Swaying palm trees against clear blue skies, sparkling pink and white sands, and shimmering turquoise waters under the beating sun – this is the beaches in Barbados! Similar to states and provinces, the island nation is divided into 11 parishes, each with its own treasures to uncover.
Even with scenic forests and caves scattered throughout, it is picture-perfect and fine beaches that Barbados is famed for, and it’s the authentic island vibes that people crave when they think of visiting the Caribbean.
From the west coast all the way around the island, Barbados beaches are abundant and varied. Barbados’ glam west is a playground for the mega-rich and celebrities, where turquoise bays are dotted with luxury yachts. World-class waves take over the beaches of the south, and these make for some of the best beaches in Barbados for surfing and wind sports.
With so many stretches of sand all over the island to relax and lay on, we recommend renting a car during your stay so you can get to as many as possible. Our time spent hopping from beach to beach in this country allowed us to discover and share with you the best beaches in Barbados for snorkeling, sunbathing, splashing in the waves, and more.
On our last trip, we stayed at Sandals Royal Barbados, the newest Sandals resort. The property is located on a gorgeous beach and is a great location to explore the entire island. There are some crazy deals online, click here to check rates at Sandals.
The best way to see as many beaches in Barbados as possible is to rent a car. We’ve rented cars in Barbados twice. Driving is relatively easy. We’ve found the best prices here on Discovercars.com; on average, a one-week rental is $275, and a one-day rental car in Barbados, on average, is about $100.
Most rental car companies in Barbados will deliver the car to your hotel and pick it up. It’s super convenient. If you opt not to get a car, consider booking an island & beach tour where you’ll visit some of the best beaches in Barbados and some of the top things to do in Barbados.
Must-Visit Beaches in Barbados
A fine, platinum strip of sand on the west coast of Barbados, Mullins Beach was one of our favorite beaches for working on our golden tans. Since it’s right on the side of the road, this beach is easily accessible by car; you can park your rental in the newly opened parking lot right across the street. It’s spacious, with plenty of spots, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a space.
Scenic coves and bays surround Mullins Beach. If you lay on the sands at the northern end, you’ll have views of rocky cliffs, while the southern end will bring you closer to the giant private villas owned by the wealthy.
Though Mullins Beach is not the biggest or most picturesque in the country, it’s the calm turquoise waters that draw the crowds. The water is shallow enough for wading and snorkeling in. If you go further out, conditions are perfect for ripping through the water on a jet ski.
If you’re just looking for a low-key experience, drift off on one of those glass-bottomed boats and spot some turtles. For a break from the sun, park yourself under one of the casuarina trees that line the beach, or stop in at the lively Mullins Restaurant and Bar for a refreshing cold drink or snack to combat the heat.
Recommended hotel in Mullins Beach – Gibbs Glade Cottages
On the southeastern shores of Barbados is Crane Beach. Its name refers to a large crane that used to sit on one of the beach’s surrounding cliffs which were used for loading and unloading cargo from ships that traveled to the island.
Here, aquamarine waters meet soft pink sands for the ultimate paradise. If you’re looking for the pink sand beach in Barbados this is it. Some days it is pinker than others. Its coral reef naturally creates a safe swimming harbor for those looking to take a dip in its enticing waters, and the choppy waves here mean Crane Beach is a popular spot for boogie boarders and body surfers.
For thrill-seekers, take a walk along the cliff faces for safe launch spots and fuel your adrenaline by going cliff jumping! As one of the best beaches in Barbados – and arguably on the entire island – you’ll want to stay directly on it.
For an exclusive experience that will definitely leave your wallet lighter, check out Crane Resort, perched atop the beach’s cliffs. As guests, you’ll have direct access to the beach via a glass elevator! Its bird’s eye view of the sands below serves as a teaser for when you finally reach the bottom.
Recommended Hotel on Crane Beach: The Crane Resort
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels in the Caribbean, check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
On the island’s south coast, the St. Lawrence Gap buzzes with activity, and Dover Beach on the southern end of the Gap is action-packed in every way. Swimmers, windsurfers, and bodysurfers take over the water here, and it’s easy to make a day out of Dover Beach. There are picnic tables and a number of food and snack stalls around. The number of other stalls that sell snorkel gear, sunscreen, hats, and t-shirts here got you covered if you’ve forgotten anything.
Soak up the sun on a beach chair or lounger rental for the afternoon, and when the sun goes down, wander over to the Gap – a one-mile stretch of bumpin’ clubs, hoppin’ bars, and cool restaurants. For sports fans, we have to mention that across from Dover Beach is Dover Playing Field, so cross your fingers for a chance to see one of the local cricket or football teams in action and cheer them on with the Bajans. This is one of the best beaches in Barbados for fun-in-the-sun afternoons and lively evenings.
Recommended Hotel on Dover Beach – Rostrevor Hotel
Dotted with dramatic rock formations that have broken away from ancient coral reefs, its white sands and strong waves make Bathsheba Beach one of the best beaches in Barbados for national and international surf bums.
