Cayman's close proximity to the USA and the rest of the Caribbean means many family-friendly destinations are right on our doorstep.
The easiest way to see the world is via nonstop flights like the ones offered by our national flag carrier, Cayman Airways, which flies directly to multiple international and regional destinations. They operate a fleet of four new Boeing 737-8 jet aircraft, and Cayman Airways Express operates a fleet of two Saab 340B+ aircraft and two Twin Otter aircraft on the domestic routes.
Panama is a beautiful place to visit with much to explore and a wide range of activities for the whole family.
You can visit the Soberania National Park, where you will see sloths and other wildlife in the Gamboa Wildlife Rescue Centre. This beautiful wilderness area is only 30 minutes away from Panama City by car. For those that want to hike or take a boat trip, the River Chagres is another great place to spot wildlife. Visit an indigenous Embera village, where the Embera people have lived on the bank of the Gatun Lake for centuries and continue to live a simple life.
Adventurous types can hike in the Volcan Baru National Park where you will find centuries-old trees, abundant flora and fauna and hanging bridges. Then take a boat ride around the San Blas Islands or visit Monkey Island, located in the middle of Lake Gatun.
Ride the waves at Bocas de Toro, where world-class swells attract keen surfers, and explore the town of Isla Colon which will welcome you with its relaxed backpacker vibe.
In Panama City visit the historical quarter, Casco Viejo, which dates to the 17th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. With its restored buildings, wrought iron balconies, centuries-old churches and narrow cobblestone streets, there are trendy cafes, bars and restored heritage hotels. Finally, do not miss the country’s star attraction, the Panama Canal. This remarkable feat of engineering, that links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, took 34 years to build and you can see the engineering behind it as you explore the Miraflores Locks and see the boats traverse the canal.
Less than two hours away, there are two flights weekly on Cayman Airways during the summer months and one flight weekly during the fall and winter from Grand Cayman.
There are plenty of family-friendly activities in Tampa, whether you’re hoping for fun bonding experiences or educational opportunities for the children. A day trip to Busch Gardens – or their water park Adventure Island on a hot day – is sure to entertain your children for hours with activities ranging from their classic rides to dance shows and safari tours. A long and action-filled day at either the theme or water park is bound to leave everybody tired and satisfied by the end of the day. Tickets can be purchased online and free shuttle passes to the park are available with any paid Busch Gardens ticket.
A more educational option is a visit to the Glazer Children’s Museum, where they promote playing in a diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive environment. Your children can visit a range of exhibits for imaginative play to work on a farm, in a firehouse, grocery store, and more! This is a perfect experience for children aged 0-10. The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile path that joins lots of shops and restaurants together, and is possibly a more relaxing option for parents! The path is accessible for everyone and is free to walk along. For any Formula 1 fans, you can visit the Tampa Bay Grand Prix indoor go karting centre and see who in your family can clock the fastest lap. Kids must be 48” or taller or they won’t reach the pedals. Finally, if you are still feeling the urge for another theme park, LEGOLAND Florida is only a one-hour drive away in Winter Haven.
Less than two hours away, there are five flights weekly to and from Tampa. There are free streetcar trolleys that run every 15 minutes to downtown Tampa.
In the glamour-filled city of LA, there are countless opportunities for families to spend time together while exploring the city and all it has to offer. Day trips to either Disneyland or Universal Studios – or both! – are sure to be highlights of the trip for the children. Numerous rides and access to their favourite on-screen characters mean there will never be a dull moment for anyone. Parents striving for an educational moment, might consider a visit to the Natural History Museum where a wide range of different exhibits, from the Nature Lab to Becoming Los Angeles, will fascinate every family member. For those who love space, you can visit the California Science Centre where the Space Shuttle Endeavour is permanently on display.
For a more in-depth feel of the city, a walk down the Walk of Fame will never disappoint; you can even create a game of who can spot the celebrity while exploring Hollywood Boulevard. There are endless shopping and dining options in this area of LA and a great restaurant for a quick lunch stop will be easy to find.
Considering you are in California, a trip to the coast is a must. It's beautiful and so very different from Cayman. You can even go whale watching (May to November), depending on your family’s interests. While in LA, there are hikes in the countryside that will literally take your breath away. A lovely one is the Betty B Dearing trail, a five mile out-and-back trail that crosses three LA parks (Wilacre, Fryman Canyon and Coldwater Canyon) and has plenty of shade (a crucial factor in the middle of summer). Known for its wildflowers, this trailhead is just over 25 minutes by car from Downtown LA. Finally, a hike to the iconic Hollywood sign is more child-friendly than you may think, and the best route follows the wide, graded Hollyridge Trail to a paved road (closed to cars) up Mount Lee. This 3.5 mile round trip hike provides a vantage point above and behind the sign, where your family will enjoy one of the most amazing views of the Griffith Observatory. At the time of printing, Cayman Airways offers one departing and one returning flight per week to LA. The flight is just under six hours.
Colorado is one of the best US states to ski in, thanks to the Rocky Mountains and their champagne powder snow. Most Cayman families use Denver as a gateway to a ski resort, and many good options, from the affordable and simple to the lavish and luxurious, are nearby. Popular ski resorts that are accessible from Denver, include Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Lake Tahoe, Sugarloaf, Vail and Winter Park to name a few.
If you visit the Mile High City in the summer there are over 200 parks to explore, many with beautiful mountain views. A visit to Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods, has miles of multi-use trails that wind amongst the towering formations that give the park its name. For those who love to ride, you can take a guided horseback ride led by real cowboys who share their love of and knowledge of the flora and fauna along the trails.
