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Beaches, Antigua

Antigua holidays are prized for the array of heavenly beaches on offer. Head to the western coast of Antigua and discover the breathtaking Tuner’s Beach, or explore the remote and natural harbour, Carlisle beach. Opt for a snorkelling adventure, or simply slink back into your sun lounger and admire one of many calm, and paradise-like beachfronts this idyllic island has to offer.

Carlisle Beach

Carlisle Beach is a natural harbour, located in the most remote corner of the island by the village of Old Road, on the south coast of beautiful Antigua. This sprawling beach offers crystal clear waters, soft powdery white sands and excellent snorkelling opportunities, where you can find a wide variety of colourful, tropical fish.

One half of the beach is private and for the Carlisle Hotel Resort guests only. However, the far right-hand side is for public use, where umbrellas and sun loungers are available for hire.

This is the perfect beach for swimming and snorkelling; making it ideal for families. The locals nearby are friendly and hospitable, and like nothing better than to stop for a chat, providing a fountain of knowledge about Caribbean life and culture. The nearby countryside is lush and tropical, and the beach is surrounded by gorgeous palm trees offering shade from the hot sun (when required).

Dickenson Bay – Lashings

Dickenson Bay – Lashings, is located on the north-west coast of Antigua, featuring beautifully-white, powdery, soft beaches and tranquil, clear, turquoise waters. It is not as secluded as some of the other beaches, with a string of large resort hotels nearby offering excellent accommodation and facilities.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Frank Seiplax

This beach is ideal for those who enjoy the buzz of a busy resort, lined with restaurants, beach bars, and various water sports outlets; offering jet ski hire, kayaking, snorkelling. banana boat rides and glass-bottomed boat trips. There is always something to do at this beach, day or night – so, you will definitely be entertained throughout your trip over here.

If you should want to escape from the resort for a while why not get a boat to one of the several small, uninhabited islands, or visit the mile-long coral reef strip? Alternatively, visit the nearby, quieter, less developed beach at Runaway Bay, situated directly to the south of Dickenson Bay.

Ffryes Beach

Ffryes Beach is located on the south-western coast of Antigua, and is made up of two beaches – Big and Little Ffryes. It is situated right next to the Darkwood and Crab Hill beaches, making this a wonderfully long stretch of stunning, powdery white sand, featuring tranquil, clear and turquoise waters.

This wondrous beach is kept beautifully clean and the sand is soft and fine with no pebbles, even when walking quite far out into the sparkling, crystal waters where you can watch fish swimming around your feet. Ffryes beach provides easy access and parking; making it an ideal place to visit and spend the day relaxing, either in the sun or one of the naturally shaded areas; offering an uncrowded and peaceful atmosphere.

The sunset views are superb here, too, and on a clear day (which it usually is), you can see the volcanic island of Montserrat while sitting on the floodlit rocks, overlooking Ffryes Beach. What a perfect way to end the day.

Galleon Beach

Located at Freeman’s Bay in English Harbour, Galleon Beach is a wonderfully-long stretch of golden sand and beautiful calm waters, well known for its turtle sightings and excellent snorkelling conditions. There are also natural geographical rock formations here, including the Pillars of Hercules, fashioned by the wind, rain and sea; best appreciated from the seafront.

Dickenson Bay truly provides the best of both worlds. Situated in the heart of the National Park, the surrounding area has tropical vegetation on its undulating hills, plenty of marine life and lovely walking trails to embark on. This beach can only be accessed by car from English Harbour, or via an exciting water taxi. However, it is well worth the effort, being the perfect place to take a swim and relax, before re-joining the usual hustle and bustle associated with exploring the nearby, popular Nelson’s Dockyard.

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay (in Bolans), is thought to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the finest resort in the Caribbean with its fantastic crescent-shaped stretch of beautiful, coral pink and white sand. It is located on the southeast coast of Antigua and during the week it is a peaceful, tranquil and serene haven, while at the weekends it can get busier but even then, it’s usually not at all over-crowded and you will be able to find a nice isolated spot where you can relax uninterrupted.

The sea is ideal for snorkelling and a popular place for underwater exploration. The surf here can be rough but a large reef helps calm the waters and offers some shelter for swimmers and snorkellers. There is often a cooling ocean breeze to enjoy, giving you a rest from the hot Caribbean sun but of course, be aware that you can easily burn and take advantage of the shady spots offered by some of the tropical foliage found in this region.

