There’s never a bad time to take a trip to this hidden gem in the Caribbean
Located in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, Aruba may not have the name recognition the area’s more popular islands do, but there’s a reason Aruba boasts the most return visitors of any Caribbean destination. Known as One Happy Island, it’s the ideal vacation spot for families looking to escape the busy pace of life. But don’t let the slow down fool you. There are still tons of things for families to do in Aruba. So make sure your passports are ready to go as your island vacation awaits!
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Where to Stay in Aruba
It’s easy to relax and settle into the slower pace of things from the minute you walk into the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino’s entryway. Expect to be greeted with a chilled glass of champagne, a fresh bottle of water, and a sweet bite while you check in. The lush grounds, calming waterfalls, and comfy seating areas welcome families in search of an escape. In no time at all, you and the kids will be feeling what’s known as the “Aruba Effect.”
Rooms at Hyatt Regency Aruba
When you’re traveling with kids, comfort and convenience are key; the Hyatt understands this. Whether you book a family suite, a view room, or connecting rooms, you can expect this (and more) at this family-friendly resort.
Consider the family suite if you plan to stay for a week (or more). It gives everyone plenty of space, with two bedrooms plus a living room (including a sofa bed), and a work area in its 849-square-foot space. The kids will flip for the bunk beds, and parents will appreciate the separate living spaces and wet bar that includes a mini fridge and coffee maker for your morning java. View rooms range in size from 380 square feet on the upper floors to 600 square feet on the lower ones. Like the family suites, they come with a mini fridge and coffee maker so you can stick leftovers in the fridge and make yourself a cup of coffee before heading down for breakfast in the morning.
Insider Tip: When it comes to bedtime for kids, the hotel quiet hours (from 8 p.m.-8 a.m.) make it easy. They won't have FOMO listening to folks running up and down hallways or splashing in the pool below, so everyone can get a good night's sleep.
Related: The Best Carry-On Suitcases, Backpacks & Luggage for Parents
Pools at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Bring the kids to the Activity Pool
Many of the view rooms overlook the Hyatt’s stunning pools. The family-friendly Activity Pool, located in the main courtyard, boasts the tallest waterslide on the island, plus three distinct swimming areas, and a swim-up bar. You and the kids can easily settle in here each morning and spend the whole day playing and relaxing poolside if that’s what you crave.
Make a beeline for the baby pool. The shallow waters welcome kids of all ages, and it transitions seamlessly into the lower pool, where big kids can splash around and chase dive rockets nearby. When the kids need an exciting interlude, head to the waterslide for twists and turns that end with a splash. And remember, it’s not just for kids (although you do need to be taller than 42” to ride it).
When hunger strikes, simply flip up the orange flag on your chair and someone will be over shortly to take your order. There’s truly no reason to do much more than relax and have fun with the kids here.
Insider Tip: Don’t forget to bring your favorite pool toys, floaties, and towel clips on your trip. But if something doesn't make it in your suitcase, you can purchase everything you need to make pool time a blast at Red Sail Sports’ on-site shop.
Related: These 14 Trendy Pool Floats Will Instantly Upgrade Your Summer
Enjoy Trankilo–The adults-only pool
Just around the corner is Trankilo–Hyatt’s Regency Aruba’s latest addition. It’s the quiet reprieve every parent dreams of when they’re on vacation. Lounge along the infinity wall, with a drink in hand, and listen to the faint sound of water cascading in the background. Marvel at the iguanas as they crawl around the bright bougainvillea and pool edges. Chairs here are first-come-first-serve, but it’s usually not too hard to find a spot, even if you don’t make it down until mid-morning.
Insider Tip: Looking to treat yo’self on vacation? The Trankilo cabanas make pool time extra special. The shaded semi-private room comes with a flat-screen TV, a stocked fridge, seating for up to six people, and your own pool entrance. We’re thinking milestone anniversary or birthday spot splurge.
