Our family vacation to Saint Lucia earlier this year was one of our favorite trips ever. We had an amazing stay at Coconut Bay Resort (you can read my full review with pics here), and while we loved our time at the resort, this is definitely an island you want to get out and explore.
7 Things to Do In Saint Lucia With Kids
There is so much natural beauty is Saint Lucia, and now that our kids are old enough to enjoy some half-day excursions we really made the most of seeing everything we could while we were there. Kids of any age will have a great time enjoying the beaches and pools on this island, but I am glad we waited until my children were old enough to do things like snorkel and walk for a distance. They made so many memories! Just something to keep in mind when planning a trip for your family.
I’m going to try to link to some of the attractions I mention below, but everything we saw was part of a planned excursion. Your travel agent can help you before you go, or each resort has a tour desk that can help you book trips from the resort. We spent about $500 total on two half-day excursions (the jeep safari and the sail and snorkel trip), and that was for all 4 of us. Totally worth every penny! Below I’ve got TONS of pics of all our our favorite things to do in Saint Lucia with kids.
Tour The Island
Definitely do NOT sit at your resort for your entire vacation. Believe me, I know those swim-up pool bars are addictive but there’s a lot more to see in Saint Lucia that you don’t want to miss.
One common thread you’ll see throughout this post is that we learned the most about Saint Lucia from the locals and the tour guides. You can definitely rent a car and go exploring on your own, but I think we benefited a lot from having some seasoned drivers and guides show us around. This is especially great for the kids who actually did get an ‘educational travel’ experience out of this trip!
We booked a Green Jeep Safari excursion and along with maybe 8-10 other tourists, drove around the southwest part of the island to hit some of the most popular attractions.
The ride itself was quite an experience. They drive on the left side of the road, opposite from us in the US, and there are no speed limits! Saint Lucia is pretty mountainous and the roads can be twisty and turny. Make sure the kids are buckled up. I never really felt unsafe with our driver but it is quite an adventure in that jeep without a top. (Tip: Don’t forget your sunscreen!)
We had one guide driving the jeep and one in the back with us to tell us all where we were, what we were seeing, and point out areas of interest. One of the first towns we drove through was Laborie, a fishing village. It’s very colorful and it’s not uncommon to see goats and dogs just roaming around beside the roads.
It’s amazing to see everything that grows in Saint Lucia. You just drive down the road and pass papaya trees, nutmeg trees, and more. Our driver pulled over and hopped out to grab some cotton off of the plant along the roadside for us.
This is the calabash tree, which is the national tree of Saint Lucia, and they use it for so many purposes. The flesh is used medicinally, and then the outside can be used to make bowls and instruments. The people of Saint Lucia are really smart about using their natural resources in as many ways as they can.
We passed this church on our travels, one of the oldest on the island. Isn’t it pretty? There is so much to take in just driving around Saint Lucia, and it’s a pretty small island so you can do it in a day. We didn’t go all over the island, but still managed to grab tons of pics of beautiful sights and really get a feel for life in Saint Lucia.
Sample the Local Flavor
This photo was actually taken at the Botanical Gardens (keep reading!) and while all of the fruit on display wasn’t for consumption, it does give you a great idea of the variety of fruits and spices that are native to Saint Lucia. We saw bananas, nutmeg, papaya, saffron, coconut, passion fruit, and so much more. It’s amazing to just look up and see bananas growing on a tree! Clearly I live in the Northeast and we don’t have that here!
This is a papaya tree that I snapped a photo of just as we were driving down the road. There is fruit growing everywhere!
One our way back from our sailing excursion (again, keep reading!) our driver was amazing and taught us so much. He stopped to pick this cacao pod off of a tree. Inside are cacao beans which we all know are used to make chocolate. He cracked it open and let each of us take a bean (which is nothing like a piece of chocolate – it actually tastes more like a Sour Patch Kid!) and eat it right out of the pod.
I said it earlier and I’ll say it again: the locals are full of great info and the key to great experiences in Saint Lucia! This is especially true when you have the kids with you. Mine learned so much from these tour guides.
Finally, when tasting the local flavor, getcha some jerk chicken. We lived on this for lunches at our resort. Soooo good!
Diamond Botanical Gardens and Waterfall
The Botanical Gardens and Diamond Waterfall was one of the highlights of the jeep safari tour we took. Talk about beautiful. WOW. You walk through the gardens and enjoy the most lush vegetation and gorgeous flowers you’ve ever seen, and at the end of the path is the waterfall.
This waterfall flows from Diamond River, which is sourced in a volcano, so it’s full of metals like sulfur, iron, copper, and others. It causes the water to change color, and it can change color from day to day depending on what minerals are most prevalent. You can see the wall of rock behind the waterfall is stained from these metals, and the water that flows down the stream is totally gray. Isn’t that amazing? I’ve never seen anything like it. So pretty!
You can get some gorgeous photos at this stop. There is a gift shop on site that sells a few snacks, too.
