If you’re looking for one of the last hidden gems in the Caribbean for a tranquil family getaway that is far from the crowds, look no further than St. Lucia.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, St. Lucia offers a diverse landscape, with a volcanic, mountainous terrain, lush green vegetation and a rainforest. Kids can enjoy many things to do, from unplugged activities like snorkeling, visiting rainforests, or climbing a volcano, to getting their lazy river fix, riding a Segway or kite surfing. Parents will appreciate the luxury amenities (think yoga and spa treatments) in an ecotourism environment. Read on for our tips on what to see, eat and do in St. Lucia with kids.
Insider Tip: While the “High Season” in St. Lucia is Mid-December to Mid-April, travel insiders recommend Spring into early Summer as the best time to visit St. Lucia, thus avoiding peak season pricing as well as the annual rains. This is also when leatherback turtles haul themselves ashore to lay their eggs.
Here Are Our Favorites Things to Do in St. Lucia With Kids
Explore Marine Life
Our adventure to St. Lucia began by exploring the island from the water. We boarded a catamaran and stopped at several snorkeling spots to explore life below the surface. Our favorite stop was Sugar Beach (Val des Pitons), as you could walk into the protected snorkeling area from the beach (a bonus for kids who are afraid of jumping off a boat). In waist deep water, we witnessed a kaleidoscope of color and shapes we’d only seen in a Disney film, all sheltered by the shadow of the Piton volcano.
Horseback Ride on the Beach
There were many perks to our stay at Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa (all inclusive resort, close proximity to the airport, a kids’ club, petting zoo, heavenly spa treatments), but the highlight for us was the horseback ride along the pristine white-sand beach and through the nature trail near the resort. The experienced guides pair unexperienced guest with gentle, trusty horses who were familiar with the terrain, so riders could focus on the lovely landscape without worrying about what the horses were doing.
Get Dirty with a Mineral Bath
On day two, we enjoyed a tour of the Diamond Botanical Gardens in Soufriere. The walk through the garden was about ½ mile round-trip shaded by bamboo and bougainvillea. The talented tour guide kept both kids adults engaged with stories and anecdotes about local foliage and lore—St. Lucia locals are wonderful storytellers and have a rich history to draw. The highlight of the Botanical Garden tour was the waterfall at the halfway mark.
After the Botanical Garden we visited the Sulphur Springs Park, where visitors from all over the world come to experience the black water pool baths and learn about the drive in volcano’s history in a guided tour through the park.
Since it is a popular attraction, the baths can be very crowded with long lines. We were lucky to arrive on a day that had only a few other small groups. That allowed us to time to enjoy the baths and the guides, who do a fantastic job of decorating each person with mud art.
Try Banana Ketchup & Other Local Flavors
When we first arrived at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, we were drawn by the delicious smell of jerk chicken on the grill. A free-standing Jerk Tree House was recently added to the property due to the popularity of the dish. While the chicken is available with many condiments, the kids were most in awe of the Banana Ketchup (tasting exactly as you might expect), and insisted on using it with every meal.
Insider Tip: If your kids get hooked on it like ours did, you can get small bottles to go at the airport. Wish we could say the same for the Jerk Chicken.
Note: The all-inclusive resort had many options for less adventurous kids including pizza, burgers and chicken tenders. The buffets were plentiful and included fresh fruit, vegetables and yogurt.
Own the Water Park, Minus the Crowds
Formerly a Club Med, the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa is family owned and maintains a friendly summer-camp vibe, with many guests returning year after year, to be greeted by familiar personnel they have gotten to know over the years. Kids have free reign on the 40-acre campus, which includes a lazy river and multiple water slides, a paintball zone, a petting zoo with rescued animals, and an exclusive kids camp Cocoland Kids Club, that includes a mini zip line and mini rock climbing wall.
Pick an Activity for Every Size & Personality
Few people know that St. Lucia has one of the best kitesurfing beaches In the world. Kitesurfing is a seasonal sport with the best months being November through July. Whether you’re a spectator (so much fun to watch!), a beginner or a seasoned kitesurfer, there’s a beach and teacher for you (kids over 8 years old can enjoy a complimentary introductory kitesurfing lesson which includes flying a trainer kite on the beach). If you don’t need the adrenaline-rush of kite boarding, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are also available, as well beach volleyball, aqua fitness, water polo, yoga and pilates. The resort has a full schedule daily for every age and interest.
Find a Beach for Your Family Needs
The gorgeous beaches of St. Lucia coupled with turquoise waters will have you questioning whether to ever go home. Because the island is positioned with the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the Caribbean Sea on the other, you get the best of both worlds: calm, tranquil bays for snorkeling (or relaxing with small children) on one side of the island. A short drive away, find crashing waves for body surfing, kite surfing and other action-packed adventures for bigger kids.
Bask in the Glory of the Pitons
Possibly the most famous mountain pair on earth, the Pitons are a must-see for anyone who visits St. Lucia. Located just south of the town of Soufriere on the west coast, you can have a picnic under the Pitons on the beach, take a picture of the majestic towers from the water, or if you’re adventurous, the entire family may want to climb the Pitons (you will need a permit and a guide).
Other tips when traveling to St. Lucia
- Bring Cash: The ATMs go down frequently and many smaller vendors don’t accept credit cards. We drove halfway around the island after a small storm in search of cash. Plan ahead.
- Don’t wear camouflage: It’s true, camouflage clothing is prohibited in St. Lucia. Even those adorable pink camouflage sweatpants, that are awesome on the plane and look nothing like military attire, can get you stopped at the airport. It’s not worth the hassle.
- Plan ahead: The Rainy season is officially from June-November, but September and October are when the hurricanes are most likely to hit. July and August can be very wet and very hot and humid, with temperatures pushing mid 80s° F.
All images by Jacqui Boland unless noted otherwise. This trip was paid for by the Coconut Beach Bay Resort & Spa but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.