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The ultimate guide to the perfect St Barts family vacation

Published

9 August, 2023

Edited

6 March, 2024

St Barts. The dream-come-true destination in the Caribbean. Sugar-soft sand, azure oceans, superb villas, and a unique personality unlike any other Caribbean island. It really doesn't get much better than this if you want the perfect family holiday in the sun. A St Barts family vacation is your chance to relax and spend quality time with the children before they grow up.

Our family vacation guide to St Barts is designed to give you some ideas of what to do and where to go. We'll look at fun things to do with your little ones and tell you about child-friendly places to visit in St Barts and keep them entertained. We’ll also give you some tips for families in St Barts, including some of the best curated St Barts villas on offer from onefinestay.

About St Barts

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the Caribbean and part of the Leeward Islands, St Barts is an utterly charming island that covers just 21km². However small this delightful destination may be, it packs in plenty of character. Unlike many of the other Caribbean islands, St Barts (or St Barthelemy) is a French territory and is heavily influenced by the language, culture and cuisine of Europe. Add a dash of Caribbean sunshine and Dutch, Swedish, and Afro-Caribbean influences, and you have a unique, incredibly beautiful destination. Family is everything in St Barts, so it's no surprise that there are lots of things to do in St Barts with little ones.

Fun things to do with children in St Barts

Once you’ve settled into your unmatched St Barts villa, it’s time to explore the island and everything it has to offer. Many of the things to do in St Barts with kids focus on the water, with gorgeous beaches, clear blue water, and safe areas protected by reefs. The currents around St Barts’ beaches are relatively gentle so conditions are ideal for snorkelling and paddling.

The best spot for snorkelling is Colombier Beach, where you can drift on the surface and peer down at a colourful underwater world filled with vibrant marine life, including the majestic turtles that call these islands home.

Take a catamaran tour around the island

This tip for families in St Barts is one that the whole family can enjoy. Catamarans skim across the water on twin hulls, making them faster than a sailboat and more exciting.

As you tour the coastline, you'll be able to experience the island from a very different perspective and see just how beautiful it is. It's a fabulous family day out, with dolphins playing on the prow and the chance to stop and anchor in a quiet cove for some snorkelling.

Visit Gustavia's Wall House Museum

It wasn't just the French that had a big influence on the island of St Barts – there's plenty of Scandinavian ancestry in its roots, too.

Wall House Museum is an imposing building built during the Swedish period when the French king Louis XVI traded the pirate-infested island over to Swedish control.

The museum provides fascinating snapshots of daily life on the island through the ages. The kids will love the swashbuckling stories of pirates and booty, while the items on display make this day out a great way to learn more about the island and its culture.

Enjoy thrilling water sports

We're back on the water again (with oceans this clear and warm, why wouldn't you?). Kayaking and paddleboarding are a wonderfully leisurely way to see the coastline and can be enjoyed by most ages. Kayaking in particular is one of the best things to do on a St Barts family vacation. If your St Barts villa has a beachfront location, you can easily get paddling early in the morning and turn the day into an exploration of the coastline. Your dedicated concierge will be able to arrange paddleboards and kayaks for you.

Take a leisurely hike along the scenic Colombier Trail

The island of St Barts is breathtaking, and the Colombier Trail takes you along the coastline from Flamands. On the way, you may see turtles and iguanas as you stroll along the sands of the secluded Colombier Beach.

The walk along the trail takes around half an hour to an hour, depending on how often you stop to admire the view. Our top tip: It’s wise to take plenty of water with you as it can get hot on the trail. Once you’re at Colombier Beach you’ll be rewarded by the bluest, calmest bay on the island – ideal for a paddle or a snorkel.

Must-visit places for families

As well as lots of beaches to enjoy (which we’ll come to in a moment), there are plenty of child-friendly places to visit in St Barts. Whether it's an afternoon of retail therapy or learning more about the island's natural wonders, here are our top places to visit on your St Barts family vacation.

Explore the charming streets of Gustavia

With its boutique shops and local markets, the island's capital is a wonderfully relaxed and welcoming place. Shady cafés and ice cream parlours on the waterfront ensure everyone stays cool and hydrated. There are lots of shops to explore, as well as galleries selling local artwork and crafts made by artisans on the island. It's the perfect place for a bit of souvenir shopping with the little ones.

