Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
- Map of the 30 Best Beaches in the Caribbean
- The 3 Best Beaches in the Lucayan Archipelago
- The 8 Best Beaches in the Greater Antilles
- The 19 Best Beaches in the Lesser Antilles
- 1. Anse Chastanet Beach, Saint Lucia
- 2. Blue Bay, Curaçao
- 3. Bottom Bay Beach, Barbados
- 4. Carr’s Bay Beach, Montserrat
- 5. Champagne Beach, Dominica
- 6. Cinnamon Bay Beach, U.S. Virgin Islands
- 7. Darkwood Beach, Antigua and Barbuda
- 8. Eagle Beach, Aruba
- 9. Frigate Bay South, Saint Kitts and Nevis
- 10. Île Morpion, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- 11. La Toc Beach, Saint Lucia
- 12. Levera Beach, Grenada
- 13. Magazine Beach, Grenada
- 14. Maho Beach, Sint Maarten
- 15. Maracas Bay Beach, Trinidad and Tobago
- 16. Orient Beach, Saint Martin
- 17. Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
- 18. Shell Beach, Saint Barthélemy
- 19. Smuggler’s Cove, British Virgin Islands
- Final Thoughts
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The Caribbean is a tropical paradise in the Atlantic Ocean. With 700 islands, it’s a beach haven for people on the hunt for sand, sun, and beautiful water.
There are 13 sovereign states and numerous other territories, each of which has unique beaches that have the potential to be the setting for an ideal island vacation. With that many options, choosing where you want to go for your getaway can feel like a daunting task.
Planning a Caribbean trip shouldn’t be stressful, though. To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve taken on the task of evaluating the region’s numerous beaches.
Map of the 30 Best Beaches in the Caribbean
The 3 Best Beaches in the Lucayan Archipelago
1. Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos Islands
If you visit Grace Bay Beach, you’ll be treated to white sand and blue water for as far as the eye can see. Despite being an acclaimed shore, you don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by crowds. The beach is long and wide, which gives visitors plenty of room to stretch out even on busy days during the high tourist season between December and March.
It’s even been voted the #1 beach in the world numerous times, according to visitors. The water is generally calm, but winter currents create a few more waves. These waves aren’t very strong, but make sure you’re aware of them if you venture into the water a little bit.
There isn’t much natural shade near the water either. Make sure to pack sun protection and try to avoid laying out in the sand for an extended time.
2. Saunders Beach, Bahamas
There’s something for everyone at Saunders Beach. If you’re the type of person who can’t go to the shore without getting in the water, this is an optimal spot since the current is nearly non-existent. If you want to leave some of the bustles of the city behind, Saunders is a few miles away from the downtown area.
Nature-loving kids will have a blast watching the snails and hermit crabs that call the sand home. Just make sure they know not to bother any creatures they see. People who like peace and quiet can notice the beach is calm in the morning hours until about noon. After then, more visitors start to arrive, which can add commotion.
There aren’t too many “tourist trap” shops or restaurants, but there are a few places where you can grab some food or a souvenir while enjoying your beach day.
3. Tropic of Cancer Beach, Bahamas
Tropic of Cancer Beach, also known as Pelican Beach, is a pristine and practically untouched stretch of coastline. The water here is known for its turquoise hue that looks like it belongs in a painting, especially when paired with its powdery-white sand.
The beach gets its primary name because it falls on the Tropic of Cancer latitude line. If you visit in June, you can see the sun directly overhead. This beach is quiet and quite long. You won’t have trouble finding a place to spend your beach day, even if you’re traveling with a large group.
Most of the beach has flat and even terrain, but a few areas are hilly with sand dunes you can climb for a slightly more elevated look at the horizon. There’s also a small snack bar nearby that’s open during the day if you need any refreshments.
» Related: The 15 Best Beaches in the Bahamas 
The 8 Best Beaches in the Greater Antilles
1. Bávaro Beach, Dominican Republic
Bávaro Beach offers 2 different experiences, depending on where on this stretch of the coast you decide to lay out your towel.
