Family Vacations to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Family Overview - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Charter a boat and sail the islands of the Grenadines (Photodisc)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Highlights

  • Hike to picturesque waterfalls.
  • Swim Wallilabou Bay, where Johnny Depp jumped as Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Snorkel the Tobago Cays.
  • See rescued hawksbill turtles at the Old Hegg Sea Turtle Sanctuary.
  • Charter a boat for your own sailing adventure.

For centuries sailors have steered toward Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—an archipelago comprised of 32 islands and cays stretching south towards Grenada. Modestly developed and untouched enough in certain spots to pass for the 17th century, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines served as the site of scenes from two of the Pirates of the Caribbean blockbusters. Come to these islands for hiking, diving, sailing, and other eco-adventures.

Lush with rainforests, Saint Vincent, the "gateway to the Grenadines," is the most populous of the islands. Expert hikers climb to the 4,000-foot crater at the summit of La Soufrière, a volcano, an all-day trek up and down best accomplished with a guide. Two less rigorous hikes lead to waterfalls. After arriving at the trailhead for Trinity Falls via a four-wheel-drive vehicle, a one-hour walk passes by palm and bamboo thickets, traverses "steps" formed by gnarly roots, and slick rocks to the three glistening cascades. Because of the swift current, don't jump in; just admire the view. You can swim at the base of the Falls of Baleine. From the boat moorings, it's only a five minute walk to the 60-foot chute tumbling into a wide, natural pool.

Also on Saint Vincent, Wallilabou Bay, site of scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean, contains the dock from which Johnny Depp jumped into the sea and faux 17th-century storefronts remaining from the set. Take a swim while you wait for the beachside restaurant to serve its tasty Creole fish.

Want your own sailing adventure? If you have plenty of sailing experience, charter a bareboat (if not, hire one with a captain and a crew) and sail the Grenadines' many sheltered coves. Contact Sunsail or Barefoot Yacht Charter, both on Saint Vincent. The kids can yell, "Yo, ho, ho," as you anchor for the night.

The best underwater treasures in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are the reefs surrounding the five uninhabited islands of the Tobago Cays. Petit Bateau, with its shady sands and relatively calm waters, appeals to beginning snorkelers and families with young children. Those more experienced with masks and fins can take on the often choppy but rewarding waters of Horseshoe Reef.

The Boulders and the Cathedral, sites rich in sponges and black coral, lure divers to Bequia, a low-key island with small town charm and two great beaches, Princess Margaret and Lower Bay. The main harbor, Admiralty Bay, blooms with hibiscus and a handful of gingerbread-trimmed shops. At the Old Hegg Sea Turtle Sanctuary, see tanks of hawksbill turtles and hear tales of how these hatchlings are rescued, raised, and released two years later when they won't easily be picked off by hungry birds hovering above the shore.

Tip: The best souvenirs are Bequia's hand-crafted models of the double-enders, the island's unique boats.'s resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from

Published: 26 Nov 2007 | Last Updated: 17 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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