The Cayman Islands is a favorite destination in the Caribbean for snorkeling and diving—so you know the water has to be pretty fantastic. And it is. Even better, the pristine beaches washed by the Cayman’s brilliant blue sea are just as fabulous, known for their soft white sand, gentle breezes and easy access to offshore reefs. Whether you’re a sun worshipper or a watersports fanatic, there’s a beach in this trio of islands, the main island of Grand Cayman and the smaller, sleepier outposts of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, to suit every vacation style.
Some are lively—but not in a rowdy or clothing optional way, which isn’t permitted here—and others are serene, yet they’re all certain to make you want to cancel your flight home and stay a bit longer. Here are our picks for the best beaches in the Cayman Islands.
Seven Mile Beach
There are plenty of lists of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and there’s a good chance Seven Mile Beach is on most of them. Not to be confused with the identically named but more free-spirited strand in Negril, Jamaica, this 6.4-mile beach on the western coast of Grand Cayman is a gently arcing crescent of soft white sand that is just as enjoyable to stroll along as it is to swim from—and the clear, calm water here will temp you every step of the way.
Not the widest of beaches, it is nevertheless a stunner, so much so that many of the island’s best resorts are located on it (as is Governor’s Beach, named for the governor’s house it fronts). Seven Mile Beach is also a watersports hub with plenty of things to do, so if you’re into kiteboarding, wake boarding, parasailing, stand-up paddle boarding or sightseeing by Waverunner, you can do it all from here.
Point of Sand
Also known as Sands Point, this idyllic beach on Little Cayman is the kind of place where you throw down a towel, slather on sunscreen and then slowly wade into water that’s so shallow, and clear you just might just close your eyes and shake your head to make sure you’re not dreaming. Yes, it’s real! And because Little Cayman is more popular with divers than sun worshippers (and only has a local population of 170), you’ll likely find you have Point of Sand pretty much to yourself.
Snorkeling can also be quite interesting here—you should see Queen conch, bonefish and assorted colorful reef fish—but since currents can be a bit strong, don’t venture in alone unless you’re a confident swimmer.
Rum Point Beach
Home to the Wreck Bar & Grill—famous for its Mudslides (vodka, Kahlua, Bailey’s and ice), which go down as easy as a milkshake so know your limits—this picturesque Grand Cayman beach is a popular spot to relax (there’s plenty of shade and picnic tables) and have lunch. It’s also a great place to enjoy watersports such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling.
That said, Rum Point Beach’s location is pretty out-of-the-way on the North Side of Grand Cayman, so to enjoy it you’ll need to rent a car, hire a taxi (and set a pick-up time for the return trip), or book an excursion that stops here, such as one that combines Stingray City and Rum Point.
Located just off the southwest coast of Little Cayman and completely uninhabited, Owen Island is ideal for spending a day channeling your castaway fantasies. It’s accessible only by boat, so you can sail over or arrive by kayak, and is a tranquil spot for a picnic and an afternoon of snorkeling (bring lots of water and sunscreen since there is no shade). If you want to explore some rocky tide pools on one side of this 11-acre islet, wear sturdy sport sandals.
The word cove implies that this beach on Grand Cayman might be tiny and tucked away. It is indeed small and photogenic, but it’s also within two miles of the dock where cruise passengers are ferried over from their ships anchored offshore. Located just south of George Town and officially known as Smith’s Barcadere, this pretty beach has vivid turquoise water edged by limestone formations and offers public restrooms, showers and picnic benches.
Because of the geography, there’s great snorkeling in protected water. Alas, it’s a popular spot and can get crowded with both tourists and those living in the Cayman Islands.
Don’t let the name scare you—it was named after an adjacent cemetery not because people who swim here end up there. This white-sand beach located to the north of Seven Mile Beach is one of the easiest places to snorkel on Grand Cayman. That’s because Cemetery Reef is located about 200 feet offshore and teems with tropical fish. So if you’re an experienced snorkeler, this is a great spot to just wade right in and enjoy. There are no facilities here, so pack a cooler, but there’s natural shade provided by sea grape trees.
Southern Cross Club Beach
If you’re headed to Little Cayman, plan to dive or sport fish and also love a great beach, the stretch of white sand that fronts the Southern Cross Club (geared to active travelers and offering 14 beach cottages) is tough to beat. Not only is the palm-lined beach pristine and the water clean and calm, but this equally tranquil and lively (when divers return) spot offers splendid views of Owen Island, where you can escape by kayak for an afternoon snorkel adventure.
West Bay Beach
Located at the north end of Seven Mile Beach, West Bay Beach is a family-friendly option offering public facilities (restrooms, palapas and nearby restaurants) as well as plenty of shade. As a lesser-known alternative to more popular beaches on Grand Cayman, it’s rarely crowded (you may find yourself amid mainly locals) and is a great place to chill or enjoy a swim (although in some spots the sand is mixed with rocks, so wear swim shoes or be careful as you come ashore). West Bay Beach is named for the direction it faces, so it’s also a premier locale for watching the sun set.
Love turtles? Head to tranquil, palm-tree-studded Spotts Beach, located to the east of George Town on Grand Cayman, in the morning or late in the afternoon and you’re likely to spot quite a few of them feeding on sea grass in the shallow water. You can view them from the dock with a cup of coffee or a cocktail in hand (bring along a small cooler as there are no facilities) or snorkel with them, although the current is strong and water can sometimes get a bit choppy.
Brac Reef Beach
Beaches are smaller and less spectacular on Cayman Brac, where the topography also includes some impressive cliffs, but Brac Reef Beach at the Cayman Brac Resort is a great base from which to enjoy this 15-square-mile island. It’s also a launching site for the snorkeling, diving and fishing for which Cayman Brac is known. But if you prefer to claim a hammock strung between two palms and dive into that book you’ve been wanting to read, that’s perfectly okay, too.