North to South, There’s a Beach and a Photo Op that’s Perfect for You
Famed for its 365 beaches – one for every day of the year – Antigua is understandably a sun-seeker’s dram destination. Lying near the mid-point of the Leeward Islands’ 600-mile arch that stretches clockwise from Puerto Rico to Venezuela, Antigua (pronounced an-TEE-guh, not an-tee-gwa) is really very small: only 16 miles at its longest and 12 miles at the widest point. At just 108 square miles, Antigua is half the size of St. Lucia and just slightly larger than Aruba, with a population of approximately 85,000.
With those numbers in mind, we’re focusing on what makes Antigua the ultimate Caribbean paradise: its beaches. Yes, one could theoretically visit a different beach every day of the year here, though many are isolated and difficult to access. But those that are accessible without the use of boat or aircraft are as stunning as the postcards make them out to be. And your favorite may just depend on the type of beach experience you fancy.
To the north, hubs of activity. This goes for actual active activity, as well as that of a more socially buzzy nature. And Dickenson Bay on the island’s northwest coast has both. A quintessential Caribbean beach, this is the place for travelers who want the sprawling stretches of powdery soft sand, inviting turquoise waters and plenty of ways to enjoy them both. Several resorts lining the beach offer virtually unlimited options for water sports, while a lineup of restaurants and bars make people watching here a delicious experience.
For some of the best snorkeling spots on the island, go a bit farther north to Paradise Reef, which boasts an underwater coral garden. Also this direction are the Hawksbill beaches, four secluded spots on the Five Islands peninsula. Vibrant green waters protected by coral reefs waiting to be explored.
Photo Op: Don’t skip a photo op in the iconic red phone booth situated on the edge of Dickenson Bay. The first British phone booth on the island, placed there in 1926, it’s now a whimsical throw-back to a time of scraping change together to ring friends to tell them how spectacular your beach vacation is. Now, snap a photo for instant, Instagrammable proof.
To the south, solitude on the sand, adventure on the water. Beachgoing does wonders for the soul. Sometimes, you just need to take the time to allow the sounds of lapping waves meld with the warmth of the sunshine and soft texture of the sand in your toes to really let it all go. On Antigua, some of the best places to do this are on the island’s southern coast, namely the sprawling Ffryes Beach – free of rocks and other obstacles in your stroll and offering a gradual grade into the surf for leisurely swimming. Nearby Rendezvous Bay, on the other hand, requires about a 30-minute hike through the surrounding forest, but rewards with a secluded paradise that is less developed (read: not crowded) – the perfect blend of a great workout and some much-deserved R & R.
As most of Antigua’s best beaches lie along the southern border, there are also plenty of great options for pursuits both on the water and in the water. Breathtaking Halfmoon Bay stretches for a full mile of Atlantic surf that, while often on the rough side for swimming, is perfect for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
Photo Op: Carlisle Beach, also on the south of the island, is where to go for iconic palm tree-lined beach shots. There is a resort in the center of the long stretch of golden sand here, but the north and south far ends are free of umbrellas and other accoutrements, for a truly exotic Caribbean feel.
Whatever direction you choose to venture from your call to St. John’s, the capital city of Antigua, you’re sure to find a beach that calls to your individual style of sun-soaked bliss. More than a dozen Crystal Serenity sailings through 2022 offer the opportunity to find your favorite.
Crystal invites travelers to plan for future journeys with relaxed cancellation and final payment schedules, plus a 90-day deposit window and more with Crystal Confidence 2.0.