There's something special about teaching your seven year old to snorkel and then sharing the underwater wonders of rainbow-colored fish and delicate coral with her. In the Caribbean and the Bahamas, depending on the resort you choose, you and your children can snorkel and dive, search for monkeys in the rainforest, zoom down waterslides, swim with dolphins, get wicked good at tennis and golf and also enjoy such time-honored pleasures as sunning, swimming and sand castle-building. It all depends on the resort you choose. Here are 10 top properties to consider.

Written by Candyce H. Stapen
At this water-themed mega-resort, which boasts more than 2,500 rooms, get your thrills by zooming down waterslides, floating on a faux river with rapids and swimming with dolphins or meeting sea lions. Young kids like the rope bridges and cannon sprays at Splashers, and everyone finds a favorite among the property's 11 pools. Encounter more marine critters by walking through an acrylic tunnel, where toothy sharks zig-zag above you, and by viewing piranhas, lionfish, giant rays and schools of tropical fish at the resort's aquarium. Teens congregate at Club Rush for dancing and Nintendo Wii games. In December 2009, a new Atlantis Kids Club facility for ages 3 to 12 will debut. Parents can indulge at the spa, shop the boutiques in the Village and try their luck at the casino.

Best for: families craving big, boisterous resorts with nightlife and a casino

Read our review of the Atlantis Resort.

The Ritz-Carlton's legendary service and the Ambassadors of the Environment Program (AOTE), developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau for ages 4 and older, make this resort special. Each three-hour AOTE module turns childcare into environmental "edutainment." Young children bake cookies in a solar oven and track Murph, a tagged green sea turtle. Older kids paddle the mangroves, snorkel the reef and meet stingrays at the island's famed Stingray City. The resort encourages parents to come along on any outing. With Eric Ripert's Blue restaurant and a La Prairie spa, the AAA Five diamond resort treats parents well, too.

Best for: gradeschoolers interested in the environment and parents wanting plush accommodations and a pampering spa

Read our review of The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.

Windjammer Landing's 161 villas and suites sweep up a lushly landscaped hill that surrounds a 1,000-foot-long beach. Come here for lodging that offers the space and comforts of home, as well as resort services, from room service to five restaurants. The new Hibiscus Suites, which clock in at 1,570 square feet, each offer two bedrooms, a sitting area, a kitchen and an oversized deck. At the complimentary Jacquot Fun Club, children from ages 4 to 12 go on nature hikes and boat rides, cook with a chef and enjoy disco and pizza nights. Windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling and sailing are free. Pay a la carte for meals, or opt for an all-inclusive package.

Best for: families wanting the comforts of home, resort amenities and a children's program on an off-the-beaten-path island.

Read our review of the Windjammer Landing Resort.

Located on 47 beachfront acres on laid-back St. John, the Westin offers a choice of upmarket rooms and suites or one- to three-bedroom villas with kitchens that are great for multigenerational trips. Families meet during kayak, paddleboat and volleyball challenges, as well as at poolside movies. Ages 6 to 12 can sign up for tennis clinics. Teens engage in their own tennis games, Salsa lessons, para-sailing and kayaking outings. At the day-long, Westin Kids Club, ages 3 to 12 go sailing, splash in the pool, visit the resort kitchen and make crafts. Families can snorkel and hike in the nearby Virgin Islands National Park.

Best for: families wanting upscale accommodations on a laidback island, as well as a volunteer opportunity

Read our review of The Westin St. John Resort & Villas.

Babies through teens keep busy at this all-inclusive, with two-bedroom family suites featuring televisions and room service. New bedspreads and decor brighten the regular rooms. Children -- broken into 4 to 5, 6 to 7 and 8 to 10 age groups -- try flying on a trapeze, play tennis and basketball and splash though the fountains, sprays and pools at the Club's own water park. At Passworld, teens hang out, go rollerblading and learn the latest hip-hop moves. Caregivers play with tots (4 months to 23 months) and kids 2 to 3 years for an additional fee. Go snorkeling, swimming or strolling along the three miles of white-sand beach with your kids.

