maldives with kids

Hit the water with the littles in the Maldives. (Photo: Marriott International)


Why the Maldives Is the Ultimate Family Beach Escape

More than a thousand islands located thousands of miles away from the daily grind? It’s easy to see why adults love the Maldives. This Indian Ocean archipelago does the isolated tropical paradise trope to perfection.

Children, however, aren’t as likely as parents to dig idyllic days on a white-sand beach at a five-star resort. Luckily, summer isn’t the only thing that’s endless in the Maldives: Dolphin sightings and world-class water fun are everywhere and offer kids easy excitement.

Looking for even more kid-friendly ideas? Here are some tips for making your Maldives trip more thrilling for younger travelers so you can enjoy a family vacation on the beach.

City Streets and Deep Dives

fish and coral in the ocean
Take a deep dive. (Photo: Marriott International)

Journeys to the Maldives typically begin and end at the airport in Malé, but don’t wait idly for your connecting flight to your resort. Take your tots for a street tour of the Maldives’ compact capital, which you can stroll around in about an hour.

Start at the National Museum of the Maldives, with its cool collection of Portuguese cannons, coral carvings and turbans worn by the sultan, and then visit the Malé Fish Market, where fishermen haul in the catch of the day. There’s a casual eatery located upstairs from the messy, fun, traditional market that serves fresh fish dishes cooked local-style.

For longer layovers, entertain kids with a submarine tour via Whale Submarine Maldives. Despite the name, you won’t see any cetaceans — but you will descend 100 feet for great views of angel fish and wahoos, as well as pristine coral reefs.

Ocean Escapades, with a Twist

As if the Maldives weren’t already out-of-this-world beautiful, there are bioluminescent beaches to explore.

Tell teens bent on posting super-likeable social media content to search for the beaches in the Maldives where the nighttime surf glows an electric blue. It’s tricky, though: Not every island is home to these indigenous bioluminescent crustaceans, who also don’t follow a fixed schedule. Moonless nights are best. Ask your resort.

If your kids aren’t beachcombers, head for the high seas on a dhoni, a traditional handmade boat of the Maldives that features a curved, Arab-style prow. While the dhonis used by resorts are typically diesel powered, the most authentic versions are lateen-sail-driven and crafted out of coconut wood by shipwrights on Raa Atoll, where the white-sand islands look to be floating on an azure ocean.

The Great Escape

Since most activities in the Maldives are aimed at adults, parents rely on killer resort kids clubs to keep young ones entertained while they skip out to scuba, spa or suntan. Kids clubs are key to making your escape, offering children a chance to go solo and join beachfront crab races, watch shark feedings or snorkel under supervision.

Some resorts even offer kid-themed classes for becoming a marine biologist or master chef. Pro-tip: It’s best to book babysitters in advance for the under-four set. Offerings change so ask to be sent details before your journey begins.

aerial view of the little griffin's kidz club, jw marriott maldives
Young adventurers will have fun exploring at the standalone FAMiLY by JW – Little Griffin’s Kid’s Club.

Meet the Maldivians

Give kids a quick glimpse of local life and book a traditional village day tour via your resort. In North Malé Atoll, Extreme Maldives offers guests at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa on Furanafushi Island a local experience tour of Himmafushi, a quiet pinprick community of 800 — as well as a chance to visit the isle’s scuba spots and nearby surf points like Sultans or Honkys.