The Best Beaches to Visit While Sailing Around Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Set sail to uninhabited beauties like Sandy Cay in the British Virgin Islands
Set sail to uninhabited beauties like Sandy Cay in the British Virgin Islands | © B.A.E. Inc. / Alamy
Claire Dodd

Home to movie stars and iconic beaches alike, Virgin Gorda is the third largest of the British Virgin Islands. While there are plenty of pristine licks of sand to be found on the island itself, it’s hard to resist setting sail for these magnetic beauty spots nearby – from secluded Sandy Cay to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.

Tick off the finest beaches in the British Virgin Islands by joining Culture Trip’s eight-day sailing adventure – no experience necessary.

1. Savannah Bay Beach, Virgin Gorda

Natural Feature

The idyllic turquoise waters of Savannah Bay framed by white sands and green hills
© Derek Trask / Alamy

Leave the crowds behind and claim a spot on the white sand at Savannah Bay. This off-the-beaten-track spot is most easily accessible by boat – you’ll likely have the place to yourself. There are few palm trees here and no amenities, so make sure to bring some shade and supplies with you.

2. The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Natural Feature

People swim among the large boulders of the Baths on the Caribbean Island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands
© James Schwabel / Alamy Stock Photo

If there is one item that should top your “Things To Do on Virgin Gorda” list, it’s got to be a visit to the Baths. Paddle, swim and bask amongst the pools and grottoes formed among monolithic boulders on the island’s dramatic southwestern tip. The granite rocks, thought to have formed some 70 million years ago, create an intricate array of tidal, shallow pools, crevices and open chambers to explore. This hotspot draws visitors aplenty. Head down at sunrise or sunset if you want a little more space.

3. Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda

Natural Feature

White sands and turquoise waters of Devils Bay, backed by large boulders and a catamaran moored off shore
© James Schwabel / Alamy Stock Photo

Good things require a little effort. Reached by scaling a series of ropes and ladders, through the boulders beyond the Baths, Devil’s Bay rewards those who make the scramble with a sandy cove of shallow, turquoise waters. Allow about 20 minutes for the hike here. You’ll want to leave plenty of time for snorkeling, swimming, or sunbathing once you reach the fine sands of this horseshoe-shaped bay.

4. White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Natural Feature

Catamarans and sailboats moored in White Bay with people sitting on the white-sand beach backed by palm trees
© Mauritius Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The name says it all. Anchor just off this pristine beach and enjoy the top-class snorkeling conditions and array of lively beach bars on Jost Van Dyke’s most popular beach. Take advantage of the crystal-clear visibility to spot reef squid, rays, parrotfish, tarpon and, fingers crossed, even a turtle or two.

5. Sandy Cay

Natural Feature

A Catamaran anchored in front of Sandy Cay in the British Virgin Islands, with people on the beach in the background
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

Make your vacation dream a reality with a trip to an uninhabited, tropical island. Drop anchor and head to Sandy Cay, a protected national park, with numerous trails to explore. Trek through the coastal woodland and keep an eye out for wildlife along the salt ponds, mangroves and rocky cliffs as you go. The island is a key nesting site for hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles, as well as numerous tropical birds.

6. Bight Bay, Norman Island

Natural Feature

Aerial view of the Bight, Norman Island Bay, with lots of boats dotting the bay and Tortola Island in the background
© Andia / Alamy

It’s not just the sheltered bay and lush, undeveloped forested scenery that draws sailors to the Bight. This large, deepwater natural harbor is also home to a well-known sailors’ watering hole with a reputation that precedes it. Stop by Willy T’s, a famous floating bar, where shots are served off paddles, and the tunes are pumping.

7. Deadman’s Bay Beach, Peter Island

Natural Feature

View from atop a hill of pristine curve of beach at Deadmans Bay on Peter Island, with cacti in the foreground and boats in the water
© Donald Nausbaum / Alamy

Follow in the footsteps of pirates on the north shore of Peter Island. Named for the marooned buccaneers once washed up on its shores, the mile-long (1.6km) crescent bay is certainly the kind of place we dream of being stranded. Peter Island itself is a private island resort, though only 300 of its 1,800 acres (728ha) have been developed, meaning the bay is largely surrounded by nature. Snorkel, sunbathe or nurse a cold one in a hammock beneath the palms. With a beach bar and grill, there’s drink service direct to the sands.

8. White Bay Beach, Peter Island

Natural Feature

One of Peter Island’s smallest bays, White Bay Beach looks across to Norman Island, the alleged inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. Book a tiki hut, order a picnic from the resort’s concierge, and spot turtles that bob to the surface of the bay. With some of the best snorkeling reefs on the island, don’t forget your mask and flippers.

9. Loblolly Bay, Anegada

Natural Feature

Girl in a bikini walking on the white-sand beach at Loblolly Bay, with turquoise waters behind her
© Danita Delimont / Alamy

This curved stretch of sand on Anegada often makes the list of the world’s best beaches. It also happens to offer some of the best snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands. Head to the west end of the beach for a waterfront restaurant, snorkel rental, showers and a gift shop. With few trees around, arrive early to snag one of the palm-thatched shade umbrellas.

10. Marina Cay

Natural Feature

A catamaran floats in the turquoise waters of Marina Cay of the British Virgin Islands, with a palm-backed beach in the background
© Patrick Shyu / Alamy Stock Photo

Another famed snorkel spot, this eight-acre (3ha) island, close to Tortola, is surrounded by a shallow, sedate lagoon. Look out for tropical fish including barracuda, blue tang and plenty of vibrant coral. An avid scuba diver? Then this is also the spot for you, with colorful reefs and clear waters making it an interesting dive for novices and pros alike.

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