Best for: active families with kids, ages 4 through teens, who like budget-friendly all-inclusives

Read our review of Club Med Punta Cana.

One of the best places in the Caribbean for families to learn sailing, the Bitter End Yacht Club offers an extensive program of hands-on classes. Sign up for family lessons, or vacation during February break, Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving, when the Bitter End operates special kids' sailing camps for ages 3 to 12. Use your new-found skills to sail to snorkel spots, or go out on the resort's guided, twice-daily trips to nearby reefs. Choose either a simple beachfront room with a hammock and deck or an air-conditioned, hillside suite that overlooks the North Sound.

Best for: sailing families and those who want to learn

Read our review of The Bitter End Yacht Club.

Enjoy classic Ritz-Carlton service and style at this 180-room luxury property on St. Thomas' eastern end. The resort -- far enough from Charlotte Amalie's harbor to be tranquil, even if cruise ships line the port -- spoils you with beautifully decorated, oversized rooms that are a minimum 450 square feet, as well as a spa and four restaurants. Kayak, sail on a Hobie Cat, or try windsurfing and snorkeling with your kids; all of these are activities covered by the resort fee. At the Ritz-Kids program, ages 5 to 12 play pool and lawn games, create crafts and watch movies. For pampering, kids and teens can try facials and massages (clothed, with a parent present) at the spa.

Best for: deep-pocketed families with young gradeschoolers who want to be on easy-to-get-to St. Thomas

Read our review of the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Resort.

Located in Placencia, where the rainforest meets the Caribbean, the Inn at Robert's Grove, named a top Belizean hotel, offers guided snorkel and dive excursions to Belize's extraordinary reef, plus kayak outings on the lagoon and inland trips to view Maya ruins and monkey habitats. Live an island fantasy by staying on Robert's Caye, a one-acre island with four basic cabins that are surrounded by the sea. Even without a children's program, kids keep busy swimming, swinging in the hammocks strung along the beach and talking about their next exciting excursion. The resort serves good food, and the upmarket lodging includes rooms and suites, some with two bedrooms and a kitchenette.

Best for: families with gradeschoolers and teens seeking eco-adventures, including diving and snorkeling outings

Read our review of the Inn at Robert's Grove.

After a $20-million renovation, this formerly adult Club Med reopened in November 2006 as a family-friendly property with day-long activities for ages 4 to 10 and 11 to 13, plus a Passworld Teen Club, cleverly themed like a car wash, for ages 14 to 17. Teens box, play Nintendo Wii and learn hip-hop, as well as kayak, windsurf and sail. All ages can fly on the trapeze. Younger kids practice their serves at tennis clinics and their kicks at soccer clinics. Because Club Med was the first resort in the now-bustling Hotel Zone, it claimed the best beach, a mile-long swath with water that's often calm enough for swimming.

Best for: families with gradeschoolers and 'tweens who want an all-inclusive beach oasis in the midst of bustling Cancun

Read our review of the Club Med Cancun Yucatan Resort.

The 45,000-square-foot Pirates Island Waterpark and the two-bedroom family suites are just some of the reasons families enjoy this 615-room, all-inclusive resort. Beaches, long known for programs for younger kids, offers complimentary care and play for children, from infants to 2 year olds, as well as supervised activities for 3 year olds and up. Preschoolers and gradeschoolers delight in twirling with Zoe, baking cookies with Cookie Monster and parading with the Sesame Street characters. 'Tweens and teens mingle while learning to spin discs at the Scratch DJ Academy; dancing at Liquid, an under-21 nightclub; and playing computer games at the Xbox 360 Game Garage.

Best for: families who like budget-friendly, mega-sized all-inclusives

Read our review of the Beaches Turks & Caicos.

