Bermuda is famous for its pink-sand beaches and crystal clear waters teeming with tropical fish. So how do you pick which beach to visit? We mapped out 12 of our favorite beaches in Bermuda –– some of which are well known but others are hidden gems that are only accessible at certain times of the day.
1. Shelly Bay Beach
Near Flatts on the western side of Harrington Sound, this strand is one of the North Shore's largest and features a nearby nature reserve, ideal for a convenient stop after a day in the city of Hamilton. The shallow waters with a sandy bottom are especially appealing to kids and non-swimmers. A beach house has restrooms, showers and changing areas.
Best for: Families with young children and non-swimmers.
2. Church Bay
This tiny stretch in Southampton Parish is a popular snorkel spot but you need to come prepared. Bring your own snorkel gear and if you don't have flippers consider packing water shoes to avoid the many rocks. If you are planning on spending your day here pack a lunch because you won't find cafes and stores along it. Snorkeling is best a low-tide and the beach nearly disappears during high tide.
Best for: Snorkelers but if it's a windy day the waters will be rough.
3. Elbow Beach
The one-mile-long beach in Paget Parish (close to Hamilton) is one of Bermuda's most popular and most luxurious shores, with world-class resorts at both ends. It also offers public access to non-hotel guests. Spend the day at the beach or buy a day pass at one of the many luxury hotels and spas.
Best for: Couples, solo cruisers and anyone looking to enjoy the fabulous waters.
4. Horseshoe Bay Beach
Located in the Southampton Parish of Hamilton this is one of the most famous beaches in Bermuda. Photographers and beach goers come from all over the world to see the unique coves and caves that make this horseshoe-shaped, pink-sand beach a favorite. A lifeguard is on duty from May to September, which is reassuring for families. Of course, fame equals popularity, and the beach does get crowded when cruise ships are in port, so plan to hit Horseshoe Bay early in the early part of the day if you can.
Best for: Beach lovers, families, photographers and solo cruisers. Some say the snorkeling is good here but it gets crowded so you'll have to swim out a bit if you want to see anything. Also great for photographers as this is the most photographed beach in all of Bermuda.
5. John Smith's Bay Beach
On the eastern side of Harrington Sound in Smith's Parish, picture-perfect John Smith's Bay offers a pretty stretch of long, flat, open sand. As the only public beach in the parish, it's chock-full of locals. Public facilities are limited, but in summer a lifeguard is on duty. It's right along the bus line and somewhat close to the caves.
Best for: Beach lovers! This beach does not have much in the way of facilities but it's the perfect stretch of sand to spend your day at. And a great place to visit if you want to get away from the crowds and spend some time relaxing like a local.
6. Warwick Long Bay Beach
Warwick Long Bay Beach is quiet and scenic, with a reef close to shore, making it a top choice for snorkeling in Bermuda. Part of the glorious stretch of South Shore National Park that connects this beach to Horseshoe Bay Beach. You won't find any restrooms or places to eat in the immediate area so plan accordingly. The coves and caves add character to this beach making and with Horseshoe Bay close by it tends to not get overcrowded.
Best for: Photographers, families, snorklers and anyone looking for a quiet beach.
7. Tobacco Bay Beach
Located on Bermuda's northeastern tip, this popular beach earned its name when survivors of the 1609 Sea Venture wreck discovered tobacco growing here. The pale-yellow stretch of beach is a treat for snorkelers, as its unusual limestone formations are a haven for many varieties of colorful fish. The columns of limestone that rise out of the water separate the bay from the open ocean, making the water quiet and the waves gentle. Located in St. George's Parish, it offers equipment rentals and is a perfect family beach. Walk to the beach from the cruise port in about 20 minutes or take a mini-bus from the town square to get there even faster. This beach can get very crowded on cruise ship days so get there early to snag a prime position.
Best for: Snorkelers, sun bathers, nature lovers and families.
8. Turtle Bay
This remote beach right outside the former NASA station offers turtle sightings for nature lovers, hiking trails for outdoors types, tranquil views for those seeking relaxation, and a playground for the kids.
Best for: Families, nature lovers and cruisers who want to relax.
9. Whale Bay Beach
A small, pink sand beach below a rocky cliff, Bermuda's Whale Bay Beach has calm waters that make it a great place for kids. In March and April you can watch pods of humpback whales migrating, but do some research before you plan a visit; the beach is only accessible during low tide.
Best for: Adventure seekers, families and whale lovers.
10. Hog Bay Beach
One of the best kept secrets in Bermuda, Hog Bay Beach is located in Hop Bay Park in Sandy's Parish and only accessible through a wooded trail-and it's only a beach at low tide. Time it right (check a tide chart) and you will find this a great spot for four hours of beach combing for gorgeous shells, as well as for wading, snorkeling and that great honored pastime of simply kicking back and relaxing.
Best for: Adventure seekers, nature lovers, snorklers and cruisers looking for hidden beach.
11. Somerset Long Bay Beach
This West End beach offers a nice getaway after a Royal Naval Dockyard visit. In keeping with the area's rural environment, the beach is low-key and unassuming. The shallow waters make it ideal for children and waders, and the adjoining nature preserve provides another diversion.
Best for: Bird watchers and walking on the beach
12. Snorkel Park Beach
In the Royal Naval Dockyard, just a few minutes' walk from the cruise ship port in King's Wharf, this area provides easy access to excellent snorkeling. This hidden cove is just outside the historic walls of the Bermuda Maritime Museum and offers a full array of water equipment, including snorkeling, kayaks, pedal boats, jet skis, scuba and power snorkeling. It also has chaise lounges, cabanas and day beds. Part of the entrance fee helps support local marine conservation.
Best for: Cruisers who want to stay close to the ship and snorkelers looking for an easy snorkel without worrying about the waves.