Drive Through the Volcano Take a Mud Bath
Touted as the world’s only drive-in volcano, there’s actually an inactive volcano on the island that last erupted 200 years ago, and you can drive right into it and take a bath in the sulfur springs. It does not smell good, if you don’t know what sulfur smells like I’m just going to make sure I make note of that. However, how many times in your life do you get to bathe in a natural sulfur bath whose water flowed through a volcano? So suck it up and DO IT!
First you walk through this sulfur bath, and it’s hot – naturally hot from the ground, and then you can rub lava mud all over yourself which is good for your skin and tons of fun. Then get back in the bath and wash it off. It’s a crazy experience and the kids wanted no part of this, though they would have been welcome to join in. I am pretty sure that rotten egg smell kept them away! Still, my husband and I enjoyed it and I’m so glad we took the plunge and did it!
Soufriere, literally translated means ‘sulfur in the air’. And you can smell the volcano from this town, but wow, what a view. We stopped at a gorgeous lookout to view Soufriere from above and I think I took 100 pictures right in this spot alone. It’s hard to capture the beauty of the colorful buildings against the mountains and that crystal blue water.
See The Pitons
Saint Lucia is known for the Piton mountains, a pair of peaks that look like they’re side-by-side in photos but are actually 3 miles apart. Gros Piton is the highest point, and Petit Piton is the lower mountain.
We got a bunch of different views of the Pitons from different places on the island and in every case, they are so stunning. If you’ve seen that Disney short film, Lava, you’ll be reminded of it by these mountains. They are WOW and make for some amazing pictures both from land and from sea (I included a couple below taken from the boat!).
Walk Under a Waterfall
Unlike the Diamond Waterfalls in the Botanical Gardens, this waterfall is safe to swim under. And so we did! And the water was COLD! But again, it’s one of those can’t-miss experiences. We never really got the name of this waterfall but after some Googling, I think it’s called Toraille Waterfalls.
My husband and son were the only two in my family that were brave enough to dive right in. Everyone was clapping for them! This waterfall swim is part of the Green Jeep Safari excursion, but you can probably make arrangements to grab a cab and just go there without it being part of a larger outing. However, there’s not much to do here other than play in the water, so I’m glad it was one of several stops during our day out.
It’s gorgeous, great for photos, and an awesome memory. Try to wear water shoes if you have them. You’ll have to climb down a few flat stones to get into the water and it was good to have something on our feet.
Sail and Snorkel
All of the things to do above were part of a land excursion, and that was really enough activity for one day. On a different day, we did a half-day Sail and Snorkel excursion where we got on a catamaran in Laborie, sailed to two separate beaches to snorkel, and then came back to Soufriere to take the transfer back to our resort. I think this day was everyone’s favorite day of our entire trip.
If your resort is not on the Caribbean side of the island, you will want to make plans to get there. The sea is just crystal clear and absolutely gorgeous. If you like to snorkel, you’ll love some of these spots, and if you have young children, the sea is calm and perfect for them to play in without getting knocked over by waves.
Our excursion left Laborie in the morning and sailed for probably an hour to our first stop, Sugar Beach. This is a white sand beach that is just stunning. It looks like something out of a magazine with it’s view of the Piton mountains and that blue water.
You’ll want to take some cash on these outings. We met the coolest local who was making these neat animals out of palm leaves. He didn’t ask for payment but we gave him a few bucks. I managed to get these home in one piece and they’re one of our favorite souvenirs from the trip!
The snorkeling at Sugar Beach was fantastic. We saw tons of cool fish, coral, and sea urchins. You will get off the boat onto a dock, walk up on shore, gear up to go snorkel, and then walk down into the water. That walk into the water is VERY rocky and it’s a bit tricky to navigate with your flippers on. But the views under the water were worth it!
After snorkeling at Sugar Beach, we got back on the boat and sailed a little further north to another beach, Anse Chastanet. This is a black sand beach, black from the volcano, and it’s beautiful!
I actually liked snorkeling here a little bit more because we just jumped off the boat into the water. So much easier!
We saw this awesome and HUGE crab crawling along the bottom of the ocean floor while we were swimming, and the first mate on our catamaran dove down and picked him up! Another case for hanging with the locals!
The sea floor is full of life: coral, sea urchins, all kinds of fish. I’m pretty sure that parrot fish in one of the photos below was smiling for the camera!
This spot has yet another beautiful view of the Pitons. When we finished snorkeling, the tour boat did provide a few finger foods and drinks while we sailed back to Soufriere to catch our transfer back to the resort.
We were pretty wiped out when we got back, so I’m glad that we made a half-day out of this. Some folks on our boat continued on to do the land portion of the tour that we had done on a previous day. I think when you’re traveling with kids that I’d recommend splitting it up so you get some down time at the resort each day. We crammed in a lot in these half-day trips and it was plenty.
There are many other tours, excursions, and things to do in Saint Lucia. You can go zip-lining, do a canopy tour above the trees, and try several other boating and fishing adventures. The places we hit with the kids were amazing and made my list of must-dos on your trip! Have anything to add? Leave me a comment below. We’d love to get back to Saint Lucia one day and take in even more of this beautiful island!
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