If you’re willing to open your wallet, there are tons of things to do with kids in Cabo besides splash in the pool and build sandcastles. There’s more to do and see in Cabo than you could possibly accomplish in one visit (unless you are the Incredibles family and all have Dash’s speed, of course).
Like extreme sports? Ocean activities? Animal adventures? Cabo’s got it all. In a place where kids can sit at the bar and sip their Cokes if you so desire, kids can do a lot. So buckle up, buttercup.
Cabo has plenty of options for getting up close and personal with marine animals. Our personal favorites were helping release baby sea turtles, watching whales breech from the beach, and peering at pufferfish in between the boats at the Cabo San Lucas Marina.
There are plenty of boat tours available too, which are a good idea if you MUST see whales or dolphins. For antsy kids, try smaller glass-bottom boat tours, which are better than snorkeling for littles and allow easy fish viewing.
There’s horseback riding on the beach and several camel ride operators as well if land animals are more your jam. We got a kick out of the little Animal Sanctuary at Wild Canyon, which hosts things like lizards and crocodiles and frogs and birds adjacent to their horse and camel offerings.
You can book these tours online, through tour operators at your resort, and also frequently through people hawking them on the street, so it’s worth doing your homework as well as shopping around for the best price.
If you’re in to fishing — and we are — there’s plenty for you here. Fish right off the beach or book any size of charter boat you wish from either the marina at Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo. It’s easy to book charters ahead of time, but if you head down to the marina, you won’t find any trouble booking one there either.
Like boats? Even if you don’t want to fish, it’s worth taking a spin on the water. Glass-bottom boats, water taxis, a pirate ship, sunset cruises (or party cruises). Walk around the marina, the heart of Cabo San Lucas, and you’ll find it all.
For a calmer marina experience take a boat out of San Jose Del Cabo — it’s easy to find a fishing charter of any size out of the east side of the marina, where there’s a chill little beach and bay behind the fish-cleaning station.
Zip lines, ATVs, rope courses, bungee jumping…You’ll probably want to save these experiences for older kids. However, my 11-year-old was thrilled to find that kids as young as 11 were allowed to drive ATVs here, and my 8-year-old was old enough and big enough for the extreme zip lines at Wild Canyon. Several operators offer these types of tours, so shop around.
So then we planned our hike in Cabo…just kidding. There’s no way my kids would agree to hiking up a canyon in the blazing sun when they KNOW there’s a hotel pool somewhere. But maybe your kids are exceptional and they adore hiking…or at least, you’re willing to drag them along. Just make sure to pack a lot of Fanta.
In that case, check out the waterfall at Santiago. Or hike up Mount Solmar. There are some hikes through desert canyons around Cabo, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Walk the beach around Cabo San Lucas bay and you’ll find rentals for jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks, and some crazy water hoverboard I didn’t even know existed.
Many of the beaches in the Cabo area aren’t safe for swimming, but at those that are you’ll find plenty to do. Surfing lessons are easily available here as well.
For the record, our favorite places to shop in Los Cabos were Plaza de Artesanos and Gallery Row in San Jose Del Cabo. Plaza de Artesanos is a well-designed little square with typical souvenir stalls, but it’s an easily concentrated space to shop. Plus, the sidewalk bar outside made the best (and cheapest) mojito I’ve ever had.
Gallery Row is a lovely area in downtown San Jose Del Cabo near the main square. There are some serious art galleries in here and some higher-end souvenir shops. This is the place to go if you are looking for quality stuff.
There are, of course, plenty of shops just off the main drag in Cabo San Lucas as well. Cabo San Lucas also boasts a very high-end mall with luxury stores. That’s really not our jam, so I can’t say much about it, except that the pharmacy inside the fancy mall was the only place I really had somebody try and cheat me in Cabo.
Of course, you could just purchase all your souvenirs from beach hawkers, which is our plan for next year’s Christmas shopping. We’re going to sit on Medano Beach and drink margaritas and shop. Family and friends will probably get lots of bracelets and T-shirts, but also some more unique stuff, like fish-shaped bottle openers. I bet they’ll love it — and if they don’t, at least we had a great time!
Don’t Miss Plaza Mijares
Los Cabos in general is long on ritzy tourism and short on authentic Mexican culture. The one place I felt my kids were having anything close to an authentic local experience was at at Plaza Mijares on a Saturday night.
Plaza Mijares is the main square in San Jose del Cabo. It’s surrounded by the historic Misión San José del Cabo as well as City Hall (which has a police presence 24/7, making me feel very safe). It’s ringed by restaurants and shops, and at Christmastime features a large Christmas tree and a Nativity scene.
After the sun sets, Plaza Mijares becomes a hive of activity, with food trucks and toy vendors and families hanging out. My kids ran wild and we felt safe and happy in the glow of streetlights here. After shopping your heart out at the nearby Gallery Row, it’s the perfect stop.