Parts of the beach are “private” and require a resort reservation if you wish to stay there on the sand. However, walking through these areas isn’t a problem. There are plenty of nearby restaurants, bars, and beach clubs to frequent.
If you want to sit back and be waited on, staying at one of these resorts will offer you that exact beach experience. If you’d prefer to have a quieter day that’s just a short distance from the buzz of lively beach parties, the beach has a long stretch that’s perfect.
This area has natural palm trees and soft sand that’s far enough from the bustle of the resorts and bars to be peaceful while simultaneously being close enough to join the fun if you wish.
2. Bloody Bay, Jamaica
Don’t let its name dissuade you. Bloody Bay is one of Jamaica’s most popular beaches. The area gets its moniker from its history as a whaling area. Today, this beach has a much more tranquil reputation. The beach is nice and long for all of those people who love going for walks on the sand.
The water is clear and free of seaweed which keeps the water and the shore clean. Near the shore, the water is shallow and gentle, and there are no sudden drop-offs to worry about. If you’re up for a little swimming, you can snorkel or dive a little further out from the coast. Colorful fish can be seen swimming around in the bay’s bright blue water.
Hot Tip: The beach can get busy between winter break in December and spring break in April. If you’re visiting, then make sure to scope out a spot early.
3. Doctor’s Cave Beach, Jamaica
Doctor’s Cave Beach is a private beach area that lets visitors feel like they have a tropical paradise all to themselves. There is a small fee to access Doctor’s Cave which is put towards maintaining the sand and the water to keep the area pristine for visitors. There’s also a restroom, changing area, and shower area you’re free to use once you’re on the beach.
There are restaurants and a snorkeling rental nearby. You don’t have to worry about lugging a beach bag full of food and equipment onto the sand. You can even rent a beach towel. The water is the signature bright turquoise color people come to expect from their Caribbean vacations.
You’re free to explore the area’s waters on your own since the current is gentle. However, there are also guided tours available if you don’t want to miss anything.
» Related: The 15 Best Beaches in Jamaica 
4. Kokoye Beach, Haiti
Kokoye Beach is a highly acclaimed beach, but it takes a little dedication and planning to access it. The beach is located on a remote peninsula that can’t be reached by car. If you want to spend time on the sand here, you’ll need to rent a boat or be prepared to take on a 2-hour hike.
Most tourists don’t make the effort to get to Kokoye, so it’s a secluded beach with plenty of trees and a long stretch of soft sand. The water here is calm near the shore, but swimming further out isn’t recommended to inexperienced people since waves aren’t uncommon.
If you feel comfortable with your swimming abilities, there’s an underwater cave not far off the shore you can swim to and explore. However, even if you’d prefer to stay on land, you can enjoy being immersed in the tropical landscape.
Hot Tip: Learn about the best ways to fly to the Caribbean with points and miles in our detailed guide.
5. Playa Dorada, Dominican Republic
Playa Dorada gets its name from its golden sand that stands out against the clear blue ocean. The beach is near the Puerto Plata city center, making it easy to get downtown if you need to. The beach is protected by an extensive coral reef system which keeps the current gentle and the water clean.
On the other hand, the city and the beach clubs take care of keeping the sand pristine for guests. Thanks to that hard work, the beach has the coveted blue-flag status signaling its cleanliness. The water offers a wide and open space for kitesurfing, and there are even schools that can teach you the basics of the sport.
Whether you want to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet or you’re looking for a little excitement, you’ll be able to find a spot on this over-1-mile-long stretch of shore.
Hot Tip: For another great beach experience in Dominican Republic, consider a stay at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana in Punta Cana.
6. Playa Flamenco, Puerto Rico
Playa Flamenco has earned recognition as being one of the best tropical beaches around the world. Known for its picturesque landscape, you’ll often see this beach on promotional material for Caribbean trips.
The beach has a mile-long curved shape which helps protect it from the open water. That allows the water to be shallow and gradually deepen without any strong or rough waves.
