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15 Memorable Things to Do in Cancun with Kids

15 Memorable Things to Do in Cancun with Kids

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Are you planning a trip to Cancun with your family and looking for family-friendly activities? Keep scrolling to check out the coolest things to do in Cancun with kids!
This list of family-friendly things to do in Cancun with kids was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Are you wondering about the most fun things to do in Cancun for families? Cancun is the perfect spot for you if you’re looking for the best place for a family vacation, complete with beautiful beaches, exciting day trips, and luxury, family-friendly resorts.

There are so many fun things to do in Cancun with kids, including swimming with sea turtles, splashing around at a water park, riding on zip lines, and themed cruises.

Regardless of your family’s interests, there are plenty of nature activities in Cancun for kids.

Keep scrolling for the best things to do in Cancun for the whole family, and briefly describe each fun event on the Mexican coastline.

15 Awesome Things to Do in Cancun with Kids

Captain Hook Dinner Cruise

The Captain Hook Dinner Cruise near Cancun is one of the most fun activities in Cancun for families. The cruise is a three-hour-long adventure with continuous live entertainment, a pirate show, contests, and a dance floor.

The boat itself embodies the pirate theme. Parents can enjoy an open bar and dance floor, while the kids will get a kick out of the pirate entertainment and games.

There’s indoor seating with air conditioning or open-air outdoor seating on the deck. The dinner isn’t the best thing about the show, but it’s still pretty good. It usually includes a grilled main option and a variety of different sides. There’s usually something for everyone, including the pickiest of eaters.

You can buy your tickets to the Captain Hook Dinner Cruise beforehand. Your ticket includes the open bar, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, dinner, and two free children admissions for kids between two and eleven years old per adult.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is an excellent activity for children, and Cancun is one of the best places in Mexico. The surrounding jungle creates the most beautiful backdrop for riding, and the flat terrain and lack of hills make it great for even beginners.

This Horseback Riding and Cenote Swim is the perfect afternoon from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. The riding tours begin at the ranch, where everyone will be matched with their horse based on skill levels.

Afterward, you’ll stroll through the Yucatan jungle on horseback, learn about the local flora and fauna, how to make bubblegum from the trees in the Yucatan, and more about the environment. You’ll then head to a nearby cenote for a quick swim.

This activity is great for the whole family and highly recommended for anyone despite experience. The ranch rescues and rehabilitates its horses and has many calm and friendly horses for those without experience.

The guided tour includes snacks, drinks, locker rentals, all necessary equipment, and roundtrip transportation from the Cancun hotel zone, downtown Cancun, or Playa del Carmen.

Dolphin Beach

Dolphin Beach (Playa Delfines) is one of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya and a personal favorite for families around Cancun.

Playa Delfines in Cancun Mexico
Playa Delfines in Cancun Mexico.

The beach is on kilometer 18 of Cancun’s hotel zone, but it’s still one of the most peaceful places to relax and enjoy the sun. The beaches in the heart of the Cancun hotel zone have beach clubs, with drinks flowing and sometimes even loud music.

Playa Delfines is much more laid-back, with fewer tourists and quieter.

You must be careful swimming here, as the current can sometimes be strong. There are, however, usually lifeguards walking the beach during the day.

It’s a very scenic beach. And while you probably won’t come across dolphins here as the name suggests (unless you get fortunate), it has a fantastic backdrop view of the hotel zone and, of course, the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Ocean.

Explore Mayan Ruins

Visiting the Mayan ruins around the Riviera Maya is one of the best activities for a family vacation in Cancun with kids. The children can learn about the Mayan culture and history while leaving the hotel zone for the day.

And Mayan history is so fascinating. Learning about it from a guide while walking through the ancient ruins and admiring the archeological feet of the pyramids is way better than any classroom experience the kids might otherwise have.

There are several tiny Mayan ruins around Cancun and near the hotel zone. El Rey Eco Archaeological Park is one of the most popular. It’s a very small site, with just a handful of ruins.

