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Trip Ideas

8 Cool Things to Do in Grand Cayman

If you’re looking for the kind of vacation where you can have your toes in the sand 24/7, Grand Cayman is for you. It's also for you, however, if you want more from your vacay than sun and sand—say, world-class dining, stylish digs, boutique shopping, and a pulsating nightlife. Siobhan Reid shares 8 cool things to do in Grand Cayman, from brunching beachside to partying at a Euro-style beach club.

See recent posts by Siobhan Reid

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Camana Bay

This new outdoor mall is the place to pick up a trendy new swimsuit, grab a morning coffee, and find your next beach read. It’s also home to several great bars and restaurants like Abacus, which focuses on sustainable farm-to-table cuisine and has a gorgeous palm-tree studded outdoor patio, and Lola, a trendy, sun-drenched eatery perfect for boozy lunch. At night, have a brew and mingle with locals at The King’s Head, a traditional English pub.

RELATED: Your Holiday Checklist for A Beach Getaway

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Royal Palms Beach Club

If you’re staying off the beach but still want access to all the services you’d find at a resort, consider spending the day at the Royal Palms—a Euro-style beach club with live DJ entertainment, private beach and poolside cabanas, a full roster of water sports, and clubby restaurant and bar. As the closest beach club from the cruise ship port, the spot fills up fast, so make sure to consult the cruise schedule before heading out.

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Seven Mile Beach

This is not only one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been on (thank its velvety white sand and shimmering crystalline waters for that)—it’s also one of the best for water sports. From snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, banana boating, stand up paddle-boarding, Seven Mile has it all—plus calm, bathtub-warm waters perfect for floating in. JS Tip: Rise early to walk the seven-mile stretch before it gets too hot outside.

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The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman

For the height of luxury, bed down at The Ritz—a 365-room resort spread across 144 pristine acres on Seven Mile Beach. The look is understated elegance with a tropical twist (think: botanical prints and beige and cream accents), and the amenities are ample. We’re talking a La Prairie Spa, five restaurants (including one by Eric Ripert), a Greg Norman golf course, Jean-Michel Cousteau nature tours, and several pools (plus a swim-up bar). The time to visit is January, when the resort hosts the ninth-annual Cayman Cookout, a weekend of cooking demos and incredible meals led by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Daniel Humm, José Andrés, and Emeril Lagasse.

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Red Sail Catamaran

In the Grand Cayman, crowds gather on the beach every evening to watch the sunset, cameras and wine glasses in tow. Once you’ve participated in that island custom, treat yourself to a sunset cruise aboard a luxurious 65’ Red Sail Catamaran. You’ll feel like a celeb as you cruise along Seven Mile Beach, drinking wine, eating hors d’oeuvres, and gliding past million-dollar yachts.

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Luca Restaurant

We’re of the belief that while on a beach vacation, one should take advantage of the ocean scenery as much as possible...which explains our excitement to dine at Luca, a swanky beachfront eatery whose fresh Caribbean fare is matched only by its dramatic ocean views. Go for Sunday brunch and indulge in bottomless mimosas, fresh tropical fruit, and local seafood like shrimp, lobster, and conch—all against the stunning backdrop of the Caribbean Sea. Between the views and the stellar people-watching, be prepared to stick around for a few hours.

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Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

This hip newcomer (Kimpton’s first international property) is unlike anything you’ll find on Seven Mile Beach. It trades the island’s signature colorful Caribbean aesthetic for airy, ultra-modern look that’s reminiscent of something you’d find on Miami’s South Beach. The vibe, too, is fresh and fun, owing to its young, thirty-something guests, vibrant dining scene, and top-notch pool and beach amenities (including two spectacular outdoor pools and a beachfront bar). Guestrooms are spacious and contemporary, with private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and mod décor.

RELATED: The 5 Best Hotels in the Cayman Islands

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Lighthouse Restaurant

At this historic lighthouse restaurant on Grand Cayman’s scenic East End, dine on water’s edge while tucking into fresh seafood and bespoke cocktails. Highlights include the red conch chowder, the Caribbean seafood mixed grill, which comes with lobster, shrimp, and mahi mahi, and a tropical crème brûlée, with hints of lavender, guava, and cappuccino.

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