The lack of waves makes it an ideal snorkeling spot. You’ll be able to float and swim peacefully, and the still waters allow sea life to thrive. There are also deeper areas further away from the shore if you’d prefer to go on a diving excursion.
Palm trees line the sand and offer some shade when the sun is high, but if you want to relax near the water, you’ll want to bring something to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
Hot Tip: Our guide to the best beaches in Puerto Rico has even more suggestions. We also have tips on the best Puerto Rico hotels to book with points and miles!
7. Playa Varadero, Cuba
Playa Varadero, also known as Playa Azul, lets beach-goers swim for hours in warm, crystal-clear water. With over 12 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of space here, even during the busy tourist season between December and March.
With a pristine horizon that lets the sun glitter on the water, you can go for long walks at any time of day and still be blown away by how beautiful the beach is.
The sand is velvety soft and almost pure white, which adds to the tropical ambiance of the area. You’ll also be able to find plenty of shade on sunny days by laying a towel under one of the many palm trees along the shore.
Amenities like restaurants are within walking distance if you need them, but you can also enjoy a secluded day at the beach that’s far away from any noise or crowds that might develop.
8. Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
Seven Mile Beach is, as the name would lead you to believe, a 7-mile stretch of coral beach. The sand is largely made of dried, sun-bleached coral that’s washed up on shore, giving it a bright white color.
Snorkeling is popular among tourists who wish to explore the beach’s reef up close, but you don’t even have to go in the water to enjoy yourself while you’re here. You can take a relaxing walk or a jog on the sand and enjoy the cinematic views of the glittering water and swaying palm trees. Or you can just unwind and enjoy the sound of the waves.
If you’re looking for a little luxury, you can find that here as well. There are multiple resorts, such as Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, that line this part of the coast, and have amenities that range from world-class dining to private pool areas.
The 19 Best Beaches in the Lesser Antilles
1. Anse Chastanet Beach, Saint Lucia
Anse Chastanet Beach is one of the top places to relax while you’re in Saint Lucia. With its laid-back vibe and calm water, it’s the perfect place to sit back with a book and enjoy the sun and the sound of the waves. No matter where you are on the sand or in the water, you’ll be able to see the mountains in the distance, which create an awe-inspiring view.
However, if you’re up for a little more excitement, you’ll still be able to find it while you’re here. The water is calm, but under the surface is a colorful world of sea life thanks to the coral reef just off the shore.
Snorkeling excursions are available, and you can rent your own equipment if you’d prefer to go on your own. Just make sure you don’t touch the reef and admire the fish from a distance.
2. Blue Bay, Curaçao
There’s no shortage of things to do if you decide to visit Blue Bay. If you’re traveling with a group of people who are of different ages and have different interests, this beach has the most options to appeal to everyone. Between restaurants, beach clubs, and even a nearby golf course, you can spend days here without getting bored.
The beach can get pretty lively, especially during peak tourist season between December and April. However, you don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by a lot of noise and crowds. Usually, a short walk is all it takes to find a more peaceful area if you’d prefer to just sit back and relax.
There are usually lifeguards on duty here as well, so you can relax a little if you’re traveling with young children who want to splash around in the water.
3. Bottom Bay Beach, Barbados
Bottom Bay Beach is considered a hidden gem of a beach. Hidden by hills and palms, the beach is a bit more secluded from the main view.
Most tourists prefer to spend their time on one of the more traditional vacation beaches, so you’ll feel a little more like a local while you’re here. In order to get to the sand, you’ll need to trek a short distance through the trees, which help give the area an “island paradise” feel.
The water here can be a bit choppy, though. Swimming is allowed, but if you’re inexperienced or if you’re traveling with kids, it might be a good idea to stay on the sand. Instead, you might want to opt for a walk along the shore to look for shells or admire the views. Bottom Bay is on the east side of Barbados, so the sunrise is gorgeous.
4. Carr’s Bay Beach, Montserrat
Carr’s Bay is known for its soft black sand, contrasting starkly with the bright blue water. The water is shallow and gentle, without sharp drop-offs or crashing waves.
