Best Tropical Vacation Spots for Families

Best Tropical Vacation Spots for Families

Last Updated on November 13, 2023

Looking for the best tropical destinations for a family trip?

Families share their favorite vacation spot for a tropical getaway with the kiddos. Leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind to enjoy pristine beaches and lush jungles. These tropical destinations all are kid-friendly with plenty of fun and safe things to do for the entire family.

Are you yearning for a dreamy getaway that combines sun-kissed beaches, thrilling adventures, and unforgettable family moments? Look no further than this curated list of the best tropical vacation spots for families.

These idyllic destinations promise a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement, catering to the diverse needs and interests of every family member. Whether you seek powdery white sands, vibrant coral reefs, lush rainforests, or captivating cultural experiences, our handpicked selection has it all.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Hawaii, where palm-fringed beaches and volcanic landscapes beckon you to explore. Or venture to the breathtaking shores of the Caribbean, where crystal-clear turquoise waters offer endless opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, and building sandcastles. For those seeking a unique blend of adventure and wildlife, Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests and thrilling zip lines await.

Indonesia’s exotic archipelago, with its stunning Lombok and its neighboring islands, provides an enchanting backdrop for family adventures amidst ancient temples, lush rice terraces, and thrilling water sports. Thailand’s tropical paradise, boasting pristine beaches and vibrant street markets, invites you to indulge in delectable cuisine and immerse yourselves in local traditions.

From the exhilarating adventures of Jamaica to the picture-perfect beauty of Seychelles’ secluded island resorts, these tropical destinations offer an unparalleled opportunity for families to bond, rejuvenate, and create lifelong memories.

So pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and embark on an unforgettable kid-friendly tropical vacation with your loved ones. The paradise of your dreams awaits!

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HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP

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Jamaica

By Paulina of UK Every Day

Are you searching for the perfect family vacation spot that is both relaxing and adventurous? Look no further than Jamaica! With its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and endless activities, Jamaica is the ultimate tropical getaway spot for families.

You’ll be happy to hear that shallow, kid-friendly waters are abundant on the island. From relaxing on the famous Seven Mile Beach to many other sandy beaches in Montego Bay, Jamaica offers the perfect getaway for parents and kids alike, with plenty of safe spots to splash around.

Main Street Rose Hall is also a fantastic place to explore with the whole family. Kids will love stopping at Devon House to try some of the best ice creams in the world. It is one of the best shopping centers on the island with many interactive murals, authentic Jamaican cuisine, and great souvenirs.

What is even better, if you stay at Holiday Inn Jamaica, you can get a free hotel shuttle bus to Main Street Rose Hall with the whole family. Montego Bay and Negril are the best areas to search for hotels on the island. Just make sure to book your holiday between November and April to avoid rainfall and be able to enjoy great tropical weather.

Bonaire

Beach in Bonaire

By Sabrina of Shades Of Summr

Bonaire is a tropical Caribbean island and is the perfect vacation spot for families with children. Together with Aruba and Curacao, Bonaire forms the ABC-island chain. They are conveniently located outside the hurricane belt, so the weather is good year-round.

Bonaire is a great spot for families because it is relatively quiet and safe, especially in contrast to other Caribbean islands. There are many beaches with shallow water that are great for swimming with kids.

One of the best things to do in Bonaire is snorkeling. The marine life on the little island is pristine and there are many tropical fish to discover.

Bonaire is especially great for snorkeling with children and beginners because there are many spots with beautiful reefs right at the shore. Take a snorkeling boat trip to Klein Bonaire and have a fun family day.

Other great things to explore with families in Bonaire are the colorful capital city of Kralendijk and Washington Slagbaai National Park.

The island of Bonaire is relatively small. From Kralendijk airport, you can reach any location conveniently with a rental car.

The Delfins Beach Resort is a great place to stay in Bonaire with kids. There are three pools for the little ones to have fun in, and it even has a private beach. Their restaurants serve many different dishes and have plenty of options available for dietary restrictions. 

St. Kitts and Nevis

Timothy Hill St Kitts

By Steph of Book It Let’s Go!

