Finally, after four consecutive years of backpack traveling with a baby, including road trips, camping, hiking, visiting numerous cities, and sightseeing, we managed to get a very good and cheap flight deal to visit one of the Canary Islands. Family beach holiday in Gran Canaria with kids! Yay!
If you wonder what to do in Gran Canaria, there are lots and lots of activities. It was one of the most fantastic experiences of our travel life. Why? Because this holiday was designed to do nothing that relates to work or daily chores but swimming, diving, surfing, watching dolphins and whales in wild nature, hiking to the highest mountain peak to see the other island, Tenerife….there are just too many things to do with kids in Gran Canaria.
Read more: The Best Canary Island To Visit
What is the best time to visit Gran Canaria?
The Canary Islands are famous for their all-year-round sunshine, and warm nice water at any beach you go to. The best time to visit Gran Canaria is either between March and May or September and November. Summer is one of the most expensive seasons, the island is overpacked and hotels are overcrowded. This just makes everything significantly more expensive and more challenging to get.
We went to Gran Canaria in the last days of September until mid-October and are absolutely convinced that this is the best time to go. We felt like VIP guests with very few tourists around us. The majority were Canarians. The weather was pleasant, the beaches were not packed, and our daily routine for two weeks ended up being in the water anyway. Plus, no queues, cheaper tours, car rental, and hotel prices.
Is Gran Canaria good for kids?
Gran Canaria is one of our favorite resort islands among all Canary Islands. And yes, I am very much convinced that Gran Canaria is the best island for a family vacation with a huge amount of places to visit in Gran Canaria.
We went to Gran Canaria with toddler, and it was important for us at the time that our getaway is designed the way that everyone gets a good amount of rest and enjoys the days with fewer chores possible. This island was just the perfect solution for all three of us!
Apart from staying at the best resort in Gran Canaria for families enjoying seven swimming pools, hot tubs, kid’s splash zone, three massive water slides, two children’s playgrounds, tennis court, daytime and evening entertainment with games both for adults and kids and mini-disco on the weekends, there is really a lot of other things to do in Gran Canaria.
Watching dolphins, enormous sea turtles, and whales in wildlife, hiking on one of the mountain peaks to see other islands, exploring Gran Canaria best beaches and enjoying the waves, riding a camel in sand dunes, surfing, skydiving, visiting one of the biggest water parks in Canary Island, watching a kid’s movie under the sky, learning new culture and history at the Mundo Aborigen, exploring sea life in the oceanarium – all these activities and more you can do in one island, Gran Canaria!
Resort Guide Gran Canaria
What are the best towns and areas of Gran Canaria for families?
There are quite a few areas and family holidays in Gran Canaria worth checking.
Originally, we have booked to stay in Maspalomas right at Playa del Ingles, but then we were transferred to another hotel in San Agustin which was a 10-minute drive away. Both of these areas are fantastic for family days out in Gran Canaria: peaceful, safe and offer a variety of spectacular beaches with tons of family activities nearby. In fact, there are tons of things to do in Maspalomas with kids, including sand dunes, camel rides, Palmitos Park, Mundo Aborigen, moonlight cinema, dolphin tours, and much more. Both water parks, Aqualand and Lago Taurito Water Park, are located in the south of Gran Canaria too.
Las Palmas of Gran Canaria is quite a popular destination for tourists too. It is a very nice area with spectacular views, but it is also the city center of Gran Canaria. Free parking space is harder to find and it is more crowded because it is also a business hub of the island.
If you travel as a family, it is a great idea to stay in the south of the island and spend one or two days visiting Las Palmas by car, it is around 30-40 minutes’ drive.
Needless to say, Las Palmas is filled with nice pubs, cafes, and restaurants. It offers beautiful beaches wherever you go and there are fantastic things to do in Las Palmas, such as visiting the largest curved oceanarium in the world and Casa de Colon visited by Columbus. In our case, we rented a car and went to Las Palmas for a day tour which was enough.
The resort towns, villages, and beaches of Gran Canaria recommended for a family vacation:
- Puerto de Mogan
- Playa del Ingles
- Playa de San Agustin
- Playa Taurito
Take a look at this map of Gran Canaria with all the family-friendly activities included and choose your best property below.
Gran Canaria Map
Where to stay in Gran Canaria?
We have prepared a special article for you to give you a choice among 15 absolutely amazing family-friendly hotels in Gran Canaria, including villas, apartments, and bungalows. For more details please click the link below.