Just outside of Denver, Dinosaur Ridge is the perfect destination for those that are interested in and want to explore the area’s geological history. Both the Dinosaur Ridge Trail and the Triceratops Trail are amazing opportunities for children to admire more than 300 different dinosaur tracks right in front of them. Continuing the science theme, a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science will teach you even more about dinosaurs in their After the Asteroid: Earth’s Comeback Story exhibit, and you can learn about the Gems and Minerals found in the area.
If there are any history nerds in your family, the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Denver Firefighters Museum are both popular and history-filled destinations to visit in the Denver area. The Colorado Railroad Museum resembles an 1880s railroad depot and offers opportunities for the family to ride a train and tour the railyard. The Denver Firefighters Museum teaches families about the history of firefighting in Denver through its collection of artefacts, documents, and photographs that help to create exhibits and promote education and research. From December to August, Cayman Airways offers one departing and one returning flight per week to Denver. The flight is less than five hours.
Whether you're looking for culture, theatre, food, world-class museums, some of the most historic landmarks in the US — even nature in the form of Central Park — New York City has it all. Major attractions include the American Museum of Natural History, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. You can take in a Broadway show, and you can try a famous NYC bagel or one of the many amazing restaurants that New York is famous for. You can stroll through Central Park with its many walking paths that offer beautiful views of the city skyline, and you can visit the Central Park Zoo. You can also rent a bike or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.
You can visit the Rockefeller Center with its original Art Deco buildings that span the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It is home to many famous attractions such as the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, which offers stunning views of New York, or you could visit the NBC Studios and take a tour where visitors are taken behind the scenes of some of their favourite TV shows. There are three flights weekly to New York and back to Cayman and the flight is about four hours.
Exploring South Beach is a really fun thing for older teens and adults to do, with its great restaurants and art deco buildings. For families there is the Philip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science with its amazing planetarium where you will feel like you are hurtling through space or weaving through a coral reef. They also have an aquarium with everything from Gulf Stream sharks to tiny organisms within coral. Learn about different ecological systems and the science behind them. For those that want something less overwhelming, there is Pinecrest Gardens, where you can walk flower-lined trails, feed the koi, and children can cool off in the splash and play area.
If your child shows an interest in horticulture and local wildlife, take them to Fruit & Spice Park, where they’ll find all sorts of exotic plants and trees that produce more than 500 varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts. Set on 37 acres, you get a guided tour with the cost of admission. With 14 exhibition halls to explore, Miami Children’s Museum is a great place to take children, especially if it’s hot or rainy outside. Kids will love scrambling around the full-sized cruise ship, going behind the scenes at a TV studio, and letting their imaginations run riot at the Castle of Dreams.
If your children are big animal fans, Jungle Island Miami has more than 1,000 tropical birds, daily feeding shows, and everything from tigers to alligators to see. While on Jungle Island you can also try Treetop Trekking. Still on the theme of alligators, the Everglades National Park has wetlands, swamps, forests, mangroves, turtles, birds, manatees and lots of alligators! Exploring by airboat is exhilarating and the guide will point out all the wildlife you could want to see! Finally, for those with children that just need to let off steam, there are numerous trampoline parks. The flight time from Miami to Cayman is an hour and a half and Cayman Airways offers daily flights to and from Miami.
Montego Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jamaica, with visitors coming to enjoy the laid-back environment and spectacular surrounding landscapes. It is an ideal base for day trips to popular surrounding attractions and activities. Rafting the Martha Brae River on a bamboo raft and being guided by a friendly and knowledgeable raft captain, is a relaxing and scenic way to explore the lush countryside of Jamaica. You can visit the Ahhh Ras Natango Gallery and Garden, which is a hidden gem in the hills of Montego Bay, where you can admire the colourful paintings and sculptures of local artists. You can also stroll through the stunning botanical garden, where you can see exotic plants and birds. You can even feed hummingbirds from your hand. The popular Dunn's River Falls is a 1.5 hour drive away from Montego Bay. Try some traditional jerk food along the way. Only one hour away, Cayman Airways offers a seasonal service to Montego Bay.
The Sister Islands
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, are best known for their tranquil atmosphere and outstanding diving. Lying 90 miles northeast of Grand Cayman, these Islands are a world away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. The essence of a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle means one bank, more iguanas than humans, and beautiful spots where you can enjoy the slow pace of a tropical island paradise. Cayman Airways flies between the three islands several times a day.
The most easterly of the Cayman Islands, the Brac is 12 miles long and just over a mile wide. With its distinctive limestone ridge which rises to 150ft, the friendly Brackers share their Island with over 200 bird species and numerous iguanas. The dramatic scenery and rugged terrain boast a plethora of hidden caves, winding trails, a unique cultural history and is ideal for a number of outdoor land–based activities, in addition to the superb diving, which it is famous for. The best way to explore the Island is to hire a car. However, cycling is a great way to get around the south shore (which borders the Bluff), particularly on days when you are exploring caves and trails, as you will be off the bike and on foot for at least half the time. Hotels and resorts often supply complimentary bikes. Navigating is easy: main roads run along the north and south shores and on the Bluff, with a few secondary roads crossing from one side to the other. It is not possible to drive the whole way around the Island.
Ten miles long and a mile wide, Little Cayman is truly little; the airport and fire station are housed in one building, there is one shop and one bank on the Island and, with a population of around 200 people, humans are vastly outnumbered by birds and iguanas. A genuine island hideaway, you cannot avoid slowing right down, resetting your body clock to island time and doing a whole lot of nothing. One of the last undeveloped islands in the Caribbean, Little Cayman offers peace, relaxation and unspoiled natural beauty on land and underwater. For those who want to explore, there are secluded beaches, numerous lagoons, mangrove forests, salt ponds and tropical forests strewn with orchids. For divers, the sea holds a plethora of world-class dive sites.