Secret Beaches and Coves in the British Virgin Islands You Can Only Reach By Boat

The British Virgin Islands are home to some of the most incredible secret beaches and coves for you to explore
The British Virgin Islands are home to some of the most incredible secret beaches and coves for you to explore | © Bryan Allen / Getty Images
Miranda Blazeby

From lush green mountains and local cuisine to turquoise seascapes and Caribbean culture, there are many reasons visitors flock to the British Virgin Islands each year. But the immaculate, blond beaches and the underwater world beneath the waves must be the top draw. Luckily, chartering a boat allows exclusive access to the islands and bays away from the crowds. We pick out the best beaches in the British Virgin Islands – away from the tourist hotspots.

Navigate your way to these secret beaches by booking our British Virgin Islands sailing trip.

Prickly Pear National Park on Prickly Pear Island

This uninhabited island in the North Sound has been a national park since 1988 and features a bird sanctuary and four salt ponds. The west side of the island offers the Sandbox Bar and Grill as a great lunch option, but head to the east side for the truly secluded beaches. Your only neighbours here are likely to be a goat wandering down from the cacti covered hills or the sea turtles – which use the sandy beaches for nesting.

Catamarans and sailboats moored in White Bay with people sitting on the white-sand beach backed by palm trees

A crescent of white sand curls around this sheltered bay – which features a snorkelling reef at the south end of the beach. The least uninhabited spot on the island – named after the Dutch pirate, Jost van Dyke – White Bay features a small hotel and the famous Soggy Dollar beach bar, named after the sailors who swam ashore to pay with dripping banknotes.

Loblolly Bay on Anegada

Loblolly Bay is plain and simple – consisting of unspoiled sand dotted with hammocks strung up between palm trees, perfect for whiling away the hours in idyllic peace. The island has traditionally been left off charter itineraries and it lacks amenities as a result, but that’s all part of its remote charm. There is one bar though, Big Bamboo, which makes the perfect place to escape the sun – and even rents out snorkelling equipment for exploring the large reef beyond.

Devil’s Bay on Virgin Gorda

White sands and turquoise waters of Devil’s Bay, backed by large boulders and a catamaran moored off shore

Located at the southwestern top of Virgin Gorda, the horseshoe-shaped Devil’s Bay is a steep and treacherous hike from the crowds at the Baths and features a series of water-filled caves and granite boulders. Marine life and bright coral is abundant in the clear water but bring water shoes – the bay is rocky in some places and the waves can be strong.

Little Harbour on Peter Island

Little Harbour is one of the most picturesque beaches on the undeveloped island of Peter Island, which lies to the southeast of Tortola. This small, well-sheltered bay is worth a visit just to see the abandoned cigar factory and mansion – first built in the 1920s – but it also offers safe anchorage and beautiful snorkelling, with deep water right up to the shore. Head to the eastern part of the bay for the best underwater views.

The beach on Sandy Spit island

Sandy Spit, a popular day mooring islet near Tortola in the British Virgin Islands

This uninhabited coral reef atoll measures less than an acre in size and could accurately be described as a “desert island”. Surrounded by a barrier reef, the tiny island features native vegetation such as Sea Grape trees and palm trees. Sandy Spit is truly the perfect spot for peaceful sunbathing and extraordinary snorkelling – there are no moorings, but anchoring is possible thanks to the sandy seabed.

Deadman’s Bay on Peter Island

Named after the pirates marooned on Dead Chest Island who washed up dead on the shore, Deadman’s Beach is an example of the unspoilt and natural beauty the Caribbean is known for. Despite its grisly history, the beach is quietly regarded as one of the most romantic in the archipelago. Lying a manageable swim from the boat moorings, it offers sightings of sea turtles lounging in the shallows.

The beach on Sandy Cay Island

A Catamaran anchored in front of Sandy Cay in the British Virgin Islands, with people on the beach in the background

Possibly the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, the uninhabited Sandy Cay is a 14-acre (5.6ha) nature reserve with natural botanical gardens and a nature trail leading around the island. Located between Tortola and Jost van Dyke, Sandy Cay is popular with wildlife with the residents including hermit crabs, lizards and snakes. Mooring balls are available – but in short supply, so make sure you get here early. All in all, it’s a must-stop when sailing around the British Virgin Islands.

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