Beautiful beaches are picture postcard slices of paradise. You’ll find hundreds in the nearly 1,600-mile stretch of islands from The Bahamas to the Caribbean. Choosing the best to visit may seem like trying to pick a winning lottery number. But the list narrows down if you consider another element — a personality. Below are 10 Caribbean and Bahamas beaches that are selfie-worthy with a bucket-list experience, too. After all, you want something to write home about on that “wish you were here” postcard.
Swim with the pigs at this namesake beach on Big Major Cay. This uninhabited island, except for its porcine population, is a mile long and ripe for a ramble as well as paddling around with the porkers. A dozen or two of these big hairy feral critters are descendants of colonial times. They are comfortable in company due to the crowds they attract, so snap away with selfies. Reach this beach by taking a day tour from Nassau or The Exumas, or renting a boat, sailing or power boating on your own.
Where to Dock: Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Culture is everything at this world-famous beach. These 12 miles of toe-snuggling sand are a half-hour drive from the island’s capital of San Juan, and only 6.5 miles from the east coast boater-friendly town of Fajardo. Before you reach the beach, stop at the 60-some ramshackle food kiosks along Route 3. They may not look like much, but the real taste of Puerto Rico here is perfect for a picnic. Try bacalaítos (codfish fritters), alcapurrias (meat-stuffed green banana fritter) or pastelillos (meat turnovers), to name a few. Picnic tables, parking and lifeguards line the beach. Be sure to snap a picture next to one of the iconic sloped palms that separate sea from shore.
Where to Dock: Marina Puerto Del Rey
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Tourists and sea turtles flock to the west side strip of white sand on this island managed by the U.S. National Park Service. The only way to get to Buck’s main beach, called Turtle Beach, is by boat. Several operators offer day sails from the town of Christiansted on St. Croix’s mainland. The trip takes a little over an hour. Upon arrival, it’s literally splash down or jump off an anchored boat in waist-deep water and wade ashore. True to its name, the beach is a fertile nesting ground for Hawksbill turtles from July to October. An underwater snorkel trail on the other side of Buck Island offers self-guiding plaques on the sea bottom describing marine life. It’s a great way to cool off after a beach walk.
Where to Dock: Green Cay Marina at Tamarind Reef Resort
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
If you like your sand mixed with the natural gym of giant boulders to climb up, over and under, then take a 10-minute taxi trip from Spanish Town to the trailhead. Pay a $3 entrance fee at the kiosk. A short trek downhill along a dirt path leads to a carpet of white sand with huge rocks left and right. Straight ahead, swim or snorkel off the beach and around the rocks. Afterward, follow the trail signs to Devil’s Bay, another breathtaking beach to the east. The money shot happens along the way in the “Cathedral Room,” a secret pool hidden under the A-frame of these super-sized stones. Victoria’s Secret models posed for a catalog shoot here a few years ago.
Where to Dock: Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor
Nude beaches aren’t the norm in the Caribbean. However, if sunning your birthday suit is at the top of your to-do list, then go to this 1.5-mile-long powdery soft stretch of white sand. It’s the southernmost end where you can ditch your trunks or bikini and frolic au natural in the surf. You’ll find a lot to do here if you want to keep your clothes on, too. Often dubbed the “St. Tropez of the Caribbean,” more than half of the rest of the beach is lined with bars, bistros and beach clubs. Try fine French fare or fly high kiteboarding. Kites, boards and instruction are all available. The colorful kites and acrobatic riders over the bay are spectator- friendly eye candy.
Where to Dock: Anse Marcel Marina
See and be seen at the beach at St. Jean, this French West Indies island's poshest piece of paradise. Known as Nikki Beach for the restaurant and beach club here, a parade of celebrities usually convenes where the sea meets sand owing to the clubs cosmopolitan draw and the location of the famed Eden Rock resort only steps away. Gwen Stefani, Bono, and Jay Z and Beyoncé have all strolled here. You can rent plush sun loungers and umbrellas that are phenomenal for people watching. Or grab lunch in the breeze-cooled dining room, also a perfect perch.
Where to Dock: Port De Gustavia
If snorkeling beats sunbathing in your book, the serene plateau of this beach is the ideal spot to dive in. The 2.3-square-mile, uninhabited islet is located half a mile from the Bonaire mainland and the capital city of Kralendijk. Reach here by water taxi, private boat, or even kayak or paddleboard if you’re up for a challenge. Two rustic shelters offer shade, but other than that it’s all nature. Pack plenty of water, a snack, and snorkel or scuba equipment. The fish-filled coral reef that runs parallel to the beach’s east shore is relatively shallow, spanning from 12- to 20-feet deep at the drop-offs.
Where to Dock: Harbour Village Marina
Think pink when you visit this flat coral island located 30 miles north of its national sibling of Antigua. That’s because this eight-mile beach is blushed with tiny shells that give its flushed feature. It’s definitely a world wonder. The rosy hue ebbs and flows with the weather, with storm surges depositing a full-bodied glow. Getting to Barbuda can be an adventure. BYOB (bring your own boat) and anchor in the bay off the beach, although an Atlantic swell can make it rocky. Or leave your boat at the Jolly Harbour Marina in Antigua and board the Barbuda Express Ferry for the 90-minute one-way trip. Pink Sand Beach is right off the ferry dock, but nothing much else is here, so pack a picnic.
Where to Dock: Jolly Harbour Marina & Boatyard
Talk about off the beaten track. The 2023 United Nations World Tourism Organization report lists this Leeward Island 32 miles southwest of Antigua among the top 10 least visited countries in the world. Add the flavor of a strip of jet-black sand formed only two decades ago from volcanic activity. Formerly called Bottomless Ghaut Beach, nature is unfiltered here. See seabirds, lizards and the occasional wild donkey as you walk the longest beach on the island. The surf can be rough, so instead of a swim, you can climb rock formations that extend out into the sea.
Where to Dock: There are no marinas in Montserrat, but bays on the west coast at Old Road Bay and Rendezvous Bay are good day anchorages.
You won’t find many pigeons here anymore, but you will discover a piece of paradise. Actually three beaches comprise what is formally called the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, a 125-acre nature reserve on the island’s southwestern coast. The Main Beach, the most popular, is where the iconic thatch-roof jetty of postcard fame is located. Dive in! The swimming is great and so is snorkeling. Buccoo Reef, just offshore, is a protected marine park and was rated a thumbs up for its magnificent bounty of marine life by the late oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Dine out! A couple of casual open-air restaurants serve everything from burgers to lobster, pork ribs and BBQ pigtails.
Where to Dock: 100-plus miles to the west on the sister island of Trinidad. Best nearby anchoring is at Store Bay or west of Buccoo Reef.