Family vacations are relied on as a precious chance to reconnect with loved ones, make memories and escape the stresses of everyday life. So when the pandemic forced countless families to cancel these much-needed trips away, it was a bitter pill to swallow. For those eager to start planning the ultimate family getaway but wondering where to begin, the British Virgin Islands’ tranquil resorts might just hold the answer.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best of the BVI’s places to stay and things to do for a holiday the entire clan will never forget.
With its endless stretches of pristine beaches and breathtaking views, enjoying a gourmet picnic is a wonderful way to while away an afternoon in the BVI. Enlist the help of Michelin experienced private chef, Kenetha Ashton, to put on a bespoke spread.
As the islands are home to at least three species of marine turtle, it is worth reaching out to the Association of Reef Keepers. Spend the day assisting a marine biologist in front-line conservation efforts, capturing and tagging turtles to learn more about the fascinating creatures before releasing them back into the water.
When it comes to activities, there is plenty of choice for every age group. SeaTrek has a whole host of adventure summer camp programs for 12-23 year olds, from learning to scuba dive and sail, to taking an underwater photography course. For those with a keen interest in marine science, there’s a chance to earn academic credit by joining biologists to monitor the local coral reefs.
If you want to take advantage of the peace and quiet while the kids are at camp, consider visiting Driftwood Spa in Tortola for a couple’s massage or taking a class at Karl Burnett’s Pottery Garden to get your creative juices flowing.
Those keen to embark on a luxury sailing holiday with everything taken care of need look no further than Cuan Law. The fully crewed trimaran has 10 spacious staterooms that can easily accommodate the whole family. Island excursions, sea kayaking and paddleboarding are just a few of the activities available while on board.
For the real adrenaline junkies, consider heading to international pro kite surfer Tommy Gaunt’s Kite Surfing School at Keel Point, Anegada, where lessons are available for every ability. And if you would rather relax in a hammock with a cocktail, the Anegada Beach Club is on-site with oceanfront retreats for luxury glamping and a restaurant that always has freshly caught grilled lobster on the menu. Of course, if glamping isn’t your style the British Virgin Islands is also home to a wealth of family-friendly resorts.
Richard Branson’s exclusive private island is the perfect destination for a truly unforgettable family getaway. Situated at the island’s highest point, the Great House has stunning views of the Atlantic and neighboring islands. The property boasts 12 ensuite bedrooms, a bunk room that sleeps up to six children, and a huge roof terrace that can comfortably host up to 24 people for dinner. There’s an endless list of activities to keep the whole family busy from beach Olympics and treasure hunts, to sailing and water skiing. And if you’re looking for a more laid-back pace, take advantage of the sunset yoga classes and treatments at the Samudra Spa.
Oil Nut Bay
Located on the eastern corner of Virgin Gorda, stunning ocean views stretch as far as the eye can see from this secluded resort. Choose from a collection of elegant properties designed to blend into the surrounding natural landscape. The six-bedroom Bella Beach Villa is particularly well-suited to families thanks to its large dining room, veranda, outdoor terrace, shaded lounging areas and infinity pool. Private chefs are on-hand to provide in-villa dining services, from lavish dinner parties to quick bites and barbeques. The family certainly won’t be short on things to do: drop by at the rescue barn to see the resort’s horses and red-footed tortoises, visit the Nature Centre’s beautiful salt pond and spend an afternoon in the community garden getting your green fingers. Parents can also make full use of the Nut House Kids Club which has a range of activities for younger children through to teens.
The Glass House
When Jeremy and Cindy Delk visited Jost Van Dyke back in 2013, they fell in love with the island and decided to build the Glass House. What started as a sketch on the back of an envelope would eventually become this striking four-bedroom property designed by renowned Tortola architect, Dion Stout. Accommodating up to 12 guests, the Glass House was built with family in mind: one of the rooms is specially fitted with bunk beds for the kids and there are plenty of spaces to gather for meals. The property has panoramic views of White Bay and is just a stone’s throw from the immaculate beach. Boogie boards and paddleboards are provided for the whole family to enjoy at the bay. Head down to The Sandbar – the cabana on the beach – in the evening to watch the stars and toast marshmallows around the fire.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay
This eco-friendly resort is located on the west coast of Virgin Gorda, right on the water’s edge. Each of the elegant, modern villas enjoy sweeping ocean views and have plenty of outdoor space for large communal dinners. The four-bedroom Villa Joy is the perfect setting for a family retreat, boasting a private pool, spacious living room and a dining pavilion with a barbeque. There are lots of options for keeping everyone entertained: enjoy a family tennis lesson with the resort’s resident pro, Jason Kesselman; take part in a scavenger hunt to discover the different species of animals on the island; participate in a cooking class as a family with chef Francisco Sanabria using fresh ingredients from the garden; and enjoy a private sailing lesson on a Hobie Cat with beach supervisor Cary Dore, before putting your skills to the test with a family regatta.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
A mile and a half off the coast of Tortola lies Scrub Island, an idyllic 230-acre slice of paradise discovered by Christopher Columbus nearly 500 years ago. The resort is home to a collection of spacious hillside villas with sweeping ocean views, large balconies, terraces and private chefs on-hand to cook gourmet meals. With six luxurious ensuite master bedrooms, an infinity pool and generous living spaces, Spinnaker House is the ideal retreat for large family gatherings. Scrub Island’s marina is home to the Colgate Offshore Sailing School where the whole family can brush up on their sailing skills. You can also fly fish from the white sandy beaches, explore the island’s hiking trails and dive at nearby historic shipwrecks. Make sure to take the kids to Donavan’s Beach for kayaking, paddle boarding and the water trampoline.
For the latest information on travel protocols to the British Virgin Islands, visit bvitourism.com