Kids and the Caribbean – it’s a perfect pair. From the natural playground of their shores to man-made attractions like water parks and kids’ clubs, the islands are a great pick for family travel. Here are some of the best family experiences in the region.
beaches turks and caicosEvery Beaches resort is designed with kids in mind, but the brand’s Turks and Caicos location takes the cake for over-the-top amenities and attractions that the whole family can enjoy. For kids, the most exciting aspect of the resort is its 45,000-sq.-ft. Pirates Island water park, complete with seven water slides, a lazy river and a surfing simulator. Big kids can even kick back and relax like mom and dad at the swim-up soda bar. And little ones can get in on the action too, with a zero-entry kiddie pool and gentle fountains and other spray features.
Add that to brand-wide features like the Xbox 360 Game Garage video game center, activities featuring characters from Sesame Street and Liquid, a teen hangout, and you have a destination packed full of activities for all ages. But not too packed; there’s room enough here for even large families traveling together, with suites up to three bedrooms, some of which include Xbox consoles.
Of course, a family vacation is for the grownups too. Parents can enjoy marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs—separate from the kids’ room—in Italian Village suites, as well as relaxing treatments at the Red Lane Spa. And at the end of a long, happy day of speeding down water slides, indulging in a massage or just relaxing on the resort’s 12-mile beach, families come together for dinner at any of Beaches’ 16 restaurants, ensuring there’s a meal for even the pickiest eater. Rates start at $500 pp per night; children 2-16 stay for $105 per child per night.
coconut bay resort and spa Anyone who’s been on a family vacation knows the importance of striking a balance between togetherness and privacy—enjoying time with your loved ones, with just enough space for you to relax on your own terms as well. That’s a big part of what makes St. Lucia’s Coconut Bay’s layout so ideal for families traveling together. At one end of the resort, you’ll find the Splash wing. This is the high-energy area of the resort, with the CocoLand water park (the island’s largest) and its pools, fountains, lazy rivers and water slides. Young children take part in supervised activities like arts and crafts and playing in the shallow parts of the water park with Coco Kidz—and even get a visit from the coconut mascots of the resort, Coco and Loco. At Da Buzz, meanwhile, preteens and teenagers can hang out with video games and a ping pong table. But the real excitement is outdoors, where they can learn how to fly over the waves at the resort’s onsite kiteboarding school, or play paintball at The Zone, the first paintball facility of its kind in the Caribbean.
The activities at Splash are available for every family member, but when parents need a break, they simply make their way to Harmony, an adults-only wing with a serene swimming pool surrounded by cabana beds. This is also where you’ll find the Kai Mer Spa, offering a wide range of indulgent treatments. Rates start at $310 per room per night dbl.
atlantis With a wide range of amenities and attractions Atlantis in The Bahamas has transformed itself into a playground appropriate for every age group. There’s a wealth of accommodations, ranging from spacious studios to 3-bedroom villas with full kitchens. There’s also a wide array of dining options, from casual and quick bites at buffets and cafes, to fancier restaurants for a quality family meal together. And, of course, there’s an incredible array of activities for kids of every age. Atlantis Kids Adventures lets guests from age 3 to 12 participate in cooking lessons, theater performances and learning circus tricks, among other activities. Young kids have the chance to feed the fish in one of the resort’s spectacular aquariums through the Aqua Tots program, while teens can hang out at the no-parents-allowed Club Rush, stocked with Xbox, Playstation and Wii consoles as well as a wide screen for movies and live DJs every night.