A trip to the Caribbean isn’t complete without some time spent at the beach. Caribbean beaches are famous for their soft sand that comes in a variety of colors, calm water ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and lush landscape bordering the beaches.
A Caribbean cruise vacation gives you the opportunity to easily visit beaches on multiple islands all in the same vacation. You can discover beaches covered in white sand, lined by fun beach bars, nestled into the side of secluded bays, and located within stunning national parks. With so many beaches to choose from (just on Antigua you’ll find 365 beaches — one for every day of the year!), we’re here to help you narrow it down.
Here are the 20 best Caribbean beaches you can cruise to.
When taking a cruise to the Bahamas, do an excursion to lovely Harbour Island and its Instagram-worthy Pink Sands Beach. The sand at this iconic Bahamas beach gets its look from microscopic coral insects called foraminifera that have pink- and red-hued shells. These insects attach themselves to rocks, reefs, and the sea floor, and when they die, the tide brings them to shore where the waves crush them against the beach, mixing the remains of the shell with the sand and turning it a shade of pink, thus resulting in one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman is actually only 5.5 miles…but who’s counting when you have miles of white coral sand bordering water the color of blue topaz?
In addition to the gorgeous coastline where sand meets water, you’ll also find plenty of bars and restaurants running down the perimeter of the beach, which makes for a perfect escape when you need a break from the sun – or grab a drink on a bar patio and keep enjoying those gorgeous Caribbean sea views in the sunshine. You’ll also see resorts, but the entire beach is open to the public, so you can get in a workout walking the whole distance during your day in port if you’re so inclined.
Another island you don’t want to miss out on seeing during your cruise to Grand Cayman is Starfish Point Beach. This little beach is sure to delight visitors of all ages thanks to the creatures that are often hanging out on the seabed floor: starfish. (You probably guessed that from the name, huh?)
The water is incredibly clear so you can easily see any starfish that are in the water, making it a great place to snorkel. Bring a waterproof camera since it’s illegal to take the starfish out of the water, even just for a moment.
Those who like some history with their beach going will be completely enthralled by Tulum Beach, located on Mexico’s Riviera Maya coastline that borders the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is home to a number of ancient Mayan ruins that you can walk around, one of which is located right by Tulum Beach.
Touring this remarkable Mayan fortress before heading down to the soft sand will make you feel as if you’ve gone back thousands of years for a beach vacation.
Tulum is a popular shore excursion to take during a Cozumel cruise port of call.
Magens Bay in St. Thomas is easily one of the best beaches in the Caribbean thanks to the bay’s picture-perfect half-moon shape colored a shimmering shade of teal. The beach itself is covered in soft white sand with golden highlights. Framing the beach are thick coconut groves and mangrove forests. You’ll also find picnic tables.
A great way to visit Magens Bay during a cruise is on a shore excursion that combines a stop at Magens Bay for playing in that sand and surf with a tour around the rest of the gorgeous island of St. Thomas.
If you want some high-speed action with your beach lounging, head to Maho Beach while in port in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. This unique beach is situated right next to Princess Juliana International Airport, and when planes land it feels like they are literally about to land on you.
The planes whoosh so close overhead it’ll have you feeling like you could wave straight at whoever is peering down from a window seat at the turquoise-tinged water framing Maho Beach.
You can also get a drink from Sunset Bar and Grill, which has the flight schedule listed so you know when to be outside and ready for a cool aviation selfie.
On the other side of the dual nationality island that is St. Maarten / St. Martin (St. Maarten is Dutch, St. Martin is French) you’ll find Grand Case Beach. This beach is great for those who like some shopping and gourmet dining mixed in with their beach time since it’s next to the charming small town of Grand Case where you’ll find boutiques and delicious restaurants.
Grand Case is even nicknamed the “Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.” If you can’t bear to tear yourself away from the turquoise water caressing the shores of Grand Case Beach, but still want to try the local dining scene, look for a restaurant that will let you do take-out and create a make-shift picnic on one of the best Caribbean beaches.
The Baths of Virgin Gorda are located on the British Virgin Island of Virgin Gorda, which is a common island to do a shore excursion to during a cruise to Road Town, Tortola (the capital and largest island of the BVIs).
The Baths of Virgin Gorda are a popular stop during shore excursions to Virgin Gorda since they are not your typical Caribbean beach setup. Instead of one long stretch of sand, you’ll find a series of sand pockets curving next to rocky terrain that make naturally occurring baths next to the beaches. You can walk between the baths and enjoy some picturesque lounging on the sand or a relaxing swim in the water.
If you’re looking for one of the best Caribbean beaches for pure scenic power that will leave you awestruck, look no farther than Trunk Bay, St. John. Part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John is just a shore excursion away from the larger island of St. Thomas, where the cruise ships dock.
Trunk Bay curves like a seashell against the northern coast of St. John with a backdrop of lush foliage. At the perimeter of the bay, bright turquoise water laps gently against soft white sand. Underneath that gorgeous bay water, you’ll find a coral reef and an underwater snorkeling trail. Keep an eye out for the leatherback sea turtles that are endemic to the U.S. Virgin Islands and for which Trunk Bay gets its name (locals call the turtles trunks).
Settle into a comfortable beach chair and enjoy the white-sand beauty of Juanillo Beach while in the port of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. While there you can rent equipment for some water activities or do some shopping at one of the local craft stands. You can make a beach visit to Juanillo Beach even more exciting by doing a shore excursion to the beach that includes a detour to an adventure park for some ziplining, spelunking, and cave exploration.
