US News and World Report rated Anguilla as the #1 place for Caribbean beaches. Based entirely on consumer feedback and opinion, this position demonstrates that anyone who has ever visited Anguilla knows that it beats out other locations because of its peace, beauty, and authenticity.
As the summary in US News and World Report indicated, “You’ll find something a little more authentic on Anguilla. There’s an embargo on cruise ships, casinos and high-rise hotels, but a surplus of clear, coral-filled waters, unmarked and unpaved roads, and low-key beachfront villa” (USNews, 2015). And, really, what more could you want?
However, you don’t want to spend time searching for the best beaches when you could just be lounging on them. Below are the top rated beaches that earned their ranking thanks to their quiet, open spaces, clear waters, and nearby amenities like beach shacks or restaurants, and proximity to villas or resorts.
Shoal Bay East
The most famous, it offers more than a mile of silky white sand and is close to some of the top bars and restaurants. There are resorts nearby and even a reef with world class snorkeling and diving. Of course, this means it can be a bit on the crowded side during high season, but even then the crowds are nothing close to standard beach crowds.
Often described as picture or postcard perfect, it is more than three miles long and has some of the safest and most appealing swimming. St. Martin is seen in the distance.
Calm waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming, this is where people from nearby resorts are most often found. Unfortunately, a lot of press about the beach has made it more and more popular.
Pelican pass overhead often and the large and lazy waves of the crystal clear waters are a wonderful draw to snorkelers and swimmers alike. As one travel writer claims, “Mead’s Bay by itself would be enough to qualify any island as a top beach destination.” (CaribbeanTravelMag, 2015)
Upper Shoal Bay
If you are willing to walk a bit you will find the whitest sand in the entire Caribbean. Beginning with the villa area, you walk past the tourist areas and then find one of the finest snorkeling beaches around, and it is often empty.
If you want an isolated spot for the most romantic beach picnic in history, this is the beach for you. It is where Palm Grove Beach Bar & Grill is found, and from there you walk along an arc of beach for about a mile and reach the bay where you find sea grapes lining the beach and excellent snorkeling in the waters in front of you.
Popular with the locals, it is a good spot for fishing and swimming, and many make the pilgrimage just to eat a plate Smokey’s at the Cove barbecue.
While those above denote the best beaches in general, this is not the end of the list. After all, Anguilla does also have some of the most remarkable walking and hiking beaches, too.
Mimi’s, Little Harbour, and Sea Feathers – All found along the Southeast Coast past Savannah Bay. They are each at the end of rough roads, but they are each wildly beautiful, private and excellent for those who want isolation and the beach all to themselves.
Shoal Bay West – Not truly off limits for swimming, this is the perfect beachcomber’s beach. With white sands and lots of red foram shells to be found, it is a wonderful spot for strolling and enjoying the scenery.
Captain’s Bay and Windward Point Bay – In the northeast, they are perfect hiking an walking beaches with views of St. Martin and St. Barts in the distance.
There is an abundance of beaches on Anguilla, but this represents a good sampling of the best of the very best, and you should make a point of visiting several during a stay.
And of course to finish it all, here is a list of Anguilla’s Best Beachfront Villas: