Our Favorite Family Activities in Bermuda
Bermuda is a terrifically easy to place to relax with kids (yes, I said the elusive “R” word). scenic beaches, pretty gardens, great seafood and gentle weather help. The island is pricey, especially dining and hotels, so we arrived via cruise ship both times we visited. By spending our shore time exploring the beaches and using easy public transit we managed to keep our costs reasonable.
Here’s how we spent our time.
Beaches and Caves
The caves are surprisingly big and pretty fantastic. Even 5-year-old Tiny Traveler was impressed with all the rock forms, shadows and crystal clear pools that fill the caverns. Each cave is cool in different ways and you can’t go wrong with either one, but in retrospect we didn’t feel it’s necessary to visit both, especially given the $30 admission fee.
Tobacco Bay is my second favorite Bermuda Beach, surrounded by huge boulders that block the waves. You can snorkel around the rocks and see quite a few fish. If the tide is out, you can walk from 1 side of the bay to the other looking for minnows, which kept TT engaged at 2 ½ and again at 5. A small snack bar rents snorkel gear and has okay (not great) bathrooms and changing rooms.
Lunch: A friendly local recommended Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy in St. George. We shared a sandwich piled high with crispy fried fish strips and a side of rice of peas. TT had a kid’s portion of fish and chips. It was good and a deal by local standards. But it really is a hole in the wall; get your fish sandwiches to go and dine al fresco in St. George’s charming square or by the water.
Note: Most people visit the caves in the morning and then head to Tobacco Bay in the afternoon to cool off. We decided to do the reverse, which was definitely hotter traveling, but we missed the crowds in both spots.
Beaches and the Big City
My favorite Bermuda beach is Warwick Long Bay (top). The surf is rough. Teens will like it; little kids won’t. But the sand is soft and pink and it’s far less crowded than nearby Horseshoe Bay.
There is a nice big playground that you can see from the road (but not from the beach) at the far end of the beach going toward Hamilton. At the opposite end, hidden by an outcropping of rocks is a tiny protected cove. When the tide is out kids 8 and up will want to climb around the rocks. It’s another good place for spotting minnows and crabs and doing some easy snorkeling.
Lunch: From this beach, we head into Hamilton for some light shopping (black rum, ginger bear, Cadbury chocolate and pepper-spiked sherry sauce) and lunch at the Lobster Pot. They do great fish chowder and conch fritters. TT had fish & chips off of the kids menu.
Note: It seemed silly to visit the aquarium when we could just go snorkeling. But I wish I’d been able to persuade my family to visit the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. It’s treasure room (think ship wrecks), simulated shark cage and virtual “dive” 12,000 feet into the ocean all seem very cool. Had TT been a little older I would have made sure to check it out.
Beaches and Sea Glass
We hit 2 beaches on our last day; both new to us. The first was Black Bay near the Royal Naval Dock Yard. It’s a series of small, rocky beaches separated by jetties. TT waded, collected rocks and played on a patch of beach we had entirely to ourselves. Rich and I took turns snorkeling around the jetties.
If you venture 500 feet down the road along the water (toward the Dockyard) and look for a flight of stairs behind someone’s patio, you’ll find a small sea-glass beach. TT liked sifting through piles of polished glass to find colors she liked and shapes she recognized. We admired the freeform art made by others. If you go, Bermudans would prefer you admire the glass and leave it where it is.
In the afternoon we went to Somerset Long Bay Beach, which also had a small but spiffy playground. The beach had a nice hidden-away feel to it, but water that didn’t rise above or shins and a large stretch sea grass made swimming impossible. It was fun to wade and look for turtles and fish in the grass. Then we sat in the shade while TT played in the shallow water until we dragged her out.
Lunch: Between our beach excursions we stopped in tiny Somerset for lunch at the Country Squire. We shared a salad, excellent fish & chips and a last bowl of fish chowder while viewing the harbor from the outdoor patio.
A Great Way To End Any Day
We almost always ended the day back at the Dockyard and the Frog & Onion, a local brewpub with an indoor patio. The beers are great (I like the lager; Rich favors the pale ale) and we often caught the late afternoon happy hour.
Note: The Dockyard has a lot going on including a nice mini-golf course, a craft market and several boat tours, but we never got around to exploring aside from the brewpub and a surprisingly old playground tucked away in a corner. TT played there happily and it’s handy for little kids who feel cooped up on the cruise ships. But I can’t imagine why they haven’t spiffed it up along with the rest of the dockyard.