Harrison’s Cave – one of the seven wonders of Barbados!
The cost of a family vacation in Barbados
Price-wise you can make your vacation as lavish or as budget-friendly as you like. The resorts and restaurants on the west coast tend to be more upmarket and expensive; you’ll also find a wider range of luxury villas here. The south is a better choice if you’re looking for budget-friendly condos in busy beach resorts.
The price of your vacation will also vary depending on when you go. If you visit in the middle of peak season (mid-December through April) you can expect great weather, but your trip may be more expensive. Visit during the low season and the island will be much quieter – but there is always a risk of rain!
When travelling as a large group, the most cost-effective accommodation option is to share a large villa and split the cost. What’s more, when you book with Top Villas, all you need to do is pay your deposit upfront. You can then pay off your balance in comfortable installments, up until 60 days before your stay.
Where to stay
The majority of families stay on the west coast which boasts powder-white sands, calm seas and ample family-friendly accommodation. Also known as the ‘Platinum Coast’, this region is home to some of the Caribbean’s most famous resorts including Royal Westmoreland, Sandy Lane and Sugar Hill.
Most resorts in Barbados are family-friendly, with communal pools, restaurants and on-site kid’s clubs. Most luxury resorts also offer perks such as private beaches, water sports, tennis courts and golf courses. For guests seeking a bit more privacy, there are also a number of self-contained villas on the west coast. These exclusive homes come with private swimming pools and the services of a private chef and housekeeper.
Best for livelier family stays, the south coast is home to big beach hotels, vibrant towns and buzzing nightlife. The sea is a little rougher here than on the West Coast, making it ideal for boogie boarding and surfing. Much of the accommodation in the south is located around the popular parish of Christ Church.
Located around 100 miles northwest of Barbados, St Lucia is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations for families. With towering mountains and lush rainforests, this striking location is full of natural beauty. Take your little ones exploring and you’ll discover incredible beaches, famous snorkelling sites and some seriously breathtaking views.
Family-friendly attractions in St Lucia
Kids will love wandering around the capital city of Castries with its colorful markets and pretty parks. High-speed catamarans to Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica also run from this west coast region – making it an ideal base for island hopping.
For a different kind of day trip, take the kids to Sulphur Springs – the island’s famous drive-in volcano! Guests of all ages can enjoy a soak in the mud baths followed by a wash in the springs. Kids can’t fail to be amused by the eggy sulfurous odor, so be prepared for lots of jokes and giggles.
Book a tour of the 18th century Morne Coubaril in Soufrière and you can find out more about sugar, chocolate and coffee production on the island – afterwards you can even harness up and go zip-lining around the treetops. Another must-visit is Rabot Estate cocoa plantation, where you can stroll through exotic cocoa groves, and even make your own chocolate bar.
The cost of a family vacation in Saint Lucia
As with many Caribbean destinations, you can enjoy a relatively inexpensive vacation or a very expensive one – it all depends on what you choose.
Travelers hoping to save some money should note that during the off-season (from May through November) accommodation prices tend to be greatly reduced. There are fewer tourists at this time and you’ll find some great bargains on top-notch properties all over the island.
Another major factor to consider when planning your budget is the cost of transportation. Ferry and helicopter transfers are popular on St Lucia, as they are the fastest way to cross the island. These come in especially handy for travelers who are staying in the north.
Where to stay
Most villas in St Lucia are located along the island’s west coast and northern tip. The north is where you’ll find the larger tourist resorts, such as Gros Islet and Cap Estate. For dreamy views and lively entertainment, nearby Rodney Bay is home to some excellent restaurants, a shopping mall and a pretty marina. It also has a great beach with safe swimming in a manmade lagoon.
If you’re looking for a villa with a view, the quieter west coast around Soufriere is perfect. The vacation homes here are all set against the backdrop of St Lucia’s majestic Piton peaks. This former French port is sleepy and quaint, however, it offers a wealth of family attractions including volcanic beaches, botanical gardens and great snorkeling opportunities.
Located in the West Indies just a short distance from Florida, Jamaica is the perfect spot for families in search of an easy getaway. This is the land of jaw-dropping beaches, family resorts and a rich reggae-infused culture. Its cities bubble with life both day and night, and wherever you stay you’re sure to find music and merry-making nearby.
The easy-going atmosphere is ideal for little kids, and teenagers will love all manner of adventure sports from boogie boarding and sailing, to zip-lining and white-water rafting. Real thrill-seekers can even have a go at scaling the Caribbean’s most famous waterfall.
Family-friendly attractions in Jamaica
Like Barbados and St Lucia, there are heaps of family attractions in Jamaica. Ocho Rios has some knock-out beaches plus plenty of great shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. Its most famous attraction is the Dunn’s River waterfall, which sees thousands of visitors every year.
