IN BERMUDA, THE SAND OFTEN MIMICS THE COLOUR OF THE SKY ON A BALMY SUMMER EVENING: A PALE ROSY HUE THAT HAS INSPIRED ARTISTS, WRITERS AND MUSICIANS FOR CENTURIES. Living works of art, our beaches are not only meant for admiring but for enjoying. These islands have roughly 64 miles (103 kilometres) of coastline, and most of it is public and waiting for your arrival. Venture away from your hotel and explore the coastline — it’s just another layer of Bermuda waiting to be discovered. You’re likely familiar with the fact that in many places in Bermuda, the sand is impossibly pink. Though it’s not the only place in the world where this occurs, it is perhaps one of the countries with the highest concentration of rosy beaches. This is thanks to its geographic makeup as a volcanic archipelago and its location in the Atlantic Ocean. The pink colour results from the abundance of a microorganism called foraminifera, which lives in the coral reefs and on the sea floor. Once these insect-like creatures die, they leave behind their small pink shells, which are then broken up by the currents and washed on the shores, collectively giving much of the sand its distinctive rosé tone. The inherent romance of blushing sands makes a visit to these beaches — most of them in the South Shore — particularly tempting to love-struck couples and newlyweds. In fact, Bermuda is one of the most popular destinations for beach weddings in large part because of this natural phenomenon. Of course, not everything is pink on Bermuda. Many beaches have sugary, white sand, and some even have thicker, yellow sand. No two beaches on Bermuda are the same, but all are worth exploring. Here are some of the best beaches to visit, organised by their location on the island. WEST END Black Bay, Sandys Parish. Just a few minutes from Royal Naval Dockyard, this small beach across from the Royal Naval Cemetery is not ideal for lounging, as it tends to be rocky, but it does have a large amount of sea glass thanks to the currents. For this very reason, it’s an excellent place for beachcombers looking for a nice place to stroll. The sea glass glistens in the sun in a wide spectrum of colours such as amber, blue and kelly green. Daniel’s Head, Sandys Parish. A well-kept local secret, this tranquil spot near Somerset offers calm waters and great snorkelling. Part of this beach is privately owned, but a portion has remained public and offers picnic areas, bathrooms and showers. Just a bit farther out is Daniel’s Island and the wreck of the Vixen, both of which can be explored by booking a snorkelling tour at a nearby concession. Mangrove Bay, Sandys Parish. This peaceful beach, part of which is private, is flanked by mangroves and palm trees, making it a starkly different experience from the more publicised beaches in the South Shore. It lies near the shopping areas of Somerset and also has picnic tables. Snorkel Park Beach, Sandys Parish. Royal Naval Dockyard’s Snorkel Park Beach may be the most fun beach in Bermuda because all of the exciting watersports and activities you want are in one fantastic beachfront location. Rent a Jet Ski for a guided island tour. Kayak or snorkel over stunning coral reefs, just feet from the sheltered beach. Relax and enjoy spectacular views, sunsets, great food and refreshing drinks at Hammerheads Bar & Grill or Club Aqua. Day into night, it all happens at Snorkel Park Beach. (234-6989 main, 234-3100 watersports, bar and grill; snorkelparkbeach.com) Somerset Long Bay, Sandys Parish. Part of a nature reserve co-owned by the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society, this locals’ beach has a large stretch of white sand, as the name implies, and many small reefs offshore. Though popular for picnicking, the beach remains largely undeveloped as a sunbathing destination. It is ideal for birdwatching, thanks to the freshwater pond in the reserve, which attracts many migratory species and waterfowl. A nature trail through the reserve is the area’s main draw, and there is also a small playground, as well as facilities on-site. SOUTH SHORE Astwood Cove, Warwick Parish. It requires some hiking down a cliff trail to get to this hidden beach that is almost surrounded by bluffs, making it somewhat deserted and very tranquil. A great daytrip destination, the beach also has picnic tables and bathrooms. Make sure to bring everything you need on the way down, such as towels, food and refreshments. Chaplin Bay, Southampton Parish. This beach follows a long stretch of sand that includes the more popular Horseshoe Bay Beach and Warwick Long Bay. However, it is much less frequented, offering the same stunning views of majestic cliffs, but with smaller crowds. Bathrooms are accessible nearby, and a nearby trail leads to