St. Kitts and Nevis are a twin-island nation in the Caribbean and make the ideal tropical vacation destination for families.

If you are looking for where to stay in St. Kitts then the best family-friendly hotels are the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay or the Park Hyatt on the southeast peninsula which both have a kids club, pools and play areas especially for children.

Find some tasty food at Ital Creations, a locally owned farm that produces fresh local fruits and vegetables and specializes in delicious vegan plates.

This hidden gem is also packed with things to do for families including visiting the historic Brimstone Hill Fortress UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring the jungle on one of the easy family-friendly hikes, or watching the green monkeys play in the trees.

There are also lots of lovely beaches to visit with great snorkeling, especially for beginners with a chance to see turtles and spotted eagle rays. Some beaches also have water sports such as paddleboarding, kayaking, or jet ski rental.

It is easy to get to St Kitts with direct flights from Miami which take around 4 hours and operate daily. The best time to visit is pretty much any time as the weather stays nice most of the year.

St Kitts does have a hurricane season which runs from June to November, but the chance of hurricanes is usually minimal, with the occasional tropical downpour that can be expected at this time. For the driest weather visit in January or February which is tourist season but expect the beaches to be more crowded.

Vanuatu

Blue Lagoon Vanuatu

By Lanie of Make More Adventures

Vanuatu consists of more than 80 islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. Sixty-five of Vanuatu’s islands are inhabited. While Espiritu Santo is the largest island, most people fly to Efate which is home to the capital city Port Vila.

Multiple airlines fly direct to Port Vila, though visitors from the US need to make a stop. The quickest connection is through Fiji.

The weather in Vanuatu is warm year-round, though the best time to visit is April-October. As Vanuatu is in the southern hemisphere, its summer season and rainy season runs from January to March.

While Vanuatu feels slightly off the beaten path, the islands are beautiful and the people are welcoming. It gets a bit touristy near the cruise port, but those who are able to travel around Efate and the other islands will find gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and natural springs. Adventure seekers can hike volcanos and swim to the underwater post office at Hideaway Island.

Moorings Hotel is a quiet family-friendly hotel in Port Vila. The hotel has access to many amazing day trips and in itself is a nice place to relax. Breakfast is included and Moorings has a restaurant in addition to being within walking distance of town. While the food isn’t local, try Kerson’s Exotic Thai, up the hill from Moorings.

Lelepa Island is nearby and offers a great family-friendly day trip complete with snorkeling, hiking to a cave, and visiting a local village. The island was even featured on Survivor.

Cook Islands

Cook Islands

By Samantha of Undiscovered Path Home

Nestled in the heart of the South Pacific, the often-overlooked Cook Islands may be one of the best vacation spots for families. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and warm hospitality, this archipelago is a dream tropical destination.

There’s no end to water-based activities for kids of all ages. Snorkeling, of course, is a must — and kids will love the vibrant coral reefs and tropical fish. The waters are calm and clear, making it ideal for kids. Older kids will love the kayaking and hiking options around the island, as well. 

It’s not all about water activities, though. Traditional dance performances and craft workshops are perfect for kids, too. The Te Vara Nui Village offers a captivating cultural village tour, complete with a thrilling overwater night show — complete with mesmerizing fire dances.

No trip to the Cook Islands is complete without a visit to Aitutaki, perhaps one of the most beautiful islands in the area. Much like Bora Bora, Aitutaki is known for its beautiful, sprawling lagoon — ideal for boat tours and all kinds of water sports. 

For a family-friendly stay, look no further than the beloved Pacific Resort Rarotonga. This award-winning beachfront hotel offers spacious accommodations, a dedicated children’s club, and a range of complimentary water sports activities for all ages. It’s the perfect spot to relax as a family! 

The best time to visit the Cook Islands is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. This season offers pleasant temperatures, minimal rainfall, and ideal conditions for water activities. Fly to Rarotonga International Airport, the main gateway to the Cook Islands.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia

By Rachel of Our Vacationing Life

When it comes to the best tropical vacation spots for families, St. Lucia should be at the top of your list. With its stunning natural beauty, warm Caribbean hospitality, and endless family-friendly activities, it’s the ultimate destination for a memorable family trip.

