Caribbean summer travel deals for families

The summer is a great time to travel

The summer is a great time to travel to the Carribean for the best deals. (Credit: St. Maarten Tourist Bureau)

Many consider summer in the Caribbean family season because rates are significantly lower and there are so many value-added amenities.

The Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos, for example, (thesomerset.com) is touting two nights free on a seven-night stay, free water sports and lessons, free dinner at the resort's popular Beach BBQ (usually $50 a person) and daily continental breakfast. Just down the beach, the affordable Sands (thesandstc.com) offers a fourth-night-free deal for stays through Dec. 20 that include free use of water sports equipment, snorkeling gear and bikes.

You'll find deals like this all around the Caribbean this summer, whether you want to gather the extended family at a villa, an all-inclusive (kids stay free at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, rosehallresort.com) or rent a condo from homeaway.com. (A two- or three-bedroom unit in the U.S. Virgin Islands can be had for $239 a night.)

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You can likely find a deal at a high-end resort you can't afford in winter. (The ultra deluxe Viceroy Anguilla, is touting a second room at half price and other discounts at nwsdy.li/viceroy). Hopefully, flights will be less expensive, too -- Cheapflights.com reports Caribbean airfares drop as much as 12 percent in summer with the best deals to San Juan, St. Thomas and Montego Bay. You might be able to find a flight-hotel deal from Jet Blue, which has increased flights to the Caribbean.

Yes, it's likely to be a little warmer than in winter, but the trade winds will keep you all comfortable. Be mindful that the Caribbean hurricane season officially runs from June through November, though more hurricanes strike in late summer and fall. Consider travel insurance, just in case. Of course, bad weather can derail a beach vacation wherever you go, but that shouldn't keep you home when there are so many tempting offers like these:

Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands promises a fifth night free when you book four nights (two nights free when you book seven) at the deluxe resort with its expansive Children's Grove Center. Rates start at $415 a night, less than half what they are in winter. There also are complimentary kids' activities, including a beach bash and West Indian musical instrument crafts; http://nwsdy.li/fifth.

St. Maarten hotels and resorts are offering rates up to 35 percent off, and in some cases more. The Summit Resort on St. Maarten is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special $40 per guest per night rate (minimum of two guests; kids under 12 are free). Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel offers a free rental car, as long as you book with the hotel directly. Rates start at $139; thesummitresort.com; princessheights.com.

Saint Lucia has islandwide savings that include free nights, discounts of more than 50 percent and additional savings on activities from zip lining to catamaran sunset cruises. The St. James Club Morgan Bay is all-inclusive and has rates discounted 40 percent on three-night or longer stays. The kids' program starts at age 2, while water sports, including water-skiing, wakeboarding, banana boats, sailing, kayaking and snorkeling are all included; stjamesclubantigua.com.

Leave your passport at home and opt for the U.S. Virgin Islands, which has just launched a Virgin Islands Nice campaign that allows you to save a minimum of $500 on a stay of five or more nights at resorts on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, which is home to the wonderful Virgin Islands National Park. There's also a monthlong St. John's Festival in June and into July with music, parades and food fairs. You get the first night free, a $200 instant credit and $300 in certificates to be redeemed at restaurants, shops, spas and more; visitusvi.com/usvinice.

Fly down the water slides at Puerto Rico's El Conquistador Resort with the Summer Splash Package that includes passes for a family of four to Coqui Water Park, the resort's state-of-the-art aquatic playground, plus a $50 resort credit per night. Use the resort credit for golf or Mommy & Me or Daddy & Me spa treatments. Try new Foot Golf -- kick a soccer ball into a cup with as few kicks as possible! Rates start at $199 a night -- $80 less than in winter; elconresort.com.

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