the concessions and other facilities at Horseshoe Bay. Church Bay, Southampton Parish. More impressive under the water than above, this is a favourite snorkelling spot for locals, thanks to its reefs, which are very close to the shore. The beach itself is small and rocky but not uninviting. The bathrooms can be found above the beach by the road. Elbow Beach, Paget Parish. One of Bermuda’s iconic pink beaches, part of this beach serves the private resorts on it, and is accessible to non-hotel guests only from Tribe Road No. 4. However, its location, with favourable winds and water currents, make it popular for watersports activities such as kitesurfing, kayaking and snorkelling. There are many facilities and concessions on-site, and the wreck of the Pollockshields lies just about 100 feet offshore. Horseshoe Bay, Southampton Parish. This is Bermuda’s most popular and often-photographed pink beach. Almost every cruise that docks in Dockyard offers a day trip here, and many hotel guests from Hamilton and the South Shore also venture to this expansive beach. Aside from the pink sand, this beach is also known for its interesting rock formations and small tidal pools. Though it seems like it would be crowded, the beach is large enough to accommodate many people without ever feeling overwhelmingly full. Many public facilities are available here, including public bathrooms, a café, lifeguards in the summer and outdoor showers. Jobson’s Cove, Warwick Parish. Another extension of Warwick Long Bay, this beach offers impressive scenery made of stunning limestone cliffs and small tidal pools between them, making it a favourite amongst locals. It is also excellent for snorkelling. There are no facilities here, but a small trail leads back to those in Warwick Long Bay. Stonehole Bay, Warwick Parish. Next to Jobson’s Cove, this is also part of Warwick Long Bay, yet remains secluded and uncrowded. It is a small beach with nearby cliff formations that make for wonderful photos. The beach itself can disappear at high tide, and the currents right offshore make it less than ideal for snorkelling. Warwick Long Bay, Warwick Parish. This large stretch of sand encompasses several beaches on the South Shore that collectively form the pink beaches for which Bermuda is famous. Though favoured by both vacationers and locals, it is not nearly as frequented as other beaches like Horseshoe Bay. It is a great place to go jogging. West Whale Bay, Southampton Parish. Off the beaten path, this spot takes its name from the migratory humpback whales that pass just off shore in March and April. Popular with locals, this vantage point also offers stunning sunsets. Public facilities are on-site. EAST END Achilles Bay, St. George’s Parish. Adjacent to Fort St. Catherine, this small strip of sand lies directly beneath a cliff, and is best visited during low tide. This is the private beach for guests of The St. George’s Club, which offers beach chair and snorkelling equipment rentals. Above the beach on top of the cliff is The Beach House — formerly Blackbeard’s Hideout — a casual restaurant with high-quality food and one of the best places to view the sunset in Bermuda (297-1400). Legend has it that Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, docked his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, just off shore to hide from Governor Charles Eden of the North Carolina Colony in 1718. Clearwater Beach, St. George’s Parish. Located near St. David’s Island on the site of a former U.S. Naval Air Station, this beach is on its own smaller island. Cooper’s Island provides a sheltered bay that has become very popular with locals. This beach features playgrounds for families, a beach bar, lifeguards in the summer, picnic and barbecue areas and public bathrooms. John Smith’s Bay, Smith’s Parish. Though not well known by vacationers, this beach is just off the road and offers a large stretch of sand. It is a favourite of locals because of its reefs — which lie in close proximity to the shore — and its protected shallow waters. There are bathroom facilities on-site, as well as a lunch wagon that sells food and beverages. Shelly Bay, Hamilton Parish. On the north shore of the island, Shelly Bay is another local favourite often overlooked by visitors. The sand is white and the waters are calm and extremely shallow. There are facilities at the on-site café, as well as playgrounds, soccer fields and a cricket pitch. Tobacco Bay, St. George’s Parish. With more facilities than most beaches, this relaxing spot is especially popular with families. Pursue your quest for the perfect tan, cool off with a refreshing swim or snorkel around the rocks. The shallow water is safe for kids.
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