Wander around the hustling, bustling capital Castries with its busy port. Landmarks include the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Derek Walcott Square (named after the island's Nobel Prize-winning poet), City Library and Fort Charlotte. For shopping, there's both Castries Market and the Duty Free Shopping Malls.
Take a 15-minute cab ride from the port to Reduit Beach in Rodney Bay. Although pretty touristy and surrounded by resorts, the beach is great for families, with a gentle slope and safe waters. Facilities include a playground in yachty Rodney Bay Marina and Splash Island Water Park at Bay Gardens Beach Resort.
Venture to Anse Cochon for snorkelling in clear waters with ample sealife, combining the trip with a lunch-stop in chi-chi Marigot Bay.
Seek out a retreat in the beautiful Diamond Botanical Gardens on the west coast and have a dip in the natural springs.
Discover the Caribbean's only ‘drive-in’ volcano, Sulphur Springs, for a very different kind of dip – a mud bath finished by a wash in the sulphurous springs. Your kids won’t fail to be delighted with the whole stinky affair – prepare yourself for lots of eggy fart jokes.
Venture to the idyllic public beach between the twin triangular Piton peaks (access is through the Sugar Beach, a Viceroy resort). You’ll find lots of shade, a small playground, decent snorkelling (bring your own gear), a beachfront restaurant and one of the most jaw-dropping views on the whole island.
Delight in Soufrière, the oldest town on Saint Lucia, with a great marketplace decorated with colourful murals and gingerbread trim. Visit the Morne Coubaril Estate, an active plantation with demonstrations of cocoa, copra, and manioc processing, a walk on an original street formerly used by mule carriages and a visit to a workers’ village.
With wannabe pirates, go on a Jolly Roger cruise to Pigeon Island, a National Park where kids can let off steam as they climb to the top of the fort.
With adrenaline junkies, head to Treetop Adventure Park, with a kids’ course with mini-ziplines and rope challenges.
With over-twos, seek out the Rainforest Sky Rides Eco Park for a prime view of the forest and the island, after a gondola ride above the trees lasting about two-and-a-half hours. Ages 12 and up can whizz through the canopy on zip-frames.
Sign up for a whale- and dolphin-watching tour: Hackshaw’s Boat Charters come highly recommended (book before arriving in Saint Lucia). You spend a few hours on a speedboat tracking pilot, sperm and humpback whales and the occasional orca; there’s no guarantee, but they have a good track record, and chances are you’ll see schools of dolphin too.
Horse-riding is popular with families in Saint Lucia; try Atlantic Shores Riding Stables or ask your hotel for recommendations.