Seven Mile Beach is the longest and best known of the beaches, where the sand is sugary white and the water laps gently at the foot of luxury hotels and million-dollar condos. This is the place to be seen lounging in your designer beachwear, running the seven-mile stretch or walking your dog. You won’t be hassled or hustled and the crowd is as likely to consist of island residents as tourists. Seven Mile Beach is itself split up into different areas, where the vibes are starkly different and regular beach-goers have favorite spots.
The public beach tends to attract a younger crowd and at weekends, it’s popular to set up a sound system in one of the cabanas, have a barbecue and play ball games. Nearby Governor’s Beach, however, is a quieter area where people put out deck chairs and read their books. As this area of beach is next to the governor’s residence a security guard makes sure it never gets too rowdy. Further along Seven Mile towards West Bay is Cemetery Beach, which is relatively secluded. You can snorkel anywhere along Seven Mile but the reef out from Cemetery Beach is particularly good.
West Bay’s public beach is small but it’s fun to jump into the water off the wooden dock and on Friday and Saturday nights, a food stall sells tantalizing chicken and ribs. Also in West Bay is Barkers Beach, which although not ideal for swimming, is lovely for long walks and is dotted with empty conch shells. On the other side of George Town, Smith’s Cove is a nice spot for both bathing and snorkelling. It’s small but a great place to go during the week, when it’s likely to be less crowded and you’ll often see couples getting married.
Heading east, there’s a beach at Spotts, although when the weather is rough in George Town this is where cruise ships passengers are landed, so avoid it on those days. In Bodden Town, the beach has cabanas and restroom facilities and is often the venue for community events. As you head further east, the road hugs the coastline and there are tracks that will take you down to deserted coves.
East End Public Beach has restrooms and cabanas, is a great spot for a picnic, and has super snorkeling. At the end of the road, Kaibo has a public beach and lots of cabanas so it never feels like it’s too busy. Nearby at Rum Point, however, expect it to be packed, especially at weekends when the crowd descends to enjoy cocktails and food from the bar and restaurant, as well as swimming and snorkelling.
For offshore snorkel spots, Stingray City is ideal for visitors as most boat operators stop there on the way to the Sandbar. The water is just 12 feet deep, so you can get up close and personal to southern stingrays as well as myriad other sea creatures. Other great places to don your mask and fins include Cheeseburger Reef, Eden Rock, the Devil’s Grotto and the Wreck of the Cali, which are all accessed from George Town. The USS Kittiwake, which was sunk last year as a dive and snorkel site, is a top attraction, but is accessible only by boat and there is a charge to help maintain it.
Little Cayman also has many great beaches and snorkelling sites, the best of which is Point O’Sand. For other superb snorkeling, cross the short distance to tiny Owen Island which can be reached by boat or kayak, and see the top of Bloody Bay Wall. Over on Cayman Brac, where much of the shoreline is composed of limestone rocks, the best area of sand is at the public beach.
On calm days, the water around the Cayman Islands is clean and clear, making it a joy to observe the underwater world, which is teeming with fish and other sea life.