The Most Beautiful Beaches in Antigua

Tropical beach, Antigua
Tropical beach, Antigua | © BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock
Culture Trip

Antigua is the ultimate romantic getaway location, with 365 beaches offering a dazzling array of picture-perfect settings. The beautiful leeward island of Antigua is just 14 miles long by 11 miles wide (22.5 by 17 kilometres), yet claims to have a beach for every day of the year. With every single one of the 365 soft, powdery sand beaches open to the public, the only challenge is picking a favourite.

Dickenson Bay

Dickenson Bay, one of Antigua’s most beautiful beaches, is a mile of soft powder sloping gently into calm, clear waters, protected by the reef. It’s what Caribbean beach dreams are made of – cooling trade winds, white sands and palm trees. Sandals Grande Antigua somehow manages to enhance that dream – the all-inclusive luxury hotel blending naturally into its prime beachside location, with six swimming pools and a wide range of unlimited land and sea sports. Watching the sunset from one of the 11 fine dining restaurants, it’s easy to see why World Travel Awards voted Sandals Grande Antigua the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Resort.

Grande Antigua Resort

1. Galley Bay

Fringed with swaying palm trees, the fine, white sand of this beach is wide and long. Galley Bay is spacious enough to achieve a sense of tranquillity even when the hotels are busy. When the winds are high, the swimming can be difficult here, but Galley Bay is frequently cited as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and is great for catching the sunset.

2. Darkwood Beach

Restaurant

2. Darkwood Beach
© BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

Visible from the car as the road winds around the headland, Darkwood is an idyllic spot. Less developed than the north coast beaches, there is a small restaurant and it’s possible to rent loungers and parasols. The beach slopes gently down into the sea and is largely protected by the rocks and the reef. Visit later in the day to avoid any cruise ship crowds that sometimes take an excursion to the beach.

Darkwood Beach, Antigua | © BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

3. Fort James

Perfect sand and beautiful blue sea just a short drive from the capital of St John and the cruise terminals. Fort James Beach is set up perfectly for short visits, with showers, changing facilities, and lounger and parasol rentals. Restaurants at both ends of the beach ensure there’s always refreshments on hand.

Foot prints on a beautiful beach, Antigua | © Henrik Winther Andersen/Flickr

4. Hawksbill

Named after the distinctive red rock formation the protrudes from the sea in the bay, Hawksbill is actually four connected beaches. One of the four beaches, Eden, is the only nudist beach on the island – thankfully the sand is fine soft powder, and the palm trees provide much-needed shade. The other beaches are more conventional but all of them are beautiful.

5. Half Moon Bay

5. Half Moon Bay
© BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

Laid-back ruggedness on the blustery Atlantic coast, yet with nearly a mile of pink sand largely protected by the reef, Half Moon Bay is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches on the island and popular with windsurfers. A 45-minute drive from St John, the beach is often empty, meaning you can live out that castaway experience. Just remember to take everything you need for the day, as there are no facilities.

Half Moon Bay, Antigua | © BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

6. Pigeon Beach

The main public beach on this stretch of the coast, Pigeon Beach is popular with local families and is ideal for those with small children, thanks to the shallow, protected waters. The pretty, white beach is fringed with sea grape trees and has a couple of nice café restaurants, one of which is open for breakfast.

7. Long Bay

At the easternmost tip of Antigua lies Long Bay. Despite its Atlantic-facing location, the waters are calm thanks to the reef, making it perfect for families. The sugar-white sand and clear, shallow waters conspire to create a scene of rare beauty. The beach is well-served by restaurants and other facilities, although it can get busy later in the day.

8. Jolly Beach

Resort

8. Jolly Beach
© lam_chihang/Flickr

Possibly one the longest and widest beaches on the island, Jolly Beach is a picture of white sand, clear blue water and palm trees. Despite the large resort, the beach is beautiful and large enough to attract anyone seeking that perfect Caribbean beach. Facing westward into the Caribbean Sea means this is an ideal spot to watch the dazzling sunset.

Jolly Beach Resort | © lam_chihang/Flickr

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