If you’re choosing Barbados for its bountiful beaches, wise choice. The island’s many breathtaking stretches of sand range from placid coves perfect for swimming to windswept meccas for watersports. Like all the islands in the Lesser Antilles, Barbados fronts both the Caribbean Sea on the leeward side, and the windward Atlantic Ocean, giving it a split personality and a beach for every occasion.
As the most southern island in the Caribbean, Barbados is hot all year round, and its beaches provide the perfect respite from the heat. So, whether you’ve got the kids in tow, are on the lookout for a romantic spot for two or to tackle the waves on a surfboard, here is our list of the very best beaches in Barbados for the perfect stay.
1. Mullins Beach
Basking in the gentle waves of the Caribbean, Mullins is one of the best swimming beaches on the western coast. Perfect for lounging, strolling and splashing around, the whole family can enjoy its crystal clear waters. Even though the once lively beach bar is now a private members-only club, the beach itself offers plenty of action with watersports equipment rentals ranging from snorkelling gear to jet skis. For refreshments and a quick bite, head to Adrian’s Bar at the end of the beach instead.
Once a harbour, Crane Beach is home to one of the oldest and most luxurious hotels on the island, The Crane Beach Hotel. Situated on the southeast coast and close to the airport, it’s a great beach for both swimming and bodyboarding, with just enough waves for those learning to surf, too. The beach is one of Barbados’ prettiest with a defining feature you can’t find anywhere else – its close proximity to Cutters. A Bajan Cutter is the island’s iconic sandwich, and the place that makes them best is right above the beach with vendors willing to deliver them right to your lounger for a small token of appreciation.
Best Hotel Near Crane Beach: The Crane Resort & Residence
Interchangeably known as both Accra and Rockley, this long and wide stretch of sugary white sand is one of the island’s most popular hangouts. With a moderate surf and no undertow, it’s a great spot to sail, swim and snorkel, windsurf and boogie board. Drinks and snacks are readily available, and several vendors are working the beach selling everything from locally crafted jewelry to beachwear. Set perfectly in a small bay with a shallow sheltered swimming area, Accra is a great beach for kids and is hugely popular with families.
Best Hotel Near Accra (Rockley) Beach: Hilton Barbados
Meet Bathsheba, and surfing sweet spot, Soup Bowl. This is the surfing mecca of Barbados, if not the Caribbean, comparable to Oahu’s North Shore. Fronting the wild Atlantic, Bathsheba receives steady swells from November through June, creating perfect conditions for surf competitions held here annually.
This beach is for experienced surfers only and is not recommended for swimming, yet relaxing in a natural whirlpool created by the pounding surf in the shallow coral tidepools can’t be beat. If surfing’s not your thing, come for the scenery and the dramatic offshore rock formations of this wild stretch of coast, and maybe even a glimpse of pro surfer Kelly Slater shooting videos here in the winters. For a swim nearby, head south to Bath Beach, one of the east coast’s best beaches for swimming.
Where to Stay Near Bathsheba Beach: Several privately owned boutique cottages are in the area. Ask your Travel Expert for recommendations!
Another watersport paradise is Silver Sands, recognized globally as a world-class windsurfing destination. Every February, the flawless beach holds the Waterman Festival, with kite surfing, windsurfing and surfing competitions drawing plenty of global talent and a good slathering of spectators, too. Pull up a lounger to watch the pros or get in the water yourself. Although this south coast beach is deemed swimmable, there are no lifeguards present.
Best Hotel Near Silver Sands Beach: Turtle Beach
6. Miami Beach
Sitting pretty on the resort-busy south coast, Miami Beach is easily identifiable by the bright yellow lifeguard towers reminiscent of south Florida beaches. Sometimes called Enterprise Beach, Miami Beach is the perfect spot to spend a tranquil day swimming and sunning, interrupted only by beach vendors peddling the region’s famous flying fish sandwiches. Come on a Friday to enjoy the legendary Fish Fry at nearby Oistins, a quaint fishing village made famous by the tasty weekly meal.
Best Hotel Near Miami Beach: Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados
A few coves north of Miami is Dover Beach, another Bajan gem. Sporting the same bright lifeguard towers, Dover is another swimmable beach void of strong currents where you can plop down under umbrella cover and relax, enjoy an ice cream on a romantic stroll, or swim, jetski and windsurf your heart out. For a slice of local life, head to the Dover Playing Field across the street, where you can watch the Islanders play soccer and even catch a cricket match if your timing’s right.
Even the horses come to swim here! If you prefer your sea as still as glass, look no further than Pebbles Beach. While it’s just another typical piece of paradise on the island’s western shore, the beach is defined by the parade of racing horses that are brought here almost every morning for a breakfast dip. Pebbles is one of three beaches that together make up Needham’s Point, punctuated by Pier One, a terrific place for lunch or a refreshing drink.
Adjacent to Pebbles is Brownes, a picture-perfect sandy haven ideal for anyone staying in or near the capital of Bridgetown. As one of the island’s biggest beaches, Brownes stretches from Needham’s Point to the Boatyard overlooking Carlisle Bay, where historic shipwrecks have created artificial reefs now teeming with fish, attracting snorkellers and divers from around the island.
Just a mile north of Holetown on the western shore, Folkstone Beach is a full day of fun for the whole family. The delightful beach is part of the Folkstone Marine Park, built around shipwrecks that now act as artificial reefs, attracting many species of tropical fish. On land, there is a marine museum to explore, but most of the action is outside.
Carlisle Bay, home to both Brownes and Pebbles Beach, is also home to nesting green, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles, all using the western beaches at different times of the year to lay their eggs. Swim with these majestic creatures in their own environment just 20 feet offshore, in some of the clearest waters in the Caribbean.