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Bermuda Beaches

Bermuda’s miles of coastline is dotted with crescents of pink sand, dramatic rock formations, and hidden coves. Here’s a guide to some of the island’s most famous beaches, plus a stellar lineup of shorelines ideal for swimming, splashing with the family, or just getting away from it all.

POINTS OF INTEREST

SOMERSET LONG BAY

Popular with Somerset locals, this beach is on the quiet northwestern end of the island, far from the bustle of Hamilton and major tourist hubs. In keeping with the area’s rural atmosphere, the beach is low-key and great for birdwatching. Undeveloped parkland shields the beach from the light traffic on Cambridge Road. The main beach is long by Bermudian standards—nearly ¼ mile from end to end. Although exposed to northerly storm winds, the bay water is normally calm and shallow—ideal for children. The bottom, however, is rocky and uneven, so it’s a good idea to put on water shoes before wading. Amenities: parking (free). Best for: solitude; swimming; walking.

WARWICK LONG BAY

Different from the covelike bay beaches, Warwick Long Bay has about a ½-mile stretch of sand—the longest of any beach here. Its backdrop is a combination of steep cliffs and low grass- and brush-covered hills. The beach is exposed to some strong southerly winds, but the waves are usually moderate because the inner reef is close to shore. A 20-foot coral outcrop less than 200 feet offshore looks like a sculpted boulder balancing on the water’s surface. South Shore Park, which surrounds the bay, is often empty, a fact that only heightens the beach’s appealing isolation and serenity. While there aren’t any changing rooms, chairs and umbrellas are available for rent and snacks for purchase. Amenities: parking (free); toilets. Best for: solitude; snorkeling; swimming; walking.

TOBACCO BAY

The most popular beach near St. George’s—about 15 minutes northwest of the town on foot—this small north-shore strand is huddled in a coral cove surrounded by rock formations. Its beach house serves burgers and salads as well as specialty cocktails. Equipment rentals including umbrellas, chairs, floaties, and snorkel sets, and ample parking are also available. It’s a 10-minute hike from the bus stop in the town of St. George’s, or you can flag down a taxi. In high season the beach is busy, especially midweek, when the cruise ships are docked; check their website for information on Friday night events, bonfires, and live music. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free); toilets; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; swimming.

CHAPLIN AND STONEHOLE BAYS

In a secluded area east along the dunes from Horseshoe Bay, these tiny adjacent beaches almost disappear at high tide. Like Horseshoe Bay, the beach fronts South Shore Park; it often experiences a strong wind and surf, so the waters may be too cloudy to snorkel. Wander farther along the dunes and you can find several other tiny, peaceful beaches before you eventually reach Warwick Long Bay. Amenities: parking (free). Best for: solitude; swimming; walking.

ELBOW BEACH

Swimming and bodysurfing are great at this beach, which is bordered by the prime strand of sand reserved for guests of the Elbow Beach Hotel on the left, and the ultra-exclusive Coral Beach Club beach area on the right. It’s a pleasant setting for a late-evening stroll, with the lights from nearby hotels dancing on the water. If you’re planning a daytime visit during summer months, be sure to arrive early to claim your spot as this popular beach is often crowded. In addition to sun-tanners and joggers, groups of locals also gather here to play football and volleyball. Protective coral reefs make the waters some of the safest on the island, and a good choice for families. A lunch wagon sometimes sells fast food and cold drinks during the day, and Mickey’s Beach Bar (part of the Elbow Beach Hotel) is open for lunch and dinner, though it may be difficult to get a table without a reservation. Amenities: parking (free); water sports. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; walking.

JOHN SMITH’S BAY

Just past Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, this beach consists of a pretty strand of long, flat, open sand. The presence of a lifeguard in summer makes it an ideal place to bring children. The only public beach in Smith’s Parish, John Smith’s Bay is also popular with locals. Groups of young folk like to gather in the park area surrounding the beach for parties, especially on weekends and holidays, so if you’re not in the mood for a festive bunch with music and plenty of beer, this may not be the place for you. Lots of scooter parking is available as is the occasional local food vendor. Amenities: lifeguards; parking (free). Best for: partiers; snorkeling; swimming.

