20 Best Things to Do in Cancun with Kids

10 min read

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Blue ocean water with a yacht sitting on it with sand and buildings surrounding
Cancun is a family-friendly vacation hot spot in Mexico

Cancun in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula is a tourist hot spot. The area attracts millions of visitors every year due to its sandy beaches and array of attractions. Cancun is also an ideal family-friendly vacation destination.

Some of the best things to do in Cancun with kids include going to numerous water parks and eco theme parks, visiting cultural sites, and trying adventure activities like parasailing. Best of all, many of the fun attractions for kids are close to the Cancun hotel zone or can be accessed via guided tours and day trips.

If planning an exciting family getaway to Cancun, make sure you're aware of these 20 kid-friendly things to do to ensure everyone has a fun and memorable vacation!

Are you on your way to Cancún last-minute?

When visiting Cancún, book your accommodations and experiences before you go. See the short list of top suggestions below.

Top accommodations in Cancún

Top tours and experiences in Cancún

  • 20 Cancún things to do

20 Things to Do in Cancun for Kids

Cancún Things to Do Map

A map of Cancún. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

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A pirate ship on the ocean in the distance
Going on a pirate cruise is one of the best things to do in Cancun with kids

Eat dinner with pirates on the Captain Hook Pirate Dinner Cruise

The Captain Hook Pirate Dinner Cruise is a fun dining experience for all the family. The cruise takes place on a replica pirate ship and features immersive experiences with dinner and drinks included.

You and your kids will get to enjoy an array of pirate-themed shows and performances, including stories, dances, and acting. While watching the show, choose from a selection of main courses, such as lobster tail, steak, or a vegetarian option. There's also an open bar with alcoholic drinks for the adults and juice and sodas for the kids.

Accommodations close to Captain Hook Cancun

Enjoy a nautical performance with the Jolly Roger Pirate Show

The Jolly Roger Pirate Show is another exciting pirate-themed dinner cruise in Cancun. Performances on the pirate ship feature costumed actors, acrobatics, special effects, and even fireworks.

As you watch the show and admire the Caribbean Ocean, you can enjoy a gourmet dinner. Dining options include surf and turf or lobster, and there is a children's menu available. An open bar is on board too, so you can have drinks while the kids try a range of activities, including a treasure hunt.

Visiting Mayan ruins is one of the best things to do in Cancun with kids
The Chichen Itza Mayan ruins are one of Mexico's most famous landmarks

Explore the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins

As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and one of the most famous landmarks in the world, Chichen Itza is a must-see when in Mexico with your family. Chichen Itza is the largest of Mexico's Mayan ruins, and when visiting, there is a lot to explore.

The best way to see the ruins is via a guided tour of Chichen Itza. These convenient tours will transport you to and from the site, and you can choose to walk around the site with a guide to gain more background on the area's history.

Discovering all the ruins and unique archaeological sites is very interesting to kids, making a trip to Chichen Itza is one of the best family activities in Cancun. If you stay into the evening, there is a light and sound show to see too.

Accommodations close to Chichén-Itzá

Spend the Day at Ventura Park

Ventura Park is an amusement and water park just outside of the hotel zone. The park features a vast array of kid-friendly amusements, and your family can easily spend the entire day here.

The Wet n Wild water park has numerous water slides to try as well as a wave pool, lazy river, kids park, and twister pool. Along with the water park, your kids can enjoy multiple amusement park rides and roller coasters and tackle zip lines through the adventure park. A swimming with dolphins experience is also available at Ventura Park.

Turquoise water surrounded by sand, palm trees, and greenery with a hut on the shore
Xcaret Eco Park features beaches, turquoise ocean, and many attractions

Visit Xcaret Eco Park

Located in Riviera Maya, Xcaret Eco Park is a theme park and eco-tourism area. The park features a range of exciting outdoor attractions, such as lagoons to swim in and incredible snorkeling spots.

Xcaret additionally has attractions and experiences exclusively for kids. These experiences include swimming with and feeding stingrays and swimming with dolphins. Other exciting activities at the park include ziplining and exploring the park's animal sanctuary.

Xcaret Ecopark is a Cancun destination made for families; it's a must-visit on any Mexico itinerary!