Jabberwock Beach

Jabberwock Beach is situated on the northern side of Antigua, near to St. John’s, offering travellers a beautiful, long stretch of white sands and reef-protected, shallow warm waters. As it is breezy at this beach, it’s ideal for windsurfing and kite surfing, and although popular with tourists and locals alike, it rarely gets too crowded.

The surf is a little fiercer than some beaches but is still perfectly safe for swimming. It’s wonderful to stroll down the long strip of soft sand, with the surf lapping around your feet, enjoying the welcome cooling breeze, while watching the colourful sails of the kite surfers darting across the bay.

The beach has been revitalised over the last few years, and visitors are now able to use the picnic tables under the palm trees – if they wish to take their own food. Meanwhile, there are tasty nearby restaurants and shops when you want to venture away from the beach for a shaded break. So, why not enjoy a leisurely meal, a refreshing drink and a snack during your beach visit?

Pigeon Point Beach

Pigeon Point beach is located very near to English Harbour and the Nelson’s Dockyard, on the south-east coast of Antigua, and is a favourite beach amongst both locals and tourists. The crystal, clear waters here make this beach the ideal spot for snorkelling, and the tree-shaded stretch of fine golden sands is a fantastic place to top up your tan, or relax in the shade of a coconut palm.

The facilities at Pigeon’s Point are excellent, with four showers, six bathrooms, two of which have disabled access and a baby changing facility. There is also a children’s playground with slides, swings and a climbing frame.

There is a pier at the southern end of the beach, an ideal place to watch the yachts and speedboats as they moor offshore. If you fancy a walk, why not stroll along to the secluded Windward Bay Beach or up to the hill to the ruins of Fort Berkeley?

Runaway Beach

Runaway Beach is on the north-west coast of Antigua, being the perfect beachside destination. If you’re looking for a little isolation, combined with enjoyable adventures including water sports – from kayaking and snorkelling, to hiring a catamaran, this is the beach spot for you.

The winding white sandy beach and tranquil, crystal-clear waters provide prime relaxation; you can always find a secluded spot to enjoy a nap, read a book or just watch the world go by.

A beach bar is located here, too, as well as a restaurant – where you can purchase a host of snacks and drinks. Plus, restrooms and freshwater showers are available, if you require them.

If you tire of relaxing, why not explore the nearby limestone cliffs and observe pelicans, while they hunt for fish? Or, watch the sailboats as they glide by? For something a little different, embark on a horseback riding tour, organised by one of the hut owners on the beach.

Turners Beach

Turner’s Beach (in Bolans), is located on the western coast of Antigua. Neighbouring St. John’s, this beach is absolutely breathtaking – thanks to the calm, turquoise, crystal clear waters; making it the perfect spot for snorkelling, with fishes swimming right by your side.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Matt H. Wade

Once you have finished exploring the water, why not lie back on your sunbed and listen to the movement of the waves washing over the shore? Or, sit on the edge of the sand and watch the sailboats slowly passing by? Meanwhile, taking in the views of Montserrat across the Caribbean Sea, while listening to the gentle sound of gospel singer and beach trader in the distance.

Turners Beach is beautifully quaint, so if it’s peace and tranquillity you’re looking for, then this is the perfect spot. There are beach chairs and umbrellas for hire here, as well as a local restaurant right on the edge of the sand, offering tasty snacks and meals. Alternatively, you could try food from one of the local vendors selling their wares along the sands.

Valley Church Beach

If you prefer to avoid Antigua’s busiest beaches but want more than a secluded beach offers, then this is an excellent choice. Valley Church Beach is located on the west coast of Antigua, just south of Jolly Harbour, beside Cocobay Resort. The calm and turquoise waters here offer an inviting place to swim, float or snorkel amongst the amazing marine life.

Valley Church Beach is dotted with luscious palm trees, and there are umbrellas and sun loungers available to rent; making this is a truly beautiful spot to sit and relax with a book, or watch the local fishing boats sail by as they go about their daily tasks. The beach itself is made from small shells and is a little coarse underfoot, so water shoes are advisable when in the sea.

The beach bar located here offers snacks and drinks at very reasonable prices, while vendors walk up and down selling cold drinks and other tasty refreshments.