Bring the Kids! The 5 Best Islands for Families

Traveling with kids is a double-sided coin. Heads, you’re making wonderful memories and you never forget the smiles on their faces when they’re having fun. Tails, there are meltdowns and complaints of boredom. While there’s never any promise that your kids’ moods will be as sunny as a day at the beach, you can set yourself – and your family – up for a successful vacation by making the right destination choices. And if you’re setting your sights on the gorgeous islands of the Caribbean, these are the islands where your kids will be happiest.

Kids Playing in Ocean [Grand Cayman]

Grand Cayman | To start, there are a lot of non-stop flights from U.S. airports to Grand Cayman, which is part of the Cayman Islands. It’s also a safe place with few hassles and lots of things that will pique kids’ interests. What could be cooler than swashbuckling aboard an old pirate ship or swimming with friendly stingrays? Resorts also cater to families that need to keep little hands and minds occupied.

Lighthouse [Nassau, Bahamas]
Bahamas |
If your kids have lots of energy to burn (and which ones don’t?), you’ll definitely findactivities for them in the Bahamas. Water activities options like diving, kayaking, kiteboarding and dolphin excursions are virtually endless, but you can also hike nature trails, go horseback riding, kick up some sand at beach volleyball and more. Take your pick of numerous islands – in fact, if you count all the itty-bitty cays along with the bigger islands, like Grand Bahama, Paradise Island and Eleuthera, the total runs to about 2,000. Most flights land at either Freeport on Grand Bahama or the capital, Nassau, on Paradise Island.

Jamaica |
Plentiful deals are enough to turn many travelers’ attention to Jamaica, but it’s not just low prices that make the island a great family vacation spot. It’s a diverse and complex place, ready to be explored as you see fit. If you want to just kick back at a full-service resort, go for it – you’ll be rewarded with beautiful beaches and lots of great activities tailored to kids. And if you want to add a dash of adventure, there are tons oftours to check out Jamaica’s coffee-growing mountains, waterfalls and rafting-ready rivers.

Beautiful Beach and Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery [Old San Juan, Puerto Rico]
Puerto Rico |
Beach lovers and avid sightseers alike will fall in love with this easy-to-visit commonwealth of the United States (that means no money-changing!). The capital city, San Juan, is fun and lively, and visiting its district of Old San Juan, with colorful colonial houses and cobbled streets, islike taking a step back in time. Get outside the city, though, and families will find beautiful beaches dotted with activity-rich resorts and tropical forests buzzing with the songs of exotic birds.

Bright Aqua Water [Virgin Islands]
U.S. Virgin Islands |
On the three U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas – travelers can enjoy the convenience of traveling in America and the eye-popping beauty of tropical island scenery. Whether you stay at a resort or rent a condo, you’ll find places that serve up burgers and other familiar foods that won’t make little ones turn up their noses. Spend your time building sandcastles and soaking up the sun, check out an interactive aquarium, hike through the emerald forests of Virgin Islands National Park or shop ‘til you drop at the wide array of boutiques – you can have it all in the USVI.

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Gina Czupka

Gina’s first solo trip abroad, at age 16, changed her life. Since then, travel has been her passion and it’s her mission to convince others that they really can make travel a part of their lives. These days, she seeks out destinations where she can indulge her taste for adventure and shop for additions to her textile collection. Some of her favorite experiences from recent trips have included eating bun cha in Hanoi and feeding hyenas in Ethiopia.

Gina’s Favorite Travel Tip: When traveling abroad, learn enough of the language to be polite (hello, thank you, goodbye) and to shop and haggle (numbers and colors).