Antigua is known for its beaches and they know it. They advertise themselves to be the “Land of 365 beaches” due to 87 km (54.1 mi) of coastline.
Of course, you can’t visit them all and you have to select.
During our stay in Antigua we visited the following beaches (not in order of preference): Darkwood Beach | Ffryes Beach | Half Moon Bay | Pigeon Beach | Dickenson Bay | Long Bay | Galleon Beach | Turners Beach | Galley Bay | Valley Church Beach | Coco Beach | Runaway Beach and we are missing some.
Please note that we traveled in August, which is a quiet season and no cruise ship were in town.
Darkwood Beach – Lay down, drink, eat and relax
Darkwood beach is just off the main road so very easy accessible by car but it could be seen as being positive or negative.
Soft sand, calm clear water and not surrounded by hotels.
If you plan to stay more for hours, I understand why it could be the best beach for you. There is all the basics in one spot: a bar, snacks, restroom, chairs and umbrellas to rent, snorkeling for beginners, water inflatable park,…
So if your objective is to relax on a beach, get some sun, have a drink, swim a little, you are most than likely to love this place.
Our family, for this trip, we preferred either more secluded beach for swimming and take some sun or a beach with a little extra: natural discoveries, snorkeling (not beginners), walking, rocks and historical sites nearby.
For the reasons indicated above it was not our preferred beach on the island. I still give it a 4 stars because it is a very nice place.
One thing for sure you need to know is many beaches in Antigua do not have restrooms and/or facilities. Darkwood beach does which could an important factor.
Ffryes Beach – our favorite beach
This was the first beach we visited during our stay in Antigua and it was hard to beat during the rest of our stay.
We had the chance to visit many of them and what we liked about this one is the easy access, easy park, free access, calmness, uncrowded, clear water, nice people around, music was most of the time just fine, some shaded areas and the soft sand.
If you need, Dennis’s Beach Bar is situated on this beach providing refreshment and lunches. Locals seems also to appreciate. A group camped on the grounds very close to the beach.
Half Moon Bay – Rough waters and Sargassum
Half moon bay beach is at one of the south-east point of the island with little to visit in the area. Maybe the reason why we were 5 families on this beach.
If you are looking for waves and calm water the beach offers both. Since it is facing the Atlantic ocean, the center part of the beach has stronger wave and even a good under-toe. I would not want to swim in there but yet a few steps away the water is calm, clear. There were sargassum seaweed but not too much to stop us from going into the water.
There is good parking options and you just need to take a few steps down to reach the beach. Little to no shade.
We chose this place for the recommendation for snorkeling. I did not personally snorkeled the water are strong but some of our group did but they were disappointed.
Nice restaurant by the water next to the beach.
One thing for sure you need to know is many beaches in Antigua do not have restrooms and/or facilities. The restaurant did have some.
Pigeon Point Beach – beach with a playground
This beach was excellent for our day trip which was combined with the Nelson’s Dockyard visit.
It is only a short drive from Nelson’s Dockyard. The parking is free along the road next to the beach.
It was not too crowed but we were not alone.
It is the only beach that we noticed a children playground. Trees, shaded areas, picnic tables makes this place a good beach to go with children.
Snorkeling, sunbathing, swimming are activities we did while on this beach.
This place is also one of the rare place where restroom is available. Located across the street from the beach access for a nominal fee.
It seems that we missed the
trails. Oh well!
Dickenson Bay – dynamic place
From all the beaches we visited, this was the busiest by far. But it’s not necessary in a bad way and it was very enjoyable.
And I guess since it was mid August, low season, no ferry in town, I did not really experience real “busy”.
Big names hotel chain choose this beach for a reason and it also encourages this place to be more dynamic.
If you want to be far from the crowds in a quiet environment you may prefer another beach.
We had the chance to visit a few beaches in Antigua. It is a very nice beach and rare are spots that offers so much to do.
- the sand is nice, soft, warm good to play and relax.
- the water is clear calm good for swimming
- restaurant/snack place to grab something to eat on site
- boat tours are an option
- jet ski rental is an option
- umbrella and chairs to rent
- in water tiki bar
- souvenir booths
- view the sunset
This beach is easy access and close to St-John ferry terminal and cruise ship.
Long Bay – Colorful cabin
Beautiful white sand beach and clear water. Some seaweeds but not much. Some snorkeled but not much to see. Can be good for beginners since it is not deep.
This place was more crowded when compared to other beaches we went this mid-August and more resort were active around this area which can be good. Locals seems to enjoy this place as well.
Cute tiny colorful cabins are aligned close to the beach for merchandise to purchase.
This small beach is close to the Devils gate bridge if you want to combine another activity.
Galleon Beach – The beach to go for more than just laying down
Galleon Beach was definitely the beach to visit during our stay in Antigua. It offered many options including snorkeling and see the Pillars of Hercules. While this post on beaches this beach its own.
Green Island – Very nice place for snorkeling
The only way to get here is by boat so it is a common stop for charter boats and tours.
Nice white sand beach. It is a good place to snorkel and the good news it is just right offshore. You might be able to see turtle and rays. I really enjoyed the calm waters and colorful fish.
While there is chairs on the beach it is not assigned to Excellent tours.
Please leave only footstep on the land but do not stand on the reef. You are killing it when you do so.
Runaway Beach – the only that we really do not recommend – The smell takes over its beauty- awful
There are so many beaches in Antigua, is this one for you? Probably not unless you are doing horseback riding.
During our visited many beaches but this one is the worse.
The smells overpowers all the beauty of the sand and water. Don’t even bother. It’s a luck that other beaches close by are not suffering from this.
Between Dickenson Bay beach to Runaway beach the road takes you to abandoned restaurants, mini-golf, casinos, hotels…
There is nobody there for an obvious reason and, in this case, I’m sure it is not due to low season!
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