Puerto Rico, known for its rich culture and stunning landscapes, is a favorite destination for families.

From hundreds of beaches to historic cities, things to do in Puerto Rico with kids are endless and ensure non-stop fun for everyone. 

The archipelago’s highlights, like snorkeling, hiking, and ziplining, are topped with a welcoming and inviting culture in which kids are smiled at and taken care of by everyone.

Here are the best things to do in Puerto Rico as a family, along with some top tips to help you plan your trip.

A young girl cooling off in the fountain mist
Take time to explore the historic town and city centers on foot © Piepereit / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Is Puerto Rico good for kids?

Puerto Rico has attractions for every taste and age. Popular things to do in Puerto Rico with kids are mostly free or cheap, so you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a memorable family vacation. 

Kids are welcomed in restaurants, beaches, museums and malls. Most restaurants offer high chairs and kid-friendly menus, and family bathrooms with baby changing tables are common in shopping malls.

You’ll need a rental car to move around the island, as public transportation is limited and not the most suitable for traveling with kids. 

If traveling with a baby, a carrier or sling is the best option for exploring Puerto Rico's outdoor attractions such as the rainforest, reserves, waterfalls and beaches, as these will have rough and unpaved terrain. In cities, an umbrella stroller is a good option.

A mother and a son walk along a path in a dense forest alongside a waterway
Adventurous families should base themselves in El Yunque National Forest © Marcelo Murillo / Shutterstock

Where is best in Puerto Rico for kids?

Coastal towns like Cabo Rojo and offshore islands like Vieques and Culebra promise a fun beach vacation. History comes to life in San Juan, Ponce and San Germán with family-friendly museums and landmarks. 

Head to El Yunque National Forest in the northeast to soak in nature while hiking, ziplining and horseback riding. The mountainous region, though challenging to navigate, has rivers, farms and affordable restaurants ideal for a retreat on a budget.

Even the Metro Region fusions top-notch accommodations and malls with beaches, historical sites and outdoor attractions.

Spending time in San Juan? Here are the city's best activities

Best things to do in Puerto Rico with babies and toddlers

Spend a day at a water park

Puerto Rico houses water parks where both parents and kids can escape the heat. Las Cascadas Waterpark in Aguadilla, Surf N Fun in San Germán and Albergue Olímpico in Salinas are the largest water parks on the island.

Toddlers can play in water jets and shallow pools while adults relax at wave pools and lazy rivers.

See the colorful murals of Casitas de Colores

Admire colorful Casitas de Colores (colored houses) murals created by artists of the community group Pintalto. These murals are characterized for covering structures entirely in asymmetrical vibrant shapes resembling puzzles or mosaics.

Manatí hosts the first mural, but it’s Yaucromatic in Yauco that’s the most popular among these eye-catching exhibitions. Find more Casitas de Colores in Las Piedras, Añasco, Río Grande and Aguadilla too.

Get a hands-on experience at Puerto Rico's museums

At Museo del Niño in Carolina and C3Tec in Caguas, kids learn and play with interactive science exhibitions. Smaller museums like the Aguadilla and Bayamón art museums and the History, Anthropology, and Art Museum offer free crafts and art workshops on weekends.

Enjoy the Christmas holiday vibe

From November to January, the holidays take over Puerto Rico. During these months, each municipality puts up Christmas decorations and lights them up in events known as encendidos.

If you happen to be in Puerto Rico at this time of year, one of the best things to do with toddlers is to visit public plazas to see the colorful decorations on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's and Epiphany Day.

Alternatively, venture into shopping malls like Plaza las Américas, which turn into Santa Towns with snow simulations.

Ready to plan your trip to Puerto Rico? This seasonal guide can help you choose when to go 

Children and parents are playing with kites in front of a seaside fortress
Fly kites with the locals on the esplanade after exploring the forts of San Juan © solar737 / Getty Images

Best things to do in Puerto Rico with school-age kids

Go snorkeling 

Snorkeling is one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Puerto Rico. The beaches in the archipelago have high underwater visibility that makes it easy to spot sea turtles, manta rays, corals, and schools of fish even from a distance.

