USVI with young children

Posted By: Mbsprtrpr18

USVI with young children - 01/27/2021 05:16 PM

In February we are chartering our catamaran from CYOA which we had a wonderful experience with last year. We normally sail the US and BVIs. This is our first time just staying in the US Virgin Islands. We want to stay in St. John and St. Thomas only. Our children’s ages are 5, 8, 9 & 11. We were looking for ideas of great places to take them or kid friendly places. We will be there for 8 days. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We can’t wait to go!
Posted By: MIDiver

Re: USVI with young children - 01/27/2021 05:51 PM

Capt. Jay has posted his recs which are wonderful.

Are you looking for the most child friendly beaches, restaurants, activities?

Restaurants: if taking the dinghy in from Lind Point/Honeymoon, first on the family friendly list would most likely be Banana Deck. It gets gets consistently good ratings from families. There is a lot of great info on the St. John TripAdvisor forum in regards to restaurants (especially family friendly establishments).

Lime Out/Coral Bay is problematic. No public moorings, anchoring only in (typically) tight quarters. We always skip it when land or water based. You can grab a mooring (day use only) in Hurricane Hole, but it is a long dinghy ride into Coral Bay to visit Skinny Legs, etc.

Beaches: Francis and Maho have consistently calm water and easy enrty for kids with good snorkeling. Maho has gotten incredibly busy due to Maho Crossroads but still holds appeal in the early morning and late afternoon when the land based beach goers head back to their rentals. Honeymoon has concessions but it too has gotten very busy and has developed a party atmosphere. Grab a mooring at Cinnamon and take the Cinnamon Bay Trail or a ball at Trunk and snorkel the underwater trail by the Cay. Pizza Pi in Christmas Cove (STT) is always fun for kids of all ages.

Have fun!
Posted By: CaptainJay

Re: USVI with young children - 01/27/2021 05:56 PM

There is lots of good info here about the park service.

You could also reach out to Leslie at she is great with kids and great in the water. She can give you info on where to take them snorkeling etc.
Posted By: BaardJ

Re: USVI with young children - 01/27/2021 08:25 PM

Leinster Bay and Salt Pond Bay are usually very calm, kid friendly with near shore snorkeling opportunities.

On St Thomas, if there is no heavy northerly ground swell, then the beach at Magens Bay is perfect. I see lots of kids on the beach with their boogie boards. Restaurant serves good burger, pizza and drinks. Brewers Bay beach is also very calm. Lindbergh Bay has jet skis for rent. They also have an enormous floating jungle gym - I'm guessing you pay some hourly rate to use it.
Posted By: Cleobeach

Re: USVI with young children - 01/28/2021 12:48 AM

All restaurants are family friendly for well behaved kiddos. Zozos might be the exception as they refused special request made by adults in our crew in the past. We started taking our son at 4 months old and always dined out every night and most lunches.

ETA - if you need a kids menu, look into that in advance as some restaurants are doing a fixed menu.
Posted By: RickG

Re: USVI with young children - 01/28/2021 07:53 PM

Check out Capt. Jay's suggested itinerary -

My daughters both started swimming with mask and fins without snorkel at 5. They started with a flotation vest and had confidence to leave it behind after 3 or 4 days, while supervised by Dad. They loved Hawksnest, Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, Salt Pond, and Little Lameshur on St. John. Round Bay/Hansen Bay with Pelican Rock is a great overnight. Dinghy to Cruz Bay from Caneel Bay for a night on the town. Good ice cream at Mongoose Junction. Dinner with kids, I would recommend High Tide, Banana Deck, Lime Inn, and Greengos for casual dinners.

Coral Bay is an option for a dinner out on St. John. Skinny Legs, Rhumblines, Ekaete Pink Corner, Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis, Salty Mongoose, and Aqua Bistro are options. Pizzabar in Paradise is between Sanders Bay and Johnson Bay. You can anchor just inside the channel markers to the West in Coral Bay.

Christmas Cove at Great St. James, Magens Bay, Brewers Bay, and Druif Bay Water Island are other options. We really like the scene at Water Island and Dinghy's Beach Bar.

Cheers, RickG
Posted By: Cleobeach

Re: USVI with young children - 01/29/2021 07:27 PM

Originally Posted by RickG
Check out Capt. Jay's suggested itinerary -

My daughters both started swimming with mask and fins without snorkel at 5. They started with a flotation vest and had confidence to leave it behind after 3 or 4 days, while supervised by Dad.

Cheers, RickG

Someone gave me similar advice to NOT give a snorkel to a young beginner. I followed it with my son, who started snorkeling at 4 years old. It is sound advice and I am glad I followed it.

I am normally a huge vest person however, an ill-fitting vest that comes up around a young one's neck and face is going to distract them. I would splurge for a properly fitting vest, which aren't that spendy.
Posted By: RickG

Re: USVI with young children - 01/31/2021 02:35 PM

Yep, we had a Barbie swim vest that survived through two kids 5 1/2 years apart. The best ones have straps between the legs that are adjustable, like offshore PFDs. A lot of kids get by with the inflatable floats that go around the arms.

Cheers, RickG
Posted By: cyclingdoc

Re: USVI with young children - 02/01/2021 01:13 PM

Some of this might be repeats of above.

We charter frequently with our kids starting at age 9m, and now 4y and 6y. CYOA currently isn't doing snorkels like pre covid so bring your own. They still have flippers. Make sure you have PFDs that fit for the children while underway as its obviously a law.

Christmas cove pizza boat, Pizza Pi

Ice cream at mongoose junction on st john. snorkel around from lind point.

maho/francis is a fabulous stop. nice easy water entry from the beach. minimal waves. turtles and sea life everywhere! small bar on the beach and a little souvenir shop. corn hole, connect four games. you could also grab an open air taxi from here into cruz bay to see the island by land a little

leinster offers a chance to walk up to the sugar mill. good snorkeling

coral bay. Lime out. My kids LOVE this place. Food, floating seats, etc.

salt pond has a nice quiet beach for them. you can hike up to Rams head. Just under 2 miles round trip from the beach. took us 2 hours. had to carry the tired kids from time to time.

Magens bay is busy but so nice. huge beach. beach bar, food, store. again, my kids love this beach. turtles, conch, etc.

Lindberg has some new huge in water play ground type thing. not sure of price.

water island, honeybeach is fun as well.

keep and eye on swell and plan accordingly.

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