As you experience the beaches of Antigua, it can be hard to tear yourself away and do some traditional touring, but you will not want to miss the many interesting and appealing sights awaiting you.
As you might expect, it is the larger and more developed island of Antigua where a tremendous amount can be seen and done. Here are historic sites, markets, museums, and more. A short list of the most significant and appealing spots includes:
The capital of Antigua & Barbuda, it is home to a lovely and sheltered bay, cafes and restaurants, a weekly market, and many fine shops. It is not a place for nightlife, and grows very quiet on Sundays. The top spots to explore here include the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda, the public market that occurs seven days a week (and is a wonderful spot to find everything from spices and fruits to gifts), and the neobaroque St. John's Cathedral. Dickenson Bay is just north of the city and is one of the most popular beaches, offering resorts, restaurants, water sports, vendors, and everything you need for the "quintessential" Caribbean holiday. The north side of the harbor is where Fort James is found, and this is well worth a visit.
The northern portion of the island is situated between St. John's on the western shore and the airport on the eastern shore. This is where some of the finest homes, resort properties, golfing, and the private Jumby Bay Resort are found. To reach Jumby Bay, visitors can use the catamaran shuttles to enjoy access to the villas or the amazing restaurants on the island. Offshore is also Great Bird Island where mangroves provide the perfect setting for many rare and tropical birds. Jabberwock Beach is a kitesurfer's paradise and part of any north shore experience.
Heading south from St. John's, visitors will be able to enjoy a lovely drive along Jolly Harbour. A wonderful marina is located here and served by excellent restaurants and shops. The road is also dotted with some of the island's best, and busiest beaches on weekends but quiet on weekdays. Remaining on the southbound road, you pass through rainforest, pineapple farms, and eventually reach Cades Bay. This route takes you along Fig Tree Drive where you can find many local stands selling fruit, juices and crafts. The Wallings Reservoir is along this road. Shell seekers will want to pay a visit to Hermitage Bay in the Jennings Village area.
If you want to experience the maritime heritage of this region, this sheltered harbor town at the south end of the island is the ideal place. Home to the famous (and beautifully restored) Nelson's Dockyard, it is the ideal place to watch yachts and scruffy fishing boats rub shoulders. You can also enjoy tours from Shirley Heights, stroll through the rainforests to gorgeous beach of Rendezvous Bay, or take a look at the 1676 St. Paul's Anglican Church. A ruined fort is also located nearby (Fort Berkeley). Two excellent beaches are an easy walk from town - Galleon Beach and Pigeon Point.
Less developed than the rest of the island, the eastern areas include Half Moon Bay in the southeast, the village of Bethesda, the Antigua Donkey Sanctuary, Nonsuch Bay, Harmony Hall, and the not to be missed Betty's Hope. This is the island's first sugar plantation, built in 1650 and restored to working condition for visitors to explore and discover.
Naturally, this list just touches on the top spots to explore on a visit to the island of Antigua. There are many small villages that you will pass along the roadways, as well as a great many trails that lead into the hills or down to the small beaches and bays. Take time to explore these places or simply to stop and breathe in the air.