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15 Best Things to Do in Cancun with Kids

cancun hotel zone beach front
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Cancun is ideal for family vacations thanks to its lively hotel zone and variety of outdoor activities. You’ll find plenty of things to do that your kiddos will love – from horseback riding in the jungle to dinner cruises and long days at the beach, Cancun has endless kid-friendly activities!

What to Pack for Cancun – 15 Essentials

  • 1. Explore the Adventure Parks

    Spend the day at one of Cancun’s eco-parks like Xcaret Park, Xel-Ha, or Explor. Your kiddos can swim in the water parks or take part in adventure activities like zip lining, snorkeling, or visiting animals up close. What’s even better is you can plan your trip at night, too! Xcaret Park and Explor both stay open until at least 10:30 pm. Each park is about an hour away from Cancun. You can organize a shuttle bus to and from the parks through your hotel or set up private transportation.

    Explore the Adventure Parks
  • 2. Swim with Whale Sharks and Turtles

    Mexico has the one of the highest concentration of whale sharks in the world. Whale sharks are also some of the friendliest, so why not take your children for an unforgettable experience? Spend the day on a whale shark excursion, and they’ll handle your hotel pick up and drop off and suit you up for the adventure.

    PRO TIP: Swimming with whale sharks is best in the summer, but if your family is visiting outside the summer season, there may not be as many whale sharks to see. Instead, opt for a snorkel boat trip. You can swim with sea turtles and explore an entire underwater museum!

    Swim with Whale Sharks and Turtles
  • 3. Visit Ventura Water Park

    Kids looking for a familiar summer day will have a blast at Cancun’s Ventura Water Park. They’ll stay busy on the water slides and floating on the lazy river. They’ll also enjoy the amusement park activities outside the water, like go-karting and ziplining. It’s one of the closest getaways from the Cancun hotel zone if your family needs an easy day trip away from the resorts.

    Visit Ventura Water Park
  • 4. Snack on Mexican Treats in Parque Las Palapas

    One of the best places in Cancun to try Mexican street food is Parque Las Palapas. Introduce your kiddos to some of Mexico’s most well-known snacks like street corn, marquesitas (a Mexican dessert crepe), and fruit popsicles called paletas. The park is a great place to eat under shaded umbrellas after a long day in the sun. There’s a playground and the park’s main stage hosts entertainment from dance performances to live music. If you’re looking for a more local experience, this is it!

    Snack on Mexican Treats in Parque Las Palapas
  • 5. Horseback Ride through the Jungle

    Taking your little cowboys and cowgirls on a horseback riding tour through the Riviera Maya jungle is a great alternative to the beach or pool. Your family will start the horseback journey on a guided jungle tour to see the local flora and fauna. The tour ends with a chance to swim in one of Mexico’s famous cenotes – a natural swimming hole. If it’s your or your kiddos’ first time riding a horse, no problem! This guided tour is for ages 8+ and doesn’t require any experience on a horse.

    Horseback Ride through the Jungle
  • 6. Go Parasailing

    One of the most unique ways for kids to experience Cancun is from a birds-eye view on a parasailing adventure. Your family can go up in groups of three at a time to experience parasailing together, too! Your little ones just need to be at least 4ft 4in to ride. There are takeoff locations near Cancun’s hotel zone, and it’s easy to book in advance or on a whim.

    Go Parasailing
  • 7. Ferry to Isla Mujeres

    Visiting the island of Isla Mujeres is a popular day trip from Cancun that your children will love. The ferry is stocked with concession stand treats and musical entertainment for your 30-minute cruise from Cancun’s Playa Tortuga to Isla Mujeres.

    Once you’re on Isla Mujeres, your family can rent a golf cart for the day and cruise around the 5-mile-long island for stunning views of the water and rugged cliffs. Swimming with dolphins and visiting the turtle sanctuary are just a few ways kids can connect with nature on the island. Isla Mujeres is also home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, Playa Norte.

