Best Family Vacations in the Caribbean
Choosing a Caribbean vacation that meets the needs of young children, preteens and adults might seem like a challenging task. That's why U.S. News took into account cost, convenience and family-friendly resorts and entertainment options, as well as reader votes, to rank the best family vacations in the Caribbean. Cast your vote below to help us determine next year's rankings. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)
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With three islands to choose from, the U.S. Virgin Islands appeal to families who like to blend beach time with a bit of exploration. Virgin Islands National Park on St. John offers this combination – and more – with 20-plus trails and access to popular Trunk Bay beach. Kids will also enjoy Coral World Ocean Park, where they can swim with dolphins and sea lions. And parents looking to take some time for themselves can check out the Cruzan Rum Distillery on St. Croix.
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Beautiful beaches, magnificent reefs and opportunities for horseback riding and surfing lessons make the Bahamas a family favorite. Plus, this string of 700 islands boasts plenty of budget- and family-friendly resorts. One of the most prominent resorts – Atlantis, Paradise Island – even has its own 141-acre water park and the world's largest open-air marine habitat for the young (and young at heart) to enjoy.
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Grand Cayman, the largest and most popular of this three-island chain, offers families tons of ways to enjoy their time together. Adults and kids can sunbathe, build sandcastles and float in the Caribbean Sea at Seven Mile Beach, or swim with stingrays in the shallow water of Stingray City. To get up close and personal with more sea life, head to the Cayman Turtle Centre to interact with turtles of all shapes and sizes.
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Calm waters and pristine beaches attract travelers of all ages to the British Virgin Islands. While the destination can be pricey, families can save money by splashing around Smuggler's Cove, a free beach known for its sea turtles and relaxing vibe. Visitors will also love exploring The Baths National Park on Virgin Gorda, a rugged natural attraction with breathtaking boulders, caves and beaches.
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Though Martinique can be an expensive vacation destination due to its fine dining and luxury resorts, there are still numerous free activities and attractions for families to take advantage of. Visit the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial to learn about the sobering history of slavery on the island, or take to the beach at family-approved Les Salines. Adventurous groups should explore the area surrounding Mount Pelée, the island's active volcano. To save some additional funds, consider staying in a smaller hotel or a rental home.
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Curacao is sometimes overlooked for flashier neighbors like Aruba, but it offers the perfect combination of relaxing shorelines and leisurely activities. The beaches are the obvious draw and scuba diving is popular, but kids and adults alike won't be able to resist snapping photos of the colorful Dutch colonial architecture along Handelskade. The island also offers a number of resorts that provide special programming to keep kids and teens busy.
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For families craving a sunny beach getaway, St. Kitts & Nevis offers the perfect doses of relaxation and enrichment. Here, you can enjoy aquatic pursuits like sailing, windsurfing and deep-sea fishing along with historical sites like Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on St. Kitts. Vacationers of all ages will also have fun riding the St. Kitts Scenic Railway across the island.
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If you and your clan want to avoid thick tourist crowds, Anguilla is the island for you. Anguilla does not allow casinos or high-rise hotels, which means there's lots of room for families to absorb the local culture and soak up the island's beautiful shorelines. Visit the popular Sandy Ground to snorkel and have lunch, or head to Rendezvous Bay for a more secluded experience.
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Unlike some of the other destinations on this list, Puerto Rico offers ample attractions away from hotel grounds, such as El Yunque National Forest and Vieques' magical bioluminescent Mosquito Bay. Meanwhile, San Juan's Castillo San Felipe del Morro – an old fort fitted with cannons and barracks – serves as a fun history lesson for young travelers. The island is also a great option for families that crave convenience, as American citizens traveling to Puerto Rico do not need passports to enter.
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While this island normally attracts a party crowd, there are plenty of places for families to feel right at home. If you're traveling with little ones in tow, head to Friar's Bay (on the French side) or Little Bay (on the Dutch side), two beaches with calm waters for swimming. If the whole gang would rather get their blood pumping instead, hike up to the highest (and, arguably, most scenic) point on the island: Pic Paradis.
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Families looking for a true getaway will find solace in St. Vincent & The Grenadines. These islands are more remote than other Caribbean islands and, as such, are largely devoid of tourists. The destination's exclusive resorts and private islands are perfect for lounging on the beach with your loved ones. Some hotels even feature in-room childcare and kid-friendly dining to please even the pickiest of eaters.
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Barbados offers a safe, fun and easily accessible Caribbean getaway filled with family-oriented resorts. When you're not lazing along a white sand beach like Carlisle Bay or exploring Bridgetown, head inland to attractions like Harrison's Cave and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. For an even more memorable vacation, load the kids into a submarine to see a colorful underwater world teeming with sea life.
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Travel to this pair of Caribbean islands to experience the best of both worlds: As the birthplace of the limbo and the steelpan, Trinidad offers more of a cultural experience, while Tobago is renowned for its beautiful beaches. Kid-friendly accommodation options abound, and you'll have no trouble entertaining the whole family thanks to the destination's abundant outdoor activities, including zip lining and boat tours.
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Beach bums, take note: Antigua is the place to go for gorgeous stretches of sand. There are 365 beaches to choose from, ranging from buzzing strips to more secluded sanctuaries. Half Moon Bay's calm water and remote location make it a great option for snorkeling, while Dickenson Bay is ideal for families who want to be in the thick of it all and don't mind the crowds.
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If you're thinking of taking a family trip to St. Barts, be sure to look for a hotel or resort with kid-friendly amenities. Depending on the property, activities can range from snorkeling and sailing to special art and culinary programs designed specifically for children. Regardless of age, all travelers will have access to the island's 14 public beaches, including the popular Bay of St. Jean.
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