7 Days, 7 Beaches: A Beach-Hopping Guide to Tortola
If you have a week to spend in Tortola, you could spend every day on a different stretch of sand. Read our guide to Tortola’s top seven beaches, including the perfect activity for each.2015-12-28
With a variety of gorgeous soft-sand beaches and few crowds, Tortola is the ultimate island escape for laid-back beach lovers. If you have a week to spend in Tortola, you could spend every day on a different stretch of sand. Some beaches have bustling seaside bars; some are perfectly deserted; others are ideal for snorkeling or swimming. Below, find our guide to Tortola’s top seven beaches, including the perfect activity for each.
Day 1: Cane Garden Bay
This is the most popular beach in Tortola by far, and one of the most well known in the British Virgin Islands. The curved shape of the bay keeps it sheltered from heavy winds, so the crystal-clear water stays gentle, perfect for windsurfing and swimming. Lively bars and restaurants line the beach, and there are plenty of places to rent sailboats or kayaks. If any Tortola beach is going to be crowded during high season, it’s Cane Garden Bay – but you can’t leave Tortola without experiencing it. If possible, try to avoid visiting when a cruise ship is docked in the bay.
Day 2: Brewers Bay
Just northeast of Cane Garden Bay is Brewers Bay, where you’ll find a completely different atmosphere: small, undeveloped and peaceful. You may encounter a handful of campers from the on-site campground, but there are rarely many other visitors – and it wouldn’t be unusual for your group to be the only one. Brewers Bay offers some of the best snorkeling in Tortola, with plenty of shallow, easy-to-explore reefs.
Day 3: Long Bay
Long Bay is divided into two beaches: Long Bay East and Long Bay West. Long Bay East is the locals’ favorite – great for swimming, but with few amenities for visitors. Long Bay West is a mile-long white-sand beach with spectacular sunset views, perfect for a private stroll. The Long Bay Beach Resort is on the northeast side; book a table at the restaurant to dine alongside the water at sunset.
Day 4: Smuggler’s Cove
Smuggler’s Cove is another locals’ favorite. The beach is very secluded and reachable only by an unpaved road, but if you do make the journey, you’ll be more than rewarded. Boasting beautiful, palm-shaded sand and calm, turquoise water, Smuggler’s Cove is a great place to get away from it all. It’s also a perfect spot for beginners to snorkel, with a reef that’s close to shore. If you don’t have your own gear, rent snorkels at Steven’s Beach Bar nearby.
Day 5: Apple Bay
While not a large beach, Apple Bay offers some of the best surfing in the Caribbean, especially when waves are at their peak in January and February. Even if you’re not a surf enthusiast, it’s worth stopping by well-known Bomba Surfside Shack, a classic beachside dive, to grab a drink and talk to the locals. If you happen to visit on a Friday, make sure to stop into Sebastian’s restaurant to experience the beloved Friday night fish fry.
Day 6: Lambert Bay
Lambert Bay is probably the widest beach on this list, offering plenty of space to spread out and sunbathe. Its sheltering trees and spectacular views also make for a perfect picnic spot. If you’re looking for a good Sunday brunch, the Turtle Restaurant at the Lambert Beach Resort comes highly recommended.
Day 7: Josiah’s Bay
Josiah’s Bay is a long stretch of white, powder-soft sand that borders farmland. While you may share the sand with a cow or two, it’s rare that you’ll find many other people. Head to Josiah’s Bay for serene sunbathing, or grab a drink at the beach bar while you watch the waves. But be careful not to swim too far out – the undertow here, especially in the winter, can be a little strong.