What can be better than a bit of serenity in the scorching summers? And what comes to your mind when you think of serenity? Nothing but a Caribbean holiday! This summer vacation, make your family experience peace and calmness. Go ahead, read about the best Caribbean islands for summer vacations with family and pick the best. Once you’ve landed in this corner of the tropics; breathtaking beaches, delicious rum punch and infectious reggae beats are never far away. Each island has a unique history and they all share a warm hospitality, a love for colourful carnivals while carrying a distinct laid-back vibe.
Caribbean is a tropical paradise with its shimmery white beaches and pleasing warmth of the sun. Imagine a lazy day in the sun, while feasting on tropical delicacies, grooving to the salsa music, and then heading out for some snorkelling with your family to experience the stunning underwater world. Trust us, the marine life of the Caribbean islands will be a heavenly sight for your eyes. From the rusty Blue Mountains of Jamaica to the grand Pitons and lovely rainforest of Saint Lucia – you can experience these and more during your holiday at any of the Best Caribbean islands for summer vacations with family.
Choosing a vacation that meets the needs of young children, preteens and adults in the family might seem like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be that way when it comes to the Caribbean islands. The Caribbean spots below offer the chance to explore iconic natural wonders (coral reefs and cascading waterfalls included) along with a wide range of activities that the whole gang of your family can enjoy.
Best Caribbean Islands for Summer Vacations with family:
#1 U.S. VIRGINIA ISLAND, CARIBBEAN
The U.S. Virgin Islands are “America’s Caribbean Paradise” — the place to see moko jumbies dance at a Carnival parade, hear the lilting patois of a Creole dialect or smell the spices in a salt fish pate (all without losing cell phone reception). You can visit St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix, or better, spend a little time on all three islands. That way you’ll get plenty of pampering, undisturbed nature and colonial history jammed into one vacation. That’s exactly what you ought to do on your family vacations, little fun, some precious family time in peace and tranquility and of course something to learn as well. St. Thomas is known for luxury — from the mega-yachts moored in the harbour to the high-end storefronts along Main Street. Located at a short ferry-ride east, St. John appeals to honeymooners and nature lovers, with more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland plus surrounding pristine beaches. Way down south in the Caribbean Sea, less-visited St. Croix has sugar cane plantations and rum distilleries that offer a glimpse into both the past and the present of the Virgin Islands.
#2 GRAND CAYMAN, CARIBBEAN
The charming Cayman Islands continue to be a coveted Caribbean getaway for both adventurous and even immobile travellers. Gorgeous barrier reefs call to divers as the rum punch calls to the beach bums. Honeymooners hike through the 200-year-old Mastic Trail as parents take their children for interactive swims at Stingray City. Whichever way you choose to mellow out, the Cayman Islands can oblige.
The largest, Grand Cayman, is full of gargantuan resorts with all-inclusive options, perfect for those who prefer pre-planned itineraries and don’t mind sharing the sights with cruise crowds. For freewheeling vacationers, the less-traveled Cayman Brac and Little Cayman offer some of the best diving experience in the Caribbean. Well, it does provide your kids some new friends making you available for your love for those special moments.
#3 PUERTO RICO, CARIBBEAN
Determining Puerto Rico’s charm is a no-brainer. Puerto Rico has both 20-foot waves for surfers and calm, clear waters for families. It’s a stroll back through time (El Morro) and an up-close look at the contemporary (Calle del Cristo). It’s an exhilarating mix of landscapes, from the serpentine jungle of El Yunque to the corkscrew caves of Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy. And if you want to get away from civilization entirely, you can ferry over to the secluded — not to mention jaw-droppingly gorgeous — islands of Vieques and Culebra. Can already see your family having some great fun?
#4 BAHAMAS, CARIBBEAN
The Bahamian islands lure millions of visitors to their white-washed shores, duty-free shops, fishing and scuba diving excursions and luxurious accommodations each year and that’s what Bahamas owes your family this summer vacations too. The families that flock here tend to indulge in the diversions of the mega resorts, but this diverse island chain also offers a range of activities away from the hotel zone. Nature enthusiasts can explore the offshore reefs and wildlife preserves and golf lovers can tee up on the numerous par-72 courses. Bargain-hunters enjoy patrolling the marketplaces for the best duty-free deals. No wonder the Bahamas has become a popular destination in the Caribbean.
