Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

The best beaches in Antigua and Barbuda

In ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, CARIBBEAN by Isabella BiavaLeave a Comment

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Antigua and Barbuda, where the beach is just the beginning…, says the promotional tag line.

And that’s so true. The island has a lot to offer in terms of history and culture as well and has quite a few interesting activities to explore it. I will talk about those on another post.

However, I have to say that I have fallen in love with Antigua for its jaw-dropping beaches, some of them among the best of the Caribbean Islands’, with turquoise waters and white powdery sand, besides being most of the time deserted, which makes them even more special.

There are supposed to be 365 beaches in Antigua, one for each day of the year. And it’s probably true if you also count all the inaccessible bays along the spectacular jagged coastline. I have never counted them though, during my life in Antigua, where I have the privilege to live for almost two years, one of the best time of my life.

In this post, I am writing about all my favorite beaches, where I would hang out more often during my free time in Antigua.

I will also mention the hotels and restaurants in the closest proximity of each beach, hoping it can be handy for your Antigua vacations.

An Antigua map at the end of the post will help you also to follow my directions.

Best antigua beaches

Darkwood beach

#1 Jolly Beach

It’s not really the name of the beach, but that’s the beach at Jolly Harbour where the iconic hotel Jolly beach is located. The hotel is nothing special and quite worn out, but the beach is just unbelievably beautiful. It’s one of the biggest beaches in Antigua and besides the part in front of the hotel, all the rest is an infinite white sand space washed by blue transparent waters.

You cannot use the hotel facilities but there are some locals that rent beach chairs and umbrellas for a moderate price, by the restaurant Castaways. The restaurant is great for a quick lunch or a romantic dinner on the beach.

For the hotels in the area see here below (#2 )

#2 Darkwood beach

This is probably my favorite beach in Antigua overall although it’s really difficult to tell as each one has its charm. Darkwood beach is definitely the most convenient and easy to reach. It’s right on the road when you are traveling from Jolly Harbour towards English Harbour, right after Tamarind Hills, a new hotel that has been built on the hills overlooking this stunning public beach.

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Jolley beach looking at Coco’s hotel at the end of the beach

Hotels in the area:

Jolly Beach

If you are looking for a low key relatively cheap all-inclusive hotel, right on one of the best beaches in Antigua, this is the perfect choice for you. Located right by one of the Marina, but facing on the opposite side, on a spectacular beach. You don’t need to have any expectation on the hotel, though. Otherwise, you will get disappointed. The kindness of the staff and the beach will make it up for the old and tired structure.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Hermitage Bay

Hermitage Bay is one of my favorite hotels in Antigua, a very special place and if you want ultra-luxury and privacy this is where you should stay. Besides, you will be on a private spectacular beach. The elegant suites are nestled on lush hill all build to guarantee privacy and spectacular views over the bay. If you prefer to stay on the beach the beach cottages will be your happy choice. The food is out of this world and healthy options are available for the food conscious travelers.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Sugar Ridge 

This hotel was being built while I was living on the island and I have to say they did an amazing job. The rooms are built on a hill overlooking the Jolly Beach bay with breathtaking views. However it’s not right on the beach

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Cocobay 

This is to me, the best value for money all inclusive on the island. I would call it laid back luxury. Tiny and chic, but not pretentious. Its beach, close to Fryes bay is also amazing.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Restaurants in the area:

There is a small restaurant on the beach, not remarkable but you can get something to eat if you are hungry.

Dennis

The perfect place to try the local food, either for a quick lunch or a romantic dinner.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Turner’s Beach

#3 Turners Beach

Located just a few miles from Darkwood beach- Turner beach is another peaceful white sand deserted beach just for you. The restaurant is delicious too, so you can plan to stay the entire day and have lunch there.

 They also have very simple cabañas if you wish to stay there.

Restaurants in the area:

Turner’s Beach restaurant

Located right on the beach. You can actually park in the restaurant parking lot and then head to the beach. The shrimps are their specialty 🙂

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Hotels in the area

Keyonna Beach Resort

This All-inclusive property is located right there in the middle of the beach. It’s a cozy laid back luxury hotel, definitely worth checking. Unfortunately, they built it before I left the island so I didn’t have the chance to visit them personally. While writing this post I feel so nostalgic and I hope to have the chance to go back to Antigua soon.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Curtain Bluff Hotel

Further up the road at about 10 km there are two stunning all-inclusive luxury hotels:

Curtain Bluff 

Iconic all-inclusive property in Antigua, it’s been there for ages and besides being one of the top luxury hotels of the island with one of the highest rates of repeating guests that come back every year to stay at Curtain Bluff, the hotel has also an amazing reputation in Antigua for giving back to the local community around old road where the majority of the staff is from.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Carlisle Bay

An elegant and classy property with a private beach and graceful exquisite rooms, some of them overlooking the beach and the turquoise bay. It’s perfect for a high-end family vacation.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Randezvous Beach

#4 Randevouz Bay Beach

A very secluded beach that you can only reach either walking or by jeep. There are some boat tours that will include a swim on these spectacular bay as well. If you go by walking I would recommend you to go in group and even better with a local guide, as the road is really isolated. There are also boat tours that take you there. I will talk about it on a different post.

