Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Family Vacation Guide

Dominican Republic family vacations
Families can whitewater raft in the Dominican Republic. © Dominican Republic Tourism Ministry

Dominican Republic family vacations thrive because of the country’s fabulous all-inclusive resorts. They offer something for everyone.

Beautiful beaches and beautiful resorts make a Dominican Republic vacation one of the best Caribbean island vacations a family can take.

This nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with the country of Haiti claims more than 1,000 miles of beaches. Vacationers will find that the sand is as white as any and that the cooling, swaying palm trees are plentiful.

The nation is large enough—and the beaches are common enough—that vacationers will have a number of options for where they might stay.

Punta Cana in the east and Puerto Plata in the north are two of the most popular resort locations. Cabarete and Playa Dorada also are located in the north. The capital city of Santo Domingo is another popular destination on the southern coast of the country.

All of the major destinations are easily accessible by air, with international airports at Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata.

Several of the most popular locations are in somewhat remote areas, such as Punta Cana. As a result, there is a heavy emphasis on all-inclusive resorts with extensive facilities and activities all located on the property.

But no worries. The resorts usually offer so much to do for families that there are few reasons to leave the resort property.

Family Resort Activities

Caribbean scuba
Resort scuba is available to beginners without certification. Credit: Pixabay license

Families will find that typical amenities for all-inclusive resorts include all food, beverages, entertainment, classes and scheduled activities, certain water sports and more.

Typical free services include aerobics, billiards, target shooting, tennis (lighted courts require an additional charge), table tennis, classes, volleyball, kayaking, windsurfing and resort scuba.

For some resorts, the classes can be extensive—anything from bingo to cooking and language lessons.

Some additional activities require an extra fee. An example of an amenity requiring a fee is resort scuba. Certification is usually required for scuba diving, but not for what is called resort scuba.

With resort scuba, a family takes a basic training class in scuba diving, often taking place in a resort pool. The lesson itself may be free, but a dive in the ocean costs extra.

After the class, families will go out to shallow water of up to 20 feet to scuba dive with their instructor.

Other examples requiring a fee include banana boat rides, catamaran sailing, parasailing and horseback rides.

Anyone wanting to spend time off the property will find that Dominican Republic attractions are not always easy to reach because of the distance.

They include historical sites, visiting Santo Domingo and taking advantage of ecotourism activities such as whitewater rafting, climbing waterfalls and going on hikes in the national parks.


Anyone planning a vacation in Dominican Republic should know that the nation has severe weather during the annual Caribbean hurricane season.

Rain is especially heavy from September through November. There is a brief rainy season in May as well, although rainfall tends to be heavier in the interior.

Punta Cana historically has the least amount of rain but cooler temperatures averaging in the low 80s Fahrenheit from December through April. It has a brief rainy season in May and has a spike in rainfall in September and especially October.

Puerto Plata has somewhat opposite weather patterns with heavy rain starting in November and going through the spring. It usually has the lowest rain of the year from June through September along with average high temperatures nearing 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius.

Nudity and Security

Topless sunbathing is allowed at some Dominican Republic resorts, so any parents with a concern about it should check with their resort before committing to it.

When researching resorts, look for any that offer clubs, centers and activity programs specifically for children and teens.

Dominican Republic resorts are generally safe. Many of them have high fences and security guards that restrict outsiders from coming into the resort.

Children often roam with some freedom, but it is advisable for parents to limit their movements and not venture anywhere alone.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
May 16, 2024

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