St. Lucia offers an extremely diverse range of activities that are suitable for all ages. You can explore lush rainforests and colorful waterfalls, or snorkel in crystal-clear water with thousands of species of aquatic life.

You can experience adventurous zip-lining in the jungle, or even take a restorative mud bath.

The UNESCO world heritage site of the twin Pitons is a breathtaking natural wonder that is sure to impress the entire family and one you should definitely experience while you’re here. St. Lucia even boasts the world’s only drive-in volcano!

The best time to visit St. Lucia is during the dry season, which generally runs from December to April. At this time the weather is pleasant and mild, with very little rainfall. The seas are also calm at this time, making it ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and taking boat tours.

As far as choosing a place to stay in St. Lucia, you have many options. The best location for families is hands-down Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, located on the south coast. It contains the island’s largest water park, CocoLand, with thrilling slides and a relaxing lazy river.

There are adults-only pools and restaurants which allow for even more peaceful moments on vacation, and plenty of dining and beverage choices for even the pickiest of eaters.

In short, St. Lucia is the ideal location for a tropical family getaway. There’s a diverse array of experiences to be had, no matter your age. You are sure to make lifelong memories when you visit this Caribbean paradise.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

By Christian of Punta Cana Travel Blog

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a family’s paradise for many reasons.

To start with, it has the most direct flights of any Caribbean destination from Canada and the US, which means that Punta Cana is just a short 2.5 to 5-hour flight away from most cities. Chances are high that you can reach this beautiful vacation spot for families with a direct flight from one of your closest airports – ideal for kids as you spend more time enjoying your holiday instead of sitting around at various airports.

Second, there are multiple great family resorts in Punta Cana with lots of amenities the kids will love, among them, kids and teens clubs with a super diversified program each day, huge water parks with splash areas for smaller kids, and monster slides for the bigger ones and teens.

Furthermore, many resorts have family suites, a kids’ menu at a la carte restaurants, beach cinema, kids’ corners, and much more.

Among the best family resorts in Punta Cana are Hyatt Ziva, Nickelodeon, or Finest. If you’re looking for an affordable family hotel, you can check out Tropical Deluxe Princess, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana, or Royalton Punta Cana.

When it comes to family activities, Punta Cana also has a lot of things to offer. Some of the most famous things to do for families in Punta Cana are the tropical theme parks such as Scape Park Punta Cana or La Hacienda Park.

Other popular family excursions are ziplining, dune buggy adventures (both for older kids), or – if your kids are a bit younger – countryside safaris or whale-watching tours (the latter one is only possible from January to March).

Also if you don’t want to spend money on excursions, there are some things to do in Punta Cana depending on the age of your kids: there are several hikes available (however, a guide is recommended for most of them), waterfalls can be visited and you can try to snorkel, swim or do long beach walks along the beautiful beaches of Punta Cana.

Seychelles

Anse Lazio Beach Praslin Seychelles

By Kaz of The Honeymoon Guide

Seychelles might be one of the ultimate honeymoon destinations, but it’s also one of the best tropical vacation spots for families. Spectacular beaches, abundant marine life, lovely hiking trails, and welcoming Seychellois people can be found in this unique tropical paradise off the coast of Africa. 

Known as the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’, this archipelago is ideal for an island hopping adventure. The best time to visit is from April to October.

Start on Mahé’s Beau Vallon beach, where you’ll find family-friendly hotels like Story Seychelles and an array of fun things to do like snorkeling just offshore.

There are family-friendly restaurants like Malek which serves the best Indian food.

Take a day trip to Saint-Anne Marine Park and opt for the Semi Sub tour if you have younger kids. You go out on the reef in a vessel that stays afloat above water while the hull remains underwater with a crystal clear view of the fish.

Take the ferry to Praslin and stay at Coco De Mer Hotel. Discover the ancient rainforests of the UNESCO-listed Valée De Mai, which has gentle hiking trails. There are magical beaches like Anse Lazio to laze away the days.

