Editor’s Note: Some of the information below may be out-of-date. The British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands were heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Please visit caribbeantravelupdate.com or the specific hotel’s website for updates.
Given the hustle and bustle of family life, the best family vacations are those that entice you to stay put, with entertainment, activities and amenities to please everyone. All-inclusive resorts offer all of this and more, including the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t be dipping into your wallet every five minutes. With countless all-inclusives throughout the Caribbean, it’s challenging to narrow your options, but these family-friendly hotels are sure to please. With everything from spacious guestrooms, to upscale amenities, luxurious spas, innovative cuisine, and a bounty of adventures to be had on both land and sea, these resorts should top your list of picks for your next family getaway.
Beaches Negril Resort & Spa – Jamaica
The epitome of family vacation bliss, the Beaches brand seems to find its way onto every list of best all-inclusive resorts. Especially sublime is Beaches Negril, located on a splendid 1,400-foot swath of the famed Jamaica beach, Seven Mile Beach. Big perks include the resort’s spacious, multi-room suites that make it easy to accommodate larger families, an onsite nursery that welcomes newborns, and an elaborate kids’ club featuring fun activities like face painting and treasure hunts for the littles, and reggae jam sessions, snorkeling and pool Olympics for bigger kids. Days can be spent enjoying the pools and beach, splashing in the extravagant Pirates Island waterpark, and joining a variety of things to do including tennis, volleyball, snorkeling, paddle boarding and catamaran tours. Meals, snacks, and drinks are served throughout 11 restaurants and seven bars, while themed evening entertainment offers something for everyone in the family.
Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana – Dominican Republic
Far more elegant than Sponge Bob’s flamboyant color palate might suggest, families at the Nickelodeon Punta Cana can choose from seven different styles of chic suites, all with balconies or patios, or from four elaborate villas — a pineapple under the sea anyone? Designed so families can immerse themselves in as much or as little Nick as they want, one side of the property features a mellow, palm fringed infinity pool overlooking the beach while the other side is home to Nickelodeon Place, where you’ll find the Just Kiddin’ kids’ club and Aqua Nick, a lavish water park. Karisma Resort’s signature Gourmet Inclusive means a slew of dining options are included as well as activities like fitness classes, beach volleyball and Spanish lessons, to name a few.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya – Mexico
Perched on the edge of one of the widest beaches on the Mayan Riviera, the 85-acre Grand Velas Resort offers all-inclusive luxury for families. Enormous, plush guestrooms — all at least 1,100 square feet — are spread between two family-friendly areas and feature private terraces. The well-thought kids’ clubs play host to both young ones and the teen set alike, offering daily activities like piñata making, storytelling and karaoke, while an award-winning spa, built around one of the resorts eight natural cenotes, offers blissful relaxation for adults. Nannies can be arranged to care for little ones and the onsite baby concierge allows parents to pack lightly. Gourmet dining, an array of activities and 24-hour butler service round out the resort’s upscale amenities.
Spice Island Beach Resort – Grenada
Cloistered among 8 acres of lush gardens, Grenada’s Spice Island Beach Resort exudes an intimate, relaxed elegance combined with a welcoming, family-friendly ambience. The boutique, family-run property is a member of the esteemed Small Luxury Hotels of the World and offers 64 airy, Caribbean-style suites just steps from the sea along a spectacular stretch of Grand Anse beach. A slew of activities are offered daily including kayaking, snorkeling the offshore coral gardens, tennis, or simply whiling away the hours by the pool or sea. The resort is best for families with school-aged kids, as ages 3 through 12 can join the Nutmeg Pod during the day, or the concierge can arrange for babysitting services as needed. The Friday night Caribbean buffet with live steel drum band is a favorite weekly tradition.