If you want something more extensive, you should leave the city on a day trip.

Ancient mayan ruins at the Tulum archaeological site, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
It’s worth checking out the ancient Mayan ruins at the Tulum archaeological site.

Tulum ruins, which are less than a 2-hour drive from Cancun, are incredible ancient ruins on the cliff edge of Tulum. The Coba ruins are not too far from there, another impressive archeological zone.

If you have any history buffs in the family, I recommend making a full day out of the exploration. You can visit both Tulum and Coba ruins in one day and break it up with some time in Tulum town or swimming in a nearby cenote.

This From Cancun: Coba, Tulum, and Mayan Traditions Guided Tour is the best day trip from Cancun with kids. The tour includes a visit to both Coba and Tulum, where you’ll go with a guide explaining the complex and rich history.

You’ll also stop at Mariposa Cenote, a beautiful freshwater swimming hole near Coba. The tour includes roundtrip transportation, a buffet meal, and a demonstration of Mayan traditions.

Explore Chichen Itza

While Tulum and Coba ruins are a great experience, Chichen Itza is on an entirely different level. Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the World’s new Seven Wonders. There are thousands and thousands of visitors every day from every corner of the World.

Closeup of a head sculpture in the Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico
Do a day trip to Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza is known as one of the most impressive Mayan archeological sites. The centerpiece is Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo). El Castillo has become world-renowned because many historians and archeologists are amazed by its advanced engineering.

The temple was built so that a shadow shaped like a serpent (a highly worshipped species amongst the civilization) snakes its way down the pyramid during the equinox. There’s also a unique sound system. If you clap in front of El Castillo, the sound will echo as a Quetzal bird chirp.

And there’s a lot more to learn and discover at Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza is about 2.5 hours from Cancun, so it’s a bit longer of a day. But it’s worth it to learn more about Mayan civilization.

This Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour is one of the best tours from Cancun of Chichen Itza and the nearby, quintessential town of Valladolid.

The tour includes a buffet lunch with unlimited food, the cenote and Chichen Itza entrance fee, roundtrip transportation, and a little time in Valladolid.

Ritmo Water Park

Ritmo Water Park is one of the best things for kids to do in Cancun. The water park is connected to the All Ritmo Cancun Resort, but you can purchase day passes regardless of where you’re staying.

The water park has four water slides and waterfalls, umbrellas, and an always refreshing bucket of water. There are plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas for the parents to lounge around and a bar and restaurant onsite.

There are also many other activities, including a basketball court, tennis court, and an energetic animation team. Overall, it’s a thrilling experience in a fun world of water and excitement.

If you’re a fan of water parks and want a lazy river and more exciting aqua activities, you can also check out Ventura Park. Ventura Park is very similar to Ritmo and is just as popular. It’s another popular place for the kids.

If you have the time, you can visit Ritmo and Ventura Park!

Parque las Palapas

Parque las Palapas is one of the best places to experience authentic local food and escape from the hotel zone for an afternoon.

This large park has souvenir stalls, little shops, and street food vendors. You’ll find all the Mexican classics here, including tacos, esquites (a corn snack), and sweet churros.

Parque las Palapas is about six miles (10 km) from the hotel zone. It’s at the end of Boulevard Kukulcan on Calle 5. You can easily take a quick taxi ride from the Cancun coast.

Overall, it’s an excellent place for an afternoon in Cancun and a popular place with the kids.

Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park is one of the best adventure activities for the entire family. Xcaret Park is an adventure park with massive water slides, zip lines, water parks, and so much more.

Check out the best things to do in Riviera Maya for families recommended by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of Xcaret Beach in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Xcaret Park is very popular with families visiting Cancun!

One of the best things to do in Cancun for kids is visit the Butterfly Pavilion at Xcaret Park. This is a small slice of forest with over 20 different species of local butterflies. They’ll fly all around you, in front of you, and nap around you. It’s a unique place in Quintana Roo.

