The Ultimate Beach Tour
You're in the British Virgin Islands for some much needed sun and swimming. Well, you're in the right place! BVI beaches are among the world's most beautiful, and better yet, are endlessly varied, so you're sure to find one to suit your fancy. To help you sort out which ones to visit on your holiday here, we have come up with a list of some of the best BVI's best stretches of sand to lay a towel on.
A small, sandy beach at the western tip of Tortola, Smuggler's Cove is bordered by Belmont Estate, a quiet residential community. There are sea grapes and almond trees shading the beach's perimeter and the water is calm for swimming for much of the year. You can snorkel the coral reef at its western although the best snorkelling is along its outer perimeter. The road to Smuggler's Cove is unpaved but passable.
This is a lovely mile-long stretch of white sand beach that is ideal for leisurely walks. Long Bay Hotel with its beach bar and restaurant as well as several guest houses line its eastern portion and beach chairs for their guests are scattered along the sand. The western end, which is bordered by a palm grove, offers greater solitude and good swimming. This is an ideal beach for those wanting to work on their tan, since shade is in short supply, especially on the beach's western section.
Known as "the Surfing Beach," Apple Bay is home of the surfer's bar, Bomba's Shack, as well as a small community, guest villas, and Sebastian's and Sugar Mill hotels. The beach's best swimming is on its western end where the seabed has fewer rocks. The eastern portion is a haven for surfers in the winter months when a north sea swell makes this one of the Caribbean's favourite surf breaks.
Cane Garden Bay
This popular bay has a gently curving beach and is a popular anchorage with charter yachts which come to the bay to frequent its many good restaurants and night clubs. There are water sports concessions, which rent kayaks, windsurfers and other water toys as well as, several hotels and guesthouses. The beach itself is long with lovely white sand, ideal for sunbathing, and the water is generally sheltered making it safe for swimming most of the year.
The remains of the rum distillery, for which the bay is name, can still be seen along the roadside at its eastern end. Luxuriant sea grapes and almond trees line much of the sandy beach giving it a lush tropical feel. The water is calm much of the year, but can get rough in the winter, and swimmers should watch out for a rip current when the north sea swell is running. The bay has two beach bars, a campground and good snorkelling.
This convenient-to-reach beach is located just east of Road Town. It has a long stretch of sand and is bordered along the roadside by seagrape trees. The water in this sheltered bay is calm and ideal for swimming, making it a safe beach to bring children. It is also a popular beach for picnics and community gatherings.
On the north shore near East End, Josiah's has a dramatic wide sandy beach that is ideal for sunbathing. The swimming is good, although like most north shore beaches, one has to be careful of the northerly swell in winter. Because of the great surf, Josiah's is a popular surfing beach and occasionally competitions are held here. For refreshment, there are a couple of beach bars that serve food and drink.
This is a classic Caribbean beach. Palm fringed, wide and sandy, it could adorn a picture postcard. The sand is powdery white and the swimming is generally good, although in winter, when there is a north shore swell, the undertow can be strong. It is also the location of the Lambert Beach Resort and can be reached by a road from East End.
Little Bay is to the east of Lambert and is a small gem of a beach. The road is unpaved and rough and requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. There are large boulders at the western end, and it is fringed with seagrapes at its eastern perimeter. The beach is wide most of the year, but is only recommended for swimming in the summer months, since it is often too rough in the winter.
Long Bay, Beef Island
Although Long Bay, Beef Island is not technically a Tortola beach, it is accessible from Tortola by the Beef Island Bridge. This is a lovely curving beach with vivid white sand. The water is sheltered and is good for swimming most of the year. It is located behind the Beef Island Salt Pond and in order not to disturb nesting terns, enter by the road to Little Mountain Estates at the western end or the dirt road that skirts the pond at its eastern end.
