Vacations give us some of the best occasions for family bonding, and there’s hardly a place more ideal than The Maldives. This tropical getaway with clean beaches, colourful corals and crystal clear lagoons is one of the top choices for travellers with kids and elderly parents. If you are wondering what to do in Maldives with family, you will be amazed by the options available!
Whether your little ones are confident swimmers or have just learnt how to blow bubbles in the water, snorkeling in Maldives is a big favourite with the children. The house reefs of most of the best all-inclusive islands in The Maldives have ample shallow lagoons where you can safely enjoy snorkeling with your family.
Bring your own snorkeling gear or ask the dive centre of your private island resort if they can provide eye masks, snorkel and fins on rent. Kids will adapt better to snorkeling masks which let you breathe through the nose, especially reducing the learning curve for toddlers. Consider using floats, tubes or life jackets if your children have not learnt to swim yet.
A great way to keep your teens interested is to take them on Maldives snorkelling tours led by professional guides who can point out various undersea creatures to them. Be enthralled by vibrant hard and soft corals, shoals of fishes, sea turtles, starfishes, underwater plants, schooling fish, rays, sharks and other marine life.
#2 Dolphin Cruise
Travelling with your aged parents or grandparents who have mobility challenges? There is no need to restrict their enjoyment to relaxing in Maldives’ luxury villas. Cruises are age-proof and appreciated by all! Sign up for a dolphin cruise in the evening to watch the beautiful Maldivian sunset after sighting dolphins in the ocean.
Cruises can be arranged on exclusive yachts, regular speed boats or the exquisite dhonis – traditional Maldivian wooden boats. The cruise captain has good knowledge of where to spot dolphins, and will ensure his best to offer you a successful sighting.
Book one of Maldives’ half day tours and keep your eyes peeled for the glorious view of a pod of dolphins rhythmically travelling across the waves. You can sight up to 20 different species of dolphins in the waters of these islands, from striped and spotted to spinner and bottlenose dolphins.
#3 Sandbank Picnic
Picnics are a fool-proof way to keep all of your family members engaged and in a good mood, even better if it is going to be on the beach! While the regular picture of a beach picnic is a blanket thrown over the sands, with a knapsack full of nibbles, in The Maldives, picnics are done differently.
Bring your entire family on one of the Maldives sandbank tours and relish your picnic on your very own private isle. A sandbank is not a full-fledged island but a small patch of sand that protrudes from the sea. Mostly nameless, sandbanks often shift their locations depending on the ocean currents. A new sandbar may appear at one part of the Indian Ocean while another sand strip is hidden by the waters.
When you book the 5-hour sandbank trip in Maldives, your picnic is sorted. The organizers will ferry you to a deserted sandbank far from Malé – the capital city of Maldives. A beach parasol and a blanket will be provided, along with a hearty Maldivian lunch of rice, seafood curry, salad and local fruits.
#4 Submarine Tour
The Maldives is located in a region of South Asia which is blessed with splendid coral lagoons. Vacationers who tire soon after a swim or have difficulties in scuba diving or snorkelling can still watch the underwater splendour of this country without even having to get wet.
A submarine tour in The Maldives is a one-of-a-kind experience that lasts for a total of 2 hours. Gift your children the joy of exploring the insides of a sub, something they might have seen only in cartoons or documentary shows. The actual underwater time is 45 minutes, but boarding and disembarkation procedures take time.
A max of 50 participants can board the submarine which will have circular windows to watch the magical marine ecosystem. The first descent is 25 metres under the sea level to greet various reef fish and gorgeously arrayed corals. You can also spot schooling snappers with yellow or blue stripes, turtles, common lion-fish and yellow boxfish.
The next descent is further down the ocean, to a depth of 40 metres where the submarine will beach. Look at a breathtaking coral garden and watch the insides of a cave on the submerged reef with help from the lights on the exterior of the sub. The kids will be delighted by the constant movement of amazing fish through the cave!
#5 Banana Riding
Water sports are a fun add-on to Maldives vacation packages. If you want to get on a water-based ride together with your whole family, try banana riding. Also known as banana boating, this activity involves an inflatable boat shaped as a banana.
Suitable for both adults and children who are 10 years or older, banana riding in The Maldives is a nice way to frolic in the shallow waters of the archipelago. A single banana boat can hold around 5 to 6 riders at a time. If you have a larger family, go for the twin banana boats which are two banana-shaped tubes interconnected to allow about 10 to 12 riders on them.
Banana riding can be enjoyed at various resorts in The Maldives such as Kurumba which also happens to be the first resort of the country. Check with the dive centre of any private island resort if they can arrange for a banana boat experience off their private beach for you.
It is not only the Maldives overwater villas that offer banana rides. Even on public islands like Malé – capital city of The Maldives, or Addu City in one of the southern atolls let you get on banana boats. For cheap thrills, you can ask your tour provider to upturn the banana boat after it has gathered some speed. Checkout our all-inclusive Maldives day tours for more details.
