Beaches In Anguilla: Best In The Caribbean, Best In The World

Beaches In Anguilla: Best In The Caribbean, Best In The World

Published May 17, 2022

I’m going to make a bold claim: the island of Anguilla has some of the best beaches in the world! Now, I admit that I haven’t been to every beach on Earth, so I could be wrong. But I have seen beaches on five continents. I’ve also traveled to numerous countries and territories in the Caribbean that have phenomenal shorelines. And they all pale in comparison to Anguilla’s fine, white sand and immaculately clear waters.

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla
Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

Of course, the “best” beaches anywhere is a matter of opinion. But I think a lot of travelers would agree that Anguilla can’t be beat. In addition to the full spectrum of blues you’ll see in the water, Anguilla’s beaches are uncrowded and unspoiled. While some are lined with resorts, no beach on the island is overrun by tourists or hotels. On many (or even most) of them, you will probably have a long stretch of sand to yourself.

Rendezvous Bay Beach, Anguilla

Anguilla has a total of 33 beaches. This means you’ll have to prioritize which ones you visit unless you stay for a month or more. My friend Ismael and I spent a week there and felt like we had ample time to enjoy about a dozen different beaches. This blog post will highlight all of those! To skip down to any beach, click or tap the corresponding link below!

The Best Beaches In Anguilla

The following four beaches were my absolute favorites on the island.

Shoal Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: Yes, many
Crowds: Moderate
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: Not remote

Shoal Bay is Anguilla’s most famous and iconic beach. It’s been listed as one of the best beaches in the world, and for good reason. It faces north towards the open ocean, which means the shallow water close to shore is a gorgeous shade of light blue, while the water on the horizon is a deep navy. Shoal Bay is long and flat with fine, white sand. The waves are gentle, which makes it the perfect place to swim.

Shoal Bay is home to hotels, restaurants, and beach bars. Despite this, it wasn’t crowded when we visited in April. The pastel-colored umbrellas you’ll see along the main stretch accentuate the already amazing palette of blues and whites created by the sand, sea, and sky.

Be sure to walk up to Shoal Bay’s easternmost point, which has a totally different vibe than the rest of the beach. There aren’t any resorts up here, so it feels a world apart from the wide open beach only a few hundred feet away.

The far east side of Shoal Bay Beach
Looking towards Shoal Bay Beach from its far eastern side

Rendezvous Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: Yes, a handful of options
Crowds: Moderate
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: Not remote

If you only have time to see two beaches in Anguilla, visit Shoal Bay and Rendezvous Bay. They’re both equally amazing, but being on opposite sides of the island, they have pretty different vibes. Shoal Bay is a quieter, more relaxing beach that attracts older folks and couples. In contrast, Rendezvous seems to be more popular among families.

The water at Rendezvous Bay is lighter than at Shoal Bay, and this beach offers a good view of Saint Martin (as do all Anguillan beaches that face south). The sand here is just a shade yellower, but it’s just as soft.

Looking south from Rendezvous Bay Beach, you'll see the more mountainous island of Saint Martin in the distance

A number of hotels line Rendezvous Bay, as do some beach bars and waterfront eateries. In fact, I ate one of my favorite meals during my trip here! To learn more about that, be sure to check out my Anguilla food guide.

Savannah Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: Yes, one: Palm Grove Barbeque Grill
Crowds: Minimal
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: Fairly remote

I wouldn’t describe any beach on Anguilla as crowded. But if you want an excellent beach almost entirely to yourself, head over to Savannah Bay. There are no resorts or rows of umbrellas lining its narrow sandy shore. As such, you’ll have to bring whatever beach accessories you might need.

Savannah Bay is not hard to get to: the final stretch of road is dirt, but it’s not rough. Perhaps due to its location on the far northeast side of Anguilla, few tourists seem to come all the way out here. When we went, there was maybe one other small group of people enjoying beach.

The northern end of this beach has some rocky areas and tidepools, while everything south of there is pretty sandy. The bay is shallow and there are virtually no waves, so it’s another great beach for swimming.

Savannah Bay is home to a single beach bar and restaurant housed in a colorful shack. It offers breathtaking views of the water that you can enjoy while sipping a rum punch or feasting on lobster. To read more about the restaurant, click here!

Captain's Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: None
Crowds: None
Ease of Access: Difficult
Remoteness: Very remote

Of all the beaches on this list, Captain’s Bay is probably the most difficult to get to and the most remote. However, it is well worth the effort for adventurous travelers. It might even be my favorite beach on the main island of Anguilla!

