Anguillan Beaches

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Anguillan Beaches
Anguilla’s main attraction has always been the island’s impossibly perfect beaches: languid stretches of sand so white and soft that you’ll think you’ve just stepped into the world’s most beautiful postcard.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Photo by age fotostock
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    Prime Snorkeling
    The waters surrounding Anguilla are usually calm and crystal-clear—prime for those looking for an easy snorkeling destination. Meads Bay is great for beginners, with tropical fish right off the shore, swimming among the corals on the seabed. Grab your mask and flippers and explore Rendezvous Bay at your leisure, keeping your eyes peeled for spotted rays and turtles as you spin around for views of St. Martin in the distance. At Shoal Bay East beach, placid waters make the nearby reef easily accessible. Kayak or boat over to secluded Little Bay and check out a peaceful offshore area filled with tropical fish, including turtles and healthy corals. The Prickly Pear Cays offer stunning snorkeling, thanks to a protected reef and the proliferation of marine wildlife there.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Pristine Offshore Ecosystems
    The Prickly Pear Cays are a pair of uninhabited islands that rest in the sea some six miles from Anguilla’s Road Bay, and represent one of the most pristine, untouched natural environments in the Caribbean—day trips offer a look at what life would be like on a deserted island. Little Bay is a cove that can only be reached by boat or kayak; it boasts an array of healthy underwater creatures you can explore away from crowds.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Soaking Up the Sun
    Anguilla is a laid-back place where even the most popular beaches never seem too crowded or raucous. If you’re looking for somewhere even further removed from your resort’s seaside scene, visit Shoal Bay, a picturesque strip of sand with calm waters and a few upmarket developments along its length. Sandy Ground is a great spot to sit out in the sun while people-watching; try to end up at Elvis' afterward for some tunes and a fine sundowner. Rendezvous Bay remains Anguilla's crown jewel, a stunning stretch of wide white sand offering both excellent restaurants and areas for blissful solitude, as well as views of St. Martin across the sea.
    Photo by James Schwabel/age fotostock
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    Adventure Sports
    Anguilla’s sporting options seem endless, especially when you find yourself hooked on a new adventure like kiteboarding or windsurfing. Sailing is the national sport here, and you can practice with Tradition Sailing Charters. Sea Pro Charters offers parasailing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and more at gorgeous Sandy Ground, and features two beach bars for when you’re ready for a rest; the company's Captain Wayne can also take your group farther afield for kiteboarding on the wild waters surrounding Sandy Island, or deliver you to Savannah Bay in the east, where strong winds provide plenty of sail fodder for experienced adventurers. Shoal Bay is frequently hailed as one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beach areas, and has a reef that gives an assist to wave seekers.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Secluded Beaches
    Anguilla hides many secluded beaches that require a little effort to get to—but even a couple of the well-known ones can be deserted on a weekday, rewarding you with sweeping ocean views, white sand, and some tranquil solitude. Little Bay is among the island’s most remote, only reachable by boat or via a steep hill, and also happens to be the island’s best rock-diving location. The Prickly Pear Cays are accessed by a boat from Sandy Ground and are known for snorkeling, but landing your own piece of quiet stretch isn't difficult on a day trip here. Despite being home to famous hotels, Rendezvous Bay is wide and expansive enough that you could find yourself in perfect seclusion, especially on the weekdays.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    The Setting Sun
    Anguilla’s sunsets are the stuff of legend, and a fortunate few may even catch glimpses of a green flash as the sun goes down. A sunset cruise with Tradition Sailing Charters is a romantic way to float away from the mainland. Dusk over Meads Bay thrills the diners at Jacala and Straw Hat, both famous Anguillan beachside restaurants, as well as on Shoal Bay. End the day with Caribbean vibes at Sandy Ground, either at Elvis' or with live music and a stiff rum punch or two at the Pumphouse.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Island Nightlife
    You’re never far from a good time on Anguilla. Get acquainted with island culture at Sandy Ground, where fishing boats flit in and out of the picturesque harbor; local bars—including the famous Elvis'—are always humming; and restaurants serve up fresh seafood. Rendezvous Bay is stunning enough in its own right, but it also boasts CuisinArt Resort’s chilled-out beach bar, where decadent rum-and-raisin ice-cream sandwiches go hand in hand with frozen mojitos, providing the perfect primer for a night out at Dune Preserve. Dune is home to Caribbean musical legend Bankie Banx and his annual Moonsplash Festival, a three-day event that brings some of the biggest names in reggae, soca, and Caribbean music to the country.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Hiking Wild Anguilla
    Anguilla has a number of walking and hiking trails. Walks at Windward Point open up the Atlantic side of Anguilla to visitors, and offer glimpses of Scrub Island, St. Barths, and St. Martin. Windward Point Beach is one of the wildest parts of Anguilla. Trek the area for dramatic vistas of coral cliffs, and scramble over the seaside rocks and cactus to reach the summit for a panoramic view of the island. On the west of the island, the Katouche Valley trail winds through Anguilla's only forestland and ends at the tiny beach at Katouche Bay. The land is privately owned by View Fort Estate, who can arrange tours.
    Photo by Flash Parker