Favorite Antigua Beaches

White sand beach in Antigua

Who else is dreaming about relaxing on a beautiful beach? Or how about listening to the crashing waves while lounging in soft sand with a beer in hand? While I can’t give you that, I can tell you about some of my favorite Antigua beaches for when you can get there.

If you’re headed to Antigua and want some non-beach ideas, read about my favorite things to do in Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua Beaches

Antigua has 365 beaches: one for every day of the year. And for any beach day you prefer. Like much of the Caribbean, all beaches are open to the public. You may only be allowed one route to and from the beach when there is private property like a resort fronting the beach. But you are still allowed on the beach and in the water.

A word of advice: decide what you want to do before choosing a beach. Do you want to body surf or relax? Drink and party or have a nice meal or hike and explore with your kids? There’s a beach for each of those, but none that offers everything.

As a Caribbean island known for its beaches, Antigua is a top wedding destination. It’s a great place for any beach lover!

We haven’t been here long enough – yet – to explore all the beaches. But we have visited and enjoyed several, so here are some amazing Antigua beaches for whatever you like to do, arranged geographically. The east coast of the island is the windward side and has fewer beaches so I focused on the Caribbean side of Antigua where the beaches are plentiful and the water is calmer.

For your reference, here’s a map of my favorite Antigua beaches.

Map of Favorite Antigua Beaches
Favorite Antigua beaches

Dark Wood Beach

A medium walk or quicker drive from Jolly Harbor on Antigua’s west coast, Dark Wood Beach is a fun social spot. As the first beach we visited with friends on our latest visit to the island, Dark Wood is a sentimental favorite. We didn’t, but you can even get a massage on a table in the shade.

Dark Wood Beach Antigua
Dark Wood Beach Antigua
Good for: Access and socializing. Not good for: Privacy

Ffyres Beach

Just north of Dark Wood, such that I thought it was all the same beach, Ffyres also offers food, drinks and entertainment with a mix of beach bars and more upscale spots.

One of Antigua’s great local restaurants is Dennis’. Find it up some stairs at the north end of Ffyres beach.

Dennis Restaurant Antigua
Dennis’ Restaurant at Ffyres Beach

The food at Dennis’ is local and good, although priced for tourists. A plus is the excellent band on Sunday afternoons, with a great singer who covers all sorts of classics.

Band at Dennis' Restaurant Antigua
The band at Dennis’
Good for: Access, eating and drinking. Not good for: Privacy

Jolly Beach

Jolly Beach is long and pretty but its main appeal is social as it’s dotted with many restaurants offering beach chairs and umbrellas for lounging in the sun or shade. As a result, Jolly is a perfect beach for partying the day away.

Jolly favorite Antigua beach
A view south on Jolly Beach

Adjacent to Jolly Harbor, this beach is usually busy. Restaurants and bars line the waterfront. Also, it’s easy to access with a big parking lot and a dinghy dock behind the large restaurant.

Jolly Beach

Tables and chairs on Jolly Beach
Good for: Water sports, socializing and dining. Not good for: Privacy

Dickenson Bay

While Dickenson is good for photo opps at an old-fashioned British phone booth, there’s more on offer at this popular and busy beach in the northwest of Antigua.

Phone booth on the beach Antigua
Phone Booth At Dickenson Beach Antigua

A large beach dominated by the Sandals resort, Dickenson is a fun place to while away an afternoon. This beach has shops and restaurants not affiliated with the resort, and all sorts of activities to keep you occupied. For example, horseback riding and jetski rentals are popular here. You can also get towed around the bay at high speeds on an inflatable. For me the big draw at Dickenson Bay is the floating bar.

Kon Tiki floating Antigua beach bar
Kon Tiki floating bar

Even though it’s in the water, the bar, called Kon Tiki, is easy to visit. Boats go back and forth to the bar all the time so you don’t need your own boat to get to this fun place. When we visited, clientele gathered for happy hour from Sandals, yachts on anchor and other parts of the island. Rum punch is the favored drink but beer and other cocktails are also available.

Good for: Shopping, activities, socializing. Not good for: relaxing

Hermitage Bay

Another bay occupied by a high end beach resort, Hermitage Bay Beach is still popular with the locals because of its proximity to Jolly Harbor and calm protected waters. Do not try to enter at the resort gate, they will turn you away, but the public parking area is next door and easy to find.

Hermitage Bay Beach
The beautiful Hermitage Bay beach

It’s a small beach, popular with families. have heard that dolphins often play in the water here, but have not seen for myself. I hope you get to see them when you go!

Good for: Swimming, relaxing, access. Not good for: Spreading out, privacy

Deep Bay

Deep Bay view
View from the fort at Deep Bay, Antigua

Want to share a beach with posh resort goers? Head to beautiful Deep Bay. This lovely beach is one of our favorite Antigua beaches for many reasons, not the least the crescent of soft sand ideal for relaxing.

One of the attractions aside from the nice beach is the hike up to the old fort, Fort Barrington. Views and goats are your reward here so bring your kids to this beach. They’ll love roaming around the ruins and spying on the goats.

Deep Bay Fort Barrington
The old fort at Deep Bay

Deep Bay is known as one of the best beaches for snorkeling. There is a clearly marked wreck in the water which you can see from the surface on a clear day.

Good for: Relaxing, hiking, snorkeling. Not good for: Cheap eats

Southwest Antigua Beaches

Rendezvous Bay

A remote beach on the southwest coast, Rendezvous is great for a private swim and picnic, reason enough to be one of our favorite Antigua beaches.

favorite Antigua beaches Rendezvous
Soft sand at Rendezvous Bay

While the waves further out to sea may be huge and intimidating, the relative protection of this cove makes for ideal body surfing conditions.