Hiring a car to explore the deserted coves is a must (book a rental car early!) Take a tour of nearby islands. Curiese has a giant tortoise sanctuary. They roam freely and you can rub their hard shells and feed them leaves in their natural habitat. St Pierre is a granite islet with calm waters for snorkeling. You might even meet some turtles!

Explore La Digue, which limits vehicles so locals and tourists alike get around on bikes. From the port/village, cycle through a former coconut plantation to reach giant granite boulders, white sand, and azure waters with fish that swim up right up to shore at Anse Source d’Argent, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can hire glass bottom kayaks to explore the shallow waters, too.

Seychelles is truly one of the best tropical vacation spots for families.

Florianópolis, Brazil

Florianopolis Hike View

By Chanelle of Chasing Chanelle

Brazil is a beautiful country, most well-known for the Amazon rainforest, Copacabana, and Carnivale. So, when planning a family vacation, it might not be the first country to come to mind. But you may be surprised to find out that Brazil has some excellent family-friendly destinations, including plenty of tropical vacation spots, given its huge coastline, which are best visited in the summer months between December and March.

One of the best destinations in Brazil for families is the capital of the State of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. Although a city, Florianópolis is also a 33-mile-long island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge, and even has its own airport. Although the city itself only takes up a small part of the island, with most of it remaining untouched forest, pristine beaches, and small towns.

What makes Florianópolis such a great place for families is the 42 different beaches to explore, resort-like areas to stay in, and plenty of kid-friendly activities.

On top of this, the island is also very safe. The north of the island is the most popular spot for families, with Praia do Ingleses and Praia de Jurerê being two of the best beaches for children of all ages, due to having calmer water. You can even stay at one of the family-friendly resort hotels here, such as the popular Jurerê Beach Village.

When visiting Florianópolis, taking a day trip over to Campeche Island is a great activity for families. Here, parents can relax on the bright white sand and sip on a coconut while enjoying the tropical scenery and keeping an eye on the children. The calm, crystal-clear water makes it an ideal place for even young children to splash around and swim.

Another great activity, in particular for school-aged children, is visiting the Fortress San Antonia, where they can explore the grounds of the fort, see old cannons and learn a bit about the island’s fascinating history.

Florida Keys, United States

Sunset in the Florida Keys

By Hannah of Getting Stamped

The Florida Keys is the ideal location for a tropical getaway at a fraction of the price of the tropics. Fly into Miami and take a road trip from Miami to Key West as there is so much to see and so many great restaurants along the way. The road trip is 165 miles and takes approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes nonstop. However, taking 2-3 days to visit all of the amazing attractions is recommended.

What to See:

Miami to Key West is a great summer road trip destination for people who love visiting beautiful outdoor scenery. You will want to stop in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, and then finally, Key West.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef -> This is the first underwater national park in the United States and home to the glass bottom boat tour where you can see plenty of sea life, beautiful coral reefs, and natural wonders underwater.

Kayaking in the Mangroves of Key West -> Truly experience the coastal beauty of the Key West environment by taking a guided kayak tour through the shallow water of mangrove creeks, where you will see Florida wildlife in its natural habitat.

Visiting Dry Tortugas National Park -> Dry Tortugas National Park consists of seven small islands and is over 100 square miles of crystal clear ocean water perfect for snorkeling. Snorkelers will enjoy viewing the colorful coral reefs such as Texas Rock and Little Africa Coral Reef, and if you are lucky, you may even find the Windjammer shipwrecks and artifacts. 

Where to Stay: 

Key Largo is the northernmost point of the Florida Keys and is an excellent place to stop as there are lots of things to do in Key Largo. Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo has an excellent beach area for kids, a restaurant on site, and pools, and is close to many things to do in Key Largo, making it the ideal location for an overnight stay. Accommodations feature either a waterfront view or a view of the lush forest that makes you feel like you are in the tropics. 

Where to Eat: 

If you’re looking for an excellent place to eat along the route, then stop in Islamorada and head to Lorelei Cabana bar for the best sunset spot in the Florida Keys and great live music. They have something for everyone on their menu, including vegan burgers and a good veggie sautee.

Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok Selong Belanak Beach

By Jolene of Wanderlust Storytellers

Tucked away in the Indonesian archipelago, a small Indonesian island makes the perfect destination for families looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation.