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10 Best Caribbean Family Resorts
Atlantis Resort Reviews
trentorley - Mar 31st, 2014

This was my fourth visit to Atlantis and the resport service has gone down considerably over the last two years. Basic things such as clean towels and face cloths not being refreshed were an every day occurence. The prompt response team did not ... read more
dtjensen7 - Jan 6th, 2014

Atlantis Review: Incredibly poor customer service: everyone on staff has become an expert at passing the buck. If you have a problem, you will be passed from indifferent person to even more apathetic person for the first 30 minutes until finally ... read more
Atlantis Resort reviews
The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Reviews
Be the first to write a The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman review!
Windjammer Landing Reviews
nykristen - Sep 28th, 2009

We went to the Windjammer Landing in the summer of 2008 to get married there. It was the best decision we could have made! There were 25 people in our party, ranging from single couples, families with children, and also older couples. It was a ... read more
Windjammer Landing reviews
The Westin St. John Resort & Villas Reviews
htarta - Apr 6th, 2013

Spent one week at the Westin St. John in April 2013. The rooms closest to the pool and beach are outdated compared to the newly remodeled rooms however are still excellent. Every room has a refrigerator for drinks/snacks. Reserved a room with two ... read more
KarenJ54 - Jun 28th, 2012

Why is it that each year we return the staff is less helpful (down right rude), the facilities are dirtier and the villa is always not ready as promised. This year blood and vomit on walls and the mattress, spa still not working (6 years we have ... read more
The Westin St. John Resort & Villas reviews
Club Med Punta Cana Reviews
notsogrumpy - Jun 29th, 2012

I certainly expected more from Club Med. When I booked this trip, Punta Cana was rated in the top ten for kids. They certainly don't rate that from me. Have you ever walked into a room/suite and said "oh, this is really okay and ... read more
LBinVA3773 - Mar 12th, 2012

This vacation will go down as our worst vacation --- ever. We had stayed at the Club Med in Cancun and loved it. The one in Punta Cana was a different story. We switched rooms once and begged to switch again but was told nothing was avialable. ... read more
Club Med Punta Cana reviews
The Bitter End Yacht Club Reviews
Caitlin's Mom - May 11th, 2010

If you're looking for a laid back vacation with lots of sailing and water sports and very little decision making, Bitter End Yacht club might be the place for you. We took our then 9 and 13 year old kids for a spring break vacation and really had a ... read more
The Bitter End Yacht Club reviews
Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Reviews
MelissaK - May 12th, 2011

We spent Christmas at the Ritz Carlton St. Thomas Residence Club, which is a building within the resort that only has vacation rentals run by the Ritz. It was better than staying at the hotel - we had a kitchen, living room, dining room, ... read more
Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas reviews
Inn at Robert's Grove Reviews
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Club Med Cancun Yucatan Reviews
luckyskimom - Nov 15th, 2011

Club Med Yucatan (Cancun) In February of 2010, my three teenagers and I went to the Club Med in Cancun and had the greatest time. As a single mom with three teens, it was the perfect vacation. We had a room with the ocean on one side and a lake ... read more
luckyskimom - Apr 28th, 2011

We have gone to this club two years in a row now as my kids had so much fun. They meet people from all over the world and even the shyest one is dancing and participating in the fun. My daughters could use their French and my son could practice ... read more
Club Med Cancun Yucatan reviews
Beaches Turks & Caicos Reviews
Kimmy6340 - Apr 2nd, 2014

You've got to plan a family trip here! It's so worth it, the MOST beautiful waters in the world and the friendliest staff that go out of their way to please you and the kids! Wonderful gourmet food, ( we ate dessert every night) bartenders and wait ... read more
Brenthazen554 - Jan 16th, 2014

This resort has a lot if absolute wonderful positives, but striking negatives. The Pros: Resort property: The property grounds are absolutely beautiful! The landscaping and buildings are beautiful and perfectly maintained (I am not talking ... read more
Beaches Turks & Caicos reviews


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