Isla Verde Beach is located close to Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan, making it a great beach escape for cruisers who would rather spend the day getting some sun, sand, and saltwater on their skin instead of navigating the crowded streets of Old San Juan.
Isla Verde has been awarded the Blue Flag ranking, meaning it meets a strict set of standards for water quality, safety, sand quality, and environmental protection. The surf at Isla Verde has gentle waves that are exciting enough for activities like boogie boarding, but mild enough to still make it easy for swimming and snorkeling. During your cruise to San Juan, you can also do a shore excursion to VIVO Beach Club, located on Isla Verde, which gives you a private oasis along the coastline with pools, drinks, and beach loungers.
Another can’t-miss beach in Puerto Rico is Condado Beach. This one is a better fit for those who like to stay on the sand and wave watch as the rocky conditions in the surf and the strong tide make it difficult to safely navigate for those who aren’t strong swimmers.
It’s a great place just to hang out on the sand, though, with plenty of beach umbrellas and chairs available to rent for the day. Or you can find shade under one of the many palm trees and lie down your beach towel on the soft sand for a day of relaxation on one of the most beautiful and best Caribbean beaches.
Aruba is known for being one of the islands in the Caribbean that has the highest number of sunny days each year. This lack of rain makes it ideal for sunbathers, and a great beach to lie on is Eagle Beach.
Located on the northwest coast of Aruba, Eagle Beach is a straight line of white sand dotted with Aruba’s interesting divi divi tree. The divi divi trees provide great shade plus perfect photo ops thanks to their gnarled tree trunks that bend dramatically in a southwesterly direction due to the tradewinds that sweep across the island.
Mambo Beach is close to Curacao's popular aquarium, hence its other often-called name: Seaquarium Beach. The beach is lined with white sand speckled with tiny shells and pieces of hardened coral that are especially fun for kids to examine. It also has an outdoor beach bar and many lounge chairs available to rent. The water lining the beach is protected by a long rock wall that makes the beach calm for swimming and also provides snorkeling opportunities due to the many fish hanging out by the wall.
Marigot Bay is a stunning Caribbean bay that is surrounded by foliage-covered hills, providing a secluded feel on the small beaches located by the gorgeous harbor and which provides opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, and wind surfing.
A great way to experience Marigot Bay is on a beach break shore excursion or on our exclusive Chef’s Market Discoveries shore excursion that pairs you with a Celebrity Cruises chef who takes you around St. Lucia for the day to visit local markets and learn about cuisine on the island; you’ll also get some free time to walk along Marigot Bay’s gorgeous boardwalk and take in the views.
Antigua is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and of those, Ffryes Beach is one of the most scenic.
Since it’s close to St. John’s harbor, Caribbean cruises to Antigua usually offer multiple shore excursion options to Ffryes Beach, making it easy for cruisers to visit this iconic area of Antigua.
Once you arrive at Ffryes Beach, sit back and enjoy the laidback beach life of Antigua while looking out at the teal water with your toes in the soft white sand.
Pinney’s Beach is a peaceful 3-mile long beach located on Nevis, part of the nation chain of islands referred to as St. Kitts and Nevis. Cruise ships dock in Basseterre, St. Kitts, but you’ll typically find a number of shore excursions that will escort you to Nevis for the day, including ones that stop at Pinney’s Beach.
You’ll quickly see why Pinney’s Beach is one of the best Caribbean beaches when you gaze upon its tropical ambiance, complete with soaring palm trees and other tropical foliage lining the beach – plus, of course, that radiant Caribbean sea perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
If you prefer to stay on the main island of St. Kitts while in port and still want some blissful or watersports-packed beach time, go to Cockleshell Beach – where you can even see the small peaks of Nevis from across the water.
Cockleshell Beach is great for snorkeling right off the shore. You can also rent kayaks and jet skis on this beach and even do some flyboarding that will have you feeling like a superhero as you hover over the water.
You’ll find views galore at Grand Anse Beach on the southwest leeward coast of Grenada. You’ll be hypnotized by the smooth white sand beneath your feet and the turquoise water lapping at your feet when you wade into the water. Then look up and you’ll see a view of Grenada’s capital city of St. George’s in the distance. Along Grand Anse Beach you’ll also find restaurants and a vendors market that is a fun place to shop for souvenirs.
If you want a change-up in sand color from the typical whites and golds of the Caribbean, head to Mero Beach while visiting the island of Dominica. Mero Beach is a black sand beach that gets its dark hue from the volcanic rock that has sifted into it over the centuries from the numerous volcanoes on the island. Restroom with showers are located by the beach, which is especially nice for families who want to rinse off before heading back to the ship.
Ready to put on some sunscreen, grab your swimsuit, and head to one of the best beaches in the Caribbean? We’ve got you covered (and even have sunscreen in our onboard gift shop if you forget some) with an incredible array of Caribbean itineraries. Choose from ones that embark from Florida and sail 7-night Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean cruises, or a 7-night cruise from Puerto Rico that sails around the Southern Caribbean. Or choose one of our longer Ultimate Caribbean itineraries and see even more of the gorgeous sandy coastline of the Caribbean islands.
Whichever Caribbean cruise itinerary you choose, you’re in for a plethora of beach options on which to spend a lazy day getting into the island life of the Caribbean. Not sure which itinerary is best for you? Our cruise experts can help. Give them a call at 1-888-751-7804 and start planning your dream cruise.