Most Caribbean experts agree – Deep Bay Beach in Antigua is one of the Caribbean’s most amazing beaches. Not only is it overshadowed by ancient fort ruins, giving it a heady historic vibe, but its crescent shape, flat turquoise waters and wreck diving give it a leg up in the competition for most blissful stretch of sand.
Here’s our guide to Antigua beaches, including Deep Bay Beach, Antigua sightseeing destinations, like St. John’s Cathedral, and even a few options for resort accommodations. Read on for how to make the most of your tropical vacation in Antigua.
Why We Love Deep Bay Beach in Antigua
This wide, calm turquoise bay is surrounded by rolling hills, overlooked by the landmark Fort Barrington and home to the Andes Shipwreck, located at the entrance to the bay. The water is incredibly clean and flat, making Deep Bay a top destination beach for swimmers and snorkelers. It’s more akin to a gigantic natural swimming pool than an ocean beach.
One of the coolest things about Deep Bay isn’t even on the beach – it’s up above. Fort Barrington sits up a short, but steep trail and boasts panoramic views of the harbor, Deep Bay itself and the Caribbean Sea. The fort was named for the admiral who oversaw the fort in 1779, when it safeguarded St. John’s Harbour. It is the only fort in Antigua that saw military action.
Also notable about Deep Bay: its Andes shipwreck. The island itself has about 127 recorded shipwrecks in the surrounding waters, but Andes is the easiest to access. Snorkel or scuba dive right from the beach of Deep Bay to explore this 866-ton barque, which was built in England in 1874 and sunk in 1914.
Are There Other Nice Beaches in Antigua?
You bet! Deep Bay isn’t the only game in town, though it certainly is one of the most striking. Consider these beautiful Antigua beaches, too:
Galley Bay Beach
If you’re an animal lover (particularly of sea turtles), head to Galley Bay Beach on the island’s northwest coast. If you go after dark, you might get lucky enough to see baby turtles hatching. The nearly one-mile beach front translucent turquoise water and soft, clean sand. There’s great surfing here, too! Swimming can be a bit dangerous due to the strong undertow, so if you have kids with you, keep an extra eye on them.
Go beyond St. John and you’ll come to a peninsula where you’ll find Five Islands Village and a bevy of beautiful beaches. Hawksbill Bay is home to many of these extraordinary swaths of sand. Visitors will have to pass through the Hawksbill by Res resort for beaches two, three and four (the fourth is Antigua’s only clothing-optional beach). The first beach actually attracts more of the general population, while the second and third are mainly resort guests (though everyone is technically welcome).
Looking for something extra special? Visit Green Island, an uninhabited isle off the east coast of Antigua. This is your vision of secluded beach. The pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters make for a popular stop on Antigua sea charters and boat excursions and provides great snorkeling.
Pigeon’s Point Beach
When you’re visiting English Harbour (more on that below), take time for a sun break at Pigeon Point Beach between Falmouth Harbour and English. It’s generally nice and calm, making it idea for families. Make an afternoon of it, then dine by the seaside at Catherine’s Café.
Also convenient to Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Galleon Beach is a quiet option. It can be accessed via car or water taxi. It’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and short hikes. Take the Lookout Trail to Shirley Heights for great views or a scenic walk along the Carpenter Rock Trail between the lookout and Galleon Beach. While you’re here, you can also take a guided tour of the Clarence House, once a royal residence, and learn more about Antigua history at the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre.
Visiting English Harbour in Antigua
Take a break from the beach to explore the English Harbour settlement in southern Antigua. You’ll find a seamless blend of British colonial history and West Indies flair. The area served as a base for the British Navy for almost 200 years. Today’s visitors can tour the restored Georgian dockyard, the old forts and hilltop overlooks.
At Nelson’s Dockyard, stroll past historic storehouses which now house art galleries, shops, hotels and restaurants. Visit the Dockyard Museum to learn about the island’s maritime heritage. Hike the short trail to the ruins of Fort Berkeley, where you can see across the by to the Pillars of Hercules.
Don’t Miss St. John’s Cathedral
As long as you’re on a beach break, be sure to visit the grand St. John’s Cathedral. It was built on a fossilized reef as the third incarnation of the church in 1845 after earthquakes destroyed the previous structures. Notice the white twin towers, Baroque design and aluminum cupolas. It has long been considered one of the most imposing of all cathedrals in the West Indies. Look, too, for the pillars displaying figures of St. John the Divine and St. John the Baptists, which were taken by HMS Temple in 1756 from a French ship destined for Martinique.
Where Should I Stay in Antigua?
While you’ll have numerous options for where to stay in Antigua, including everything from all-inclusive, upscale resorts to more intimate boutique hotels to family-friendly cottages, here are a few of our favorites:
Consider Carlisle Bay on the southern coast of Antigua for is barefoot elegance. There are 87 suites with ocean views, floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies or terraces that highlight the glorious setting. Four restaurants, including an adults-only option, the Cool Kids Club, a pool and the Blue Spa round out a luxurious, yet relaxing experience.
Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa
Seeking a worry-free, all-inclusive Antigua resort stay? Check out the Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa with its exceptional service and fine dining, family-friendly amenities, personalized service and more.