Read More: Best Resort in Gran Canaria for Families.
Abora Interclub By Lopesan Hotels (San Agustin)
Abora Interclub conquered us with its service, so our holiday could not be better than this. This four-star hotel provides an all-inclusive deal only for a very reasonable price for which you will get a spacious family room with extra living space and a sunny terrace, so you could enjoy your time together when kids are in bed. Toddlers and babies will get a travel cot and a step stool.
This is one of the best family resorts in Gran Canaria serving incredibly delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, including Spanish, Italian, Asian, and African dishes. Pool and snack bars are filled with ice-cream and cocktails of all kinds. Tennis and basketball courts, a special daily fitness program, and games both for adults and kids are offered too.
What is there for kids?
Apart from three swimming pools and two hot tubs outdoors, there is a splash area and a toddler pool with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. There are three different slides, so you barely need a water park and two children’s playgrounds with a variety of activities. Don’t forget about babysitting services and the children’s mini disco with Paco.
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa (Puerto de Mogan)
Located in one of the most famous regions of Gran Canaria, Puerto de Mogan, Radisson Blu Resort is a fantastic choice for a family vacation. It is also considered to be one of the best family hotels in Gran Canaria. It offers two swimming pools, a hot tub, and one pool for children, plus a splash zone.
There is an on-site fitness center and a spa with an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, Turkish bath, and water jets. No to mention massage and other services to make you feel absolutely relaxed.
Radisson Blu Resort is proud to be one the most sport active hotels as their facilities also include a rock-climbing tower, a tennis court, volleyball court, and a running track. They offer such activities as snorkeling, diving, and cycling in the area too.
Puerto Mogan is an amazing area filled with nice cafes, restaurants, and beaches. The hotel is located near Playa de Amadores and Maspalomas. Lastly, to make your family vacation unforgettable, the famous Lago Taurito Water Park is only a 15-minute drive away.
Paradise Lago Taurito & Waterpark (Playa Taurito)
Speaking of the famous Lago Taurito Water Park, why not stay right there and enjoy water slides, hot tubs, and foam jets every single day?
The hotel includes an outdoor swimming pool and a children’s mini-club. Plus, you will get free access to the Lago Oasis Water Park. How cool is that?
There is more! Taurito Beach is only 50 yards (45 m) away. And you get the room with a side view of the Atlantic Ocean. On top of that, there are numerous sports activities, such as tennis, squash, and paddle courts. Your children will be entertained daily and you will get an all-inclusive deal provided with a variety of Spanish and International dishes, snacks, ice-creams, drinks, and even pizza making show.
There is a great chance you’d never want to leave the premises during your entire stay.
For other amazing hotel options, click on the image!
Fun fact: There are no king-size or double beds on Canary Islands. What you will get are two single beds put together. But be careful! They are sliding, so the chance to get on the floor in the middle of the night in the attempt of getting a cute warm cuddle may be your reality!
What to do in Gran Canaria
As opposed to many different leisure activities, including camping, backpacking, and road-tripping, this time we decided to try a hotel with an all-inclusive deal, and honestly, I believe this is the best option for the places like Gran Canaria.
Everything, absolutely everything, is sorted out for you! You wake up rolling in bed with your little precious cuties, you go for buffet breakfast, enjoy the swimming pool, water slides, and an open pool bar with spa, massage, or fitness program and entertainment; then you have got lunch, swimming pool again, dinner and live shows or kids dancing party at the end of the day.
It may seem boring, but days were passing by so quickly, and we were extremely busy learning swimming, jumping in the water, sliding, diving with our toddler. If you think about all the fitness programs and children’s playgrounds you visit during the day, trying out all different pools and hot tubs, you will realize how busy you are throughout the day simply enjoying your family time together…and absence of chores.
An all-inclusive deal also means that you do not pay for water, alcohol drinks, cocktails, snacks, ice-cream, etc. On top of that, you get an entertaining program for your kids and yourself, so no need to search for children’s playgrounds, water parks with slides, gyms, pubs, cafes, or restaurants. When you compare the deal with what you would have spent searching for different places to eat out and have fun, you may realize that the hotels in Gran Canaria actually offer a pretty sweet deal.
Renting a car in Gran Canaria
It is very easy and highly recommended to rent a car in Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria is small, we are talking about a 30 to 40-minute drive to another side of the island, for example, from Maspalomas to Las Palmas.
