When Barbados is mentioned, some people immediately think of the home of West Indies cricket, while others think music.
Sun-worshippers who live for days on the beach regard this Caribbean island as a paradise.
Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean – one of the Lesser Antilles.
It gained independence from Britain just over half a century ago.
Luxury resorts have developed here over the years, taking advantage of the lovely sands and blue waters.
There is plenty of variety around the relatively small coastline; the eastern shore facing the Atlantic is certainly wilder, making it ideal for surfers.
Things are quieter in the south and even more so in the sheltered west; it is in the west where the softest sand and the largest beaches are found.
Even in the north – where there are significant cliffs, there are still small, sandy coves.
Wherever you go in Barbados, there is a beach waiting.
You are spoilt for choice, so here is some help to narrow it down – an idea of the 15 Best Beaches in Barbados.
1. Silver Sands, Christ Church, South
Silver Sands on the south coast is recognized internationally as a top windsurfing beach.
The Waterman Festival has been held here each February since 1989 and attracts competitors from far and wide.
There is not only windsurfing but also surfing and kite surfing.
There is a resort here with reasonably priced accommodation right on the beach.
Parasailing is also available, with breezes a regular feature.
It is not as sheltered as some others in the south, and though swimming is fine, there are no lifeguards in attendance.
2. Miami Beach, Christ Church, South
This beach has become a favorite for both overseas tourists and locals.
It is in the center of the southern beaches and also known as Enterprise Beach.
There are loungers and umbrellas for rent so you can relax and enjoy the sun.
The best place for youngsters is the west end of the beach.
You don’t have to move to get a snack; vendors walk up and down selling flying fish sandwiches.
If you are a fan of flying fish, visit the Friday Fish Fry in the nearby fishing village of St. Oistins.
3. Accra/Rockley, Christ Church, South
This beach goes by two names – Accra and Rockley – and is among the widest stretches of sand on the Island, hence its popularity.
Vendors roam the sands in great numbers, selling everything from clothing to local jewelry.
The waves are fine – without any undertow – so it is a good place for a range of beach and water sports.
Try windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling or body surfing if you are feeling energetic.
Because of its size, you are certain to find a stretch of sand to yourself and there are drinks and snacks available locally to keep you refreshed.
4. Dover Beach, Christ Church, South
Dover Beach offers the chance to just relax and enjoy the sun.
You can swim in the warm water because there are no strong currents, but there will be a lifeguard in attendance anyway.
Jet ski if you wish or perhaps go windsurfing.
Why not just take a stroll and enjoy your surroundings? Nearby stalls sell most things you might need – food and cold drinks, ice cream, sunscreen, sunglasses and even snorkeling gear.
There is a playing field across the street where you might be able to watch a cricket match or join the locals in a game of soccer.
5. Pebbles Beach, Needham’s Point, St. Michael, West
Needham’s Point is in the southwest corner of Barbados.
It has the calm waters of the west rather than the stronger ones of the south.
There are three beaches at the Point; on Pebbles, you will find the waters enjoyed by small children and strong swimmers alike.
Pier One – part of the Grand Barbados Hotel – overlooks the beach and is a great place for lunch.
Alternatively, grab a snack at a small local café that sells great cutters – sandwiches with a variety of fillings such as ham, cheese or better still, fish.
6. Brownes Beach, St. Michael, West
Brownes Beach overlooking Carlisle Bay is ideal for those staying in the Bajun Capital, Bridgetown.
One of the biggest of the island’s beaches, it is a stretch of soft, white sand with turquoise waters lapping at the shore.
It starts at the Boatyard and goes all the way down to Needham’s Point.
It is a great place for swimming, with lifeguards on duty every day.
There are several shipwrecks in the bay; over time, that has resulted in plenty of marine life.
Divers and snorkelers will certainly enjoy their time at Brownes.
7. Folkestone Beach, St. James, West
This lovely beach not only offers a great place to relax, there are also water sports to enjoy and a marine museum.
It is in the Folkstone Marine Park, which was created around an artificial reef formed by an offshore shipwreck.
There is an inshore reef that is good for snorkelers and the chance to scuba dive off a boat that offers its services to visitors.
