This year we are traveling around France in a RV, but we took a one month break to escape winter. We wanted to enjoy the tropical sun and chose to visit Martinique with toddlers.
We spent thirty-two days on the island from mid-February until mid-March which is the dry season. During that time, you can expect temperatures around 28°C and a lot of sun! We absolutely loved every part of it!
In this post, we’ll share details of our trip plus the best things to do on Martinique with toddlers.
Martinique with Toddlers – Table of Contents
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Getting around Martinique with Toddlers
We had a rental car for our trip. Rental companies have shuttles which drive you from the airport to the rental place about 10 minutes out.
In La Martinique, public transportation is not really reliable, so it is necessary to rent a car if you want to visit several places during your stay and especially when you are traveling with babies or toddlers because you don’t want to be waiting for a bus that never comes in the heat.
There are several rental companies for any kind of budget, we used Europcar. We opted to rent car seats with our car instead of traveling with our own car seats.
The only time we used public transportation was on Carnival days, to go to Fort-de-France, because it is nearly impossible to park on those days.
Where to Stay on Martinique with Toddlers
We always choose rental homes/apartments when we travel. Some of the best reasons to consider vacation rentals with babies and toddlers is that they are generally cheaper and like most families, we like having a full house with a kitchen.
We decided to go to La Martinique two weeks before leaving and it was during school holidays and carnival period, so we didn’t have much choice when we booked our stays through AirBnb.
We stayed in two different places. For the first three weeks, we were in Sainte Luce, on the south coast. It is very nice place with quite a lot of rental homes, and it is not overly touristy. We had a house on the hills and that was very comfortable because we had more wind and less mosquitoes than down near the beach.
Always make sure that you are provided with mosquito nets for beds and if possible, A/C in the bedrooms to make you toddlers comfortable when they sleep. From this location, it takes between 10 to 30 min to go to most beaches.
Our second place was in Le François, on the east coast. There were many more mosquitoes there and the beaches are less accessible because of the presence of sargassum seaweeds. Those are massively arriving on the Atlantic coast and release a strong rotten-egg smell (toxic) when decomposing. We thought by staying there we would be closer to the North of the Island but actually it wasn’t that different.
If we had to do it again, we would have stayed all the way in Sainte Luce. If we had spent only a week or ten days there, we probably wouldn’t have gone north since all the best toddler friendly activities are in the south of the island.
Best Things to do in La Martinique with Toddlers
Martinique Beaches with Toddlers
Of all the best activities for toddlers in La Martinique, the first one would be going to the beach. They are so many of them that you can choose a new one every day. Some of them are more appropriate for kids for different reasons. If I must choose three of them it would be Anse Noire, Anse à l’Âne and Corps de Garde in Sainte Luce.
Anse Noire is great because, first, it is a beautiful black sand beach and has a lot of shade which perfect for beach days with toddlers. You can walk on the wooden dock to watch the fish, and you can also go snorkeling in the clear water to see turtles. I took my almost three year old with me with a full-face mask on and he was thrilled to spot the turtles.
The only downsides to this beach are that you need to be there really early in the morning get a parking spot and there are no amenities. Make sure you pack all the food and drinks you’ll need for your time on the beach.
Anse à l’Âne
Anse à l’Âne is a very nice, quiet beach looking at Fort-de-France on the other side of the bay. The water, in addition of being clear and beautiful, is very shallow so you can allow your toddler to play near the water without being too stressed. You can easily find a nice shady spot and there are shops to buy food or drinks.
Finally, the Sainte Luce beach in Anse Corps de Garde, is also a great beach where we met local people with whom our kids played on the sand. There’s no trouble finding shade on this beach with all the trees around.
La Martinique Museums
Musée de la Banane
Le Musée de la Banane is perfect with toddlers. The main room is full of interesting signs about the history of bananas, complete with great illustrations. Outside the museum, you can walk in the middle of banana trees and sugar cane on a stroller accessible path.
The entire place is beautiful and pleasant for the whole family. The walk isn’t too long for those with little legs! There is also a restaurant and a boutique at the museum.
Habitation Clément is a beautiful place to visit with toddlers. They can run and observe pieces of art scattered among all the different local species of palm trees and flowers. The colonial house is very interesting to see, as is the old rum factory (not working anymore). Finally, if your kids are patient enough, you can enjoy a rum tasting before entering the shop.
Another place to visit with kids is the JM Rhumerie which is still running. We were lucky to be there during harvesting period, so we were able to see the mill working and to smell the cane sugar juice slowly heating up in huge tanks. Once again, the visit takes place inside and outside so toddlers have the opportunity to run and explore. It takes a maximum of two hours to enjoy this place.
