Most Caribbean vacationers have a common goal – they want to soak up as much sunshine as possible on the most beautiful beaches. The tropical travel destination happily obliges with wonderful beaches in abundance characterized by immaculate sandbanks and crystalline waters. The beautiful Caribbean has thousands of beaches to choose from, so it’s a challenge to narrow down the best places to bask in the sun. From my experience here is my pick of the top 10 best Caribbean beaches, in no particular order…
1. Best for a lively experience – Rum Point, Cayman Islands
The vacationer seeking a lively beach experience should head to Rum Point. Located on the northern coast of Grand Cayman, this stretch of coastline offers it all: snorkeling, beach volleyball, and plenty of great restaurants and cafes to choose from. It’s a perfect mix of nature and modern amenities and is a haven for travellers looking to ditch the crowded cruise port of George Town.
2. Best for an unspolit beach – Shoal Bay in Anguilla
Sitting on the northeastern coast of Anguilla, Shoal Bay is an expansive beach coveted for its untouched atmosphere and nearby attractions. Here you can grab a beach snack from the local food vendor, rent an umbrellas and relax. To step it up a gear you can hire snorkel equipment or hop aboard a glass bottom boat. Favoured by locals and tourists alike, Shoal Bay is a top Anguilla destination.
3. Best for activities – Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica
Butterscotch sands and a quaint lighthouse await visitors at Jamaica’s famous Seven Mile Beach. The longest continuous stretch of beach on the entire island the beautiful shored coastline is ideal for the active traveller. Go for a dive or enjoy other activities such as snorkeling, wind-sailing and water-skiing. Also a great place for the more liberal minded the Seven Mile Beach’s operates a ‘clothing-optional’ policy.
4. Best for Body Surfing – Crane Beach in Barbados
Nestled on the eastern coast of Barbados, Crane Beach takes you off the beaten path while still offering everything you need for a comfortable seaside excursion. The waters although can get a bit rough, so if you’re not up for body surfing, head to the protected cove to the left of the main beach for calmer swimming. After a full day of playing in the sun, refuel with fresh seafood at nearby The Crane restaurant.
5. Best for Diving – Trunk Bay in St. Johns
Underwater adventurer enthusiasts must make a visit to Trunk Bay Beach in St. John of the US Virgin Islands. This popular area boasts an excellent opportunity for snorkelling and diving. Here you can follow a lengthy trail that extends underwater with helpful markers to guide explorers through the sea. Amenities at this beach include snack bars, restrooms, on-duty lifeguards and great spots for an afternoon picnic.
6. Best for Nudists – Orient Beach in St. Martin
Accessible only by a single road, St. Martin’s Orient Beach is a perfect place to let loose. The beach is connected to the Club Orient Resort, an entirely nude facility where guests vacation without inhibitions. Rent a lounge chair and if you dare bask topless in the sun, or suit up for some shopping opportunities found slightly north of the nudist beach.
7. Best for shallow waters – Grand Anse in Grenada
Presenting visitors with a place to escape the hustle and bustle while still allowing for some interesting people watching, Grand Anse beach is a superb shoreline that stretches for two miles along the southern coast of Grenada. The shallow waters of this tranquil beach are ideal for families with young children. Hungry guests will be able to find everything from contemporary Creole cuisine to delicious French dinners within close proximity of the waterfront.
8. Best for less crowds – Luquillo Beach in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s Luquillo Beach is notable for its extensive amenities and features. Located on the northeastern coast of the island, this beach has everything sunbathers could ask for, from equipment rentals and water sports to food vendors and on-site camping facilities. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find a truly secluded seaside area in Puerto Rico, Luquillo Beach is known as one of the less crowded destinations.
9. Best for sociable types – Palm Beach in Aruba
Visitors near the northwestern edges of Aruba will be attracted to the powdery sands and skinny swaying trees of Palm Beach. This popular area offers fishing, snorkelling, people watching and plenty of places to explore. The vicinity is home to a number of inviting resorts and restaurants, which draws many people to Palm Beach. If you’re looking for a remote sandbank to relax on, Palm Beach may not be for you, but a sociable traveller will enjoy a day spent at this lively beach.
10. Best for families – Magens Bay in St. Thomas
Magens Bay on the northern coast of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands is known as an ideal destination for vacationing with families. This beach provides everything from bathrooms and showers to boutiques and a pizzeria. In addition to the usual beach facilities, Magens Bay also has some great nearby attractions such as Fairchild Park and Emancipation Garden.
Whether you’re a parent travelling with young children or a mature vacationer looking to unleash your wild side, the plentiful beaches in Caribbean offer an ideal destination for every visitor. From the clothing-optional shores of Orient Beach to the child-friendly shallow waters of Grand Anse, you can find it all in the Caribbean. Grab your swimsuit, slather on a hearty layer of sunscreen and make your way to one of these top beach destinations – or even better take an extended tour and visit them all!
Written by Katie Boue. Katie is a Cuban-American student who studied at Florida State University’s Creative Writing program before diving into the world of travel. An avid rock climber and photographer, Ms. Boue has a true passion for adventure. She currently writes for a series of Caribbean guide sites, including caribbean-guide.info. For more information about the above mentioned destinations, check out the Guide to Caribbean Beaches.