The Best Beaches in Barbados

The Best Beaches in Barbados

Every Sunday morning Greg and I walk Carlisle Bay beach, starting and ending at the Barbados Yacht Club.  It’s a highlight of my life to get to take in the stunning beauty of this stretch of planet earth.  We go early when it’s still cool.  So do a lot of locals; some bring their kids.  A number of women sport shower caps and sit in the water with their girlfriends and talk.

Carlisle Bay, Barbados

Carlisle Bay, Barbados

A sailing class about to get started

A sailing class about to get started

By law, all beaches in Barbados are open to the public from the high-water mark down to the sea. Not a one is off-limits to anyone. This is great if you like to star gaze; Barbados beaches are a favorite getaway for celebrities the world over.  It’s no wonder: Barbados’ pink-white beaches, which are made of coral reefs that have been ground into a very fine powder by the waves of the ocean, are world-renowned as among the prettiest anywhere.

As a coral island, Barbados beaches are often pink-white in color. And, yes, the water is this clear.

As a coral island, Barbados beaches are often pink-white in color. And, yes, the water is this clear.

“Favorite beaches” are not necessarily those graced by the placid waters of the Caribbean Sea. It’s true that many of us like the “zen” of the calm. But if you like drama, the exciting rough and tumble of the Atlantic Ocean can’t be beat.

In its 70 miles of beaches, Barbados offers both. The water lapping the beaches of the west coast, aka our “Platinum Coast,” is the Caribbean Sea, which is as calm as a lake. The Atlantic Ocean on the east coast serves up world-class surfers’ waves; it’s fun to sit on the beach at the “Soup Bowl” in Bathsheba on the east coast and watch surfers risk life and limb for a ride on the perfect wave.

The rough beauty of Barbados' east coast beaches. Sit in the tide pools or hunt for small sea creatures.

The rough beauty of Barbados' east coast beaches. Sit in the tide pools or hunt for small sea creatures.

The south coast offers a mixture of Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean waters – these waters are not calm but not tumultuous, either. The lively water and sugar-white sands make the south coast beaches a favorite for many of our visitors.

Any “best” list is a personal effort, and listing Barbados’s best beaches is necessarily even more personal. There are so many to like, there could be any combination in any list. But here’s a stab anyway.

1. Carlisle Bay. We start near Bridgetown, our capital, on a mile-long stretch of beach running the length of historic Carlisle Bay, from the Hilton at one end (called Needham’s Point) to Bridgetown at the other. Actually, this beach is further divided into local sections like Yacht Club Beach, Burke’s Beach, Browne’s Beach and so on, but it’s one dazzling expanse, beloved by many Barbadians. My #1 pick.

2. Brandon’s Beach. On the north side of the city, along the beginnings of the West Coast. Another long stretch of amazing white sand, nestled by calm, warm waters. Brandon’s beach becomes Brighton Beach and then turns back into Brandon’s again. But whatever you call it, it’s a beauty.

3. Sandy Lane Beach. The centre of West Coast opulence. This a good place to hang out and watch the stars from the world-famous Sandy Lane Hotel come to luxuriate in the warm Caribbean Sea. Madonna, Pavarotti, Jagger, Cowell, Tiger Woods (who honeymooned there) – they’ve all been there, and they all come back. And no wonder – the beach is a pristine white, with water so clear you can see your toes wiggle.

4. Cattlewash Beach. Running for several miles along Barbados’ rough east coast, Cattlewash beach absorbs the power of the Atlantic waves’ first landfall after a journey of 3,000 miles. As a result, the surf is magnificent, pounding day and night. The places to swim are little pools and secluded areas – other spots can be dangerous. Interestingly, the east coast beaches are rough, coarse, light brown sand.

5. Crane Beach. A marvelous sight from the towering perspective of the Crane Hotel, and a delight to swim at or stroll along. This is the south-east of the island, but the waves are broken by a long barrier reef, so the sea is safe and shallow. Accessible through the hotel property or via public road. This one’s been voted one of the prettiest beaches in all of the Caribbean.

6. Accra Beach. Right in the action area of the South Coast. You’ll often spy the super-star singer Rhianna here. She’s a Barbados native and comes home often. And why wouldn’t she choose Accra Beach? Accra is a half-mile of blazing white beach, with great body-surfing and swimming areas along it.

By now, for anyone who knows Barbados, my list is bound to have its supporters and its detractors. Truth is, there’s probably not a bad beach anywhere on the island. So go ahead – explore them all, and make your own list of favorites.

5 Responses to “The Best Beaches in Barbados”

  1. Greg says:

    Beautifully written, with obvious love for the island. I’m sure you’ll get other nominations, including Long Beach, Mullins Beach, Carib Beach and others. Actually, I can’t think of a single bad beach on the island….

  2. jdid says:

    I cosign on your winner. Greatest beach in Barbados.

    Interestingly enough Carlisle Bay has changed over the years. back in the day, well lest say 25 years ago it was really divided and the surf used to come much further in.

    You couldnt walk as far towards Bridgetown, you couldnt connect from browne’s beach to the yacht club section cause the surf was all up by the back of the police boys club fence and it was difficult to get past that. the surf used to come up to the esplanade on some days too and going towards Bridgetown you’d get to a wall just past the London Bourne towers by that nightclub and just couldnt go any further.

    i love walking this beach!

  3. Wendy says:

    Cattlewash is my favourite …. love walking on it and also love it from a distance …. the patio at The Edgewater. I had a weird flight time in one time and landed at the hotel at 4am … rather than having a room for my first night in, I sat on the deck of the Edgewater and watched the night turn in to day – that vision is now burned into my memory so deeply I can always picture and hear the surf. In fact, just reminiscing has called it up again. What a great topic to debate on – there are no losers!

  4. Barbados also have many churches as well as many beaches. When you next holiday in Barbados, take some time out and visit one of the churches where you will receive a warm welcome from the locals.

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