    Ferry to Isla Mujeres
  • 8. Take a Walk through Parque Kabah

    Let your kids run their energy out at Parque Ecologico Kabah. Running paths and playgrounds cover the park grounds. Although it’s an urban park, you’ll find plenty of shade under the trees to escape the heat. Animal-lovers will enjoy animal sightings at the crocodile pool and turtle pond. You’ll also spot the local coati animals roaming around the park!

    Take a Walk through Parque Kabah
  • 9. Visit Mayan Ruins

    The Chichen Itza Mayan pyramid is one of the most well-known ruins in all of Mexico, but the site is about 3 hours away from Cancun. It might be a challenge getting your little ones to and from there in a quick day trip. Instead, your family can make a 10-minute drive from Cancun’s hotel zone to El Rey Archaeological Site. The ruins date back to 250 A.D. Your family can learn more about the history by organizing a personal guide.

    If you want your children to explore an impressive Mayan pyramid within a 2.5-hour drive, Coba is another option in the heart of the jungle. Unlike Chichen Itza, you can still climb some parts of the ruins. Coba offers the wow factor of Mayan ruins kids will marvel at!

    Visit Mayan Ruins
  • 10. Beach Day at Playa Delfines

    Playa Delfines is one of the most family-friendly, white-sand beaches in Cancun. The water is usually calm for kids to swim in, and there are lifeguards on duty. The Caribbean Sea is a stunning turquoise color year-round. The beach is well-equipped with amenities like public bathrooms, showers, and a playground.

    PRO TIP: Plan to arrive first thing in the morning to secure one of the limited shaded palapa umbrellas for your family to set up for the day. The earlier, the better!

    Beach Day at Playa Delfines
  • 11. Captain Hook Dinner Cruise

    Need entertainment for your family at night? Reserve a table aboard the Captain Hook dinner cruise. The 18th-century replica ship hosts an over-the-top pirate show while the family enjoy dinner. Games and contests on board offer extra entertainment after the dinner and show!

    Captain Hook Dinner Cruise
  • 12. Take a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour

    If you’re traveling with little ones, a glass-bottom boat tour is the perfect excursion for those too young to snorkel or swim with dolphins and whales. Your family will cruise over the clear Caribbean Sea to spot tropical fish, sting rays, and sea turtles. The tour guides on board explain the marine life in the area and help point out all the sea creatures for your curious kiddies to see!

    Take a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
  • 13. Shop at La Isla and Plaza Las Americas

    Fill one of your days at Cancun’s shopping malls La Isla or Plaza Las Americas. The open-air mall La Isla has clothing stores and other activities your kids can keep busy with, from a Ferris wheel to a wax museum and dolphin aquarium. There are plenty of restaurants at the mall’s pier for a family lunch or sunset dinner.

    Plaza Las Americas fits the more typical indoor shopping mall, which is great if you need a break from the Cancun heat! You can shop here and stop at the cinema for a movie.

    Shop at La Isla and Plaza Las Americas
  • 14. Ride ATVs

    If your kids are up for an adventure, organize an ATV excursion with a group like Cancun ATV. You can organize hotel pick up and drop off and set up a guided ATV ride through the jungle. Teens ages 16-17 can drive an ATV with an adult, and your younger kiddos can ride with an adult. Tours like Cancun ATV also offer extra activities after the ATV excursion, like zip lining.

    Ride ATVs
  • 15. Tour a Cenote

    Take your young explorers to see one of Mexico’s famous cenotes. These cave-like sinkholes make natural pools that are stunning natural wonders. Kids of all ages will be impressed by their beauty. It’s a unique nature experience that you can’t find in many places in the world! You can swim in the cenote or organize an underwater dive. One of the closest cenotes near Cancun is Cenote Kin-Ha.

    Tour a Cenote


My best advice is to plan one or two activities each day in Cancun. Many attractions on our list are outside of the hotel zone, so you’ll have to factor in travel time to and from each activity. A morning at the beach and one afternoon activity away from the hotel is sure to wear your kids out!

Keep in mind the weather during your trip, too. If you’re traveling with kids during the rainy season (May-October), have some indoor activities planned as a backup.

Finally, Cancun has tropical weather year-round. Keep your hotel room and beach bags stocked with water bottles to stay hydrated under the intense Cancun sun! Sunblock is also a must-have at all times.

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