With palm-fringed islands, soft sand beaches, and year-round warm water, the Caribbean is a fantastic destination for families. There are endless adventures that you can enjoy together, from train rides to hikes and snorkeling over teeming coral reefs.
Children and teens will enjoy learning about Caribbean wildlife, too, whether it’s stingrays in Grand Cayman or whales in Dominica. What’s more, history will come to life in some of the solid fortresses that still guard the islands, with guides waiting to tell the whole family stories of pirates and buccaneers.
Whether you’re an active and adventurous family or are simply looking for beautiful beaches on which to relax, you’ll be able to make vacation dreams come true in the Caribbean and create a lifetime of family memories.
Fly Down North America’s Tallest Waterslide
Older kids and teens will love the dizzying Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest slide in North America and the star attraction of the award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
You’ll find this 134-foot high slide in Thrill Waterpark, a collection of 13 colorful slides and rides. After you’ve braved Devil’s Peak, try the Twister, which involves a two-person raft, or Splash Speedway, a four-lane slide on which you can race your friends.
Unwind and cool off in the Caribbean’s biggest wave pool before digging into chicken wings and fries at Captain Jack’s—and then set off to tackle Daredevil’s Peak all over again.
Ride the St. Kitts Scenic Railway
Who doesn’t love a scenic train ride? The St. Kitts Scenic Railway travels along 18 miles of narrow gauge railway across the island’s lush countryside and along the coast, with tantalizing views of the Caribbean from its open carriages.
The railway was built between 1912 and 1926 as a means of transporting cane from the sugar plantations to the processing factory in Basseterre, the capital. The trains have been adapted for sightseeing and have double-decker carriages with panoramic viewing platforms on top and comfortable, air-conditioned salons below.
All through the ride, your guide will tell you about the history of St. Kitts—and there’s even musical entertainment from the St. Kitts Railway Choir, who will sing folk songs, hymns, and children’s songs a cappella.
Float Through the Crystal Caves
Teenagers and adventurous kids will love Crystal Caves in Belize, an underground adventure that involves drifting along a subterranean river on a giant inflatable inner tube.
The Mayans believed this cave system, festooned with dripping stalactites and stalagmites, was sacred and performed sacrifices here, so the caves have a mysterious, spiritual aura.
Provided you’re not claustrophobic, drifting slowly through the cave system in your tube is one of the best things to do in Belize. Turn on your head torch to spot mysterious rock formations and pick out shapes on the high ceilings, some so lofty that you’ll feel tiny in comparison.
Admire a “frozen” underground waterfall and the Crystal Chamber, where the walls sparkle. You’ll then cross an underground lagoon to a waterfall where the river emerges into brilliant daylight.
See the Underwater World from the Atlantis Submarine
In Bridgetown, Barbados, board the distinctive Atlantis Submarine for a thrilling dive below the waves. The sub has been specifically designed for underwater sightseeing, with big portholes so that everybody has a view, making it perfect for kids.
You’ll see tropical fish in brilliant colors, the shades and the species changing as you descend to 150 feet.
There’s a 60-year-old shipwreck to admire, as well as teeming coral reefs and giant sea fans waving gently in the current. If you’re lucky, you could see a sea turtle gliding languidly through the water.
Hike Up the Pitons
Families who are into fitness and nature will love the challenge of hiking up the 2,619-foot Gros Piton, one of the distinctive twin volcanic peaks in St. Lucia, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 3.2-mile hike from the trailhead to the summit takes about four hours with dazzling views down over the forested lower slopes, the coconut groves, and out toward the sapphire-blue Caribbean. From the top, you’ll also have a great view of Petit Piton, the second of the two, and across the water to St. Vincent.
Anyone who is reasonably fit can make the climb. It’s steep in sections and better suited to children over about 12, rather than little ones. Just imagine the sense of achievement once you’ve done it.
Swim in Bacalar Lagoon
If you’re visiting Costa Maya as a family, then take a trip to the Bacalar Lagoon. It’s popularly known as the Seven Colors Lagoon thanks to the intense shades of azure, emerald, and aquamarine that seem to shimmer in the water.
The different colors come from the different depths around this long, skinny lagoon, which is dotted with deep cenotes, or underwater springs.
You can drift along the rivers that feed the lagoon in a tube, jump in off one of the jetties around the shores, or paddle a kayak. Combine the visit with the nearby 18th-century Fort San Felipe Balalar, where children can learn about piracy in the Caribbean.
