There are so many things to do with kids in Puerto Rico, it is the perfect destination for families. Easy to reach from the United States, no passport necessary, beautiful beaches, delicious food, a rich history, and friendly people, make this tropical island a popular destination. As a Puerto Rican I may be a little biased, but I think families will not be disappointed booking a vacation to the island because it offers something for everyone. If you’re wondering what to do in Puerto Rico with kids, we have plenty of recommendations and places to stay in Puerto Rico with kids too!
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What to do in Puerto Rico with Kids
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.
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 worth a visit. 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. Many had to close after Hurricane Maria and some have yet to re-open.
3. Shopping in Old San Juan with an ice cream stop
My kids hate shopping, unless we are buying souvenirs for them. 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.
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.
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. 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).
Kids will not be disappointed by Puerto Rican food because many of the dishes contain familiar staples such as rice, beans, and chicken.
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.
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 opportunities to zip line 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.
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.
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, children won’t be bored.
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. Plan on spending at least a few hours there because the kids will never want to leave!
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.
11. Take a tour everyone will love
There are tours for all ages. Some of our favorites have been a San Juan food tour where we sampled food at a handful of local restaurants. We also took a coffee plantation tour with one of my cousins and 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.
Are there all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Rico?
There are no true all inclusive resorts in Puerto Rico, but the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort comes close. With a spa, golf courses, beach, pool, casino, and multiple restaurants, families love staying at this Puerto Rican hotel with kids.
Hotels in San Juan
Hotel El Convento – centrally located in Old San Juan, this hotel has a small pool on the rooftop and killer views of the city. It’s not the most family friendly, but it has access to everything the city has to offer. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.
Embassy Suites San Juan– families who need extra space will find it in Embassy Suites large rooms. The property is literally five minutes from the airport and an easy walk to Isla Verde beaches. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.
Beach Hotels in Puerto Rico
San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino – great location in Condado district, beautiful pools and waterslides, right on the beach. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.
Dorado Beach Club – located in Dorado, about 20-30 minutes from Old San Juan, this Ritz property in Puerto Rico underwent a massive reconstruction after Hurricane Maria. The resort has a spectacular swimmable beach, pool area, and fabulous kids’ program. This is luxury at its finest. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.
Fairmont El San Juan – located on Isla Verde beach, this property has four beautiful swimming pools and is just minutes from Old San Juan. There’s a beach with cabanas, a spa and fitness center, and tennis courts for active families. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.
Caribe Hilton- another property severely damaged by Hurricane Maria, the Caribe Hilton is back to fully operating. It has an envious location between Condado and Old San Juan and a wonderful private beach. Families will be excited to return to this gem of a property. Click HERE for the latest rates and reviews.
El Conquistador – located in Fajardo, this hotel was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. It is finally re-opening in May 2021. The property has it’s 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.