View of Rendezvous Beach Antigua
View from the path overlooking Rendezvous

You can hike there but wear good shoes. Or if you drive, I recommend a four-wheeler, especially if it has rained recently.

trail to Rendezvous Beach Antigua favorite
The road/trail to Rendezvous Beach, Antigua

The best way to travel to this beach is via high speed boat. Due to its remoteness, bring plenty of food and drink, especially water if you are walking.

Rendezvous Beach Antigua
The perfect transport to Rendezvous is a fast boat
Good for: Relaxing, getting away from it all. Not good for: access, food and drink

Pigeon Beach

Located in the popular anchoring site of Falmouth Harbor, Pigeon Beach gets busy. With several bars and high-end restaurants, there’s a lot to do besides swim. In fact, this beach is so popular, party boats often anchor along the shore, and loud music can often be heard.

You can watch the superyachts moving into and out of the harbor. When we anchored there in February, we saw the famous Maiden and other world class speed yachts gearing up for the races.

Pigeon is easily accessible via road or dinghy. An added bonus is the excellent hiking trail behind the beach. This trail takes you past beautiful estates and goat paths to the historic and interesting Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO world heritage site and worth a visit.

dinghies on Pigeon beach
Dinghies on Pigeon Beach
Good for: Socializing, hiking, swimming. Not good for: Privacy, relaxing

Carlisle Bay

This beautiful bay is dominated by a stunning resort, but everyone is welcome and the staff are very friendly. There are nice hiking trails nearby and the gin clear water and local turtles make it a great swimming and snorkeling spot.

Carlisle Bay Favorite Antigua Beaches
Carlisle Bay has a resort on the south but the beach is open to all

If you can’t afford the upscale drink prices at the resort, try the little shack at the north end of the beach. The locals buy their snacks, beers and the local black pineapples here for a much cheaper price.

Good for: Swimming, snorkeling, wifi. Not good for: I don’t know!

Coral Groove Bay, Barbuda

Less accessible than Antigua, and therefore more private and secluded, Barbuda beaches are big and beautiful. Getting there is not easy. One has to take the ferry, private jet, or your own boat to visit this remote island north of Antigua. But the payoff is gorgeous white sand for miles and very few people to share it, one of many reasons to visit Barbuda.

Coral Beach has soft sand and Uncle Roddys Beach Bar, one of the few bars on island.

Coral Groove Bay beach Barbuda
Soft sand and beautiful blue water on Barbuda
Good for: Privacy, relaxation. Not good for: Easy access

As you can see, we’ve visited a lot and found our favorite Antigua beaches. Did I miss any? What do you like from a beach or does it depend on your mood, like me? Share in the comments.

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

18 thoughts on “Favorite Antigua Beaches”

  1. I just love what I saw. Beaches are my favorite destinations and have always planned a country where there are beaches. If not then there should be enough to indulge in water. Antigua beaches look fabulous. The West Indies islands are my dream destinations which I wan to visit in not too distant future including Antigua now. The pigeon beach looks so similar to the beaches in Budva, Montenegro which we visited last year with the backdrop if mountains.

  2. 365 beach for 365 days … How cool is that omg ? I went wondering how would it be to spend each day in different island .. Jolly beach looks awesome .. I am already imagining stunning yatch life , some cool beach vibes , sipping my pinacoladas and lazing around in my bikini ..Like wow !! Island life could be so cool to think off ..

  3. hi
    Loved this post I find a great connect with beaches that dominate the theme of any place. As I was reading the post, i was thinking how amazing it would have been to work in this place for say a short duration so that one can have a fill of all the lovely beaches. I was imagining the photo frames during sunrise and sunsets. Have u experienced either of these two here, how was it?

    1. I get to see my fair share of sunrises and a lot of sunsets from the boat. Maybe that’s an idea for another post!

  4. A lovely post highlighting the beauty of Antigua. I have friends who live there so I am lucky enough to have visited these beaches, imagine having these at your disposal whenever you wanted. Lovely photos!

  5. I love the combination of mountains and water. We’ve been visiting Aruba every year for a while, and were considering switching it up to Antigua soon. This definitely sold it! Thank you!

  6. I love how you included a short, concise summary at the end of each paragraph telling me what was good and what was not good at each beach. I think I would aim for Hermitage Beach especially if there are dolphins there. Or any beach where I can catch some great snorkeling! Snorkeling in the Caribbean is amazing!

  7. Okay, first off, LOVE the bar out in the water! The beach is my happy place. I didn’t realize that Antigua had so many different beaches, that’s just awesome. I especially like how you broke out what those beaches are good for. Very helpful. Since I won’t be doing my usual trip to the beach over Memorial Day weeks this year, I’m desperately missing the beach!

  8. This has me wanting to plan a vacation! I think rendezvous bay sounds the best for what we are looking for. A quiet beautiful vacation. How intimidating are the waves?
    Also that floating bar was super cool too! Definitely on my list of places to visit now!

    1. The waves in Rendezvous bay are not intimidating. It’s pretty well protected. If you want to go to the Caribbean, Antigua is well worth a visit.

  9. Wow! So many beaches! If I ever get to Antigua, I’ll have to visit some of them! Stunning photos too! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Wow, good to know that Antigua has 365 beaches and you correct, one for every day of the year. Good to know that mostly Caribbean beaches are open to the public. I loved the beautiful Hermitage Bay beach with splendid colorful sky. Thanks for sharing amazing list of beaches.

  11. Thank you for sharing your honest review on these antigue beaches. I am interested to visit the Kon Tiki floating bar. It think its the perfect way to relax, have fun and party.

    Also, I love your photo of the Deep Bay. It’s really beautiful.

  12. I am a beach maniac and love the ocean. Your photos are amazing! It’s too far for me but thanks for making me dream anyway ????

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