This beach sits on the east coast of the country, on the eastern parish of St. Joseph – the site of a fishing village of the same name. Several thousand folk in the industry remain here, and the number of local rum shacks and eateries make the seaside cottages of Bathsheba an unassuming getaway.
Because of its large rocks and powerful currents, we don’t recommend this beach for swimming, but the Soup Bowl – Named for its foamy waters – is a must for strong surfers. For swimmers, the surrounding tide pools are an awesome alternative to the rough waves of the Atlantic. To get here, we suggest renting a car in Barbados, as local transport is limited.
There are lots of things to do on Rockley Beach – a wildly popular strip of white sand on Barbados’ south coast. Also known as Accra Beach, beachgoers here can rent a lounger for the day and lay under the sun or hang out in the shade provided by the many casuarinas that dot the sand.
Cool off by splashing around in the waters of the beach’s southern end. It’s pleasant here as rocks protect the area from oncoming waves. When you start to feel peckish, stroll over to the other end of the beach, where a cluster of huts have burgers. Try the local specialty, fish cakes, then wash it all down with some Banks beer.
To stretch your legs, browse the collection of stalls on the beach for jewelry and beachwear, or take a leisurely walk on the two-mile boardwalk to see the scenic coastline and feel the warm ocean breeze in your hair.
Silver Sands Beach
Monster waves and strong breezes on Silver Sands Beach of Barbados’ southernmost tip attract a steady stream of water sports enthusiasts, namely kite surfers, surfers, and parasailers. For endless wind sports opportunities, be sure to visit between November and July, when breezes are constant.
We’ve noticed the water conditions here are suitable for those just learning wind sports and those who want to sharpen up their skills and master the waters.
If you venture further out from shore, there are waves ideal for surfing. Year-round, Silver Sands Beach is one of the best beaches in Barbados to grab a book and lay back, sipping on a refreshing cool drink. The good news, this nine-mile stretch of powder-soft sand is easily accessible by bus should you choose to forgo getting a rental car in Barbados.
This crescent-shaped bay on the west coast of Barbados adjoins the capital of Bridgetown, making it easily accessible and an ever-popular choice for visitors to the island. Silky white sands meet clear calm waters here, and we’ve noticed this beach is a favorite spot for Bajans to work out or go for a run in the early mornings and evenings.
We loved looking out across the waters to see traditional fishing boats afloat along with catamarans and luxury yachts belonging to the rich and famous. The Marine Park at Carlisle Bay is an underwater tropical paradise, and scuba divers and snorkelers will love it here for the wealth of seahorses, turtles, and colorful fish.
Six shipwrecks ranging in depth from 12 to 55 feet have been placed on the ocean floor to encourage marine life, so make sure you swim out towards the center of the bay to see those too. At the heart of Carlisle Bay is Harbor Lights Beach Bar and Grill. A beachfront cafe by day, the venue transforms into a nightclub after dark, pumping dance beats late into the night. They also offer a Caribbean Dinner Show to go along with your meal, but no matter what time of day you visit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning beachfront views.
For watersports here, hit the northern end of the beach, where jet skiers dominate. And for a romantic spot to see the sunset, wander down the Esplanade, which borders Carlisle Bay.
Powerful currents at Bath Beach are rare because the area is protected by coral reefs, making this place one of the safest and best beaches in Barbados for swimming. But on the odd occasion that it isn’t safe, a red flag will be raised, meaning the waters are too strong and dangerous – so check for that before hopping in for a dip.
This is a popular spot with locals, especially on weekends and holidays, as they relax and picnic in the shady areas provided by the beach’s towering trees. There are vendors all along Bath Beach who are happy to keep you fed with snacks all day long so you’ll never have to get up from your beach towel!
If you do decide to go for a walk, just north of Bath Beach is a waterfall and an old train line that used to run between Bridgetown and Belleplaine. You could also venture over to the cliffs at Corset Bay.
Coconut palms sway in the gentle breezes at Bottom Bay in the parish of St. Philip on Barbados’ southeast coast. It’s bordered by jagged coral cliffs and caves, and as demonstrated by the increasing number of homes that are being built in the area, Bottom Bay is one of the best beaches in Barbados for a sun-filled vacation.
The area is quieter on weekdays, and it especially feels that way because there are no vendors around vying for your attention. There aren’t even any food vendors, so come to Bottom Bay stocked with a basket of goodies.
The waves get pretty big, and currents are unpredictable, so we don’t recommend swimming here. But strong borders and wind and kite surfers like to ride the waves here; just beware of the jagged rocks that are close to shore. If you walk along the cliffs towering above the beach, you may be lucky enough to spot whales and turtles.
With beaches all over the island, there are plenty of opportunities to work on that perfect tan, swim with the fishes in the clear blue waters, and put your board to good use by riding the waves. There’s no escaping the Caribbean sun, whether you end up on the west coast for a luxurious getaway or on the south side to get some awesome surfing in.
And when the sun goes down after you’ve explored the caves and coves that surround the beaches of Barbados, sip some rum with the friendly locals and experience the island’s vibrant nightlife for a uniquely local experience.