The Beaches of Antigua and Barbuda
What an incredible island for beaches. Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. This actually makes choosing the right beach for your taste quite difficult unless of course you have a year to spare and can test them all until you find the one that is really ‘you’. The majority of beaches on Antigua have the warm, calm, aquamarine waters of the Caribbean lapping gently up to their shorelines.
All beaches on Antigua are open to the public so there is no problem with access to them, it is just about finding the one to suit your taste. Some of the more isolated beaches may be a little difficult to reach although they really are among some of the islands most beautiful. The journey to these beaches will be worth the effort but before venturing out to these more secluded areas it would be wise to make sure you have a good map or directions and never go alone, always take a travel companion along.
Like most islands that have concentrated on providing tourists with the very best they can offer, you will find that the type of beach available will depend upon their location.
At the north-western coast of Antigua, one of the most highly developed areas, it is home to many of the islands luxurious beach-front hotels and resorts. Therefore if you want the ultimate beach-resort experience then those on the northwest shores are going to be just what you are looking for. If you are holidaying in the country’s capital, St. John’s, there are a couple of beaches very close by. They are popular with both locals and tourists, especially in wintertime when conditions are just right for surfing. Located along the northwest coast, with an arrangement of four, crescent-moon shaped beaches on its shores, one of which is a clothing optional beach, is Hawksbill.
To the southwest of Antigua the coastline is generally less developed that those in the north. The old rugged road twists and turns along the southwest coast alongside the beaches around Johnson’s Point as well as many others on its way. On the south-central coast of Antigua there are a few secluded, tranquil beaches to be found. These may be hard to reach but if you are looking for a place to relax with lots of sand, surf and sunshine then these beaches really are the perfect solution.
Towards the east of Antigua, on the southeast shores, is Half Moon Bay, a popular beach among families visiting the island. Further east is Long Bay, this beach, protected by a coral reef formation, is perfect for families with children, with its calm, warm waters.
If you are visiting Barbuda you will find wonderful, pink, smooth sandy beaches, situated mostly on its south-western shores. These beaches continue uninterrupted along the coastline for almost 10 miles. There are, of course, also the traditional white sand beaches. The waters on this side of the island are superbly calm, being protected by barrier reefs. Along the east coast, which faces out into the Atlantic Ocean, it is quite another story, with waters that tend to get pretty rough and are not quite so warm. These sands are ideal for beachcombing and exploration, rather than for swimming.
One of the biggest advantages of finding yourself a beach that isn’t crowded with thousands of other sun lovers is that there will be no struggling through crowds or stepping over people when you want to take a dip. If this is what you are looking for then Carlisle Bay, located on Antigua's south coast, featuring a beautiful, sandy white beach and crystal clear waters, will be just perfect. Perhaps not as secluded as some, Carlisle Bay’s qualities and natural setting give it a sense of tranquillity and with Palm trees lining the beach and a quaint local bar serving West Indian food and drinks it has a wonderful authentic Antiguan ambience. This beach is a little off the beaten track but if you are interested in mingling with the locals then this is where you want to be. It is ideal for swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful crystalline waters which lap up gently to the shores of Carlisle Bay.
Perhaps your vision is a long stretch of white sand in a natural setting, if so, then Dickenson Bay could be just right for you. Located on the northwest coast with sugary white beaches and calm, warm seas Dickenson Bay has hotels and restaurants lining the expansive shore of this beach. There are also vendor booths located near the water. Just off the coast of Dickenson Bay there are several small uninhabited islands and an amazing mile long coral reef. This is not a secluded beach, however, but it does have a combination of natural beauty and atmosphere along with the convenience of everything being right there, should you need it. If you decide to visit this beach and are interested in exploring the island a little during your stay then you could explore the town of Cedar Grove which is very close by. There are many things to do and see at Dickenson Bay such as water sports, snorkeling around the offshore reef, glass-bottom boat rides and more. This is usually a crowded beach filled with people and activities of all sorts so if that’s what you are looking for then this could be the perfect beach for you.
Five Islands Peninsula is a group of four crescent shaped beaches on Antigua’s northwest coast. It is located near St. John’s Harbour and features beautiful, landscaped gardens. They have a natural beauty that is not lined with high rise hotels. You can spread your beach towels out on this sunny spot, it is the perfect area for sunbathing and swimming along with excellent opportunities for snorkeling. One of the four beaches is clothing optional, providing you with the perfect way to get rid of tan lines.
Half Moon Bay is located well away from any major metropolitan areas so you can enjoy its natural beauty. It can be found on Antigua’s south-eastern coast and stretches along for almost a mile. As one of the island’s most stunningly beautiful beaches it attracts many visitors so there are always plenty of people around. Families, couples, and singles all flock to the shores of Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay is, in fact, a national park which adds to its attraction. Although the rough seas of the Atlantic Ocean lap against its shore Half Moon Bay is fortunate enough to have a large reef which calms the water and protects the shore. If you wish to swim or snorkel here then it is advised to do so in the calm waters surrounding the reef. Beyond the reef, in the rougher waters, these activities would be considered dangerous. The adventurous may want to try their hand at other water sports in these choppy seas.
Perhaps you would enjoy a tantalising stretch of white sandy beach in a secluded setting. Johnson’s Point has just what you need and is definitely worth taking a look at. It is located on the south-western tip of Antigua, a secluded, sandy white beach with the waters of the Caribbean lapping gently against its shores. The water is calm and tranquil and is known to house a variety of colourful tropical fish. Johnson’s Point is meant for the solitary traveller or anyone looking for a connection with nature. It is a private oasis with little or no excitement or social interaction, just the beautiful serenity of the aqua blue Caribbean Sea and the sandy white beach. The smooth waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
There are of course many, many more beaches on this beautiful island which have not been mentioned here. If you should find your ‘perfect’ beach and it is not mentioned here perhaps you would like to write in and let us know about it, your experience and a photo of the beach, with its name, and we will add it to our ‘beaches’ gallery. Everyone likes to hear about other people’s experience and are often inspired to go and see just what it is like. Your comments could make someone’s holiday that extra bit special!!!