Aruba has become a very popular destination for families in recent years. The island is one of the ABC Islands (the others are Bonaire and Curaçao) and it’s located outside of the hurricane belt in the Caribbean Sea. Families looking for an island getaway will enjoy the gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and outdoor adventures in spades. It’s a great vacation for all ages, but here are some of the best things to do in Aruba with teens.
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What can teenagers do in Aruba?
Aruba is a beautiful island that you’ll have to visit at least once in your life. It’s known as “One Happy Island” because it has ample sunshine and the locals are truly welcoming. There are family-friendly activities all over the island and it’s extremely safe. Whether you’re looking for an active vacation or a relaxing one, Aruba can give you both.
From ATV tours to kayaking in the ocean to go-kart racing, there are countless fun-filled adventures in Aruba with teens. We had a fabulous trip with our teens during winter break. Here are some amazing activities your teens will enjoy during your Aruba vacation.
1. Head to the Beach
If your teenagers love spending all day at the beach, Aruba is the place to be. There are plenty of great beaches all around Aruba and water sports available to rent at most.
Baby Beach is an extremely calm lagoon that is perfect for families. The water is very shallow, so you can swim and always touch the bottom. Here you can snorkel in a designated area and enjoy relaxing on soft sand. You can enjoy huts if you prefer to stay away from the sun and there are a few shade trees available.
Eagle Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Aruba. It’s more private than some of the others, but the water can be rough. You’ll find white, soft sand here and a beautiful blue ocean. There are plenty of options for shade with some trees and huts.
The water is calm at Palm Beach, but it can get quite crowded. It’s a great place to learn how to wind surf since the wind is always blowing in the same direction. There are private companies that provide lessons if your teenagers are up for an adventure!
Go swimming and snorkeling at Arashi Beach! This beach has extremely clear water that’s perfect for swimming. It’s right next to the California Lighthouse and there’s plenty of parking available. There’s a snack bar as well and umbrellas are available first come, first served.
Teens will love to go and spend time at any of these amazing beaches. Try them all and choose a favorite!
2. Snorkeling in Aruba
Snorkeling is one adventure that teens will love! You can snorkel at Arashi Beach and Baby Beach on your own. There are also several tours that offer snorkeling in other areas off the coast. If you prefer scuba diving, several local tour companies offer that as well.
Consider taking a tour with Jolly Pirates Cruise, and you can sail out to the WW2 shipwreck, Antilla. You’ll be able to snorkel in 3 beautiful areas and see tons of sea life, and maybe even sea turtles! When the snorkeling adventure ends, daredevil teens can try the ship’s rope swing. Hop on, swing out over the water, and dive in!
Teens will love to explore this historical landmark and spending the morning at sea.
3. Jeep Safari
If you want to see the fun things to do in Aruba, but don’t want to rent a car, consider taking a tour.
The Jeep Safari tour takes you to some of the best places in Aruba. You will see the California Lighthouse, Bushiribana Ruins, a natural bridge, and the Alto Vista Chapel during this tour.
You will also see two natural pools where you can enjoy some snorkeling and swimming. This tour takes half a day, still leaving you plenty of time for the beach and other adventures!
4. Arikok National Park
If you’re a fan of national parks, you won’t want to miss Arikok National Park. It has some of the most unique landscapes on the island, and your teenagers will love to spend a day here.
The natural pool within the park is a favorite site; you don’t want to miss out on it! *Note: there is rugged terrain on the way to the natural pool, be sure to wear tennis shoes or some water shoes with traction.
There are a few caves at Arikok National Park as well. The Guadirikiri Caves have openings on top, which allows sunlight inside. Fontein Cave has pictographs inside from the Caquetios from earlier days. Both caves are fascinating and a unique experience for teens to visit and explore.
*Note: Just outside the Fontein Cave there is a walking path that will take you to a small pond where you can get an outdoor pedicure! Stick your feet in the water and the fish will come up and nibble away at the dead skin. It’s super ticklish, but a fun experience!
5. Surfing or Paddleboarding
If the kids want to learn how to surf or paddle board, why not try at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world during your vacation? Aruba Surf and Paddleboard makes it extremely easy to learn and offers tours and lessons for all levels.
