Now that we’re firmly entrenched in another Chicago winter, a getaway to a sunny island sounds pretty good right about now. With its lush, green, hilly landscape and warm, blue waters, St. Lucia is a picturesque Caribbean island. While there’s no shortage of romance for couples and adventure for groups of friends, St. Lucia is also an ideal vacation spot for families with children.
Where to Stay
With a tranquil adults-only wing as well as tons of activities for kids and families, Coconut Bay will delight little ones and their parents. Spend the morning frolicking with the kids at the on-site waterpark, and then refuel with a lunch of authentic jerk chicken by the pool. When mom and dad want some downtime (perhaps while perched on one of the plush rotating sun loungers at the adults-only pool), children can check into the CocoKidz Club, where they are supervised and entertained with exciting amenities like a mini zip line and mini rock-climbing wall. Reconvene for dinner as a family at La Luna, one of the resort’s on-site restaurants where you can enjoy fresh lobster in a private oceanfront cabana.
If you’re looking for a private retreat or want to gather your extended family for a memorable vacation, book a villa through Travel Keys. They have a range of private houses to suit every family’s needs. Have your house stocked with your favorite foods before you arrive or hire a chef to prepare meals on site. The top-notch concierge can arrange anything for you — from spa services to island excursions.
What to Do
Spend Saturday morning browsing St. Lucia’s largest open-air market, where locals sell tropical fruit, spices, fresh fish and vegetables, and all kinds of pottery, wood carvings and other handicrafts perfect for souvenirs.
To fully appreciate the beauty of St. Lucia, you have to view it from the water. Set aside a full day to explore on a land and sea tour of the island. Your day will begin on land with tours of banana plantations, fishing villages and the island’s famous drive-in volcano. You’ll stop for lunch in the quaint town of Soufriere, and then board a boat for an adventurous afternoon cruise. Pack your camera to capture breathtaking views of St. Lucia’s iconic Pitons. The cruise through Marigot Bay includes stops to snorkel and swim in clear turquoise Caribbean waters.
Pamper yourself with a decadent full-body massage in a private beachfront cabana. Your stress will melt away to the sound of waves lapping at the shore. Complete your indulgent experience with a post-massage glass of champagne in the tropical atrium garden. Don’t leave without purchasing a jar of the spa’s delicious-smelling exfoliating chocolate scrub.
St. Lucia is an ideal spot for thrill-seeking teens to learn how to kite surf. Harness ocean breezes with a large kite attached to a surf board to propel yourself across the waves. The Anse de Sable Beach on the Atlantic side of the island gets robust on-shore winds, making it a perfect location for kite surfing.
Located in the southern town Vieux Fort, Moule a Chique is one of the highest lighthouses in the world. Plan a short stop to take in the sweeping vistas and learn a bit about the history of the island. Excellent spot for a family photo opp!
Where to Eat
Begin your magical dining experience with a ferry boat ride to this hidden restaurant on Marigot Bay. Kiddos will get a kick out of spotting fish swim and jump just below your over-the-water table, while you tuck into a mouthwatering dinner of grilled pork tenderloin with jerk sauce and passion fruit panna cotta.
Feast on Mandarin-inspired cuisine made with fresh Caribbean ingredients in an upscale environment. This Coconut Bay restaurant keeps guests coming back for teriyaki spare ribs, garlic shrimp and sizzling whole snapper. Neither kids nor grownups will be able to resist the fried banana dessert drizzled with chocolate.
For some of the freshest seafood on the island, head to Dennery, a fishing town on St. Lucia’s east coast that hosts a “Fish Fiesta” every Saturday night. Assemble a smorgasbord of fresh-caught seafood sold by locals on the beach, and enjoy an impromptu seaside picnic. The kids will love having casual meal where they can let loose, and you’ll have a vacation memory the whole family will cherish for years to come.
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