The archipelago in the Sargasso Sea offers beautiful reefs and beaches, among many other wonders.
Although Bermuda is more developed than some people expect, the island chain is rich with natural wonders, and it’s not just all about the pink sand beaches (although there are plenty of those). We’ve rounded up some of the most spectacular options, whether you simply want to take in the stunning Atlantic views or explore one of the country’s many nature reserves.
Crystal & Fantasy Caves
Limestone is the foundation of the Bermudian islands (and also what islanders build their homes from); it also is the source for these thrilling caves that formed over thousands of years (Crystal Cave has been a tourist attraction since 1907, Fantasy Cave since 1912). While most of the approximately 150 caves across the islands are not easily accessible, these two were opened to the public because of their particular beauty and also the enterprising business acumen of the Wilkinson family, who owned the land. Look up and see crystalline formations of stalactites dripping from the ceiling and below find stalagmites built up from the ground, as well as the perfectly clear, blue water. Both Crystal and Fantasy Caves have walkways to make them accessible to visitors, while guided tours give a first-hand account of the formation and discovery of this unique natural phenomenon.
Cooper's Island Nature Reserve
While Cooper’s Island is first and foremost a nature reserve, offering unspoiled and virtually empty beaches that make this one of Bermuda’s standout natural spots. The beaches are less busy due to the fact that the area is not accessible to motorized vehicles; you must instead park and walk about a quarter-mile walk to reach the beach. However, before taking a dip, spend some time traversing the pathways that will take you through forest and beach, which were once occupied by the U.S. Military and a NASA space-tracking station. The NASA facility recently re-opened, but the lands around have been restored to their former glory, and there are now 12-acres of nature reserve to explore, including extensive views of Castle Harbour, a salt marsh and a Wildlife Observation Tower. Reward yourself with a swim at one of the pristine beaches afterwards.
Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
One of Bermuda’s more dramatic coastal locations to explore, Spittal Pond is ideal for those who want to enjoy a bit of trekking. With over 60 acres to explore, the coastal paths here offer some of the most breathtaking views on the island (and the potential for spotting whales as they migrate past between March and April). For bird watchers, this is also an interesting spot, especially during migratory season when you might catch a glimpse of over 500 different species. There are signs dotted along the marked paths that provide insight into the variety of different species that call Spittal Pond home. Along with its diverse habitat, there are also geological wonders to discover including the “checkerboard,” which is marked by its unique cracks. And when waves aren’t crashing onto the low-lying rocks, tide pools form revealing all manner of sea life.
If you’re a sun seeker, there’s no better place to enjoy Bermuda’s pink sand than at the famous Horseshoe Bay. It has a bustling atmosphere, especially during cruise season, but if you venture a little further east along the curved stretch of beach, there is plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the generally calm water and soft pink sand Bermuda’s beaches are known for. If you prefer to be closer to the action, there is a beachside restaurant, gear rentals, restrooms and showers near the main entrance. Closer to the amenities, you can also have chairs and beach umbrella set up. For families, there is a small protected bay just to the west of the beach’s main entrance, where the smallest of beachgoers can dip in and out of the natural shallow pool protected by rocks from the south shore waves.
The Tides at Flatts Bridge
Harrington Sound is surrounded almost entirely by the mainland to the extent that you might think it’s a lake. But near the western end of the Sound stretches Flatts Bridge, connecting Hamilton Paris and Smiths Parish, and this entrypoint is the main source of the sea water that flows through from Flatts Inlet (the rest comes from the extensive cave system dotted around the Sound). There’s also a natural phenomenon that’s worth watching after you’ve visited the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, which sits just east of the bridge. If you time your visit just right, the narrow channel of Flatts Inlet allows for a strong tidal current, making for a spectacular show as the waters rush under the span of the bridge.
Warwick Long Bay Beach
As the name suggests, Warwick Long Bay is one of the longest stretches of sand on the island. While many flock to nearby Horseshoe Bay, this beach tends to be quieter. What it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in unspoiled beauty. During the summer, a small concession stand pops up to rent snorkeling gear, and on a calm day the waters around the beach are full of sea life worth exploring. There are no lifeguards on duty, so it’s important to keep an eye on the weather. When the wind picks up and the waves kick up, the waters can be a bit treacherous. There’s a steep drop-off close to the shore and a strong undertow, so even experienced swimmers should be cautious when swimming here. There are some beautiful walking trails above the beach that provide good views without requiring you to navigate the waters, and a nearby playground is popular with families.
Hog Bay Park
For absolutely unspoiled views of the South Shore, the shallow shoreline along Hog Bay Park is one of the prettiest and showcases some of the most varied shades of blue. You’ll pass rural agricultural land before the paths open up to a steep coastal track that takes you down to mostly rocky shore. During low tide, a small beach is accessible if you time your visit right. Amongst the rocks you can often find tide pools and spot hogfish or colorful parrotfish in the clear water. But venture back up the hill to enjoy the views and other treasures including an old lime kiln and woodland with the ravaged remains of cedar tree blight. Continue your trek by joining up with the Railway Trail; the western portion of the trail runs adjacent to Middle Road, which can be accessed across the road from the park’s parking lot.
Walsingham Nature Reserve
The highlight of this 12-acre nature reserve is the grotto for which the park is named. The caves surrounding the reserve feed the lagoon that is the grotto’s centerpiece, lending it a spectacular blue color. You can now take a dip or dive off the cliff that can be reached by a dirt path that runs along the edge of the lagoon. There are further trails that loop back around to give you access to more caves, mangroves, and a small beach that looks out onto Castle Harbour. If you continue along through Walsingham Nature Reserve, you’ll reach Tom Moore’s Tavern, which was built as a private residence in 1652 but is now a restaurant named after the poet, whose work was inspired by Walsingham’s unique environment.
Thrill seekers will find Admiralty Park, near Spanish Point in Pembroke Parish, the perfect spot to challenge their cliff-jumping skills. Some of the higher cliffs are as much as 20 feet tall, for those who want the most exhilarating experience. But if you aren’t interested in jumping from great heights, follow the local kids who love to use the dock jutting into Clarence Cove to practice their back flips and cannonballs. A small, secluded beach here offers calm waters for wading, and the lagoons and bays under the cliffs have caves to explore. Walking trails around the park lead to underground passageways and the remains of the Admiralty House, which was originally built for the admirals in the British Royal Navy in the 1800s. The site was also once a Navy Hospital, which might explain the sole grave near the cove, whose occupant is thought to have died during one of the four yellow fever epidemics that hit the island in the 1800s.
A quiet spot perfect for an easy stroll, the Botanical Gardens is part manicured lawns, part wild abandon. A particularly untamed wonder is the grove of banyan trees along the southwestern edge of the park, which have grown large enough that you can stand inside their trunks; it’s especially fun for children to climb the trees here. Nearby is a playground donated by the 2017 America’s Cup, which took place on the island. Other places to seek out include the well-kept maze featuring a shady pergola with benches at its center and the sensory gardens, which inspired writer Michael Ondaatje and was featured in his book, In the Skin of a Lion. You can see a copy of the book along with other Bermuda-inspired artwork at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda, located within the Garden.