6. Street Art Tour – San Nicolas
You’ll want to spend a few hours on this Street Art Tour in San Nicolas. This area is filled with stunning murals. Learn about each mural as you walk the streets of San Nicolas. The street art you will find is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Don’t forget your camera!
7. Natural Pool
Instead of hiking up to the natural pool from the Arikok National Park, take a jeep tour and swim for a few hours in Conchi Natural Pool! Lava rocks surround this natural pool, making it absolutely beautiful. Teens would love to spend half a day relaxing in this beautiful spot.
8. Renaissance Island
Renaissance Island is the only private island on Aruba and is home to beautiful pink flamingos. You can only access this island if you stay at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort by Marriott. Spending a day on this island will truly feel like paradise.
If you want to visit Renaissance Island to see the flamingos, you’ll take a water taxi from the hotel to the resort’s private island. There are chairs and umbrellas, private cabanas for rent, an adults-only area, and full service bar and restaurant. Those not visiting on a day pass must have a room key to get on the island.
If you are not staying at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort and want to visit this private island, you might be able to get a Day Pass. These are only available at the resort’s front desk and are first-come, first-serve. There is no guarantee you can get these, so if this is on your teen’s bucket list, be sure to stay at the resort!
9. Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary in Aruba is a non-profit organization that takes care of donkeys and provides a safe place for them to live. There is no admission fee, but you can offer donations. Bring some apples and carrots and feed the donkeys on the enclosed porch.
If you give a donation, you can hug and spend time with the donkeys for 30 minutes!
10. UTV Tour
Teenagers will love going on a UTV tour to explore Aruba. Enjoy zooming across the desert and seeing many of the incredible places in Aruba! Some stops include the natural pool and bridges, Philip’s Animal Garden, the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, and many other stops.
11. Horseback Riding Tours
Have some fun with your family on a horseback riding tour! During this tour, you will ride your horse up to the natural pool at Arikok National Park. Then cool off in the beautiful natural pool for a bit before heading back.
12. Ayo Rock Formation
Another fun thing to do in Aruba with teens is hiking at the Ayo Rock Formation. These rocks are one of the many unique things in Aruba and are definitely worth visiting. Teens will love climbing on rocks to get to the top.
13. Fishing Charter
Take your family out on a fishing charter to catch some big fish! Choose between fishing in the deep waters or the calmer waters. You’ll learn how to fish from the captain on this private tour. See who can catch the biggest fish!
14. Natural Bridge
Just like you’ll find a natural pool, you’ll also want to explore the natural bridges in Aruba as well. The Aruba Natural Bridge collapsed in 2005, but you can still see the remains of other smaller bridges nearby.
If your teen isn’t afraid of heights, enjoy a few minutes in the sky as you parasail high above the ocean. Many parasailing adventures begin at Palm Beach. Enjoy a short flight across the Caribbean Sea before heading to your other activities.
16. SNUBA with Aruba Bob
If you want to take your snorkeling to the next level, try SNUBA with Aruba Bob. With this tour, you get a sea scooter to help you see the marine life at the bottom of the ocean. Because the water is so clear, this is one of the best activities to do with teens in Aruba!
Your teen will love to try out at sea kayaking during your trip to Aruba. This is not just any kayak, it is a glass-bottom kayak so you can see the sea life below as you paddle along. We promise this is different from any other kayak they’ve been on, so teens will love this adventure!
18. Aruba Go-Kart Racing – Bushiri Karting Speedway
Start up some friendly competitions at Bushiri Karting Speedway. These super fast go-karts will definitely be the highlight for your teen during your trip.
Wear your tennis shoes and get ready to zoom around the track for some family fun.
19. Create Glass Art
Get creative as a family and make some glass art. There is a restaurant where you can do a glass art workshop while eating and enjoying some delicious food. If you are short on time, stop in and buy a glass art project as a souvenir!
20. Sunset Catamaran Cruise
Take your teenagers on a cruise to watch the sunset over the ocean. This cruise departs from Palm Beach for a two-hour cruise. Enjoy a beautiful sunset while eating some tasty appetizers.
