Beautiful beaches are Anguilla’s specialty. Here are our top picks.
For such a small island, Anguilla packs a punch in natural beauty. The tiny Caribbean paradise, at just 35 square miles, has a whopping 33 white sand beaches—and they’re all idyllic. Here are the best of the best for your next Caribbean adventure.
It’s a beach so nice they named it twice: Shoal Bay East and Shoal Bay West. People usually refer to Shoal Bay East, or Shoal Bay, when this beach is in conversation. Possibly the single most photographed of Anguilla’s beaches, Shoal Bay has powder-fine slightly pinkish sand, near-constant light trade winds, that stunning Caribbean turquoise water, and all the right ingredients for a beach that’s perfectly extraordinary.
Gorgeous Meads Bay has the same iridescent turquoise water you’ll find elsewhere on the island, but it stands out because of its top resorts and fine restaurants. Stay at dreamy places like Malliouhana and Carimar Beach Club and eat at the legendary Blanchards for a quintessential Anguilla experience.
Located in the Southwest portion of Anguilla near Rendezvous Bay and Maundays Bay, Cove Bay faces St. Maarten and has powdery white sand. One of Anguilla’s larger beaches, Cove Bay is used by swimmers, kitesurfers, and occasionally folks on horseback.
Although you may have heard of Captain’s Bay, chances are you haven’t gone there. Located near the somewhat distant East End of Anguilla, Captain’s Bay is not easy to reach because you need to know exactly where you’re going (but an experienced local guide can help). There are no signs and the road is rough. Once you get there, you’ll find no services—so you’ll need to bring snacks—but if you want privacy, this is your beach.
Located on Northeast Anguilla, Island Harbour is primarily a fishing village, but there’s a tranquil little beach, too. Hang out in the area and you’ll find wonderful pastries and delicious pizza at laid-back beach restaurants. It’s a great place to meet locals.
This gray-sand beach is often referred to as “Little Anguilla Beach at Little Bay” and yes, it’s quite little. It’s also quiet, ultra-relaxing, and only plays host to a few beachgoers at any given time. And, if you like snorkeling, night dives, or climbing rocks and jumping off the top into the water, this is the spot. You must get here either by climbing down a rock ledge using ropes or by boat from Crocus Bay.
If your top priority for a beach is buzzy nightlife, head to Sandy Ground. Located on the Northwest coast, it’s where everyone seems to end up in Anguilla, especially for parties that spring up often. Expect to hear music, drink potent libations, and encounter the antithesis of that laid-back, quiet reputation that Anguilla has earned for itself.
Sandy Island—a little offshore cay—makes Anguilla seem boisterous by comparison. You must get here by ferry from Sandy Ground, but the trip is worth it: The small but gorgeous bit of beach delivers the true definition of serenity.