Visit Fort Karl

For panoramic views of the island and interactive history exhibits, Fort Karl is hard to beat. Along with Fort Gustav, the English Fort and Fort Octav, this imposing citadel once guarded the town of Gustavia.

Fort Karl overlooks Shell Beach, and while its origins may have been as a fort, today it's more nature reserve than battlements, teeming with wildlife and utterly charming. Keep a look out for iguanas and some rare wildflowers that are unique to St Barts.

Get up close to sea turtles at the St Barts Open Sea Turtle Center

Two types of turtle are native to St Barts – the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle. The warm, shallow waters surrounding the island are perfect for these gentle creatures, and the island is actively ensuring their future is assured through a conservation and awareness programme.

The St Barts Open Sea Turtle Center lets you get closer to these creatures, learning more about them from experienced biologists and conservation experts who are passionate about protecting turtles.

Take a day trip to nearby islands

St Barts is part of a cluster of islands that make up the Leeward Islands. Day trips take you to neighbouring islands such as Anguilla or St. Martin.

Visiting the surrounding islands by boat or plane will add a touch of adventure and exploration to your St Barts family vacation and show the children just how different the cultures are on each island. Your dedicated concierge can arrange bespoke day trips for you and your family.

The best beaches for families in St Barts

No St Barts family vacation is complete without plenty of time spent at the beach. With so many to choose from, St Barts is an absolute delight for beach lovers and anyone who adores the feeling of sand between their toes and warm water lapping at their feet. Here are a few of our favourite St Barts beaches:

St Jean Beach

A lively beach with various water sports and beachfront restaurants. There’s plenty of gourmet food on offer for those who want to try the island’s Creole/French fusion cuisine and lots of water sports for anyone who loves messing around in the ocean.

Saline Beach

A serene and pristine setting perfect for relaxation and picnics. It's secluded, quiet, and just the spot to chill out and spend time with the family paddling and snorkelling.

Shell Beach

Ideal for families with younger children due to its calm waters. Shell Beach is one of the best child-friendly beaches to visit in St Barts.

Gouverneur Beach

A secluded paradise with powdery white sands and clear blue waters. It’s well worth seeking out this beautiful beach if you want that quintessential tropical paradise setting with white sand and shallow water filled with colourful fish and sedate turtles.

Top holiday hideaways for families visiting St Barts

At onefinestay, we adore St Barts – it’s up there with our favourite Caribbean islands. As well as boasting lots of beaches, attractions and things to do, this special island also has an outstanding cuisine and a vibrant culture, with plenty of events happening year-round. What's more, we can unlock the island's most enchanting villas for your stay, all of which come with a shimmering private pool. You can find out more about this magical destination and the villas on offer by browsing our St Barts villas and vacation home rentals.

FAQs

What is the best time to visit St Barts with family?

If you’re looking for that perfect St Barts family vacation, the best time to visit is between April and June, when conditions are just ideal and before the wet season kicks in.

What are the top family-friendly vacation rentals available on the island?

St Barts is renowned for its exceptional villa rentals. In St Barts, you can choose from beachfront villas to secluded escapes in the hills with panoramic ocean views. Explore our St Barts destination page for more information on the best villas in St Barts.

Are there kid-friendly restaurants and dining options in St Barts?

St Barts is famous for its cuisine, which blends Afro-Caribbean influences with classic French and European food to create a flavourful Creole-style menu with lots of kid-friendly dishes on offer. Your dedicated concierge can make reservations at the island’s kid-friendly restaurants for that special birthday treat.

Are there any childcare services or babysitting options available on the island?

At onefinestay, we ensure that no detail is overlooked to give you the perfect family vacation in St Barts. Your dedicated concierge can arrange childcare and babysitting services on request.

Plan your St Barts family getaway with onefinestay

With endless family-friendly homes and apartments in St Barts waiting to be discovered, onefinestay is your gateway to one of the most vibrant and attractive destinations in the world. Browse our destination guides to find out more or speak to our Travel Advisors who will match you with the dream St Barts for your family trip.