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20 Things to do in Playa del Carmen with Kids

20 Things to do in Playa del Carmen with Kids

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Are you planning a trip to Playa del Carmen with kids and looking for family-friendly activities? Keep scrolling to check out the coolest things to do in Playa del Carmen with kids!
This list of kid-friendly things to do in Playa del Carmen with family 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 thinking about visiting Playa del Carmen and wondering about the best things to do in Playa del Carmen with kids?

Playa del Carmen draws in all sorts of people. You’ll find solo backpackers, teens and young adults flying in for spring break, and many families.

While it has a reputation for being a bubble of small parties and high-energy activities, it’s actually a great place for the whole family.

There’s a lot of family fun on every corner, including ziplining through the jungle, adventure parks, beautiful beaches, and rooftop kid-friendly pools.

Let’s explore all the best things to do in Playa del Carmen with the family.

20 Popular Things to Do in Playa del Carmen with Kids

Coco Beach

The Riviera Maya is world-renowned for its white sand beaches and calm waters. Playa del Carmen is built on the coast, so it’s easy to find great beaches to spend the day.

Image of a beach
Don’t miss Playa Coco.

However, Coca Beach (or Playa Coco) is arguably the most beautiful beach in downtown Playa del Carmen. It’s at the very end of Quinta Avenida (or Fifth Avenue), so it’s a little more quiet and serene than other beaches in the heart of things.

This end of Fifth Avenue was almost desolate up until the past few years. But recently, construction, restaurants, bars, and shops have been slowly spreading down to cover more of Fifth Avenue.

Coco Beach is still relatively quiet and the perfect place to spend a day at the beach. There’s a lot of space, street vendors that walk up and down the beach selling water and other snacks, and a few resorts with swimming pools.

Akumal Beach

Akumal is the most popular place in the Yucatan Peninsula for snorkeling with sea turtles. The beach is about a 20-minute drive from Playa del Carmen in the small town of Akumal.

Akumal bay - Caribbean white beach in Riviera Maya, coast of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Mexico
Akumal Beach in Mexico.

There isn’t too much in Akumal other than a few local neighborhoods, all-inclusive resorts, souvenir stands here and there, and snorkel tour stands.

You technically have to pay a small fee to enter the beach, but it’s well worth it once there. There are a handful of restaurants on the beach with a beautiful view of the water. Palm trees line the beach, so it’s also easy to find shady spots here and there.

But if you go to Akumal Beach, you should consider a snorkel tour to swim with sea turtles. Kids love this activity because it’s easy and fun!

The water is usually very calm, and you’re guaranteed to spot turtles and other exciting marine life during the tour. It’s a great snorkel tour for beginners and younger kids.

You can take a quick taxi to Akumal from Playa del Carmen. Once there, check out this Private Swim with Sea Turtles excursion. It’s the perfect snorkel activity for the entire family.

Enjoy the Many Beach Clubs

If you haven’t had enough beach time between Playa Coco and Akumal, you’re in luck. You can also spend a day at one of the many beach clubs.

These clubs usually consist of comfortable beach chairs with umbrellas, food and beverage service, and sometimes even pool access near the beach. Servers will check in on you and make sure everything is going okay.

I always recommend a good beach club for a family vacation because it’s much more comfortable to have beach chairs and umbrellas, and you won’t have to worry about where you’ll find shade. You also get to let the kids play while you sip a tropical cocktail.

Mamita’s Beach Club, INTI Beach, and Lido Beach Club are popular spots near the center of Playa del Carmen. If you’d like to adventure a little further out with the family, Playa Maroma is about a 20-minute drive and much more laid-back.

Explore Mayan Ruins

Chichen Itza or other nearby Mayan ruins is a Playa del Carmen must-do for the whole family.

Playa del Carmen is only a few hours from Chichen Itza, the most well-known ancient Mayan city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a good spot for kids to learn about this part of history while being able to see and experience it for themselves.

