Being a kid in Bermuda  is like stepping into Fantasia or Alice in Wonderland. There are plenty of weird animals—lizards, trilling treefrogs, yellow-bellied kiskadees, manta rays gliding like planes under Flatts Bridge, and turtles popping up behind your kayak. Roadsides are polka-dotted with trails of Technicolor blossoms, perfect for pretend princesses. And sunshine-packed days spill over with sandcastles, real-life forts, bubblegum-colored buses, and hovercraft ferries.
It may sound like a no-brainer as a destination for family holidays, but ironically, the island has received a bad rap over the years, mainly due to transportation challenges caused by the lack of rental cars. No doubt, it can be difficult managing the logistics of toddlers and public transport, but Bermuda’s payoff in terms of kiddie—and parent—satisfaction is more than worth it.
Even without set events or activities, there’s plenty for little ones to enjoy. Hop on to the bus or ferry to see the dolphins at Dockyard  or the tunnels and treasure at Fort St. Catherine in the East End. Join young islanders at the half-dozen government playgrounds around the parishes; Warwick Playground , Shelly Bay , and the mock pirate ship at Dockyard  are particularly well-equipped. The Saturday morning City Market , held in the fall, winter, and spring at Bull’s Head Carpark in Hamilton, should also be on your hit list. Children can sample fresh-baked banana bread, ogle hand-made jewelry, and take home some island honey.
There are special rates for children at most museums and sightseeing attractions; kids under five are usually admitted free. Don’t miss the big favorite, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo in Flatts , or the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in Pembroke , with its ride to the sea floor and a mock shark cage that will elicit nervous giggles.
Like these educational facilities, the World Heritage Centre in St. George’s also has a children’s learning area, allowing kids to experience history hands-on. Check out the children’s sections of local bookstores; most stock numerous Bermuda books for kids, well-illustrated publications that teach about island wildlife, folklore, and traditions.
Bermuda makes it pretty easy to entertain children of most ages, because you usually don’t have to arrange anything more organized than a trip to the beach—so parents can actually have a vacation, too. Kids entertain themselves for hours at rock pools, body surfing, creating castles from the soft pink sand, spying on reef life with a mask and snorkel, or collecting mountains of ocean-washed glass or sand shells. Even infants are lulled by the sound of surf and the sea breeze.
Some of the best beaches for children are Jobson’s Cove , John Smith’s Bay , the “Baby Beach” at Horseshoe Bay , shady Clarence Cove in Admiralty Park , and Southside’s Clearwater and Turtle Beaches (where there’s also a playground and restaurant). Make sure to bring hats, shades, and plenty of sunblock. Choosing a hotel or guesthouse on the beach, or at least within easy walking distance, is probably a wise choice when vacationing in Bermuda with young children.
Certain times of the year are no-holds-barred magical for kids in Bermuda. Easter weekend kite-flying festivals , with their mandatory fishcake sandwiches; Cup Match  camping and boat raft-ups—even island children accustomed to such annual rituals are enchanted by these spectacles. Kids can ride the toy-like train or dance to the rhythms of gombeys at summer’s stay-up-late Harbour Nights . There’s also a kids’ film festival in October, a spin-off of Bermuda’s popular adult version  held in March.
If you’re staying at any of the major hotels, you’ll find that several, including Mandarin Oriental’s Elbow Beach  and Fairmont Southampton , have summer-long kids’ programs to keep little ones happy and busy while parents get some R&R.
Lots of local restaurants, including standouts La Trattoria in Hamilton , Paraquet in Paget , and the Frog and Onion at Dockyard , are kid-friendly to the max, easily accommodating family groups, with baby chairs, kids’ menus, speedy service, and entertaining waitstaff to keep young diners amused.
There are a few very kid-friendly island stores, including Treats, Jack’n’ Jill’s, the Annex, Pulp & Circumstance, and People’s Pharmacy in Hamilton ; Robertson’s Drugstore in St. George’s; and Somerset Pharmacy  in Sandys . Be warned, though: imported toys, including favorites like Lego and Playmobil, retail at hugely inflated prices. Priced for $5.99 at Walmart, for example, Bakugan balls sell here for $20 a pop.