Shirley Heights#1 in Best Things To Do in Antigua
Wear some comfortable shoes and make the hike from Galleon Beach in English Harbour to the summit of Shirley Heights. On a clear day, the panorama (located approximately 492 feet above sea level) affords views of the southern island of Guadeloupe and the active volcano Montserrat, which recent visitors called simply breathtaking.
It's a challenging hike up to the lookout and the Antiguan heat makes early morning the best time to make the trek. If you're not up for the task, you can also hop in a taxi – a recommendation from many past visitors. The popular Shirley Heights Lookout Restaurant & Bar rests at the summit. Come prepared to party on Sundays from 4 to 10 p.m., when local bands perform Caribbean music live, the barbecue is fired up and drinks are flowing. Be prepared for crowds, though. Recent travelers warned that, while worth it for the awe-inspiring sunset views, this party gets packed.
Admission to Shirley Heights is included in the admission fee to Nelson's Dockyard (which is $8). The Sunday evening party charges an additional fee. For more information, check out the National Parks Antigua website.
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#2 Nelson's Dockyard
If you only break from the beach for one day, head to the beautifully restored English Harbour, where you'll find Nelson's Dockyard. The naval dockyard was once the home of the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and served as the headquarters of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson from 1784 to 1787.
The Dockyard has a laundry list of attractions: There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops; the Dockyard Museum, where Nelson's telescope and tea caddy are on display; and Dow's Hill Interpretation Center, where visitors can watch a 15-minute presentation on the history and culture of the island. Other Dockyard activities include sightseeing along the marina, relaxing at the nearby beach or taking a trip up to panoramic Shirley Heights. You probably can't hit all the dockyard's attractions in one visit, but you can enjoy a fair amount if you plan ahead, which recent visitors highly recommended. The park's official website lists all there is to see and do, including special events.
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