The island of Puerto Rico provides a perfect setting for a chill family vacation filled with sun, sand, excellent food and cultural things to do.

Logistics are easy, which is important when traveling with kids. Puerto Rico is in the Atlantic time zone (just 3 hours by plane from New York City, for example) which means U.S. residents are either in the same time zone already or only have to adjust by a few hours. Multiple flights per day are available to San Juan, Puerto Rico’s currency is the U.S. dollar, most Puerto Ricans speak English and no passport is required for U.S. residents to visit.

Here are some ideas for how to live your own 5-star vacation story in Puerto Rico on a family holiday.

Beautiful Beaches

Spending time on the beach is a must-do Puerto Rico attraction whether you’re relaxing in white sand or surfing the western beaches of Rincon or snorkeling around Vieques. The island has 270 miles of coastline so there is a lot to choose from including some secluded options. Flamenco Beach in Culebra is often cited as one of the best beaches in the world.

Visit the Rainforest

El Yunque rainforest is the only rainforest under the U.S. National Park Service. It’s still in pristine condition with very little human modification and has a long history of research dating back to the 1930s. Needless to say, the area is incredibly biodiverse and popular for hiking. Kids will love looking for little coquà­ frogs among other reptiles, tropical birds and native mammalsOne not-to-be-missed sight is the La Mina waterfall located off of the popular and aptly-named La Mina trail.

La Mina falls cascades into a cool pool in the El Yunque national forest Puerto Rico.

Bring swimsuits as you’ll want to hop in the water here, too. Note that this hike is most suitable for kids over the age of five or so. Ranger-led walks at the Palo Colorado Visitors Center are a way for younger kids to enjoy the rainforest.

Bioluminescent Bays

One of the best examples of a bioluminescent bay is in Puerto Rico and a highlight for families. The best way to see it is via a tour, but you’ll need to check the moon calendar to be sure a full moon won’t interrupt your sight lines. The luminescence in the bay is caused by a micro-organism called the dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense, which glows neon blue whenever the water is disturbed.

Historic Old San Juan

A child climbing on a stack of old cannonballs with Old San Juan in the distance in Fort El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A visit to Old San Juan is likened to stepping into a time machine with its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture and abandoned fortresses. Kids will love flying kites in the trade winds over the open fields at El Morro—Puerto Rico’s most famous historic structure. Exploring the narrow passageways and look-out points in the important fortress (built in 1539) is a must. Other sites to see include a fantastic Children’s Museum, Casa Blanca (the original home of Ponce de Leon) and much more here.

Adventure Activities

Go horseback riding, participate in water sports and go on cave tours. Toro Verde features one of the longest Zip Lines on Earth. It’s called La Bestia and is 4575 feet long!

Pin this post for later:

Learn the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids for your next family vacation in paradise.

Why would you like to visit Puerto Rico? Have you been?

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

More in the Caribbean

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Beautiful photos! The waterfall hike looks like a must do for sure! I think many people overlook this destination but it’s one I need to put on my list. We are heading to Miami and the Dominican Republic in a few months. Looking forward to some warm temps! Happy New Year to you!

  2. We haven’t been… but certainly looking into it. Looks like there are some excellent options for families.