Bermuda’s many beaches are proudly pink — Their hue is noThing To be embarrassed abouT. The rose-coloured beaches on these islands are distinctive and have maintained this heavenly destination on the top of travellers’ choices for decades. The cool sand is a pale watercolour pink that, in fact, is often depicted in artists’ paintings of Bermuda. Marvelously deceptive, this magical hue grows stronger in the fading light of sunset. And whilst the colour itself never changes, your perception does. Up close, you may not see how pink the sand you’re on is; but if you stand back and look down the coastline, or if you climb atop a boulder near the shore, the swathe of rosé hugging the waves will become evident. Bermuda’s pink beaches may seem like nature's hocus-pocus, but their hue has a very scientific — almost mythologically romantic — explanation. No, it isn’t crushed coral, as many people assume, although there are bits of coral in the sand. The pink crystals are the pink and red shells of microscopic ocean organisms called foraminifera. These tiny creatures live on the underside of reefs and the sea floor. When they die, the currents offshore smash their shells and they tumble onto Bermuda’s beaches with each lapping wave. If you’re a romantic, these beaches will put you in the mood as you sink your bare feet into the sands and pop open a bottle of rosé. You will find some of the most spectacular pink beaches on the south shore, with coral reefs an easy swim away, and the most picturesque rocky coves with turquoise water as calm and clear as a pool on the north shore. Some of the beaches are crowded with locals and have cafés, restrooms, showers, snorkel and kayak rentals, and lifeguards in season. Other sandy coves may have no footprints but your own. But all of Bermuda’s beaches — pink or glittering white, lively or blissfully empty — are magic. BEACH GUIDE Don’t forget to pack beach towels and refreshments in your scooter basket. Hotels will usually prepare a picnic lunch if you order a day ahead. Here are some of our favourite beaches in the West End (Sandys, Southampton and Warwick parishes), East End (Smith’s, Hamilton and St. George’s parishes) and centre of the islands (Pembroke, Devonshire and Paget parishes). WEST END Astwood Cove, Warwick Parish. A secluded curve of sand at the bottom of a steep trail down a cliff, the beach is worth the effort, especially for snorkellers. Look in the cliffs for nesting Bermuda longtails. Nearby is a seaside park with nature walks and picnic tables. Black Bay, Sandys Parish. Shallow, crystal water laps a secluded beach as calm as a pond, but it usually disappears at high tide. On Ireland Island South, the little beach is opposite the Royal Naval Cemetery. Chaplin Bay, Southampton Parish. This beach offers great swimming and snorkelling and easy walking paths to Horseshoe Bay. Surrounded by cliffs, this small cove next to Stonehole Bay makes a secluded afternoon respite. Church Bay, Southampton Parish. Perhaps the best snorkelling spot on the island, this cove gives a glimpse of colourful fish and coral reefs. The top of the cliff offers a great photo op and a place for a picnic. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Southampton Parish. Rent a lounge chair and umbrella and prepare to spend the day at the country’s most popular pink beach. The lively spot is usually crowded with locals and visitors, particularly on weekends and when a cruise ship comes in. At times it seems like a Spring Break party. A café offers burgers, pizza and ice cream. Reliable waves attract body surfers, but calm pools of water at the end of the beach are suitable for small children. Amenities include restrooms, outdoor showers and lifeguards in the summer. Jobson’s Cove, Warwick Parish. Tucked between limestone cliffs and a clear pool of water, the pink beach makes a perfect afternoon, although it can get crowded when cruise ships come in. Excellent for snorkelling, as the water is just 6. 