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Fantastic Things to Do with Kids in Bermuda
Think that Bermuda is an adult-only locale? Think again. There is plenty for kids to do in Bermuda while mom, dad, grandma, WHOEVER, enjoy family time and soak up the local flavor, as well as (hopefully) some sun!
In 2006 we cruised to Bermuda on our honeymoon. We spent several days exploring the towns, the beaches, and other local activities and touristy sites. It was such a great vacation and we found ourselves contemplating a return trip many times over the last few years. Then a year and a half ago, we booked the inaugural Disney Cruise to Bermuda and then just last week enjoyed our first family vacation to Bermuda. (And yes, I’m totally saying “first” because there will definitely be future visits!) This was our 4th Disney Cruise and we were excited to be on Disney’s first ever ship to Bermuda. We spent two days docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard and were able to come and go from the ship for a span of about 36 hours.
Quick Bermuda Overview
Bermuda is a teeny tiny little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Although an independent country, Bermuda is an overseas territory of Great Britain. It sits about 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina. We learned that Bermuda actually has a subtropical climate, the “sub” is because Bermuda experiences all 4 distinct seasons (which strictly tropical locations do not). Even though the island of Bermuda is less than 30 miles from one end to the other, the terrain is extremely hilly and the roads are winding. Drive times are long to get from Point A to Point B and to drive the length of the island, expect to spend at least an hour in the car (it took us approximately 1.5 hours).
On both of our visits to Bermuda, we found the local residents to be extremely welcoming and friendly. The pride that they feel for their island is obvious and they are very helpful in guiding you around. We encountered Bermudians as we walked around various towns, visited shops, rode the ferry, took a couple taxi cabs, etc. All were incredibly kind and definitely added to the ease and enjoyment of the island.
How to Get Around in Bermuda
Bermuda definitely makes it incredibly easy to go from one place to another, even if it does typically take some time to get where you’re going. There isn’t really a “super speedy fast efficient way to get around Bermuda” so know that from the start and plan accordingly. Assume that it could take you up to an hour or so to get to any given destination. There are no rental cars on the island. Of course, if you cruise to Bermuda, there’s a good chance your cruise line will offer any number of excursions around the island that include transportation. While these cruise-operated tours typically guarantee that you won’t miss your ship if the tour’s return is delayed for any reason, you will definitely pay a lot more when booking a tour through the ship versus finding your own transportation.
Here are some of the most common ways to get around Bermuda:
Without kids we rented a scooter (only seats 2 people) and took the public bus to the beach. When we visited with kids we took a taxi cab to a couple of destinations, the ferry to St. George and a mini bus from Horseshoe Bay Beach back to the ship. All were efficient ways to travel around the island, each with its own set of pros and cons.
Things to Do with Kids in Bermuda
There are many enjoyable activities to do with kids in Bermuda! We tried to narrow down our list to some of the easiest, most accessible options and also took certain things into consideration that are helpful with kids, for example access to bathrooms, food, etc.
Check out our Bermuda video highlights:
Explore the Royal Naval Dockyard
While Bermuda does have a couple of other cruise ship ports, the most common port for ships to dock at is the Royal Naval Dockyard. From your ship you have a commanding view of the port including the Clocktower Mall, the military fort, the Commissioner’s House, and a handful of shops and other buildings. The Dockyard offers a courtesy shuttle to some of the popular tourist haunts. The ground is fairly level and a person with average athletic ability will most likely be able to walk the area without issue. There are also a bunch of restaurants, snack stands and also some public restrooms.
Some highlights to see around the Dockyard (some require paid admission):
Visit Horseshoe Bay Beach
Easily one of Bermuda’s most well-known beaches and home of the famous Bermuda PINK SAND, Horseshoe Bay Beach is an easy drive from the Dockyard, about 30 minutes or so by cab. The facilities at HBB make it an easy choice when toting your kids to the beach. You’re most likely not going to have your usual arsenal of baby beach gear if you’re in Bermuda, but that’s okay. You will be fine to spend a few hours at Horseshoe Bay Beach without needing to tote many supplies. Bring your towels (many cruise ships provide beach towels as you debark the ship) and sunscreen.
You can rent 2 chairs (or loungers) and an umbrella for about $45 USD. The rental guys will set your umbrella and chairs up for you, no need to lift a finger. Horseshoe Bay Beach has bathroom facilities and food as well as a bar. The overall feel of the beach is friendly and upbeat. You will need cash (they accept US currency) for the chair rentals but for food and drink you can pay with cash or credit card.
The beach itself features a long stretch where you can choose a great spot to relax and take a dip in the ocean if you’d like. To the right of the main beach (when looking at the ocean) is a smaller cove-like area that is very popular with families who have young children. The giant rock formations act as a barrier and waves are non-existent. The water is very shallow in the front but does have a bit of a deep drop further out, so definitely make sure you are with your kids at all times. Even the stronger swimmers might find the pull of the tide challenging to navigate if they go out too far.
