Hit the beaches: many are award-winning and some are Blue Flag. Sandown Beach is popular, with a wide expanse of shallow water.
Go cycling on tranquil country lanes and picturesque off-road routes. There’s bike hire across the island, with some firms delivering to your accommodation. Among the best for families is the unique Red Squirrel Trail along the island’s former railway line, with picnic benches, installations to encourage birds and other wildlife, and, on one section, specially commissioned Troll sculptures.
Take a peek around Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s favourite holiday home, with Punch & Judy shows on the beach plus the unique Swiss Cottage – a chalet where the royal kids used to play, now an interactive museum with a garden adventure trail. Carisbrooke Castle is a good place to let off steam, with loads of space to run around, and Yarmouth Castle has a great gun platform to admire.
Go further back in time by taking a look at the Roman Villa at Newport or check out one of the museums, especially The Shipwreck Centre and Maritime Museum at Bembridge and Lilliput Antique Doll and Toy Museum at Brading.
Head for Dinosaur Expeditions, Conservation and Palaeoart Centre at Brightstone with its fossil displays, kids' activities and guided fossil hunts. Bones (of the dinosaur variety) regularly turn up in the cliff landslips here, and you can also head out independently with a bucket and spade. There's also the Dinosaur Isle interactive museum beside Sandown Beach, with a dinosaur gallery.
Make for Fort Victoria Country Park with its planetarium, model railway with tokens to get everything going, and marine aquarium with local and tropical sealife. The Isle of Wight Zoo at Sandown is great if you like big cats, or head for Butterfly World. To see rare red squirrels, make for Parkhurst Forest, with lovely walks and picnic sites along the trails. Wroxhall has both a Donkey Sanctuary and Owl and Falconry Centre.
Try out the themeparks, especially Blackgang Chine, a fantasy park aimed at under-sevens, in a great setting on a clifftop, above green areas linked by woodland walks with fairytale-themed areas. Robin Hill Countryside Adventure Park has a huge park plus adventure rides and summer events including open-air cinema. The Needles Park at Alum Bay has lots of different rides and other attractions, including coloured sand models, glass-blowing, a sweet factory and a hair-raising cliffside cable-car to the beach.
Explore Ventnor, one of the most delightful towns on the island, with bunting-strewn lanes concealing quaint little shops and great eateries. OceanBlue Quay on Ventnor seafront is an innovative sea-charter company running sea safaris and lobster- or mackerel-fishing trips aimed at the whole family. You can take your catch home for your BBQ or even ask the OceanBlue cafe, back on dry land, to cook it for you.