Hold a crocodile at Croco Cun Zoo

Croco Cun Zoo is a pro-conservation zoo that's home to crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, and more. Visiting this immersive zoo is also one of the most exciting activities in Cancun for kids.

At the zoo, your children will get the chance to hold and feed different animals. These experiences include holding snakes and feeding small crocodiles. As they do so, the zoo rangers will provide you with some incredible facts relating to each animal. Photographs are also offered, so you and your kids have a reminder of when they got to hold real-life reptiles!

Nearest accommodation to the Croco Cun Zoo

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Tropical fish under the water above sand and reef plants
If your kids want to snorkel, Isla Mujeres is the place to go

Snorkel in the waters of Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a beautiful island near Cancun. Due to its crystal clear waters that are inhabited by an array of marine life, Isla Mujeres is a popular snorkeling destination and one of the famous Cancun landmarks. Snorkeling is the ideal kid-friendly activity for children that love water activities and animals.

Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres with your kids offers the opportunity to get up close with many sea creatures. Animals you may see include sea turtles, various shark species, barracuda, rays, and much more. If you go on a snorkeling tour, you'll also be transported to and from Cancun, and lunch is often provided.

Accommodations near Isla Mujeres

Discover marine life at the Interactive Aquarium

The Interactive Aquarium is another of the must-visit Cancun attractions for families. Not only can you enjoy aquarium exhibits, but your kids can try a range of hands-on experiences and watch marine life shows.

In the aquarium exhibits, your kids can see fish, starfish, rays, and crocodiles. Marine mammals, such as seals, can also be seen. In addition, some exciting unique experiences to take advantage of include swimming with dolphins and scuba diving in a tropical fish tank.

Place to stay near the Interactive Aquarium Cancún

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A grey whale shark with its mouth open under the water
Cancun is a primary whale shark habitat and swimming with them is a must

Swim with whale sharks

The waters around Cancun are home to many whale sharks. This species of shark, while very large, is no threat to humans. Therefore, swimming with these gentle giants is not just a fun and memorable activity but is also safe for your kids.

As Cancun is one of this species' main habitats, you can find numerous operators offering swimming with whale shark sessions. Once in the water, you'll get up close with the sharks and will learn more about them from your knowledgeable guide. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and shouldn't be passed up!

Have an adventure at Xplor

Xplor is a jungle adventure-style theme park that will offer a memorable day out for kids and adults alike. The park allows you to undertake a range of thrilling activities in jungle and underground cave settings.

In the park, you'll discover caves to raft through, 13 zip lines, subterranean pools, and much more. Xplor is especially recommended to visit if you're in Cancun with teenagers. Do note that kids must be six or older to enter the park.

Sparkling blue ocean and sandy shores that have rocks and a stone structure on them
Tulum is a beautiful city with a rich history, located two hours away from Cancun

Go on a road trip to Tulum

Tulum is a city close to Cancun, featuring an array of North American landmarks. The city is known for its Mayan ruins located in the Tulum Archaeological Site. Best of all, Tulum is only about a two-hour drive from Cancun.

Along with seeing the Mayan ruins, you and your family can try many other activities in Tulum. From swimming in Cenotes and going on ATV tours to trying the city's delicious cuisine.

Places to stay close to Tulum

Interact with spider monkeys at the Jungle Place

Visiting the Jungle Place is one of the most exciting activities in Cancun for kids. The wildlife sanctuary is primarily home to spider monkeys, rescued from the illegal pet trade or displaced by deforestation and habitat destruction.

At the sanctuary, your kids can watch the monkeys play and eat, and they can even hold them. Not only will your kids love the monkeys, but they'll also learn about the importance of protecting animals and wildlife habitats.

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Stone ruins on grass with trees behind under blue sky with clouds
Ruinas Del Rey are interesting Mayan ruins that also act as a habitat for iguanas

See iguanas at Ruinas Del Rey

Ruinas Del Rey, or El Rey Archaeological Zone, are Mayan ruins and one of the famous landmarks in Mexico. While smaller than Chichen Itza, the ruins are much closer to the Cancun hotel zone, being just a 20-minute drive away.

