Sure, Hawaii has shores of black and mossy green. And spots along Australia’s coast are blindingly white. But Bermuda’s beaches—plush, peach-pink sand produced by the erosion of tiny organisms called forams—are not to be overlooked. Measuring just 21 miles end-to-end and one mile thick at its widest point, Bermuda is home to a multitude of beaches that provide a launchpad for all kinds of activities, whether you feel like lounging, socializing, or exploring; swimming, snorkeling, or diving. The south shore, exposed to the southern Atlantic Ocean, is where you’ll find the best surf and sand, but it grows ferocious when there’s a storm coming in. The north shore, buffered by a protective coral reef on the edge of the dormant volcano that produced Bermuda, is more often tranquil. With that in mind, here are our picks for the best beaches in Bermuda, no matter the mood. (A parting tip: Real Bermudians don’t go in the water before Bermuda Day, on May 24, or after Labor Day, so plan your trip accordingly.)
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
Relax and rent a chaise
If you don’t feel like packing towels, a cooler of snacks, and all the rest—frankly, we don’t blame you—these are the beaches to explore.
Tucker’s Point Beach Club at Rosewood Bermuda
Accessible primarily to club members and overnight hotel guests, the Tucker’s Point Beach Club alone is worth the price of admission to the Rosewood Bermuda resort. Rosewood bills its shoreline as the largest privately owned beach on the island: Rows of neatly spaced chaises, dark blue umbrellas, and the occasional cabana dot the sand. And the water’s good for wading: When you start to get hot, just take a dip, rinse, and repeat. Even better, request from the Water Sports Center a stand-up paddle board or ocean kayak to take in the beach view from a different angle. Getting peckish? There’s beach dining (offerings leaning toward seafood and salads) and drink service, too. (The Aperol spritz has recently been one of the restaurant’s most popular beachfront cocktails, but we recommend the strawberry daiquiris.) Guests can also dine at the club’s restaurant, which sits on an overlook with a panoramic view of the beach below.
Elbow Beach at Coco Reef
Though the Elbow Beach resort remains closed due to the pandemic, you can still enjoy the beach itself—and all the amenities of a resort experience—via the Coco Reef resort next door. The beach is open for guests of the hotel as well as for those who purchase day passes, which run $89 for adults and $45 for kids, and include lunch, as well as beach and pool access. The pool, on the edge of a hill, overlooks the beach and the island’s South Shore; a weathered, wood-decked path leads down to the hotel’s private stretch of beach. This part of the beach has two tiers, buttressed by a low limestone wall; the upper is lined with chaises, while the lower is where beachgoers play and wade. (Watch out for some jagged rocks.) It's small, but you won’t have to worry about food, drink, towels, or entertainment, and the larger Elbow Beach is just steps away.
Hang out and socialize
Bermudians love a party. You love a party. Here are the beaches that will suit you best.
Horseshoe Bay Beach
Salmon-pink sand, teal waters—Horseshoe is the archetypal Bermuda beach. So it’s no wonder it attracts throngs of visitors and locals alike in the summer. (In fact, our readers voted it among the best island beaches in the world last year.) Horseshoe is also the site of Beachfest, the raucous beach party that takes place each July during the Cup Match cricket tournament. Despite its popularity, though, the crowds aren’t usually overwhelming—especially if you arrive before 11 a.m. to stake out a patch of sand away from the entrance. The beach’s longtime concession stand, Rum Bum Beach Bar, is being redeveloped by a new vendor called Horseshoe Bay Live, but you can still rent chairs and umbrellas for around $10 per piece. A casual restaurant also offers beach eats (catch the fresh tuna burger when it’s in season) and drinks on a patio.
Socializing? Exploring? Perfecting your tan? At Clearwater you can do it all. The beach is renowned among locals as a party spot on the weekends, but during off-peak hours it’s a quiet, tame enclave abutting the Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve. (A worthwhile destination in itself: From the Cooper’s Island observation tower it’s sometimes possible to see migrating whales.) Snacks, drinks, and equipment rentals are usually available nearby—a new vendor is slated to open this summer on the site of the beloved Gombeys Bar and Restaurant, which closed in late 2019. A side note: You might not think, with Bermuda’s abundance of beaches, that humans would need to contribute more beaches to the mix. But Clearwater is actually man-made—it was constructed in the mid-20th century and was previously part of the U.S. military base on Bermuda’s east end from 1942 to 1970.
Nature and activity
If you find beach days a little, well, snoozy, consider turning one into an opportunity to discover tide pools, secluded grottos, and less-explored corners of the island.
Warwick Long Bay
Warwick Long Bay is so named because, as you might gather, it’s Bermuda’s longest beach. Just next door to Horseshoe Bay Beach, it rarely garners the same crowds as its neighbor—tending instead to draw young locals and well-researched visitors. (Occasionally, you may find a pop-up concession stand at the entrance, but it’s better to come prepared with provisions, towels, and beach equipment.) The natural features are the real highlight here: little rock outcroppings, secluded coves, and tide pools. If you can, head toward Jobson’s Cove, a calm, intimate inlet sheltered by limestone formations, or even to Stonehole Bay, the next cove up the shore.
If exploring by sea, rather than by land, is more your speed, look no further than Church Bay. Not far from the shore, just under the surface of the water, a coral reef both protects the beach from high surf and attracts a multitude of fish—earning the beach its reputation as one of the island’s best snorkel destinations. (Be sure to bring your own gear—a concession stand operates there during some seasons, but not reliably so.) On Saturdays, the organic garden Food Forest holds a farm stand selling fresh produce and plants. Swim out a little ways toward the reef, and you’re likely to see a variety of parrotfish subspecies, damselfish and butterflyfish, and perhaps even a hogfish, as well as bulges of brain coral and outgrowths of fan coral. Views are no less stunning on land—particularly if you head up the hill above the beach, where you’ll be rewarded with a vista of the bay.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler