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Best beaches in Antigua

Did you know that the island of Antigua has three hundred and sixty five beaches? That’s a beach a day! No matter where you go in Antigua, you’re never far from the idyllic Caribbean image of white sands, swinging palm trees and bright beautiful sea. It’s almost impossible to choose one paradise beach over another, but there are a few differences between Antigua’s beaches depending on what kind of holiday you’re after. Whether you’re into snorkelling, kite-surfing, hiking, or just watching the world go by in the sun, these are the beaches to look out for.

Galleon Beach

Galleon Beach

This glorious stretch of sandy paradise is situated in Freeman’s Bay, English Harbour. Not only is this in the southern part of Antigua (hello sunshine), the surrounding area is home to a variety of wonders, including marine life and tropical vegetation. You could find yourself cracking open a fresh coconut, dozing in cool shade, or exploring the area along one of the main trails. Leading off from the road to Galleon Beach, take the Lookout Trail up to Shirley Heights lookout point, or the Carpenter’s Rock Trail down to the ocean for stunning coastal views.

  • Look out for: The Pillars of Hercules

  • The Pillars of Hercules are old geological formations that can be seen after a quick hike round to the left of the bay. Guarding the entrance of Freeman’s Bay, they’re best observed from a boat. Take the opportunity while aboard to enjoy reef snorkelling.

    Why Go?

    Galleon is less well known than some of the more popular beaches like Dickenson or Pigeon Point, so you’re unlikely to have to fight for a good spot. For those who love hiking, this beach is the start and end point of many a tropical trail, and what better way to end a long walk than with a pick-me-up at a beach bar?


    Valley Church Beach

    Valley Church Beach

    One of the best beaches for taking it easy. If you want a quiet day of sun, sand, the lapping of waves, and maybe a swim in the calm ocean, then Valley Church is the beach to head to. Located on the west side of Antigua, Valley Church is south of Jolly Harbour, where most of the crowds will head to. You can walk from Jolly Harbour to Valley Church in roughly forty-five minutes, so live the dream of walking out onto a calm white beach away from the crowds.

    • Look out for: Nothing!

    • Just enjoy the peace and quiet. Maybe an occasional fishing boat will pass by, or one of the few other beach goers with tropical drink in hand.

      Why Go?

      Who hasn’t ever wanted to get away from all the stress of life and relax on a Caribbean beach – preferably without too many other people taking up the view? Valley Church beach is the ideal spot to recuperate and have some time-out before sightseeing the next day, or simply to enjoy a lazy day, with nothing to do except read a book, catch a suntan, and maybe walk to the bar and back.


      Dickenson Bay

      Dickenson Bay

      The complete opposite of Valley Church beach, Dickenson Bay is a hotspot for water sports, beach bars and hotels. This is where the classical image of a Caribbean island really comes to life. If you’re up for jet skiing, watching the underwater world from a glass-bottomed boat, or just hiring a lounger for a sun bathing session on the sand, then head to this mile long stretch of white sand and turquoise sea. Although if you want a decent spot for your lounger, get there early!

      • Look out for: The Red Phone Box

      • You can find it planted underneath a couple of palm trees on the beach which makes for a very interesting and popular photo opportunity.

        Why Go?

        Who hasn’t ever wanted to get away from all the stress of life and relax on a Caribbean beach – preferably without too many other people taking up the view? Valley Church beach is the ideal spot to recuperate and have some time-out before sightseeing the next day, or simply to enjoy a lazy day, with nothing to do except read a book, catch a suntan, and maybe walk to the bar and back.


        Jabberwock Beach

        Jabberwock Beach

        Up in the north-eastern coast of Antigua, Jabberwock beach features warm waters over a mile of soft white sand. Unlike the southern beaches, Jabberwock beach is known to be quite windy, one of the main reasons why it’s a popular destination for kite surfers and body boarders. You might get the odd bit of rain fall but it’s always brief and because of the warm water, you won’t be needing a wet suit. This is one of the more practical beaches on the island; facilities are few and far between but there is a small snack bar for filling up on carbs before getting out on the surf again!

        • Look out for: Stanford Cricket Ground

        • The Stanford Cricket Ground, colloquially known as "Sticky Wicket Stadium" is well worth a visit if you’re a sports fan. It’s close enough to walk to from the beach, or you can take a cab.

          Why Go?

          This is the beach for those wanting to have an active day on the waves, rather than a lazy day on the sand. There are plenty of opportunities to learn the art of windsurfing. You can also get to grips with the history and culture of Antigua, by taking a trip to the Old Sugar Mill Ruins, the nearest historical attraction to Jabberwock, and almost three hundred years old.


          Half Moon Bay

          Half Moon Bay

          Half Moon beach is on the south eastern coast, which means the Atlantic Ocean can get a bit choppy, but the nearby reef helps to calm the waters. There’s not much shade to be found so you can guarantee a great sun tan. Enjoy a cool breeze during sunny days and cool off in the clear water that makes Half Moon a prime location for snorkelling. This is a popular tourist destination, given the vendors who set up store near the beach to sell local delicacies, and the number of hotels conveniently positioned mere walking distance from the beach.

          • Look out for: Marine Life

          • Antigua is fantastic for snorkelling and Half Moon Bay is an ideal place to spot marine life! Yellow tail snapper, hawksbill turtles and cuttlefish can all be spotted by lucky snorkelers.

            Why Go?

            Hassle free is the way to describe Half Moon. Bring your own snorkelling mask and find a spot to people watch the few tourists and locals who frequent the beach. Half Moon beach is in a good location for those wanting a little culture – Harmony Hall Gallery is a quick hike away – or having a quiet moment away from the holiday bustle.

            Conclusion

            Everyone wants something slightly different from a beach: a spot to sunbath, a trail to walk, a bar to get a cool drink from. Not only will the beaches of Antigua take your breath away, you can find culture, history and nature on and around these must-see beaches. Pop into Harmony Hall Gallery, marvel at the Pillars of Hercules, and relax in some of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean. Jack Sparrow, eat your heart out!


            Mark Johnson 

            Blogger Profile - Mark Johnson

            Mark is an avid traveller and loves to explore the world with all of its varied cultures. He is also an adventure sport enthusiast and has tried everything from Skydiving to Scuba Diving!

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