If you’re looking for sunshine, sandy beaches, outstanding cuisine and palm trees swaying the breeze, look no further than picture-perfect Puerto Vallarta. It’s easy to believe that this charming resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast is a couples or party animal destination … just take a look at the many adult-only resorts that line the coast. Thankfully, there are plenty of fun, family-centered activities and resorts that meet the needs of families, too. You can find kid-friendly buffets, poolside and beach activities for not-yet swimmers, and even evening programming just for kids, so mom and dad can sneak away for a relaxing dinner. Here’s where to play and stay with kids in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

PLAY 

While you’ll want to spend most of your time beachside or poolside, sipping smoothies, building sandcastles, there are plenty of things to see and do outside of the resort zone.

Stroll the Malecon. Puerto Vallarta’s picturesque boardwalk is lined with outdoor cafes, artisan shops, and entertainers. One mile long and popular with both tourists and locals alike, it makes for a perfect late afternoon or evening stroll.

Set off on a sailboat into beautiful Banderas Bay. Head to the Puerto Vallarta Marina, home of several sailboat excursion operators, and catch a thrilling ride on a catamaran or sailboat. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot dolphins or maybe even a whale dancing in the waves!

Swing to the mariachi beat. Make a point of dining at a restaurant where mariachi music is also on the menu: Hacienda San Angel and Casa Kimberly both host in-house bands on a regular basis.

Meet the flowers at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Stroll the lush gardens and learn more about the amazing flora that calls this corner of paradise home at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Hike the many easy trails and keep your eyes peeled for colorful parrots and hummingbirds.

EAT

Head to the beach and settle in to a table with the sand at your toes at La Palapa. Casual and friendly, the popular beachside restaurant keeps the focus on combines fresh, local ingredients at a reasonable price. Bring beach toys for the kids to play in the sand so you can linger over a margarita.

Seafood is the star at El Barracuda, best enjoyed at this lovely oceanside hotspot. Most evenings, live music makes the margaritas even sweeter. Start your culinary adventure with the incredibly fresh ceviche.

STAY

Nestled along the picturesque Bay of Banderas on one side and lush, tropical vegetation on the other, the Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa boasts beautiful garden and Pacific Ocean views and a prime location near several internationally renowned golf courses. But it’s the sparkling, white sand beach with its unforgettable sunsets that creates the most memories at this big Rivera resort. Add the in-resort, luxury spa and 5-star cuisine, and you’ll soon see why this resort considered a quiet paradise on the Rivera. Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort goes above and beyond for families by offering exclusive family-only facilities including a kid-friendly beach zone, a shallow, kiddie pool, and even a mini petting zoo. 

CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is one of the most popular area resorts thanks to its fine restaurants, enormous swimming pools, and spacious guest rooms and suites. The in-resort spa Ohtli Spa and adjacent fitness center with indoor lap pool offer plenty of opportunities for self-care. Great kid-friendly amenities include a kiddy pool, table tennis, volleyball courts, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and a seasonal sea turtle rescue program.