Antigua’s Best Beaches
You’ll need a bit of time if you plan on visiting each of Antigua’s best beaches - if you visited a different one every day, it would take an entire year to sample all of Antigua’s sugar-white sandy beaches. Yes, the island may have only 54 miles of coastline, but it boasts 365 beaches! And don’t think it’s all quantity and no quality. Many of Antigua’s best beaches are found on the protected Caribbean side, and all are open to the public.
Deep Bay Beach, Antigua and Barbuda
Just to the north of Galley Bay Resort, you’ll find one of my favorite beaches on the island and maybe even the entire Caribbean: Deep Bay. The ruins of Fort Barrington keep watch over this incredible, crescent-shaped slice of paradise, just adding to the beauty of its turquoise, flat waters. Swimming here is like splashing in the largest, most pristine, natural pool you’ve ever imagined. As an added bonus, there’s a hundred-year-old sunken wreck, a barque from Trinidad named the Andes, out in the middle of the bay. It’s an easy swim from shore and accessible to snorkelers. Beaches really don’t get much better than this... anywhere.
P.O. W2025, Five Islands village, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda
Islands of the Caribbean with historically strong ties to Great Britain aren’t exactly known for letting it all hang out but just to the south of Galley Bay Resort and Spa, is Antigua’s one-and-only clothing-optional stretch of sand: Eden Beach. Intrepid (or maybe a little fool-hardy) travelers can borrow bikes from Galley Bay to make the trip, but be warned: there are several steep hills standing between you and taking it all off, but, as I found out on my last visit, that just makes the payoff that much sweeter! The beach is much larger than you might expect with lots of private nooks. There’s even an exotic mini-islet within swimming distance from shore. The place is positively picturesque. But you’ll have to show some restraint. There’s a strict “no cameras allowed” policy out of respect for your fellow nude neighbors.
Long Bay, Antigua and Barbuda
No guide to Antigua‘s beaches would be complete without including Long Bay Beach. Unquestionably, it’s one of the island’s finest beaches. The sand is almost blindingly white, like someone poured out a billion sugar shakers. The water is exceptionally clear and calm, especially at the eastern end where even toddlers could safely roam the shoreline without the fear of being barreled over by waves. There’s even good snorkeling near the beach’s reef, which you can actually walk out to! So, why don’t I love Long Bay Beach? Well, it can get a bit busy for my taste. There’s several restaurants including Mama Pastas, resorts including Grand Pineapple, and even a clutch of tiny shops selling local goods. So, if you’re like me, get here as early as possible. Maybe go for a morning run on the impressive sand. Then move on as the masses begin to descend.
Bush Bay, Antigua and Barbuda
Completely off-the-beaten-path and almost totally secluded in the northwest of Antigua is diminutive Bush Beach. I was staying at Blue Waters Resort when I felt the need for a little exercise, so I swung by their water sports shed to check out a kayak. I asked where I should go, to which the guy answered: “You should really stay in the bay here where I can see you... but if you want, you can try going around the bluff. There’s a beach back there no one goes to.” A beach no one goes to? Sign me up! Kayaking around the bluff wasn’t too difficult and the reward? Well, you’re looking at it. An untouched bush-lined beach all to myself! For those not staying at Blue Waters, there’s a slightly hidden path down to the beach from the road... Just don’t tell too many people about it!
Darkwood Beach, Antigua and Barbuda
I generally have a thing against beaches next to the road. Usually, they’re unfortunate victims to automotive pollution: obnoxious noises, exhaust fumes, and sneaky greases seeping into everything. Darkwood Beach is different. Sure, it’s right on the road on the southwest coast of Antigua, but somehow it escapes the usual woes of roadside sands. Maybe it’s because the road is fairly quiet. Or maybe it’s the persistent onshore trade winds. Or maybe it’s because people care enough to keep the beach clean. Regardless, what you, the traveler, get is a great beach with good swimming and snorkeling, plus a beach bar serving rum and traditional West Indian eats — complete with white plastic chairs in the sand.
No trip to Antigua, the “Land of Sea and Sun,” would be complete without spending quality time on one (or two, or three) of its fabled 365 sugar-white, sparkling beaches and the Galley Bay Resort and Spa sits on one of the best of the bunch. Galley Bay Beach is graced with three-quarters of a mile of quintessential Antiguan beach. Perfectly sized sand won’t blow in the breeze, palm trees dot its length providing natural shade, beds and hammocks dare you escape their relaxing embrace, and the water… Well… The water looks like you see above. Immaculate. Turquoise. Radiant. In the distance, you can see Nevis and St. Kitts on the horizon almost close enough to touch adding to the impossible perfection.