23 Things To Do With Kids Within 1 Hour of San Juan
Traveling with kids changes everything. You need to find a place where there are activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. Luckily, you are planning to visit Puerto Rico where there are lots of activities that every member of your family will love.
The first question to ask yourself is What do my kids like to do? Do they like to play in the water or do they prefer to play on land? Are they into nature? Are they really daredevils or more reserved in their adventures? No matter what your kids like to do, Puerto Rico is loaded with things they will like.
We’ve put together the following list with families and convenience in mind. All of these activities are within about a 1-hour drive of the San Juan area. You’ll be sure to find an idea to keep each member of your family happy and occupied on your trip to the island!
For Water Lovers
Beaches – Being that Puerto Rico is an island, we have loads of sunny beaches to visit. No matter if you’re into swimming, boggie-boarding, or just making sandcastles, you have miles of shoreline to choose from. If you pick a government-run beach or balneario, you will be ensured facilities like bathrooms and lifeguards. Some of the nicest beaches – Luquillo, Seven Seas, Carolina, Escambron – are all balnearios.
Motorized Watersports – San Juan WaterFun is located on the beach behind the El San Juan Hotel and San Juan Towers in Isla Verde. This company offers many water sports like banana boat rides, parasail rides, Hobi Cat rentals, and kayak rentals. They are open 7 days a week from 10am until 5pm. 787-643-4510. There is also watersports operators at the the Wyndham Rio Mar in Rio Grande.
Bio-Bay – Another great water experience is the bioluminescent lagoons in Fajardo and Vieques. This is a night-time activity, as it needs to be experienced in the dark. You can either do a kayak trip , take a walking tour, or go in an electric boat in Fajardo, or take a catamaran trip over to Vieques. Either way, it’s really magical to experience the glow and sparkles in the water around you.
Surfing – Surfing lessons are available in Luquillo. Call Surfer Bob for information and to make a reservation @ (787)435-1760
Or with Walking on Water Surfing school in Isla Verde or at Escambron. 787-955-6059 or www.wowsurfingschool.com
For land-based nature lovers
Rain Forest – You can’t go wrong with a hike through a tropical rain forest. El Yunque National Forest has trails that kids of almost any age can use. There are waterfalls and natural pools to swim in, lots of strange plants, lizards to chase and tons of cool bugs to find. The ranger-led tour is really good. They point out and discuss the different plants, and help you find some of the insects and wildlife of the rain forest.
Nature Reserve – Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve, located in Fajardo, has many things that are interesting to kids – iguanas, a beach, a walk through a mangrove swamp, a lighthouse, a touch-tank, and skeletons of various aquatic animals. They offer a tour that takes you from point-to-point on a tram, and then they have mini guided tours at each of the tram stops.
Caves – The north-western part of the island is made of limestone and it is riddled with caves and sinkholes. The Rio Camuy Caves Park offers a nice tour for the amateur cave-explorer.
Astronomy – The Arecibo Observatory is a neat place for kids about 10 years old and up that like to learn about astronomy and the workings of the universe.
Lighthouse & Aquarium – Arecibo also has the Arecibo Lighthouse, Historical Park & Aquarium. This small park features the lighthouse, a small aquarium with sharks, a mini-zoo, some ships to play on, a pirate cave and a re-creation of a Taino indian village.
Science Park – Currently closed. Luis A Ferre Science Park is a large park with all sorts of things to see for the whole family. It has pavilions that include a planetarium, aerospace museum with NASA rockets, transportation museum with antique cars, and a zoo. It’s located on 42 acres in Bayamon, and includes an artificial lake with paddleboat rentals available. The park is on Highway 167 in Bayamon – just look for the rockets. The park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, you can call them @ (787)740-6868 or (787)740-6878
For Active kids
Zip Line – La Marquesa Canopy Tours offers a zip line experience for kids ages 5 and up. They’re located in Guaynabo. There are other zip line companies also that cater to kids 6 years and up- like Rainforest Zipline Corporation and for older kids, Yunke zipline, both in the Rio Grande/Luquillo area.
Rappelling & Caving – A few companies (Acampa, Ecoquest, and Adventuras Tierra Adentro) offer full-day cave excursions, canyoning, rappeling and zip line adventures. These are only recommended for older kids.
ATV, Horseback & Go-Carts – Carabalí Rainforest Park (formerly Hacienda Carabali) offers ATV trail rides, horseback riding and go-cart rides. For the ATVs, the minimum age to drive is 16 years old, while the minimum age to be a passenger is 8 years old. The minimum age for horseback riding is 5 years old. They operate the Go-Carts only on the weekends. Open daily from 9:30am until 5:00pm. Call them @ (787)889-5820 or (787)889-4954 for more info.
Biking – Another fun thing to do is to rent bicycles and ride on the Boardwalk in Pinones along the ocean and through the mangroves. You can stop along the way and explore the tidal pools and beaches. Bikes of all sizes are usually availabile, sometimes with baby seats!
For rainy days (or just because the kids might enjoy these)
Shopping Malls – For those teens that just have to go to the mall and shop the big malls are Plaza Las Americas just south of San Juan, The Outlet/Route 66 Mall in Canovanas and Prime Outlets Mall in Barceloneta. Plaza Las Americas has a Build-a-Bear store for the younger kids in your family.
Movie Theaters – Most malls have multiplexes with the latest movies that play in English with Spanish subtitles.
Chuck E Cheese – There is a new Chuck E Cheese open in Los Colobos Plaza, right on Route 3 in Carolina East, at the edge of Canovanas.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.
- Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park: (18.480047, -66.699865)
- Arecibo Observatory Radiotelescope: (18.347031, -66.752458)
- Balneario Carolina: (18.449610, -65.997322)
- Balneario Escambron: (18.466238, -66.092849)
- Balneario Monserrate: (18.383932, -65.730407)
- Carabali Rainforest Park (formerly Hacienda Carabali): (18.366113, -65.764139)
- East Island Excursions: (18.287241, -65.635894)
- El Yunque National Forest (El Portal): (18.339091, -65.761671)
- Erin Go Bragh Charters: (18.286856, -65.633073)
- Kayaking Puerto Rico, Fajardo: (18.362865, -65.625232)
- Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve: (18.371103, -65.631713)
- Luis A Ferre Science Park: (18.410533, -66.159636)
- Pinones Beach and Boardwalk: (18.455336, -65.972388)
- Plaza las Americas Mall: (18.424550, -66.076069)
- Rio Camuy Caves Park: (18.346073, -66.825006)
- Route 66 Outlet Mall, Canovanas: (18.375002, -65.884677)
- Seven Seas Beach: (18.369392, -65.634170)