Beach Babies in Bermuda

Genie Davis September 17, 2010 No Comments

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Clear sea water fishes Pompano Resort Bermuda
Clear sea water fishes and shadows, at Pompano Resort Bermuda

“Mommy, the sand is pink!” and it is in Bermuda, because this is not your average volcanic beach. Here, the sand is but finely crushed calcium shells, coral skeletons, and tiny critters called Foraminifera with dark red skeletons, which are native to Bermuda’s reefs. But your kids won’t care why the beaches are mainly pink, just that the sand is powder soft, great for castle building, and easy on children’s feet. They’ll also find the shell hunting delightful, and that the aqua water beyond those beautiful sands can be as warm as 85 degrees in summer and a cooler but still fairly temperate 65 in the winter months. The whole family will enjoy becoming beach babies here.

Your family will also enjoy Bermuda’s bustling port town and capitol, Hamilton. Easy walking, shop browsing, and fun historical sites abound. One caveat – no automobiles for rent. While taxis and buses are easily available, mopeds are the rental vehicle of choice on this small island, and won’t be appropriate for those with smaller children in tow.

Of course you may never want to leave the Pompano Beach Resort. This is a relaxing, inclusive resort. From villas to suites to adjoining rooms, you’ll find something luxurious to fit your family; shoulder season rates often reveal surprising bargains. The resort has a private beach with umbrellas and loungers, and a wonderfully shallow, clear waterfront. We were able to wade out hundreds of yards at low tide in the gentle sea. You can literally look down and see fish swimming along the sand. The hotel also has noodles and rafts available for floating for the older kids.

A short walk from the town of Hamilton is the Edgehill Manor Bed and Breakfast, an excellent value year round with a pleasant, simple breakfast served daily. The rooms all have either terraces or balconies, and a small pool is a relaxing treat. Kids are welcomed and a family of four can fit comfortably in a room with bed and pull out day bed.

Vacation rentals also abound with a range in pricing from top end luxury to bargain. Because we like a kitchen at least part of the time, we stayed at the Sunflower, near Hamilton which has two separate guest studios and is at the very reasonable end of the price spectrum.

View from Cliffs in Bermuda

View from Cliffs in Bermuda

In Hamilton, you’ll also find well preserved Fort Hamilton. Tunnels and ramparts to explore, cannons to climb, and a great view of the harbor; plus a fascinating military museum. Another pleasurable stop is rightly named Pleasure Point, a pristine park with another gorgeous view. There are shops to browse on Front Street with art and carved cedar, bathing suits, hand crafted toys, and English cashmere among the wares. Front Street’s buildings are painted like pastel-rainbows, and have a festive atmosphere any time of day. Once a week, Front Street is closed to traffic for a lively mix of fair, market, and entertainment called Harbor Nights. There’s music, jugglers, and street food for the whole family.

Looking for more solid fare? Said to be the pub that the television show Cheers based its ambiance on, the tourist friendly Hog Penny has delicious fish chowder, and is a solid dining stop. Restaurant Primavera has tasty pastas and attentive wait-staff. A waiter here demonstrated magic tricks involving spoons, forks, and a salt shaker just to keep the kids occupied until the pastas arrived.

Horseshoe Bay Bermuda next to limestone cliffs
Horseshoe Bay Bermuda next to limestone cliffs

More child-friendly occupation is easy to find with an afternoon at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Here kids of all ages can find nicely mounted interactive displays about sea life, diving vessels, and some of Bermuda’s famous shipwrecks. Aquatic Bermuda offers sightseeing tours on glass bottom boats. One of which is nicknamed Bermuda’s smallest vessel. We skimmed across shallow coral reefs for some great fish viewing. There was also a stop at a small cover with a pleasant beach and very shallow water – a great kid stop. Back on land, there’s Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, reputedly the world’s oldest cast-iron lighthouse structure.

Other sights to see: what’s called the “bird cage” near Queen Street is the spot where Hamilton’s traffic officers create a ballet in Bermuda shorts and organize a busy intersection; the fine collection in the Bermuda Historical museum, and St. Anthony’s picturesque pink church. There’s that color pink again – which leads us back to the place you may be spending most of your family time in Bermuda, on a pink sand beach.

Beautiful Horseshoe Beach Bermuda
Beautiful Horseshoe Beach Bermuda

One perfect sandy example is the public beach at Tobacco Bay Beach. A small beach with calm waters, this was a family favorite on the St. George end of the island, which is about as far from the town of Hamilton as you can get without falling into the sea. The smooth fine sand and crystal clear water led to more excellent fish viewing just by standing in the surf. Nearby, locals and visitors frequently jump off a cliff into deeper water, which was entertaining viewing, not doing, for us.

The town of St. George also houses the fascinating Tucker House Museum, which gives you a personal look at a well known colonial family through their belongings and portraits. Our favorite in-town sight was the Unfinished Cathedral. You get the feeling of being inside a ruin from a distant time, but it’s actually a church from the 1870′s. Builders ran out of funds, and now instead of a roof there’s sky, and instead of a floor there’s grass. A great and peaceful spot for the kids to run around or nap with you in the shadows cast by the standing walls.

Dining in St. George? Tavern by the Sea has outdoor tables with a harbor view, casual food including pizza, and a relaxed atmosphere. Accommodations in this area are limited to a few B & B’s and vacation rentals.

One last beach suggestion as we head into the Bermuda sunset – also pleasurably pink, every night we were there – the justifiably famous Horseshoe Beach, large with sugar-fine soft sand. You can take a coastal walk of about one mile along the sand or from a path above it for more beautiful views and access to smaller beach coves in the same area.

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Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

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