Known for its gorgeous, sun-kissed beaches, St. Kitts is a tropical paradise with a scene on the sand for everyone. There are lively beaches – think South Frigate – and blissfully secluded beaches – think Sandy Bunk Bay. Choose your favorites, enjoy the beach in front of your resort or explore all of them. The island is home to countless resort and hotel choices, from adorable beach bungalows to lavish resorts. Here’s a travel guide to the best beaches in St. Kitts and other top attractions to see on the island.
The best part about Majors Bay? It’s rarely crowded. You’ll find it a short distance from the tip of the south east peninsula. It’s next to the Sea Bridge ferry to Nevis docks. The beach has a simple appeal – warm, turquoise water and a long stretch of golden sand. No major hotels or amenities, just beachy bliss.
The locals love South Friar’s, another golden-sand beach off the south east peninsula highway. Go beyond the heavily touristed Frigate Bay area and join the Kittitians for sunbathing and seaside eating and drinking. Special occasion? Make reservations at Carambola, easily one of the Caribbean’s most elegant restaurants. Note: Do not swim at nearby North Friar’s Beach. The Atlantic waters are dangerous there.
Frigate Bay South
This was easily the most popular beach for the locals in St. Kitts for years. Once the south east peninsula highway was constructed, however, the choices opened up. However, Frigate Bay is still where you’ll find the majority of big hotels and large homes, and a lively “Strip” of beachfront bars.
Frigate Bay North
Like Majors Bay, Frigate Bay North is relatively uncrowded. It’s on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island and offers excellent swimming (the beach is protected by a long reef). There are condo developments and a large hotel, if you want to consider this as your home base on the island.
Want white sand? Head to glimmering Cockleshell, the most popular of the south east peninsula beaches. Cruise-ship passengers, locals and visitors all flock here on holidays and weekends, making for a bustling beach scene. Weekdays are decidedly less crowded. While you’re there, try the elegant Spice Mill restaurant, funky Lion Rock or lively Reggae Beach Bar and Grill.
Sand Bank Bay
Off-the-beaten-path Sand Bank Bay was, until recently, pristine and untouched. Once a collection of homes was constructed just back from the beach and a classy, private beach club came onto the scene, the secret was out. It is located on the south east peninsula and offers cliff scenery, manageable Atlantic Ocean waves and fantastic white sand.
Head here for peace and quiet. Turtle Beach, on the south east peninsula of St. Kitts, is located off the section of highway that leads you to Cockleshell and Banana Bay. Snorkelers love it here for the rainbow-hued fish and calm waters, thanks for the coral reef.
If you’re at Cockleshell, save some time to explore Banana Bay, too. At the very tip of the south east peninsula, it’s quiet and laidback, a great choice for a beach picnic or hammock nap. If you don’t have a car, taxi drivers will be happy to drop you off and pick you up later.
Dieppe Bay Beach
Here’s a different kind of St. Kitts beach – it’s black sand! The reef here makes for excellent snorkeling. As you look out at the water, you’ll see the Caribbean to your left and the Atlantic to the right. Look for Sint Eustatius to the north.
Half Moon Bay
Looking for waves and no people? Head to Half Moon Bay, an Atlantic-facing beach and excellent bodysurfing.
White House Bay
A snorkeler’s delight, White House Bay features a rocky reef and a sunken tugboat, home to great schools of vividly hued fish and marine life. Stick around until sunset and enjoy a cocktail at the Salt Plage Restaurant and Bar.
And a Few Beach Choices on Nevis
Just a ferry ride away from St. Kitts, Nevis boasts its own beautiful (and quiet!) beaches. We couldn’t resist listing a few favorites:
Regularly in top-ten lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Pinney’s Beach is one of the best in the Leeward chain of islands. It’s a favorite of celebrities and those in the public eye – and for good reason. There are miles of white sand and countless dining and drinking establishments. Keep an eye out for Beyonce or Oprah!
Shorter than Piney’s, but with just as great sand, Oualie (pronounced “wah-lee”) sits alongside the Oualie Beach Hotel. Locals and tourists alike come for the down-to-earth scene, catamaran cruises, diving, windsurfing and kayaking. If you order food and drinks, the beach chairs and hammocks are free of charge.
Cades Bay Beach
This is Nevis’ longest beach. Join one of the daily cruises from here aboard the Mariner’s Pub’s 70-foot, glass-bottom catamaran.
Come here for myriad marine life, a haven for snorkelers. Plus, there are several bars and restaurants within easy walking distance.
This secluded beach is seemingly always quiet and boasts lovely views back to St. Kitts.
Though it has some rocky sections and occasional strong current, this northern-island beach is another favorite amongst snorkelers.
A quiet favorite at the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.
With its huge waves, this is a surfing hotspot.
Best Beach Bars in St. Kitts
You’re already in paradise – go ahead and toast your good fortune with a margarita or other refreshing cocktail. Just follow your thirst to one of the island favorites in this St. Kitts beach bar travel guide.
Reggae Beach Bar and Grill, Cockleshell Beach: An easy stroll from the beach and the perfect place to pull up a beach chair and order a rum punch (try the “Reggae Punch” with Appleton rum and lime juice). There’s live music and lobster cookout on Friday nights.
