Free Things To Do in Antigua
- #3View all PhotosfreeHalf Moon Bay#3 in AntiguaBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
You'll have to put a little effort into visiting one of the most breathtaking beaches of Antigua, as easternmost Half Moon Bay is far away from just about everything, but recent visitors promised it's well worth it. The trek has its advantages, though, namely fewer beachgoers to distract from the charm of this national park. Windsurfers will appreciate the sizeable waves toward the beach's center, while snorkelers can find calm waters near the edges. For those looking for a place to relax, the soft white sand at Half Moon Bay offers a comfortable viewpoint to enjoy the vast seascape.
The beach's off-the-beaten-path location means you'll want to visit before sunset. Half Moon is notoriously hard to find and the paved, yet windy road has little signage to help you out. Add in the no-see-ums (tiny insects, sometimes called sand flies, that come out to nibble after dark), and Half Moon is definitely a beach to enjoy when the sun is up.
- #4View all Photos#4 in AntiguaBeaches, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The four secluded Hawksbill beaches – Royal Palm Beach, Sea Grape Beach, Honeymoon Cove and Eden Beach – are technically on the property of the Hawksbill by Rex Resorts, an adults-only resort, but they're open for all tourists to enjoy. You'll want to visit Hawksbill if you're looking for more peace and quiet than Dickenson Bay can offer or calmer waves than you'll find at Half Moon Bay.
There's ample free parking at the hotel and it's just a short walk down to the four Hawksbill beaches; you'll know you're in the right spot when you see the peculiar shaped rock jutting from the water. It's this formation that gives the bay its name.
- #5View all Photos
Located in northwest Antigua in St. John Parish, Dickenson Bay is considered the island's premier beach. That's because Dickenson offers a little something for every type of beachgoer. Do you like lying in the warm sand? Check. Have you always wanted to go on a glass-bottom boat tour? Check. Maybe you like water sports to get your heart rate pumping? Check – Dickenson has it. On some days, you'll even find a few dolphins swimming alongside you in the crystal-clear water.
Dickenson Bay is one of the more accessible Antiguan beaches (plus, it's free). The beach is only a 15-minute drive north of the cruise port and there's a nearby taxi stand if you're not staying in one of the area hotels. Plenty of umbrellas and beach chairs are available to rent, according to recent beachgoers. The beach's convenient location attracts a lot of families; trek 1 mile south to Runaway Bay if you want more peace and quiet or consider a beachside stroll. Local vendors set up kiosks for a little light souvenir shopping, and there are also a handful of moderately priced shops and eateries in the area. The tourism board offers more information on its website.
- #6View all Photos
Millions of years of reef formation amount to this: the Devil's Bridge. The natural limestone arch located in eastern Antigua, near Indian Town, has sustained the crash of ocean waves for hundreds of years to form the distinct shape it is today. At the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, this natural wonder leaves an impression on sightseers. According to local lore, Antiguan slaves jumped from the arch to their deaths and the devil would claim their souls, which is where the site gets its name.
The limestone can get very slippery when wet and walking across the bridge is not advised. The bridge is also surrounded by blowholes (natural sea caves that blast sea water and air during certain weather conditions). Experts warn that those blowhole blasts can be dangerous, especially on windy days. This isn't the best outing for young kids. Know, too, that you're not allowed to swim near the bridge.
- #7View all PhotosfreeGalley Bay Beach#7 in AntiguaBeaches, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Galley Bay Beach on the northwest coast of the island has some of the best surfing waves in Antigua. Plus, it's a must-see for animal lovers. Sea turtles often leave their eggs here to nest (several times a year, but most frequently in summer). Bring your camera and plan a nighttime visit: You just might see the baby turtles hatch. If daytime is more your thing, get your snorkeling gear ready and grab a glimpse of Galley's underwater wildlife.
The thin beach stretches for nearly one mile adjacent to the Galley Bay Resort & Spa whose cottages are built into the coves of lush green landscape. Galley Bay Beach boasts the iridescent turquoise water you'd expect from Antigua and a soft, clean stretch of sand that recent visitors raved about.
- #8View all Photos#8 in AntiguaBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Just south of Jolly Harbour on the island's west coast, you'll find the serene waters and soft sands of Valley Church, and maybe even some dolphins, according to recent visitors. The natural beauty of the palm tree-lined beach is a pleasant contrast to the buzz from the nearby casino and restaurants. Despite the calmness, the water is not very clear; snorkeling is better saved for other beaches like those at Hawksbill or Galley Bay.
Local vendors stroll along the shore and personal watercraft are available for rent, but most recent visitors agreed this beach is best for lounging. And though reviewers described it as "idyllic," they also warned that the beach attracts large crowds of cruise ship passengers every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Time your visit for before or after to avoid the rush.
Explore More of Antigua
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.