For example, turtles, blue tangs, yellowtail snappers, and damselfish swim at Escambrón Beach’s artificial reefs, located right in San Juan. Offshore, the islands of Vieques and Culebra mesmerize visitors with the thriving reefs on their coasts.

You’ll find snorkeling gear rentals on popular public beaches like Flamenco Beach and Seven Seas Beach, but if you’re planning to visit remote beaches without facilities, it’s best to bring your snorkeling gear with you.

Explore San Juan's historic fortresses

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro, and Castillo San Cristóbal are two of the best things to do in San Juan with family. These fortresses were built by the Spaniards in 1539 and 1634. 

Kids visiting will rave about secret tunnels, dungeons, and courtyards while learning about pirate attacks and epic battles. The esplanade outside El Morro is a popular kite-flying spot. Visit in the late afternoon for cooler temperatures.

Be entertained at a vibrant festival

All Puerto Rico festivals feature music, dancing and delicious food. The Festival De Las Máscaras de Hatillo (Hatillo Mask Festival) takes place every December 28 and it will entertain kids for hours with vibrant costumes and parades. 

Visit in late February or March, and take your kids to the Ponce Carnival, known for its vejigantes, folk characters that play around with the festival visitors. Aibonito’s Flower Festival between June and July and the Festival of Cold in Adjuntas in late February are also kid-friendly festivities in Puerto Rico.

Children with a red surfboard at the beach
There are several surf schools in Puerto Rico offering group lessons, perfect for tweens and teens © Dora Ramirez / Shutterstock

Best things to do in Puerto Rico with tweens and teenagers

Check out the stunning bioluminescent bays

Puerto Rico has three "bio bays" with a dense concentration of microscopic algae that creates a glowing effect in the dark. Head out on a family adventure to kayak in the brightest bio bay in the world at Mosquito Bay in Vieques or in Laguna Grande near Puerto Rico's main airport. 

For a literal immersive experience, dive at La Parguera in Lajas and watch the water light up with every movement. 

Puerto Rico’s bio bays shine throughout the year, but time your visit during the new moon phase to appreciate the glow at its best.

Fly through the sky on a zip line

Adventure-loving families shouldn't miss the second-longest zip line in the world at Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis or the tallest zip line in the Caribbean in Jayuya. El Yunque also offers multiple zip line parks that make for a fun family day out.

Learn to surf

There are plenty of beaches in Puerto Rico to ride waves with your family at any time of the year. Surfer’s Beach in Aguadilla, Middles Beach in Isabela and Domes Beach in Rincón, are sought-after surfing beaches on the West Coast. 

Find surfing shops and rentals near Hobie Beach in Carolina, Aviones Beach in Loíza and La Pared in Luquillo on the north coast. Don’t shy away from the experience if you’re new to the sport. Rincón Surf School, Water World Surfing School or Surfing Puerto Rico offer group surfing classes, perfect for keeping active teens busy.

Planning tips

While beaches are one of the best things to experience in Puerto Rico with kids, not all of them are safe for swimming. Always check locally and look out for red flags on the beach before dipping in.

To prevent mosquito-borne illnesses – such as dengue, chikungunya, or zika – use bug repellent. You can easily find it in drugstores and supermarkets in Puerto Rico.

A car is recommended for moving between towns. However, historical city centers or downtown (often known as pueblo) in places like Old San Juan, Ponce Pueblo, Aguadilla Pueblo, Rincón Pueblo, Isabel II in Vieques, and Dewey in Culebra are pedestrian-friendly areas with the main plaza, restaurants, shops, attractions, and hotels within walking distance.

This article was first published May 10, 2021 and updated Apr 29, 2024.

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