5 feet (2 metres) deep offshore. No buildings encroach the feeling of seclusion. Mangrove Bay, Sandys Parish. Colourful wooden fishing boats and shady coconut palms give this beach a feeling of authentic Bermuda. Enjoy a quiet swim in this tranquil bay near Somerset, which has both public and private beaches. Parson’s Bay, Sandys Parish. Families with children will appreciate this small, hidden beach near Royal Naval Dockyard. Snorkel Park Beach, Sandys Parish. Royal Naval Dockyard’s Snorkel Park Beach may offer the most fun beach activities in Bermuda. Rent a Jet Ski for guided island tours. Kayak on turquoise waters or snorkel with a digital camera mask over stunning Coral reefs, just feet from a sheltered beach. Kids love the giant waterslide, fun floats and paddleboats. Join a game of beach volleyball or just chill, islandstyle, with a bite to eat and cool refreshment as you watch the Bermudaful day go by. Join Snorkel Park's Facebook group and fan pages. (234-6989, snorkelparkbeach.Com) Somerset Long Bay, Sandys Parish. With reefs just a few yards offshore, this beach, part of a park co-owned by the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society, is a great place for snorkelling and communing with nature. Off Long Bay Road, this vantage is well suited to beachcombing or long walks in seclusion, especially during sunset. The nature preserve offers great bird-watching and good spots for picnics. There is also a playground for children. Stonehole Bay, Warwick Parish. Next to Jobson’s Cove, the beach is rarely crowded. The sandy shoreline with large rocks disappears at high tide, but shallow waters beckon just offshore. Warwick Long Bay, Warwick Parish. This scenic stretch of white sand spans a half-mile of coast. The beach is popular with swimmers, joggers and horseback riders but is not as crowded as Horseshoe Bay Beach. Steep cliffs and shrubby hills provide privacy for sunbathers who may be avoiding families and crowds. West Whale Bay, Southampton Parish. In March and April, beach-goers are treated to a parade of migrating humpback whales. The beach is secluded below Whale Bay Fort. Picnickers can spread out on the sand or take advantage of tables on a grassy field. When the tide is low, you can even wade out to the coral reefs. Public facilities are available. Centre Clarence Cove, Pembroke Parish. Inside Admiralty House Park, a national park, the two small beaches ring an exquisite lagoon. A dock that you can jump off and nature trails make this a popular place to spend an afternoon. Elbow Beach, Paget Parish. This half-mile-long beach is popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers. Volleyball tournaments are often held on the soft sand. Home to three beachfront resorts, the beach is public, but accessible only from Tribe Road No. 4. East end Achilles Bay Beach, St. George’s Parish. Near Fort St. Catherine in St. George’s, this secluded spot is shaped like a heel, thus the name. Check out Blackbeard’s Hideout for a cocktail, lunch or dinner. Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish. Visit this sheltered harbour with a cluster of tiny beaches when the tide is low. At other times, they are fairly submerged. Clearwater Beach, St. George’s Parish. With a kids’ playground and other recreational activities, the nearby airport does not seem to disturb visitors to this popular spot on St. David’s Island. Families appreciate the lifeguards in summer, as well as amenities like a restaurant and bar serving local treats. Patches of turtle grass create a haven for turtles and fish. John Smith’s Bay, Smith’s Parish. This beach is more popular with residents than visitors, who often don’t know about it. The bay was named for Capt. John Smith, who drew a map of Bermuda in 1631. There are occasional rip currents, but a lifeguard is on duty during summer. The waters are shallow, and the fish are easy to spot. Shelly Bay Beach, Hamilton Parish. Kids can splash in shallow waters along this northern stretch of white-sand shore. Find snacks and equipment rental along with a playground, soccer fields and a cricket pitch. Tobacco Bay, St. George’s Parish. With more facilities than most beaches — sporting equipment for rent, shops offering hats and sunscreen, a place to eat and drink — this relaxing spot near the Town of St. George is especially popular with families. Pursue your quest for the perfect tan, cool off with a refreshing swim, even snorkel around the rocks. The shallow water is safe for kids. Top off the day at Buzz on the Beach, with a deck to enjoy your favourite beer or wine, as well as lunch or dinner. (295-2009) Turtle Bay, St. George’s Parish. Get away from it all at this remote beach next to Clearwater Beach, east of the airport, outside the former NASA station.
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