It will cost you around €35 EUR to get to the airport which equals the amount of renting a car per day. Plus, if you rent a car for three days, the third day is half price. So, it is always a good idea to rent a car and take a walk exploring one of the white sandy beaches or areas for half a day or more.
Also, it is extremely difficult to get lost in Gran Canaria, as anywhere you go, you will get to the only highway that forms a circle of an island. So, in case if you are lost, try to reach a highway and then choose the left or right direction.
Parking in Gran Canaria
It is quite easy to find parking. Just remember this:
- White line = Free parking
- Yellow line = No parking is allowed
- Blue line = Paid parking
Gran Canaria with Kids
Best Places to Visit in Gran Canaria
Dolphin and Whale Watching in Wildlife Boat Trips
One of our undeniable highlights visiting Gran Canaria with children was going on a boat tour to see dolphins and whales. Among those precious species, we could find gigantic sea turtles and flying fish.
At first, we were happy to see some dolphins from far away and thought our tour was well-paid off. Until we saw dolphin groups one after another jumping right next to our boat. We then started to move, and these little acrobats decided to show us all their abilities to jump out of the water spinning and compete with the boat going 50kmh. There were around 50 dolphins surrounding us throughout the whole trip. It was such an incredible experience that we will never be able to forget!
We have observed three different dolphin species, such as Blue-White Dolphin, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, and Bottlenose Dolphin. And yes, we saw a Fin Whale too!
All the tours depart from Puerto Rico. If you stay in the south of the island, the chance you will be picked up from your hotel is high. This service is included by the majority of the companies. The tour lasts 2-3 hours and yes, you may feel a bit of nausea as it is quite wavy out there.
Our son was very brave but ended up taking a nap which was a great help.
Pro Tip: The best spot to be throughout the trip is on the stern of the ship. Then you can see dolphins competing with the boat as close as possible.
Water is provided on the boat. After the tour, you will be offered to swim in the ocean which helped me to fight my nausea once and for all. The water was so refreshing!
You can always book the tour through your hotel. Even if one of the tour operators do not provide the tours anymore, they know someone who still does, so it is a good idea to ask.
Apart from boat tours, there are loads of other things to do in Gran Canaria, Puerto Rico.
Visit Maspalomas, Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas Beach
Maspalomas is one of the most famous resort towns in Gran Canaria. It also offers great white sandy beaches. Whatever beach you choose, you will get a fantastic experience.
What I particularly like about beaches in Gran Canaria is that there is a little wind, so the sun doesn’t burn you throughout the day, waves are large, water is warm, beaches are clean and very well-facilitated with special rooms for toilets, changing rooms, including baby and disabled equipped rooms. Some of the beaches have shower rooms at extra cost, and all the beaches offer outdoor tap showers to wash your legs.
If you go to Maspalomas, I’d recommend Maspalomas Beach because you can walk to the Maspalomas Lighthouse.
But one of the coolest things to do in Playa del Ingles hopping on a mini train and get a ride along the coast which is a lot of fun for kids! A round trip fee varies between 3€ for children and 6€ for adults. You will go around the coastline at any time of the day.
Explore Sand Dunes and Ride a Camel
On the other side of Maspalomas Beach, there are sand dunes where you can have a lovely walk and observe a sunset. Sand dunes are not high, so it is great fun for your kids to play.
There is also the spot where you can see and ride camels. During the peak season, you will see many groups right next to Maspalomas Beach. However, closer to the off-peak, it is better to pre-book the tour.
Just five minutes away from Maspalomas Beach you will find the Moonlight Cinema, which I wanted to visit with my son so badly, but it was temporarily closed at the moment.
Moonlight Cinema is the open-air cinema where you can watch with children’s movies your family, eat popcorn or pizza, enjoy your drinks and also the stars in the sky!
It is the only permanent cinema in the whole of Europe.
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria. It is a business hub comparing to the rest of the island, with lots of fancy restaurants, cafes, and pubs. It is famous for its white sandy beaches and major cruise-ship port.
We have decided to park randomly in the city center and take a walk through the cobbled narrow streets. Sometimes too narrow to drive a car.
Catedral de Santa Ana
On one of these walks, we appeared to be at the square where is situated the Cathedral of Santa Ana (which is so similar to our names Santi & Ana ?). You are allowed to enter the cathedral for free but also you can go up on top of it and see the gorgeous 360° view of Las Palmas and its famous port. The entrance to the top varies up to €1.50 per adult.
Playa de Las Canteras Beach
Playa de Las Canteras is one of the most central and famous beaches in Las Palmas.
