Because we’ve lived abroad for the last 11 (nearly 12) years, we often travel with the grandparents. Usually, when my parents or my in-laws come to stay, we take a trip together. In January this year we headed to Guatemala with my folks and we’ve previously explored Malinalco in Mexico with my in-laws. We might not get to see each other that often (not as often as if we lived in the same country in any case), but these times travelling together create some wonderful memories.
With a prospective visit from my husband’s parents on the horizon, we’ve started thinking about where we might like to go together. Top of the wish list right now is Barbados and I’ve been drooling over magazine-worthy Barbados villas on the beach. Usually on these multigenerational trips we hire a vacation rental rather than stay in a hotel. There’s more space, we don’t have to rush for breakfast or find family-friendly restaurant for dinner, and there’s somewhere for us adults to relax once the kids have gone to bed. Not surprisingly, Barbados has a lot of nice holiday homes to choose from!
Barbados with Kids
Ever since my friend Tara talked about her family trips to Barbados I’ve been wanting to go. I mean, what’s not love about Barbados?! A tiny coral island home to picture-perfect beaches, turquoise waters and tasty Bajan cuisine. For the kids there’s an abundance of wildlife from tortoises and brocket deer to the island’s very own green monkeys. And then there’s the swimming horses. My father-in-law is most excited not by the warm Caribbean waters but by the cricket. Now the island’s national sport (a nod to the island’s British heritage), there are games aplenty, including many played on the beach.
Which brings me back to beachfront villas. If this dream holiday comes off, where is the best beach to base ourselves? Barbados has more than its fair share of sandy idylls, more than 110km / 70 miles of beaches to be precise. There are beaches with white sand and beaches with pink sand, there are beaches perfect for swimming and those home to world class surfing, there are beaches for boogie boarding and beaches made for building sandcastles. In short, Barbados has a lot of really quite wonderful beaches! Best of all there are no private beaches and every arc of golden sand can be accessed by anyone.
In general the west coast, the Caribbean Sea side, is where you’ll find calmer waters and these are some of the best options for families. Towards the south and south-east the waves pick up and these beaches are ideal for watersports including windsurfing and boogie boarding (one of my kids’ favourite watery pastimes). Along the east coast, the Atlantic ocean side, is where the surfers congregate.
Barbados’ Best Beaches
The following list is by no means complete but these are some of the family-friendliest, or most interesting, that I’ve found.
One of the most popular beaches along the west coast, Mullins Beach is a good option for kids as the sea is usually calm. The long stretch of golden sand is perfect for building sandcastles, there are watersports on offer and sun loungers and umbrellas to rent. The only downside is that it can be crowded.
Located on the east coast of the island is Bathsheba, a favourite spot for weekending locals. The dramatic coastline is home to some of the island’s best surfing and attracts surfers from all over the world. The waters are too rough for swimming, particularly for kids, but it’s still worth visiting as it truly is a beautiful beach and perfect for collecting shells and rocks. The huge boulders washed up on the beach are, in fact, rock formations that have broken away form an ancient coral reef.
It goes without saying that we would visit Paynes Bay, given that it shares the same surname as my husband! Located on the west coast this is considered one of the island’s best beaches not only for the calm Caribbean waters but for the colourful neighbourhood. Mostly, I’m excited about chance to snorkel with turtles in the bay.
Lesser known than some of the other Barbados beaches is Paradise Beach, which you can access by walking south from neighbouring Batts Rock Beach. It got its name from a hotel that operated here until the 1980s and today is wonderfully peaceful. The perfect tropical getaway.
Regularly topping the scoreboard of world’s best beaches is Crane beach, a long, wide stretch of pinkish sand backed by swaying palm trees and limestone cliffs. Although not a brilliant beach for swimming (it’s better for boogie boarding), it’s still worth visiting as it really is that pretty.
Lively and popular with the locals this is a fun beach to visit. The water stays shallow a long way out, which is ideal for young kids. There can sometimes be a bit of surf here as well so kids can jump the waves or ride a boogie board (there are boards to rent).
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All images are courtesy of Pixabay