The best Cayman Islands beaches and where to stay

Nestled between Cuba, Jamaica, and Central America, the Cayman Islands allure vacationers with azure waters, white sand beaches, and friendly locals. Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman make up this British Overseas Territory in the Greater Antilles that can pride itself on a great selection of exquisite beaches, perfect for a Caribbean vacation. Whether you dream of a relaxed vacation enjoying a drink at a beach bar or snorkelling with tropical fish, the stunning Cayman Islands’ beaches offer an abundance of options – here are some of the top picks for the best beaches and places to stay!

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1. Seven Mile Beach

Many lists featuring the best beaches in the world name the Seven Mile Beach on the Great Cayman island among some of the most exceptional waterfront locations. While this part of the Great Cayman is home to luxurious and expensive real estate, this stretch of land remains open to the public, offering a chance to walk the whole length of the beach and experience the breathtaking atmosphere. Enjoy the gentle Caribbean breeze under the lush palm trees with your feet in the pristinely white sand. There are numerous restaurants and bars at the nearby resorts, where you can sit down for a delectable meal and a refreshing drink with lush views at your fingertips. If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t just stay on dry land – explore the many water activities available, from snorkelling and scuba diving to boat tours and parasailing. As far as hotels go, you can’t go wrong with the Ritz-Carlton, located on Seven Mile Beach. This world-renowned luxury property is all about the luxurious ambience in a Caribbean setting, where comfortable rooms and top-level amenities invite you to relax and unwind after a day of tropical fun. Then there’s the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort guaranteeing an upscale atmosphere at a more reasonable budget. This waterfront property has everything you need – beach access, an on-site spa, and an outdoor pool, not to mention everything else you expect from a contemporary tropical oasis.

Seven Mile Beach | Photo: William Duggan

Photo: Andrew Davie

2. Cemetery Beach

Towards the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, you’ll come across Cemetery Beach, a popular spot among tourists and locals, enjoying awe-inspiring views, sunset vistas, and perfect snorkelling options. Despite being quite popular, this beach is still known as one of the best-kept secrets in the area since it rarely gets crowded. Pack a picnic and get cosy under the sea grape trees providing shade at Cemetery Beach, and enjoy this slightly more quiet part of Seven Mile Beach. The reef is only a few minutes from the beach, making Cemetery Beach a fantastic option for beginner and expert snorkelers looking to explore colourful tropical fish up close. Book a stay at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, a recent addition to the resorts in the area. Opening in 2016, this hotel effortlessly combines tropical chic vibes with a relaxed atmosphere you can enjoy in the spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and communal spaces that are as lush as the natural surroundings in the Cayman Islands.

Photo: Becky Vogel

3. West Bay Beach

Heading up north from Cemetery Beach, you’ll find West Bay Beach – another rarely crowded beach with plenty of shade and excellent public facilities. A popular place among locals who want to relax or go for a swim, this beach is also a prime spot for watching the sunset since it faces west. You’ll notice many locals enjoying the West Bay Dock since the ocean view is unmatched. If you’re feeling hungry, there are some lovely restaurants located near West Bay Beach and further up – a great place to start exploring. For places to stay, the Cobalt Coast Resort is a popular choice for water enthusiasts who come to Great Cayman for scuba diving. This comfortably-sized resort has 21 rooms and three cottages with convenient access to the best diving spots. It is also close enough to Seven Mile Beach and George Town.

4. Smith’s Barcadere

Smith’s Barcadere, also known as Smith Cove, is among the loveliest beaches on Grand Cayman, located south of George Town. The natural limestone rock formations and oceanside ledges make this beach terrific for photos and snorkelling in crystal clear water to view the coral and colourful reef fish without going far in. This beach is ideally suited for beginners, and for guests’ convenience, there are showers and restrooms on the beach. Another west-facing beach that’s perfect for charming evenings in the sand while watching the sunset.

Photo: Mikhail Nilov

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East of George Town, there’s a tranquil picture-perfect beach complete with lush palm trees, pristine white sand, and clear water that makes it so easy to spot sea turtles

5. Spotts Beach

East of George Town, there’s a tranquil picture-perfect beach complete with lush palm trees, pristine white sand, and clear water that makes it so easy to spot sea turtles munching on sea grass in shallow depths in early mornings and late afternoons. While there are many reasons to come here, the sea turtles are the main draw, and you’ll see many people arriving early in the morning with their snorkelling gear ready. Popular yet uncrowded, this beach is favoured by locals due to its laid-back atmosphere and ideal sunset viewing conditions. Note the shallow waters are perfect for swimming, even for beginners, but if you head further out near the dock, the currents tend to be quite strong.

