One of the gems of the Caribbean, the island of Antigua is a beach-lover’s dream. With 95 miles of coastline, you won’t have any difficulty finding a beautiful stretch of sand to relax in the sun while gazing at crystal clear waters.
Soft white sand and warm turquoise seas await on this paradise filled with 365 beaches. From remote coves to livelier shores where you can go on an active adventure, Antigua’s small size and the sheer number of beaches makes it easy to choose a favorite. Here are some of the best beaches in Antigua.
Carlisle Bay Beach
This crystal-clear sea paradise is a destination popular with snorkelers and divers looking to experience the colorful marine life below the surface. Located on the south part of the island, this protected bay is an ideal location for swimming.
Laze on this uncrowded beach, admiring the sun and scenery. Take a leisurely swim, where you’ll likely spot some vibrant tropical fish, or stroll along the powdery white sand. The combination of turquoise water, bright white sands, and gorgeous green hillsides will leave you swooning.
Located on the eastern side of Antigua, Green Island is an idyllic spot of land with a dreamy beach setting. Easily accessed via boat from Nonsuch Bay on the main island, you’ll find a snorkeler’s paradise here.
As one of the best snorkeling spots in Antigua, you’ll greet a diverse array of tropical fish and possibly even some turtles. On land, the resident lizards laze in the sun, and hermit crabs scamper across the sand. The seemingly untouched white sand is inviting for a lounge in the sun, and the azure waters will beckon you for a cooling swim.
Boarding a catamaran cruise is one of the best things to do in Antigua to absorb the full beauty of this more remote paradise of coves, rock, and tropical brushwood. Take in the views from the shore, jump in the warm water for a dip, and make sure to snap some photos of this picture-perfect beach destination.
Perched on the western coast of Antigua, Ffryes Beach is a sparkly stretch of sand backed by rich green hillside. Only about half an hour from the capital of St. Johns, this stretch of sand is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
The beach is actually two beaches, divided by rocks. The larger side is Big Ffryes, and the smaller is Little Ffryes. The clear waters are ideal for snorkeling, and the soft sand is the optimal relaxation setting. Looking to get your adrenaline pumping? Explore the gorgeous sea on a jet ski for some extra fun in the sun. If you’re in need of refreshments, a lively tiki bar is available for local food and drink.
Prickly Pear Island
Just off the northern coast of Antigua, Prickly Pear Island is an ideal snorkeling destination and home to one of the best beaches in Antigua. Once you arrive by boat, explore the underwater world, which is teeming with colorful fish and beautiful coral known to thrive around Prickly Pear Island.
When you’re not snorkeling, beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent. Lounge with a book as the crystal water laps the sands, and bask in the island sun. The shallow waters are ideal for families with young children to swim and play. A true Caribbean barbeque with fresh seafood is an option for hungry visitors, bringing this island experience full circle.
If you’re in search of a beach day away from the resort crowds with a more unspoiled and undeveloped feel, Darkwood Beach on the southwest coast of Antigua has you covered. Located on the southwest coast just a few minutes from Jolly Beach, Darkwood is a lesser-known treasure nestled in Half Hyde Bay.
This stretch of sand is another spot where it’s easy to relax the day away. A sweeping vista of sugar-white sand and bright turquoise water awaits. If it’s clear enough, you might even be able to spot the island of Montserrat in the distance. Snorkeling and swimming are popular here, but so is just lounging under the umbrella on the sand. A resident beach bar and restaurant provide refreshments.
Half Moon Bay
This well-known beach is ideal for those seeking pure natural beauty and opportunities for surfing and wind-surfing. The iconic crescent shape is backed by rugged landscape, which makes for a gorgeous setting on the southeastern region of the island.
Backed by national parkland, this stretch of sand is ideal for beachgoers in search of unspoiled beauty. Perhaps most alluring about this beach is the pink sand created by fine coral. Chairs and umbrellas are optional if you’d like to rent them to enhance your beach relaxation experience. A snack spot is available for refreshments at the local beach bar overlooking the ocean.
Valley Church Beach
This southwestern stretch of sand is known for its calm waters and lively beach bar. It’s the perfect place to lounge on the beach and swim at your leisure. Chairs and umbrellas are readily available, and vendors offer kayaks, paddleboards, and jet ski rentals if you’re looking to get out on the water.