After having an afternoon tea in one of the cafes with the view of this beach, we decided to have a quick walk. Honestly, we were tired after a long day but the beach is too good to just have a walk there. Teo and I couldn’t resist it. Somehow from splashing the waves chasing each other, we ended up swimming in the ocean. Only then, we realized, we didn’t bring any towels or spare clothes.
On the coast, you will find a lot of restaurants and cafes to eat out and have a great city walk.
Oceanarium, Poema del Mar Aquarium
Why would I take my kids to the Oceanarium in Gran Canaria? Probably because it is one of the largest curved oceanariums in the world. With a building of over 12000 square meters, the aquarium Poema del Mar uses more than 8 million liters of water in order to house over 350 species of marine life.
It is divided into three zones: Jungle, Deep Ocean, and Reef Beach. You will see a lot of species but also can participate in a variety of activities on-site.
Gran Canaria Beaches. Playa de Los Amadores
Playa de Los Amadores is another gorgeous beach worth visiting. It is a bit enclosed, so the waves are not as high, and the water is always very warm. Playa de Los Amadores is located between Maspalomas and Puerto de Mogan.
Literally meaning “Lovers Beach”, it lives up to its name, as it has its loving sunny vibe that none of the beaches in Gran Canaria have.
It also has a special facility with toilets, shower and changing rooms. The line of small shops and cafes is stretching throughout the beach.
This was the beach where we found a real starfish and Teo could hold it in her hand for a few seconds before letting it go.
Puerto de Mogan or Little Venice
Puerto Mogan is also one of the most popular destinations in Gran Canaria. Known as the fishing village, nowadays, it is called “Little Venice” of Gran Canaria for its narrow beautiful flower-filled streets that are lined with independent shops, whitewashed houses, and lovely restaurants.
There is also small Playa de Mogan Beach with a children’s playground and loads of extremely delicious seafood restaurants! One thing I will miss forever.
Gran Canaria Hiking
Roque Nublo and other mountainous peaks
If you look at the map of Gran Canaria, it has this huge green circle in the center. This is a mountainous area of the island reaching the height of 2,500 m above sea level and letting its visitors enjoy the views overlooking Gran Canaria and other islands, such as Tenerife.
We have planned to go to Pico de Las Nieves first which is the second-highest peak in Gran Canaria, 1,949 m high. But then right before our departure during breakfast, one of the hotel staff suggested Roque Nublo which is 1,813 m high saying it is prettier, easier to walk up with a toddler and you can see Tenerife from there.
Indeed, get prepared for a ride! It was my first time in this life to drive such a curved road all the way up. Outside I was patient, loving, and so positive with my hubby and 2-year-old son sitting in the back. Inside I was terrified and deadly calm at the same time. The road had a 180° degree angle, but the views….well, they were amazing! Not that I could see much but on a GoPro later the day. But when we stopped, I was astonished by the beauty, and it reminded me of road trips in the USA.
You will arrive at a special parking spot where you can leave your car for free. Then you will need to climb up for about 1.5 km. The climb isn’t steep, our son climbed all the way by himself. And, of course, this trip is worth the scenery!
You can always choose which mountain you want to go to, but if you travel with a family, think about the difficulty of getting there. In general, you will need an hour to get to the place, and then another hour to climb to the peak.
Fataga and Tejeda Villages in the Mountains
There are various villages on the way where you can see how people live. It is a very nice experience culture-wise, and it is great to make a stop on the way to the peak.
Our stop was Fataga. It was on the way to Roque Nublo, so served us well. It is a tiny village with a café and a souvenir shop. But it is absolutely beautiful with miraculous views.
Whitewashed and brightly colored houses, plants and flowers everywhere, people with smiles and one little church in the middle of the village – you will spend there around half an hour up to one hour before hitting the road again.
Another great option that we were recommended is Tejeda. We were told it is one of the prettiest mountainous villages in Gran Canaria. However, it is further from Roque Nublo. Plus, it was badly burnt back in 2019. If you travel there, it is highly recommended to visit Tejeda National Park.
Mundo Aborigen Theme Park
On the way to the peaks and the mountainous villages, when you hit the highway GC-60, you will get to Mundo Aborigen – a family-friendly theme park and archaeological museum overlooking a gorge and recreating an ancient Canarian village.
It is only 13 minutes drive away from Maspalomas, so even if you do not plan to visit the villages or the peaks, you can always spend a half-day in this park.
