Looking for the best things to do in Roatan on a family trip?
You’re in the rest place. Roatan offers families amazing adventures beyond the resort and beach. The island primarily attracts scuba divers, but there are many reasons to take the family to Roatan.
I recently visited on a search for the best hotels and activities for families in Roatan. What I learned filled an entire notebook. Everyone I met was eager to help me find the best things to do in Roatan.
I can’t wait to pass what I learned along to you.
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Roatan Family Travel Resources
Before we dive in, let’s be sure you have our best Roatan resources at your fingertips.
Did you know we have a whole collection of recommended family hotels in the Caribbean – including in Roatan? I’ll let you in on a secret, it’s sort of our pride and joy.
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Now, pour yourself a Monkey Lala and start planning your Roatan adventure…
10 Best Kid-Friendly Activities In Roatan
1. Spend the Day at West Bay Beach
No list of things to do in Roatan would be complete without highlighting West Bay beach. It’s a picturesque Caribbean beach scene: powdery white sand, gentle and shallow waters, rustic beach bars, full-service resorts, watersports galore. The vibe here is as kid-friendly as they come.
What distinguishes West Bay Beach from other Caribbean beaches, though, is its proximity to the world’s second largest barrier reef. You’ll find amazing snorkeling just off-shore, accessible by even the youngest swimmers. The coral reef is closest to shore at the farthest end of the beach, in front of Grand Roatan resort.
2. Walk Around West End Village
Known for its nightlife, restaurants, and dive shops, West End Village is Roatan’s liveliest town. I do not recommend staying here with young kids because the evenings are for drinking, not sleeping. However, the family-friendly things to do in Roatan’s West End village during the day make it a great stop.
Start with a freshly-baked cinnamon bun at Sandy Buns Bakery & Cafe. Next, stroll through the town, popping into colorful souvenir shops. Pick up a piece of recycled island art from Rusty Fish. Then, support the conservation of Roatan’s coral reef by buying local clothing and gifts at the Roatan Marine Park office gift shop.
If you can, pop into the design-focused Beach House hotel for a drink. There’s something calming about the nature-inspired decor at this 14-room beachfront hotel. A tree literally runs through the building. It hits the Caribbean vacation sweet spot.
Finally, and of course, sample the Honduran cacao flavors at the Roatan Chocolate Factory. I highly recommend milk chocolate with island almonds.
3. Snorkel at Half Moon Bay
After a morning exploring West End, take a snorkeling break at one of the best beaches in Roatan. The reef comes close to shore in West End’s Half Moon Bay. The curved shape of the beach, peaceful waters, and contrast with the bustling village street makes for stunning photos. You can rent fins and masks from nearby Roatan Divers.
4. Take a Water Taxi
The fastest – and most fun – way to travel between West Bay Beach and West Bay village is by water taxi. However, the water taxi is more of an activity than a method of transportation. The 10-minute ride costs $5 per person each way, and it’s a gorgeous way to see the island from the water. Boats shuttle passengers back and forth from 7am to 10pm, but the best time for a ride is around sunset.
5. Explore Gumbalimba Park
A visit to Gumbalimba Park is one of the neatest things to do in Roatan. Towering trees line the entryway and give off a decidedly Jurassic-Park vibe. The golf-cart tour includes something for everyone: an insectarium, a suspension bridge, botanical gardens, and total immersion on the island’s untamed side.
Gumbalimba Park houses Roatan’s most interesting creatures. For example, you’ll hear the free-roaming white-faced monkeys, macaws, and parrots before you see them. (Apparently, the monkeys like to tease the birds all day.) Indigenous lizards and countless iguanas also can be spotted around the park.
But wait, there’s more! After your tour, you can go zip lining through the jungle canopy, swim in the pool, or relax or snorkel at the beach.
Tip: Gumbalimba Park is a popular shore excursion for cruise ship. Check the cruise ship port schedule and try to plan your visit to Gumbalimba on a different day.
6. Meet the Sloths: Daniel Johnson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout
You’d be surprised how interesting Sloths actually are. Fun fact your kids will love: sloths only poop once a week. Really, truly. You’re welcome for sharing that important piece of information.
But in all seriousness, it’s a very cool experience to get up close and personal with a sloth at Daniel Johnson’s. The animal sanctuary is home to seven of these fascinating animals, and you’ll be allowed to hold one. You’ll also see spider monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, macaws, and parrots.
The sloth hangout is a great Roatan activity. Plus, it’s a quick stop – about 45 minutes – that can be combined with other nearby activities, like a visit to Little French Key. Or, enjoy the hangout, and then head 10 minutes down the road to lunch and a pool break at Silversides – next on my list of top things to do in Roatan.
7. Eat and Swim at Silversides
I almost drove past Silversides restaurant on my first day in Roatan. Something told me to turn around and check it out. As I settled into a chair overlooking the pool, sipping my ice cold, locally-brewed Barena, I knew I had discovered a family-friendly hidden gem.
Silversides is tucked inside Barefoot Cay Resort – a dive-focused boutique hotel. The resort itself is not geared towards kids, but the restaurant (under separate ownership) welcomes them. A special menu “for the kiddos” features burgers, noodles, fish fingers, and grilled cheese.
What’s more, Silversides serves its fresh fare poolside. Kids can play on the pool’s shallow platforms while mom and dad enjoy lunch just steps away. A pergola offers plenty of shade for a break from the sun. You may never want to leave.
8. Take It Easy at Roatan Island Brewing
Go where the locals go. Nearly every Roatan resident I met asked if I had found the brewery. Many families head to this lush property on the weekends. Games on the outdoor lawn keep kids entertained while parents enjoy artisanal beer.
Don’t miss Gary’s famous soursop soda. Created by a local hotel owner, you can only get it at the brewery.
For a morning activity before the brewery, head to nearby Marbella Beach, another local favorite, just down the road.
9. Visit Maya Key
Visiting the private island of Maya Key is a popular thing to do in Roatan – especially for cruise ship passengers because of its proximity to the Coxen Hole and Mahogany Bay ports. If you go on a cruise-ship free day, however, you can enjoy a peaceful day snorkeling and exploring.
Maya Key has two secluded beaches and some of the best snorkeling in Roatan. As for land activities, the island also boasts an animal sanctuary, botanical gardens, and a swimming pool.
10. Venture to Roatan’s East End
Roatan’s tourist activities are clustered on its westernmost end – near West Bay beach and West End village. The further east you drive, the quieter things get. If you’re looking for things to do in Roatan off the beaten path, head east.
There are many stops you can make along the drive. For example, head to Punta Gorda, the island’s oldest permanent settlement, to learn about the Garifuna people. Or, check out the overwater homes in Oak Ridge, where many residents get around by boat. Have lunch on deserted and glorious Camp Bay beach to see the opposite (both in terms of geography and vibe) of Roatan’s more popular West Bay beach.
More information about these East End activities are more can be found at Roatan Online, the largest aggregation of information about Roatan tours and activities, and a great travel planning resource.
Where to Sleep and Eat In Roatan
We had so much to say about Roatan that we had to split it into two posts! Head over to our complete Roatan destination guide to learn where to eat and sleep in Roatan on your family trip.