Planning a family vacation to the Caribbean but don't know which island is right for your family? We recommend our favorite islands, based on your various needs, to give you a starting ground. Once you've narrowed down your island of choice, take a look at our recommended hotels, or visit our Caribbean Family Resorts to see what other parents have named their favorite!
Best Island for Teens
For teens, it's a toss-up between our favorites where teens can participate in activities with their parents and actually enjoy it! The Cayman Islands is a SCUBA diver's paradise with more than 200 dive sites for teens now old enough to SCUBA, but the British Virgin Islands is a sailor's paradise and teens can learn the ropes and hop the numerous small islands. It just boils down to what you and your teens would most like to try. Resorts on these islands know most visitors are there to get out or in the water and are less likely to cater to those requiring all-day, on-resort activities.
Recommended Resort: Bitter End Yacht Club
Bitter End Yacht Club
Best Island for Infants
Infants are typically easy to please when it comes to an island vacation: plenty of sand and water in which to play. But for mom and dad, perhaps the best place for infants is Jamaica -- more specifically Franklin D. Resort and Spa. This resort assigns every family with their own full-time nanny (included in the cost of the stay). This nanny can put baby down for a nap while mom and dad lounge by the pool, babysit while mom and dad enjoy a quiet dinner, and play with baby when mom and dad enjoy some of the island's adult amenities.
Recommended Resort: Franklin D. Resort and Spa
Franklyn D. Resort & Spa
Best Island for Adventure
The large island of the Dominican Republic is fast becoming the "it" destination for families, but has long been considered the adventure capital of the Caribbean. The island's rain forests beckon to be explored by foot, zip-line and canopy tours and the long coastline is perfect for surfing, snorkeling, diving, sailing and more. The mountainous interior is also a great place for canyoning, caving and rock climbing, as well as river rafting and mountain biking.
Recommended Resort: Melia Caribe Tropical
Melia Caribe Tropical
Best Island for Mom and Dad
With more and more all-inclusive resorts offering all-day kids' supervised kids' programs, mom and dad have more time to hit the links, relax in the spa, or explore on their own. We love Aruba for moms and dads because not only is there a wide array of hotel options with programs for kids, but the capital town of Oranjestad is a fantastic shopping city with a number of restaurants, bars and casinos to enjoy. Golf on the coastal north shore provides fantastic views, and spas are aplenty.
Recommended Resort: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino
Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino
Best Island for Budget
Some islands are trickier than others to get to, so even if you find a great deal at a resort, it's important to check out the airfare and connections it will take to get to your final destination. Direct flights are more common to islands like Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, which is an American Airlines hub. These popular islands are also sprinkled with all-inclusive resorts and family-friendly hotels, making them very competitive and wallet-friendly.
Recommended Resort: Comfort Suites Paradise Island
Comfort Suites Paradise Island
Best Island for History
All of the islands in the Caribbean are rich in history, many of them once thriving plantation and mill islands or overrun by pirates. We love Puerto Rico for its historic Old San Juan district, where a stroll through the winding streets can easily conjure up feelings of colonial life in the 1500s. Here, Castillo San Cristobal is one of the largest Spanish forts of the new world, and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro citadel provides expansive play areas and views with its dose of history. You'll also find the ancestral home of the Ponce de Leon family and his burial site, at the San Juan Cathedral, in Old San Juan. Bonus: U.S. citizens don't need passports to visit!
Recommended Resort: San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Best Island for Culture
Ever heard of Martinique? It's technically part of France, except it's located in the Caribbean! Everyone on the island speaks French (and English), and the island's infrastructure largely resembles that of France. Yet the island feels very much Caribbean, with beachfront resorts, water sports and ultra laid-back vibes.
Recommended Resort: Club Med Buccaneer's Creek
Club Med Buccaneer's Creek
Best Island for Exotic Scenery
St. Lucia is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, and with its heavily rain-forested and mountainous landscape around its Pitons and volcano, many feel this island most resembles an exotic Polynesian island. We recommend it because the resorts are spread out and nestled into the mountains and garden landscapes; this is an island that never feels overrun with tourists.
Recommended Resort: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa
Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa
More From Family Vacation Critic:
10 Best Caribbean Family Resorts
Download: Caribbean Vacation Guide for Families
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Caribbean Guide for Families: Which Island is Best?
Written by Lissa Poirot