Though the area consists of more than 700 islands and cays, Bahamas bags the second most popular Island space in Caribbean. Here, the twinkling casinos and upscale resorts are intertwined with American Civil War history and pirate lore. The second most popular island is also the most northwest: Grand Bahama, home to bustling Freeport and a center of ecotourism with its underwater limestone caves and botanical gardens. When you need a break from all the crowds, head east from Nassau to the Outer Islands, where you can easily drop off the grid and enjoy a simpler way of life.
#5 BARBADOS, CARIBBEAN
You can find a white sand beach, a sprawling golf course or a duty-free shopping plaza just about everywhere in the Caribbean; but you visit Barbados to taste the bittersweet Mount Gay Rum, to lime out to the thrum of a calypso song or to cheer heartily at a polo or cricket match. And though you could spend all your time on the beaches, the point is that here you won’t want or need to. This luxurious island is brimming with breathtaking architecture, a passionate sports culture and a party-loving attitude.
The easternmost island in the Caribbean, Barbados juggles two different cultures to create a distinctly Bajan personality. It delves your family into a different color of these two cultures. Even after gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1966, this island still holds tight to British traditions like afternoon tea and horse races at Garrison Savannah. Trademarks of the Caribbean are still evident, however, in the sugar-cane fields, rum distilleries and lush landscape. And then there are the many beaches; the meringue “Soup Bowl” waters of Barbados’ isolated east coast are a surfer’s dream come true.
#6 ST. KITTS & NEVIS, CARIBBEAN
Around 1950, the A-list destination of the American celebrity was Acapulco. Now, that distinction may well belong to St. Kitts and Nevis, the little-known but luxurious and breathtaking twin-islands in the southern Caribbean. Their list of patrons runs long: Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Sylvester Stallone, Regis Philbin and many others have found solace on the Kittitian-Nevisian sands. St. Kitts is the more outgoing sister, with the widest selection of restaurants and hotels in Basseterre. Shy and lush Nevis showcases the opulence that has become this nation’s calling card.
Seclusion might be the number one draw (Nevis is without a single streetlight), but there are many other lures. Take for example the grayish-black sand (a rarity in the Caribbean). Or the sloping greens of Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. You want island culture? These islands have got it — just check out the Christmas time St. Kitts Carnival or the music festival held every June. And those with a penchant for history will certainly find it — Nevis is the birth island of founding father Alexander Hamilton; St. Kitts’ imposing Brimstone Hill Fortress was once known as the “Gibraltar of the West Indies.” This Caribbean Island does not just provide your family with good history but also the rarity of the Caribbean.
#7 ST. LUCIA, CARIBBEAN
Lush, unspoiled St. Lucia has a growing fan base. Some of its vacationers are music lovers, letting loose at the springtime St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival (which has previously featured headlining acts like Akon, Ziggy Marley, Diana Ross and the late Amy Wine house). Well, which holiday is complete without dance and music and festivals just make the family to unite in doing so. Others are honeymooners, unwinding on one of the island’s chalky beaches or holing up in one of the isolated couples resorts. Still other patrons are adrenaline junkies, testing their limits climbing the Pitons or zip lining through the Chassin region’s rain forest. But what you aren’t any of these types? Don’t worry: St. Lucia refuses to be pigeonholed as any “type” of Caribbean vacation. Plus you also don’t have to spend a lot of money (its reputation as a luxurious hideout is only somewhat warranted). To discover some of the island’s indescribable charms, you’ll have to visit for yourself. Start your mornings basking in an orange-tinted Soufrière sunrise then round out your evenings at an evening “jump-up” (or dance party) along Gros Islet. We’ll wait to hear what you think. More than that what your family thinks.
#8 TURKS & CAICOS, CARIBBEAN
Turks & Caicos has the perfect antidote for your hectic lifestyle; nearly abandoned, blinding-white sand fringed by shimmering azure water, colorful coral reefs, crispy conch fritters and a sleepy, light-hearted atmosphere. Even as recent years have generated more tourist activity, more chain restaurants and more commercially driven experiences, Turks & Caicos still holds tight to its reputation as an exclusive and secluded getaway. And regular vacationers to these skinny strips of white sand will tell you that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
This network of 40 islands and cays has three dominant personalities. There’s glamorous Providenciales, or “Provo,” which acts as the main port for the cruise ship crowd and site of many luxurious hotels. Laid-back Grand Turk is the historic and cultural nucleus, best seen in the Turks & Caicos National Museum or along the shores of Cockburn Town, where Christopher Columbus first docked in the Western Hemisphere. Tiny, flat Salt Cay plays host to the best dives: From here, you can explore one of the largest reef systems in the world.