Hitting the Beach
The best beaches are at the Baths, where giant boulders form a series of tranquil pools and grottoes flooded with seawater. Nearby snorkeling is excellent, and you can rent gear on the beach. Scientists think the boulders were brought to the surface eons ago by volcanic activity. The Baths and surrounding areas are part of a proposed system of parks and protected areas in the B.V.I. The protected area encompasses 273 hectares (675 acres) of land, including sites at Little Fort, Spring Bay, and Devil's Bay on the east coast.
Devil's Bay National Park can be reached by a trail from the Baths. A 15-minute walk through boulders and dry coastal vegetation ends on a secluded coral-sand beach.
Neighboring the Baths is Spring Bay, one of the best of the island's beaches, with white sand, clear water, and good snorkeling. Trunk Bay is a wide, sandy beach reachable by boat or along a rough path from Spring Bay.
Savannah Bay is a sandy beach north of the yacht harbor, and Mahoe Bay, at the Mango Bay Resort, has a gently curving beach with neon-blue water.
Kilbrides Sunchaser Scuba is located at the Bitter End Yacht Club at North Sound (tel. 800/932-4286 in the U.S., or 284/495-9638; www.sunchaserscuba.com). Kilbrides offers the best diving in the British Virgin Islands, at 15 to 20 dive sites, including the wreck of the ill-fated HMS Rhone. Prices range from $100 to $110 for a two-tank dive on one of the coral reefs. A one-tank dive in the afternoon costs $75. Equipment, except wet suits, is supplied at no charge. Hours are 7:45am to 5:30pm daily.
Consider a trek up the stairs and hiking paths that crisscross Virgin Gorda's largest stretch of undeveloped land, the Gorda Peak National Park. To reach the best departure point for your uphill trek, drive north of the Valley on the only road leading to North Sound for about 15 minutes of very hilly driving (using a four-wheel-drive vehicle is a very good idea). Stop at the base of the stairway leading steeply uphill. There's a sign pointing to the Gorda Peak National Park.
It will take between 25 and 40 minutes to reach the summit of Gorda Peak, the highest point on the island, where views out over the scattered islets of the Virgin Islands archipelago await you. There's a tower at the summit, which you can climb for even better views. Admire the flora and the fauna (birds, lizards, and nonvenomous snakes) en route. Because the vegetation you'll encounter is not particularly lush, wear protection against the sun. Bring a picnic -- tables are scattered along the hiking trails.