Kid-Friendly Paradise in St. Thomas

St. Thomas is a beach-loving child's paradise and the hoteliers on the island know it. Most of the name-brand resorts are kid-friendly, as are many of the smaller boutique hotels and condos. Some take kid-friendliness to the extreme and lay on loads of added activities and amenities, while others simply foster a laid-back, casual environment where kids and parents alike feel free to play, laugh and run without worrying about disturbing honeymooners.

The Sugar Bay Resort in Smith Bay (formerly Wyndham-owned) is probably the most kid-friendly hotel on St. Thomas, in terms of the sheer variety of activities available to distract and entertain the young ones. In addition to being located right on a family-friendly beach, Sugar Bay also has a kids club, bumper boats, mini golf, outdoor movies, childcare services and even daily iguana feedings. As an all-inclusive resort, food, drinks and accommodation are all covered under the room rate, plus they throw in free use of water toys for good measure.

However, Sugar Bay is not the only name-brand hotel that welcomes children. The Ritz Carlton and Marriott Frenchman's Reef both offer a slew of kid-friendly amenities and activities, from

The family-owned Island Beachcomber Hotel, located right by the airport, offers a different type of experience but one that's equally kid-friendly. The Polynesian-style decor, casual vibe, no-frills menus, easy access to the beach and rooms with kitchenettes make it easy for kids to be kids.

Vacation condos and villas are another popular option for families with kids vacationing on St. Thomas. Properties such as the Sapphire Village Condominiums and the Bluebeard's Beach Club and Villas allow families the freedom to spread out and cook meals, while offering ideal beachside locations.

St. Thomas is not only for couples, it's also a great family destination, as you and your children will discover during your stay in one of the island's many kid-friendly hotels.


This all-suite resort is tucked into a stunning white-sand beach at Nazareth Bay in St. Thomas's quiet east end. Rooms are just steps from the sand, and the cove is known for its great snorkeling and stunning sunsets. There are three types of rooms: studio apartments, one-bedroom suites, and two-bedroom suites. Children 12 and under stay free in their parent's room. Secret Harbour was recently renovated, and the celebrated open-air Blue Moon Cafe has now given way to the equally-delicious Sunset Grille. If you have kids, ask for a unit with a kitchenette so you can prepare the occasional meal, then hit the beach, which is right outside your door. Snorkels, boats and other watersports equipment can be rented at the onsite dive shop.

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Sapphire Beach Condo Resort & Marina by Antilles Resorts
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Families love this condo-resort in St. Thomas's east end. Each unit is furnished with a small kitchen and private balcony, which makes it a popular option for those with kids. There are numerous activities right outside your door including the white-sand Sapphire Beach, restaurants, the Fun Factory Kids Club, and more. 12 and unders get free meals from the children`s menu; use of non-motorized water sports equipment is complimentary; and don't forget the playground and volleyball courts! Nearby is the shopping, sightseeing, or dining of Red Hook (five minutes away by car), and ferries to St. John.

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Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort

Bolongo is an unpretentious, bare-feet-welcome kind of resort located on a long half-moon-shaped white-sand beach on the island's south side. The pink two-and three-story buildings feature comfortable but unremarkable rooms, some of which come with kitchenettes. The beach, food and ocean are the attraction here: the hotel provides a full range of water sports, a dive center, two restaurants (including the famous Iggie's), and sailboat excursions to St. John. There are several different packages for guests, including the European Plan, which includes room and watersports activities (but no food), or the all-inclusive plan, which includes all meals, drinks, and watersports. Many of the rooms have extra beds for children. There are also plenty of activities to keep kids busy, such as sand-castle building, water volleyball, and sack races.

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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Saint Thomas
Photo courtesy of Ritz Carlton St. Thomas

The Ritz-Carlton on St. Thomas's east end is without a doubt the plushest resort on the island, with its palazzo-style marble-floored lobby, bubbling fountains, hidden courtyards, and elegantly-appointed rooms. Guests can take advantage of the resort's private white-sand beach, extensive spa, and Ritz Kids program, which features snorkeling and scuba diving. The 30-acre property also has its own scuba diving school and private yacht. The restaurants are outstanding, and include Bleuwater, an award-winning favorite.

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Emerald Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

This hotel appeals to families on several levels: the price is reasonable, the beach is literally right outside your doorstep, and children 11 and under stay free in their parent's room. Located next door to the Island Beachcomber hotel, the main attraction is the proximity to Lindbergh Bay, and the main drawback is the airport next door.

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The Island Beachcomber Hotel
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

This family-owned hotel is not a luxury playground like the Ritz or an all-inclusive resort like Sugar Bay, but parents and kids like the low-key, homey vibe, no-frills menus, easy access to the beach and rooms with kitchenettes because they make it easy for kids to be kids. Also, the Polynesian-style decor is a little "lived in," so you don't have to worry about the kids making a dent or stain here or there, the way you would at a fancier place. The hotel opens onto lovely Lindbergh Bay, and the beach is steps away. The only drawback is that the airport is directly behind the property. But this doesn't stop many families from coming back year after year.

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Frenchmans Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort Saint Thomas
Photo courtesy of Marriott Frenchman's Reef

The Marriott Frenchman's Reef is one of the finest and busiest hotels in the Virgin Islands. Located on a picturesque bluff overlooking both Charlotte Amalie harbor and the Caribbean, it not only boasts a commanding view, but offers spacious rooms with private balconies and sea views, variety in dining, a large private beach, tennis courts, a spa and more. Additional services include wedding planning, an excursions desk, and conference facilities. Both the Marriott Frenchman's Reef and its sister resort next door, Frenchman's Cove, offer a suite of amenities and activities specifically for kids. There's the Splash Zone & Kids Club, a poolside recreation area; the Pirate Lore story telling and local history hour; and the arts and crafts center, where kids get a chance to be creative through tie-dye, coloring, face and fabric painting.

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Sugar Bay Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Sugar Bay Resort

Formerly operated by Wyndham, this resort and spa is now independent of the mega-chain but still as good as ever. It's not the most stylish hotel you'll ever see, but rooms are functional and modern, with Asian-themed furnishings, electronics, wall treatments, and state-of-the-art plumbing. Sugar Bay is hugely popular with families with kids (who often go for the all-inclusive option) because of the hotel's three pools, private beach, kids club, bumper boats, mini golf, outdoor movies, and childcare services, there are also daily iguana feedings! As an all-inclusive resort, food, drinks and accommodation are all covered under the room rate, plus they throw in free use of water toys for good measure.

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Meet Karen Elowitt

Karen worked for several years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor before becoming a travel writer. She worked for renowned  travel expert Peter Greenberg before going freelance, and now...  More About Karen