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BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Families in Paradise

   

Families are greatly welcomed in the BVI. Little Dix Bay Resort at Virgin Gorda's Beach Coast  is a luxury family resort with its famous Rose Buds™ for Children program in its special Children's Grove, a 2500 sq. ft. interior play space that includes a shipwreck and a dress-up parlor.  

Little Dix Bay is a great resort for families!

The Children's Grove features pirate tales, beach games and sand sculptures, calypso music, tropical arts and crafts, nature walks, shell collecting, treasure hunts and a mid-morning snack.
Tour the BVI

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Kids'
Treasure
Hunt

Search for buried treasure left by pirates in The Caves at Treasure Island. An all around adventure involving sailing, dinghying, snorkeling, fish feeding and exploring a cave by water.

And party fun for kids in the day and adults at night at the Willie T floating bar

Beaches

A great attraction for families, beaches are fun for the whole family. Most BVI beaches are well protected behind reefs, but check about undertow and surf dangers before swimming, especially on Tortola's Ocean Coast beaches.

Beachcombing and shell collecting are an all time favorite activity. See Trellis Bay for some tips.

Books

Pirate tales Long John Silver
comes alive in Treasure Island, the classic children's book by Robert Lewis Stevenson.

Danger, Dolphins, and Ginger Beer is a modern kid's adventure set in the islands. The Nature of the Islands: Plants & Animals of the Eastern Caribbean is good for the older child who likes to read about nature.

Snorkeling Guide to
Marine Life

A fantastic little book, just packed with pictures and identifying info.

The Jolly Mon by Jimmy Buffett
Children's Fiction: Bright ebullient paintings easily capture the sunshine and sea breezes of the warm climate

Day Sails

A great outing, especially when snorkeling (including instruction) is part of the itinerary. Sea kayaking and various small boating activities are hands-on activites for families.

Dinghy tour around the North Sound.

The Baths

A not-to-be-missed location to visit for families! Older kids can take the trail through these giant boulders without their parents. Younger kids, especially those who want to learn to snorkel, can go the other way down the beach to The Crawl with its protected small lagoon with all the elements of an actual reef!

Go early or late to avoid the crowds when  the cruise ships dock in Road Town.

Snorkeling

Learn to Snorkel
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The Crawl

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Feeding fish is part of the Kid's Treasure Hunt at The Caves (big kid: Jere Lull). Learn to snorkel at The Crawl, on day sails or in quiet bays.

Games

Slammin' Dominos, a popular BVI pasttime, is found at many bars and snackettes and is especially fun for older kids. Darts are another game found in pubs and bars. Many bars in the BVI, often converted houses with open air porches, are family friendly places.

Miniature golf is available at the Mineshaft on Virgin Gorda.

Nature

Nature is especially entertaining to the whole family, and nothing beats an exotic paradise! Identifying wildlife is always fun, especially since the tropics have their own exotic species.

Its name?

Clue: identical to tree of same name

Be on the lookout for
exotic butterflies!

Exploring
Dry
Sunny
Habitats

Lizard hunts are rewarding for the abundance of these creatures found scurrying on dry, sunny trails. Aloe can be broken to reveal its healing healing greenish goo. Find a frangipani tree in bloom and see how long one of its white flowers last before wilting to see how succulent plants store moisture.

Hermit
Crabs

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Commando Crab surveys
risky traverse of
beach path.
The risk?
Kid collectors at Savannah Bay!

Real Hermit crabs, like the ones with shell "homes" sold in shops, are fascinating to find in the "wild." Known as the "soldier crab," this purple-clawed variety is found in the Caribbean.

Also, look for the hermit crab's favorite shell- home supplier, the whelk. More formally introduced as the West Indian Top sea snail, the whelk inhabits the tide line on rocky outcroppings, its shell a find for the collector as well as the hermit crab.

A beauty it is, the West Indian Top, a natural version of a spinning toy, earning its name from the resemblance. Kid collectors can find out why this island beauty is such a favorite shell.

And, watch out kids, the Mom may want to cook the whelk, often served as "escargot" in the islands.  :)

Ghost
Crabs

Yellowish ghost crabs can be seen, in their unworldly colors, near beaches, especially in the evening. Land crab burrows can be scouted out at land claimed from mangroves.