There is nothing nearby so remember to take water and food with you.

#5 The beaches @ English Harbour

English Harbour is one of my favorite area in Antigua, a historical place that was a fort and you can still see some of the old buildings, while a few hotels and shops have kept the same old feeling. I will talk more about it in another post. The place is also home of a Marina where you can admire amazing billion dollars yachts anchored. Cafes, restaurants, coffee shops make it a vibrant and quaint center for a night out but there is also a beach where to hang out during the day. There are actually two:

Pigeon Point, more crowded, even though just relatively, because it’s easier to reach and it’s the most frequented by locals. The beach is backed by neem trees and palm offering a soothing shade from the hot sun and the see here is quite shallow for the kids’ enjoyment and adults’ alike.  And you can enjoy a family picnic on the benches. .It’s located on the way to Nelson Dockyard behind the restaurants.

Winward bay beach is more secluded and wilder. From Pigeon point, you need to make 10 minutes walk. I would suggest you shouldn’t go on your own as it’s too isolated.

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Nelson Dockyard at English Harbour

Restaurants in English Harbour:

There is a huge quantity of restaurants for the night and day. Here is my pick:

Pillars

I have to admit I have never tried it, probably it wasn’t there when I was in Antigua, but as far as I can see its location is stunning, right in the heart of Nelson Dockyard, with spectacular views over the bay in a historical setting. From the reviews, it seems that they are doing a good job with the food as well, which helps too! 😀

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Trappas

Trappas is one of the historical restaurants in English Harbour, it’s been there forever and that says a lot. Its laid back atmosphere and tasty Caribbean dishes are their best recipe for success.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Caribbean Taste

They couldn’t have found a better name. For an authentic Caribbean Taste, this is where you should eat. It’s open for lunch and it’s strategically located right on your way to Pigeon Point. Very handy.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Catherine’s  Cafe’ 

This elegant restaurant has it all, a spectacular location right on the bay in front of Nelson’s Dockyard, delicious french ambiance and cuisine with some hints of Caribbean Taste as well. From what I am reading it seems that service is a little slow, but, hey you are in the Caribbean and on vacation, take it easy, there is no rush! just enjoy the breeze and the views while waiting for your meal.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Abracadabra

It’s quite an institution in Antigua. It’s been there for ages and offers a real Italian Cuisine, and has a great reputation. Open for lunch and dinner, during the weekend it’s also open for after dinner drinks and dance.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

The in at English Harbour – aerial view

Hotels at English Harbour

The Inn @ English Harbour

The Inn is another of my favorite hotels in Antigua, for its unrivaled class and elegance,  its unique blend of colonial feeling and modern look, amazing service and unparalleled views over the bay. The suites are finely decorated with art objects from all over the world. The top-notch dining experience offers an exquisite fusion between the authentic Italian flavors and the tasty creole traditions.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Antigua Yacht Club

Spacious rooms with modern decorations, right on the English Harbour Marina.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

South Point Antigua

I have to say this hotel was built after I left the island but I have heard from local friends that’s a really good cozy property. Located right on the marina but further uphill, in a tranquil area.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Copper and Lumber Store

This iconic tiny hotel is located right inside the Nelson Dockyard, the historical part of Antigua. The hotel is a piece of history itself and it makes you feel like you are in a different dimension, back in the colonial era. It’s very well kept and quite charming.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Extra insider tip – On a Sunday night you cannot miss Shirley Heights with its famous rum punch, live music and stunning sunsets over English Harbour bay. Antigua Postcard.

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Sunset at English Harbour from Shirley Heights

#6 Half moon bay

This is my favorite of all. It’s a little far away but it’s a beautiful half moon shaped stretch of beach with pristine waters and white sands and most of the time almost deserted. It was my Sunday getaway. There is nothing around, except for the few people that had the same idea.

If you walk on the rocks on the left side you will arrive at another beach where are now building a new Rosewood hotel. I am sure it will be stunning. For now, you can just enjoy your day trip to the beach and bring water and food.

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Half Moon Bay

Restaurants nearby

There is actually one restaurant right before the beach, with a small selection, but great local food.

Hotels

They are building a Rosewood resort, one of my favorite hotel group and I am sure they are going to surprise us one more time.

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

#7 Long Bay beach

Here is one of the few Antigua beaches where you can find decent snorkeling while swimming from the beach on the right side especially.  It’s the beach of Pineapple hotel but it’s actually public and you can lay down wherever you want, except using the hotel facilities.

