We’re no beach bums, but this little family needed a slooooow dowwwwwn and we managed to pick the perfect destination. After an incredible summer of camps and travel and weekend activity (most of which I have barely Instagrammed about, much less captured in stories here) — this escape came not a moment too soon.
Admittedly, we’re not great at downtime. Especially in this chapter we’re in with Colt in which he’s old enough to go and do and see and enjoy — yet still young enough to want to do those things… with his parents. But we were determined to chill, so we headed to the Cayman Islands with no real plans. No expectations. No makeup. No checked bags. No shoes. No shirt. No plans.
Gonna put the world away for a minute.
Pretend I don’t live in it.
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away.
– Zac Brown Band
Within two hours of entering the country, we were in the water, and I was starting to see what all these beach people are always swooning about.
We enjoyed every last second of the sunset, then headed back to rinse off the sand and CRASH — only after triple-checking my phone to be sure I hadn’t set a single alarm for the next morning.
No Plans :: Day 2 | Wanna try parasailing?
During a morning of sloth-ing between the beach and the pool, we started to notice parasailers in the distance — and we couldn’t help ourselves. After a phone call revealed they had one more empty spot for the day, we were in.
And Colt was a little nervous. Only two of us could go at a time, so Jeff agreed to stay in the boat — and Colt prepared to get suited up.
As soon as we were strapped and buckled and ready to go — we were UP!
And just as he was getting comfortable and convinced we weren’t going to plummet out of the sky — it was time to come down.
Once safely back in the boat Colt admitted he was worried it would be like tubing. TUBING?! Why didn’t you say so, child?? Poor thing thought he was gonna be whipped around at top speeds and potentially thrown off! No wonder he was nervous!
After our spike in parasailing energy, we were headed straight back to the beach and the pool — and we put on pants to take advantage of a pizza place recommendation from another guest at the hotel.
No Plans :: Day 3 | Stingray City + Snorkeling
Ok, ok. So we planned this ahead of time. Because we absolutely knew we wanted to see the stingrays! So we booked our boat tickets a few days ahead of time. Colt and I tried snorkeling for the first time last year in Belize, and he was excited to do that again. Stingrays on the other hand… Do you know how big those things get?
Stingray City is a sandbar off the coast of Grand Cayman. The water is shallow enough for kids to stand and visitors like us can interact with the stingrays in the water — feeding them, petting them, and watching them float through the water.
They are MAGICAL. Big ones, little ones. We were there on a Sunday so there was a pretty small group of visitors — and the stingrays were more comfortable swimming around us. They don’t make any noise in the water so we would turn our heads for a second and one would glide right by — it was amazing.
Safely back in the boat, Colt was ready for some snorkeling. I love love love that he enjoys snorkeling. For a kid who’s barely been to the beach — he has no fear of snorkeling or swimming in the ocean, and I love thinking about him tooling around on his own – checking out the reef.
As everyone was getting comfortable on the boat for the ride back, Jeff couldn’t help himself…
And pretty soon everybody on the boat was taking turns jumping off the roof. Monkey see, Monkey do.
No Plans :: Day 4 | Swimming Ponies
By this point, we were really, truly enjoying our lazy days at the beach. We were toggling back and forth between beach, pool, beach, walking along the beach to see more beach or the local splashpad park — and maybe some swim-up bar food and a nap to mix things up.
But there was one more thing we rallied enough energy to do the afternoon before we left — swim with the ponies. There’s a place called Pampered Ponies right on the beach that introduced us to these three new friends — and off we went.
With minimal riding experience, I was a little worried – but Colt wasn’t nervous about this one at all. He wore a helmet and his life jacket and had such a gentle little pony — it was perfect.
After a short ride from the stable, the path opened up to the beach.
And after a long, beautiful ride along the beach – we pulled over to unsaddle the horses for a swim.
Ready or not – here we go!
Turns out, bareback is harder than it looks and when you add the water — it was WORK to keep your balance! But what a cool experience.
And a leisurely ride back along the beach to wind down. What a beautiful day in the sunshine.
No Plans :: Final Day
We squeezed every last minute of beach time out of our last day in the Caymans, and I’m so, so glad we went on this family escape. Sure, we still went and found fun activities and tried new things — it’s who we are — but we slowed it way down because that’s what we needed. I highly recommend it, if you’re feeling the frenzy, too — whether you go to the beach or just hibernate at home with favorite movies and comfypants. If you need time away with your people — I hope you take it.