Golfing enthusiasts will love Rose Hall Estate in Montego Bay with its first-rate gorgeous golf courses and grand plantation house. For some spooky fun, try the Haunted Night Tour and you can enjoy tales of the infamous ‘White Witch’ of Rose Hall.
For traditional Jamaican food, head to Scotchies in Montego Bay, one of a trio of famous ‘jerk centers’ on the island. Diners of all ages are welcome to feast on delicious jerk chicken and pork served in the scenic gardens. This is a classic island eatery, serving delicious local food at cheap prices.
The cost of a family vacation in Jamaica
Jamaica’s inclusive resorts may come with everything included, but they can be more expensive than traditional self-catering properties. A cheaper and often better alternative for families is to rent a private Jamaica villa. You’ll have your own exclusive amenities, plus the services of trained staff, at no extra cost.
Your butler will bring you breakfast in the morning, your chef will cook your meals throughout your stay and your housekeepers will keep your villa spick and span, whilst you relax and enjoy spending time with your loved ones! Complimentary overseas calls, communal tennis courts and resort membership are also included with many private villas.
Out and about, you’ll find that Jamaica is one of the cheapest Caribbean destinations. Most of the beaches, parks and natural attractions are free to visit, or charge only nominal entrance fees. Most hotels and tourist shops accept both Jamaican and US dollars, however, you’re likely to get a better rate if you pay in local cash.
Where to stay
While Jamaica is famed for its all-inclusive hotels, the best way to experience authentic island life is to stay in a private villa. Most homes come with a full set of staff — so you won’t need to lift a finger throughout your stay. Other perks include private pools, spacious sun terraces and access to amazing resort amenities.
The best villa resorts for families are on the north coast in popular beach towns like Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay. You can stay in the heart of the action close to shops, restaurants, bars and nightspots, or opt for a peaceful spot well away from the crowds.
More great Caribbean destinations for families
Turks and Caicos
You won’t find any family member with a complaint about the Turks and Caicos islands. As well as being a short flight from anywhere in the US, this British territory also uses the American dollar. One of the most family-friendly Caribbean destinations, Turks and Caicos is packed with outdoor activities. From snorkelling to horseback riding – you will be spoilt for choice!
Visitors of all ages will love Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales; an area that really stands out for its stunning natural beauty and ample amenities. Guests staying within the exclusive resort here can also enjoy full access to a host of shared facilities on-site, including tennis courts and a gym. All situated just steps away from the beach, our luxury rentals in Turks and Caicos are equipped with everything required for a dream vacation.
If you’re after a relaxing escape, the Dominican Republic is one of our top Caribbean destinations for families. Considered to be a tourist hotspot, there are a number of resorts here, so kids and parents can do their own thing. Located next to the lively city of La Romana, the Casa de Campo resort offers 7,000 acres of accommodation, as well as an impressive marina, an artisan village, a la carte restaurants and a private beach.
For those seeking a more active holiday, there’s also plenty of fun things to do onsite. This popular resort is home to world-renowned golf courses, a tennis center, polo fields, an equestrian center, a water sports facility and a fitness center.
Home to some of the most beautiful coastline in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands are the perfect place for a beach vacation. With miles of white sand and crystal clear water, the islands are home to a number of fun activities, including snorkeling, sailing and paddle boarding. Away from the beach, you will find even more to do. From exploring crystal caves to swimming with stingrays, kids will love exploring what these islands have to offer.
Out of all the Caribbean destinations, the Cayman Islands definitely has some of the most luxurious accommodation. Located directly on the beach, all of our Grand Cayman vacation homes offer breathtaking views across the sea. With outdoor areas just as dazzling as the interiors, these stunning homes offer the perfect family retreat.
St Martin-St Maarten
Both Dutch and French, this small Caribbean island of two halves has two names and one laid-back, happy vibe! Known as ‘The Friendly Island’, this beautiful destination is full of family attractions, charming towns and plenty of white sand beaches. With over 70 miles of coastline to explore, you can visit a different one every day!
Perfect for adventurers, you will find a huge variety of kid-friendly excursions on offer in Saint Martin. Scuba diving, underwater safaris and treetop zip lining are just some of the exhilarating activities on offer here. If you need a break from all the fun, where better to relax than your own private villa? Located on both sides of the island, our vacation homes in Saint Martin are the epitome of luxury.
Planning a trip?
When you’re ready to start planning your next island adventure, Top Villas offer a huge range of luxury Caribbean villas in a number of amazing islands. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront villa in Barbados, or a chic condo in St Lucia, all of our vacation homes offer luxury living space, incredible views and an abundance of first-class amenities.
When you book with Top Villas, arranging a stay couldn’t be easier. By following our simple online booking process, you can secure your dream home instantly. Our website makes it easy to check availability, get a quote and book instantly online. Alternatively, you can submit an inquiry and we’ll get straight back to you.
To start the search for your perfect villa, you can check out our full range of vacation homes in the Caribbean here.
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