For decades, visitors have flocked to the sea in the Bahamas and Barbados. There is a picturesque quality in these Caribbean lands that is worth experiencing with the whole family.
When it’s time to pack up the kids and head out for a tropical vacation, the destination decisions are endless. And the classic argument between Barbados vs. the Bahamas always seems to come up. It may feel impossible to choose between two paradise-like options.
Both islands have a rich history, unique culture, and a vibrant activity scene. Regardless of how old your kids are, you’re bound to find fun and entertaining things no matter where you go.
But one must be better, right? Surely one outshines the other in the great debate of Barbados vs. the Bahamas? Is there a way to determine where you should take your kids for a beach getaway?
Let’s look at what makes these two locations so popular, and maybe discover how to decide where you should take the family for some relaxation on the beach.
Benefits of Taking Kids to the Caribbean
The first question we need to answer is simple: should you even take your kids on a fancy destination vacation to the Caribbean? There’s a lot of work to plan and execute such a trip. Bringing kids along may add a lot of logistics.
The good stuff almost always outweighs the tricky things about taking your kids on a Caribbean trip.
The joy on a child’s face is one of those tangible good things. Letting them romp and play in the sand and sun is good for children to experience.
Taking them someplace like Barbados or the Bahamas will be an extraordinary thing for your kids. Giving them opportunities to build good memories and have exciting experiences will help shape their perspective in incredible ways.
International travel is good for children to enjoy. Showing them different cultures and fantastic food helps them grow and mature. Starting them young with opportunities to have new and different experiences is exciting for a child to grow up.
Not to mention the bragging rights. Any kid who has been to the Caribbean has a great story to tell their friends at school. That alone should be reason enough to take the kids along for a vacation that they’ll never forget.
Barbados vs. the Bahamas
Both locations seem like perfect vacation destinations, regardless of how old your kids are. So you should take your kids along on a Caribbean vacation. But the question remains: where should you go?
The Bahamas have white sandy beaches, beautiful blue waters, and fantastic tourist attractions. The Bahamas comprises over 700 different islands – many of them uninhabited – east of the Florida coast. With shallow waters surrounding the islands, it’s a picture-perfect spot to kick back and relax for a while.
Barbados is known for as much sun and sea as an island and amiable and welcoming people. The island boasts beautiful caves and stunning botanical gardens to explore. Rum comes from Barbados, as well as grapefruit and incredible seafood. Not to mention Bridgetown, the capital city and a World Heritage Site, offers fun and excitement for everyone.
Debating on whether to visit Barbados vs. the Bahamas has no easy answer. But looking at some of the key differences might help you make your decision.
Weather in the Bahamas and Barbados
Planning for the weather can seem impossible. When you remember to grab your umbrella before heading out the door, it never rains. But the one time you forget it, it always tends to pour.
Planning around weather on vacation is even more unpredictable. But there’s wisdom in making sure you have an idea of what to expect before heading somewhere tropical.
The temperatures are always ideal in the beautiful Bahamas. The coldest month is January, when temperatures can dip below 70 degrees.
Coming from the frigid Midwest, even 60 degrees sounds excellent in January.
December to March is the cooler season, while May to October can be rainy and hotter. The islands fall within the hurricane belt, which means June to November can be tricky to visit. However, hurricanes don’t generally hit the Bahamas as frequently as other coastal communities.
Generally, the weather in the Bahamas is hot cloudy during the off-season, and warm and dry during the peak traveling time (December to April).
Like much of the Caribbean, Barbados primarily has two seasons: the dry and the wet seasons. The dry season (December to May) tends to be cooler and less rainy, while the wet season (June to November) is just what it sounds like: wet. It can also get warmer during the wet season.
Some travelers will tell you that there is no wrong time to go to Barbados. If you can tolerate the warm, wet months, then traveling to Barbados between July and November can be an ideal time to go. Barbados rarely experiences hurricanes, which makes hurricane season less of a threat.
However, the dry weather that hits the island can make the tropical destination closer to paradise. Visiting between January and May will expose you to beautiful, balmy weather that you won’t want to leave.
Beaches to Visit
Now that we’ve examined the weather of both places, we should consider one of the more pressing factors in deciding where to travel: who has the best beaches?
Barbados and the Bahamas are known for extraordinary beaches and the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The Caribbean is a fascinating place to explore sandy beaches with the kids, and these two spots are traveler favorites.
Family-friend beaches abound in the Bahamas. From Cable Beach to Pig Beach, the Bahamas offer great experiences for kids and parents alike.
Cable Beach in Nassau is one of the more popular beaches in the area, so be prepared for crowds (depending on when you visit). The beach offers excellent swimming, strolling, and sunbathing opportunities on Providence Island.
Pink Sand Beach is another excellent place to take the little ones. Pink Sand is considered one of the best beaches in the Bahamas, with almost pink sand. At Pink Sand, the beach is always cool underfoot, making it a great place to relax and let the kids play.