Lombok has a lot to offer families, including beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and stunning waterfalls. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring local villages.

Getting to Lombok from Bali is super easy. Choose to take a quick 25 min flight or enjoy a boat ride over.

Lombok’s rainforests are home to a variety of plants and animals, including monkeys, birds, and butterflies. You can go on a guided hike to learn about the rainforest’s ecology or just explore on your own.

For a day trip head to the Northern regions of Lombok to see two of Lombok’s most beautiful waterfalls, the Selong Belanak Waterfall and the Tiu Kelep Waterfall. Remember to pack a picnic and your swimming gear to take a dip in the cool, refreshing waterfall pools!

Spend time learning about the island’s culture with a visit to a Sasak Village called Sade in Rambitan. See how locals make their living, and learn about their customs. 

Depending on the age of your children traveling with you, why not climb Indonesia’s second-highest volcano? Book a guided 2 or 3-day trekking tour of Mount Rinjani and Crater Lake and enjoy the most spectacular views from the rim of the volcano!

For a truly magical stay, the Jeeva Klui Resort, Senggigi is just amazing! Booking a luxury resort is a luxury that you normally can’t afford elsewhere! Enjoy everything in one place including the infinity pool, private beach, snorkeling, and loads more! 

You can spend your beach days at the resort or visit the many beautiful beaches in Lombok and Indonesia. Relax on the sand, swim in the clear waters, or build sandcastles with your children.

Some tips to make your stay more enjoyable in Lombok. Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect yourself from the strong sun. The weather in Lombok can change quickly, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for both rain and sun.

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti

By Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

Another beautiful tropical destination that you should consider for your next family getaway is Tahiti! The island is often believed to cater to most couples, but it also offers lots of activities and excursions that cater to those traveling with kids!

For example, if your family wants to explore Tahiti’s interior, you can do an easy hike to the 3 Faarumai Waterfalls. The approach to the first waterfall is about 5 minutes, with the second and third waterfalls being only 20 minutes beyond the first.

Alternatively, if you prefer to spend some time at the beaches, one beach with gentle waves ideal for swimming is PK 18 Beach. It’s a white sand beach with views of overwater bungalows from a hotel that is unfortunately no longer operational.

Finally, when you get hungry, make your way over to the Papeete Market. Here, you’ll find tons of stalls with locals selling everything from exotic fruits and complete meals to hand-crafted goods and lots of souvenirs!

For those interested in visiting, you can fly directly into Fa’a’ā International Airport, and it’s recommended to visit during the dry season when the islands experience significantly less rain.

As for places to stay, a family-friendly hotel is Te Moana Tahiti Resort, which offers waterfront views.

Sao Tome and Principe

A beach on Principe

By Heather of Conversant Traveller

Sao Tome and Principe is a tiny island nation off the west coast of Africa. It’s remote, tropical, and perfect for adventurous families looking for something a bit different.

This former Portuguese colony is known for its coffee and cacao plantations, which are found hidden in jungles across the islands. The volcanic coastline is a delight to explore, with pristine beaches and palm trees in abundance.

Kids will love taking boat trips, anchoring in secluded coves for swimming and snorkeling. Older children will enjoy taking ATV tours through the rainforest and nature hikes are fun for all the family.

Sao Tome and Principe are known as the “Chocolate Islands” so don’t leave without visiting one of the cacao plantations. On a guided tour, you’ll learn all about the story of chocolate, and taste the sweet cacao pods fresh from the forest.

When it comes to accommodation, there are lots of family-friendly places to stay in Sao Tome and Principe. Sundy Praia Lodge on Principe is a good choice. They have a spa, infinity pool, restaurant, and a private beach, surrounded by a lush jungle, with snorkeling, swimming, and boating on the doorstep.

You can visit Sao Tome at any time of year, depending on what activities you want to try. The dry seasons are December to February and June to September if you prefer to avoid the rains. Fancy going whale watching? Then come between July and October. Turtle watching is best from November to March, and if you’re lucky you may see the hatchlings scurrying down to the sea.