#6 Underwater Dining Experience
For a truly spellbinding dining experience in The Maldives, make a reservation at one of select few underwater restaurants scattered across the islands. If you plan well enough, you can make use of Maldives tour packages to even stay at the plush resorts that host these underwater fine dining venues.
A great choice for gastronomy connoisseurs and those who love exotic arrangements, Maldives’ underwater restaurants aim to flatter a variety of palates. Along with a fine selection of wines, you will be able to feast on succulent seafood, Asian delicacies, imported caviar, European favourites and even South American specialities over multiple courses.
Children will especially love the aquarium-like ambience as these underwater restaurants are set on the seafloor of the Indian Ocean, at a depth of about 5 metres. With coral chunks, fish of various sizes and sharks gliding all around and even above them, the little spectators will be continuously entertained. Even diners who are advanced in age will appreciate the finesse and simplicity with which these places are adorned. Customized food is always available, including vegan options.
Be prepared to foot the hefty bill which may range between USD 100 and USD 300 per person per meal. However, that is a small price to pay for the once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. 5.8 Undersea at Hurawalhi, Ithaa by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and SEA at Anantara Kihavah are some of the best underwater restaurants in The Maldives. Certain restaurants observe barefoot dining even though their dress code is smart casuals.
#7 Stingray Feeding
On our list of the most enjoyable activities to do in Maldives, stingray feeding has to make an appearance. Stingrays are large, smooth fish which belong to the group of sea rays. While they are known to have a dangerous sting, they are actually quite friendly as long as they don’t feel threatened.
Stingray feeding is organized by numerous hotels in The Maldives, and the local guide comes along with a bucket full of small fish, worms or other small sea creatures. As the stingray comes close to the shore and flaps its fins gently, it can be slowly fed. Kids will find this particularly amusing, and you will be able to take memorable pictures and videos of the stingray interaction.
Stingray feeding is usually held as a live demo after sunset, and is generally free to attend. Check with the reception or the villa host of your private island resort for the exact timings for the feeding event. Sometimes, even shark feeding is arranged.
#8 Fun Tubes
Who said you have to be physically fit to indulge in water sports in Maldives? There are some interesting things you can try in the sparkling turquoise ocean of The Maldives with family, including fun tube rides. Fun tubes are inflatable tubes shaped in the form of hurricane chairs, couches or beds.
The only skill you need for riding on a fun tube is the ability to relax and enjoy being pulled by a jet ski. A rather laidback type of tow sport, fun tubes can accommodate 2 to 4 members of the family on a single ride. This means, you can experience the thrill of flying over the waters with your spouse and children at the same time!
A motorboat or a jet ski will drag your fun tube, making you squeal with joy. There is no need to know swimming as you will be provided safety jackets. The shape of the fun tube will determine whether you have to lie down flat, sit up straight or dangle your feet. Feel the cool spray of the salty sea all through the ride.
#9 Crab Racing
If you have little children who are restless and always need to be kept engaged, introduce them to the tiny hermit crabs of The Maldives. Quite a few guest houses in The Maldives see an influx of hermit crabs on their beaches. Some of the private islands also include crab collecting and racing in their list of activities for kids.
This unique activity requires that your toddler runs around the private beach of the resort, collecting hermit crabs. When all the kids come together, their crabs are set on an artificial mini-race track on the sand. The crabs are free to crawl in any direction, but the one that reaches the finish line first, is the winner.
Hermit crabs are very small in size, barely exceeding a few millimetres or centimetres. Your little one will have no trouble catching this type of crab and setting it upon her tiny palm. Hermit crabs are also harmless; their claws cannot even be felt, making crab racing a safe activity for children.
#10 Open-Air Movie Screenings
When you book activities in Maldives, you will also want to balance the jam-packed days full of cruises and snorkeling with some ways to sit back, relax and do nothing. Open-air movie screenings on the beach are a wonderful way to spend quality time with your family under the Maldivian star-spangled sky.
Stay at the ultra-luxurious Soneva Jani Resort – a 5-star indulgence that is perfect for the entire family, and get a chance to watch a movie on their floating screen. At Cinema Paradiso, the resort’s open-air theatre, the audience is seated on the beach while the film is projected on a screen that is some distance away, in the lagoon.
Similar cinema experiences can be enjoyed at opulent private island resorts such as Anantara Veli which offers Hollywood movies and other international classics under the stars. Rest on the bean bags sunken on the private sandbank and munch on the complimentary popcorn or order your kids’ favourite snacks and shakes that they’ll enjoy with the movie.
Your island holiday will be a big hit with the children and your parents if you pace the fun activities well and plan for relaxing bonding times. If you’re still looking for other ideas on what to do in Maldives with family, consider glass-bottom boat tours, island hops, treasure-hunts and more.