Shipwreck Beach bar & Grill, Friars Bay: Toes in the sand, divey plastic tables and chairs, locals and expats alongside tourists and its own swim platform – Shipwreck is the epitome of a beach far. The fish tacos are fantastic and everyone loves the rum-heavy Pirate’s Punch and Kittitian Snafu cocktails. There’s live music on Sunday afternoons.
The Strip: Frigate Bay boasts this lively strip of land with water on both sides. There are beach shacks as far as the eye can see. The liveliest evening is Friday, with live music, volleyball matches and more. Local favorites include Shiggidy Shack, Vibes and The Doc.
Green Valley Pub, Cayon: Stop in the pretty village of Cayon for refreshment at this outdoor bar and two levels of seating. There are regular live music shows.
Rum Barrel, Basseterre: Under a brightly colored awning and close to the main St. Kitts shopping area, this is the quintessential island bar – and heavily visited by cruise ship passengers. There’s a large selection of rum, including the locally distilled Brinley Gold Rum.
Karma Beach Bar, Frigate Bay: Prefer beer to rum punch? Head to the Karma Beach Bar at the Marriott resort. Watch sports on the wall of wide-screen televisions or sit outside on the Atlantic-facing deck.
Illusions Bar, Frigate Bay: Perhaps the most upscale of the beach-bar standouts on St. Kitts, Illusions is in the Sugars Complex of Frigate Bay. There are often theme nights and an open mic on Tuesdays. Try the “It’s an illusion” drink with spiced rum.
When to Visit for the Best Beach Weather in St. Kitts
March and April consistently have mid-80-degree Fahrenheit days and little to no rain. January and February are also great beach months, but the daytime temps will be a bit cooler than March and April and the water won’t be quite as warm.
Other Top Attractions in St. Kitts
There is more to St. Kitts than beaches, both from a natural standpoint and a cultural and historic perspective. Check out these top St. Kitts attractions while you’re on the island.
Timothy Hill Overlook
Don’t miss this awe-inducing panorama point when you make the drive to the southeast peninsula of St. Kitts. From the Timothy Hill Lookout (also known as Sir Timothy’s Hill), you’ll have jaw-dropping, 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Friar’s Bay, Frigate Bay and the island of Nevis.
Brimstone Hill Fortress
Take a break from tanning and visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A centuries-old citadel, Brimstone Hill Fortress was painstakingly carved by African salves from hard volcanic rock. It stands as one of the earliest examples of a new – at the time – type of fortification known as the polygonal system. From the fortress, one can see the fields and mountains, Sandy Point and the neighboring Dutch, English and French islands.
Fairview Great House & Botanical Gardens
Green-thumbs and other garden lovers descend on the 18th-century Great House to admire its elegant design and incredible flora. Inside, you’ll see the historic dining room and antique silver service and the Historical Room, with displays about the Fairview past. From the master bedroom balcony, you can see the south east peninsula and all the way to St. Kitts’ sister island of Nevis. Outside in the botanical garden, not only will you see local flowers and plants, but occasionally a monkey feasting on fresh fruit from the trees.
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The stunner at Romney Manor – run by the successive Earls of Romney for centuries – is the mighty SAMAN tree, which is over 300 years old. While you’re here, take a tour of the manor house and gardens and watch as the art of Caribbean Batik is demonstrated.
See the evidence of St. Kitts’ long history at the Carib Petroglyphs along Wingfield Road and Stone Fort River. There are actually hundreds of ancient rock paintings through St. Kitts, but the most obvious are along the road to Wingfield Estate. The most numerous – 115 in total – are at the old religious grounds of the Caribs along the Stone Fort River in the southern half of the island.
St. Kitts Scenic Railway
Go back in time on the early 1900s railway that was built to transport sugar cane to the capital of Basseterre. You’ll ride through the St. Kitts mountains, double-decker style, with an open-air top deck. Pass sugar cane estates, villages and farms – all with an incredible panorama of the forested hills and ocean. The tour lasts three hours and come with free-flowing drinks.
Take a guided tour the summit of lushly forested, 3,792-foot Mount Liamuiga. This is the highest point in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis as well as the British Leeward Islands. From the summit, you can see Saba, Statia, St. Barths, St. Martin, Antigua and Nevis.
Getting Around St. Kitts
First, the getting there. Regular nonstop, connecting and charter flights arrive and depart daily from the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and continental Europe. Upon arrival, you’ll need some mode of transportation to enjoy all the fabulous sights of St. Kitts.
To get to the best beaches in St. Kitts and other top sightseeing destinations on the island, your best bet is to rent a car. There are many options available, from luxury carts to SUVs. You will have to obtain a driver’s permit from the island before you are allowed to drive (the rental car agency can help facilitate this). To feel the wind in your hair as you explore the south east peninsula and other beautiful areas of St. Kitts, consider an ATV!
If you’re thinking, “I’m on vacation. I don’t want to drive!” we hear you. There is ample public transportation provided by minibuses and taxis.
While you’re here, you might find yourself craving a day trip to nearby Nevis. Just hop on the 45-minute ferry and you’ll be there! The ferries leave from the south east peninsula, operating between Basseterre and Charlestown. And, finally, there is a chartered water taxi service that provides trips from St. Kitts to Nevis and back. Each trip takes about 10 to 15 minutes.