Kukulkan pyramid in Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
I highly recommend a day trip to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen.

This Chichen Itza & Ekbalam Tour with Cenote from Playa del Carmen is one of the best guided tours of two different ruins in the area and also features a cenote swim (another great activity for little kids).

Tulum Ruins and Coba Ruins are other famous ancient Mayan ruins closer to Playa del Carmen. Tulum is about an hour from Playa, while Coba is just under 1.5 hours away. These are even easier to visit, which might be useful if traveling with some impatient children.

Both are great spots to learn about Mayan history and culture and are perfect activities for history enthusiasts.

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.

If you’d prefer to take a guided tour of the ruins, many operators offer a combined trip to Tulum and Coba ruins. For example, this Coba, Tulum, Multun-Ha Cenote, and Paradise Beach tour visit both Coba and Tulum, as well as a cool cenote.

Xcaret Park

Xcaret is one of the most fun things to do in Playa del Carmen for most families, especially for adventure seekers.

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 is a must-do for families!

Xcaret has a little bit of everything, including an underground river, massive water slides, zipline rides through the jungle, nightly cultural shows, and so much more. It’s one of the most impressive theme parks you’ll ever visit, and it’s exhilarating for the entire family, even small children.

You can buy your Xcaret Park: Full Day admission ticket online and in advance to make things easier and more convenient.

Xel-Ha Park

There are eight different Xcaret locations in the Riviera Maya. Each park has a different theme and emphasizes different types of activities.

Xcaret Park is one of the most popular, but it doesn’t have many water and ocean activities. Instead, it has more fast-paced adventures like ziplining and jungle exploration.

Xel-Ha is the place to go if you’re looking for the best water parks in the region. Xel-Ha is built around a little cove with fun ocean activities, restaurants, and live shows. There are also cenotes if you’d prefer fresh water.

Another advantage of Xel-Ha is that you can escape any seaweed problems many beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula are experiencing. Because of the location of the cove, it gets little to no seaweed, even in the worst of times.

Xplor Park is another popular Xcaret park, more so for adrenaline junkies. This one isn’t as recommended for younger kids, as there are many more intense activities like fast-paced ziplining, caves, and rivers.

You can book your Xel-Há Park All-Inclusive 1-Day Pass online before your trip.

Rio Secreto

Rio Secreto is a real hidden gem near Playa del Carmen. It often gets overlooked because of the high-octane activities in the Xcaret Parks, but you shouldn’t miss this one.

Rio Secreto is a semi-flooded limestone cave system with an underground cave system, rivers, and beautiful nature. You likely won’t be able to explore thousands of caves, but you can adventure through a large handful of caves and passageways.

This Playa del Carmen: Tickets to Rio Secreto and Lunch is one of the best Playa del Carmen activities for families.

It includes the admission fee, designated guides, all necessary equipment, towels and a locker rental, lunch, and roundtrip transportation. This activity is not permitted for children under four years old, though.

A Day in the Cenotes

If you’re looking for an easy, exciting, and action-packed day trip from Playa del Carmen without fuss, try visiting a few cenotes.

Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by sinkholes. The cenotes comprise thousands of underwater rivers and caves that are all connected. There are very few cenotes outside of the Riviera Maya, so it’s a great place to explore while in the area.

Image of cenote mangrove clear turquoise water Mayan Riviera Mexico
There are tons of cool cenotes near Playa del Carmen.

It’s an enjoyable activity for spending time with the whole family and doing something fun. Most cenotes have little benches and picnic areas to relax after swimming in the chilly freshwater.

The easiest cenotes near Playa del Carmen are a set of three near one another: Cenote Jardín el Eden, Cenote Azul, and Cenote Cristalino. All three are right next to one another, so it’s convenient to visit all in one day.

If you want to visit some cenotes off-the-beaten path, check out this VIP Cenotes Private Tour. It goes to Yal-ku Lagoon, Cenote Xunaan Ha, and Cenote Taak Bi Ha.

