The Cayman Islands for Family Vacations

Lifeguard Hut On Beach Against Sky
Carolyn Chou / EyeEm / Getty Images

The three Cayman Islands -- Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac-- are in the Western Caribbean, 480 miles from Miami (about an hour's flight) and northwest of Jamaica. The islands are known for diving --wall, wreck, and reef-- and beautiful beaches, most notably Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman.

Grand Cayman is a sophisticated financial centerĀ and home to luxury resorts. The main town is George Town, where thousands of cruise passengers visit each day.

Fun Attractions for Families

  • Stingray City: shallow sandbars, where you can feed, hold, swim and take pictures with the rays. Many tour operators take visitors to Stingray City; some add a snorkeling stop and other activities on the outing.
  • Atlantis Submarine ride: a fun trip to underseas
  • Jolly Roger pirate cruise
  • Boatswain's Beach -a marine park with giant sea turtles, snorkeling reef, aviary and more*
  • Cayman Islands Butterfly Farm
  • Pedro St. James Historic Site -restored 19th-century plantation great house
  • National Museum; Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
  • horseback riding on the beach followed by ocean swim on the horses
  • Eden Rock- great snorkeling spot

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are about 90 miles to the northeast of Grand Cayman island. Cayman Brac-- named for a distinctive "brac," a Gaelic word for "bluff"- -has a friendly population of just 1500, and is 12 miles long and 2 miles wide at its widest point. Little Cayman island is even more secluded, with good fishing and birding; biking is nice because the island is flat.

Note: the Cayman Islands are a British "overseas territory" and driving is on the left.

Kids Sea Camp

Watersports are a highlight of a Cayman Islands visit, and families who like snorkeling or diving may want to time their visit with the Kids Sea Camp usually held on Grand Cayman Island during certain summer weeks. The camp is geared toward kids ages 4-15 and typically might include PADI Diving Society membership, a treasure hunt featuring scuba gear prizes, trips to Stingray City, Nautilus sub ride, turtle farm tour, pizza and movie nights, beach BBQ party, and more. Look for packages that include accommodations, meals, hotel taxes, and transfers.

For more info, contact 800-934-3483 or visit www.kidseacamp.com

Festivals and Seasonal Promotions

Caymans' Pirates Week
The annual Pirates Week festival lasts eleven days, and might start with a "pirate invasion" from two old-fashioned sailing ships, and partying on with a parade, costumes, games, street dances, Kids Day, Heritage Days, fireworks, and more.* Most of the events are on Grand Cayman Island -- George Town and other districts-- but Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have their fun too.

Cayman Summer Splash
Watch for the return of this annual promotion: from early June to end of August; families can score discount airfares, free nights at many participating resorts, meals, and discounts on fun activities such as Atlantis Submarine tours, or Jolly Roger party boat outings.

Cayman Brac Family Week
Expect a return of this annual Family Week on Cayman Brac in July: with special rates and special activities for families, such as an island tour, a hike through the Parrot Reserve, or snorkeling; or kids might try Bubblemakers introduction to scuba diving. The family-friendly Divi Tiara Resort typically participates in Family Week.

For more information about annual events visit the Cayman Islands site.

This brief profile is meant to introduce this destination to family vacationers; please note that the writer has not visited in person. Always check websites for updates.

*Always check destination websites for updates!