But there’s a lot more. There’s a bird sanctuary, a colorful Mexican cemetery, underwater rivers with friendly manatees, a lazy river, a small wave pool, and an aquarium built for snorkeling.

In addition, you can purchase activities outside of the all-inclusive entrance fee. There’s a cultural night show and a snuba experience for those who want to try scuba diving.

You can purchase photos at Xcaret, too, with photo platforms scattered around the park. Overall, Xcaret Park is a memorable experience for the entire family, though it’s particularly popular amongst older kids and thrill seekers.

This Xcaret Park with Night Show and Transportation is the easiest way to visit the adventure park. The ticket includes transportation from your hotel, everything inside the park, and the cultural night show.

Interactive Aquarium

The Interactive Aquarium is another of the best things to do with kids and small children in Cancun.

This isn’t your average aquarium. Most exhibits are very interactive, including a marine walk where you walk underwater with all the fish. They also have sleek manta rays, a fish spa, fish ponds, and the option to swim with dolphins.

The primary goal of the Interactive Aquarium is to educate and conserve endangered marine life. The exhibits focus on educating the kids about the unique animal species and the ocean.

Go on a Snorkel Tour

Cancun is right on the Caribbean Sea, so one of the best things to do in Cancun with kids is to snorkel and explore the ocean.

There are several types of snorkeling tours, whether you want to swim around in the Underwater Museum (MUSA), explore shipwrecks, swim with sea turtles, or stick to coral reefs.

No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong. The ocean and vibrant marine life off the shore of Cancun are incredible, and it is an exciting activity with the kids.

Underwater portrait of father and son snorkeling together
Cancun offers tons of snorkeling opportunties.

This Reef and Shipwreck Snorkeling Tour in Cancun is one of the best family-friendly tours in Cancun. The underwater worlds around these impressive ships are unlike any other and combine that with a traditional coral reef tour; the family will love this epic adventure.

The tour includes a life jacket, transportation, a guide, snorkel equipment, bottled water, and passenger insurance. The tour does not allow kids under the age of six years old.

Swim with Sea Turtles

Swimming with beautiful sea turtles in the Caribbean Sea is one of the most popular things to do in Cancun with kids. Most tours take you to Akumal Bay, a nearby town and protected marine reserve with abundant wild sea turtles munching on sea grass.

You’ll love swimming with sea turtles.

This Akumal Bay: Cenotes and Snorkeling with Turtles is a stimulating activity for your kids. The tour includes roundtrip transportation, bottled water, snorkel equipment, and entrance to the cenote. The tour is not suitable for kids under the age of four years old.

Swim with Whale Sharks

You should consider swimming with whale sharks in Cancun with kids during whale shark season between June and September.

This isn’t the best activity for everyone. It typically involves a bumpy, one-hour or longer boat ride on a small boat, and your kids might be scared of the sharks once they get there.

Whale Shark in Cabo San Lucas
Don’t miss the whale sharks!

Whale sharks can grow over 65 feet (20 meters) long and weigh up to 20 tons. Although they are often called the ocean’s gentle giants, they are significant.

That said, if your kids and family are thrill seekers and marine lovers, swimming with whale sharks might be enjoyable.

This Cancun: Swim with Whale Sharks full-day tour is one of the best options from Cancun. The tour includes transportation, swimming equipment, lunch, drinks, a tour guide, and a boat cruise. The tour does not allow children under the age of five years old.

Cool Off in the Cenotes

Cenotes are natural sinkholes in the jungle connected to underground rivers and caves. There are several cenotes, including closed ones that feel like you’re swimming in a cave and open ones that are more like lakes or ponds buried deep in the jungle.

Sunbeams penetrating at Ik-Kil cenote inlet opening, Mexico
There are tons of cenotes worth the trip from Cancun.

