Family Adventures Outshine Kids Clubs on This Caribbean Island

According to a market data report by Gitnux, 62% of families select vacation spots based on the range of activities catering to both parents and children.

More families now choose to book their vacations not based on the resort’s kids club but instead, focus on activities where everyone can explore local culture and experiences together.

As a parent and travel writer, I was looking for a Caribbean destination that would impress both myself and my kids, ages 9 and 12, and Saint Lucia did not disappoint.

“This is the best day ever!” shouted my nine-year-old son as he descended across a tree-top zip line course at Marne Coubaril in Soufriere (pronounced Soo-Fray). The look of pure joy and excitement on his face that day became the norm for our family during our week-long visit to this beautiful island.

Located north of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and south of Martinique, the island relies heavily on tourism. In 2022, around 737,000 tourists visited this Caribbean destination, boasting a tropical climate, pristine beaches, and natural beauty.

Spanning a picturesque 27 miles in length by 14 miles in breadth, Saint Lucia is where the vast Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shores, and the serene Caribbean Sea hugs the west.

The island invites families to become well-versed in its culture and traditions while enjoying the outdoor adventures and educational activities that Saint Lucia offers.

view of pool overlooking ocean in saint lucia
Image Credit: Savoteur

Navigating the North Island

Visitors venturing from Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) must endure a 90-minute drive along narrow winding roads to reach the north island, nestled in the island’s southern tip. But the destination — breathtaking sea views and beachside bliss — makes the trek worthwhile.

Our driver, George, whisked us around the island for our week of adventure. He regaled us with local history and tips for exploring the island. Our days were effortlessly filled with kid-friendly options and excursions, while Relais & Chateaux’s Cap Maison offered the perfect home base for our family of four.

Cap Maison’s romantic cliffs, Spanish-Caribbean architecture, and secluded bay beach were the perfect antidote to pre-trip stressors. We indulged in an epicurean feast at the hotel’s renowned Cliff at Cap restaurant, enjoying the mesmerizing ocean views under the stars.

The Naked Fisherman, a beachside restaurant 92 steps down from Cap Maison, is famous island-wide for its freshly grilled seafood and relaxed ambiance. The shrimp tostadas were a family favorite.

We stayed in a three-story, ocean-view villa suite with an expansive living area and balcony. Though our accommodations were luxurious, it was when we ventured outside the resort that we discovered Saint Lucia’s charm and plentiful offerings.

Our first stop was Bay Gardens Resort’s Splash Island Water Park, a mere six-minute drive from Cap Maison. The waterpark’s inflatable obstacles invite adventurous families to climb, slide, and jump into the ocean. Parents can relax knowing their children are in good hands as two lifeguards monitor the aquatic playground.

A trip up north wouldn’t be complete without visiting Pigeon Island, a 40-acre reserve park connected to the main island through a causeway. This national landmark is a living museum featuring ruins from fortresses built by the British and French during the 18th century.

Families can explore relics, admire Rodney Bay from mid-hike lookout points, lounge on white sand beaches, and cool down in crystal blue waters.

boy in red shorts jumping into pool in saint lucia
Image Credit: Savoteur

Retreat to Marigot Bay

In addition to Rodney Bay to the north and Soufrière to the west, we relished the northwestern capital, Castries. The bustling city boasts a vibrant market, duty-free shopping, arts and crafts vendors, historic colonial architecture, and opportunities to mingle with locals.

Cruise ships dominate the port in Castries. During cruise ship season, you often see three ships in port, sometimes four, with an additional boat anchored in the bay. Town traffic slows when thousands of cruisers descend onto the island.

So, if you want to base yourself somewhere close to the popular attractions but far enough away for a little respite, Marigot Bay is one of the most scenic spots on the island, known for its picturesque bay and luxury resorts.

The Zoetry Marigot Bay, part of Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection, was our family’s retreat for three nights on this trip. Our enormous suite featured a full kitchen and living area with plenty of space to spread out and separate bedrooms for parents and kids. The large balconies offered stunning views of the marina in one of the most protected bays on the Caribbean Sea.

If you’re planning to visit Saint Lucia with kids, a trip to the west coast town of Soufrière is a must-do. Located 20 miles from Marigot Bay and accessible by car or boat, it’s known as the island’s adventure capital and home to the famous Petit Piton and Gros Piton mountains.

Zoetry’s location in the marina meant we could meet our boat driver mere steps away from our resort for excursions to Soufriere. Tet Paul Nature Park is a moderate hike through the rainforest. A local guide pointed out local medicinal plants, fruits, and trees and offered numerous viewpoints of the breathtaking Petit Piton and Gros Piton.

We quickly stopped at Sulphur Springs Park, the world’s only drive-in volcano, where we lathered ourselves in mineral-rich mud and enjoyed a dip in the warm sulfur springs. Soufriere is also home to zip line adventures at Marne Coubaril, a captivating cocoa bean tour, and a rum tasting.

To finish off any day in this popular oceanside port, we recommend enjoying an exceptional lunch at Paradise Hotel at Petit Piton’s base and swimming in the calm waters before heading back to Marigot Bay.

Those wishing to relax and enjoy the hot Saint Lucia sun will find respite in Zoetry Marigot Bay’s two pools, five restaurants, a poolside bar, and an alluring all-inclusive experience. Marigot Bay offers a complimentary shuttle boat to the beach in the bay, where a beach club restaurant and bar offer refreshments and rentable loungers.

family in boat with titons behind in saint lucia
Image Credit: Savoteur

How To Get There

Traveling to Saint Lucia is easy. The island has two airports — Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in Vieux Fort and George F.L. Charles Airport (SLU) in Castries — welcome direct flights from several major cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Both airports provide taxi services and car rental options for getting around the island. We recommend hiring a driver to navigate the windy roads and to learn more about the island’s culture and history. Travelers can also arrive by sea, with multiple cruise lines stopping at Castries’ port.

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Travel Writer at Savoteur | + posts

Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.