The Best Beaches in the Caribbean
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
U.S. Virgin Islands National Park’s unique underwater snorkeling trail helps Trunk Bay stand out among St. John’s fantastic beaches, which also include Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, and Reef Bay. Warm, calm and protected waters make this a great place to see turtles and other marine life.
Pigeon Point Beach, Tobago
Sandy Pigeon Point divides two distinct beach experiences: calm waters sheltered by the Buccoo Reef on one side, and breezy Bon Accord Lagoon — ideal for windsurfing and kiteboarding — on the other. Visitors invariably snap a photo of the beach’s famous jetty, star of countless tourist brochures.
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Compared to go-go Palm Beach, Eagle Beach is an oasis of calm, with silky soft sand dotted with Aruba’s famous divi divi trees leaning into the omnipresent breeze. Modestly scaled resorts ensure that you can get a drink or snack when needed, but the lack of high-rises keeps the atmosphere laid-back.
Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Harbour Island gets a fraction of the visitors of nearby Nassau, but those who venture to this sleepy Bahamas Out Island invariably dig their toes into the cool sand of this rose-tinged coral beach.
Magens Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
Cruise ship passengers flock to this horseshoe-shaped beach, but even the occasional crowds can’t detract from the beauty of Magens Bay, shaded by acres of coconut groves. Better for sunning and wading than snorkeling, the beach has an arboretum you can explore when you need a break from the sun.
Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Salt Whistle Bay arches gracefully along a palm-studded isthmus on the Grenadine island of Mayreau, with the crystalline green-blue waters of the Caribbean on one side and a salt pond on the other. Known best to boaters plying the waters of the Tobago Cays, the beach on Carnash Bay tends to be as unpopulated as Mayreau itself, save for a few bobbing boats just offshore.
Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Grace Bay Beach stretches for a dozen glorious miles along the north coast of Providenciales, lapped by barely discernible waves that muddle in to shore across broad shallows to meet the soft white sand. Big resorts dominate the center of the beach in places, but stretches of sweet solitude are just a walk away.
Playa Paraiso, Cuba
Americans are just beginning to rediscover Cuba, and for the most part it’s the big beach resort area of Varadero that gets the attention. Cayo Largo, by contrast, is a virtually unknown island off of Cuba’s south coast with a smattering of resorts and one of the loveliest (and least developed) beaches in the Caribbean.
Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
Famously abused by the U.S. military (the Sherman tanks rusting along the shore were once used for target practice), Flamenco Beach is fringed with mangroves and known for its large population of migratory seabirds as well as great snorkeling in shallow waters.
The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Caving, diving and snorkeling among massive eroded granite boulders are legendary at this Tortola beach, where the scenery both above and below the waves more than compensates for a relatively modest strip of sandy beach.
Crane Beach, Barbados
Crane Beach has pink-tinged sand and moderate surf that’s perfect for boogie boating: locals can tell you how to get to the public beach without paying a fee, but a day pass to the Crane Resort gives you access to the hotel bar and restaurant — plus an elevator down to beach level.
Pinney's Beach, Nevis
The Four Seasons Nevis and Sunshine’s Beach Bar are the yin and yang of Pinney’s Beach — one a luxury beach resort, the other a rough-hewn beach bar best known for its potent “Killer Bee” rum punch. The beach has three miles of golden sand fringed with palms, with unobstructed views across the Narrows to nearby St. Kitts.
Anse Cochon, St. Lucia
Like St. Lucia’s landmark Pitons, the dark sands of Anse Cochon are a reminder of this lush island’s volcanic origins. Surrounded by jungle, the beach can only be accessed via boat or the Ti Kaye Resort & Spa road, but the effort is rewarded by solitude and some of St. Lucia’s best reef diving.
Shoal Bay, Anguilla
Split into east and west sections by a point known as “the Bend,” Shoal Bay ticks off all the boxes you’d expect from the best beach on Anguilla: clear, shallow water, broad swaths of sand, authentic beach bars and restaurants (try Gwen’s Reggae Bar or The Tropical Sunset), and luxury beach resorts like the Zemi Beach House (because face it: you’re going to want to stay here forever).