If you’ve been working a lot lately, you’re bound to feel the need for a family vacation. And when people dream about having a family vacation, the Caribbean is often the first item on their list of places they want to visit.

There’s something about the laid-back island lifestyle and proximity to nature that brings families together, and this is something the region is famous for. In fact, it is one of the top destinations for people looking for a second home, thanks to the numerous lifestyle benefits it offers.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or applying for second citizenship in the Caribbean, you’re bound to come across the country known as Antigua and Barbuda. 

Like its neighbors, this twin-island nation is the embodiment of Caribbean culture and beauty. It also houses lots of wonderful attractions (say, one beach to visit every day of the year) that you’ll never get tired of.

Gearing up for your family trip to Antigua?

6 Activities To Try On Your Family Vacation

1. Visit as Many Beaches as You Can On Your Family Vacation

Ever heard of Antigua’s 365 beaches? Although there has yet to be an official count, this is considered common knowledge among those who live there.

But while having hundreds of beaches is something that makes the locals proud, first-time visitors may find this abundance of options a bit overwhelming. Plus, finding the best beaches isn’t just about looking at the prettiest pictures online – it depends on your personal preferences.

For instance, if you’re looking for privacy to enjoy the sunset at the beach in peace, the heavily developed spots and local favorites aren’t for you. Meanwhile, if you want to swim with wildlife like the hawksbill turtles, you would want to avoid the Atlantic side of the island.

And, unless your entire family is gearing up to join the Antigua residency program, you won’t have enough time to visit every single beach, so you need to pick the best ones according to what you intend to do on your trip.

family holiday at caribbean
Below are some beaches you could try for a start:

Dickenson Bay – Excellent for people-watching

Located on the northwestern side of the island is Dickenson Bay. This beach is considered “a beacon of oceanfront development” due to its numerous resorts and hotels, making it a crowd-favorite for socializing.

Fort James – Horseback-riding haven

Housing no luxury hotels or beachfront resorts, Fort James is a good place to head to if you’re looking for more private time with your family. But there’s one attraction that’s unique to this place: horseback-riding.

Also situated along Antigua’s northwestern coast, this beach is more popular among locals than tourists (except for cruise ship passengers). Because of the lack of crowds, Fort James is an excellent beach to explore while riding a horse.

Jolly Beach – Best for watersports

A mile-long beach with pristine white sand, Jolly Beach is the place to go for watersports. It is located near some of St. John’s best tourist attractions, including a yachting center and Antigua’s biggest all-inclusive resort, offering lots of water adventures for the maritime community.

2. Learn About Antiguan History at the Nelson’s Dockyard Museum

While learning about history may not be on everyones family vacation list, a visit to the Nelson’s Dockyard Museum will definitely not dissapoint. 

Located at the English Harbour, Nelson’s Dockyard Museum is housed in what was originally the Admiral’s House dating back to 1855.

It contains many mementos and items that belonged to Lord Horatio Nelson, the most famous admiral during the Napoleonic Wars, who sailed to the islands during the late 1700s. The Victorian-style museum opens between 9 am to 5 pm and is within the same complex as another popular attraction known as Shirley Heights (more on this later).

3. Take The Kids To The Donkey Sanctuary

Established in 1991, the Antigua and Barbuda Human Society is an organization focused on protecting and preserving different animals. Its goal is to make a difference in how people treat these creatures, particularly donkeys. This is why the group founded a popular destination for families with kids – the Donkey Sanctuary.

Let your children get up close and personal to the donkeys and learn as much as they can about them. You and your brood can also “adopt” one for a meager $25 per year, which would be used to help volunteers take care of the creatures.

Past visitors described the donkeys as gentle and intelligent creatures and deemed the sanctuary staff knowledgeable and encouraging. Just remember to drive carefully, as the sanctuary is only accessible via an unpaved road less than a mile from the highway.

It really is a great activity to schedule in to your family vacation in the Caribbean.

4. Pass Through Hells gates

Just off northeast of Antigua lies Hell’s Gate National Park, where a natural landmark continues to draw tourists in from around the world – a rock formation famously known as “Hell’s Gate.”

This popular destination is only accessible via boat, but many snorkeling tours include it in their packages. You can partake in a walk-through of the cave and even swim in the pool inside it. Snorkeling is also allowed for people to witness the mystery that goes on underneath the Gate more closely.

Who knew something called “Hell’s Gate” could be this enjoyable?

Past visitors described the donkeys as gentle and intelligent creatures and deemed the sanctuary staff knowledgeable and encouraging. Just remember to drive carefully, as the sanctuary is only accessible via an unpaved road less than a mile from the highway.

family time in caribbean

5. Get A Bird’s Eyes View Of Antigua At Shirley Heights

If you like seeing views from great heights, you’ll definitely want to include Shirley Heights in your itinerary when you visit Antigua and Barbuda. Perched in the same complex as Nelson’s Dockyard, this destination offers an excellent view of the English and Falmouth Harbors and the massive yachts that sail below.

This restored gun battery and military lookout is located at a high point roughly 490 feet above the sea, offering a spectacular front-row seat of the sunset in Antigua. It is also a great place to watch the twinkling lights of the island and witness what remains of the colonial-era fort.

Potent cocktails aside, Shirley Heights also has a surprisingly child-friendly weekly gathering every Sunday evening that features mouthwatering barbecue, a steel drum band, and a jaw-dropping view of the island.

6. Bear Witness To betty’s Hope

There are many things parents can teach their children, even on a luxurious family vacation in Antigua and Barbuda. When it comes to letting your children learn a lot about and from the country’s history, there are few places better than Antigua’s famous historical site, Betty’s Hope.

Named after the daughter of one of its past owners, Betty’s Hope is one of Antigua’s oldest and biggest sugar plantations. Dating back to the mid-17th century, the place illustrates the country’s past and its role in British colonial history.

To make the most of the visit, reviewers recommend going to Betty’s Hope with a local tour guide for a broader lesson about the country’s historic spots.

Have A Blast On Your Family Vacation In The Caribbean

Whether you choose to live in Antigua and Barbuda with your family is up to you. 

But if you do decide to visit at least once, consider including the activities listed in this article to make the most out of your time with your family and fall in love with this beautiful country.

For more great Family Vacation ideas see our other suggestions:

Beginner’s Guide To Kid-Friendly RV Vacations

7 Family Summer Vacation Ideas