The No-Compromise Antigua Family Vacation Takes Place At Verandah Resort And Spa

There’s plenty for parents to love, and even more that will keep kids entertained for days.

Becoming a parent changes the way we vacation—as it should. We picture the dream family vacation as one where the kids stay happy, while everyone is making memories and trying new things. But as much as it becomes about seeing them smile, it's natural to miss what vacation looked like before. 

That's why we appreciate the family-centric, all-inclusive Verandah Resort and Spa on the eastern Caribbean island of Antigua. It's a well-thought-out resort with plenty to do as a family, as well as opportunities for parents to kick back and enjoy some cocktails, downtime, and even a stolen romantic evening that can have you thinking you're on a second honeymoon.

What Your Family Can Expect

  • A bevy of games and activities, from mini golf to ping pong, can be enjoyed throughout the property.
  • There's not a bad seat in the house when it comes to enjoying the view from the Beach Bar.
  • When space is a priority, having interconnecting rooms is great for kids and especially parents who need a break.
  • The staff at the on-site tour desk is ready to make any vacation action-packed.
  • Little guests will have plenty of activities to choose from, but teens who are harder to please will love the variety.
  • When the day doesn't begin without the perfect cup of coffee, the Pirate's Den Coffee Shop is here for you.
  • Don't be afraid to hit the open water on a variety of craft, as the staff is standing by to offer lessons.

For Them: Mini Golf Course

Every beach town has a putt-putt course, and at Verandah, it's on site. This pirate-themed 18-hole setup costs nothing extra and requires no sign up—just show up, ready to play through this scenic layout packed with waterfalls, ponds, tropical landscaping and fun, oversized obstacles like the giant treasure chest. 

Mini golf is open from 9 am to 1 pm, and again from 3 pm to 9 pm. Our favorite time was after dinner and before a round of dessert at Seabreeze Restaurant. 

For You: Beach Bar

You can't come to an all-inclusive resort and not partake if that's your thing. The Beach Bar, just steps away from the main beach, is a sweet, low-key daytime hang where the beverages, like rum punch, are free flowing. 

The best part is the layout. With stadium-like seating, every spot comes with a view of that turquoise water that the Caribbean is so famous for. It's a great lunchtime venue, too, but we liked it best for al fresco dinners. The menu, with ribs, burgers, fresh fish, and salads, has something for everyone, and the vibe is more informal, so we could get in and out with enough time leftover to pop back to the pool or squeeze in a game of lawn chess.

For Everyone: Interconnecting Rooms

If your kids are old enough that travel entails two rooms, you'll love that Verandah allows you to connect two rooms via the outdoor deck. Just like on cruise ships, this connecting door can be unlocked on both sides, creating a compound with a double deck, so to speak, and you each have your own space. If the adults need privacy, let the kids know and close that door. 

What we loved most was that we could ease into our mornings, meeting each other out on the deck. I'd make my coffee in the room and then read outside, taking in the pink sunrise over the cove, until the whole brood was awake and ready for the day.

For Them (and You): Kids Club

The life-size pirate ship caught our attention when we first passed by the Kids Club. It's just one of the big attractions—along with a splash pool—that Verandah offers to this hangout for kids ages 2-12. The toys and foam-matted floors are geared toward younger children, but there are plenty of activities grown up enough for bigger kids. Check the daily schedule and you'll find sessions like tennis and smoothie-making lessons.

The bigger win here is that the Kids Club also arranges movie nights and other evening sessions that start at 7 pm, so parents can have an evening off. It's a chance to have a special dinner at Nicole's Restaurant on site or make any other plans for just the two of you. The best part? Your kids will likely think you've done them a favor by giving them a kids' night out.

For You: On-site Tour Desk

You could plan out all your excursions before you arrive, or you can take advantage of the on-site tour desk where you can ask questions from someone who knows the island intimately. The Pink Panther Jeep Safari is a must to get a lay of the land and appreciate the size of Antigua and its historical significance—and history doesn't have to be boring to them. 

Much of the island's storied past dates back to Admiral Nelson and a time when battles took place at sea. Your kids will like visiting Shirley Heights, a fort where the entry is marked with cannons, once used to signal soldiers down below. If a full day tour is too much for your little ones, dinner at Shirley Heights is a fun outing with barbecue and live music. Be sure and arrive before sunset to enjoy the sweeping views of English Harbor.

The tour desk can also arrange a visit to Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours, which allows zippers as young as 4. One of the shorter packages includes six ziplines, perfect for first timers. The Screamer is the longest, sending you careening over a river valley as you test your vocal cords. The best part? The staff shoots photos and videos of your experience, so you and yours can see the results, regardless is you choose to buy. If you're anything like us, your faces during the Screamer will provide fodder for teasing, oh, for the rest of your life.

For Them: Pool Table and Ping-Pong

Your teens won't come out and say it, but they're secretly glad that this resort has a space just for them. In between the adults-only pool and the kids' club is an outdoor, covered space known as the Chill Out Zone, with ping-pong, billiards, foosball, and shuffleboard. Older kids can also jump in with age-appropriate daily activities, including hikes, beach volleyball, games, and more.

For You: The Pirate’s Den Coffee Shop

It's hard to say who brings more joy—the bartender or the barista. Luckily, Verandah has you covered on both fronts. Pirate's Den, around the corner from the main pool, whips up specialty coffee drinks like frappuccinos and oat milk lattes, so you can get your caffeine fix throughout the day. You'll also find cookies, cakes, and other sweets, as well as afternoon tea for an hour starting at 4:30 pm. Come 10 pm to midnight, you can also stop by for late-night snacks like croquetas. 

For Everyone: Main Beach with Watersports

The main beach feels like a toy store—for kids of all ages. There's a small fleet of Hobie cat sailboats, paddle boards, paddle boats, and kayaks that the watersports staff line up on the shoreline every morning, rigging and readying everything for you.

Paddle boarding was hop on and go for us, as we had all been before. We did, however, take the staff up on their offer for a sailing lesson. As many times as I've helmed sunfish, I wanted a few extra tips and pointers for sailing in the cove where the breezes come down off the hillside.

Bobbing just off the beach are a series of floating hammocks. Each has a wide outer ring and netting inside, and enough space to fit about four adults or two adults and four kids. We saw some people reading in them, but we, with drinks from the Beach Bar and Grill in hand, opted for a floating happy hour while just enjoying the view with each other.