San Juan is the second-oldest city in the Americas, behind Santo Domingo in the DR, and some families may enjoy walking through the winding Old San Juan section, packed with restaurants and shops. But for those travelers who find San Juan too crowded and busy, there are plenty of natural attractions, including the lush El Yunque Rain Forest, where hiking trails and narrow roads snake past waterfalls, mountain vistas and rare native flora and fauna. One of Puerto Rico’s hottest destinations is the island of Vieques – a splashy W resort will open there in spring 2009 – which not only has pretty beaches but historical attractions like the 110-year-old Spanish lighthouse, El Faro de Punta Mulas, and El Fortin Conde de Mirasol, a former fort that’s now a museum recounting stories of the native Taino Indians, the sugar-plantation past, and military history.
After exploring the hidden passageways and enjoying the ocean views at massive El Morro, the 220-year-old fort that sits at the entrance to San Juan Bay, enjoy a picnic or fly a kite on the sprawling grounds. The national park even has a yearly kite festival in March. Outside the city, older kids will love the thrill of an ATV ride through El Yunque Rain Forest, while younger kids will enjoy the interactive exhibits at the park’s visitor center, El Portal.
Nearby, families love Balneario de Luquillo, a gorgeous stretch of palm-lined white sand fully developed with restrooms, beach restaurants, picnic areas, a gently sloped beach; and, for Mom and Dad, little huts selling cocktails.