Despite its remote location, Sao Tome and Principe is relatively easy to reach. You can fly there via Lisbon in Portugal with TAP. Then there’s a short domestic flight between the two islands if you want to explore both places.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Beach in Zanzibar

By Joanna of The World in My Pocket

Zanzibar is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, known for its gorgeous waters and the tide that leaves the beaches dry for half of the day. Zanzibar is a great place to explore with your family.

There are three main areas of interest on the island: the north, the east, and Stone Town. It is recommended to spend a little bit of time in each of them, to see how different one part of the island is from another.

Getting to Zanzibar is straightforward, as the island has its own international airport. There are daily flights arriving to Zanzibar from places like Istanbul, Qatar, or Dubai. The island is also well connected with mainland Tanzania through a ferry, so, if you choose to fly to Dar es Salaam, you can always cross over by sea.

There are plenty of things to do in Zanzibar, starting with taking a boat trip and snorkeling in the beautiful waters around the island. There are many different fish and corals which you can see. Also, make sure to opt for getting out on sea on a dhow, the traditional wooden Tanzanian boat.

Another great thing to do in Zanzibar is exploring one of the spice gardens around the island. Here you will learn about the different uses of spices, both for cooking and for medicine. Most of the spice gardens are near Jozani Forest, where you can see monkeys in the wild.

For a unique experience, check out Prison Island. Here you can meet giant turtles which are roaming free around the island.

A great hotel to stay at, on the East of the island, is New Teddy’s on the Beach. They offer family-friendly bungalows, have a pool, and are located right on the beach.

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Beach in Ko Lanta

By Martina of Places of Juma

Koh Lanta in Thailand is a fantastic family-friendly tropical resort that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, relaxation, and exciting activities for young and old. In particular, for families with young children who are looking for a quiet and enjoyable vacation, this island in Thailand is a highly recommended destination.

One of the main reasons for a visit is the island’s magnificent beaches. In particular, Long Beach and Klong Dao Beach are very family-friendly and offer gentle waves and shallow water.

Koh Lanta has a lot of things you can see and do. Families can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the vibrant underwater world and colorful coral reefs on a day trip.

A visit to the Lanta Animal Welfare Center is both educational and heartwarming as children can interact with rescued animals. Those looking for adventure can take a scooter ride to the National Park in the south to see free-roaming monkeys and enjoy pure nature.

The best time to visit Koh Lanta is during the dry season from November to April, when the weather is sunny and the sea is calm. To get to Koh Lanta, you can fly into Krabi International Airport and then take a ferry or minibus to the island.

There are a lot of great places to stay on Koh Lanta. One recommendation for families with children is the Andalay Boutique Resort! This is a small but nice resort with a beautiful pool and direct access to the beach.

Antigua

Antigua Paradise

By Claudia of My Adventures Across The World

Antigua is quite the perfect place for a family vacation throughout the year, but especially when the Northern Hemisphere is going through winter! The island will provide a great getaway for anyone looking for a relaxing spot with lots of gorgeous beaches and an easygoing vibe.

This Caribbean island is easily reached from North America and from Europe, with direct flights from London Gatwick Airport.

There are many things to do in Antigua. First and foremost, spend time at the beach! You can enjoy the tranquil, pristine waters where you can go snorkeling and kayaking, and kids can play in the beautiful fine sand. You can also plan a day out in the water – sailing is one of the best activities if you go in May, which is when the wind picks up. 

But there are more things to do in Antigua. Adults and children alike will enjoy the easy hike that goes from  English Harbor to Shirley Heights, the best sunset spot on the island.

You can also go on a day trip around the island by car, stopping at Devil’s Bridge – a unique rock formation that is actually close to Verandah Resort; Betty’s Hope, a site with windmills that are testimony to the sugar plantations and slave labor in Antigua; the Donkey Sanctuary, which literally is a sanctuary for rescued donkeys. For that, you can rent a car in one of the local resorts.

St. John’s, Antigua’s capital, is a small city but you can go for a couple of hours to appreciate the vibe.

