Despite Cancun’s reputation for wild Spring Break parties, we found many things to do in Cancun with kids. True, there is a strong party scene in the city, but there are a lot of attractions that will keep kids happy, whether they’re young like ours or teenagers.
Build Sand Castles on the Beach
There’s not much that can amuse a kid longer than a beach full of soft white sand, and a set of play buckets and shovels. Playa Tortuga is a great family beach because it’s shallow with an offshore reef that creates gentle waves. Playa Tortuga draws many local families, as it’s outside the touristy hotel zone.
Playa Del Niño is a great beach for kids as well, with gentle waves and shallow water, and it’s frequented mostly by locals. You’ll probably also find yourself at Playa Delfines at some point. However, although Playa Delfine’s water is crystal clear and there’s a good kids playground, the waves can get rough so be careful.
Check Out Some Fun Kid-Friendly Restaurants
Carlos N Charlies and Senor Frogs is a lot of fun for kids, but come early because the partygoers take over by around 8 pm, and it starts to get pretty wild. If your kids are picky eaters, you’ll find a lot of the same chain restaurants as in the USA, including McDonalds, Margaritaville, Chili’s, and Outback Steakhouse. La Casa de Los Abuelos is a great choice if you want a break from the kids, because they have a kids’ room supervised by nannies.
Xcaret eco-archaeological Park is a great choice for kids of all ages. Xcaret offers everything from an underwater river to a beach, many birds and animals, a Mayan village and even archaeological sites. You can easily spend a full day here, or longer.
A plunge in the crystal clear water of a cenote (a natural pool formed in limestone) is a perfect family antidote to scorching temperatures. Cenote Aktun Chen is close to Cancun, and well-rated, but the bottom is deep enough that you should bring life jackets for little kids.
You can get American ice cream favorites for a premium price at Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone, Ben & Jerry's, and Haagen Dazs in Plaza La Isla mall. Aldo Gelato offers up delicious gelato in a dizzying array of flavors. If you're looking for something a little more local, also try the La Michoacana Mexican chain on Avenida Tulum.
Rainy Day Fun at Plaza Las Americas Mall
It's good to have something lined up for the kids to do on those inevitable rainy days. The modern Las Americas Mall is large enough to burn off some energy just walking around, and there's also a food court, movie theater (though kids movies are usually only in Spanish, with English subtitles), and a noisy arcade where kids can play. Our kids loved the Zooriders, where they got to scoot around on stuffed animals.
If you're looking for a cool indoor playground, check out the air-conditioned play center on the second floor of the Kukulkan Plaza in the Hotel Zone. There's also an indoor arcade in the Plaza Las Americas Mall.
Cancun Interactive Aquarium
Cancun Interactive Aquarium, in La Isla Shopping Center, lets kids touch starfish and rays, and feed sharks. It's a small aquarium, and only takes around an hour to visit, but kids really seem to like it.
Isla Mujeres is an easy 20 minute ferry ride from Cancun. The kids will love touring the island on a golf cart, and playing on the white sand beaches. Don't miss the Tortugranja, a turtle sanctuary and small aquarium where they rehabilitate injured sea turtles, and kids can hold a hatchling sea turtle. If you're in the mood for a more organized adventure, Garrafon Reef Park is a great choice for active older kids with zip lines, kayaking and snorkeling.
Subsee Explorer is a great alternative for kids not old enough to snorkel. This sub-like glass bottom boat takes you out to see colorful fish and marine life of the Nizuc Reef.
Kids will also love looking at underwater life in the Atlantis, an authentic 48-passenger submarine. Kids must be a minimum of 36" in height and four years old to ride the submarine.
Pirate Show Cancun Jolly Roger
Kids will love watching this spectacular battle between pirates in the Caribbean sea, complete with amazing acrobatics on the Jolly Roger galleon pirate ship. Tickets run around $95 for adults, $45 for kids 5-11, and free for kids under five.
Wet'n Wild Cancun
Wet'n Wild Cancun is a water park with slides that's fun for the family, and a great way to beat the scorching heat. Food and drink are included. The park's a bit smaller than most water parks in Canada or the USA, but fun nonetheless.
Whether you're just hanging out on the beach, or heading off on an underwater adventure, there's a lot to do in Cancun with kids of all ages.
We wrote this post in partnership with Hipmunk’s series on Cancun for the #HipmunkCityProject.