Best beaches in Antigua

Antigua is famous for its numerous and idyllic white-sand beaches that sit in picture-perfect bays facing the shimmering turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

You'll discover one or more of Antigua’s gorgeous powder-white beaches that are perfect for you. To get you started, here is a selection of some of the best beaches on the island, starting anti-clockwise from Dickenson Bay…

Dickenson Bay Beach

(Northwest Coast) – Dip your toes into the soft sugar-white sand of this 900m-long beach that shelves into calm turquoise water that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling around the rocky headlands.

A favourite of families with small children, Dickenson Bay is edged by a choice of hotels, restaurants, bars and water sports concessions including windsurfing and parasailing.

Facilities such as umbrellas and sun loungers are supplied by the beachfront hotels, which typically require a small fee for non-guests.

Should the beach get too crowded, wander south to Runaway Bay or to the north side of Dickenson Bay. Hire a boat and visit one of the tiny uninhabited offshore islets that are perfect for beachcombing and snorkelling offshore reefs – try Paradise Reef, a 1.5km-long coral garden to the north of Dickenson Bay.

Come for a day or stay in luxury at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa – a sprawling, all-inclusive mega-resort with seven outdoor pools, including one of the largest free-form pools in the Caribbean. Dickenson Bay is 3km northeast of St John's.

Hawksbill Beaches

(West Coast) – Choose from several idyllic white-sand beaches (including one clothing-optional beach) that lie in picture-perfect coves framed by rocky headlands facing the shimmering turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Just offshore lies a rock that resembles a hawksbill turtle.

Mainly secluded, these gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, including Royal Palm Beach (photo) offer powder-soft sand for sunbathing and clear waters for swimming and snorkelling above coral gardens that teem with colourful reef fish.

Facilities include sun loungers and umbrellas as well as various amenities supplied by a choice of luxurious beach resorts, including the Hawksbill by Rex Resorts, an all-inclusive resort popular with families and couples.

Or try the laid-back but luxurious Galley Bay resort, which sprawls across a manicured garden facing a 900m-long white-sand beach – the largest of the Hawksbill Beaches.

Hawksbill Beaches lie on the Five Islands peninsula, around 6km southwest of St John's.

Darkwood Beach

(West Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this 700m-long white-sand beach that gently shelves into calm, crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

This secluded beach is scattered with towering palm trees, framed by bush-covered headlands and edged by Valley Road, which offers good access from anywhere on the island.

A beachfront bar offers snacks and cold drinks; other than this, there are no facilities. A short stroll away sits the equally gorgeous Ffryes Bay Beach, an enticing escape should Darkwood get too crowded for your liking.

Darkwood Beach is just 3km south of Jolly Harbour.

Crab Hill Beach

(Southwest Coast) – Unwind on this idyllic white-sand beach, one of several interconnecting beaches that stretch south of Crabbe Hill to secluded coves around Johnson’s Point.

Sunbathe on the soft powder-white sand, swim in the clear turquoise waters and snorkel above rich coral gardens teeming with rainbow-hued tropical fish.

Facilities on this wide beach include umbrellas and sun loungers for hire and a selection of iconic beach bar/restaurants, including OJ's, Gibson's, Turner's and the 3 Martini Bar – all perfect for savouring sunsets over distant Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis islands.

Crab Hill Beach is around 5km south of Jolly Harbour.

Carlisle Bay Beach

(South Coast) – Unwind on the soft white sands of this palm-fringed beach that lies beneath the exclusive Curtain Bluff Hotel.

Sunbathe on the beach or go swimming in the stunning blue waters. Then be pampered with a range of creature comforts at the bluff-top hotel.

Pigeon Point Beach

(South Coast) – Unwind on this gorgeous white-sand beach – the best beach near English Harbour – shelving into calm clear waters that are excellent for swimming and snorkelling.

Enjoy views of mega-yachts anchored in Falmouth Harbour Bay. Facilities include umbrellas and sun loungers for hire as well as several nearby bars and restaurants.

Pigeon Point is southwest of Falmouth on the south coast.

Half Moon Bay Beach

(Southeast Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on this gorgeous, 1.5km-long, powder-white beach that is arguably Antigua’s finest, yet is one of the least crowded.

Lying beneath low vegetation-clad hills and facing the brisk waves and winds of the Atlantic Ocean, Half Moon is the ideal spot for kite surfing and windsurfing.

The northern end is sheltered from the open ocean and is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Facilities include a public park, toilets and a beach bar, which also rents beach chairs and umbrellas.

Half Moon Bay lies east of English Harbour, around 2.5km from Freetown.

Pineapple Beach

(East Coast) – Relax on the soft sands of this idyllic 500m-long beach that shelves into the shallow turquoise waters of Long Bay.

Sunbathe on the powder-white sand framed by bush-clad cliffs, swim in the warm waters and snorkel above stunning coral reefs teeming with rainbow-hued tropical fish.

Facilities include sun loungers and umbrellas for hire, as well as a selection of water sports. Come for a day or stay longer at the Long Bay Hotel or Pineapple Beach Club.

Pineapple Beach is north of Half Moon Bay and near Indian Town Point on the east coast of Antigua.

More about Antigua…

Latest update: Best Beaches in Antigua: 6 May, 2022