Visiting this Caribbean island with 365 beaches — one for each day of the year — means it’s easy to fill your days lounging on the powdery sand and gazing at the improbably turquoise sea. But there are loads of other things to do in Antigua with children that take in its food, history and other fun! Check out our list of the best family activities on the island.
Is Antigua good for families?
Antigua makes for a wonderful family holiday — with world-class all-inclusive resorts, loads of great outings, pink and white sandy beaches on the 95-mile coastline, the famous Caribbean hospitality and food that includes beach bars, fine dining, seafood and more. (Go here to see the latest travel advisory for the island.)
The best time to go to Antigua
Peak season in Antigua is between mid-December and mid-April — book our Antigua resort well in advance for these times. May and June are also good. The wet season stretches from July to November.
And there’s the perennial question for sunseekers: What’s the weather like in Antigua? The hottest month is June, with average temperatures of 28°C / 82°F. Average temperatures can get down to 24.5°C / 76°F in January.
Cathy Winston, a family travel expert who blogs at MummyTravels, went to Antigua as part of the BritMums #EliteIslandFamilies blogothon. Discover her top eight reasons to visit Antigua with children — the beach and beyond — all perfect for families with kids and teens.
1. Go snorkelling and diving
The water here is so clear, you can actually wade into the sea and watch the fish on the rocks and reefs. Long Bay is perfect for this. But once you get away from land, there’s a stunning multi-coloured world to discover underwater too.
3. Cruise the coast
2. Feed the stingrays
They’re far friendlier than their name suggests! Swimming with stingrays on the open sandbank of Stingray City is like being mobbed by the marine equivalent of cats, winding round you and hoovering up the squid you hold. Watch your thumbs…
One of the best ways to see the island, and discover some of the 365 beaches, is on a boat tour. The half-day trip we did was perfect for young kids, with a glass bottom to the boat for my three-year-old and a break for lunch at Deep Bay.
4. Head to Shirley Heights
Shirley Heights is the most famous viewpoint, looking out over English Harbour as well as to the neighbouring islands on a clear day. You can also get wonderful views from limestone peaks across Antigua.
5. Discover Antiguan history
Visiting Antigua with children is not just great for the sun and relaxation. You can always find fascinating historic buildings and experiences dotted across the island from the days of sugar plantations and British rule. They can be a real eye-opener for children!
Visit Nelson’s Dockyard, which dates back to the 18th century, for a fascinating museum. Also stop at Betty’s Hope, to learn about about the sugar trade and the island’s slavery history. At this sugar plantation hundreds of enslaved people of African origin worked, you can see a fully restored sugar mill tower complete with sails.
6. Walk with the devil
On the east side of the island, a blowhole in the rocks has created a narrow shelf called Devil’s Bridge. You’d have to be brave to walk across — one for fearless teens, perhaps? But the view of the ocean crashing up is worth a visit alone.
7. Visit the capital, St John’s
A historic 19th-century cathedral with its even older graveyard looks down onto pastel bright buildings and the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda, tracing the country’s history from the earliest Amerindians including some sobering exhibits on slavery.
8. Eat, drink and be relaxed
With fresh fish, seafood and creole spices plus jerk dishes, Antiguans love their food – add great juice and island rum in the daiquiris and it’s a recipe for relaxation for children and adults!
Watch the highlights from Cathy’s trip to Antigua:
Cathy stayed at Verandah Resort & Spa Antigua, one of the Elite Island Resorts collection. She was a guest of Elite Islands Resorts, Virgin Holidays and the Antigua and Barbuda tourist board. All opinions are her own.