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Excursion with kids

Travel discussion for St. John

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Excursion with kids

Postby Taghan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:42 pm

Good morning!
We're finally making our way make to St. John after a long 6 years (but who's counting)! This time around we'll be on island with our 5 year old son. I'm looking into possible BVI excursions and wanted to see if anyone had recommendations based on their experience with a younger child?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby david@va.beach » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:08 pm

imo unless your vacation is longer than 1 wk. I would likely stay on st. john and focus on beach activities..perhaps a sight seeing trip by boat around the island.
have fun! make memories! take picures!
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby PA Girl » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:15 pm

We started taking our son on BVI excursions when he was 4 yo. My son is/was a pirate person so we gave the early trips a pirate theme, taking pirate gear/outfits for him and played it up. Places we visited on day trips (via private charter) and my thoughts on each -

3 Ball Reef (close to Waterlemon) - my son enjoyed snorkeling here from the boat. There was lots to see.

White Bay - The only reason we went is that our friends wanted to stop. I have no issue with taking a child to White Bay as it relates to the bars but the beaches on STJ are as good and aren't overrun with massive cruise ship crowds as White Bay seems to be now. Also, I wouldn't want a child playing in the approach area at the beach, too many boaters and who knows how many are impaired in some way.

The Caves/Norman Island - we played up the Treasure Island/Pirates of the Caribbean thing. We saw the caves from the boat and went ashore at Norman for drinks and a nice, calm snorkel.

Cooper Island - wonderful lunch and a calm beach

Sandy Cay - Again, we played up the adventure here and took rubber swords and such for the walking trail around the island.

The Baths - We did this twice with our son, once when he was 3 yo and last year at 10 yo. If you go on a day trip, it will likely be insanely crowded with excursions and that can make for an unpleasant time inside the caves.

Spring Bay - if you would go to VG by ferry, this is the beach to visit. It has all the adventure and beauty of the Baths without the crowds. Easy to reach via taxi.
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby Taghan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:46 pm

PA Girl - did you do private charters or book an excursion? We've been with PTC before and loved it. Just curious if the excursion worked out ok with a young one. Clearly we wouldn't want something too boozy with our son in tow!
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby PA Girl » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:17 pm

We did private charters to the BVIs. The only one we used that is still operating is Palm Tree Charters.

Our son did great. We have taken him on boats (motor and sail) since he was a baby and I knew he would be interested in what was going on. Each trip we did a leisurely sit-down lunch stop so he could have a break from the boat.

I would also recommend Capt Phil on Wayward Sailor and any Kekoa excursion.

Our son was an infant when we went out with Capt Phil and we had several newbies along.

We did a sunset sail with Kekoa when our son was 8 yo (I think) and it was fantastic. That captain and crew know how to do families. They hung a hammock for him by the cockpit and brought out some hats and props for him to play with. The Capt is a father and it shows. The crew is very professional. The boat is huge and comfortable. They serve alcohol but it was not a "booze cruise" atmosphere at all.

We aren't group excursion people but were so impressed with Kekoa that we would definitely do a Jost trip on that boat next trip.
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby Taghan » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:26 pm

PA Girl wrote:We did private charters to the BVIs. The only one we used that is still operating is Palm Tree Charters.

Our son did great. We have taken him on boats (motor and sail) since he was a baby and I knew he would be interested in what was going on. Each trip we did a leisurely sit-down lunch stop so he could have a break from the boat.

I would also recommend Capt Phil on Wayward Sailor and any Kekoa excursion.

Our son was an infant when we went out with Capt Phil and we had several newbies along.

We did a sunset sail with Kekoa when our son was 8 yo (I think) and it was fantastic. That captain and crew know how to do families. They hung a hammock for him by the cockpit and brought out some hats and props for him to play with. The Capt is a father and it shows. The crew is very professional. The boat is huge and comfortable. They serve alcohol but it was not a "booze cruise" atmosphere at all.

We aren't group excursion people but were so impressed with Kekoa that we would definitely do a Jost trip on that boat next trip.


Funny you should mention Capt. Phil and Kekoa! Our last trip to STJ was in 2010 for our wedding and Capt. Phil was our officiant!! We also did a sunset sail the night before our wedding on Kekoa. :) I'll definitely look at these options for sure. Our son has already mentioned he wants to go on a boat, so I'm checking out family friendly options.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience!!
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby crasherino » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:10 pm

We had the same experiences as PA Girl - we took our 4 year old to the BVIs with Captain John (RIP) and Captain Phil. My boys were 2/3 and 5/6 on those trips.

Our trip with Capt John started at 3 Ball Reef as well, which is calm, not crowded and on the way to the BVIs. We then went to Norman Island and did some snorkeling by the shore and played around on the beach. After that we had lunch at the Willy T. We got there right as they opened so we got a table, no problem and it wasn't too rowdy. After lunch we went over to Sandy Spit and then ended the day at White Bay.

Heading home from Jost, we basically went in between two vicious thunderstorms. John turned to us and said "Its gonna get a little bumpy and wet so I have to take out my hearing aid." My wife was NOT happy about that and was really nervous, partially because she was afraid the boys would be freaking out. Meanwhile, with the rain pelting in from the side, the boys were snoring the whole way home and we had no problems....other than being soaked. But those storms were no joke - knocked out some power on Island. We saw Sue the next day and she was like "Wow - I was really worried about you guys." I'm glad I heard that afterwards and not during our ordeal.

We also went for a half day - USVI only - with Kevin on Copeland charters. That was a great day too. On that trip our boys were 4 and 7.

In 5 weeks, 3 days (who's counting????) we are going out for a half day with Island Roots as we now have an 18 month old as well and we figured we might as well go slow for the first time. But I'm confident that she's gonna love it.
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby pipergal » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:17 am

KEKOA to JVD - we took our 3 year old on Island Spirit out if the Westin and Kekoa when she was 5 - by far KEKOA was the better choice - in fact we will always sail KEKOA - we are booked with them for this year - they definitely know families and the entire experience was so laid back and relaxing - our daughter felt like the captain of the ship - we stroll White Bay and have lunch. This year we are taking her on the NPS reef Bay hike - she is going to love it!! Enjoy!
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Re: Excursion with kids

Postby Taghan » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:36 pm

Thank you all!!! Your experience with your kids and boat trips is so helpful!
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