Fowl Cay Resort – Bahamas
Ever dream of owning a private island? Fowl Cay, in the Bahamian out islands of the Exumas, is the perfect spot to indulge in castaway fantasies, though with a luxurious spin. Families can choose from one of six ocean-view villas dotting the eastern edge of the 50-acre island, each with its own personal motorboat — gas included — to explore countless nearby islets and cays. Prior to your arrival, your villa will be stocked with everything you need to prepare meals or mix a cocktail, though lunch and dinner at the island’s Hill House Restaurant are also included — the chef will even prepare a gourmet picnic for your daily outings. On the island, Fowl Cay’s three sublime beaches await, along with a large selection of kayaks, paddle boards and Hobie Cats, snorkeling gear, tennis courts, beach cruiser bicycles, and a freshwater pool with bar. There’s no onsite kids’ club, but you definitely won’t miss it.
Bitter End Yacht Club – British Virgin Islands
Family owned since the 1970s, the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda’s spectacular North Sound prevails as the British Virgin Islands’ most iconic yacht club. Relax by the pool or beneath a thatched palapa on one of the club’s beaches, take an excursion to the nearby natural wonder of the Baths, or head out for a snorkeling adventure. An absolute dream for the younger bunch, the resort’s kids’ club offers a plethora of activities daily for an additional fee — imagine the ultimate summer camp in the midst of laid-back island bliss. The Club’s elegant bungalows feature wraparound verandahs sporting panoramic views, while a variety of dining options — three meals per day are included — offer everything from Caribbean buffets to brick oven pizzas and sea-to-table fare.
Caneel Bay – U.S. Virgin Islands
Laurence Rockefeller had the right idea back in 1956 when he opened blissful Caneel Bay, an idyllic resort with seven perfect beaches set along a 170-acre peninsula on pristine St. John. 166 understated, electronics-free guestrooms are spread throughout an assortment of single-story mid-century modern bungalows — 23 new beachfront cottages were added to the property in 2016. Though not a traditional all-inclusive, the resort offers the option to add-on a variety of meal plans, which can be used at three of Caneel Bay’s four restaurants. Turtle Town and Club Calabash, the resort’s complimentary kids’ clubs for children ages 3 through 11 and tweens and teens respectivley, offer engaging nature activities — St. John is sixty-percent national park — as well as crafts, treasure hunts, and baking lessons. Non-motorized water sports and snorkeling gear are also included free of charge.
Grace Bay Club – Turks and Caicos
Grace Bay, on the island of Providenciales, has been voted time and time again as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The luxurious Grace Bay Club offers 38 family suites, most with full kitchens, that overlook the ocean and offer spacious accommodations. A full breakfast is included with your room and a variety of dining plans can be added at an additional cost. Onsite, the Resort’s Kid’s Town programming is truly top-notch. Run in partnership with the fabulous folks at SURFSide Ocean Academy, Kid’s Town offers a mix of complimentary and for-fee excursions on land and sea including kayaking, snorkeling, island field trips and evening programs for families.
Curtain Bluff – Antigua
Time spent at Curtain Bluff immerses you in understated luxury fused with a warm, old-fashioned family vibe. Children 3 through 12 will find plenty to do at the creative Cee Bee kids’ club, from identifying island flowers to crafting mobiles from collected beach treasures and concocting their own mocktails. Kids of all ages, as well as their parents, will love the easygoing ambience, unlimited watersports (including tubing and waterskiing), luxe spa and gorgeous beaches. Families can settle into a variety of guest rooms decorated in Caribbean pastels that compliment the endless aquamarine sea right outside your door.
La Paloma Lodge – Costa Rica
Families looking to unplug and immerse themselves in nature will delight in the sustainable luxury of the La Paloma Lodge. Set amidst lush, tropical rainforest on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, this stunning eco-resort treats visitors to sweeping views of the Pacific, a black-sand beach and onsite naturalists to guide you through a cornucopia of remarkable biodiversity. Stay in one of 11 private bungalows, most with spectacular ocean views and hammocks overlooking the jungle, where capuchin monkeys and colorful toucans are your only neighbors. Meals are served family style in the open-air dining room.