St Lucia is a lush rainforest island which has beautiful beaches, idyllic bays, stunning waterfalls, a rich culture and something to entertain every member of a family. This guide to St Lucia has been written to help families plan a memorable holiday and make the most of their time on the island.
Best family attractions, excursions in St Lucia
Just a handful of the activities I have enjoyed and I can recommend to parents who are considering booking a family holiday to St Lucia include – whale and dolphin safari boat trips, creating chocolate at the Rabot Estate (the cocoa plantation of Hotel Chocolat), visiting the Caribbean’s only ‘drive-in’ volcano in La Soufrière (I warn you it is rather smelly from the sulphur but well worth a visit!), ziplining through the rainforest, climbing the Gros Piton and exploring the military ruins and fort at Pigeon Point National Park. Parents and older ‘kids’ will also enjoy sipping cocktails overlooking the mighty Pitons;)
Images – Making chocolate at the Rabot Estate; preparing to go zip lining & cocktails overlooking the Pitons at Jade Mountain (a romantic couples resort, not suitable for under 15 year olds)
Best family accommodation in St Lucia
I was fortunate to visit and stay at several fabulous resorts during a familiarisation visit with the St Lucia Tourist Board. Some of the resorts were particularly well suited for families including the Marigot Bay Resort (which has recently had a multi-million dollar renovation and is now known as the Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina). The new resort offers plenty for children including learning to sail, being a sailor or rainforest ranger for the day and creole cooking classes.
Image – Marigot Bay, described by legendary American author James A. Michener as “the most beautiful in the Caribbean”
I was particularly impressed by the luxurious Sugar Beach Viceroy Resort. Located in the south of the island overlooking the Pitons, this family-friendly resort offers a complimentary Sugar Club for 4-12 year olds and Spice Club for teenagers. The resort pool is set between the two Pitons for maximum wow factor and each room has a private plunge pool. Families are well catered for with a wide choice of room options from superior luxury one bedroom villas through to four bedroom residences which cater for up to 4 adults and 4 children.
Families looking for the comforts of their home with the amenities of an all-inclusive resort will love Windjammer Landing. Located near the vibrant Rodney Bay in the north, it is a large villa beach resort which has two pools specifically for children, babysitting services and a dedicated kids club – Jacquot Fun Club. The beach is also stunning! The villas at Windjammer Landing are luxurious and yet functional, offering families three and four-bedroom villas with lots of space to enjoy (or avoid) each other’s company! I thoroughly enjoyed the evening entertainment at the Windjammer as it catered for the whole family.
Images – Stunning beach at the Windjammer Landing
I was also captivated by Cap Maison, located near Rodney Bay on a cliff edge overlooking the Caribbean sea. This luxurious boutique resort offers villas which work particularly well with family groups with interconnecting villas which can be booked individually by one family or collectively as several families/or a multi generational family travelling together. The resorts secluded little beach ‘Smuggler Cove’ can be reached via a staircase of steep steps for a day of relaxing, dining at the ‘Naked Fisherman Restaurant’ or enjoying complimentary kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing and snorkelling.
Top tips for a family holiday in St Lucia
*** The main lesson learnt from my time touring the island with the tourist board is that St Lucia is best experienced with a twin stop holiday. St Lucia is a large island, approximately 14 miles wide by 27 miles long. To fully experience the rich culture and diverse nature of the island I recommend you spend time in the north near Rodney Bay which has great beaches and a variety of bars and restaurants and also some time in the tranquil and scenic south near the Piton mountains which have UNESCO World Heritage status.
*** To fully appreciate the sheer beauty of the Pitons I also suggest that you view them from the water. Book a whale and dolphin tour or a boat sightseeing tour and see the majestical peaks from a uniquely different perspective!
*** Families with older children will enjoy the Gros Islet street party, affectionately known as ‘Jump Up’ which takes place every Friday night. The live music, Creole and Caribbean street food and party atmosphere are unmissable experiences! (Young local children were present at the party I attended however I would suggest it is an experience to best share with older kids. Also as with any busy tourist area it is suggested that you leave valuables at home and keep wallets in front pockets).
*** If you enjoy music, do not miss the family-friendly annual Jazz & Arts Festival. Performers in the past have included UB40, Rihanna, Diana Ross; the star performances the year I attended were The O’Jays and R Kelly. Believe me, the St Lucians know how to party! It was an incredible event enjoyed by local families and visitors alike. Although known as a Jazz Festival the music on offer is varied including R&B, Soul, Pop, Reggae and Soca, as well as Jazz.
Images – Fun at the St Lucia Jazz Festival
***If you have a head for heights I recommend zip lining through the lush green rainforest. Soaring 150 feet off the forest floor on 12 different zip lines some with 800 feet between platforms will be an unforgettable moment of your holiday. (Top tip – wear sensible footwear! The first time I zip lined in St Lucia I was wearing flip flops… not ideal!)
Best time to travel to St Lucia
Peak season runs from mid-December to April. Weather is generally at its best during these months however of course accommodation costs are also higher particularly over the school holidays. It is worth noting that out of season the rainforest island of St Lucia gets more rain than other less mountainous islands such as Antigua and Barbados.
The hurricane season runs from June to November, with September and October the likeliest months for large storms. Taking all of this into account, May is a good time to visit – and it coincides with the Jazz Festival as mentioned above:)
Getting to St Lucia
The flight time is round nine hours from London and eight hours on the return back to London. Two scheduled airlines fly direct from Gatwick to St Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport, in the far south of the island: British Airways ba.com and Virgin Atlantic virgin-atlantic.com
Twin island holiday options
As recommended above, St Lucia works particularly well for a twin holiday stop. For example a weeks stay at Cap Maison near Rodney Bay and a weeks stay at Sugar Beach overlooking the Pitons. Alternatively fly approximately 35 minutes from St Lucia to the Grenadines i.e St Vincent or Mystique or fly by 45 minute charter flight with Liat liat.com to Barbados.
For more information about St Lucia check out the official tourist board website
We hope Travel Loving Family’s guide to St Lucia is helpful in planning your family holiday.
Disclosure – I visited the island on a luxury tour operator familiarisation visit with the St Lucia Tourist Board. All opinions are (as always) my own. All images are copyright Travel Loving Family.