Attract
Birds

Get some sugar to attract bananaquits-- everyone's favorite little bird!

*the sugar thief*

Colorful
Fish

Inquire where the fishermen clean their fish and try to spot the magnificent frigatebird diving for scraps. Your informal snack bar serving fish may be willing to show you and the kids the colorful local fish used for lunch.

Look for
tropical fish
motifs in shops.

Camping

Why not take the kids camping for a night or two? I hear what you are saying, getting all the gear, the tent, etc. In the islands, however, sites come with tents, beds on platforms with matresses and bedding. Right on the beach!

Take the ferry to Jost Van Dyke, hike to White Bay, and camp overnight. Or at Brewer's Bay, it's great cheeseburgers and a pina colada for dad at Nicole's Beach Bar--this is vacation camping!

Camp under seagrape "roofs" at Loblolly Bay!

Be sure to protect against "No-See-Ums" on the beaches.

History & Culture

Kids will want to study the Arawak indians and their use of zemis. How the fierce Carib Indians used the Manchineel tree to poison their darts. How buccaneers got their name. What's the difference between a pirate and privateer? What's a Mako Jumbie and the significance of the August Festival? Some family members get their hair braided island style.

It's fun to find out about the history & culture of the place that you visit.

DVD

Travel With Kids Caribbean DVD  

This exciting DVD is a passport to the exciting and educational family trip of a lifetime, from Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and by ferry to beautiful Tortola and "The Baths" of Virgin Gorda and their beaches and scenic wonders.

Chartering with Kids. Happy Charters With Kids, Boatsafe Kids.
Crewed Charter Yachts That Enjoy Families. See Crewed Charters--Families.
Another Children's Program.
 Prospect Reef Resort  has a special marine ecology program for kids.
The BVI Book for Families. Visiting the Virgin Islands With Kids : A Complete Guide to Enjoyable Travel With Children in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands by Richard B. Myers, 1996, from Two Thousand Three Assocs. Click here to order (only $11.16 after 20% off the list price). All sales commissions for this book are donated to the BVI National Parks Trust for the preservation of the natural and marine heritage of the islands.
National Geographic Traveller. Great Family Travel articles including Kid's Travel Photography, Travel with Babies, Foods for Families, Travels with Grandchildren, Kid's Outdoor Travel, and Teens: Overseas Learning.
Families Link. 
Travel with Kids
is a site about traveling families.
Sail Caribbean. Teenage Summer Sailing & Scuba Programs
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More
Island
Adventures

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Examples of Family Packages that are available at great rates in the summer offseason:

Family Break Package at luxurious Biras Creek Resort. A 7-night package tailored to families (two adults and three children aged 6 to 12), including two ocean-view suites, a reef tour in a glass-bottom boat and a sunset sail for the parents   Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner for all are included.

Family Vacation Package at the Bitter End Resort offers two connecting rooms at their Beachfront Villas or Commodore Suites for the price of one for two adults and two children aged 6 to 18. The Bitter End's friendly staff will be happy to teach your children the basics of sailing, snorkeling, and windsurfing while younger children learn sand painting, join guided walks, and take part in storytelling and snorkeling trips. All Admiral's Package benefits apply, including three meals daily, airport transfers, complimentary blue water excursions, snorkeling trips, the club's fleet, Sunday regatta and party, aerobics and exercise, swimming, VitaCourse and running track, walking/hiking trails, scuba diving, introduction to sailing, Manager's Monday night cocktail party, and sunset cocktail cruise.

The Great Family Escape Package at Long Bay Beach Resort,  per family of four for seven nights, includes: two Hillside studios with lovely ocean views, or upgrade to your own private villa; full breakfast each morning at the Beach Cafe; two candlelight dinners per person in our renowned restaurant; free use of a rental car for three days; day long sailing voyage to explore the islands, plus lunch, open bar, and snorkeling; many Long Bay extras, including free day-time tennis and use of our 9-hole pitch-and-putt golf course.

Summer Family Dive Special! DiveBVI-Guavaberry Spring Bay Homes (the very popular houses on stilts at The Baths) package includes 7 nights in two bedroom house for family of four, 5 days of diving for two, hotel tax and service on room, all diving equipment!.

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