If you’re a sun-seeking family looking for a Caribbean break with a splash of French culture, then check out St Barts. A vacation to St Barts is the ideal place for families to spend quality-time in an idyllic location within easy reach of North America.
St Barts is a French-speaking island in the Caribbean. The French influence is widely felt through the island through it’s language, cuisine and culture. St Barts is a favorite for luxury holidaymakers from Europe and North America. Getting to St Barts from the US is relatively easy as it’s only a 10 minute flight from St Maarten which has direct flights from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami and San Juan on a variety of US carriers.
While you won’t find any water parks or amusement parks on this little island, there is still a lot for families to love about visiting St Barts. It is ideal if you’re seeking a relaxing beach break where you can enjoy a fine meal, soak up some sun and swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean.
5 Things to Do on a Dream Family Vacation to St Barts
Rent a Luxury Villa & Relax
St Barts has a much more low key vibe than other Caribbean islands… it’s not really the place for a “resort style” vacation. Instead, you’re better off renting a luxury villa that your family can enjoy. Villas are so much better for families anyway! They allow you independence to holiday on your own schedule, privacy to move about as you please and ease when traveling with children.
Self-catering is one of the hugest bonuses of villa vacations when traveling with kids. Eating out for every meal when you’re on vacation can be trying for little children, especially after a busy day. Having your own villa with a full kitchen is just so convenient. You can get groceries at the supermarket in St Jean on the island and you can even bring your own items from home if you have fussy eaters.
Renting a villa in St Barts also allows you to spread out throughout a whole home, rather than squeeze your family into a single hotel suite. With children in their own bedrooms, it’s a lot easier for parents to relax in the evening. Choose a villa with a lovely deck and pool area and you can spend your evenings outdoors while your kids are safely tucked up in bed.
Enjoy the Beaches
Of course one of the main reasons to come to St Barts is it’s beaches! And you’ll find many great ones on the island. It’s a good idea to get a car and drive around to find some of the less developed beaches on the island.
One of the most developed beaches on the island, St Jean beach is easily accessible and has calm water and lots of sun loungers along the beach. There are lots of shops and restaurants to choose from including Nikki Beach Resort and The Eden Rock.
Locals love Lorient beach as it’s easy to park and within walking distance of shops & eateries but is also quite quiet. Children will love the basins by the coral reef. If you’re looking for a quieter place to swim, Petite Anse has very shallow water amongst rocks. There is lots of sea life so bring your snorkel along. Or try out Grande Saline beach if you want something completely undeveloped.
Topless or nude sunbathing is acceptable here so you should have a conversation to prepare your children to expect this in advance if this is not normal for you.
Explore the Island on a Boat Tour
Take to the seas and see St Bart by boat! There are half or full day sailing excursions that will take you to many of the harder to reach beaches on the island. You can snorkel, eat lunch and just relax on the boat. With older kids you can also rent jet skis for a quick blast around in the ocean. There’s also stand up paddle boarding or even snorkeling excursions over to Ile Fourchue. Take your pick!
Check Out a Few Museums & Shops
If you strike a rainy day and your kids need an outing then head indoors to one of the island’s museums. The St Barth Municipal Museum is a nice little museum to see photographs and a film about the history of the island as well as the walled building and even a cannon.
Crafty kids will appreciate Kalinas & Tainos which is a unique jewelery store selling pearls, crystals and bracelets. Or for more touristy souvenirs you can shop at Pati de St Barth for t-shirts, caps, scarves and bags to remember your trip.
Feast on French Cuisine
The French influence has done great things for the cuisine on St Bart. You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of good food on offer on the island, both French and international cuisine. While there are some more expensive, fine dining establishments that you will want to avoid with kids, you can always opt for an early dinner if you do want to try out somewhere with good food. Dining out on St Barts can be expensive but look around for “prix fixe” menus where you’ll get a 3-course set menu at a bargain price.
Here are a few of the more kid-friendly eateries on St Barts. La Crepiere will be a sure fire winner for the kids! The famous Le Select Snack Bar is also a great place to take kids for easy eats, live music and a relaxed atmosphere. Le Bouchon in Lorient is a terrific outdoor cafe for families with great pizzas, huge burgers, great salads. Le Vietnam in Gustavia is a very kid friendly restaurant offering up Asian cuisine.
If you do want to spend an evening alone at a gourmet restaurant, without having to worry about the kids not enjoying their food or sitting still, then it might be wise to book a babysitting service for at least one night out. It’s your vacation too after all!