The Beach at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
The Hyatt Regency Aruba is home to some of Palm Beach’s best shoreline. The water here is calm, inviting, and bathwater-warm, making it an ideal family play spot. It’s not uncommon to see kids building sandcastles and digging holes along the shore, while parents lounge nearby in the water keeping a watchful eye. When the kids want to take a dip, they can wade in with ease. The swimming area is roped off, keeping everyone safe from the busy boat waterways. Kids will love watching pelicans dive for fish in the distance, and they may even see a few fish swim by too. Floaties and pool loungers are welcome here, so remember to bring yours with you.
When you need a break from the sun and sand, retire to a palapa that lines the beach and provides much-needed shade and relief from the heat. Each palapa accommodates up to four people and is numbered so the kids can easily figure out which one is yours for the day. Families can also rent a beach tent ($75) for a bit more shade and space if they need it.
Insider Tip: Want to know one of our favorite Hyatt perks? Families can reserve a complimentary pool umbrella or beach palapa up to four months in advance (but don’t worry, day-of reservations are usually available too). Fee reservations are also available. Not having to race down every morning to snag your spot by the water means you can actually relax on vacation. Let the Aruba Effect take hold.
Restaurants at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Before hitting the pool or beach, bring the kids through the buffet breakfast at Ruinas del Mar. The buffet spans two rooms, and along the many tables, you’ll find all sorts of breakfast delights, from waffles and fresh fruit to eggs and sausage. Kids can choose their own fixings at the omelet station (always a hit), and go back for more if they need it. Once your plate is full, enjoy the Koi, swans, and lizards who put on quite a show by the waterside patio each morning. Ruinas del Mar is also open for dinner and features fresh fish, salads, and creative desserts.
Lunch or an early dinner at the resort is just as easy. Head to the Palms for casual island cuisine, with tons of kid-friendly options like wraps, salads, and pizza. Or pull up a seat at the Balashi Bar & Grill right next door for kid fare, like hot dogs, chicken tenders, and sandwiches. The Kadushi Juice Bar is another option, and especially easy if you’re lounging on the beach for the day. They serve acai bowls and healthy fruit smoothies until 5 p.m. each day. Our tip? Let the kids build their own fruit salad full of their favorites here for lunch. If grab and go is more your speed, the Shoco Market Cafe has got you.
Activities at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Each day you’ll find something different to do around the resort, with or without the kids. Early mornings at the Big Palapa on the beach are reserved for wellness. It’s easy to sign up for beach yoga, pilates, and energy healing. Taking a complimentary class is a great way to start your day. Afternoons are reserved for cooking and mixology. Kids can help prepare the light bites at the cooking classes, and they’ll have fun doing it, too. If you’re able, we highly recommend taking the mixology class. It’s a total blast. Be sure to check the Activity Calendar when you arrive to plan your extras. Signing up is easy–just scan the QR code from your phone.
Insider Tip: Moonlight Yoga is held once a month and it’s everything you imagine it to be. On the beach, under the moon, total tranquility. We’ve heard tales of older kids falling asleep during class. It’s that relaxing.
Kids Club at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Family time at the resort is what you came for. But if the kids need a break from the sun (hello, air conditioning), or you want to relax at the Trankilo pool for a few hours, you can drop the kids off at the Kids Club. Here they can play (under the supervision of hotel staff) with all kinds of toys and maybe even make a new friend. Sometimes kids in the program will take field trips to the pool or play a game outside. Sign the kids up for a morning or afternoon and enjoy some time to yourselves for a change.
Insider Tip: If a night out without kids is more your speed, the Hyatt can arrange babysitting services for you. Stop by the concierge desk to make arrangements.
Even More Things to Do at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Get your fill of watersports
There’s a reason why the beach boardwalk behind the resort is lined with watersports companies. When you visit Aruba, you’ve got to take at least one water excursion with the kids. Red Sail Sports’ dock sits right behind the Hyatt Aruba Resort, and they offer tons of water and land experiences that really let you get to know this happy island. Spend the afternoon snorkeling with the kids at local hot spots, or sign up for an evening sunset sail, complete with steel drum band and an open bar (a great time to use the resort’s babysitting service). Or opt to explore the island by land. Red Sail Sports offers a Jeep safari, bus tours, and an ostrich farm experience for something a little different on your vacation.
