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Five things to do in Barbados with kids

I love that my daughter is well travelled. But even my jaw dropped a bit when I realised she’d had two Caribbean holidays before the age of two (and had racked up five by the time she was seven). I, needless to say, was working (very nice work, admittedly).

Child on the beach in Barbados - and my five top reasons to visit Barbados with kids, apart from the sun, sand and sea
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Because although the islands have a well-deserved reputation for romantic breaks, they’re fantastic for family holidays as well. Quite apart from the sand and sea, we’ve always had a very warm welcome and enjoyed swimming with stingrays in Antigua, making chocolate in St Lucia, discovering a fascinating shipwreck in Grand Turk and snorkelling in Aruba.

With direct flights to a lot of islands from the UK, I’ve got my eyes on a few more Caribbean destinations too – Barbados is less than nine hours away, with some gorgeous luxury villas as well as plenty of family-friendly attractions. Here are my top five things to do in Barbados with kids.

Spot monkeys in Barbados

My own monkey loves animals – all animals, but monkeys are easily among her favourites. So the Barbados Wildlife Reserve would be top of our list.

It’s a sanctuary for green monkeys but you’ll also find birds, racoons, deer, mara and reptiles, many living free within the reserve rather than in cages (except the snakes, fortunately).

Monkey in Barbados - and my five top reasons to visit Barbados with kids, apart from the sun, sand and sea

Head underwater in Barbados

You don’t need to be able to dive or even snorkel to get close to the tropical fish off the coast. Head underwater to the incredible reefs with a submarine ride from Atlantis Submarines Barbados – kids have to be 3ft tall and the tour lasts 90 minutes, around half of that under the sea.

There are even night dives or you can combine it with a tour of Harrison’s Cave.

If you don’t fancy going right under the waves, try a glass bottomed kayak tour – you could spot everything from turtles to shipwrecks. Suitable for all ages.

Venture underground

Over 500,000 years old and three miles long, Harrison’s Cave is one of the island’s wonders and unmissable if you’re visiting Barbados with children.

In the centre of Barbados, a tram takes you down beneath the surface to discover stalactites and stalagmites and 50ft high caverns, until you reach the teardrop-shaped Cascade pool and waterfall – so clear, you can see right to the bottom.

It couldn’t be further from the beach and sun, but this is one unmissable experience – you can also visit as part of an island tour.

Catamaran moored off the beach in Barbados - one of my five top reasons to visit Barbados with kids

Sail away

Feed turtles and spot shipwrecks, dance on deck in the sun or leap into the Caribbean from a rope swing – a cruise around the island is the perfect way to explore.

This family-friendly catamaran cruise is a great option, and suitable for ages 3+, while there are boat trips from Cool Runnings which are great for babies up.

There are options including lunch, or shorter cruises – and always plenty of rum punch for the adults …

Go off-road in Barbados

If you don’t have long in Barbados, or are looking for an easy way to see all the sights during your family holiday, an island tour is a great way to explore with kids, including this option. suitable for younger kids.

Or combine adventure or discovery on a on and off-road tour or this Island Safari, for five-year-olds and up (as the lap belts won’t fit younger kids), for a memorable way to discover the rainforest, Barbados’ blow holes and some of the most picturesque coves and cliffs.

Where to stay in Barbados with kids

When you’re planning a family-friendly holiday in the Caribbean, it’s always great to have your own space – and there are some fantastic luxury villas if you’re visiting Barbados with kids.

The Hollies Retreats has two gorgeous places to stay on the island, each with its own private pool and with space for six or eight guests – ideal for a multigenerational escape or for big families (or just to have lots of space to spread out!)

On the west coast of Barbados, near Holetown and Speightstown, Salt Life is a shell’s throw away from the gorgeous Gibbs Beach, while the White House @ Porters Place (brand new for August 2023) is only a stroll from the sands as well.

*First published 2016, updated 2022*

PIN FOR LATER: THINGS TO DO IN BARBADOS WITH KIDS

Things to do in Barbados with kids - my top tips for a family holiday in Barbados. #barbadoswithkids #barbados #familybarbados #caribbeanwithkids #mummytravels

Disclosure: Compiled in association with the Hollies Retreats. This post contains affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

Images provided by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

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22 Comments

  1. I am so jealous of your daughter, she’s already been to the carribeans twice soon thrice and i am yet to even set sail lol. I would love to dip my head underwater

  2. I would love to visit Barbados, my brother has been but I never have. I have always thought I would have to wait until my children were older to visit places like this but it sounds like I was wrong and there is lots for them to do. Your daughter sounds very lucky having so many lovely holidays xx

    1. I definitely think the Caribbean is a lovely one with younger kids – once you get over the flight (which isn’t really that bad), there’s so much to do and it’s so welcoming to families.

  3. I’ve never been, but it looks very beautiful! Harrison’s Cave sounds pretty impressive! I bet your daughter is loving all her adventures.

    1. The cave does sound amazing, doesn’t it – I remember a similarly impressive one in Mallorca from one of my first family holidays (much smaller though – and closer!) so hopefully my daughter will have some happy memories too, even if not Barbados yet.

  4. I have been to the Caribbean a few times, although before kids. I would love to go back, your photos have made me want to book a holiday… x

    1. It’s such a beautiful part of the world, I never get tired of looking at those beaches either!

  5. Wow wow wow! What a breathtaking place to go….I had no idea about the caves, I bet they’re amazing. My last holiday was peppa pig world….. It rained…. We danced in it! X

  6. The third photo looks absolutely stunning! I would love to take my family to there too. It looks very beautiful!!
    This gonna be great trip idea for my family 🙂

    1. It’s the ultimate Caribbean view, I think, you just look at it and sigh and want to be right there, right now…

  7. We are off to Barbados in February with a 7 month old and 3 year old. We have a week in Fitts Village and one near St Lawrence Gap. Would you recommend hiring a car?( I’ve heard it may need to be done in advance?) what is the car seat situation…? Would love to make it to the nature reserve at least

    1. Have a fantastic time – and yes, if you want to see more of the island, hiring a car is a good idea with younger kids. You’ll should able to hire car seats as well, but worth requesting in advance (and you’ll get better hire rates that way as well, although you can hire cars once you’re on island too). I’ve found most car hire companies give you something fairly basic but safe, so if you’re planning a lot of driving, it might be worth considering bringing your own (although equally they can get thrown around by baggage handers…)

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