I am the family cruise editor here and one of the future articles I'm working on is best beaches for families in the Caribbean, Bahamas, or Mexico. I'm interested in hearing about beaches that you have gone to with your kids while in port for the day. Thus they should be accessible via walking or taxi; have restroom facilities; and not have extremely rough waters for swimming. The beaches can either be public or can be hotel/resort beaches. There are a number of hotel beaches that we have gone to for the day whereby they allow cruise passengers to pay a small fee to use their facilities.
I have a list of beaches I'm compiling but I'd love any input from you our readers.
Thanks and Smooth Sailing!
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I think Meagans Bay in St. Thomas would fit into that catagory, great family beach, calm water, etc. Have been to a few, not all the "family" type that you are looking for, but great for kids too. Of course there is always Trunk Bay in St. John, just beatutiful and I actually enjoyed Orient beach in St. Maarten, but I don't think I'd take my young kids there, lots of water activities, restautants, etc.
I'd definately say Megan's Bay! We've been there on a couple cruises with the kids and have never been disappointed. The water is perfect, taxi access is easy to get, and its so pretty. I also loved the look of 7 mile beach on Grand Cayman, but we took a tour and missed our chance to really go there. We were practically crying over that decision seeing the beach.
I also LOVE Labadee. Even though its RCI only, I think that whole island stop is out of this world. Princess Cays is very nice too, but Labadee wins hands down. Disadvantage to Labadee is the kiddie play area/babysitting area has no play equipment where Princess Cays does. Labadee does have a water play area though that families can enjoy together. The scenic beauty of Labadee, the Dragon's rock that facinated my boys, climbs to nice views etc make Labadee my favorite island of all.
St Thomas- Megans Bay, Saphire, Coki
St Martin- Dawn Beach truly a family beach attracting tourists, cruisers and locals alike.
Great Bay- Not my idea of a great beach but sure is convenient
Aruba- Baby Beach- Like the world's largest Salt water pool
De Palm Island- all facilities and great beach
Sonesta Hotel private Island- boat from lobby of hotel in town. It is about $25
per person but for that you get boat ride, great Island with clean modern facilities
lunch and a drink. Gift shop, restaurant, showers,lounge chairs (purchase at
the hotel desk). Walk from the ship
St John Trunk Bay
BVI's Tortola Cane Garden Bay/ Virgin Gorda -The Baths
St. Lucia The beach next to Rex St Lucian
Cozumel- San Francisco Beach
Nassau- Cable Beach
Oahu -Hunama Bay and of course right in Honolulu Waikaki Beach
Thanks for the long list of beaches that are family appropriate. I have a few Q's for you:
Dawn Beach -- I assume this is a beach with no nude swimming? Many on St. Martin/St. Maarten are nude beaches.
DePalm Island -- where is that (which island)?
Great Bay -- Is that on St. Maarten?
Sonesta Hotel private island -- Is that on Aruba too?
I appreciate your input. This article will be up on the site by the end of November at the latest.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
Dawn beach on St Martin is on the Dutch side. You will not find NUDE bathing but with
European influence could encounter a topless sunbather. Nonetheless the beach attracts local families and is in an area of upscale homes and condos where whole families use the beach. We encountered a number of families from our ship (easy to spot as we were the only ship in town).
De Palm Island (Aruba) is run by De Palm Tours who run just about every major tour option and much of the tour bus business in Aruba. It is offered as an excursion option off most ships. I'm sure there is a way of accessing it privately as well. FULL facilities ,
food, beach ,snorkelling, beach toys etc.
Great Bay is the main harbor in the Dutch side St Martin. The beach runs behind most of the stores on the main street and has been cleaned up substantially in recent years.
Many ships offer a "tour" that includes use of facilities at one of the beach bar/restaurants. The beach goes on for quite a way around the harbor.
Sonesta Hotel in Aruba is located right in downtown Orangestad. (3 minute walk from piers). They have no real beach of their own but do have a boat service (free to guests) literally in the lower lobby that takes you through the harbor (nice ride ) and just offshore to their private island. Beach, lounges, beach toys, restaurant, gift shop, showers
tennis courts etc. Resident iguanas and pelicans. All quite first class. Fee two years ago was $25 and included transportation (5 minute boat ride) lunch (anything on the menu) a drink (alcoholic or non) and use of all facilities. After Gram left her usual contribution to the local retail community in the stores we spent a fabulous Thanksgiving afternoon there two years ago.
By the way, I loved your Windjammer article. I seem to be one of only a few people who post about Windjammer on this board (Jammers seem to have their own) and I could relate to everything you described. One thing, I think it would be good advice to consder
the NON junior jammer cruises off limits to kids . They can get a bit Spicy.
Glad to have a chance to help YOU out for a change. My favorite family beach is Cinnamon Bay, St. John . quiet, "less travelled", nice bathrooms ....bathrooms are almost the most important thing when travelling with kids...I rate the bathrooms at Cinnamon as a Five Plunger bathroom. (on a scale of 1-5 plungers, 5 being the best.)
Thanks again for your add'l input. I'm very familiar with the town beach in St. Maarten but didn't know the proper name for it! We've been there twice this year and I was amazed at how clean the water is considering the location.
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed my Windjammer article. It was a nice change of pace for us. You're right, I can imagine that the non Junior Jammer cruises get too "spicy" for kids!
Let me know what your next cruise is -- I enjoy hearing about fellow family adventures at sea!