The island is packed with lots of all-inclusive and family-friendly resorts. The Verandah Resort and Spa is the best place to stay if you are traveling with children, as there is a kids club, a couple of swimming pools where children can play safely, and lots of activities for the whole family

Siargao, Philippines

Tropical island hopping in Siargao

By Emma of Journey of a Nomadic Family

Most people will recognize the famous photos of Siargao Island before they’ve learned how to pronounce its name. It’s an iconic destination for surfers but also for families looking for a safe and fun tropical vacation.

Siargao island (pron. shar-gaoo), a tiny teardrop (you can traverse it in under 2 hours) on the south-eastern fringe of The Philippines, is an idyllic location for spirited families seeking independent travel. However, you’ll need to plan how to get there. Whether you fly to the tiny tarmac airport via Manilla or get an overnight boat from Cebu, it’s all an adventure waiting to happen.  

The Philippines has distinct seasons, although they’ll all contain rain, technically the dry season is December to April. January and February will have cooler temperatures than March and April where you can expect 24-30 degrees Celsius. The rainy season is June – October so best to avoid this if you can.

The best way to see the island is to rent a tuk-tuk tricycle, this way you can explore at your own agenda and there’s plenty to do and see.

Siargao has some amazing beaches with the clearest of water but it’s also home to rock pools. Magpupunko Rock Pools are the most famous alongside those at Cloud 9 but for those who seek more, the north of the island also has small rocky coves perfect for little explorers.

Spend the day snorkeling and paddle boarding at Sugba Lagoon, hire a boat to take you island hopping, hike through palm trees, visit secluded villages, visit a cave, learn how to dive, or even take a yoga class at a retreat.

These exciting activities can be accommodated for any age range but it’s a good idea to have kids old enough to swim, be able to follow instructions, and not need car seats.

If you want to be in the hub of the island, stay close to General Luna & Cloud 9 where you can find self-catering accommodation, plenty of restaurants, supermarkets, and markets.

Emerald House is a self-catering complex of straw-covered wooden houses and is perfect for people who like to be close to others but want to cook. Take time out to chill in the luscious tropical gardens that surround the houses and meet others in the communal area.

If you’re looking for the ultimate island experience with peace and tranquillity where few people will disturb you, head north to Alegria and to DaRosa Del Mar Beach Resort & Restaurant.

Maui, Hawaii

Maui beach, Hawai

By Sarah of Places to Stay Maui

With its miles of palm-fringed golden sand beaches, turquoise waters, and verdant hinterland, Maui makes for an excellent family destination.

This Hawaiian island offers so much more than a classic beach vacation. There’s a wealth of adventures to discover outside of your resort:

  • Watch the sunset at the top of the Haleakala volcano,
  • Take the easy hike to Twin Falls,
  • Hug the massive banyan tree in Lahaina,
  • Take a lei-making class,
  • Partake in a hula dance lesson,
  • Enjoy a luau performance,
  • Go on a submarine ride to discover the underwater world,
  • Enjoy one of the snorkeling experiences.

In winter, you can join one of the whale-watching cruises organized by the Pacific Whale Foundation, where a marine biologist will teach your little ones all about the humpback whales that calve in these warm ocean waters.

School holidays are high season in Hawaii so this may be one of the pricier seasons. But the amazing family resorts in Maui make it worth the splurge.

The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, even comes with its own water park. Thanks to its excellent service, it’s a paradise for kids and parents alike.

Wailea is home to even more child-friendly hotels, as is Kaanapali. Alternatively, you could look into condo rentals and Airbnbs in Kihei for a more budget-friendly stay.

Borneo, Malaysia

By Annelies of Travelers and Dreamers

If you want to travel to a tropical destination with kids, Borneo might not be the first thing that comes to mind. A lot of people picture Borneo as a wild place, where traveling is only possible with expensive tour companies. While Indonesian Borneo is still a bit hard for travelers to get around, this is absolutely not the case anymore for Malaysian Borneo!

Malaysian Borneo is a travel-friendly and kids-friendly region that encompasses the states of Sabah and Sarawak. It’s a lush paradise famous for its breathtaking natural wonders like Taman Negara, the world’s oldest rainforest, and Tanjung Datu National Park, a nature reserve only accessible by road since 2019.