If you’re interested in Caribbean history and culture, this is also an ideal beach to visit. Old cannons and ruins of a coastal fortress are still present on the beach for you to visit and admire up close.
Nature lovers will also appreciate the views you can get of the Soufrière Hills volcano. The island is volcanic, which is responsible for giving this part of the coast its ebony color. The beach is pretty calm and peaceful for families during the day.
There are beach bars and restaurants at Little Bay to unwind and watch the sunset. It’s only a short walk to nearby Davy Hill to the supermarket if you forget anything for your beach day.
5. Champagne Beach, Dominica
Champagne Beach is unlike any other coastal stretch you’re likely to visit. The ocean floor here is actively volcanic. You don’t have to worry about any explosive eruptions, though. Instead, you can enjoy seeing and swimming among the continuous stream of bubbles that come up from the bottom of the ocean, which gives the area its name.
These underwater volcanoes also naturally heat the water, creating an underwater hot spring that makes snorkeling and wading even more pleasant. The warm water also encourages diverse sealife to flourish here. Champagne Reef, just off the shore, is alive with colorful fish and other underwater creatures.
The beach has soft, powdery white sand, rather than the traditional black variety that’s typical of coastlines with nearby volcanoes. This light color really showcases the bright turquoise of the water. Keep in mind the beach is quietest at sunrise and sunset.
6. Cinnamon Bay Beach, U.S. Virgin Islands
The natural beauty and untouched nature of the beach make it a great place to try your hand at some more adventurous beach activities. You can kayak, sail, or snorkel in the water both by yourself or with an organized group. There’s also a campground nearby if you plan to spend as much time on the beach as possible.
There’s even an archaeological lab for visitors right on the sand if you need a break from the sun and want to get a little education on the area’s history. There are a few amenities within the park, like restrooms and a general store, but don’t expect a large variety of offerings.
7. Darkwood Beach, Antigua and Barbuda
Locals and tourists both agree that Darkwood Beach is one of the best coastal stretches in Antigua and Barbuda. That’s truly saying something considering the island has over 350 publicly accessible beaches to choose from.
The views alone make this area a site worth seeing. With rolling hills, cliffs covered in lush greenery, and tropical plant life lining the sand, you’ll have a picturesque vista no matter where you look.
Darkwood is popular among beach-goers who like staying on land and those who love the water. The sand is rich with shells and smooth stones that wash in with the tide. You can spend hours hunting around for specimens. Just make sure any shells you take with you are empty.
There’s also a lively underwater environment a short distance from the coast for visitors who want to try snorkeling while they’re on vacation.
8. Eagle Beach, Aruba
If you’re an extroverted traveler who loves being around people, Eagle Beach in Aruba might be the perfect place for you. The beach is popular among tourists and locals because this part of the coast stretches to encompass resorts, restaurants, and homes.
Between December and April, there’s virtually always something going on, with parties, music, and other festivities a common occurrence. However, you can find some peaceful pockets as well. The morning is typically a pretty calm time if you’d like to relax a little bit before crowds of beach-goers start coming in.
You can swim safely without stress thanks to the gentle water and the lifeguards who are on duty during the day. There are a few trees on the sand, but other than that, there’s not much natural shade. Make sure to bring sun protection or rent a beach umbrella to stay safe.
9. Frigate Bay South, Saint Kitts and Nevis
This Saint Kitts and Nevis bay area is made up of 2 sister beaches, Frigate Bay South and Frigate Bay North. While both are beautiful, the southern stretch of the coast manages to edge out its northern neighbor.
Frigate Bay South offers a peaceful reprieve from the sun that often comes hand-in-hand with a Caribbean vacation. There are numerous trees and umbrellas available for rent on this portion of the sand. You don’t have to limit your beach day to avoid spending too much time in the sun’s rays.
This beach is also just 3 miles away from Basseterre’s downtown area, so you’re not too far away from the excitement of the island’s capital if you want to join in. You’ll have your fair share of restaurant and shop choices if you don’t want to worry about packing a picnic for an all-day beach adventure.