Nearby hotels

Pineapple Beach resort

This cute hotel has been recently undergone a full facelift after being acquired by the Hotel group Elegant Resorts. I haven’t visited the hotel after the remake, but I noticed from the pictures that rooms have had a nice revamping and it’s not a family hotel anymore, but for adults only. I assume it offers a more laidback style compared to other all-inclusive hotels on the island but the beach makes up for everything else. To me, it’s one of the best beaches in Antigua for sure.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

The Verandah

Right opposite to the before mentioned hotel, The Veranda is its sister property. It’s a little more upscale but it’s not on the same beach. The hotel is suited for family and it actually has a great kids program. They also have 2 semi-private beaches but they are not the best in Antigua. Guests can still enjoy the long bay beach at a walking distance.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Dickenson Bay

#8 Dickenson Bay

Located at only 10 minutes drive from St John’s, the quaint capital town of Antigua,  Dickenson bay is another spectacular long stretch of beach, where despite being home of two huge hotels, Sandals Grande Antigua and Halcyon Cove, you can still find lots of room for your private beach corner. The beach is free there is beach access from the sides in between the hotels. You will find funny red phone boxes wedged between the palm trees which can look a little out-of-place, probably to remind you that you are in an ex British colony. They are for sure an amusing sight for the kids, while the teens and adults can enjoy an array of watersport activities offered by local vendors. 

If you think this is still too crowded you can walk a few steps and reach the more isolated and stunning Runaway bay.

Close by restaurants

Ana’s on the Beach

The place has been revamped since I left, and although it was already quite cool and very much frequented, they made it even fancier, with cozy seatings and gourmet food. Definitely to try.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Coconut groove’s

I loved the food there and it’s still the same, with a laid back ambiance and great drinks and food.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Close by Hotels

The Buccaneer Beach Club

Besides the above-mentioned hotels, you can find this cute little property made of self-catering apartments, with a fully equipped kitchen. They are nicely decorated with a beautiful garden, a nice pool, and a spectacular beach. The place is run by a good friend of mine, Simonetta, so if you go there send her my regards as she is too busy looking after her guests and never has time to chat with me.;)

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com, read reviews on TripAdvisor

#9 Runaway Bay

To be honest, although the beach is amazing and just never ending, I almost never went there. I find it a little isolated if you know what I mean. I still wanted to include it in here for the sake of information. If you are a surfer and have a shortboard with you, you can find reef breaks just a few meters from the beach. Be careful because the bottom is rocky. Since it’s not a super famous spot for surfing there is no surfboard rentals that I know of. Locals have their own boards.

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

Carlisle Bay

#10 Hawksbill bay

This is the beach of the Hotel that gets the same name, Hawksbill Resort but it’s not private and anyone can have access, but not to the hotel facilities unless you buy a day pass.

This beach is a bit off the main road and there is no restaurant in the area so if you decide to stay all day bring something to eat and drink unless you decide to get a day pass in the hotel.

#11 Deep Bay

Right beside Hawksbill bay, you will find this isolated spectacular beach that almost nobody knows of. There was an old semi-abandoned hotel right on the beach which is still there. On the side of the beach, there is a nice short hike to Fort Barrington with amazing views on the bay.

No restaurants are available in the area.

Nearby hotels

Galley Bay

Galley Bay is another one on my list of favorite hotels in Antigua. It’s an adult only all inclusive and it shares the beach only with the spectacular house owned by the Italian stylist Giorgio Armani. The hotel has an extraordinary service and a top-notch dining experience and spectacular rooms facing the beach and the water. The beach is out of this world, very secluded and immaculate white. However, on this side of the island, the see can be quite rough at times.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Hawksbill Bay

Hawksbill bay has the advantage of a  spectacular location on 2 beautiful beaches. The hotel is an adult only all inclusive property which has been there forever. I would call it a good 3-star property, with a great colonial feeling and service. It can look a little rundown in some way. Certainly not a good choice if you are looking for luxury, but a great one if you want a middle range priced all-inclusive and tranquil hotel on a beautiful beach.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com or Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Best beaches in Antigua - Boundless Roads

#12 Barbuda pink sand

Have you ever heard about Barbuda pink sand beach? It does exist for real and it’s of unimaginable beauty, still wild and untouched. There are only a few hotels on the island. You can get there by ferry on your own or on an organized tour. I would certainly stay there a couple of nights, to enjoy it fully. As a side note, besides basking on the dreamy beaches Barbuda offers one of the biggest Frigate birds sanctuaries in the world, where thousands of Frigate birds gather during mating season. You will see their inflated red necks which serve the males to attract females. It’s simply a spectacular show to watch.

Hotels in Barbuda

Coco Point Lodge

Coco Point is the oldest hotel in Barbuda and the most popular. They don’t even need advertisement because they live mainly on their affectionate guests that return every year. Yes, it’s that beautiful. Nothing pretentious, though, just comfy and cozy and right on the spectacular Barbuda beach.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Here you go! I hope I didn’t forget anything and it will be a useful guide whenever you decide to visit the island. And hopefully, I have given you 365 reasons to book your trip. Should you have any question feel free to ask either via email or in the comment below. Happy travels 🙂

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