Bermuda’s Beach Culture

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Bermuda’s Beach Culture
Well-known for their warm water and pastel pink sand, Bermuda's beaches range from secluded coves and long scenic stretches to activity-filled hotspots that offer water sports for all ages.
By Sandy Allen, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Colorful Coral Reefs
    Bermuda’s clear warm water and abundant reef life make the archipelago a prime spot for snorkeling. Parrot and clown fish can be seen close to the shore at Tobacco Bay, a popular beach in St. George’s that features calm water and natural rock formations. Many beaches, such as Warwick Long Bay, offer on-site equipment sales and rentals. Tiny coves and nearby reefs make Southampton’s Church Bay a popular place to snorkel. Horseshoe Bay Beach has large reefs where visitors spend hours viewing fish and other sea life.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Dive Beneath the Surface
    Scuba fans flock to Bermuda for the crystal clear waters, coral reefs, shipwreck sites, and underwater caves. Many resorts and dive shops around the island offer tours, equipment rentals, and courses, including PADI- (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) level training. With water depths of up to 80 feet, Bermuda provides adventures and challenges to both novice and experienced divers. Reefs on the south shore feature caves, sinkholes, and multicolored fish. Luxury cruise liners, schooners, and a Civil War paddle-wheel steamer are just a few of the vessels that have been wrecked and then repopulated by marine life in Bermuda’s waters.
    Photo by Joseph C. Dovala/age fotostock
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    Here Comes the Sun
    Whether you're on a romantic evening stroll or just starting a fun-filled day, watching the sun rise into the sky or sink below the horizon can be the highlight of any traveler’s trip (and photo album). Bermuda’s jagged boulders, graceful palms, and placid waters set the stage for epic sun worshipping. Elbow Beach, Church Bay, and Warwick Long Bay on the south shore are great spots to catch a sunset, as are Black Bay Beach and Somerset Long Bay in the northwest. East-facing Tobacco Bay, Clearwater Beach, and Fort St. Catherine Beach offer prime sunrise scenes.
    Photo by James Davis/age fotostock
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    Bermuda's Hidden Beaches
    Whether you prefer swimming, snorkeling, or just strolling along the sand, nothing is better than having a pristine stretch of coastline all to yourself. Bermuda has many beautiful and off-the-beaten-path beaches that are worth the extra effort to find. A field-and-rock path leads to Whale Bay Beach, where sunbathers can lounge to the sound of crashing waves. The sheltered Chaplin Bay is another overlooked oasis—perhaps because it can disappear entirely during high tide. Warwick Long Bay, named one of the world’s 100 best beaches by CNN, consists of a park and a few small remote beaches.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Ocean Adventure Sports
    Bermuda is not lacking in adventurous water sports. Soar high above the beaches and reefs on a parasail; explore hidden caves and lagoons by kayak; or take a jet-ski tour to see marine animals and a shipwreck that took place in the 1800s. St. George’s Parasail Water Sports operates single and double excursions in the Great Sound as well as Castle Harbour, offering a unique view of turquoise water and the coral reefs below. The boat that Skyrider Bermuda takes out from the Royal Naval Dockyard has a parasailing chair that launches from the deck, giving scenery seekers the best possible views of the Great Sound and the north shore. Both parasailing companies operate seasonally, from May to October.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Bermuda's Nautical Past
    Casting brilliant light to warn ships of reefs and rocks, Bermuda’s lighthouses have served as beacons for more than 150 years. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world, has kept watch over the Southampton Parish since 1846. The 185-step spiral staircase is a workout, but the view at the top is worth the exertion. Built of Bermuda stone in 1879, St. David’s Lighthouse stands on St. David’s Island. Climb the 208 feet for spectacular views of St. George’s and Castle Harbour. With a drawbridge, a fort, and a moat, the Bermuda Maritime Museum is run out of a former munitions warehouse, which now holds collections and exhibits on whaling, shipbuilding, and shipwrecks.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Taste of the Islands
    From fresh seafood and prime rib to shepherd’s pie and signature spirits, Bermuda offers a taste of the tropics blended with a dose of British pomp. Grilled seafood, paninis, wraps, ribs, lamb chops, and an extensive wine list make Mickey’s Bistro at Elbow Beach a great place for lunch or dinner. Fresh seafood, Jamaican-inspired dishes, and a cliff-side setting with floor-to-ceiling windows have put both the Reefs Resort and Club and the Pompano Beach Club on Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the 35 best island resorts for food. Be sure to try two island staples: fish chowder and a Dark and Stormy, best made with Gosling’s rum and Gosling’s Ginger Beer.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Bliss on the Beach
    From Ashtanga to Vinyasa and every asana in between, yoga is a great way to rejuvenate your spiritual and physical well-being. And where better to salute the rising sun and hold a warrior pose than on a beautiful beach? Bermuda has a thriving yoga community, and several resorts—including the Fairmont Southampton, Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa, and the Reefs Resort and Club—offer sunrise yoga sessions on the beach. Locals and visitors can experience the vast array of yoga teachings and styles at the Bermuda Yoga Festival, which draws local and international yogis.
    Photo by Trinette Reed/age fotostock
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    Pick your Scenic Beach
    Cliffs and coves, pretty pink sand, and sparkling blue water place Bermuda’s beaches among the top-rated in the world. Horseshoe Bay Beach features a crescent-shaped stretch of salmon-hued sand and gentle waves that change from aqua to turquoise to sapphire depending on the time of day. Dramatic offshore rock formations rise from the water at Tobacco Bay Beach while graceful palm trees and nearby reefs that teem with colorful tropical fish make John Smith’s Bay the subject of many photo sessions. Massive cliffs and boulders punctuate the coastline at Jobson’s Cove, and the elongated coastline at Warwick Long Bay is backed by tropical trees and shrubs.
    Photo courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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    Turtles and Birds on the Beach
    Bermuda beaches offer much more than what’s seen on the surface. Ponds made from shallow rocks in protected coves are the perfect place to find turtles and other small marine animals. Bird sanctuaries border the beautiful beaches that face Castle Harbour and the south shore, and graceful, white Bermuda longtails can be seen at Astwood Cove. The cedar trees, shrubs, and cliffs of Warwick Long Bay are home to a variety of bird life. Spittal Pond Nature Reserve has herons, ducks, and terns as well as natural steps carved into a rocky cliff. Don't miss the view from the top.
    Photo by John Greim/age fotostock