Amazing Things to do in Puerto Rico with Kids

There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico with kids, it’s one of the best places for a family vacation. This Caribbean island is easy to reach from the United States (no passport necessary!) and has beautiful beaches, delicious food, a rich history, and the Puerto Ricans are very welcoming.

As a Puerto Rican, I may be a little biased, but I think families will love this popular, tropical island. It has endless outdoor activities, a rain forest, and tourist attractions the whole family can enjoy.

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

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Best Things for Kids to Do in Puerto Rico

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!

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 Cristóbal. Spain built these fortifications to secure its 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. The entire complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Buy a pass to visit 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. We also recommend drinking plenty of water while exploring the city and finding shade in the streets of Old San Juan.

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

If you want to take a road trip in Puerto Rico, El Yunque should be one of your first stops. El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical 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 on a guided tour. 

We took a tour that took us to Mt. Britton tower for an expansive overview. 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 stopping at souvenir shops for them. Personally, I love strolling along the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan and exploring the local stores and colorful old buildings. 

If your kids are up for it, you might want to stop at Parque de Las Palomas where the pigeons run wild and will land on your kids (if they have food). Vendors sell corn and kids can put it in their hands and watch the pigeons feed. Be prepared for poop and possible scratching.

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

Around the corner is La Fortaleza, the Governor’s Mansion. There are usually kites or umbrellas lining the street, making for some epic Instagram photos.

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.

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

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

We went on a nighttime 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 a while 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 and water sports are endless. All of the beaches in Puerto Rico are public so you can visit any of them!

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 plenty 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.

Hacienda Campo Rico is not far from San Juan (20 minutes driving) and includes seven zip lines, suspended bridges, and a Puerto Rican meal as the grand finale.

Tour guide helping a boy getting ready to zip line.

Other zip lining companies to consider are Toro Verde Adventure Park, home to The Monster and The Beast. The Monster is over a mile and a half long and you fly on your stomach above the treetops. It’s a fun thing that kids are sure to love.

Another company that has more of a zip-lining park, is Rainforest Zipline Park. Families will have a great time trying their different lines.

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.

El Morro San Juan Puerto Rico fort aerial

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!

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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.

American Airlines plane.
Photo: Creative Commons

There’s a mini zoo, a playground, and a Go-Kart ride for kids of all ages to enjoy. Kids will love all of the interactive exhibits.

Outside the building is a full-size American Airlines plane that children can explore from the cockpit to the tail.

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. It is a great place to start your Puerto Rico vacation. Some of our favorites include:

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.

12. Take a day trip to one of Puerto Rico’s islands

Some of Puerto Rico’s islands are known for having some of the best beaches in the world. Don’t miss the chance for a day trip to Culebra and Flamenco Beach. You can kayak here, and possibly see sea turtles.

Vieques is much larger than Culebra, and families can easily spend the day snorkeling, hiking, and visiting the bio bay at night.

Icacos is an uninhabited island that is popular for day trips from Fajardo, but there are no facilities on the island. Families can snorkel, play in the sand, and enjoy lunch on the boat.

Puerto Rico guide

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 beach. 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

For a hotel in the Condado area (with plenty of restaurants and shopping), look at the San Juan Marriott Resort. The hotel has restaurants, a small water park, and a Stellaris Casino. It’s easy to walk to everything. Click HERE to view the latest rates and reviews.

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!

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 Going, 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 Expedia.com and Hotels.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. Both are worthwhile investments.

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 taking 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, threats, 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.