I am always drawn back to the Caribbean; its such an easy destination from the US and one with endless island options! This time, I had the pleasure of visiting the island of Antigua last week with Antigua and Barbuda tourism and it was such a wonderful trip. For this trip I only spent time on Antigua but fell so in love with it that I really want to make a trip back sometime and also include the island of Barbuda next time around.
While Antigua has a ton of things to do on the island the thing that its most known for is being the “Land of 365 Beaches!” Did you know that Antigua has over 365 beaches; theres a new beach for everyday of the year quite literally! I went to a few of them and its hard not to fall in love with how stunning the waters and sand is here wow! I wish I could have explored all 365 of them haha but its a good thing that there are SO many beaches – cos that just means I will have to make several return trips and I am happy about that ;).
Having been to the Caribbean over 10 times I think I can confirm that not all Caribbean islands have the idyllic calm blue waters that one dreams of. That dosen’t go to say that these islands aren’t gorgeous but the Caribbean islands are really so diverse there is something to love in every place you go! But if the no 1 thing that you are looking for in your Caribbean vacay is idyllic blue tranquil empty beaches then you MUST add Antigua and Barbuda on your list stat! This island certainly had the best beaches of the islands I have been to the Caribbean thus far.
Now keep in mind even though Antigua is fairly small in size the beaches on different sides of it are very diverse! On the west coast you find the Caribbean Sea – which has incredible calm blue waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling etc and on the east coast it is the Atlantic Ocean – here you will find beaches with a little choppier tide, thats perfect for windsurfing, surfing etc. Also the beaches on the South are more lush and have a dramatic backdrop of the lush rainforest which makes them so unique. They are all incredibly beautiful in their own way, so doing your research based on what you want is important.
In this post I am sharing my list of the Top 10 Beaches in Antigua – we were able to visit 1 – 4, but I’m adding a few more to the list from the my research that I did as well after speaking to locals around. Bookmark this post to see my faves, so you can visit them when you go!
1 ) Valley Church Beach :
I don’t know about you, but even after doing my research I personally I love asking locals for their local faves ! And thats precisely how I learnt about Valley Church Bay. I initially had no idea about this beach until several locals including our cab driver, hotel manager and other people told me I cannot leave Antigua without stepping foot on Valley Church Bay. And you guys this beach was UNREAL! Azure blue waters , fine soft sand and a long picturesque bay it was honestly my favorite. We were quite easily the only tourists on the beach other than a few locals actually (no wonder its a local fave and a well known secret ;)) – it was just perfect.
2 ) Darkwood Beach :
Just like Valley Church beach, this beach dosen’t really sit on front of any major resorts and is thus popular with locals, which is what makes it ideal in my opinion! You will most definitely have a section to yourself. The waters are so warm, clear and blue – I didnt want to ever come out of it haha! There is also a restaurant here on the beach.
3 ) Turners Beach :
Right next door to Darkwood is Turners which is very similar to it, there are umbrellas and day beds for rent and a restaurant on the beach too. We had a delicious seafood lunch here while we visited the beach.
PS : this particular beach below and the first pic on my blog (which I don’t know the name of!) is literally the cove right in between Darkwood and Turners – it looked incredible from our drive so I had to make a quick stop and explore it for myself!
4 ) Carlisle Bay Beach :
Located by the village of Old Road on the south coast of Antigua this beach sits right in front of Carlisle Bay Resort where we first stayed in Antigua. This expansive beach offers clear waters, fine sand and excellent snorkeling where you can find a wide variety of tropical fish. Its dramatic backdrop against the lush green rainforest is what makes this beach soo stunning! There is public access to the beach on the far right hand side.
5 ) Dickenson Bay :
Dickenson Bay is known to be one of the biggest and most popular beaches in Antigua. It is located on the Northwestern coast of Antigua, and is the most developed beach on the island, with hotels, restaurants and water sports facilities. It can get crowded during the on season but the good thing is that its so big you won’t ever feel like someone is in your personal space.
PC : ABTA (Dickenson Bay)
6 ) Ffryyes Bay Beach :
Known to be another lovely long beach which is a local fave and no resorts attached to it.
PC : ABTA (Fryes beach)
7 ) Half Moon Bay :
This was very high on my list! A few of my followers even sent me DM recommendations saying I shouldn’t miss Half Moon Bay! Next time around for sure. Known to be Antigua’s most scenic beach, Half Moon Bay stretches for nearly a mile on the southeastern coast, a 5-minute drive from Freetown village. Popular for windsurfers or even as a stopover while driving around the island, if you have the time definitely add this to your list.
PC : ABTA (Half Moon Bay beach)
8 ) Jolly Beach :
Jolly Beach, located on the West coast of Antigua at Jolly Harbour, offers a mile long powder white sand beach on the warm waters of the Caribbean sea. With plenty of restaurants, water sports, and shopping amenities nearby, it’s a great place to spend a day.
PC : ABTA (Jolly beach)
9 ) Hermitage Bay Beach :
If you are headed to Jolly Beach, you can also try adding this gem to your itinerary. Just about 1.5 miles before getting to Jolly Harbour, at the end of Jennings village lies Hermitage Bay beach which is known to be a perfect white arc of sand. An off-road type of car is highly recommended to get here. This secluded beach is really undisturbed and good for swimming.
PC : Hermitage Bay resort
10 ) Long Bay Beach :
Located about 5 minutes from the village of Willikies at Long Bay on the east coast, Long Bay Beach offers fine white sand and crystal blue waters, making it a great place for snorkeling or just relaxing in the sun.
All images shot by Natalie Marie (unless mentioned otherwise)
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for my full travel guide to Antigua. xoxo
** This trip was sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority but all thoughts and opinions are my own.