Other watersports you can find along the boardwalk include tubing, jet-skiing, parasailing, e-hydrofoiling–if you can dream it, they’re sure to have it at Palm Beach.
Insider Tip: If you’re dying to try the island’s hottest new water activity, book a JetLev experience (must be 18 or older) with Red Sail Sports. You can walk, hover, and fly above the water once you strap into the jetpack.
Explore the beach boardwalk
Between the resort and the beach is the boardwalk. No matter which way you turn you’ll find shops, restaurants, and more resorts in either direction. If you need to take the baby out for a nap-time stroll, you’ll be in good company here. If you’re a runner, you’ll find others out before the heat of the day along this walkway. If you’re looking for a waterfront lunch spot or your morning coffee, you won’t have a problem finding either along this route.
Find things to do in downtown Palm Beach
If you head out the front of the resort you’ll land right in the middle of downtown Palm Beach. Either direction is lined with restaurants and shops that are worth exploring, especially on warm nights when the kids need to get out for a bit. The courtyard at the Paseo Herencia Mall has fountains, swings, a carousel, and carnival games set up that are fun for kids.
Insider Tip: You won’t need a car to explore this totally walkable area. And Aruba prides itself on how safe its streets are. But if you do want to get out beyond the downtown limits (hint: Eagle Beach is just down the street), it’s easy to find cabs waiting at the resort.
Best Restaurants in Aruba for Families
Restaurants in Aruba are a blend of cultures and cuisines. You can find everything from Brazilian steakhouses and upscale French cuisine to Dutch pancake places and Italian restaurants. But if you’re looking to eat off-property, here are a few spots that are worth a look.
Keep it casual for breakfast and lunch when you hit Scott’s Brats, right next to the Hyatt. Known for its funky license plate decor and DIY Bloody Mary bar, you can’t go wrong with one of their breakfast sandwiches in the morning or a street taco for lunch. The same can be said about Eduardo’s Beach Shack. Head there for freshly made acai bowls, smoothies, poke, and vegan eats around lunchtime. Another breakfast hot spot, The Bread Basket, has delish breakfast sandwiches and coffee creations that really satisfy. And everyone raves about the fish sandwich at The Pelican Nest Seafood Grill, one of the restaurants set on the water.
Dinner is a different story. While you can definitely keep it casual, there are plenty of restaurants where you can dress up and make a night of it. Just a short walk from the Hyatt is Gianni’s, known for the best Italian food on the island. It’s best to make a reservation here (or plan on a wait), and their kids' menu features those reliable classics your kids will actually eat. If you’re craving fresh fish there’s no better place to go than Wacky Wahoo. You’ll find this little gem tucked a half-mile off the main strip. They don’t take reservations (get there early to avoid a wait), but they do provide a super casual environment that lets kids be kids.
If you’ve got a date night in mind, Papiamento is the place to go in Aruba.
When is the best time to visit Aruba?
Here’s the simple truth about planning your Aruba vacation—there’s never a bad time to go. With temperatures in the low 80s year-round, predictably sunny skies, and a reliable cool trade wind, it’s truly an endless paradise. Plus, it sits outside the hurricane belt, so there’s no need to plan around storms.
As for when to visit, February is the busiest month on the island, especially right around President’s Day, when many schools have a week off. You might see a few showers if you visit in late September or early October. But trust us, they’ll blow through in less than 30 minutes, as long as it’s a breezy day. Beyond that, expect to find temps in the low 80s from December through March, and higher 80s from May through October.
Tips for Traveling to Aruba
1. Since Aruba is part of the Dutch Caribbean, you’ll need a passport to visit. Travelers must also complete an ED card to get cleared for travel before entering the country. It’s an easy process and you can save your ED card to your phone once you’ve gotten the green check.
2. Another Aruba perk? There’s no real need to exchange U.S. dollars for Aruban Floran when you visit. Many places accept U.S. currency (and credit or debit cards). Our tip? Bring some cash, as many places are cash-only or give a discount when you use it.
3. No need to worry about language barriers here either. Although Papiamento and Dutch are Aruba’s official languages, most Arubans speak English and Spanish as well.
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino
Palm Beach, Aruba
Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino and Red Sail Sports but all opinions belong to the writer.