Seven Mile Beach is not only the most popular beach on Grand Cayman Island but also one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean. However, it's far from your only choice for surf, sun and sand when visiting the three main Cayman Islands -- Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac -- and every beach in the Caymans is open to the public.
cmiked/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Seven Mile Beach is the Cayman Islands' premier beach resort district and one of the most beautiful and beloved beaches in all of the Caribbean
. Actually more like 5.6 miles long, the beach is lined with luxury resorts, restaurants and shops and dotted with beach bars and water-sports centers offering snorkeling, kayaking, and parasailing rentals. The beach, on the west coast of Grand Cayman
, also is a magnet for a variety of beach sports, particularly volleyball.
Overall, Seven Mile Beach fairly bustles with activity, which cannot be said of most Cayman Islands beaches. The surf is calm and there are some small reefs that are good for snorkeling.
Cayman Kai, Grand Cayman
© kkimphotography via Flickr
Cayman Kai, a quiet 400-acres on Grand Cayman's
north coast, offers many of the same amenities and recreational opportunities as Seven Mile Beach but without the big crowds. Lined with palm trees and blessed with the Cayman Islands white coral sand, Cayman Kai has more than six miles of beaches for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, beach volleyball, sailing, and more. The Kaibo Beach Bar and Grill
can provides the food and drinks for those who don't bring their own; all told, Cayman Kai has three restaurants plus tennis courts, a dive shop, and a grocery store.
Rum Point, Grand Cayman
© Don McDougall, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
Rum Point, which sits on the north coast of Grand Cayman
and offers views of Cuba
, is a lively beach shaded by palm trees and a popular spot for beach and water sports (Red Sail Sports
has a shop on the beach here). The Wreck Bar
is one of the most famous beach bars in the Cayman Islands, in part because it's the place where the frozen mudslide was invented. There used to be a ferry from Seven Mile Beach to Rum Point but it was shut down after the area was smashed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and still has not resumed operations. That leaves you with two options: a 50-minute drive from the main resort area or Red Sail's free catamaran ferry service if you dine at the Rum Point Restaurant (operates Tues.-Sat.). There are plenty of nearby hotels, restaurants, bars and facilities for an enjoyable day at the beach.
Sandy Point, Little Cayman
© Cayman Islands Tourism
Sandy Point offers a nice compromise between the hubbub of Seven Mile Beach and more isolated stretches of sand where you're on your own as far as food, drinks, and other supplies. Located on the east coast of Little Cayman
, Sandy Point, a.k.a. Point of Sand, is close enough to the town of West End to stay in touch from civilization but still isolated enough to feel like a discovery. Also popular with daytrippers from Cayman Brac
© Don McDougall
Smith Cove is usually a quiet alternative to Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, with full facilities and great snorkeling in a protected cove on the South Sound. However, it occasionally gets busy when cruise ships arrive at the nearby cruise port.
Owen Island, Little Cayman
© Don McDougall
Located just a few hundred yards off of South Town on Little Cayman
, 11-acre Owen Island is a picnicker and beachlover's paradise and offers a low-key desert-island experience for visitors who swim, row, or kayak across the waters of Bloody Bay. If you're looking for a deserted strip of sand where you can play castaways with your significant other, but still be back at your hotel in time for dinner, Owen Island is your destination.