Most experienced travelers think of Barbados in terms of its beaches and outdoor activities. It is full of premier golf courses and wonderful little towns, but is most well known for its flawless waters and stunning beaches.
While we might mistakenly think of all of this island’s beaches as equally lovely or appealing, they actually differ quite substantially. This can prove a problem when you are traveling and want to spend an unforgettable day at the beach only to discover you have chosen poorly. After all, if you are more a calm water swimmer and head to Bathsheba Beach, you’ll be awed by the surfers but disappointed by the fact you won’t feel comfortable swimming.
To ensure travelers get directly to the perfect beaches for their holiday goals, we’ve compiled this no-nonsense guide to the beaches of Barbados. Before we start to explore the list, though, let’s just be sure you know the basics about Barbados and its beaches. As the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles, it has beaches that face the gentler Caribbean waters as well as the more unpredictable and powerful Atlantic waves.
This is helpful to know because it is the Atlantic coastal areas (along the north and eastern coasts), and beaches, where you want to go to find the amazing surfing as well as a lot of the birds and wildlife native to those waters. The Caribbean coastal areas (the western coast) are for the fans of sugary white sands and turquoise blue seas calm enough to snorkel in or enjoy a dip.
Barbados Windsurfing Hotspots
Though you will hear that it is the northern or eastern coastal areas of the island with the best surfing, there is one beach in the south that rates as the hottest of windsurfing hotspots – Silver Sands Beach. It is world famous as a windsurfing destination and every February it is home to the Waterman Festival.
Barbado’s Surfing Beach
If you are more of a surfer or bodysurfer than a windsurfer, Crane Beach is for you. It is along the southeastern shore of the island and is described as one of the most beautiful of the island’s many beaches. It is also home to one of the older and most appealing resorts, but it is the idyllic waves perfect for body surfing and surfing that make it a must. With an abundance of coves and conditions gentle enough for beginners, it is a fabulous beach for your “must see” list.
Nearby beaches include Bottom Bay, with its proximity to historic Sam Lord’s Castle and perfect picnicking as well as Bathsheba Beach with its charming fishing village, surf contests and Soup Bowl.
The Swimming Beaches
Though it is one of the most popular beaches on the Caribbean coast of the island, it is also ideal for swimming too. Beautiful with its swaying palms and appealing beach bar, it is also truly picturesque and offers some of the safest swimming available.
If you are more of a snorkeler or with a family, Folksetone Beach is an even better option. Part of a marine park, it has educational displays, water sports, a marine museum, wonderful reefs for exploring, and is only one short mile outside of Holetown.
Swimmers will also want to make a stop at Carlisle Bay when near Bridgetown. It is a favorite place for luxury yachts, but the crystalline waters and marine park within the bay make it perfect for those who want to swim and snorkel. In fact, there are six shipwrecks in the bay, and even novice snorkelers enjoy their time here. Browne’s Beach within the bay is often noted as the perfect swimming and picnicking destination.
There you have some great tips for getting straight to the beach and enjoying your stay in Barbados.