|

Best Things to do in Puerto Rico with Kids

There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico with kids, it’s the perfect destination for families! This Caribbean island is easy to reach from the United States (no passport necessary!) and has beautiful beaches, delicious food, a rich history, and friendly people.

As a Puerto Rican, I may be a little biased, but I think families will love this popular, tropical island. 

Puerto Rico scenery - Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico with Kids graphic for Pinterest.

You will not be disappointed booking this vacation because there are so many kid friendly activities in Puerto Rico. We have plenty of recommendations for Puerto Rico family activities, as well as places to stay in Puerto Rico with kids!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!

Things for Kids to Do in Puerto Rico

1. Visit the forts in San Juan

There are two historic forts in San Juan, and they are probably the top attractions in San Juan. These are known as Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal. Spain built these fortifications to secure their position in the Caribbean and protect the city of San Juan.

Boy standing with soldier statues in front of fort.

The forts are similar, yet different enough that kids will enjoy exploring them both. El Morro is the larger of the two and you can take the free trolley between them or walk, they are about a mile apart.

Buy a pass to visit to both sites. The kids will learn something new at each fort and enjoy exploring the historic grounds. *Special note, if your kids are susceptible to sunburn be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

2. Go for a hike in El Yunque rainforest and play in the waterfalls

El Yunque is the only rainforest in the United States forest system, and it is one of the more unique things to do in Puerto Rico. Feel free to explore on your own or go with a guided tour.

We took a tour that took us to Mt. Britton tower for an expansive overview. If it is open, be sure to take a swim in Mina Falls, hike the trails (skip the stroller if you can because the path is pretty narrow), and enjoy an authentic meal at a roadside stand when finished.

Most hotels can book a tour for you, or you can find one on your own.

*Note: Be sure to check the El Yunque website before you visit to see which areas of the park are open.

3. Shopping in Old San Juan with an ice cream stop

My kids hate shopping, unless we are buying souvenirs for them. But I love strolling through Old San Juan and exploring the local stores and colorful old buildings.

When the kids get tired, we just head for the nearest ice cream store, and in Old San Juan, we really love Señor Paleta and Himalaya Ice Cream. Both offer delicious and unique treats for kids.

View of the streets of San Juan.
The green building on the right is where my great great grandfather once lived.

4. Go kayaking in a bioluminescent bay

There are three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. Laguna Grande in Fajardo, Mosquito Bay in Vieques, and La Parguera in Lajas. Bioluminescent bays glow in the dark when the dinoflagellates (organisms) in the water are disturbed.

It is very popular to visit the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo while staying in San Juan or Isla Verde.

A group of orange kayaks in a circle in the water.
Photo credit: Creative Commons

We went on a night time Puerto Rico kayak tour to Laguna Grande in Fajardo. Younger kids can ride with mom or dad, and the older kids can actually help paddle and steer the kayak.

Related
Why Martinique is Perfect for Families

Since this tour happens at night and it can take awhile to row out to the lagoon, make sure your kids are up for it before you book the tour.

5. Try new Puerto Rican foods

Since my kids are part Puerto Rican, I like to think they like the food because it’s in their blood. However, there’s a part of me that knows they love the food because it is DELICIOUS!

Our new favorite is the Mallorca sandwich (see below from Pinky’s), but we also love platanos (fried plantains), chicharrones de pollo (Puerto Rican fried chicken), and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice).

Close up of sandwich with powdered sugar on top.

Kids will not be disappointed by Puerto Rican food because many of the dishes contain familiar staples such as rice, beans, and chicken.

Want to try Puerto Rican food at home? Don’t miss our coquito tres leches cake recipe and our coquito (Puerto Rican eggnog) recipe!

6. Spend the day at the beach – sunning, surfing, or snorkeling

Obviously, Puerto Rico is an island, so the options for beaches are endless. Many hotels have private beaches, but there are public beaches as well. 

Luquillo Beach is our favorite place to spend a day playing in the sand, but it’s about 40 minutes outside of San Juan.

Sandy beach with palm trees.
We love spending a day at Luquillo Beach!

If you are looking for more active things to do in Puerto Rico with kids, there are lots of options. The best surfing spots are located near Rincón on the northwest side of the island and that’s where you will find most of the beginning surfer classes.

If the kids want to go snorkeling, your best bet is to take a day trip to Vieques or Culebra. You can travel via ferry or plane, or book a snorkel tour out of Fajardo.

We did not have a chance to go snorkeling and it is the one thing our kids really wanted to do. Guess we’ll save it for next time!

7. Have a ziplining adventure

There are plenty of zip line adventures in Puerto Rico. Tailored for visitors aged 8 to 68, Campo Rico Ziplining was one of our favorite experiences on the island.

It’s not far from San Juan (20 minutes driving) and includes seven ziplines, suspended bridges, and a Puerto Rican meal as the grand finale. There are other ziplining companies to choose from, but we chose this one based on location and we were not disappointed. 

Tour guide helping a boy getting ready to zip line.

8. Go kite flying at El Morro

On the gorgeous lawn in front of El Morro fort, locals and tourists alike enjoy flying kites and frolicking on the grass. Families have picnics, photographers capture quinciñeras (15 year old birthday parties for girls), and children run endlessly attempting to fly their kites higher and higher.

Large grassy field with people flying kites and a fort in the background.