3D Museum of Wonders

The 3D Museum of Wonders is in the heart of Playa del Carmen. This is one of the best places in Playa del Carmen for kids and indoor fun because it’s unique, interactive, and an overall memorable experience.

The 3D Museum of Wonders is precisely as you’d imagine a 3D museum and possibly even better

Large murals incorporate the surroundings into the artistry for the perfect, mind-bending photo. You’ll find a mix of funny, serious, and beautiful photo opportunities. Overall, it’s an entertaining museum for the little ones and the ideal activity for a rainy day or escaping the sun.

Paddleboard Off the Coast

Paddleboarding is another family-friendly activity in Playa del Carmen. The calm waters and turquoise blue colors make an excellent location for getting out there.

Image of Stand up paddleboarding beach people on stand up paddle board, SUP surfboard surfing in ocean sea on Big Island, Hawaii Beautiful young mixed race Asian woman and Caucasian man doing water sport.
Paddleboarding is great for families.

While the Caribbean Sea here is usually perfect for paddling, I’d recommend a sunrise tour. It is one of the most picturesque times to go, and the ocean is usually much calmer early in the mornings.

You can book The Sunrise Paddleboard Tour in advance and plan to meet at Fusion Bar & Grill off Calle 6 near Quinta Avenia before sunrise. The tour includes paddle lessons for beginners, life jackets, and a guide.

Go Sailing and Snorkeling

Let’s face it: many of us travel to Playa del Carmen for the natural beauty of the Caribbean Sea. And one of the best ways to enjoy that and really explore the ocean and reefs is with a snorkel tour.

Underwater portrait of father and son snorkeling together
Playa del Carmen is great for snorkeling.

It’s a great way to keep the kids amused, busy for a big chunk of the day, and exhausted for a good night’s sleep. You don’t have to deal with long car rides, bus rides, or too much walking.

While you’re snorkeling, keep an eye out for some of the most unique marine life near Playa del Carmen. You’ll likely come across many parrotfish, which can be identified by their vibrant colors and a beak-like mouth. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a harmless moray eel, which is usually holes and cracks in coral.

This Luxury Sailing & Snorkeling Experience from Riviera Maya is a great family-friendly boat and snorkel tour.

There are paddleboards, as well as snorkel equipment for guests. The tour also includes transportation, a light lunch, and beverages.

Relax Poolside

Playa del Carmen isn’t all about the beaches and cenotes. You can find beautiful rooftop pools, smaller pools along the beach, pools with a kids club, and so much more.

It might be nice to take a break from the sand with some pool time or if seaweed washes up on shore and gets in the way of playing on the beach.

Most Playa del Carmen kid-friendly resorts have a nice pool, but if you want to try something different, many of the luxury pools near the coast offer a day pass for purchase for non-guests.

Fives Beach Hotel has a wonderful day pass and one of the best pools in Playa del Carmen. The kids can play and splash around while you enjoy the views from the infinity pool overlooking the ocean.

Parque Fundadores

While strolling along Fifth Avenue with the family, you might as well stop at Parque Fundadores for a bit of fun. Parque Fundadores is a large park with a famous beachside statue (Portal Maya) that has come to represent Playa del Carmen.

The park is right in front of the beach and near the ferry to Cozumel. The area usually has a few street vendors and many street performers, like Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the Mask walking around and offering pictures for tips.

In the evenings, there’s a cultural show right in front of the Portal Maya statue that’s one of the best free things to do in Playa del Carmen. It’s a 10-minute performance that represents Mayan culture and traditions.

Also, a few bars nearby have good live music, so you can enjoy that while you walk past. This part of Fifth Avenue is another great spot for family fun.

Parque la Ceiba

Parque la Ceiba is another great park to add to your family vacation itinerary for Playa del Carmen. The park isn’t your average park. It’s a small square of land filled with tropical birds and trees, unique cultural activities, and even markets.