10. Île Morpion, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
This tiny haven in the middle of the ocean is an idyllic desert island. The island is a few miles off the coast and can be reached by boat. The island itself is just 98 feet long from one end to the other and has a small, thatched umbrella to provide a little shade.
Île Morpion is free to access, but since it’s so tiny, it can get crowded if more than a few groups visit at once. It’s recommended you rent or book a boat early in the day so you can have a few hours of privacy to enjoy the pristine sand and water.
The water is shallow around the island, but make sure to have floatation aids if you visit with children to ensure they aren’t caught off guard when the water gets deeper. The current also isn’t very strong.
11. La Toc Beach, Saint Lucia
La Toc Beach is the top Saint Lucia spot for couples. Though this beach is public, the nearby resorts tend to dissuade visitors who aren’t staying in the area from coming. It doesn’t usually get crowded here, so you can find a spot away from other beach-goers to relax.
There isn’t much natural shade, though, especially near the water. You’ll need to rent a canopy or beach umbrella or make do by laying your towel down under the trees at the edge of the sand. This isn’t a great beach to visit if you’re traveling with children who love the water. There aren’t many activities to keep them entertained, and the water gets quite deep.
If you’re visiting on your honeymoon or you just want a peaceful trip, everything you need is within walking distance, so you can spend your days relaxing on the sand.
12. Levera Beach, Grenada
Despite its beauty, Levera Beach has remained virtually untouched and remains a hidden treasure in Grenada. With a view of Sugar Loaf Island’s recognizable peak in the distance, the views on this beach are unmatched. You can walk for hours, taking in the vista or find a spot to sit and listen to the waves.
If you visit Levera Beach between March and August, it’s the perfect spot to watch the island’s leatherback turtles nest for the season. Keep in mind that these turtles are wild animals. Make sure you don’t encroach on their space and don’t try to touch them.
Since the beach doesn’t get too many visitors, it’s also a good place to snorkel, as the sea life won’t be disturbed by constant swimmers and foot traffic. You’ll have the best chance at admiring Grenada’s natural underwater environment by exploring it here.
13. Magazine Beach, Grenada
Magazine Beach offers visitors a tropical paradise that’s far away from the tourist buzz. The beach is open to the public, but it’s secluded and rarely has more than a few people at a time. You essentially get the perks of a private beach without having to pay for it.
The waves are usually gentle, and there isn’t much of a current. If you want to go for a relaxing swim, this is a good place for that. The beach is clean and naturally maintains itself. There isn’t much seaweed in the waters, which means you won’t encounter it on the sand either.
The trees that make this beach a hideaway spot also give much-needed shade. You don’t have to deal with bringing an umbrella or wide-brimmed hat to stay out of the sun’s rays when they’re at their strongest.
14. Maho Beach, Sint Maarten
Maho Beach is located on the Dutch side of Saint Martin island in the Sint Maarten territory. It’s a popular public beach that’s perfect for people who love socializing while traveling. You’ll also be treated to some one-of-a-kind viewing experiences.
An airport is nearby, so you can see planes take off and start their landing descent from the sand. There are generally more planes in the afternoon before 5 p.m., so if you want to see them, that’s the time to head to Maho.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, this probably isn’t the best beach for you. Not only are the planes understandably loud, but it gets crowded here. The morning hours tend to be a little calmer, though. Despite its popularity, the water and shore are still spotlessly clean and clear of debris for pleasant swimming.
15. Maracas Bay Beach, Trinidad and Tobago
The drive to get to Maracas Bay Beach takes you through Trinidad and Tobago’s rainforest. You’ll want to make sure you look out the window on the journey so you can admire the tropical plants and catch glimpses of the local wildlife. Once you arrive at the beach, you’ll feel like you’ve left the city behind.
The beach is protected from open water by a bay which allows the area to maintain a calm but wild environment. Lush trees line the sand, and the water is brilliantly blue. This is one of the most well-known beaches on the island, but it usually doesn’t get very crowded. You won’t have any trouble finding a shady place.
