Best Islands for Family Vacations - United Hub

Best islands for family vacations

By The Hub team

These islands in the U.S. and Caribbean are total crowd-pleasers for the whole crew.

You've got the whole family in tow, so you want your island vacation to be easy. You want it to be fun. You want it to be safe. And you don't want anyone to get bored. To help, we've rounded up seven islands in the U.S. and Caribbean that are total crowd-pleasers, featuring swimming beaches, animal encounters and all-ages activities. And ice cream. Lots of ice cream. From island aquariums to tropical zoos, here's what to do and where to go for the best family vacation ever.

Beach in Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii's fourth-largest island, Kauai attracts families with its beautiful beaches, natural wonders and Old Hawaii feel. Poipu Beach, on the south shore, is tops thanks to its calm water, plentiful tropical fish, and lazy monk seals napping on the sand. Families can hike in Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, or marvel at the 4,000-foot Napali Cliffs on a catamaran tour with Captain Andy's. All ages get into the aloha spirit at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau; kids who stay at the resort can also get excited for free activities like lei-making classes, koi-fish feedings, and photo ops with the resident parrot.

Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas

Atlantis resort in NassauAtlantis resort in Nassau /Shutterstock

Home to Atlantis — the grande dame of family hotels — Nassau is a no-brainer for your tribe. The immense resort features several kids clubs, a water park and the largest open-air aquarium in the world. Over on Cable Beach, the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar flaunts its own fair share of animal encounters, including green sea turtles, stingrays, nurse sharks and 50-plus species of tropical fish. Beyond your resort gate, other discoveries await, from souvenir shopping in the Straw Market to pink flamingos at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Island, located on Florida\u2019s west coast near SarasotaAnna Maria Island, located on Florida's west coast near Sarasota /Shutterstock

Simple pleasures rule in sleepy Anna Maria — a golf-cart ride to get ice cream at Two Scoops, indulging at The Donut Experiment, the Friday-night fish fry at Anna Maria Island Beach Café. Kids will get a kick out of eating high over the water at the Rod and Reel Pier, or applauding the sunset before digging into yummy seafood at the Beach House Restaurant. For the convenience of a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms, book a vacation home through Island Real Estate or Duncan Real Estate. Of course, most of your time will be spent on AMI's soft white-sand beaches — building sand castles, hunting for shells, and keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins swimming in the Gulf.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Family-friendly Grace Bay Beach in Turks & CaicosFamily-friendly Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos /Shutterstock

Turks and Caicos is a natural playground of thriving reefs, mangrove jungles and sugar-sand beaches. A regular on best-beaches lists, Providenciales' 12-mile Grace Bay is a magnet for families, who find homey comforts like full kitchens, separate living rooms and washers/dryers at The Venetian and The Tuscany. Grab a sweet treat at Island Scoop before stocking up with basic grocery items at the Graceway Gourmet upscale supermarket. Little ones will love seeing indigenous wild rock iguanas on Little Water Cay, or glimpsing below the ocean's surface on a glass-bottom-boat tour.

Aruba

Aruba's Baby Beach is a perfect spot for familiesAruba's Baby Beach is a perfect spot for families /Shutterstock

Aruba is famous for its white sand and blue skies (almost 300 sunny days a year, to be precise), but One Happy Island also boasts a surprising amount of animal attractions. Kids can interact with butterflies (Aruba Butterfly Farm), ostriches (Aruba Ostrich Farm), donkeys (Donkey Sanctuary Aruba) and more. Other fun activities include De Palm Tours' water park and Atlantis Submarines' underwater voyages. Full-service resorts (Hyatt, Hilton, Holiday Inn) fringe Palm Beach, but plan to also spend a day on Baby Beach, a family favorite because of its shallow, gentle water.

Coronado Island, California

Explore Coronado Island via surrey bikesExplore Coronado Island via surrey bikes /Shutterstock

OK, we admit, Coronado Island is technically a peninsula, but this all-American beach vacation destination is so family-focused, it would be irresponsible not to include it. Older kids can kayak in San Diego Bay for views of downtown, and the whole crew can take advantage of Coronado's 15 miles of bike paths — rentals range from beach cruisers to fringed surreys. Beach days are a given: Try Glorietta Bay for extra amenities like a playground and restrooms, or Silver Strand State Beach for shady picnic spots. Of course, San Diego's popular attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo are a short drive away. Bonus: Even if you don't stay at Coronado's famous Hotel Del Coronado, you can enjoy some of the family-friendly features, such as the MooTime Creamery and movie nights on the sand.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Seven Mile Beach on Grand CaymanSeven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman /Shutterstock

Combine the familiarity of Florida with quintessentially Caribbean white sand and turquoise water — that's Grand Cayman. Families can't go wrong on Seven Mile Beach, lined with well-known resort brands like Marriott and Westin (at the latter, the weekly beach bonfire features make-your-own s'mores). Or go for all-inclusive convenience at Wyndham Reef Resort on the East End. Kid-centric fun ranges from a dose of island history at Pedro St. James to feeding the hungry tarpon at Grand Old House restaurant. Don't miss encounters with sea turtles and other wildlife at the Cayman Turtle Centre.


This article was written by Erika Hueneke from Islands and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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