It is a great place to go for families to enjoy a picnic on the sands.
Certainly, children love the aquarium with its vast array of colorful fish, coral, and sponges.
8. Alleynes Bay, St. James, West
If mum or dad fancies a game of golf, this is the best place to take the family – a lovely bay close to the famous Royal Westmoreland Golf Course.
Booking and a fat wallet are essential if you want to play.
The beach is quieter than many on Barbados, yet there is plenty of golden sand to enjoy.
It is clean and inviting; you can stretch out and take in the sun’s rays without any chance of disturbance.
The clear turquoise water is calm, an ideal place for both swimmers and snorkelers.
There are no real facilities so you should take your own picnic.
9. Gibbs Beach, St. Peter, West
Though Gibbs is just 300 meters long, it is a beach with a palm fringe where you will find natural Barbados at its best.
The sea is clear, blue, and fine for swimming.
There has been no commercial development, although there is the odd luxury villa around.
It may be slightly difficult to find, but head down off the road past some local houses.
You will be pleased to find it because there is a chance that you will be completely alone.
Take a picnic and enjoy your day.
10. Mullins Bay, St. Peter, West
Mullins is a lovely bay with a great beach.
It’s an ideal place to relax, lie back, and take in the sun’s rays.
The beach bar serves simple food and cold drinks, with customers varying from sun-worshippers to those who enjoy jet skiing, snorkelling, and swimming.
It stays open late, so why not have dinner there? There is a roped-off area for swimmers, with jet skiers further out to sea.
It is a popular spot for locals and tourists, with a large car park close by.
One of the added attractions are the turtles at certain times of the year.
11. Archers Bay, St Lucy, North
Perhaps the north of the Island is not the first place you would think about if you are looking for a beach; however, beaches do exist and if you head for one of the coves in the north, you will certainly avoid the crowds.
You cannot expect any facilities or lifeguards if you go to Archers Bay – there isn’t even a signpost.
What there is are fantastic views and a few monkeys in the trees.
Once you get to St. Lucy, ask the locals to show you Grape Hall Salmond Road; the Bay is at the end of the Road.
12. Crane Beach, St. Philip, East
This beach is one of the best around, yet it was formerly a harbor.
One of Barbados’ oldest hotels is here – Crane Beach Hotel – once the place for the rich and famous.
The waves are ideal for body surfers and those keen to learn to surf.
There is shelter here, so swimming is fine.
While the beach vendor can be a nuisance – yes, vendor, singular – there is a massive plus here; cutters are local sandwiches and someone will come down from the nearby shop to take your orders – which can include cold drinks and rum punch as well – and deliver them.
13. Bathsheba, St. Joseph, East
Bathsheba is a fishing village which is the focal point for the surf contests when they come to town.
The surfing capital of Barbados, locals call these waters Bathsheba’s “Soup Bowl.
” You may not surf, but there are other things to do.
It is fun to explore the pools, while the reefs are great for snorkeling.
There is no pressure to do anything other than sunbathing.
Locals come to Bathsheba in great numbers at the weekend.
You may think that you are looking at boulders here, but in fact, they are solid rock formations.
14. Bath Beach, St. John, East
When you are thinking about the ideal place on Barbados to swim, perhaps Bath Beach’s name will give you a clue.
The waves are fairly small and there is no undertow here.
Families should certainly look here for their children’s safety.
As a result, facilities have developed to cater for visitors.
They include parking, changing rooms, and places to have a picnic.
The sands are perfect and if you take a gentle stroll up north, you will find a little waterfall and an old railway track that used to link Bathsheba and Bridgetown.
15. Bottom Bay, St. Philip, East
This pink-sand cove below high cliffs is sheltered, but there is an undertow in the sea so it is not ideal for swimming.
The waters look inviting but take care; make do with the beautiful setting with its palm-fringed shoreline.
You can take a homemade picnic with you and enjoy the day.
Just to the south is a historic mansion, Sam Lord’s Castle.
It remains one of Barbados’ hidden secrets but is slowly developing.
Homes have begun to be built here, so one day there may be no public access – get there quickly.