Lifeguards are on duty here from 9 a.m. until around 5 p.m., so you can swim safely even when the water is a bit choppy.
16. Orient Beach, Saint Martin
Orient Beach, also called Orient Bay Beach, is a long stretch of coastline on Saint Martin’s French side. The area is known for being safe, accommodating, and family-friendly, with numerous restaurants, shops, and activities.
The area combines French and Caribbean culture with lively colors and music while also offering plenty of peaceful spots for beach lovers who want to relax and unwind. The beach is public, but some sections are reserved for guests at nearby hotels. Keep that in mind while you’re looking for a place to play out your towel.
Since this is a pretty trafficked area, there are lifeguards keeping watch to ensure everyone swims safely. There’s an active coral reef not far from the shore if you want to do some snorkeling while you’re here. You can also stick to wading in the shallow water near the coast if you’d prefer.
17. Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
Rendezvous Bay is one of the best beaches if you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the natural sounds of the ocean. This bay is gorgeous, with light sand and bright blue water that matches the sky. However, it’s the area’s calm environment that makes it such a big draw for tourists and locals.
The beach rarely gets very busy, making it easy to scope out a spot to set up for the day. There are hotels nearby, but they don’t add much noise or chaos to the beach, especially in the morning and early afternoon hours.
You can easily sit back and listen to the gentle waves for hours if you want to unwind. You’re not isolated, though. There are nearby restaurants and little shops if you want to take a break from the sand for a while.
18. Shell Beach, Saint Barthélemy
If you’re searching for a beach location that will make you feel like you’ve stepped out of a postcard, Anse du Gouverneur is the place for you.
This beach has a wide, white sand shore that’s surrounded by bright greenery. Shell Beach is flanked by cliffs that create an inlet to protect this part of the coast from strong currents. It’s a secluded beach, so if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, this is a pretty ideal spot.
The beach is covered in tiny shells that give it its name and the sunsets here are pretty special. The water here is gentle and shallow enough to wade or swim in safely, but there aren’t any lifeguards.
19. Smuggler’s Cove, British Virgin Islands
Smuggler’s Cove is one of the best-kept secrets of the British Virgin Islands. To get to the beach, you’ll want to opt for a ferry ride. Otherwise, you’ll have to brave the narrow roads that lead to the shore.
Since it’s a little difficult to get to directly, many tourists are dissuaded from visiting. If you’re looking for a bit of seclusion, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll have the place virtually to yourself.
From the blue water to the lush greenery, the beach offers countless photo opportunities to commemorate your trip. You can even explore the tropical forestry that lines the coast if you want to take a break from your swimming or sunbathing.
Keep in mind there’s no shade near the water, so don’t lay your towel there for too long, and wear sunscreen to avoid getting a sunburn.
A beach trip to the Caribbean is at the top of many people’s bucket lists. It’s hard to go wrong when there are so many beautiful beaches worth visiting. With any luck, this list has helped you figure out your preferences so you know which one you should see first.
Featured Image Credit: Tom Jur via Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Caribbean have nice beaches?
The Caribbean is known for its beaches. There are stretches that are more geared towards traditional tourism with amenities and all-inclusive resorts. There are also sections that are more wild and natural. Each Caribbean island’s beaches are different, with their own unique perks.
Are there any sharks in the Caribbean?
Sharks can be found in the waters around the Caribbean islands. In fact, many scuba and snorkeling excursions promote the fact that tiger, reef, and hammerhead sharks might be seen. However, generally, these sharks prefer to leave people alone and won’t cause any harm.
Why is the water so clear in the Caribbean?
Caribbean waters don’t have much plankton or algae, which allows the sea to be clear and bright blue. There also isn’t much pollution or sand disturbance around many sections of the islands’ shoreline, which also helps keep the water from becoming murky or discolored.
Are Caribbean beaches safe?
The beaches in the Caribbean are generally safe. Sections with strong currents are typically marked to dissuade swimmers or surfers, but you can ask locals if you’re unsure. The beaches can be busy and crowded, so make sure you’re vigilant to avoid pickpocketing.
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