Antigua has 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, and it’s not hard to find one, two or even ten that are your favorites. The island itself measures only 20 kilometers long and 17 kilometers wide and is full of rolling green hills, towering palm trees and endless stretches of sand. Whether you are looking to people watch under an umbrella, snorkel, windsurf or simply swim in the clear waters; you can have it all here. From the famous pink sands to the waters that are a stunning royal blue color to beaches that are accessible only by boat, discover our choices for the best 6 beaches on this stunning island.
6. Dickenson Bay
Directly north of St. John’s lies one of the best beaches on the island, Dickenson Bay. Its wide strip of white powder-soft sand is especially appealing to families with small children. The azure calm waters make this beach a perfect destination for swimming and other water sports. There are a range of hotels, restaurants and beach bars that line the beach making it easy to grab a bite to eat or some shade. The range of water sport rentals here is seemingly endless from parasailing to banana boating to jet boating. The views from this beach happen to be unbeatable, from the rolling lush green hills to the stunning sunsets at night. Worth more than just one day, choose from a number of private villas, luxury resorts or family friendly accommodations here.
5. Green Island
Arguably the best place to snorkel in all of Antigua, Green Island is located just off the island’s east coast and is accessible only by boat. It also happens to be one of the quietest beaches in Antigua, alas a little out of the way. This humpbacked island offers several beaches, strips of soft velvety sand with a backdrop of colorful foliage. For those visitors traveling with children it is important to know that there aren’t any public washrooms. Getting here requires a charter shuffle, boat eco-tour or by booking a lunch at Harmony Hall in which case they will shuttle you over for the afternoon. If your idea of a day on the beach includes plenty of relaxation, soft sand to sink your toes into, clear calm waters and deserted beaches, make sure to head on over to Green Island.
4. Carlisle Bay
This peaceful beach is located on the south coast of the island and beckons visitors with its clear waters and soft sand. It is here where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea and offers visitors the chance to swim in the royal blue waters, sink their toes into the sand that looks more like brown sugar and be surrounded by towering palms. It is this beach where you will find the best snorkeling in Antigua without having to hop onto a boat. There is an abundance of colorful fish in the water inviting you to grab your mask and fins. The island’s most deluxe hotel sits atop a bluff here overlooking the beautiful sand and water. Carlisle Bay is one of the island’s most celebrated shores and its no surprise given its fantastic location, plentiful sand and stunning blue waters.
There is not just one beach here but instead four to choose from, one that is easily accessible to the public and three which are reached by going through Hawksbill Resort.The beach got its name due to the unique looking craggy red rocks that protrude from the water just off the shore. The first beach is the most popular as you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy it and there is ample parking nearby and soft sand and calm waters that await visitors. The second and third beaches are mainly reserved for hotel guests and tend to be quieter in nature. The fourth beach here is the only clothing optional beach on the island and stretches directly in front of Hawksbill Rock. This beach is stunning with its fine white sand and towering palm trees that often provide much needed shade; an especially important factor for a clothing optional beach.
2. Deep Bay
This arched beach is perfect for a number of reasons and visitors will have plenty of reasons to return to this beach again and again. It is located only a ten minute drive from St. John’s but remains largely undisturbed by throngs of tourists. If you happen to arrive here by boat, it is also the perfect spot to throw down your anchor as it is well protected from the rough seas. Many visitors to this beach come for the snorkeling, as a wreck lies right in the middle of the bay. The Andes, a ship from Trinidad sank here nearly 100 years ago and its mast pokes out of the water still today. There are not very many facilities here but we recommend heading to Jimmie’s Beach Bar to grab lunch. Many also choose to head to the island’s north end where you can hike to the ruins of the 18th century Fort Barrington.
1. Half Moon Bay
It is often hailed as the most beautiful beach on the island, stretching nearly 1.5km on the southeastern coast and only a 5-minute drive from Freetown village. It is here where the Atlantic surf is sometimes unpredictable and can be a little rough, perfect for those windsurfers who head out beyond the reef. The large reef does help protect the shore and calm the waters, but families with small children should be careful. This is a popular beach but visitors will find it slightly less busy than others, and boasts a concession stand where food and drink are available. It is important to note that there are no restrooms on site here. The pink sand, the blue waters and the laid back lifestyle that one can only find on an island, are reasons enough to make this one of your first beach stops on the island.