Known for its sun-drenched stretches of powdery beaches and brilliant aquamarine seas, Barbados is a mecca for beach and water sport lovers. On the West, South and East Coasts of the island you will find several excellent spots for swimming and snorkeling as well as a wide variety of water sport amenities and dining options.
Brighton Beach: One of the more active beaches on the West Coast, Brighton Beach is located near the island’s capital city, Bridgetown. There is a popular local beach bar providing lunch and drink service, as well as beach chair and umbrella rentals. You will find a wide array of water sport options as well as the nearby Malibu Beach Club and Visitor Centre where you can tour the adjacent rum distillery.
Paynes Bay: Located between Holders Hill and Sandy Lane, Paynes Bay features ample parking and easy access to the beach. The waters are generally calm, providing excellent swimming and snorkeling conditions.
Sandy Lane: One of the island’s most stunning stretches of white sand beach, Sandy Lane provides excellent swimming and snorkeling conditions. Located south of Holetown, public access is available at Paynes Bay. Guests of the Sandy Lane hotel have access to beach chairs and umbrellas while residents of the nearby Sandy Lane estate have access to private cabana facilities.
Gibbs: Located just south of the popular Mullins Beach, Gibbs Beach offers a tranquil setting with plenty of shaded areas and excellent swimming and snorkeling conditions. Water sport amenities are also available.
Mullins: Featuring a picnic area and spacious parking facilities, Mullins Beach is a popular spot with both locals and visitors. There are beach chair and umbrella rentals as well as restaurant and bar service. The calm waters provide excellent snorkeling and swimming conditions and there are many water sport amenities available, including jet skis. Mullins is also an excellent spot to watch the sunset while enjoying a refreshing cocktail at the nearby restaurant and bar.
Speightstown: A quaint tourist area and secondary shopping centre for the island, Speightstown features many lovely beaches providing excellent swimming and snorkeling conditions. There is a public access road and parking facility near Port St. Charles Marina.
Carlisle Bay, Pebbles Beach: Some of the most popular Barbados beaches are located on the South Coast of the island, where waters are typically calm enough for swimming year-round. Carlisle Bay and Pebbles Beach provide stretches of beautiful white sand for walking, collecting shells and relaxing, while the crystal clear waters are perfect for children to play along the shore. Carlisle Bay is home to an underwater marine park with six sunken wrecks, popular with divers and snorkelers alike. It is also a popular spot for stand up paddle boarding (SUP), with several companies offering daily rentals and lessons.
Rockley / Accra Beach: Another popular beach on the South Coast, Rockley Beach, or Accra as it is commonly called, offers a wide array of amenities and facilities. Beachgoers can rent lounge chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and snorkel equipment from one of the many vendors along the beach. There are ample parking facilities, public bathrooms, showers and a small pavilion where drinks, snacks and grilled food are sold as well as souvenirs, beachwear and other items. Just steps from the beach are several hotels and Quayside Centre, an outside mall with additional shopping and dining amenities. Lifeguards are on duty.
Miami Beach: Enterprise Beach, more commonly referred to as Miami Beach, is a popular beach located just east of Oistins. It offers lots of shady spots to relax, picnic areas and waves perfect for bodyboarders. Nearby is Freights Bay, a great surf spot for beginners, and South Point, more suitable to intermediate surfers.
Silver Sands: Located on the South Coast, Silver Sands boasts ideal wind and wave conditions, making it a popular spot for windsurfers, kitesurfers and wave-riders alike. The white-sand beach plays host to several international competitions and is generally recommended for intermediate to advanced-level surfers. Rental facilities and instruction are available at nearby Silver Rock Beach and dining amenities are available at Silver Point, an area undergoing new development.
Crane Beach: With pink powder sands, aquamarine waters and a stunning backdrop of rugged cliffs and swaying coconut trees, it is easy to see why Crane Beach has been lauded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Protected by a coral reef barrier, Crane Beach provides excellent swimming and body surfing conditions. Beachgoers can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas; there are no public facilities or restaurants on the beach however lunch, snacks and bar service are available at the famous Crane Hotel, set on the cliff overlooking the beach. Visitors can access Crane Beach via the hotel (the access fee is redeemable at the restaurant or bar) or from the public access located at the far end of the beach.
Foul Bay: Just south of Crane Beach is Foul Bay, characterized by a rugged shoreline, big waves and a small fleet of colourful fishing boats. While swimming conditions are not ideal, Foul Bay is a excellent setting for picnics with several tables located beneath the palm trees. There are no dining amenities on the beach so be sure to bring your own food and drink.
Bottom Bay: One of the island’s quieter beaches, Bottom Bay is located in the parish of St. Philip. With powdery white sands, crystal blue waters and coconut palm trees, it is an idealistic tropical setting. There are no public facilities on this beach – be sure to bring your own picnic, drinks and beach equipment.
Cattlewash / Bathsheba: While the South and West Coasts are graced by the tranquil Caribbean Sea, the East Coast faces the rougher Atlantic Ocean, bringing with it vigorous breezes and pounding surf. The rugged coastline is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful vistas on the island; dramatic cliff drops, vast stretches of white sand and large rock formations make this coast a must-see on any island tour.
The Soup Bowl at Bathsheba is world-renowned with surfers and has hosted several international events, including the Reef Bowl Classic each November. Cattlewash, a long stretch of beach located further down the coastline, is studded with quaint beach houses, popular with locals as holiday rentals.
Caution: Although the smaller pools at Bathsheba and Cattlewash look inviting, swimming is not recommended on the East Coast. The waters are considered deceptively dangerous and there is no lifeguard on duty. Only the more experienced surfers should attempt the waters here.