Of course, the famous Pig Beach is a big draw for the little ones in your family. Located on the Exumas, uninhabited islands in the Bahamas, visiting Pig Beach allows you to swim with pigs. That’s right. Pigs live on the beach, and they love swimming!
Barbados offers a variety of beach experiences despite its small size. You can visit the Atlantic side, where the waves are big and crashing. Or you can hop over to the Caribbean side, where the beaches are busy, and the sea is calm. Whatever you choose, you’re making some fantastic memories for the kiddos in your group.
Crane Beach is one of those pristine locations that can easily be called beautiful. Some consider it one of the world’s best beaches. There’s plenty of sand for the kids to run and play in while you and your partner enjoy the rolling waves coming up the shore.
Accra Beach (or Rockley Beach) is an attractive option. Hosting the Barbados Boardwalk, you can travel from one end to another on a smooth, easy surface. You’ll pass some good food, some friendly hotels, and some stunning views of the Sea. With shallow, warm water, it’s a great place to swim with the kids.
If the kids are a little older and slightly adventurous, taking them to Silver Sands Beach will expose them to numerous exciting opportunities. Kiteboarding, surfing, and paddleboarding await you all on the open waters.
Fun Activities for Families
The next thing to consider is what you and your family will do while you vacation. Whether you go to the Bahamas or Barbados, the beach is a sure option. But what about when you want to get away from the sandy shores?
When you’re chilling with your kids on a tropical island, finding things to do might be the furthest thing from your mind. In the Bahamas, it’s easy to find fun activities that will keep everyone entertained.
Aquaventure Water Park is a fan favorite in the Bahamas. Situated on 141 acres of non-stop water park fun on Paradis Island, this adventure is going to make your kids squeal with delight. There’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied, from the water slides to the lazy river to the various swimming pools.
While you’re on Paradise Island, do yourself a favor and take the kids to the chocolatier. That’s right; the Graycliff Chocolatier is ready with a tour and a tasting experience that is guaranteed to please. The kids will find this exciting, and parents will find it enlightening as you learn the chocolate-making process.
A trip to the Caribbean would be incomplete without pirates! Take the kids for the experience of a lifetime at the Pirates of Nassau Museum. The museum is the perfect place to get a little culture while you’re on vacation and is full of interactive displays and kid-friendly activities.
The small island is no slouch for keeping the little ones entertained. Bringing your kids along to Barbados gives them the chance to experience things they can’t do anywhere else.
Visit the uttermost parts of the Sea with an Atlantic Submarine tour. Explore the world that exists underwater with a submarine cruise through the Caribbean. Your kids will hem and haw over the marvelous things they will see under the sea.
Experience the wildlife of the island at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. It’s even better than a zoo, and you can take your kids through the wildlife exhibits where the animals run free. With very few cages, Barbados Wildlife Reserve gives the kids a picture of the animals in their natural environment.
Harrison’s Cave is a limestone cave with beautiful clear water streams and great geological wonders. Tram tours take the whole family through an incredible experience that the kids will be talking about for months.
When you’ve got kids in tow, it’s not always easy to find a good restaurant that satisfies everyone’s needs. If you’ve got picky kids (or maybe a picky spouse), you want to make sure you have some excellent options before taking your trip.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of great food choices available to you and your family in the Caribbean.
If you’re hanging out in Nassau, then be sure you check out Louis & Steen’s Market Orleans. They have quality coffee for the adults and delicious food choices for the kids. Serving up specialty Cajun fare, this place is going to leave you satisfied.
The Burger Shack is a great place to get fresh salads, delicious seafood, and tasty burgers. You can even find some vegetarian choices with a unique Bahamian twist. The family-friendly Shack is a great place to kick back and enjoy a yummy meal before you head back out in the sun.
Of course, there are pizza options in the Bahamas. The Marina Pizzeria is a great choice. With plenty of classic pizza options and a few specialty items as well, the whole family can enjoy a slice or two at the Marina.
The Happy Days Café is the perfect place to start your morning. This kid-friendly joint has classic breakfast options and a view of the simply breathtaking water. They’re primarily known for their fresh-baked bread.
If you want to let your kids play on the beach while you have a drink or eat some seafood, then head on over to the Fish Pot. This family-owned restaurant has been a Barbados staple for nearly 20 years.
The Final Word
The beautiful Caribbean overflows with exciting opportunities for kids. They can enjoy fresh seafood and play on the beaches. They can swim with sea creatures or visit fascinating museums. They can even explore nature up close and personal at a nature preserve.
In terms of quality, it’s hard to decide which is better when comparing Barbados vs. the Bahamas. If you’ve got kids with you, you’ll most likely find more things to do in the Bahamas. However, Barbados can be a quieter and more intimate vacation for you and your family.
While it’s certainly a close call, we tend to recommend the Bahamas as the better vacation choice for you and the kiddos. But don’t rule out Barbados completely. It might just surprise you as well.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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