Barbados is surrounded by over 70 miles of glorious palm-fringed, white sand beaches; warm, clear waters and a year round climate that is close to perfection.
Barbados law stipulates that all beaches are public so Barbadians and visitors therefore have no shortage of choice from the tranquil Caribbean Sea to the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t forget to take along your sunscreen, and remember, topless sunbathing is against the law in Barbados.
The sea on the west coast is idyllic for lazing, snorkelling and enjoying watersports like skiing. It’s also perfect for taking a stroll especially in the morning before the sun gets too hot.
Six Mens, Mullins, Gibbes and Reeds Bay
These beaches make up a magnificent stretch of beach in St. Peter with glassy, turquoise water, good snorkelling and a variety of watersports. Mullins Beach Bar offers service right to your beach chair and just a little further north there’s the new Bombas Beach Bar. Reeds Bay in Lower Carlton is a lovely, long crescent-shaped beach with easy access and great swimming.
Paynes Bay has a beautiful white sandy beach and the calm water is ideal for swimming and snorkelling with turtles, however, it can be crowded at times. There is a well-maintained public access between One Sandy Lane and Sandy Lane Hotel with limited roadside parking.
The Garden and Heron Bay
Between Royal Pavilion Hotel and Carlton in St. Peter is a lovely stretch of beach with several little paths through which you can gain access. For a delicious lunch there is the wonderful Lone Star or for an economical light bite or just a few drinks on the beach, Juju’s. Sometimes there are turtles around.
Holetown has one main beach and a couple of small ones further south. Folkstone Marine Park and Museum, located just past Settlers Beach Hotel has a snorkelling trail and a small museum about the marine life in Barbados.
Just past the northern end of Spring Garden Highway, there is a public access to this superb beach with parking, shade and great swimming.
The Cockspur Beach Club at Brighton Beach has beach chairs and umbrellas, lunch and drinks as well as loads of watersports. Caution – the area known as the ‘hot pot’, where warm water from the rum distillery flows, sometimes has dangerous currents.
South-east and East Coast
The south-east coast gets more breezy with slightly bigger waves - perfect for body surfing and boogie boards. The east coast welcomes the Atlantic rollers - Barbados has become world renowned for surfing.
A truly stunning beach with excellent body-surfing conditions. There is a moderately challenging public access to the beach by the roundabout. You can pick up a picnic lunch nearby at Cutters of Barbados, a Bajan gourmet deli. Cold drinks are also sold on the beach. L’Azure Restaurant at The Crane Resort presents a spectacular view of the beach and serves food all day including a lovely afternoon tea. There is an elevator and steps down to the beach from the res ort. Boogie boards, chairs and refreshments.
Bottom Bay and Harrismith
Bottom Bay is everyone's dream of the perfect tropical beach – cliffs, coconut palms, a cave, 50 ft white sand, brisk breezes and aquamarine sea. A first-class picnic venue!
Harrismith has much less beach area but does have a shallow lagoon for a calm dip at low tide and is also very beautiful. Both beaches have formidable steps. A handrail has been erected on the steps at Bottom Bay.
This is a long, wide, open expanse of beach on a ruggedly attractive stretch of relatively undeveloped coastline. Care should be ta ken when swimming here as the waves are big and they break onshore – there can be a strong undertow at times. There are large shady areas suitable for picnics. No chair rentals or refreshments. Refreshments can be purchased at either Cutters of Barbados, a Bajan gourmet deli, The Palms Restaurant or the Texaco Gas Station – all nearby.
Bathsheba & Cattlewash
Although these two bays on the east coast are stunningly beautiful and the sea appears to be quite inviting, swimming is very dangerous with strong and unpredictable undercurrents and no lifeguards on duty. It is best just to take a dip at low tide in the rock pools. The Atlantis Hotel in Bathsheba, recently re-opened, serves tasty lunches and punches. There is a picnic spot with tables in Bathsheba with public facilities.
The sea here is very calm and is protected by a large reef. This is a popular picnic spot with Barbadians, especially on weekends and public holidays because there’s plenty of shade, a pleasant breeze, a small playground, a car park and brand new public facilities. There is a picturesque coastal footpath that runs from Bath to Martin's Bay. It takes approximately an hour and a half to walk there and back. No chairs or refreshments.
The south coast is a little more choppy and breezy with some beaches having small waves for boogie boarding. Around south point gets breezier with slightly bigger waves – perfect for the action-packed waterman sports – surfing, paddle-surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. You can try these – boards are available for rent, along with lessons from trained professionals.
Over a mile of wide beach and calm waters, Carlisle Bay is a spectacular, crescent-shaped bay extending from Bridgetown to the Hilton Hotel. There is good snorkelling. Hazell’s Waterworld sells good quality snorkelling gear. This is an ideal bay for distance swimming and an informal group meets at the southern end on Saturdays at Sam. Pier to pier is approximately 1.2 km. Chairs, parking and refreshments.
With the new south coast boardwalk it is now possible to walk from Accra for a couple of miles to Hastings. This is a marvellous stretch for rock pooling at low tide. There are several small beaches along the way for swimming.
One of the most popular beaches on the island with parking, good swimming and trees for shade. It’s a great place for body-surfing and body-watching. Lifeguards are on duty. Shopping and supermarkets are also very close by.
Boogie boards, chairs and refreshments, showers, locally-made jewellery and souvenirs.
A favourite south coast beach. Very calm on one side, while on the other it is choppy with small waves. Picnic facilities. Parking, chairs, refreshments, showers.
Dover and Sandy Beach
These are lovely expanses of beach with good swimming conditions on either side of St. Lawrence Gap. Sandy Beach is great for families with young children because of the shallow, calm water and picturesque lagoon. Chairs and refreshments.
This is a lovely white sand beach with excellent conditions for windsurfing, wave-riding and kite-surfing. Many international windsurfing events are held here due to the ideal wind and wave conditions. DeAction Beach Shop, run by world-ranked Barbadian windsurfer Brian Talma, can be found near Silver Rock beach. They offer lessons and surfboards and windsurfing and kite-surfing equipment is also for sale or rental.
Be sure to have a colourful marker whenever you snorkel to alert watercraft of your presence.
Article Source - Ins & Outs Barbados (Miller Publishing)