The ruins are fascinating to both kids and adults. One of the fun things to see here is the array of iguanas that inhabit the area. Your kids will love searching for and getting up close to the iguanas, and you can take some interesting pictures with the ruins, your family, and the reptilian creatures!

Stay near the El Rey Archaeological Zone

Go flyboarding

Flyboarding is a super fun activity that kids are sure to love. The exhilarating hoverboard-style sport allows you to do aerial tricks high above the water.

Cancun is a popular flyboarding destination, so you'll find many operators offering flyboard sessions. Those taking part will get lessons from an experienced flyboarder and can then attempt the sport themselves. It's a must-do activity in Cancun for adventure-loving teens and kids.

A subterranean lagoon with rock walls and greenery surrounding and sky visible above
You can stop to swim in a cenote like this while exploring Cancun on ATVs

Drive ATVs and swim in cenotes

If your children love adventure activities, taking an ATV and cenote tour is one of the Cancun activities for kids you have to try! You and your kids will hop aboard ATVs and ride through the jungle and dirt roads.

During the trip, you'll stop to swim at beautiful and tranquil cenotes. Your kids can also fly through the jungle on ziplines! The tour includes lunch and pickup from your Cancun hotel as well. Kids of four years or older can participate, but under 18 year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.

Experience the Aquaworld Jungle tour

The Aquaworld Jungle tour brings together jungle, lagoon, and ocean for a thrilling attraction. You and your kids will hop aboard a boat and pass through lush jungles, spotting an array of wildlife. You'll then be able to swim in tranquil lagoons and snorkel around the tropical fish-filled Punta Nizuc reef in the Caribbean Sea.

What's great about this experience is that it's perfect for all ages and abilities, even if you've never snorkeled before. Seeing a range of environments and getting up close with marine life is sure to thrill all your children!

Accommodations in close proximity to Aquaworld

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A boat with someone parasailing on the ocean under blue sky
Parasailing over the Caribbean Ocean in Cancun is a popular family activity

Try jet skiing and parasailing

Trying jet skiing and parasailing is one of the most fun and exciting family activities in Cancun! Your day will begin by being whisked up 260 feet in the air on a parasailing adventure. Having enjoyed the thrill and taken in the stunning views, your family will next try jet skiing.

Your kids will love flying across the waves on a jet ski, and you'll get to enjoy even more breathtaking views. This super kid-friendly activity should be on every family's Cancun to-do list!

Horseback ride around Cancun

If your kids love horses, seeing Cancun on horseback is a must. You can discover many Cancun horse riding tours that will take you and your family to various attractions.

Many of these tours involve riding through scenic the jungle to find cenotes and ziplining spots. Others allow you to swim right by the ocean on Cancun's sandy beaches. Horseback riding is a relaxed and memorable mode of transport when exploring Cancun with your kids.

Nearest accommodation to Cancún

Crystal blue water surrounded by sand, rocks, and greenery under a blue sky
Xel-Ha Park is an eco-park with an array of water activities that your kids will love

Swim, explore, and more at Xel-Ha Park

Xel-Ha Park is another exciting water and adventure park close to Cancun. The park is about an hour and a half drive from Cancun's hotel zone, but there are many day trips to Xel-Ha Park that include transportation.

Once at the park, you and your kids can enjoy a range of water activities. From swimming in pools, caves, and cenotes to rope swinging and ziplining across the water. There's also a water park just for kids. If you get bored of water activities, you and your family can also bike, fly kites, and explore areas featuring plants and wildlife.

Taste Cancun Street Food

Many of those visiting Cancun remain in the confines of their resort, but seeing the true Cancun is highly recommended. Doing so is also a great way for your kids to learn about Mexican food, culture, and traditions.

An ideal way to safely see the area is on a Cancun street food, street art, and market tour. A local guide will take your family to incredible food stalls and the local market to taste authentic Mexican cuisine. As you go between each dining location, you'll get to see creative street art and learn more about the city you're visiting.

In Summary

Cancun is a perfect vacation spot for families with kids of all ages. Exciting activities offered in the area include visiting water parks, eating dinner on a pirate ship, and exploring Mayan ruins. No matter what type of things your kids like to do, they're sure to have loads of fun in Cancun!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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