Take a Catamaran Trip in Cozumel
Board a catamaran for a relaxing day of sailing and snorkeling off the south coast of Cozumel, where there are thriving coral reefs in the warm, shallow water.
Kids will love jumping off the boat into the water and snorkeling over the reefs to spot brightly colored sponges, sea turtles, lobsters, and tropical fish in every color of the rainbow.
After the snorkel expedition, these trips typically include a lunch of burgers, shrimp skewers, and roasted pineapple on deck.
Climb Dunn’s River Falls
You can’t visit Jamaica and miss the famous Dunn’s River Falls climb. Children (who must be over three feet tall) and teens will love it—and all the way up, you’re cooled by the cascading waterfall, with dense tropical foliage all around.
You’ll start at the bottom with a guide, where the Dunn’s River tumbles over a series of natural travertine shelves into the Caribbean. Then you’ll work your way up 960 feet in a human chain.
There are plenty of opportunities to take pictures if you have a waterproof camera, and to enjoy the strange sensation of sitting behind a cooling veil of water.
Once you reach the top and have dried off in the tropical sunshine, adults can reward themselves with a Caribbean rum punch, while teens (and over sixes) can get ready for the zipline, which flies high over the falls and the rainforest canopy.
Feed the Rays at Stingray City
Wild stingrays have been conditioned over the years to expect food when they glide over the shallow sandbar off the coast of Grand Cayman that’s now named after them. This is where fishermen used to discard the offcuts from their catch, creating a stingray buffet.
Now, boats carrying visitors arrive rather than fishermen, who stand in the shallow water with tidbits for the rays. Your kids will be thrilled by the strange sensation of these graceful creatures brushing against them.
Many tours to Stingray City also include Starfish Point, one of the best spots for snorkeling in Grand Cayman. Kids will enjoy swimming in the shallow water and counting the dozens of scarlet starfish scattered across the sand.
Visit the Santa Cruz Donkey Sanctuary
Donkeys have long been used as transportation on Aruba. But often, these patient beasts of burden are replaced by cars, or are no longer fit for work as they age.
The Santa Cruz Donkey Sanctuary provides a haven for retired donkeys and is a great place to visit with children if you want some time away from the beaches.
You can feed and even pet the gentle donkeys; in fact, hugging a donkey is supposed to be a great way to relieve stress.
Join the Fun at Maho Beach
Teens will love the atmosphere of Maho Beach in St. Maarten. Flight arrivals and departures are chalked up on a surfboard, and when an aircraft is due, everybody heads for the shallows for the astonishing sensation of having a giant Airbus or Boeing roar straight over your head.
Take-offs are even more exciting as they’re louder and the blast is stronger.
At this lively St. Maarten beach, you can pass the time between airplanes with a drink and a pizza, which all have airline-themed names.
Look For Whales and Dolphins in Dominica
Dominica claims the title of “Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean”, so you should embark on a small group Zodiac thrill ride with high hopes. Kids will love the sensation of zipping across the water, holding on to the safety ropes of the rigid inflatable boat.
Once you get to the area where marine mammals congregate, some eight miles offshore, the captain will slow the boat down and start looking out for the spouts of enormous sperm whales, which inhabit the waters year-round.
There’s also a good chance of seeing spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins, which may come right up to the boat for a look.
You can hear the animals, too; the captain will drop a hydrophone into the water to pick up their hauntingly beautiful song, as well as the clicks and whistles of dolphin language.
Hike the Rainforest and Swim in the Sea
Engage your kids in the wonders of the local ecosystem on a two-hour rainforest hike in Antigua.
You’ll start at a suspension bridge that’s built over an old dam, and then make your way along forested trails. A guide will point out the different types of trees and help you spot colorful birds, wild fruits, mosses, and lichens.
As you emerge from the forest, there are wonderful views of the south coast of the island. You’ll then pass a pineapple plantation before ending the hike on the beach, with a chance of a welcome dip in the Caribbean.
Scramble Through The Baths at Virgin Gorda
The massive tumbled boulders of The Baths near Tortola is a natural adventure playground where you can wade, swim, climb, and scramble as you make your way from one end to the other.
Ladders and ropes fixed to the bigger boulders help you to find the way, and as you progress, there are beautiful lagoons in which to cool off and enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean.
Take an underwater camera for fun shots of jumping off rocks and plunging into the lagoons, as well as picking your way under some of the larger boulders. The Baths is a great day out for the family and a great opportunity to capture some incredible social media-worthy moments.
Are you ready to embark on a family adventure to the Caribbean? Browse our Caribbean cruises and plan your next family-friendly getaway with Celebrity.