With 365 beaches on the island (that’s enough for one every day of the year!), it’s no surprise that visitors to this Caribbean oasis are spoilt for choice – especially when the crystal clear waters, sandy white beaches and gorgeous green landscape make each beach as inviting as it’s neighbour.
Due to the small size of Antigua, most places, including the beaches, can be reached by car in 45 minutes or less, wherever you are on the island. So, you can nestle away for the day on some of the most beautiful northern beaches, explore the eastern beaches, or saunter down south all in a day’s work.
To help you whittle down your options, you can find our recommendations for the top 10 beaches in Antigua below, from the picture perfect shores of Half Moon Bay, to the powdery white sands of Dickenson Bay.
Best for: A beach day off the beaten track
Half Moon Bay in Antigua stands out for its pristine, crescent-shaped shoreline and is often regarded as the most ‘Instagrammable’ beach on the island, and for good reason!
Not only is it a breathtakingly beautiful beach, due to its location on the Eastern side of the island, it is also set away from the majority of larger resorts and tourist crowds. The Half Moon Bay beach offers a secluded escape with powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters and a rugged national parkland. Surrounded by untouched nature, it provides a tranquil retreat that is far quieter than its more popular counterparts.
Best for: A luxurious beach day
Now, we might be biased with this one, but nothing says luxury quite like being waited on as your relax and unwind on your very own secluded beach strip. Just a few steps away from Pearns Bay House, this quiet beach awaits you, and with limited direct access to the public, you could very well have the entire beach to yourselves.
And, with snorkelling equipment and paddleboards provided by us, nature’s playground is ready and waiting to welcome you for adventures and exploring aplenty.
We’ll ensure your ice cold drinks are waiting for your return, too, so you can focus on relaxing in paradise.
Best for: The lively atmosphere
One of the most famous beaches in Antigua, and often revered as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Dickenson Bay offers vibrant turquoise waters and ultra fine golden sand – but what makes it so popular?
Well, it’s not just the incredible scenery. It boasts a lively atmosphere, from exciting water sports to beach front bars. It’s even home to the island’s only floating bar, the Kon Tiki Bar, so you can enjoy your tropical tipple from the sea itself!
Due to its reputation, Dickenson Bay can get busy during peak season, but it’s an excellent choice when visiting outside of the popular periods.
Best for: Incredible viewpoints
If you’re looking for a beach day with a breathtaking view, look no further than Freeman’s Bay, and more specifically, Shirley Heights Lookout.
To reach the viewpoint, the ascend begins from the coast itself. As you begin ascending on the trail, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic scenery of the bay, which gets more impressive the further you climb.
All in all, this hike takes around 45 minutes to an hour to climb, and is considered moderately challenging, though without a doubt worth it to experience this lookout point. We recommend completing the hike earlier in the day, while the heat is still mild, and then spend the rest of the day relaxing on the sandy beaches below.
Best for: Shipwreck snorkelling
This arched beach is just a 10-minute drive from the Antigua and Barbuda’s capital St Johns, but remains largely undisturbed from the masses of tourists that visit the island each year.
Deep Bay Beach is most well-known for its shipwreck that lies just below the surface, making it an amazing snorkelling spot.
The story goes that the shipwreck at Deep Bay Beach is the remnants of the Andes, a four-masted barque that ran aground in 1905 while transporting lumber from Trinidad. The picturesque decay of the ship’s hull, partially submerged in the crystal-clear waters, serves as a haunting yet captivating reminder of maritime history, adding a unique allure to the beach, and one you won’t want to miss!
Best for: Marine life enthusiasts
Though its beautiful white sands and warm tropical waters already secures Pigeon Point Beach’s spot in our top 10 Antiguan beaches, it’s what lies just below the surface that makes it so very special.
Surrounded by a protective reef, Pigeon Point’s calm, shallow waters create an ideal environment for swimming and snorkelling, distinguishing it from other beaches. Not only that, this reef is conductive to the thriving of marine life, making it an ideal home for a diverse underwater ecosystem including schools of tropical fish, colourful coral and other exciting species native to the island.
Best for: Family friendly beach days
A much sleepier shoreline that offers shallow waters and pure white sand, Ffyres Beach is an ideal choice for a quiet day at the beach with the little ones in tow.
The calm and clear waters provide a safe environment for children to swim and play, while the beach’s relatively secluded nature offers families a quieter atmosphere, allowing for a more relaxed experience. The soft, powdery sand is perfect for building sandcastles and enjoying various beach games, and the picturesque surroundings and lack of large crowds contribute to a family-friendly atmosphere, creating a serene and enjoyable environment to suit all ages.
Best for: The whitest sand
Turner’s Beach in Antigua is known for its soft, white sand, providing a laid-back setting away from the crowds. With clear turquoise waters and a backdrop of greenery, it’s an ideal spot for a low-key, lazy beach day.
Whether you’re into swimming or snorkelling, the relaxed atmosphere and nearby amenities, including bars and restaurants, make Turner’s Beach a perfect choice for those looking to enjoy a classic Caribbean beach without the fuss.
Best for: A one-of-a-kind beach experience
Now, technically, this is more island than beach, but we just had to include Prickly Pear Island on the list. If you’re looking for a truly adventurous and unique day out, than head to this pristine offshore islet.
Only accessible by boat, this standalone, secluded island features a lively beach bar to keep your cocktails topped up, or you can simply relax and unwind on a lounger and soak up the rays in total seclusion. Due to being entirely uninhabited, the island remains relatively quiet throughout the day, and is also ideal for a touch of swimming and snorkelling.
Best for: Watersports
Jolly Beach in Antigua is a prime destination for water sports lovers looking for a taste of adrenaline. Its well-equipped facilities offer a range of activities, from windsurfing and wake boarding to scuba diving and snorkelling, taking advantage of the consistent winds and the beach’s proximity to popular dive sites.
In addition to traditional water sports, Jolly beach neighbours the Jolly Harbour, providing you with opportunities for boating and sailing adventures, too! The harbour caters to all skill levels and requirements, from dinghy sailing to full blown yacht charters, so you can set sail on the dreamy seas of Antigua with ease.
Whether it’s organising an excursion on the sea or planning a unique celebration, our House Director is on hand and here to help with every step of your visit. Simply get in touch today
Every stay at Pearns Bay House is tailored to give you an unforgettable experience.
Begin your journey to paradise.