Try the fresh lobster for a taste of local culinary excellence. Valley Church Beach is located just south of Jolly Beach and less than a half-hour from the cruise port, making it easily accessible.
Pigeon Point Beach
Located near English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard on Antigua’s southeast coast, Pigeon Point Beach is a family-friendly destination with calm, shallow water for swimming. This beach is popular with locals as well as visitors, with a laid-back Caribbean ambiance. If you’re interested in learning how to sail, this is the place to try it. You’ll have the opportunity to take a lesson in one of the most idyllic places in the Caribbean.
Two restaurants provide refreshments and island fare on the beach. Just five minutes away, you can also experience naval history in Nelson’s Dockyard, where you’ll find a museum and restored architecture from the 1700s. Shops, restaurants, and bars now reside in these old buildings. Explore the area on foot through the various hiking trails surrounding the dockyard on the grounds of historic forts.
Perhaps the most well-known stretch of sand on the island of Antigua, Dickenson Bay caters to visitors with plenty of amenities. Watersports are abundant, and the shallow, tranquil waters are perfect for taking a dip and paddleboarding.
For a truly unique boating experience, embark on one of the glass-bottom boats, where you won’t miss a thing under the water below you. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins too—you might just see one in the turquoise waters.
Beachside restaurants provide fresh, local delights. A floating bar amps up the fun, where you can enjoy a drink while in the water. Dickenson Bay is one of the best beaches in Antigua near the cruise port.
Long Bay Beach
This beach destination on the northeastern coast of Antigua is a favorite of both locals and visitors alike. The clear blue waters invite snorkelers to explore the underwater world and cool off from the island sun. Colorful huts line the beach, selling island handicrafts and other souvenirs.
The well-known Mama Pasta restaurant is a lively spot to get some delicious pasta and Caribbean fare right at the beach. If you’re looking for more restaurant choices, ice cream, or to book boat trips, the village of Willikes is close by.
Make sure to venture to the nearby natural attraction of Devil’s Bridge, a famous rock formation poised at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean that shouldn’t be missed. This area of the island was designated as a national park in the 1950s. The “bridge” is a limestone arch that was formed from the waves and reef over millions of years and is a site sure to impress. Several blowholes make this spectacle even more exciting as the waves crash into the rocks below, causing water to spray through the caves.
Jolly Beach on the west coast of the island is a mile of beautiful white sand awaiting visitors for optimal relaxation. Whether lounging on the sand or cooling off in the clear waters is on your agenda, this stretch of sand has you covered.
Seashells, palm trees, and powder-soft sand will have you experiencing one of the best beaches on the island. Sip a glass of rum punch from one of the beach bars to embrace the taste of the island.
Perched on the southwestern edge of the island, Turners Beach is one of those sandy destinations where you could easily spend the entire day. Bask in the sun, swim in the gorgeous waters, and fuel up at the local beach bar and restaurant. Rent chairs and umbrellas or choose from watersports to get active.
This sheltered cove is perfect for families with children who would like to swim in shallow, calm waters that are so clear you can see your feet. While you’re here, head to nearby Johnson’s Point, a charming village in the countryside with restaurants and snack stops.
Situated near English Harbor, this stunning stretch of sand is in Freeman’s Bay on the southern coast of the island. Other than the usual beach activities, Galleon offers the opportunity for a myriad of outdoor exploits. Snorkeling is exceptional here, and in this area, you’re likely to come across some graceful sea turtles during your swim. In the water, two shipwrecks reside just off shore, providing the perfect spot for marine life to dwell.
Stretch your legs before or after visiting the beach with a climb to the Shirley Heights Lookout. The former military lookout and gun battery provide sprawling views of English Harbor and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nelson’s Dockyard below, as well as the pristine coastline composed of various shades of blue and green. You’ll also have the chance to find the amazing limestone rock formations of the Pillars of Hercules and Mermaid Gardens along the Carpenter Rock Trail.
Experience the ultimate sun, sand, and sea destination on a luxury cruise to Antigua. With a beach for every day of the year, the only issue you’ll have is choosing which of the best beaches in Antigua to visit.
From lively beach spots and outdoor activities to optimal relaxation next to clear blue seas, this is a beach-lover’s dream. Browse Antigua cruises on our website and book your Antigua beach vacation today.