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Aruba for Families

Come Sail Away
Aruba for Families
Aruba has so much to offer families that you may find yourself forgetting about long, lazy days on the beach. Trek rugged coastal terrain, explore the ocean in a submarine, ride to natural pools on horseback, or sail off into the sunset.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
  • 1 / 10
    Come Sail Away
    Come Sail Away
    Spark your inner seaman with a family sailing trip. Aruba Watersports Center organizes high-sea adventures for first-timers and experienced sailors alike, helping them explore the best of the Southern Caribbean. If you’re thirsting for more speed, look to the Palm Beach horizon, where high-powered watercraft whip across the ocean. Red Sail Sports strikes a happy medium with sunset catamaran cruises as well as more adventurous options, which often include meals, snacks, and drinks.
    Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
  • 2 / 10
    Indoor Amusements
    Indoor Amusements
    When you and your crew have had too much sun, pay a visit to Aruba Fun City, an amusement park with a labyrinth, climbing wall, playground, air-hockey tables, and more. If you’d rather enjoy a little friendly competition, go to Palm Beach Dream Bowl, where you’ll find eight glowing lanes, an arcade, and the chance to compete against players from rival Eagle Bowling Palace. The largest and most beautiful gaming complex on Aruba, Stellaris Casino is a fun choice for Vegas-style action just steps from the beach. While Mom and Dad toss chips on the table, kids can play in the modern arcade. Also worth checking out is the Giant of Tonga, a large, inflatable maze packed with zombies.
    Photo by John Greim/age fotostock
  • 3 / 10
    Underwater for Everyone
    Underwater for Everyone
    Atlantis Submarine Expeditions takes guests deep into the blue—up to 130 feet to be exact—in a cutting-edge submersible called the SubSeeker to view shipwrecks, coral fields, tropical fish, and the odd sea monster. The Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine doesn't go quite as deep, but the hull sits five feet below the surface so you get a bird’s-eye view of what lies beneath. If you'd rather be in the water yourself, turn to Sea Trek Underwater Helmet Walks, which puts guests 20 feet below the surface to scope out the sunken Cessna 414, chill at the underwater Sea Trek Cafe, and wander among hundreds of colorful fish, turtles, rays, octopuses, and more.
    Photo by Matt Long
  • 4 / 10
    Overland Adventures
    Overland Adventures
    A family-friendly outfitter, DePalm Tours offers off-road adventures to Aruba’s rough-and-tumble interior and barren “other side.” On half-day tours, you’ll learn about the island’s colorful history while marveling at the Ayo and Casibari rock formations, California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba Butterfly Farm, Natural Bridge, and Cura di Tortuga Natural Pool. These Land Rover tours are bumpy and wild so, if that’s not your thing, opt for Segway Tours Aruba and enjoy a peaceful ride along the coast instead.
    Photo by agefotostock
  • 5 / 10
    Aruba's History
    Aruba's History
    Small in size but large in scope, the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba offers an overview of the island’s history with a collection that includes ancient Carib artifacts, a skeleton that’s thousands of years old, and more. For a different perspective, visit Fort Zoutman (the oldest building in Oranjestad), where you can learn about Dutch colonial history while ogling Caiquetio artifacts and Aruban treasures. Held every Tuesday evening at the fort, the Bon Bini Festival features a large arts-and-crafts market, food, music, and traditional dance demonstrations, giving you the chance to practice your tumba and Aruban waltz.
    Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
  • 6 / 10
    Houses of Worship
    Houses of Worship
    Aruba is home to some 115,000 permanent residents from more than 90 different nations, making for a religiously diverse population. Spread across the island are dozens of churches and scared sites, many of which are open to the public. Originally built in 1750, the Alto Vista Chapel was Aruba’s first Roman Catholic church. As such, it’s one of the island’s most important houses of worship, with a hilltop location that offers panoramic views of the sunset. Also worth visiting is St. Ann’s Church, which stands as the Caribbean’s preeminent neo-Gothic masterpiece, and the beautiful Beth Israel Synagogue, built by Eastern Jews who settled in Aruba in the 1920s.
    Photo by Flash Parker
  • 7 / 10
    Animal Encounters
    Animal Encounters
    With its diverse range of wildlife, Aruba is the perfect island for animal-loving families. The Aruba Ostrich farm is home to some 80 big birds (including emu), while the Donkey Sanctuary boasts more than 130 residents, who eagerly greet guests with wet kisses to the face. Families can also visit the Aruba Butterfly Farm, which every so often hosts an Attacus atlas (one of the largest moths in the world), and Philip’s Animal Garden, where they can enjoy education encounters with boa constrictors, Bengal cats, alpacas, alligators, and a variety of exotic rescue animals.
    Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
  • 8 / 10
    Explore Aruba on Horseback
    Explore Aruba on Horseback
    Open to all ages and experience levels, the Gold Mine Ranch offers horseback tours on well-groomed trails and Aruba’s northeast beaches. If you’d rather visit the untouched northern coast, ride with Rancho la Ponderosa to Wariruri Beach, where you can watch the sunset from a good-natured horse. Surfers will love Rancho Daimari, which features a private beach with big waves, while adventurers should head to Arikok National Park, where they can steer their steed toward towering sand dunes, secluded coves, natural pools, remote beaches, and more.
    Photo courtesy of The Gold Mine Ranch
  • 9 / 10
    Aruba on Two Wheels
    Aruba on Two Wheels
    With its exotic terrain, easy trails, and many opportunities for beach breaks, Aruba is a biker’s paradise. It’s even small enough that serious cyclists can ride around the entire island in a single day. Those looking for a challenge should head to the north coast, where winding, unpaved roads lead to secret beaches, cactus-fringed coves, and hidden tide pools. If you’d prefer something more structured, Aruba Active Vacations offers guided rides to the California Lighthouse, Tierra Del Sol, and even the beach for a picnic, while Rancho Notorious leads bikers up the authentic donkey trails to Alto Vista Chapel.
    Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
  • 10 / 10
    Family Treks
    Family Treks
    While Aruba may lack mountainous terrain, it still has plenty for hikers, from ocean-side treks to 29 miles of rugged, rocky trails. The best paths can be found inside Arikok National Park, including a five-hour hike that takes visitors across desert brush to an old adobe house, through caves covered in indigenous paintings, and, finally, up Mount Jamanota (the island’s highest point) for breathtaking views. For something unique, try the Jamanota full moon hike—arguably Aruba’s most rewarding trekking experience.
    Photo by Jack Jackson/agefotostock