Bermuda with Kids

What to See and Do

Bermuda is generally seen as a destination for honeymooners and baby boomers, but it's also a great place for families, with plenty of kid-friendly attractions. The water at the south-shore beaches can get a little rough (and those beaches can get crowded), but there are various kid-friendly beaches, including Clearwater Beach, Turtle Bay Beach, and Shelly Bay Beach.

The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo tops many family itineraries thanks to cute critters and engaging displays that include walk-through enclosures, supersize fish tanks, a tidal touch pool, and a glass-enclosed beehive. BAMZ also offers thrice-daily seal feedings and docent-led weekend activities that are equal parts entertainment and education, plus a fun outdoor play area where little ones can make discoveries at their own pace.

You can introduce your offspring to still more animals at the Dockyard's National Museum of Bermuda, where sheep graze on the upper grounds (their job is to keep the grass well mowed); nearby, bottlenose dolphins interact with participants in the various Dolphin Quest Bermuda programs. Marine life awaits next door, too, at the affordable Snorkel Park Beach, where you can see over 50 varieties of fish, not to mention anemone, sea cucumber, and various coral. Kayaks, paddle boats, Jet Skis and even underwater scooters can be rented here.

One of the best family beaches in Bermuda is Shelly Bay Beach, known for its sandy bottom and shallow, calm water. The park is popular for picnics under the shade trees, swimming, and the large playground just behind the beach, which attracts local kids on weekends and school holidays.

Though they're not as tourist oriented, Bermuda's other fortresses attract youngsters as well. Fort St. Catherine's 17th-century ramparts and spooky underground passages set the perfect stage for playing make-believe. There are also some cool bonus features (among them an arsenal of antique weapons and replica crown jewels) that can help keep the gang entertained on those rare rainy days.

Elsewhere, families can go underground at Crystal and Fantasy Caves, where guides point out formations that look like familiar skylines and spacecraft; or go underwater at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, where you can experience deep-sea diving in a simulator pod. The upwardly mobile, meanwhile, can climb 185 steps to the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the highest spot in Bermuda.

The Bermuda National Gallery is surprisingly family-friendly as well. It runs a number of special programs aimed directly at youngsters and provides drawing stations where they can create their own masterpieces.

At night, the popular Harbour Nights festival in Hamilton (every Wednesday from May through September) offers an array of Bermudian-style street food, including fish sandwiches, patties, and more from booths along several streets. Warwick Lanes in Warwick Parish offers family bowling in the late afternoon and evening, as well as a good on-site restaurant.

Where to Eat and Stay

Kids will have to forgo their favorite fast food on Bermuda because the island is essentially a franchise-free zone; however, there are a number of family-friendly options. La Trattoria in the city of Hamilton is the casual Italian-food spot with some of the best options for kids, and it's a fun spot for adults as well. Pizza House, which allows kids to design their own pizza, has three outlets across the island, while Paraquet offers American-style diner food in Paget Parish.

A few select hotels, among them the Fairmont Southampton, Elbow Beach Resort, and Grotto Bay Beach Resort, go the extra mile for families. The Fairmont Southampton has kid-friendly menus and a real year-round kids' club with activities scheduled each day. Elbow Beach Resort has less impressive kids' activities, but it too offers babysitting. Grotto Bay Beach Resort has facilities designed for families with small children, as well as a summer kids' program. The enclosed bay, fish-feeding aquarium, two underground caves with supervised exploring, and the kiddie pool beside the larger pool put parents at ease when their children hit the water. Pompano Beach Club has an arcade room, table games, and a kids’ pool.

Smaller properties (with smaller price tags) are also excellent choices for families with children. Try Clairfont Apartments, which offers one-bedrooms close to the south-shore beaches and a three-minute walk from a large playground. Renting homes suitable for hosting children has also become a popular option, often through sites like Airbnb. This can be an attractive choice because these places are often cheaper than a hotel and provide a little more room to spread out. Having a kitchen will also be an advantage when trying to please picky palates.

A Resource for Parents

Little Longtails. If you don't want to lug all your kids' extras on vacation, Little Longtails will deliver the essentials, including car seats, cribs, and strollers, to your hotel or vacation rental. The company, run by two mothers, also stocks kids' toys, books, and beach items. They can even arrange to deliver groceries to your accommodations through their Kiddie Concierge. 441/707–7658; www.littlelongtails.com.

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