With its giant boulders that form a series of spectacular pools and grottoes, The Baths is one of the B.V.I.'s favourite attractions. The sandy beach itself is small, and sprinkled with majestic rocks and has some trees for shade. The area, along with Devil's Bay and Spring Bay, is part of the BVI's National Parks system, and to help one explore the labyrinthine like grottoes, the National Parks Trust has provided a series of wooden ladders and ropes over some of the boulders. Outside, there is a beach bar and restroom facilities. There is also excellent snorkelling along the area's nearby underwater boulders and reef.
Another section of The Baths Protected Area, Devil's Bay is located just west of The Baths. It can be reached by a meandering path from the parking lot at the top of the park. You can also reach it from The Baths, by scrambling along the ladders and pathways within the grottoes. The beach itself is a lovely u-shaped beach fringed with white sand. The snorkelling and swimming are both good.
This is a beautiful white sand beach, and like the neighbouring Baths, it is sprinkled with giant boulders. It has crystal clear water that makes it ideal for swimming and you can snorkel the sandy bottom and along the underwater boulders. Although part of The Baths Protected Area, it is reached by road.
This is a spectacular beach on Virgin Gorda's north shore, just east of Spring Bay. The wide sand beach is reachable by boat or along a rough path from Spring Bay. It borders a private estate.
This is a sandy beach that is located along a thin neck of land that joins The Valley section of Virgin Gorda to North Sound. It is stunning to look down on from the road and because it is fairly sheltered, is good for both swimming and sunbathing. There's not much shelter from the sun though, so bring the sun block.
Mahoe Bay beach is a pretty white sand beach at the Mango Bay Resort that has a gently curving stretch of sand and vivid blue water. The beach is lined with guest villas and is good for swimming and sunbathing. There is a restaurant at the far western end of the bay.
Trellis Bay, Beef Island
Trellis Bay is on the northern shore of Beef Island, which is linked to Tortola by bridge and is the location of the BVI's main airport. It is a well-protected bay fringed by a semicircular beach. Several restaurants and shops are located there, including Aragorn's Studio, an arts and crafts centre, Boardsailing BVI and its cyber cafe and restaurant and the Loose Mongoose guesthouse and beach bar. The Last Resort, is located on Bellamy Cay, at the bay's centre.
White Bay, Jost Van Dyke
This is a beautiful beach with powdery white sand. Because the bay is relatively sheltered, it is a popular anchorage with daysail boats and day trippers from Tortola arriving from neighbouring Great Harbour by ferry (the ferry leaves from West End). Lining the beach's western section are several beach bars and a small hotel. To the east, is a campground nestled into the foliage as well as several guest houses along the hillside. The bay is linked to Great Harbour by a road and can be reached by taxi.
An uninhabited islet off Jost Van Dyke, this is the proverbial desert isle. A nature preserve, it has a lovely white sand beach, a small palm grove at the centre and little else. It is ideal for Robinson Crusoe wannabes who enjoy swimming and sunning. You can only reach it by boat, and in the winter when the swells are up, anchoring can be tricky.
Deadman's Bay, Peter Island
Idyllic palm fringed beach. There is an elegant beach restaurant and a long swathe of sand. It can be easily reached by yacht or a short ferry ride from Road Town. Yachts can anchor at the western end of the bay. White Bay is a lovely sheltered bay with white sand on the island's south shore that can only be reached by boat.
Prickley Pear, North Sound
This is an island in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda that is a beach lover's dream come true. It has a long pristine stretch of sand and because it is in the sheltered North Sound, has calm water with a slightly grassy bottom, for swimming. There is a restaurant and beach bar serving local food and burgers so if you are stranded on this desert isle you won't go hungry or thirsty.
Loblolly Bay, Anegada
This is one of the Caribbean's most sumptuous beaches. Like all Anegada beaches, the sand seems to go on forever. It has a small beach bar and sun shelters, and there are beach bars and guest cottages nearby. Loblolly is only one of many spectacular beaches on Anegada, which because of its many miles of untouched beaches, is sometimes called "The Beach Lover's Island". Other Anegada beaches include ones at Setting Point, Cow Wreck and Pomato Point.