Mundo Aborigen is huge. It shows how the original Canarians, the Guanche, would have lived, with figures dotted around to describe scenes of everyday life.
Caldera de Bandama Volcanic Crater
As you may know, Canary Islands are pretty mountainous and some of them used to suffer from volcanic eruptions. Gran Canaria hasn’t had a major volcanic eruption for millions of years but it does occasionally suffer a little hiccup.
Bandama Caldera is a volcanic crater with a 569 m (1867 ft) high peak, the Pico de Bandama, which you can drive up. You can also get a tour which is quite interesting in terms of information and historical background.
Again, it is something that you may wish to do with older kids rather than babies or toddlers.
Fun Things To Do in Gran Canaria
Jeep Safari Tour
Lastly, you can take a Jeep Safari Tour which includes a camel ride in Maspalomas. The tour will take you almost a day where you will be brought in a jeep to Fataga and back to Maspalomas Dunes.
It wouldn’t be such a great experience for little kids, but older ones can have a lot of fun driving fast on those terrifying curved roads overlooking miraculous views and ending up on a camel watching the sunset.
Surfing in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is called the European Hawaii for good reason because of its volcanic landscape and is perfect for learning how to surf. There are lots of surfing schools that will make getting started a breeze.
Skydiving in Gran Canaria
Did you know you can skydive in Gran Canaria? Oh yes, flying over the Canary Islands is a one-time life experience. There are a few schools that practice skydive, you can find more details here.
Other Gran Canaria Attractions for Families
There are some more amazing attractions that are worth visiting while in Gran Canaria.
I find it a very unique and interesting park in terms of what you can see in Palmitos Park, it is not like other zoo experiences.
You will get to see a variety of birds’ species such as emu, pelicans, hornbills, etc.; reptiles, including Caiman crocodiles and Komodo dragon. There is a primate’s island, wallabies, and meerkats presented as a mammal range.
What I loved the most was the Cactus garden, house of butterflies, and orchid house.
Palmitos Park also offers a variety of activities and fantastic shows, such as Dolphins show, Birds of Prey, and Exotic Birds Shows.
Cocodrilo Park (Crocodile Park)
This is one of the greatest places to be and support. Apart from being a crocodile park and having crocodile shows with the possibility of petting, Crocodile Park is an exotic wildlife rescue center that shelters abandoned exotic animals or those from illegal traffic.
Aqualand Water Park
Just 11 minutes away from Palmitos Park, you can find Aqualand, a water park for families with a multitude of slides, a kids’ area, sea lions, and dining options.
Although it is a bit pricey, it offers a great selection of water activities, slides, and foam jets. It’d be a great option if don’t have many activities at your accommodation.
Lago Taurito Water Park
Another alternative to suit your children and make their holiday real fun, Lago Taurito Water Park is located in Playa de Taurito near Mogan. The water park offers an exceptional range of slides, hot tubs, and foam jets.
Kids can have the whole day. Plus, the entrance fee is cheaper between Monday and Thursday. To fully enjoy the park and get a great value out of it, it is recommended to visit with children 4+ when the majority of the slides are available. However, there is a special area for babies and toddlers too.
The best option is to stay at the Paradise Lago Taurito & Waterpark Hotel. This way you will have it all, including the sandy beach that is only 50 yards (45 m) away.
Angry Birds Themed Park
Angry Birds Activity Park is a great option to suit children of all ages. One of the best things is that all activities are included in the price. There is a little bit for every age, so it is perfect for families with many children.
The entrance fee and food in the restaurant are very well-priced.
The best activity I loved the most was a one-hour foam party accompanied by fun music.
They have pedal go-karts, zip-lines, splash zones, and jumping pads to name a few. There are numerous playgrounds, a sheltered soft play area, a laser maze, and even crazy golf. Crazy golf comes with an extra price.
Visiting Sioux City is like stepping into the wild west of America, and something you wouldn’t expect to visit when in Gran Canaria. The town in San Agustin was built for the movie industry in 1972 but is now an amusement park which is great family fun.
It really does feel as though you are in a western movie as you walk through this perfectly recreated town with its saloon, bank, and of course cowboys, Indians, and sheriffs.
Holiday World Maspalomas Amusement Park
Lastly, if you are a fan of amusement parks, there is no better place in Gran Canaria than the Holiday World. It offers a little bit for everyone, including a special area and a few rides for toddlers. There is also a bowling area, arcade, and nice restaurants to fill your tummies.
We hope you will enjoy your holiday in Gran Canaria!!!
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