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FAMILY HOLIDAY? CHILD’S PLAY.

Thanks to the romantic hotspots of Aruba and St Lucia, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Caribbean is reserved for couples and honeymooners. But, when it comes to family holidays, the Dominican Republic is right on the money. With 250 miles of tropical coastline, this scenic island boasts child-friendly beaches, sheltered swimming areas and endless watersports. A family holiday to the Dominican Republic allows you to explore and relax in equal measure – and, to top it all off, both the food and the weather are fantastic.

The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s biggest islands, and its diverse landscape offers plenty of opportunities for fun days out and adventures. You can go on a 4x4 safari to discover jungle-clad mountains, try adrenaline-pumping watersports on the beach, and stroll through the colourful streets of capital city, Santo Domingo. Or you could simply spend some quality time together at your family-friendly resort. The hotels here are great for tots and teenagers alike, with most offering jam-packed activity programmes, several pools, lively kids’ clubs, and a sweeping beach to boot.

When planning your family holiday to the Dominican Republic, you’ll find there are three main areas to choose from. Punta Cana is all about classic Caribbean good looks with turquoise waters, sugary sands and tropical mangroves, while the coastal areas of Puerto Plata are ideal for watersports enthusiasts. And then there’s the Samana Peninsula. This northeastern slice of paradise has a desert-island feel, with unspoiled beaches and babbling waterfalls – and you might even spot migrating humpback whales.

Wherever you choose to stay, you can look forward to warm hospitality and glorious sunshine. If you’re not sure where’s best for you, speak to our travel specialists. With our insider tips, you’ll be able to plan the perfect family holiday to the Dominican Republic.

Where to stay

Beaches

Explore

Family food

Dominican Republic family hotels

Majestic Colonial Punta Cana is one of our favourite family resorts in the Dominican Republic. This five-star all-inclusive hotel has seven top-notch restaurants, a dozen bars and loads of activities. You can challenge the kids to a game of tennis, play on the beach, or splash about in the lagoon-like pool. Little ones will love the kids’ club, while teens can play table football, table tennis and darts in the games room.

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Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa is another great option for your Dominican Republic family holiday. This five-star spot is home to the country’s largest free-form pool and a lovely powdery beach. Activities range from archery to kayaking – and parents are sure to enjoy the rum-tasting sessions. Plus, thanks to the resort’s Unlimited-Luxury® concept, the whole family can dine in nine first-class restaurants.
And then there’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Slick and stylish, this rockstar-themed resort will make you feel like a VIP throughout your trip. This place doesn’t do things by halves, with nine restaurants, 13 pools – three with waterslides for kids – and endless family activities. Roxity Kids Club™ offers all sorts for children, too, including snorkelling, karaoke, treasure hunts and piñata parties.

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Best beaches

Thanks to the island’s fabulous coastline, it’s fair to assume you’ll spend a lot of your Dominican Republic family holiday on the beach. In fact, there are so many sandy swathes that it can be hard to know where to start.

If you’re travelling with toddlers, head to Bavaro Beach, where the shallow waters and gently-sloping sands were made for paddling. Playa Boca Chica is also a safe swimming area for young children, as the beach’s coral reef acts as a barrier and keeps the water calm and still. You’ll find a selection of bars and cafés here, too, if you fancy a break from the sun.

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Elsewhere, Playa Dorada is ideal for families with teenagers. There are plenty of watersports – like water-skiing and windsurfing – here for both kids and adults. Or, if you’re a family of surfers, head to Macao Beach. This pristine stretch has the UNESCO stamp of approval, along with brilliant waves and a surf school.

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Explore the island

If you manage to drag yourself away from the picture-perfect beaches, you might be surprised by just how many family-friendly activities the Dominican Republic has to offer.

You can take a 4x4 tour of the island to see tropical jungles and rushing waterfalls. Or, if your kids love wildlife, consider booking a kayaking trip through the tangled mangroves of the Laguna Gri Gri – you’ll be able to see all kinds of exotic birds, including parrots and toucans. Or you why not head out to sea for snorkelling and whale-watching?

Show More
Show Less

For something a little speedier, head to Fun City Action Park. Just outside Puerto Plata, this is the biggest go-karting centre in the whole of the Caribbean, with three different race tracks, bumper cars and a playground.