Located on Anguilla’s northernmost point, Captain’s Bay has glittering blue water that crashes up onto soft white sand. Captain’s Bay Beach isn’t super long, and on both sides are large patches of sharp coral. Be careful not to cut your feet on them.

You might be wondering: what is that unusual building in all of these pictures? We wondered the exact same thing. At the time, it even looked abandoned. But it turns out that this is Villa Exclusivity, and as the name suggests, it’s supposed to be one of the most luxurious private vacation rentals on the island.

In fact, if you search for Villa Exclusivity online, there doesn’t appear to be an obvious way to book it or get in contact with the owners. You might have to have a personal connection in order to even inquire about it!

So, why is getting to Captain’s Bay so difficult? The answer is that the only dirt road to get there is really rough. We took our rental car and cringed every time we hit a rock or pothole, fingers crossed that we wouldn’t pop a tire or break something. Eventually, we parked the car on the side of the road and walked the rest of the way. Attempting to drive further would’ve almost certainly damaged the vehicle.

The dirt road that goes out to Captain's Bay is full of rough, rocky portions and potholes.

We probably walked about fifteen minutes to the beach after parking. We didn’t pass a single person or vehicle on the way out there, and the beach itself was empty too. Be sure to exercise basic safety precautions, including not leaving valuables in your rental vehicle. With that said, Captain’s Bay is truly stunning! If you’re up for a little adventure, you won’t want to miss this one!

Really Good Beaches

I recommend exploring this next set of beaches if you’ve already seen Shoal Bay and Rendezvous Bay.

Maundays Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: Yes, a few connected to the Cap Juluca resort
Crowds: Moderate
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: Not remote

Maundays Bay is a short distance to the west of Rendezvous, and it’s got a somewhat similar vibe. The color of the water is similar, and so are the gentle waves. However, I personally liked Rendezvous a little more than Maundays. That’s probably because the latter is dominated by a single resort: the Belmond Cap Juluca.

Regardless, Maundays Bay is still a public beach (like all beaches on Anguilla). You don’t need to be a guest at the Cap Juluca to enjoy this beautiful water! With that said, Maundays felt a little less casual than the other beaches on the island.

The Cap Juluca is a truly luxurious resort with rooms costing thousands of dollars per night. It’s architecturally stunning, with Moroccan-style domed villas. However, it makes Maundays feel like the most developed beach on this list. It’s undoubtedly gorgeous, but in my personal opinion, it doesn’t have as much local flair as Shoal Bay or Rendezvous.

If you drive down to Maundays Bay via Samuel Fleming Road, you’ll be treated to a view of adjacent Cove Bay and Cove Pond as you head down to shore. We only briefly checked out Cove Bay, but it looked like a much quieter beach with beautiful green water.

Sandy Ground

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: Yes, many
Crowds: Moderate
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: Not remote

Located on a strip of land between the ocean and a salt pond, Sandy Ground is a small beachfront village on Anguilla’s northern side. I like Sandy Ground because it’s got a really local vibe with a wide variety of restaurants to try and a few boutique hotels.

The beach here is nice, but it’s more of a harbor for boats than a place to set out a towel and umbrella. Sandy Ground also serves as the terminal point if you want to go visit the Prickly Pear Cays or Sandy Island.

There aren’t many beaches on Anguilla that face west, but Sandy Ground is one of the few that does. As such, it’s a great place to catch the sunset! In fact, I highly recommend eating dinner at one of the restaurants here and watching the sun go down as you dine on lobster, BBQ ribs, or Italian cuisine.

On a side note, Route One offers a nice panoramic view of Sandy Ground over by Tasty’s and the intersection with Back Street.

Meads Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: Yes, many
Crowds: Moderate
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: Not remote

Meads Bay is where the Four Seasons Anguilla can be found. It’s a long open beach that had the strongest waves we saw on the island (we visited in April). Meads Bay is pretty, but in all honesty I think Shoal Bay, Rendezvous Bay, and Maundays Bay are all more impressive.

Little Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: None
Crowds: Minimal
Ease of Access: Difficult
Remoteness: Very remote

You may have noticed that all of the beaches featured so far have been pretty flat. Not Little Bay! This sandy cove is surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides, making it one of the more difficult beaches to access in Anguilla.

In order to get over here, you’ll need to head first to Crocus Bay Beach. There you’ll see a sign (pictured below) instructing you to call Calvin, who indeed did pick answer our call and was available to ferry us over. You just have to let him know what time you’d like to return, and we found that an hour or two was the perfect amount of time to relax at Little Bay.

