Choosing the best beaches in the British Virgin Islands is really a matter of preference. There are a great many magnificent stretches of white, sandy beaches to choose from, each with its own character. From the secluded Smuggler’s Cove on Tortola to the majestic beauty of giant granite formations in The Baths on Virgin Gorda, the choice is yours. Bring along some sunscreen and enjoy a glorious day snorkeling in the crystal clear turquoise water and sunbathing on the powdery sandy shore.
Smuggler’s Cove on the western end of Tortola is a serene, secluded spot that attracts beachgoers who appreciate natural beauty. The area is still untouched by development, with the exception of the Smuggler’s Cove Bar back among the sea grapes and a small snack stand on the beach. Snorkelers love this beach with its coral reef just 30 yards offshore. If you go, bring along your gear and get ready for a snorkeling adventure and a possible green turtle sighting. Beach chairs may be available for rent. Driving to Smuggler’s Cove via the dirt road can be challenging, so some visitors leave their cars at Long Bay Resort, the Jolly Roger or the West End Ferry Terminal and hike to the beach.
Do not miss the jaw-dropping sight of huge granite boulders and rock formations that are strewn across the area that leads to Devil’s Bay beach on Virgin Gorda. The rocks are the result of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago through a fault in the seabed. This amazing natural collection of boulders forms warm, sheltered pools when the rocks flood during high tide. Climb on the rocks or snorkel to explore the underwater caves and tunnels formed by erosion. Devil’s Bay beach features white sand rimmed with the lush greenery typical of the island.
Sandy Cay and Sandy Spit are two tiny uninhabited islands- islets, really - located just off the coast of Jost van Dyke. For British Virgin Island vacationers who want the castaway experience and the simplicity of an idyllic setting, these beaches are ideal. Enjoy sugary white sand and luminous aqua waters. Snorkeling is excellent on Sandy Cay and along the coral in the Sandy Spit lagoon, but make sure the lagoon waters are calm before venturing in. Bring along everything you need, from water and sunscreen to snorkeling gear and beach chairs.
This inviting stretch of impeccable sand edging deep turquoise blue water boasts a mix of beach bars and snack shacks. Boaters can enter the bay through cuts in the coral that protects the beach. A 20-minute walk from Great Harbour will get you to there, or you can take a water taxi. The best snorkeling is at the far west side of the beach. Check the cruise ship schedule to avoid the crowds. Make sure to stop off at the Tamarind Bar and Grill in Great Harbour to choose from the seafood menu and enjoy island entertainment by owner Foxy Callwood.
Guana is a private island with a wonderful beach also called White Bay. Visiting yachts may use the south end of the beach where most of the reef is situated, making it ideal for snorkeling. Visitors will enjoy glorious sunset views and natural wildlife in the area. Peter Island is another privately held island in the British Virgin Islands chain. Deadman’s Bay features a mile of silky white sand fringed with rustling palm trees. The Deadman’s Beach Bar and Grill welcomes visitors.
Cane Garden Bay is a popular beach with its waterfront bars and restaurants. Because it is easily reached, this beach attracts the cruise ship crowd and others arriving on Tortola. The friendly atmosphere and calm waters make it ideal for families. However, since the reef that protects the beach is too far out to swim to, try another beach if you want snorkeling.
Long Bay offers a mile long stretch of white sandy beach, which can be quite rough in the winter if there is a north swell. There is a hotel and several guest houses at the eastern end of the beach but, if you walk west to the far end of the beach, you can find solitude and good swimming.
Apple Bay is one of the island’s surfing beaches, is also home to the infamous Bomba Shack. The main road runs right past the beach and it is quite rocky. Worth a look but not to stay – unless you are a surfer!!
Brewer's Bay is a little more remote than Cane Garden Bay and the road to it is steep and windy. However, it is a quieter and less frequented beach and offers safe swimming, some snorkelling, two bars and a campsite.
Josiah's Bay on the north shore, near East End, is another surfer’s beach. There is a bar/restaurant on the beach and several shelters. There are not many shells to be found in the BVI anymore, but this beach has always been quite good for shelling. Be warned, in the winter when a north swell is running, this beach can be very dangerous with a strong rip-tide and undertow.
Lambert Beach is a wide palm fringed beach, which can be reached from East End by a private road leading to the Lambert Beach Resort. Be warned, in the winter when a north swell is running, this beach can be very dangerous with a strong rip-tide and undertow.