Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands, rewards beach lovers with beautiful and abundant sandy coasts. Seven Mile Beach, the island’s signature strand, repeatedly makes the ranks of the Caribbean’s best beaches.
At any of the island’s beaches, spend the day swimming and sunning, or add an adventure to your outing. Some beaches also offer excellent snorkeling and paddle boarding. At others, mingle with stingrays, learn kiteboarding, spot rows of starfish, or swim with wild turtles.
Here are 10 of the best beaches in Grand Cayman.
Seven Mile Beach, Near George Town
The most famous Grand Cayman beach, Seven Mile Beach also reigns as one of the Caribbean’s best beaches. Different sections have different names, and everybody has their favorite.
Palm and feathery casuarina trees line the sugar-soft sands, which actually stretch for five-and-a-half miles, not seven. No matter; the long swath provides plenty of room for strolling and finding your spot and your sport at this popular locale.
The typically calm bay with its brilliant aquamarine water and gentle slope makes wading, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding easy. Vendors rent water toys as well as jet skis.
Choose from a variety of beachside and nearby restaurants. Island Naturals serves tasty vegan meals such as sweet potato black bean burgers, curried lentil wraps, and salads.
For lunch at Tillies, try the rice and kale bowls topped with grilled shrimp, snapper, or jerk chicken as well as the fish filet sandwiches and burgers.
Since Seven Mile Beach is about four miles from George Town, Grand Cayman’s capital, you can swim in the morning and browse the shops after lunch.
Stingray City, North Sound
Interacting with Southern Atlantic stingrays in their natural habitat at Stingray City’s sandbar is one of the best things to do in the Caribbean.
The graceful rays swim around you, brushing your legs with their four-foot wide bodies. The ballet of swirling gray-black wings and white underbellies mesmerizes.
Reached by boat, Stingray City’s sandbar, a unique Grand Cayman beach, is actually a series of submerged, tiny beaches offshore from the north of the island.
Since only three or four feet of water cover the sandbars, you can stand on them, making mingling with stingrays in their world accessible to non-divers.
The creatures became attracted to the area because, for years, fishermen would clean their catch in the calm waters near the sandbars, tossing unwanted scraps into the bay. Drawn to the easy food, the stingrays hung around the boats.
Although somewhat acclimated to people, the stingrays remain wild creatures. Follow your guide’s instructions on how to behave and shuffle when you walk so as not to step on the stingrays’ tails. Getting up close to stingrays in the wild is a thrilling and sought-after adventure.
Smith’s Barcadere, South Sound
A small, sandy cove on Grand Cayman’s South Sound, Smith’s Barcadere rewards snorkelers with sightings of rainbow-colored fish and, if you look carefully, octopus.
Flat rock formations line both sides of the beach but do not block entry to the sound. Smith’s Barcadere is located less than three miles miles southwest of George Town.
Because the break in the rocks allowed water access, the beach formerly served as a barcadere, a Caymanian term for a landing place from which to launch vessels.
In the 1850s, after a carpenter named Smith was shipwrecked on nearby Spotts Reef, he made his way to the beach. To build a new boat, Smith used salvaged wood from the ruined vessel and timbers he cut from the plentiful silver thatch pines on the shore. His ship presumably sailed, and his name stuck for the area.
At Smith’s Barcadere, facilities include kayak rentals, picnic tables, outdoor showers, and bathrooms. Smith’s Barcadere is located 2.7 miles southwest of George Town.
For lunch nearby, consider Grand Old House. The award-winning waterfront restaurant serves lobster cakes, conch stew, seafood curry, and fresh catch of the day.
Barkers Beach, Barkers National Park
Kitesurfing, also called kiteboarding, feels like flying. The sport uses a wind-powered kite to pull you through the water. Barker’s Beach is the best Grand Cayman beach for this thrilling adventure.
Located on the island’s northwest coast, Barkers’ shallow waters and inland breezes make the spot a favorite for learners and enthusiasts.
You can book private or group tuition here, whether you’re a complete beginner or want to improve skills. Kitesurfing season runs from mid-October to mid-July.
Barkers Beach, nine miles north of George Town, is part of Barkers National Park, the Caymans’ first national park.