We were going to take the beach transfer from our cruise ship but after researching the various transportation options, I felt pretty confident in our ability to use public transportation for a lot less money. The ship wanted $29 per person for a ride to and from the ship with a 3 hour stay at the beach. For the 4 of us that would have cost $116. Instead, we took a taxi to the beach ($50 including tip) and a mini bus back to the ship ($28). The money that we saved just about paid for the 2 chairs and umbrella that we rented! One note regarding the difference between the taxi and the mini bus – with the taxi you load up and go, no waiting. The mini bus sits and waits until it is full before you leave. It holds approximately 30 people. When we left the beach, we boarded the waiting mini bus but then had to sit and wait about 10 minutes until another family decided to take the mini bus, thus filling up the last 4 empty seats.
Horseshoe Bay Beach Tip: One of the big advantages to taking a taxi to HBB instead of the ship transfer is that you can leave earlier than everyone on the ship’s transfer. Our ship had a transfer leaving the dockyard at 8:45 am. We were in the cab by 8 am so we had almost an hour lead before the beach filled with fellow cruisers. We were the second family on the beach and had the place almost to ourselves for the first hour!! This gave us the chance to scope everything out, get some amazing pictures and just enjoy the landscape before it got too crowded. Wait for the tide to start to go out to sea and take a walk in the caves next to the beach. Really cool and lots of pink sand inside!
Take the Ferry to St. George or Hamilton
You can actually take the ferry to several different locations, not just St. George and Hamilton. I simply picked those locations because they are the two that we have personally taken the ferry to and from. When you debark from your ship, no matter what port you’re at, the ferry dock will not be more than a short walk away.
We had really been hoping to visit St. George during our recent trip because we remembered enjoying the town so much on our honeymoon. As luck would have it, they ran a special ferry schedule the Saturday that we arrived in Bermuda to get to St. George. (The ferry to and from St. George usually does not run at all on the weekend.) An easy 30 minute ferry ride cost about $9 USD per adult round trip (and about half of that for kids) and delivered us right to the town of St. George. In St. George you will want to check out the many shops, as well as King’s Square, and St. Peter’s Church (the oldest Anglican church outside of the British Isles, established in 1612). We also love the Lili Perfume Factory. The perfume is a bit pricey, but amazing.
Take a Private Taxi Tour of Bermuda
This is one thing that we experienced quite by accident. I told you above that we took the ferry to St. George. We spent about an hour or two walking around the town taking in the sights. It was when we came to the conclusion that we had seen and done the things that we had set out after, we realized that we still had two solid hours until the return ferry left the town. We quickly weighed our options and in the end, opted to take a taxi from St. George back to the ship, which basically meant driving from one end of the island to the other.
I can honestly say, that split decision to cab it back to the Dockyard easily led us to one of our favorite parts of the trip. We ended up getting a private tour of the island, as our driver was an excellent tour guide. We learned to many things about local life in Bermuda, weather, history, flora and fauna, and more. He pointed out historically significant landmarks, named the counties as we entered them, and filled in the drive with so much information, we really felt like we got a great dose of Bermuda 101.
The cab ride from one end of the island to the other took a little over an hour and definitely wasn’t cheap at $75 USD plus tip. That being said, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a great opportunity to take in the sights of the island while traveling to where we needed to be.
Taxi Cabs are regulated by the government in Bermuda. The government sets the rates which vary based on several factors including day of the week and number of people in the cab. Every cab is required to display the rate card at all times so that you can ensure you are not being overcharged.
Even if you don’t want to spend the time (or money) to take a cab from one end of Bermuda to the other, I can’t recommend a taxi ride enough. Even a short ride would let you take in some local sights and learn more about Bermuda’s history and culture.
Book a Day Excursion in Bermuda
If you cruise to Bermuda, your ship will likely offer a long list of possible excursion trips you can purchase. As I mentioned earlier, the biggest (I think) plus to booking an excursion directly through your cruise line is the security of knowing that if you get held up for any reason (traffic, etc) the ship will not leave port until you are back on board. The biggest drawback to booking through your cruise line is the price, which is almost always inflated versus booking directly with the tour company or outfit.
No matter how you decide to book, there are so many family friendly activities to enjoy in Bermuda! You can visit crystal caves or swim with dolphins. You can go kayaking in waters frequented by sea turtles. You can go for a horseback ride on the beach.
Visit the a zoo and aquarium or enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Bermuda’s lavish resorts.
I highly suggest researching these options BEFORE arriving in Bermuda and booking the tour in advance whenever possible. Figure out how you will get there if you’re not booking your tour through the cruise line.
Bermuda Has Something for Everyone!
We have now been to Bermuda during two VERY different periods in our lives. We explored the island as newlyweds and then more than a decade later, returned to enjoy the island with our two young kids. We thought that there was just as much available to do as a family as there was for a couple traveling without kids. I hope this post has given you some great starting points for your own trip to Bermuda!
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