When we started to plan our first family vacation, or first major kid friendly vacation, I am not going to lie- my anxiety level was in overdrive. There is a lot to consider when traveling with kids- especially young kids. Plus, on a budget!
However, with a desperate need to escape the record-breaking winter, multiple rounds of the flu (yeah you can get it multiple times, who knew)- we knew we needed some sunshine and TLC as a family.
I never thought about Grand Cayman. I had this preconceived notion that it was for millionaires and big bankers. I thought it was for the “rich” and out of our baller single income budget! MAN- was I wrong.
Grand Cayman is often known for its “off shore accounts” and banks. I thought bring two young kids there would be horrific! However, I could have NEVER imagined how kid-friendly this island was!
Not only were my kids welcomed even in the fancy restaurants- but the whole island’s culture is based around families! Every thing, I mean everything, is built and designed around kids! To make it magical and fun for them!
DISNEY HAS NOTHING ON GRAND CAYMAN!! This was by far the best place to visit as a family.
An outdoor shopping center located near seven-mile beach (walkable from seven-mile beach through the amazing garden walk way) was magic! They had multiple outdoor splash pads (FREE) for kids to play in as parents shopped. The larger splash pad at the back of the shopping center over looked the bay (see picture below), and had big foam blocks where the kids could build castles in the water. It was SOOO cool to see the kids play with such excitement!
Tons of shops- from an amazing book store with GREAT toys, to the cutest kids clothing stores I have ever seen (even state side), to countless restaurants!!
All outdoors but covered by the shade! Multiple fun things to look at and play with as you walked along, ALL stroller friendly! Nosie and giggles where encouraged!
There were many restaurants to choose from – at every price point! They had outdoor patios and EVERY one was kid friendly!
We ate at Brooklyn PIZZA and Pasta. They had a great outdoor patio overlooking the bay and the splash pad. I was super nerves traveling “out of country” with my two gluten free kids- However this pizza place did a great job listening to me and went out of their way to put me at ease! Now, PIZZA is a major food group in our house- we have had every kind of gluten free pizza out there (bake at home and at restaurants). I have to say this was the BEST GLUTEN FREE PIZZA out there!! “It was the best pizza period” my gluten-loving husband said! Totally worth the visiting Brooklyn Pizza in the Camama Bay Shopping Center!
Seven Mile Beach
It’s known as one of the best beaches in the world and I have to say it is! However, maybe not for the obvious reasons! This beach has public access through many public trails -from the street sidewalks to the beach every couple of blocks! You can enjoy the beach for FREE without the massive price tags of the hotels!
You can walk the whole seven miles of the beach; the white sand is breath taking and the clear blue water is so refreshing.
We spent countless hours just sitting in the sand as the kids played. Digging holes, fetching water for sand castles, and looking for shells! They had a blast on the beach!
The water right off the beach is some of the best swimming we have ever had! This is coming from a couple who have been to multiple other islands. It was ideal for kids too since it had shallow water for a ways out. Plus, the water was so clear they could see fish from shore. There was also a reef right off our normal spot. Close to shore so we could just swim out the few hundred feet to snorkel.
Our four-year-old spent many hours out snorkeling with us, with such joy on her face. We could see so MANY of the Nemo fish right off shore! It was great to swim with the kids and give them that experience (And for FREE!!).
We were blessed enough to stay in a condo so we were able to cook many meals at home. However, we were able to eat out at a few places during our stay. Every place we went welcomed kids- even the places I was nervous about bringing them too. They welcomed them, they were prepared with kid’s items, and talked to the kids directly.
Blue Cilantro ($$$)
This was the biggest splurge of the trip. This is a higher end restaurant and sooo WORTH IT! They had massive portion sizes and some of the best beef and seafood we have ever had in our lives. My kids still talk about that meal.
They were extremely welcoming to the kids and made them feel so special. It was worth the price tag and had a real steak house feel to it. They customized their meals for the kids- and it was a great gluten free expectance over all!
WOW! I don’t know how you could ever beat this place!!! The most amazing food, the most amazing view, and the best service ever!
This deck restaurant overlooks the seven-mile beach- the view is breath taking(specially at sunset)!! At night the lanterns hanging over head will also take your breath away and add a romantic feel to the dinning experience, even with kids in tow.
They are daily specials- however we dinned here three nights and it was best experience every time. I had the BEST PAELLA I have ever had in my life. I ate it all three nights- each night they had a different version of it.
The kids also loved the food- they request their chicken two nights in a row. (it was the moistest chicken I have ever tasted). The kid’s portions were MASSIVE and totally could have fed my husband too!
We did enjoy a cocktail or two here- and they had the most impressive and unique cocktails were have ever seen (even stateside). They were flavorful (without sugary) and we even came home with some new favorite RUM!
The staff was so kind and knowledgeable on the food, gluten free, and on the different kinds of liquor they served. They really took the time to talk to us even though they were busy. It really was an overall great experience- hence why we went back multiple times!
Also Just walking through the Marriott garden and hotel was the most magical experience- it was like an Alice in Wonderland experience. We took some of the most amazing pictures there! It was a lot like walking through the Bellagio hotel in Vegas- just amazing design elements everywhere! Plus, the whole place just smelled amazing!!!
I honestly never in my life thought about vacationing in Grand Cayman- especially not with kids. Honestly, I thought it was out of our budget and won’t fit our family focused life style. However, after experiencing this magical small island- I think they have Disney Land beat! HANDS DOWN! Yes, airfare is a little pricey however once your there… everything is affordable and unbelievable! Hands down the TOP family friendly places we have ever EVER been too!
**** this post was not paid for and we DID NOT receive anything free or discounted for writing this! We just truly enjoyed out trip to this hidden gem!