The park is a community project meant to educate children on the rainforest and wildlife of the region, as well as promote cultural arts and crafts. The park is organized by an Xcaret Group called Flora, Fauna, and Cultura, dedicated to conservation and community participation.

There’s a variety of different events and such in the park. You can check out the Parque la Ceiba Facebook page for information during your travels to Playa del Carmen.

Sian Kaan Reserve

Sian Kaan Reserve is one of the most beautiful ecosystems near Playa del Carmen.

Sian Kaan Reserve covers over 500,000 hectares of land, including ancient Mayan ruins, thousands of underground rivers, large stretches of mangrove forests, and abundant wildlife.

Image of Mangrove and frigatebirds in the Caribbean Sea in the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve near Punta Allen, Mexico
Don’t miss the Sian Kaan Reserve.

The reserve is a little past Tulum, and it takes just over an hour to drive there by car. If you don’t have your own rental car, it’s best to go with a tour company as there aren’t many direct bus routes.

A tour guide is recommended anyway because this is a unique and well-preserved piece of Mexico. You’ll want to learn as much as possible while there.

This Mayan Ruins & Sian Kaan Reserve Tour is the best way to explore the reserve from Playa del Carmen, regardless of your kids’ ages.

It’s the perfect family-friendly activity with a blend of cultural experiences at Muyil ruins and other things to do in the beautiful mangroves and tropical forests.

Shop Along Quinta Avenida

Quinta Avenida (or Fifth Avenida in English) is the long walking run parallel to the main beach. It’s an exciting place with endless souvenir shops, bars, restaurants, and street vendors.

Quinta Avenida gets pretty crowded in the evenings as more people come off the beach and start looking for dinner. But it’s usually pretty relaxed during the day and in the mornings.

The kids will have a blast window shopping and admiring all the unique toys, paintings, and souvenirs. And since it’s right in the heart of tourism in Playa del Carmen, it’s very convenient to get to.

Just make sure to save a little room in the suitcases if you decide to bring anything home!

Drive an ATV Through the Jungle

If you’re traveling with older kids looking for a thrill, you should consider driving an ATV through the jungle while in Playa del Carmen.

There are many different ATV rental options and activities you can do alongside ATVs, and this is one of the best ways to get the heart racing.

If you book tours, choose a reputable company that follows all necessary safety procedures and standards. This ATV Ride and Secret Caves Tour from Playa del Carmen is a great activity that everyone in the family will love.

It’s best for older kids, though. The tour doesn’t allow children under five, and drivers must be over 18 years old.

Day Trip to Cozumel

Cozumel Island is one of the best day trips from Playa del Carmen. The ferry terminal to Cozumel is right at the end of Fifth Avenue, and the ferry takes about 45 minutes. There are usually ferries departing every hour or so.

Check out this comparison of Cancun vs Cozumel by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of Dolphinarium in Cozumel Mexico with beach in background
Cozumel is totally worth a day trip from Playa del Carmen!

Because of its proximity, it’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen. Cozumel has a much more laid-back vibe and is known for its incredible snorkeling and scuba diving.

You can also rent a Jeep or take a tour to the south end of the island, Punta Sur. large park has incredible beaches, mangroves, crocodile tours, a scenic lighthouse, and so much more.

If you decide to visit the park with a Jeep, check out this Private Jeep Excursion in Cozumel with Lunch and a Snorkeling tour.

It’s a great way to explore the best spots on the island, and the private group guarantees your family will get all the attention all day!

Day Trip to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun. It’s a little more difficult to get to than Cozumel, but the beautiful Playa Norte (the main beach on Isla Mujeres with incredible turquoise blue waters) makes every second worth it.

Isla Mujeres Mexico boats turquoise Caribbean sea Quintana Roo
Isla Mujeres is lovely!