Along with undeveloped beaches, the park protects mangrove wetlands, scrub brush, and woodlands that serve as habitats for herons, terns, warblers, woodpeckers, and other birds.
It’s a peaceful and remote spot, with no facilities to speak of, which only adds to the charm.
Rum Point, North Side
At Rum Point, rows of casuarina trees shade the sandy shore. You can board a boat from the dock to Stingray City’s sandbar or rent jet skis, kayaks, and other water toys for a day of water play.
Or you could just sink into a hammock and listen to the sound of the waves. This scenic spot on Grand Cayman’s north shore attracts locals and boaters, especially on weekends.
While its future is uncertain, the Rum Point Wreck Bar here will always be known to have invented a Caribbean cocktail called the Mudslide, a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and Bailey’s Irish cream drizzled with chocolate. Rum Point, situated on the north side of Grand Cayman, is about 23 miles northeast of George Town.
Starfish Point, North Side
Peer into the clear blue waters off Starfish Point, some 26 miles northeast of George Town, to see scores of red cushion sea stars as big as your head hunkering on the sandy bottom.
Since the brightly colored creatures often navigate to the shallow areas, all you have to do is wade in a few feet of water and look down to spot them.
To view rows of the five-armed beauties dotting the sea floor, don a snorkel mask to swim into the deeper water.
Conservationists advise not to handle the starfish (it distresses them), and never take them out of the water they need to breathe. You could combine a boat trip to Starfish Point with an outing to Stingray City.
Spotts Public Beach, South Coast
Located on the south coast, four miles southeast of George Town, Spotts Public Beach is one of the best beaches in Grand Cayman at which to glimpse wild sea turtles.
View the graceful creatures from the shore when they pop their heads out of the water and swim with them in the shallows. The morning is an especially good time to catch sight of the turtles.
Although you might spot more turtles and fish at the barrier reef about 100 yards offshore, this is a long and tiring swim and is recommended only for experts. If you venture there, be sure to stay inside the reef to avoid the strong currents beyond.
Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the white sand beach, or go to the nearby Cayman Islands Brewery for a tour and a cold beer.
Cemetery Beach, Seven Mile Beach
Cemetery Beach, named for the remnants of an old cemetery behind the sand, lies in the northern section of Seven Mile Beach and is officially part of that grand strand.
Less bustling than the main sections of Seven Mile, Cemetery Beach sparkles with the same white sands but offers some of the finest snorkeling in Grand Cayman, since a reef lies about 60 yards offshore. You can rent paddleboards and kayaks and swim in the calm waters.
For lunch, head a few miles north to Heritage Kitchen, favored by locals for its jerk chicken and fresh fish.
West Bay Beach, Seven Mile Beach
Located at the north end of Seven Mile Beach, northwest of Cemetery Beach, West Bay lures visitors with its calm waters, white sands, and proximity to good restaurants. West Bay Beach is about seven miles northwest of George Town.
Although those pluses have turned West Bay into less of a secret spot, you can still savor a relaxing day of sun, sand, and swimming.
Take a break from the sun for lunch. Beachfront Tukka West, owned by Australians, serves tasty local fish, salads, and tacos, as well as sausage and satays of kangaroo meat. Oceanfront Macabuca is known for its conch fritters, burgers, and fish tacos.
One of the best things to do in Grand Cayman is to visit the nearby Cayman Turtle Centre to learn about and swim with green sea turtles in an enclosed lagoon. You can also view sharks and crocodiles, and twist down a waterslide.
Governor’s Beach, Seven Mile Beach
Centrally located on Seven Mile Beach, four-and-a-half miles northwest of George Town, Governor’s Beach adjoins the Governor’s residence.
Edged by sea grape trees, Governor’s Beach has the soft sands and calm, clear waters for which Seven Mile Beach is known. You might spot colorful fish, moray eels, and lobsters on the offshore reef.
Each year, to mark World Sea Turtle Day, June 16, the Cayman Turtle Centre uses Governor’s Beach to release two turtles into the wild.
Locals cheer on the green sea turtles as they kick up sand with their flippers, propelling themselves down the beach and into the ocean. Green sea turtles, the largest species of hard-shelled sea turtles, are endangered.
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