Kites are available for purchase from vendors and when kids are worn out, grab shaved ice from a nearby cart (piraguas). They come in a variety of flavors; tropical ones like guava, papaya, and coconut or traditional favorites like grape, strawberry, and cherry. So much better than a snow cone and the kids will love them!

9. Explore the Children’s Museum (Museo del Niño)

Located just outside San Juan in the Carolina neighborhood, the Museo del Niño is not your typical children’s museum. With over 100 activities and three floors of exhibition space, this is a fun place to visit in Puerto Rico for kids.

There’s a mini zoo, a playground, and Go Kart ride for kids of all ages to enjoy. Outside the building is a full size American Airlines plane that children can explore from the cockpit to the tail.

Related
Best Things to Do in George Town Grand Cayman with Kids

Plan on spending at least a few hours there because the kids will never want to leave!

American Airlines plane.
Photo: Creative Commons

10. Hang out at the hotel pool

When you’ve exhausted all of the other activities that Puerto Rico has to offer, head to your hotel pool. The kids can entertain themselves in the water for hours.

Boy hanging upside down in the water on a pool railing.

11. Take a tour everyone will love

There are tours for all ages and all kinds of activities in Puerto Rico. Some of our favorites include:

  • San Juan food tour where we sampled food at a handful of local restaurants.
  • Coffee plantation tour with one of my cousins –  we loved exploring outside of the typical tourist sites. 
  • The Bacardi rum factory tour is family friendly and the kids get virgin daiquiris or piña coladas.

Other unique tours in Puerto Rico include a Segway tour of Old San Juan, exploring Rio Camuy Caves, and taking a sunset sail around the island.

Best Family Hotels in Puerto Rico

If you don’t know where to stay in Puerto Rico with kids, check out our favorite Puerto Rico family resorts. There are no true all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Rico, but we recommend some amazing hotels that your family will love.

If you’re looking for a hotel that doesn’t have all of the resort amenities, consider looking at the Embassy Suites San Juan. It’s perfect for large families who need extra space. The property is five minutes from the airport and an easy walk to Isla Verde beaches. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.

Overhead view of pool area and shoreline at Marriott Stellaris San Juan Puerto Rico hotel.
Photo credit: Fairmont

Located in Fajardo, the El Conquistador hotel was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, but has since re-opened. The property has its own private island, Palomino Island, perfect for a day on the beach. They also have an awesome waterpark and kids of all ages will love it. Click HERE to view the latest rates and reviews.

Check out this article for more reasons to visit Puerto Rico, and don’t miss our recipe for coquito and coquito tres leches cake!

Travel Tips
Book Your Flights
You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.

If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.

Book Your Accommodation

We regularly use Hotels.com and Expedia.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.

If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.

Book Your Transportation

For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.

Book Your Tours and Travel Photos

We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.

If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Tiqets is another place to purchase tickets for attractions.

Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.

One of our favorite things to do annually is take photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threat or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.

23 Comments

  1. Looks amazing Kirsten – love especially the idea of the rainforest tour and swimming in the waterfalls but definitely something for everyone!

  2. We love Puerto Rico! You had all my favorites listed. I would also add staying at the El Conquistador in Fajardo. It has a ferry that takes you to a private island to relax and play, a luxurious golf course & the Coqui Water Park on it’s grounds. Also, take a day trip to snorkel and explore the white sands of Flamenco beach on the island of Culebra. We kayaked, snorkled amd swam with sea turtles there. Great family vacation destination!

  3. We loved Purerto Rico as a couples destination but we didn’t visit with our daughter. Maybe it’s time to add a family trip to our list.

  4. I love PR. We’re visiting this summer via a cruise and the kids are so excited! Thanks for the tips.

  5. We didn’t have the best experience in Puerto Rico. Maybe with your tips and recommendation on-hand, we’ll have a better time in the future.

  6. Puerto Rico has long been on my list of places I’d love to go, it’s great to hear that there is so much for kids to do. Zip-lining would definitely be top of the list!

  7. This is a great list! We visited the forts in San Juan but didn’t get to experience much else. We can in for the afternoon on a cruise, but your list is making me want to go back and spend more time.

  8. Dana, I really feel like you can’t get a true feel for a destination until you’re able to spend some quality time there. Definitely go back, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

  9. Thanks for the great list! Have you write about which areas are the best for families to enjoy all these great activities? I want to start planning my trip!

  10. Great post! And what a fantastic experience for any kid, for sure! Thanks so much for taking the time to link up with us over at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend, and that we see you again this Friday! Feel free to bring a friend 🙂

  11. What do you mean by which areas? Where are these places located or hotel choices?

  12. Thanks, I hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

  13. This all sounds like fun! I want to go!!
    My mom is coming to visit us next month, and then she is heading to Puerto Rico- lucky!
    Thanks for sharing with us at Mommy Monday!!
    XOXO

  14. I’ve been to Puerto Rico, but it was on a cruise ship, so our visit was far too brief. I’d love to return with my children to experience some of these activities!

  15. We went the first time without kids and loved it so much we had to take the kids back. We are so glad we did. As you can see a ton to do with kids and we still haven’t seen all of the island!

  16. What happened?

  17. Your mom is so lucky. I think you need to go with her!

  18. Thank you for this post! Our family of five is going to PR next month and this is a huge help!

  19. How fun! Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to help!

Comments are closed.