Downtown Isla Mujeres has quintessential little shops, restaurants with live music, and bars. The roads aren’t built for cars, so instead, many people rent golf carts and drive around the island.

To get to Isla Mujeres, you’ll have to take a taxi or transfer to the ferry terminal in Cancun. From there, you would take a quick 30-minute ferry ride to the island. You can also opt for a catamaran cruise to Isla Mujeres and the nearby uninhabited island, Isla Contoy.

If you’re looking for a day out on the water exploring the two islands, I recommend this Isla Contoy & Isla Mujeres Day Trip.

You’ll take the ferry over to Isla Mujeres and then a catamaran cruise to Isla Contoy. You’ll have plenty of time on both islands, as well as lunch, drinks, and snorkeling.

Visit Cancun for the Captain Hook Cruise

The Captain Hook Pirate Show and Cruise in Cancun is one of the best family-friendly activities from Playa del Carmen. Who doesn’t love an in-depth, all-out pirate show? And what better place for said experience than the Caribbean?

The show is about three hours long and includes dinner. Staff are in character from start to finish, and the children will absolutely fall in love with every character. It is a great experience for parents and children alike!

I recommend purchasing the Captain Hook: Pirate Show and Dinner in Cancun online ahead of time to make sure you get your seats!

Playa del Carmen for Kids FAQs

Is Playa del Carmen good for families?

Playa del Carmen is great for families. There’s endless family fun for everyone, including days spent lounging and playing at the beach, more adrenaline-fueled activities like ziplining and infinite day trips to fascinating nearby places, and exciting water parks with the best water slides.

Are there theme parks in Playa del Carmen?

Yes, there are plenty of nature parks near Playa del Carmen. Xcaret has some of the best parks, complete with a fun wave pool, lazy river, and everything else the family could want in a day of adventuring. Technically, Xcaret is an eco-park, so there are also a lot of activities tied to the surrounding nature and wildlife.

Is Playa del Carmen safe for families?

Yes, Playa del Carmen is safe for families. Of course, you always have to be cautious when traveling anywhere abroad. But overall, it’s a very safe place with tons of tourism to vouch for that.

What is Playa del Carmen known for?

Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful beaches, lively atmosphere, high-end amenities, and, of course, the natural aquarium that exists right off the coast. There’s some good snorkeling, marine life, and other fun activities to do inland.

Is there cliff jumping in Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen isn’t known for its cliff jumping. You can go to one of the eco-parks or a cenote with a jumping platform for that adrenaline rush.

What are the famous Mayan ruins in Playa del Carmen?

The most well-known Mayan ruins near Playa del Carmen are Chichen Itza, about a 2-hour drive from Playa del Carmen. Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous Mayan heritage sites. It’s worth traveling to when visiting Playa del Carmen.

What’s the best water park in Playa del Carmen?

The best water park in Playa del Carmen is Xel-Ha. This is an all-inclusive, natural aquarium with every possible water activity. From water slides to an incredible lazy river through caves and much more. The all-inclusive aspect makes it so convenient for children and families. It’s the best kids clubs around, with everything you need at your fingertips.

Playa del Carmen Activities for Families Wrap-Up

Playa del Carmen doesn’t get too much attention regarding family vacations. It’s more known as a hot spot for spring breakers and young backpackers. That said, it is an incredible place to bring the kids.

You can choose different activities and day trips for the kids. You can explore nearby islands, get lost in the jungle or one of the underground caves (with a guide, hopefully), snorkel for hours, tire the children out at one of the thrilling adventure parks, or discover some of the many hidden gems scattered around the peninsula.

Overall, the whole family, regardless of age and interests, can easily find lots of fun vacation fun.

Looking for more Playa del Carmen travel resources? Check out 7 Best All-Inclusive Playa del Carmen Family Resorts Worth Booking, 15 Best Things to Do in Riviera Maya for Families, and 15 Mexico Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts Worth Booking!

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