Photo: Marc Babin

Photo: Rafael Silva

6. Rum Point Beach

When you need a change of scenery after the famous Seven Mile Beach, Rum Point is a great alternative. Located on Grand Cayman’s north shore, the calm waters and the relaxed atmosphere invites you to forget all the troubles and savour the moment while gently swinging in a hammock and enjoying the soothing island views. Perfect for swimming and snorkelling, the beach at Rum Point is on the shallow side, ideally suited for beginners wanting to peek at the corals in the reef. Adrenaline-seekers will be equally pleased with the generous waterskiing, diving, sailing, and jet-skiing options available here. And if you fancy a stay nearby, you don’t have to go looking far. Rum Point Club Residences is a luxurious boutique hotel with exceptional oceanside views and a chic atmosphere through and through. Take a dip in the infinity edge pool or sample some of the best local flavours at the on-site restaurant before enjoying a relaxing spa treatment – this place has it all! Cayman Kai Retreat at Rum Point offers more seclusion while still being at the heart of the northern end of Grand Cayman. Close to restaurants and activities but tucked away from traffic, these one to three-bedroom beach-side condos are an excellent choice.

Photo Linda Kisand

Photo: Heidi kiss

7. East End Beach

East End Beach, also known as Colliers Public Beach, is an immaculately groomed public beach on Grand Cayman, complete with cosy seaside gazebos, showers, and restrooms. You’ll be pleased to see the beach being quite secluded and empty, with only some locals enjoying the area. This makes it perfect for romantic afternoons away from the crowds or sunbathing during the day. A must-have experience is stopping by the local fish fry, where daily catches like snapper and Mahi Mahi frequent the menu. While the ocean views are lovely, the only downside may be the fact that sometimes the water near the shore is full of seaweed, so water shoes may be a good idea if you fancy going further into the water to snorkel.

8. Point of Sand, Little Cayman

A tranquil little beach where you can forget all the worldly troubles while bathing in the sun and ankle-deep pristine Caribbean waters – that’s what awaits you at Point of Sand on Little Cayman. Also known as Sands Point, it’s an unspoilt white-sand beach on the northeastern tip of the island. Popular among divers and snorkelers, it’s relatively quiet, and you won’t see huge crowds here, making this a perfect little spot if you want to have a dream-like island day with few distractions. For the best places to stay on Little Cayman, you can’t beat Southern Cross Club – 14 brightly coloured beach bungalows with an unmatched view of the ocean await! On top of that, you’ll be able to enjoy scrumptious international and local cuisine, often featuring freshly caught local fish like mahi-mahi and wahoo.

Photo: Serafin Reyna

9. Owen Island

It’s time to rethink your “what items would you bring to a remote island with you” list – if you visit Owen Island, you can almost feel what it would be like to find yourself in the shoes of a castaway. This tiny 11-acre islet is located off the southwest coast of Little Cayman. The only way to get to Owen Island is by boat, and since the island is uninhabited and with few places with shade, you’ll want to bring enough water and sun protection. Whether you come here for a picnic, snorkelling, or exploring the rocky tide pools, you’re guaranteed to leave with plenty of Caribbean memories that one can only gain through tucked away places like this one.

10. Brac Reef Beach

Cayman Brac is the one part of the Cayman Islands that stands out the most from the rest. One reason for this is the landscape. Cayman Brac is known for its dramatic cliff, the bluff, which dominates the landscape along the island. The second reason is that Cayman Brac is the least touristy part of the Cayman Islands. Now, does that mean that on Cayman Brac you can’t really get that white sand Caribbean beach experience? You can. Head to Brac Reef Beach at the Cayman Brac Resort and enjoy the palm tree-strewn beach, where you can take in the dreamy landscape or quietly swing in a hammock while reading your favourite book. From here, you can also set off snorkelling, diving, and even deep-sea fishing. After a day of exploring, stay at Le Soleil D’or, a one-of-a-kind 4-star luxury hotel with beautiful botanical gardens surrounding the gorgeous villa at the centre. With direct beach access, an outdoor swimming pool, and an on-site restaurant, you’ll find everything you need here to take in the unique beauty of Cayman Brac.

Photo: David Billings

Photo: Brenner Oliveira

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