Show More
Show Less

Family food

Dominican cuisine is full of flavour, thanks to its African and Spanish influences. Popular ingredients include chicken, beans and rice, but plantain is the staple you’ll see everywhere. Mangu is a classic breakfast dish – and what better way to start your day than by tucking into mashed plantain, eggs, salami and cheese? Delicious.

Show More
Show Less

Other treats you’ll see on plenty of menus are sancocho – a rich stew – and twice-fried plantain, known as tostones. And no family trip to the Dominican Republic would be complete without ordering La Bandera Dominica. Representing the colours of the island’s flag, this patriotic meal features braised chicken, stewed red beans, rice and salad. Parents should also make time to try a glass of Mamajuana – a native port-like tipple made with rum, red wine and honey.

Show More
Show Less

Where to stay

Dominican Republic family hotels

Majestic Colonial Punta Cana is one of our favourite family resorts in the Dominican Republic. This five-star all-inclusive hotel has seven top-notch restaurants, a dozen bars and loads of activities. You can challenge the kids to a game of tennis, play on the beach, or splash about in the lagoon-like pool. Little ones will love the kids’ club, while teens can play table football, table tennis and darts in the games room.

Show More
Show Less

Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa is another great option for your Dominican Republic family holiday. This five-star spot is home to the country’s largest free-form pool and a lovely powdery beach. Activities range from archery to kayaking – and parents are sure to enjoy the rum-tasting sessions. Plus, thanks to the resort’s Unlimited-Luxury® concept, the whole family can dine in nine first-class restaurants.
And then there’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Slick and stylish, this rockstar-themed resort will make you feel like a VIP throughout your trip. This place doesn’t do things by halves, with nine restaurants, 13 pools – three with waterslides for kids – and endless family activities. Roxity Kids Club™ offers all sorts for children, too, including snorkelling, karaoke, treasure hunts and piñata parties.

Show More
Show Less

Beaches

Best beaches

Thanks to the island’s fabulous coastline, it’s fair to assume you’ll spend a lot of your Dominican Republic family holiday on the beach. In fact, there are so many sandy swathes that it can be hard to know where to start.

If you’re travelling with toddlers, head to Bavaro Beach, where the shallow waters and gently-sloping sands were made for paddling. Playa Boca Chica is also a safe swimming area for young children, as the beach’s coral reef acts as a barrier and keeps the water calm and still. You’ll find a selection of bars and cafés here, too, if you fancy a break from the sun.

Show More
Show Less

Elsewhere, Playa Dorada is ideal for families with teenagers. There are plenty of watersports – like water-skiing and windsurfing – here for both kids and adults. Or, if you’re a family of surfers, head to Macao Beach. This pristine stretch has the UNESCO stamp of approval, along with brilliant waves and a surf school.

Show More
Show Less

Explore

Explore the island

If you manage to drag yourself away from the picture-perfect beaches, you might be surprised by just how many family-friendly activities the Dominican Republic has to offer.

You can take a 4x4 tour of the island to see tropical jungles and rushing waterfalls. Or, if your kids love wildlife, consider booking a kayaking trip through the tangled mangroves of the Laguna Gri Gri – you’ll be able to see all kinds of exotic birds, including parrots and toucans. Or you why not head out to sea for snorkelling and whale-watching?

Show More
Show Less

For something a little speedier, head to Fun City Action Park. Just outside Puerto Plata, this is the biggest go-karting centre in the whole of the Caribbean, with three different race tracks, bumper cars and a playground.

Show More
Show Less

Family food

Family food

Dominican cuisine is full of flavour, thanks to its African and Spanish influences. Popular ingredients include chicken, beans and rice, but plantain is the staple you’ll see everywhere. Mangu is a classic breakfast dish – and what better way to start your day than by tucking into mashed plantain, eggs, salami and cheese? Delicious.

Show More
Show Less

Other treats you’ll see on plenty of menus are sancocho – a rich stew – and twice-fried plantain, known as tostones. And no family trip to the Dominican Republic would be complete without ordering La Bandera Dominica. Representing the colours of the island’s flag, this patriotic meal features braised chicken, stewed red beans, rice and salad. Parents should also make time to try a glass of Mamajuana – a native port-like tipple made with rum, red wine and honey.

Show More
Show Less
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