Calvin on his boat that takes people between Crocus Bay Beach and Little Bay

Technically, you could climb down from the hill, jump into the water, and swim a short distance over to the sand. But there is no clearly marked trail or path to get down. Google Maps isn’t helpful either (as of spring 2022). It’s almost certainly much safer to use the water taxi service than attempt to hike down.

Little Bay has warm, clear water to swim in. It is also a destination for luxury boat tours, so you may not have this hidden cove completely to yourself. A few groups came and went while we were visiting, but Little Bay never came close to feeling crowded.

Honorable Mentions

The following three beaches are great if you have time to spare and want to explore even more of Anguilla’s stunning shoreline.

Shoal Bay West

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: None
Crowds: None
Ease of Access: Relatively easy, we parked in this empty lot here
Remoteness: Very remote

This long, quiet beach can be found on Anguilla’s far west side. It faces south and offers a view of Saint Martin. We visited late in the afternoon, so we didn’t have the best lighting to see the color of the water. Nonetheless, it was still a pretty stretch of coastline.

Despite its name, Shoal Bay West and Shoal Bay are on opposite sides of the island.

The most noteworthy thing about Shoal Bay West is the fact that it is home to a massive abandoned resort called the Covecastles. These modern beachfront buildings are all standalone villas, and apparently the complex used to be very fancy.

Covecastles reportedly suffered a number of problems and it closed in 2018. The villas are now vacant; most have missing windows and doors, exposing the interiors to the elements. The vibe here was sort of eerie, but it was still interesting to check out. This large beach had only one other person on it when we visited, so I would exercise basic safety precautions if you decide to venture over here.

Sandy Hill Bay

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: None
Crowds: None
Ease of Access: Easy
Remoteness: A little remote

This calm, clear bay is not as picturesque as some of the other beaches in Anguilla, but it was a relaxing place to go for a dip and cool off after a long day out in the sun. There was only one other person here when we arrived, so you’ll probably have Sandy Hill Bay to yourself if you decide to visit.

Crocus Bay Beach

Location: Click or tap for Google Maps link
Dining Options: A few
Crowds: Minimal
Ease of Access: Relatively easy
Remoteness: Moderately remote

With so many phenomenal beaches on the island to choose from, most tourists seem to overlook Crocus Bay. This lowkey beach has calm, glassy water (at least, it did when we saw it). It’s a really relaxing one to check out, and I would say that if you’re going to come out here, you should try to use Crocus Bay as a jumping-off point to make the boat trip over to Little Bay!

Offshore Islands

Did you know that a number of small islets and cays surround the main island of Anguilla? A few of these are actually home to the most jaw-dropping beaches in the British Overseas Territory, so you won’t want to miss them! Check out my separate blog post to learn more!

Prickly Pear Cay, a few miles northwest off the coast of "mainland" Anguilla

Which Beach Will You Visit First?

Anguillan beaches really are in a league of their own. None of these pictures do them justice; you simply have to feel the amazing sand and ocean breeze in person! If you’re headed to Anguilla or are already there, I’m so excited for you to see what the island has to offer. If you’ve already been, leave a comment and let me know which beach was your favorite! Thanks for reading!

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This post was published on May 17, 2022

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Susie S.

    These photos are fantastic. That sunset! Wow! And the beaches do look gorgeous!

  2. Shane

    Cool breakdown of the beaches in Anguilla. My wife and I are headed there Mar 2023. Can’t wait!

  3. Jane

    Beautiful beaches! If I am honest, I have never been one for sitting on a beach, but I love being near the water and strolling along the shoreline. Plenty of options for that here! I think the beaches with dining facilities would suit me best and being one of the “older” clientele, I think Shoal Bay might be my first port of call. It looks absolutely wonderful. We went on a flotilla sailing holiday in the Caribbean a few years ago, but did not call at Angilla. That was remiss!

  4. We have been on a lot of Caribbean islands but have not yet visited Anguilla. But an island with amazing beaches should really go on our travel list. I might need a long stay to check out all 33 beaches. I love the great variety of beaches you showcased.

  5. Chantelle

    These beaches are all so beautiful! I cant pick a favorite, Ill have to visit Anguilla and try them out for myself!

  6. Lisa Bostrom

    Been to Anguila several times. Have time share in st. Martin and always spend one day taking the catamaran over to Anguila. Once off the catamaran you take about a 20 minute ride to shoal bay. By far one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. We are treated to lunch and then have several cocktails at uncle Ernies. Shoal bay is a must see if you’re in Anguila or st. Martin

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