Valley Church Beach#8 in Best Things To Do in Antigua
Price & Hours
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.
The beach bar at Valley Church serves tropical drinks and cooks up local Antiguan fare. And with restrooms, changing rooms and showers available to the public, Valley Church makes for an easy daytrip when venturing from other parts of the island. The beach is free to access and is located a little less than a 30-minute drive southwest of the cruise port.
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#1 Shirley Heights
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.
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