When we booked our family-friendly vacation to Grand Cayman last October, we knew next to nothing about the island. I knew that it was beautiful after seeing a few pictures on Instagram from Amanda‘s family vacation there over fall break, but otherwise we were clueless.
We decided to travel there and make it our 2019 family vacation spot for a few reasons though:
- We knew we wanted to head to the Caribbean.
- We liked the appeal of a smaller island.
- The flights were the right price at the right time. <—- the main reason!
Family-Friendly Vacation: Grand Cayman
Once our flights were booked, I got to work researching the island around the clock. We loved what we read and felt optimistic that we’d have a great time, but we were admittedly skeptical about what our experience would be like bringing young children to a tropical place like this.
Would we be among happy honeymooners and groups of college spring breakers who would be side-eyeing us for having two small kids in tow? We wondered, as did many others who were all “What? You’re bringing the kids?! Why not just you and Jamie?” I totally get those kinds of reactions because I, too, have always thought of the Caribbean and tropical destinations as places generally reserved for adults.
The truth though is that I really like having all of my chickens under my wing. So, if I can get away for a full seven days with my husband and my kids and enjoy a gorgeous place, I won’t be nearly as anxious to get back home because I’ll have my life/family right there with me, freeing me mentally to enjoy myself fully, even if I’m still in “mom mode”. It’s just a different type of vacation. Plus, I’ve learned that I really like seeing the world through the eyes of my small kids. I can’t tell you how many times Jamie and I talked about how much we would have wished the kids were with us had we chosen to travel to Grand Cayman without them.
I could talk forever about my adoration for this beautiful speck on the map, but the main idea I’d like to share today is a list of reasons why Grand Cayman is a wonderful family vacation spot if you have children you’re traveling with.
Family-Friendly Vacation: Grand Cayman
The travel is short.
The flight from Atlanta is two hours. The Grand Cayman airport generally receives one plane at a time, so you’ll be off the plane, through customs, and walking out of the airport within 30-40 minutes tops. We were wheels down in Grand Cayman at 12:30 p.m. on our arrival day, and we had gotten through the airport, settled in our rental car, and checked into our hotel within two hours. Just so easy.
There will be other young families everywhere.
Though it was a huge secret to us that families often chose to vacation here, it’s apparently not a secret to many other Americans and Europeans. There were young families absolutely everywhere. Our kids were rarely playing solo on the beach because there were other toddlers, preschoolers, babies, and big kids all around them. Truly just lots of families there on vacation to escape it all, relax, let their kids play, and enjoy a beautiful place.
The water. Enough said.
In Seven Mile Beach, you will find crystal blue water with zero harmful sea life and the most perfect sand you’ve ever felt. The ocean water is so calm and clear that Jamie found Hadley’s tiny missing earring in waist-deep water an hour after she lost it, just by looking down. He wasn’t even looking for it! It hadn’t moved. Also, the water is what any person would call the perfect temperature. Not cold, not overly warm. Just perfection. The water and sand in Rum Point has a little more “character” to it with sea grass and a tad bit yellow sand, but my goodness – it’s still outrageously beautifully.
Most beach areas have loungers right near the water.
Since the water is so calm, loungers are typically right up on the water. As a mom, I loved this because I could lounge in a chair but also be 10 feet or less from my children. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this!
You’re practically guaranteed good weather.
A little research will show you that highs in the low 80s and cloudless days are the norm nearly 365 a year. No bad moods that your vacation is tampered by rain or cool/hot weather because the weather will be one of the things you and your family enjoy the most. We were on the island for six nights, and we experienced one sun shower that lasted all of five minutes or less.
The entertainment is (mostly) free.
There are plenty of attractions that tourists can pay for and do while visiting the island, but the biggest and best thing to do on the island is simply enjoy the beach. Fantastic snorkeling is available right from the shore, so bring a mask and enjoy the water! There are also public beaches all around the island, such as Starfish Point and Smith’s Cove, that are totally free and so enjoyable.
Family-Friendly Vacation: Grand Cayman
You won’t wait for your dinner table.
Grand Cayman is definitely known as a “foodie” island with dozens of fantastic waterfront restaurants. Make your reservations ahead of your trip or call from your hotel phone, and you’ll be whisked away to your table immediately. Most waterfront restaurants in American beach towns require long wait times (especially on beautiful nights), but you won’t deal with any of that hassle in Grand Cayman.
The main tourist attractions are wonderful for all ages, from toddlers to grandparents.
The only excursions we paid for were Stingray City and the Turtle Centre, and both were fantastic for all ages. There are so many awesome excursions found on TripAdvisor. Don’t load up your schedule too much though; Set aside at least half of your trip to just enjoy the different beaches (or the same beach if you find one you adore!)
It’s not a “boozy” island.
The food and drinks on the island are where you’ll spend a chunk of your vacation budget, simply because you pay for everything on the island in CI (Cayman Island dollars). For example, a 12oz draft beer was around $12 USD, glasses of wine were also around $12, and cocktails were around $14-$20 a piece, though tips are almost always included.
Because alcohol is expensive, you won’t be surrounded by too many heavy drinkers. By our third day of vacation, I told Jamie how surprised I was that you don’t see adults wading in the water drinking cocktails and beer. We never saw anyone being rowdy or inappropriate at any of the places or beaches we went to, despite big groups all being together. Our theory is that most people probably don’t visit Grand Cayman if they want a boozy vacation. It’s just too darn expensive. So, for obvious reasons, this is a major plus for bringing your kids to this island.
Everyone is so nice.
And I mean everyone. People from all over the world have decided to call Grand Cayman their home because it’s honestly just such a great place for so many reasons, and their happiness to live there is contagious. The locals could not have been more kind or accommodating. We loved the people who call Grand Cayman their home and were so continually appreciative of how kind they were to our family, especially our daughters.
FYI $$ –
Per day (including flights), our trip to Grand Cayman was significantly cheaper than our 2017 trip to Disney World. At Disney, we had military-discounted park tickets AND stayed at the cheapest on-property resort ($130 a night a think — cheap!!), and that trip was still more money per day than Grand Cayman, where we were definitely money-conscious but also enjoyed our trip (if that makes sense). We had the time of our lives on both trips, but I think when you break down penny-for-penny how much you’re paying for your stateside vacation, you’d be surprised by how affordable traveling abroad actually is. 🙂
Just a thought because I’ve had many people my age say that they would have never thought they could do a trip to the Caribbean with their kids. We didn’t either until we started crunching the numbers. Get through the paper load of getting passports and get out there! 🙂
Related Grand Cayman blog posts:
Do you have any family-friendly vacation spots to recommend? If you have additional questions about potentially planning your trip, let me know!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo