Bermuda is one of the world’s leading beach resorts. It boasts miles of pink shoreline, broken only now and then by cliffs that form sheltered coves. As you may have heard, the sand is uncommonly soft and blissfully pink—a rosy hue created by single celled organisms called foraminifera, which shed their red outer shells that in turn get pulverized into grains of sand. And no two beaches are alike. Some stretches have shallow, sandy bottoms perfect for families with young children, while others feature powerful surf and endless coastlines great for long walks. Some beaches (usually the larger ones) have lifeguards; others do not. Hotels and private clubs often have their own beaches and facilities. Even if you’re not registered at a hotel or resort, you can often use their beach and facilities if you become a customer by having lunch there (just don’t make it obvious that you’re not a hotel guest since this is very much an unwritten rule).
Here’s a list of the island’s most famous sands, arranged clockwise beginning with the south-shore beaches closest to the City of Hamilton.
One of the most popular beaches in Bermuda, this Paget Parish stretch features nearly one mile of pink sand and is flanked by three mid-sized resorts—Coral Beach Club, Coco Beach Resort and the Elbow Beach Hotel. You don’t have to pay a dime to enjoy this spectacular slice of sand. Simply enter through the access lane off South Road and find your own little piece of paradise. Or you can splash out. For $100, you can rent an umbrella and a pair of chaise lounges while being served by a team of waiters who’ll bring you food and drinks from nearby Mickey’s Beach Bistro. Because protective coral reefs surround it, Elbow Beach is one of the safest on the island, so you’ll see families enjoying the calm waves and pedestrians walking its long coastline.
This Warwick Parish public beach has no problem with overcrowding during most of the year; it’s in a remote location, at the bottom of a steep, winding road that intersects with South Road. Many single travelers and couples head here to escape the families that tend to overrun beaches, such as Elbow Beach, in the high season. We prefer this beach for many reasons, one of them being that its cliffs are home to nesting Bermuda longtails, also known as white-tailed tropic birds. Astwood Beach has public restrooms but not many other facilities. Astwood Park, a favorite picnic and hiking area, is nearby. If you prefer your beaches small and secluded, head here.
Warwick Long Bay
Like Astwood Cove, this is one of the best places for people who want to find solitude. True to its name, it features the longest uninterrupted stretch of pink sand on the island. This expanse offers plenty of space to escape the crowds. Against a backdrop of scrubland and low grasses, the beach lies on the southern side of South Shore Park, in Warwick Parish. Despite the frequent winds, the waves are surprisingly small thanks to an offshore reef. Have your camera ready: jutting above the water less than 60m (200 ft.) from the shore is a jagged coral island that, because of its contoured shape, appears to be floating above the water’s foam. You’ll find restrooms near the parking area but little else, so make sure you bring everything you need to enjoy the day. Important: there are no lifeguards on duty so be sure that your swimming skills are up to par—riptides are common in summer.
Directly adjacent to Warwick Long Bay is this calm, secluded cove, perfect for families with young children. Thanks to a protective horseshoe of volcanic rock, this quiet bay features serene, standing water—akin to a natural, saltwater pool. In fact, it isn’t much more than six-feet-deep, making it ideal for little swimmers. Fish like it, too, and snorkelers will encounter schools of colorful parrotfish at the back of the bay. To get here, enter the beach at Warwick Long Bay and head west over the sand dunes; it’s no more than a five-minute walk. For one of the very best views, swim to the back of the cove and climb the natural rock stairs carved out of the cliff. Once at the top you’ll be treated to a sweeping panorama of Bermuda’s stunning south shore. There are no facilities here, but it’s close enough to Warwick Long Bay to walk over and use its restrooms.
Near Jobson’s Cove in Warwick Parish, Stonehole Bay is more open and less sheltered than Jobson’s, with a sandy shoreline that’s studded with big rocks. It’s almost never crowded, and wading is safe even though strong waves sometimes make the waters cloudy—so they’re less than ideal for snorkeling. There are no facilities at Stonehole Bay.
Straddling the boundary between Warwick and Southampton parishes, this small but secluded beach disappears almost completely during storms and exceptionally high tides. Geologists come here to admire the open-air coral barrier that partially separates one half of the beach from the other. Chaplin Bay, like its more famous neighbor, Horseshoe Bay (see below), lies at the southern extremity of South Shore Park. From Chaplin, you can walk over to use the facilities and equipment at Horseshoe, but you’ll enjoy more solitude here than at the more active Horseshoe Bay.
Horseshoe Bay Beach
With its quarter-mile-long curved strip of pink sand, Horseshoe Bay, on South Road in Southampton Parish, is Bermuda’s most famous beach. That means it’s likely to be crowded, especially if cruise ships are in port. Most tourists congregate near its main entrance, so our advice is to walk to the eastern edge of the beach to avoid the cruise ship crowds. On the plus side, the beach has a lot of useful facilities like bathrooms, showers and changing facilities (at the main entrance); a lunch counter and concession area for souvenirs and sundry items; a full-service restaurant with a full bar; and a beach stand where you can rent chaise lounges and umbrellas. Unlike most beaches in Bermuda, Horseshoe also boasts a team of lifeguards who keep a watchful eye on its waters from May through September, an important service: the bay is known for powerful riptides and Portuguese man-of-war, venomous jellyfish that sting and occasionally wash up on the beach. Families head to Baby Beach, a calm lagoon of still saltwater on Horseshoe’s far west end.
Located in Southampton Parish at the west end of South Road, this picturesque cove has Bermuda’s very best snorkeling. Simply enter the beach via the wooden stairway, then walk to the west end of the bay. There you’ll find the beginnings of a natural coral trail that leads to two massive coral boilers, about 100 yards offshore teeming with parrotfish, angelfish, sergeant majors and more. Swim around the rocks and hug the eastern edge of the bay upon your return to shore to spot healthy elk horn and brain coral, plus large schools of colorful reef fish in this aquarium-like cove. You’ll need to bring your own gear since there’s nothing more than public bathrooms at this National Park.
Somerset Long Bay
Thanks to offshore storms, which stir up the waters northwest of Bermuda, the bottom of this beach isn’t always sandy or of a consistent depth. For that reason, many people find Somerset Long Bay better suited to beachcombing or long walks than to swimming. Nevertheless, many favor this beach when they’re looking for seclusion since it’s tucked away in sleepy Sandys Parish. The undeveloped neighboring parkland shelters it from the rest of the island, and the beach’s crescent shape and length—about one-third of a mile—make it unusual by Bermudian standards. Bird watchers will love its proximity to the Bermuda Audubon Society Nature Reserve (www.audubon.bm), where you can go for long walks and enjoy moments of solitude—except on weekends, when family picnics abound.
Snorkel Park Beach
You won’t find many locals at this bustling white sand beach located within the Royal Naval Dockyard on Bermuda’s west end; this is where the bulk of cruise ship passengers descend after exiting their mega ship at King’s Wharf, a short walk away. With loud reggae music, water sports rentals and a full-service restaurant serving lunch and stiff drinks, Snorkel Park has a cheesy vibe. That being said, the snorkeling here is pretty good (www.snorkelparkbeach.com; tel. 441/234-6989; $5 for adults, free for kids 12 and under).
Because it’s located on the calm north shore in Hamilton Parish, this shady beach is best for families with small children—waves are virtually nonexistent and the shoreline remains shallow for several yards out to sea. There’s also a playground directly adjacent to it, so when your little one’s tire of building sand castles, they can swing, climb and run alongside local kids. Buses from the City of Hamilton heading east along the north shore, primarily no. 11, stop here.
Less than a ten-minute taxi ride from the Town of St. George’s, this tiny cove is popular with cruise shippers since it’s the only east end beach that has a full-service restaurant, free WiFi and a hut that rents chairs, umbrellas and water sports equipment (kayaks, hydro-bikes and snorkel gear). For that reason, in addition to its small size, Tobacco Bay can get crowded quickly. But on days when there are no big ships in town its calm, crystal clear waters are one Bermuda’s best snorkeling spots (www.tobaccobay.bm; tel. 441/705-2582).
St. Catherine’s Beach and Achilles Bay
Directly adjacent to the massive stone fortress for which it is named, this large north shore beach on the outskirts of the Town of St. George’s is popular with locals who comb it for beach glass and swim in its deep, calm waters. In 2020 a massive hotel called the The Residences at St. Regis Bermuda is set to open along its shoreline in the second quarter of that year—an event that will definitely affect the beach’s ambiance. About a five-minute walk east, on the opposite side of Fort St. Catherine is Achilles Bay, a tiny beach not far from where the Sea Venture originally wrecked on a reef just offshore in 1609.
John Smith’s Bay
This is the only public beach in Smith’s Parish and one of the few in Bermuda with lifeguards from May to September. It’s more popular with residents of Bermuda’s eastern end than with visitors, but if you’ve rented a private home on that side of the island, this long stretch of pale pink sand couldn’t be more ideal.
Clearwater Beach, Turtle Bay and Long Bay
This trio of family-friendly pink sank beaches is located on St. David’s Island, one of the two main islands that make up the Parish of St. George’s on Bermuda’s far east end. Of the three, Clearwater is the most popular since its waters are shallow and still—all the better to spot sea turtles, which are often seen popping their heads up and swimming down below.
Getting to the Beach by Bus: If you’re headed to popular west end beaches including Elbow Beach, Astwood Cove, Warwick Long Bay, Jobson’s Cove, Stonehole Bay, Chaplin Bay, Horseshoe Bay and Church Bay take bus number 7, which runs along South Road. Beaches west of those, including Somerset Long Bay and Snorkel Park Beach are served by buses 7 and 8, which makes their final stops at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Unsure where to get off? Simply tell your driver where you’re headed when you step onboard—just make sure that you’ve got pre-purchased tickets or exact change in coins, since drivers cannot make change and do not accept bills.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.