The region’s abundant wildlife, such as orangutans and Proboscis monkey makes Malaysian Borneo a lovely destination for a memorable family trip.

While there is a bus that goes all the way from Kuching in Sarawak province in the west to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan in the east, the best way to travel around with kids is by renting a car and doing a road trip. A lot of the highlights are impossible to reach by public transport so it’s a good idea to have your own wheels.

Absolute highlights of a trip to Borneo are (from west to south) Tanjung Datu National Park, Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Bako National Park, Mulu National Park, Mount Kinabalu, Kudat and the tip of Borneo and a cruise on the Kinabatangan River.

Additionally, snorkeling and diving are possible at a few places in Sabah, with Manukan Island being very accessible for snorkeling with kids.

Accommodation options in Borneo are plenty and can range from simple guesthouses to top-notch eco-resorts. For an immersive experience in local culture, Tampat Do Aman is a great place to stay while the Gayana Marine Resort will have you bathe in eco-luxury.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

By Alex and Leah from Alex and Leah on Tour

Without a doubt one of the best tropical destinations to visit as a family is Tamarindo.

Situated in northwest Costa Rica, this may not be the first destination but it’s one you absolutely must visit! 

One of the best things about Tamarindo is its mix of Costa Rican culture with luxury. This is exemplified by the abundance of quality shops, activities but mainly its beach experience. You can choose to relax on the many sun loungers available with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other. What more is there to love?! 

Tamarindo is also known for its excellent eateries. No matter whether you prefer local restaurants, food courts, or high-quality restaurants, Tamarindo has it all. Make sure to check out the Jardin Tamarindo Food Truck Park for some freshly cooked local cuisine or El Mercadito Food Court and Nalu Bagel & Cafe for more transitional sit-down food. 

There are also tons of activities to keep the family entertained. Why not take a surfing class along Tamarindo Beach, zipline through the Tamarindo Canopy Vista, or enjoy the Monkey Park where you can get up close to a whole host of animals. 

Depending on your departure destination, it’s likely you’ll arrive at Costa Rica’s main airport in the capital San Jose. Depending on where you’re staying, you will likely need to organize a private transfer to get you there. However, it is also possible to fly into north Costa Rica’s Liberia airport. 

The Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort is highly recommended thanks to its perfect location on the beachfront, incredible facilities, and prime sun-seeking spot. The resort is widely used by families thanks to its accommodating nature, wealth of facilities, and range of food on offer.

Oahu, Hawaii

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens Oahu Hawaii

By Hannah of Hannah on Horizon

Oahu, Hawaii, is one of the best tropical destinations for families. It is also home to Honolulu, the state capital. While Hawaii has a reputation for being an expensive destination, Oahu is the most affordable and family-friendly island. It’s also perfect to visit all year!

There are so many things that families can do in Honolulu like swimming or boogie boarding in Waikiki Beach, eating shaved ice, shopping down Kalakaua Avenue (Waikiki’s main shopping street), and hiking on Diamond Head. 

Beyond Honolulu, there are so many destinations you can explore all over the island of Oahu. Head over to Hanauma Bay to go snorkeling, but make sure to go really early in the morning because it can get packed!

For swimming in calmer waters, head to Ko Olina Lagoons on West Oahu. The large rocks create a break, preventing the waves from crashing to the shore. Don’t forget to bring snorkel gear since you can also see some fish!

Ko Olina is also home to some of Oahu’s upscale hotels, including Disney Aulani. You do not have to stay there to enjoy some of the resorts’ many eateries along with the luau, Ka Wa’a, which you need to book months in advance. Whether you eat in the resort or attend the luau, you might meet some of the characters!

For the offbeat path, visit North Shore, an hour north of Honolulu for some surfing, hiking, and visiting the Macadamia Nut Company to sample delicious macadamia nuts in different flavors such as coffee, garlic, and cinnamon.

If you have teenagers, take them to the Manoa Chocolate Factory tour and tasting, so they can try local, handcrafted chocolate that helps reforest Hawaii’s islands.

No matter what age, Oahu has something to offer for everyone, especially for families.

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Best Tropical Vacation Spots for Families