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Island vacations have always been a popular choice for families seeking a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and quality time together. From stunning beaches to diverse ecosystems and cultural experiences, islands offer a wide range of attractions that cater to the needs and interests of families. In this article, we will explore the best island vacations for families in 2023, taking into account factors such as natural beauty, family-friendly activities, and unique experiences.

1. San Juan Islands in Washington: A Pacific Northwest Paradise

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Located off the coast of Washington, the San Juan Islands are a hidden gem that offers tremendous natural beauty and unforgettable experiences for families. With over 450 islands to explore, this archipelago is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the highlights of the San Juan Islands is the abundance of marine life, including the majestic orca whales. Families can embark on thrilling whale-watching excursions, where they can witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Lime Kiln Point State Park, located on San Juan Island, is a great spot to try to spot orcas and other sea life from land.

For those who prefer land-based adventures, the San Juan Islands offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring historic towns and villages. The San Juan Islands National Historic Park provides educational and interactive experiences for families, including ranger-led activities and hikes.

What to Do in the San Juan Islands

  • Take a whale-watching excursion to see orcas and other marine life.
  • Explore Lime Kiln Point State Park and try to spot whales from land.
  • Rent bikes or go kayaking in Deception Pass State Park for a coastal adventure.
  • Visit the San Juan Islands National Historic Park and participate in ranger-led activities.
  • Stay in one of the family-friendly accommodations such as Lakedale Resort in Friday Harbor.

2. Kauai: The Outdoor Playground of Hawaii

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Known as “The Garden Isle,” Kauai is a paradise for families seeking adventure and outdoor activities. This Hawaiian island offers a wide range of experiences that cater to both adrenaline junkies and those looking for a more relaxed vacation.

For families who enjoy hiking, Kauai offers breathtaking trails that lead to stunning waterfalls, hidden beaches, and panoramic vistas. The Na Pali Coast is a must-see, with its dramatic cliffs and beautiful hiking trails. Hanalei Bay is a popular spot for beginner surf lessons, and Anini Beach and Ke’e Beach are perfect for snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles.

In addition to hiking and water activities, families can also explore the island’s lush landscapes by tubing through sugar cane plantation irrigation canals or taking a catamaran tour along the coast. A visit to a traditional Hawaiian luau is a great way to experience the island’s rich culture and enjoy a delicious feast.

What to Do in Kauai

  • Hike to waterfalls and enjoy the natural beauty of Kauai.
  • Take beginner surf lessons in Hanalei Bay.
  • Snorkel with sea turtles at Anini Beach and Ke’e Beach.
  • Embark on a tubing adventure through sugar cane plantation irrigation canals.
  • Experience the Na Pali Coast by hiking or taking a catamaran tour.
  • Attend a traditional Hawaiian luau to immerse yourself in the local culture.

3. Prince Edward Island: A Charming Canadian Escape

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Nestled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Prince Edward Island is a small but captivating destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Known as “The Gentle Island,” Prince Edward Island is famous for its stunning coastline, red sand beaches, and vibrant cultural traditions.

A visit to Prince Edward Island wouldn’t be complete without exploring the world of Anne of Green Gables. Families can stay in the Cavendish region and immerse themselves in the fictional world of Anne Shirley. They can also explore the island’s picturesque countryside by biking along the scenic waterside stretch between Morell and St. Peter’s Bay.

Prince Edward Island National Park is a haven for beach lovers, with its beautiful red sand beaches and opportunities for swimming, picnicking, and exploring coastal trails. Families can also indulge in the island’s culinary delights, such as lobster suppers and delicious ice cream from Cows, a local favorite.

What to Do in Prince Edward Island

  • Visit the world of Anne of Green Gables and stay in the Cavendish region.
  • Bike along the scenic waterside stretch between Morell and St. Peter’s Bay.
  • Explore the red sand beaches and coastal trails of Prince Edward Island National Park.
  • Enjoy a traditional lobster supper and indulge in delicious ice cream from Cows.
  • Experience the lively ceilidhs (kitchen parties) held in local churches or community halls.
  • Visit Charlottetown, the provincial capital, and explore its historic sites and family-friendly attractions.

4. Bali: A Tropical Paradise for Families

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Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali is a tropical paradise that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and family-friendly attractions. This Indonesian island is renowned for its stunning beaches, lush rice terraces, and vibrant arts scene.

Families can explore the island’s rich culture by visiting ancient Hindu temples, witnessing traditional dance performances, and participating in local ceremonies. The village of Ubud is a cultural hub, known for its art galleries, museums, and traditional markets.

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Bali offers opportunities for hiking, cycling, and water activities. Families can hike to breathtaking waterfalls, cycle through lush countryside, and try their hand at surfing or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

What to Do in Bali

  • Visit ancient Hindu temples such as Tanah Lot and Uluwatu.
  • Experience traditional Balinese dance performances and cultural ceremonies.
  • Explore the art galleries, museums, and traditional markets of Ubud.
  • Hike to stunning waterfalls such as Tegenungan and Gitgit.
  • Cycle through the lush countryside and rice terraces of Bali.
  • Try surfing or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Bali.

5. The Maldives: A Paradise of Luxury and Tranquility

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The Maldives is a dream destination for families seeking a luxurious and tranquil island vacation. This tropical paradise is made up of 1,192 islands, offering pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and world-class resorts.

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Families can indulge in the luxury of overwater bungalows, where they can enjoy direct access to the ocean and breathtaking views. The Maldives is also known for its abundant marine life, making it a perfect destination for snorkeling and diving. Kids can explore vibrant coral reefs and swim alongside tropical fish and sea turtles.

In addition to water activities, families can relax on secluded beaches, enjoy spa treatments, and savor delicious cuisine. The Maldives offers a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing families to unwind and create unforgettable memories.

What to Do in the Maldives

  • Stay in an overwater bungalow and enjoy direct access to the ocean.
  • Snorkel and dive in vibrant coral reefs, and swim alongside tropical fish and sea turtles.
  • Relax on secluded beaches and enjoy the tranquility of the Maldives.
  • Indulge in spa treatments and wellness activities.
  • Savor delicious cuisine, with a focus on fresh seafood and international flavors.


Island vacations offer a perfect escape for families seeking a combination of relaxation, adventure, and quality time together. Whether you choose the stunning beauty of the San Juan Islands, the outdoor playground of Kauai, the charm of Prince Edward Island, the cultural richness of Bali, or the luxury of the Maldives, these destinations are sure to create unforgettable memories for the whole family. Explore the wonders of these islands and embark on an extraordinary family vacation in 2023.

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