Relax on Palm Beach
The renowned two-mile-long strip known as Palm Beach is home to Aruba's high-rise hotels and dotted by water sports concessions, piers, beach bars, restaurants and shops. Arguably, it's the epicenter for much of the island's tourist activities, which can make it crowded, but almost always action-packed. Perfect for families, there's no shortage of activities available.
By Katie Galeotti, AFAR Staff
Palm Beach and Beyond
Aruba's famous Palm Beach is a stunning two-mile stretch of sand shared by upscale hotels, water sport outfitters, beach bars, and restaurants. Stow away on a Jolly Pirates ship for an island cruise—the Sunset Sail includes open-bar privileges and a rope swing—before hitting up one of the beach parties that bring this part of Aruba to life after dark. If Palm Beach sounds like too much hard work, De Palm Island (further south) is an all-inclusive island resort that offers respite from the crowds and a chance to enjoy the sand and sun in a more relaxed setting.
Get Primed for Paddleboarding
You need at least a dozen photos of yourself practicing paddleboard yoga if you're going to call this trip a success, so grab some gear from the nearest beach hut (Red Sail Sports on Palm Beach is a great option) and set forth upon the sea. Paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing recreational sports in the world, though you shouldn't get too worked up if you don't catch on right away. Aruba Surf and Paddle School will have you on your feet in no time. With more than 20 years of board-sport experience, there is no better place to learn paddleboarding and surfing. Instructors can even help fix your GoPro to your board.
Come Sail Away
Spark something within your inner seaman by setting out on a family sailing trip. Aruba Watersports Center outfits adventures on the high seas for first-timers and experienced sailors that let them explore the best of the Southern Caribbean. For those thirsting for more wind and speed, look to the Palm Beach horizon, where high-powered watercraft whip across the sea. For something in between, try a sunset cruise by catamaran courtesy of Red Sail Sports, who offer a number of adventure options for families that often include lunches, dinners, snacks, and drinks.
For the Thrill of Windsurfing
Windsurfing is an exhilarating way to spend a day in Aruba, and the high winds of the Caribbean make this the perfect destination. Dozens of outfitters compete for your patronage; Aruba Kitesurfing School has top-notch equipment, experienced instructors, and excellent packages that range from five-hour introductions to four-day immersion courses. If you've already mastered the wind, you can rent equipment from the huts at the north end of Palm Beach. Pro Kite School Aruba at Boca Grande is home to Pechi Pechacek, pro rider and world-record holder, who will have you ready for the Hi-Winds Amateur World Challenge before you know it.