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Antigua

Best Antigua Cruise Beaches

Antigua claims 365 beaches or one for every day of the year. But anyone visiting the island by cruise or staying for a week at a resort just might not have enough time to visit all of them.

That may be why it’s a good idea to concentrate on the ones that matter. Note that all of the beaches on Antigua are public.

Beaches Near Cruise Port


Antigua photo
© Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism
Cruise visitors will dock at St. John's on the northwest shore of the island and have a choice of the well-developed resort beaches or the more quiet beaches with fewer crowds.

Two quiet beaches lie just north of St. John's Harbour.

Fort Bay Beach is one of the most convenient to visit via a 10-minute taxi ride from St. Johns.

Fort Bay Beach also is known as Miller’s Beach because of the restaurant called Millers that is located there.

The beach is quiet and moderately developed. Facilities nearby include jet ski rentals.

Another convenient one that lies on the tip between Fort Bay and St. John’s Harbour is Fort James Beach, named after the 17th century British fort that protected the harbor from attack.


Antigua has official taxi rates. The rate from St. John’s to Fort James and the beach at the time of this writing was $16.

Our taxi driver promised to wait for us at the beach, and he did. Other taxi cabs were available at the beach for anyone who wanted to get back to the cruise ship and didn’t have a driver who waited for them.

More popular and crowded beaches with extra amenities are found a little farther north of Fort Bay Beach -- Runaway Bay and Dickenson Bay.

Runaway Bay is a long stretch of white sand with plenty of nearby resorts and restaurants, along with rentals for watersports, chairs and umbrellas. Dickenson Bay offers many of the same amenities.

Heading South


Beaches pack the southwest coast of Antigua like this one at Carlisle Bay.
Beaches pack the southwest coast of Antigua like this one at Carlisle Bay. Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license
A second cluster of Antigua resorts lies to the south of St. John’s and offer several well-known beaches with opportunities for recreation.

Anyone with a rental car can simply hop from one beach to another.

Deep Bay is one of the closest, and like Fort Bay Beach it is only a 10-minute drive from St. John’s. It is a good location for snorkeling because of a shipwreck. Hikers can visit the nearby ruins of Fort Barrington.

Galley Bay is a popular option with surfers and turtle watchers, while Hawksbill offers four crescent beaches including one for nudists.

Farther south is Carlisle Bay, which is about a 35-minute drive from the cruise port. A taxi ride there will cost $31.

Southeast and Elsewhere


Beaches outside of St. Johns and the resort areas are generally less developed, but some good options are available.

English Harbour is a popular attraction on the southeast coast, and Pigeon Point is a convenient option five minutes away. Facilities include showers and restrooms.

On the far eastern coast is Half Moon Bay, which is now a national park. It has pink sand and a nearby restaurant.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Beaches   

March 30, 2018

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