Bermuda for Families

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Bermuda for Families
Bermuda has a lot to offer adults and children. From historical reenactments, local festivals, and zoo attractions to jet ski and snorkeling and cave tours, Bermuda is a world-class family destination.
By Sandy Allen, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Jurgen & Christi/age fotostock
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    Fish and Flippers
    Bermuda offers several ways for children and adults to get close to marine life. Paddle through the water with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Quest, which offers a wide variety of programs for families. See the dolphins for free with your admission to the Bermuda Maritime Museum at the Royal Naval Dockyard, or pay an additional fee to swim with them. Snorkel Park Beach, also at the Dockyard, is a protected inlet with a wide variety of colorful fish, coral, and anemones.
    Photo by Jurgen & Christi/age fotostock
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    Hike and Bike in Bermuda
    One of the best ways to explore Bermuda is by foot or bike. A former NASA space shuttle tracking facility, Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve is now part of the Bermuda National Parks system. Its salt marsh habitat is home to birds and endemic fish. Bermuda cedar and palmetto trees, seagrass, cliffs, boulders, coastal plants, and other wildlife can all be seen on hikes around the reserve. Rent a bike or lace up your walking shoes for a tour of Bermuda Railway Trail. A former railroad track, the trail runs for 18 miles through wooded trails and past spectacular overlooks. Portions of the path are paved.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Wild Water Sports
    Adventurous activities abound in Bermuda, keeping kids entertained all day. Kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and jet-ski rentals are just a few of the fun ways to spend family time on the water in Bermuda. In addition to kayak rentals, Somerset Bridge Watersports offers guided jet-ski tours to quiet coves, around the tip of the Bermuda Triangle, and under Somerset Bridge, known as the world's smallest drawbridge. Fantasea Diving and Watersports offers snorkeling, diving, and ecologically sustainable kayak tours of Bermuda’s waters for travelers six and older.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Swim with the Fish
    Spend the day making friends with fish and discovering sunken treasures of all shapes and sizes. Offshore reefs provide protection from strong waves while gear rental shops provide everything you need to snorkel along Bermuda's beaches. Snorkel Park Beach, located at the Royal Naval Dockyard, has a white-sand beach and on-site snorkel rentals. A sunken cannon and lots of friendly fish make this a prime snorkeling spot for even the smallest of swimmers. Located inside a national park, Clarence Cove features a sheltered bay protected by a reef. Church Bay’s reefs are easy to reach and offer many hidden nooks for exploring. Underwater columns make Tobacco Bay a fun snorkel spot.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Island-Style Time Travel
    Primitive punishment devices, massive stone forts, and legends of dragon slayers make the UNESCO World Heritage site of St. George’s a fun day trip for anyone. Bermuda’s capital for more than 200 years, St. George’s was named after dragon slayer and patron saint of England. A photo at the stocks and pillories of King's Square is a must-do for squabbling siblings. Modeled after those used to dunk gossiping women in water, the square's ducking stool is used for reenactments with actors and volunteers. After crossing a drawbridge to enter Fort St. Catherine, young adventurers can explore tunnels, towers, and other remains. Dating from 1614, the fort contains replicas of Britain’s Crown Jewels and antique artillery.
    Photo by Robert Harding/age fotostock
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    Bermuda Underground
    With stalactites dripping from above and stalagmites rising from the floor, the caves found below the surface of Bermuda are an otherworldly experience for kids. Discovered by two young boys in 1907, Crystal Cave has a subterranean lake full of clear water. A bridge leads explorers across it while a lighting system allows guests to view the intricate patterns of the calcite mineral deposits that adorn the walls. Located on the same property as Crystal Cave, Fantasy Cave is the smaller of the two. Tours take travelers through both of these mysterious caves, and knowledgeable guides share facts on the history and geology of the impressive formations.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Beaches for Kids
    Along with the beautiful scenery, parents will appreciate the many amenities that make Bermuda’s beaches the perfect place for swimmers of all ages, such as lifeguards, gentle water, and nearby food and restroom facilities. Clearwater Beach, on the eastern end of the island, features shallow water and a 36-acre public park with restrooms and a playground. Picnic facilities, large trees, and gentle waves make Shelly Bay a good choice for the smallest of surfers, swimmers, and beachcombers. Horseshoe Bay Beach has lifeguards, showers, restrooms, and a nearby café. John Smith’s Bay, Elbow Beach, and Somerset Long Bay are also popular among families.
    Photo by Rotraut Maria Peele-p/age fotostock
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    Wildlife Discoveries
    Native marine and land animals inspire day trips that kids will talk about for years. Located in Hamilton Parish, the Bermuda Aquarium, Zoo, and Museum first opened in 1926. It features the North Rock Exhibit, a 140,000-gallon tank of coral reefs and marine life with an outdoor seal pool and interactive displays that focus on native Bermuda habitats and their relationship with humans. The zoo also houses more than 300 birds, reptiles, and mammals. The Islands of Australasia exhibit has lemurs and wallabies, and the Islands of the Caribbean area features a walk-through cage where guests can get up-close views of iguanas and ibises.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Festivals for Families
    Whether you hear the rhythm of drums, see the lights of boats shining in the harbor, or watch live entertainment and artistic demonstrations, Bermuda's culture comes alive on summer evenings. Between April/May and October a series of free weekly events takes place at and around the Dockyard, including historical reenactments, walking tours, puppet shows, live music, and sports, bonfires, and DJs at the Snorkel Park. Hamilton Harbour is lit well into the night during the weekly Harbour Nights in the summer, which takes place on Front Street. Traditional Gombey dance, music, and food take center stage.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Kid-Friendly Cuisine
    Proximity to beaches and attractions, a fun atmosphere, and of course the menu offerings are all key restaurant considerations for parents traveling with children. La Trattoria in Hamilton serves kid-friendly portions of pizza, pasta, and grilled cheese sandwiches as well as sides such as raw or steamed vegetables. Choose the take-out option at any number of island eateries and enjoy a picnic on pink sand with the stone fortress of Fort St. Catherine looming in the background. Fish and chips and a large game room make the former barrel making factory of the Frog and Onion Pub the perfect place for lunch after a morning of exploring the Royal Naval Dockyard.
    Photo by Roman Märzinger/age fotostock