Swimming in cenotes is the best way to escape the beach and sand while enjoying water during your vacation.

Cenote Eden is one of the best family-friendly open cenotes in Quintana Roo. It’s just past Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen and before Tulum. It’s about a 1.5-hour drive from Cancun.

The cenote has a large jumping platform and several other entrances that are easy for kids to access. They rent snorkel equipment, and there are many different types of fish and sometimes turtles.

Day Trip to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun. It’s one of the easiest day trips from Cancun and, therefore, one of the best things to do in Cancun with kids.

Isla Mujeres Mexico boats turquoise Caribbean sea Quintana Roo
Take a day trip to Islan Mujeres.

Playa Norte is the main beach on Isla Mujeres, and it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, with crystal clear, calm waters. La Isla shopping village, near the ferry exit and entrance, is also great to explore with the whole family. Or you can rent a golf cart for the day and drive around the island.

You can take a quick, 30-minute ferry ride near downtown Cancun and the hotel zone or book a boat tour to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.

This Isla Contoy & Isla Mujeres Day Trip is an excellent full-day boat tour to Isla Contoy, an uninhabited island, and Isla Mujeres. The tour includes a light breakfast, lunch, open bar, snorkeling gear, guides, and plenty of time in downtown Isla Mujeres and on Isla Contoy.

Have a Photo Shoot

One of the best ways to capture lifelong memories is to book a professional photoshoot. In Cancun, you certainly don’t need an experience, as there are so many great photo opportunities everywhere.

But you can find some great deals if you have the time and money to splurge on a photographer.

This Flying Dress Photoshoot Cancun is an excellent choice if you’ve ever wanted one of those picturesque flying dress photos. If you decide to book this, you only need to book for one person, and the photographer can accommodate families and couples for the same price.

Best Family Activities in Cancun FAQs

When is the rainy season in Cancun?

The rainy season is from June to the beginning of November, with hurricanes and the wettest months most likely falling in September and October. While there’s a hurricane risk during these times, the chances are pretty small. And even when it rains, it usually doesn’t rain for the entire day.

When is the best time to visit Cancun with kids?

The best time to visit Cancun is during winter, outside of the wet season. December and January are popular and have some of the best weather. The end of October and the beginning of November is also enjoyable, with the weather cooling down and the festivities of the Day of the Dead around downtown Cancun.

Is Cancun safe for kids?

Cancun is a safe place for the family. In fact, a large chunk of their economy relies on travelers, so it seems the local government does its best to keep this experience as pleasant as possible. However, there are small instances here and there in Cancun, like many other touristy places. You should avoid going out late at night alone and follow basic self-awareness while traveling anywhere.

How much time should we spend in Cancun?

I recommend 3-5 days for your family holiday in Cancun. It’s enough time to relax on the beach and spend one or two days exploring and doing other fun Cancun family activities. However, if you can set aside more time for Cancun, you can do even more of this fun list of the best things to do in Cancun with toddlers and kids.

Is it easy to get around Cancun with kids?

Yes, it’s very easy to get around Cancun with kids. The easiest way to go about it is to book private transfers, guided tours, and take taxis around. Public transportation is good but can be confusing, especially with children.

Kid-friendly Things to Do in Cancun Mexico Wrap-Up

There are many fun things to do with kids in Cancun, making it one of the best places for a Caribbean family vacation.

You can spend the day relaxing at the beach or around the pool at one of the luxury resorts with modern amenities. Alternatively, you can spend several days adventuring all through the jungle and around the Riviera Maya.

No matter what you do, I hope these best Cancun excursions for families help you plan an action-packed and chill vacation in Cancun Mexico with kids. Now that you know what to do in Cancun with kids, it’s time to start planning!

Looking for more Cancun Travel Resources? Check out 12 Cancun Day Trips, Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, 12 Crucial Cancun Travel Tips for First-Timers, and Top 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Cancun for Families!

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