21. Rent Jet Skis
Teenagers love driving fast and getting their adrenaline pumping, so rent some jet skis and zoom through the ocean with them in Aruba. This rental is on Eagle Beach, so you can enjoy this beautiful area away from the crowds of people.
22. Banana Boat Rides
Finish your vacation in Aruba with teens with a fun Banana Boat Ride. You will be seated on this giant banana floaty at the back of a speedboat. You will bounce around as you race across the sea!
23. Shopping in Aruba
If your teens love shopping on vacation, there are several areas to visit. Renaissance Mall, Royal Plaza Mall, and Palm Beach Plaza Mall are all good options.
With all the exciting things to do in Aruba with teens, your entire trip will be filled with fun adventures that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Aruba might be a small island, but it certainly packs a big punch.
Questions people ask about travel to Aruba
What is Aruba known for?
Aruba might be just over 15 miles from the coast of Venezuela, but it is a completely different world. It’s part of the Lesser Antilles islands, and is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This means the island is self-governing but the Netherlands continues to handle it’s foreign affairs.
The island is known for its constant wind, making it perfect for kite boarding and parasailing. It’s also known for the aloe plants that grow on the island and Aruba is one of the major producers of aloe products in the world. The island has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Where to Stay in Aruba with Kids?
There are several inclusive resorts on Aruba, but we would recommend staying at a hotel or vacation rental since the restaurants on the island serve some of the best food! Here are some great options on the island:
Hilton Aruba is located on the Palm Beach strip and has access to plenty of restaurants, beaches, and shopping.
Guest rooms are quite comfortable, there’s large lagoon-like pools, cabanas for rent, beach volleyball, and a spa. There are restaurants on property, but there are so many options nearby. We thought this was the perfect spot for our Caribbean family getaway.
Holiday Inn Resort Aruba
Rooms at the Holiday Inn are spread across 3 towers, ranging from ocean front rooms to suites. The hotel is situated on Palm Beach, and teens will love basketball, renting bikes, and playing tennis. It’s easy to walk to shops and restaurants from here.
Divi Aruba Resort
Divi Aruba is an all-inclusive resort with both garden and ocean view rooms. All inclusive packages include dining at five of the resort’s on site restaurants, which makes it easy when teens are picky eaters. There’s a rock wall, windsurfing, kayaks, tennis courts, and organized classes to keep everyone busy.
Renaissance Aruba Resort
Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort is THE place to stay if you want to experience flamingo island. It’s closer to Oranjestad and the Aruba airport.
The Renaissance Marina Hotel is adults only, families will want to stay at the Renaissance Ocean Suites. These one-bedroom suites have a king bed and a sleeper sofa, making them perfectly comfortable for families. There’s easy access to Renaissance Mall and there are pools, restaurants, and a casino on-site.
Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club
If you’re looking for an Aruba Marriott resort, Surf Club is a popular option for families. There are traditional accommodations and one or two bedroom villas for families.
The hotel has a lazy river and water slide, if your teens like to relax at the pool. Indoors there’s a kids club, game room, tennis, and a fitness center.
Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Located on Palm Beach, Hotel Riu Palace is an all inclusive property in Aruba. Teens can play volleyball, kayak, paddle surf, or relax at the beach or pool. There are five different restaurants at the property, so teens will love the ability to eat when they want. Rooms at the property have either a king size bed or suites with doubles.
Where to Eat in Aruba with Kids?
- Salt & Pepper – Spanish tapas in a lively setting in Arawak Garden.
- Lola Taqueria – fun twist on tacos, close to Riu and Hilton.
- Dushi Bagels & Burgers – a great stop for bagels (and burgers). They also have smoothies, wraps, and omelettes depending on the time of day.
- Willem’s Dutch Pancakes – you can’t visit Aruba and not eat the pancakes. Whether your teens love sweet or savory they’re sure to love the crepes here.
- Giannis Restaurant – Italian food is a lovely setting. Definitely a splurge.
Aruba was indeed a pleasant surprise for our family. Our teens loved every minute exploring the island and can’t wait to return!
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.