Le Jardin de Balata
One place we highly recommend is Le Jardin de Balata. You’ll spend an hour and a half wandering through gorgeous tropical flora, feeding fish and discovering all sorts of flowers and trees.
There is even a net at the canopy and a very nice playground which are perfect for toddlers to burn some energy. It is very peaceful and completely accessible with a stroller (well except for the net of course).
Mangrove Boat Tour
A boat tour in mangrove is also a very nice way to learn about fauna and flora with kids if you have the budget for it. It is a bit expensive (90 € for 2 adults and 2 kids) but worth it.
On a small boat (12 people max), you enter the mangrove and can see thousands of crabs and dozens of beautiful birds before enjoying a nice afternoon break with rum and cake on one of the little islands.
La Martinique Hikes
Of course, the big hike on La Montagne Pelée isn’t suitable when you are traveling with a toddler or baby in La Martinique, but there are so many beautiful hikes you can do!
Our favorite was the Vauclin Loop. It took us all day (from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) because we took it slow and had a picnic in Trou Cochon in the middle.
This walk is not difficult but requires hiking shoes and toddler carrier because it is long enough that your toddler probably won’t walk the entire way. It is spectacular and deserves to be on your bucket list, even if you only have a week on La Martinique.
La Caravelle Peninsula
Our second favorite Martinique hike is the small loop on La Caravelle Peninsula (there is also a big loop but it’s not suitable for kids) which brings you through mangrove once again, a little bit of forest and an arid lowland. It takes about an hour and a half, and you can make it a perfect day by ending up on the beach for a picnic and spend the afternoon playing in the sand.
Savannah of the Slaves
The third hike we’d recommend would be Savannah of the Slaves. Here you’ll find quite arid landscape mixed with beautiful seaside views.
It is flat and easy but make sure you bring a lot of water and sun protection because the heat can be intense. Once again a toddler carrier and hiking shoes are recommended.
What to Pack for Toddlers for a Family Trip on Martinique
Toddler Carrier or Stroller
We had our lightweight umbrella Babyzen Yoyo stroller which was easily put in the trunk of the car. It was quite useful in most cities/towns to walk around and sightsee. Even in most museums, you can use the wheelchair path with the stroller. So we found it was always helpful to have it in the car. We also used the stroller frequently as part of our toddler beach essentials, since it was the perfect place for our toddler to nap after a picnic on the beach.
When the terrain wasn’t stroller friendly, it’s always useful to have a baby or toddler carrier. We had two kinds of toddler travel carriers with us. A soft structured toddler carrier is easy to pack and one like this Lillebaby toddler carrier is ideal. We found it to be quite good for a nap against mommy or daddy while visiting a garden or museum.
There are plenty of hikes to do on La Martinique, so we also had a toddler hiking carrier. We had our Deuter Kid Comfort in which our little one was happy to nap or explore from high up.
We didn’t eat in many restaurants, but they didn’t seem to have a lot of highchairs or changing tables. In a pinch, you can rely on the stroller for a place to eat. A travel high chair for toddlers that’s small to pack would have been very useful.
Travel Change Pad
A travel change pad for diaper changes is also a must! We recommend making use of your car (or public benches) for a place to change diapers.
Toddler Travel Potties
You will encounter quite a lot of public toilets and there are usually very clean, even if it doesn’t seem so at first sight. So, if you are traveling with a potty training toddler, like us, you will manage to put your toddler on toilets easily. If your toddler isn’t a big fan of the big toilet, you can pack a travel potty for toddlers to make those bathroom breaks go a little smoother.
Baby and Toddler Travel Essentials
La Martinique is France, so like on mainland, you can find baby food, formula, and diapers mostly in supermarkets or little stores. You can also find them in pharmacies, but it will be more expensive.
Even if you easily find pharmacies and stores it will be good to have an emergency first aid case with you with bandages and disinfectant for the occasional falling and knee scratch on remote paths.
Toddler Clothes for La Martinique
Mostly shorts and tee-shirts and one pair of pants and a light sweater for “cooler” evenings (that would be 20°C) works best for toddlers. Sandals for toddlers work well in cities and parks but if you plan to go on hikes (even easy ones) it’s a good idea to pack toddler hiking shoes.
And of course, because you are going to a sunny place, pack all your toddler beach essentials including a wide brim hat, a SPF swim shirt and plenty of sunscreen.