HORSESHOE BAY

When locals say they’re going to “the beach,” they’re generally referring to Horseshoe Bay, the island’s most popular. With clear water, a 0.3-mile crescent of pink sand, a vibrant social scene, and the uncluttered backdrop of South Shore Park, Horseshoe Bay has everything you could ask of a Bermudian beach. A snack bar, changing rooms, beach-rental facilities, and lifeguards add to its appeal. The Good Friday Annual Kite Festival also takes place here. The undertow can be strong, especially on the main beach. A better place for children is Horseshoe Baby Beach. Before 2003’s Hurricane Fabian, this beach was reached by climbing a trail over the dunes at the western end of Horseshoe Bay. Fabian’s storm surge ploughed right through those dunes, creating a wide walkway for eager little beachgoers. Sheltered from the ocean by a ring of rocks, this cove is shallow and almost perfectly calm. In summer, toddlers can find lots of playmates. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (free); showers; toilets. Best for: partiers; swimming; walking.

CLEARWATER BEACH

On the eastern tip of the island in St. David’s, Clearwater is a long sandy strip of beach that’s popular with serious swimmers and triathletes who use it as a training ground. But don’t be intimidated: the young and old also flock here to wade in the shallow water, and there are buoy markers that identify where the beach becomes deeper. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles! Clearwater is one of the few beaches in Bermuda that has a restaurant on the premises called Gombey’s, serving kids’ picnic favorites such as burgers and fries as well as island classics like Bermudian fish chowder and Jamaican jerk chicken. There’s also an in-house bar when the five-o’clock-somewhere mood strikes. Beach bathrooms, lifeguards during the tourist season (April through September), and a playground make this a great choice for families. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (free); toilets. Best for: partiers; sunrise; swimming; walking.

SHELLY BAY BEACH

Known for its sandy bottom and shallow water, Shelly Bay is a good place to take small children. It also has shade trees, a rarity at Bermudian beaches. A large playground behind the beach attracts hordes of youngsters on weekends and during school holidays. There’s also a nearby soccer and cricket practice field and a public basketball court. Keep an eye out for the food truck that often stops in the parking lot behind the beach. Amenities: parking (free). Best for: partiers; swimming.

TURTLE BEACH

Down a stretch from Clearwater Beach, adjacent to Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, Turtle Beach offers the same tranquility, but with a bit less traffic. The water’s also a deeper turquoise color here, and very calm. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a turtle. There’s also a lifeguard station with a guard on duty. When your tummy grumbles, it’s a short walk to Gombey’s Restaurant. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards. Best for: solitude; snorkeling; swimming.

WEST WHALE BAY

This beach can be a secluded oasis if you go at the right time: sunset. To get to the beach, you need to cross a large grassy field and walk down a natural rock formation path. If you’re looking to avoid the crowd and experience a breathtaking view, this is your spot. The park also features several picnic tables and public bathroom facilities. Amenities: parking (free); toilets. Best for: solitude; snorkeling; sunset; swimming.

ASTWOOD COVE AND PARK

On weekends you can often find lots of children and families at this small, yet popular beach. The Astwood Park area is shady and grassy, with a great view of the ocean, making it popular among locals for birthday parties, picnics, and weddings. Though accessible via one of Bermuda’s main roads, it’s quite secluded; the few benches scattered around the area are a great vantage point to share a romantic evening. If you’re bringing kids, watch out for the steep climb from the park down to the beach area. Amenities: parking (free). Best for: solitude; swimming.

FORT ST. CATHERINE BEACH

Fort St. Catherine is one of the larger north-shore beaches, and the water’s deep enough for a serious swim. If and when you get beach-bummed out, head over to the military fort next door, for which this beach is named. A quick tour of the structure will be a welcome break from the strong sun as there is little shade along the beach. For a romantic evening enjoy a beautiful alfresco meal at The Beach House overlooking Achilles’ Bay just across the street. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free). Best for: solitude; snorkeling; sunset; swimming.

SNORKEL PARK BEACH

This is a popular spot for tourists as well as local families who like to treat their children to a sheltered white sand beach and pristine views of the water. Enjoy local and American cuisine while sipping a frozen cocktail at Hammerheads Bar and Grill; on-site water-sport and beach equipment rentals are available for the excitement of kids and parents alike. A recently updated playground located outside the park features a 70-foot green moray eel and a replica of the St. David’s Lighthouse. If your cruise ship docks in Dockyard, Snorkel Park Beach is just a short walk from the cruise terminal. Before you leave, be sure to stop in the Clocktower Mall and the Craft Market to pick up a souvenir or two. Also nearby are the Bone Fish Bar & Grill, the Frog & Onion Pub, the Bermuda Rum Cake Company, the Dockyard Ferry Terminal, and an ATM. At night, Snorkel transforms into a lively nightclub area, especially on Monday and Thursday when live DJs spin top 40, soca, reggae, and dancehall hits. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free); toilets; water sports. Best for: partiers; snorkeling; sunset; swimming.