The Caribbean is home to stunning picturesque white sand and palm tree beaches. The region has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays. The sea is turquoise, the sand is powder white or even pink, and the coral reefs cover the sea bottom. There are many screensavers-worthy locations which you would surely like to visit when sailing in the Caribbean. In many bays, anchoring is forbidden due to the natural preservation of the coral reefs and sea bottom. For that reason, there are many buoys where you can spend the night and wake up in paradise.
The Caribbean has some of the top beaches in the world. See below our list for the best beaches to drop your anchor or tie your boat to a mooring buoy and have the best beach vacation in the Caribbean. We have updated and expanded our Top 10 list as this is one of those complex tasks with no right or wrong. They are all equally gorgeous.
North Sound and the Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Unlike other beaches and bays on our list, North Sound is an entire area in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. It is a boater’s paradise with many anchorages. It is a high-end destination with plenty of resort properties and a lot of super and mega yachts. Gorda Peak overlooks North Sound, and from the top, you can see the entire arena. BVI National Parks Trust has installed many mooring buoys here to preserve the underwater ecology. In areas where mooring buoys are not provided, you can drop your anchor in the sandy areas. North Sound is surrounded by several islands, including Mosquito, Prickly Pear and Eustatia, and here is a variety of overnight anchorages. Here you can find many creeks and bays to explore, go diving or dine in one of the many restaurants. The white sand beaches are picturesque and one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
The Baths are on the southwestern shore of Virgin Gorda. If you have seen pictures of white sand beaches with huge boulders, this is their location, and you should see them with your own eyes as they are even more beautiful in real life. They are a unique Virgin Gorda beach and part of the BVI National Park. The huge granite boulders form small grottoes and pools in between the white sandy beaches. Try snorkelling in the Baths through the caves and rocks in the crystal-clear waters, as it will be an excellent experience. If you plan to drop your anchor here overnight, pay attention to overnight waves, which are common.
Grande Anse d’Arlets, Martinique
The island Martinique is home to this beautiful beach Grande Anse d’Arlets. It is in the southwest of the island and one of the best Martinique beaches. It is a tranquil place with many turtles. Here you can enjoy drinks in one of the small bars on the beach and watch a beautiful sunset. Church of St Henry of Les Anses-d’Arlet, built directly on the beach, is one of the most photographed scenes on the entire island of Martinique. Mooring is only possible on buoys in the buoy field. During the weekends in the heavy season, it can get crowded with people and small motorboats. It is one of the prettiest beaches that are not secluded and has an entire town in the background and is a must-stop while sailing in Martinique.
Varadero is Cuba’s longest beach. It is stretching on more than 20 kilometres of white sand, surrounded by palm trees and bordering with turquoise waters. Here you can do many water sports such as sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling or you can swim and relax on this beautiful long beach. In the background, there is a complete urban complex with many hotels. Here you can also dock your yacht in Marina Gaviota Varadero, a big modern marina with many amenities such as supermarkets, restaurants, fuel dock, boatyard, and chandlery. So, if your end stop is Cuba or just passing by, Varadero beach is a perfect stop to both restock and enjoy a never-ending white sandy beach.
Shoal Bay, Anguilla
Anguilla’s most famous beach, Shoal Bay, is another one among the best beaches in the world. The water here is turquoise, and the sand is mesmerizing. These waters with coral gardens are perfect for snorkelling. Anguilla has several marine protected areas, and Shoal Bay is one of them. They form a Marine Park System in which anchoring is restricted to preserve the seabed. All vessels must use mooring buoys and apply for a Marine Park Mooring Permit, valid for day use only. So, if you would like to visit Shoal Bay, prepare all the necessary documents and permits to explore this beautiful beach.
Malendure Beach, Guadeloupe
Located on the west coast of Guadeloupe, Malendure Beach is a great location to witness dark grey sand. It is also a popular diving location. The sea bottom is covered in sea plants and is home to many turtles. It is surrounded by a tropical forest and has a jungle vibe without urban sights. The location of the reefs is only 400 meters from the beach. There are many small restaurants on the beach. A few buoys are available for mooring, while anchoring is acceptable at this location. At night it can get a bit rocky with strong gusts. It is a nice location to drop your anchor during the day.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Seven Mile Beach is a long coral-sand beach in the shape of a moon in the Cayman Islands, located on the west coast of Grand Cayman. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole Caribbean, and it has even received an award for “The Caribbean’s Best Beach”. It is a developed area with many luxury resorts and restaurants and you can walk the full length. Even though it is called Seven Mile Beach, it is slightly shorter. Access with a boat is easy as there are no barrier reefs in this area. There aren’t many boat ramps, but you can drop your anchor and go ashore. The Seven Mile Beach is full of divers and snorkelers, so take care while navigating around them.
Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Grand Anse beach is in Grand Anse Bay in Grenada. It is one of the best beaches in Grenada. The sand is gold, palm trees are in the surroundings, and sea stars and crabs cover the shallows. This beach is over 3 kilometres long and one of the longest beaches in Grenada. Anchoring is allowed in the sandy seabed. Likewise, moorings are also available, and you can reserve your spot. The Grand Anse beach is perfect for families and for relaxing, and you can enjoy a meal or drinks in one of the many restaurants or bars in the vicinity.
Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Some of the best-rated hotels in the world are located here, in Grace Bay. Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos is part of Princess Alexandra National Park. The island of Providenciales is a popular destination for all sailors, and here you can find most of the marinas, shops, medical services and much more. There is a designated area for anchoring large vessels. So, when you drop your anchor in Grace Bay, jump into the sea and take a swim among the reefs with turtles and tropical fish.
Nonsuch Bay, Antigua
Nonsuch Bay is located on the northeast coast of Antigua. It is a great place to windsurf, scuba dive or snorkel. If you decide to enter this bay, you need to be careful because the passage is narrow, and many divers are in the water. The are many buoys for smaller yachts, but you can drop your anchor in many of the sand patches. In the bay, there are many restaurants. Many visitors consider it one of the best anchorage spots in Antigua and a spot for a beach vacation with many activities. The beaches are white sand and one of the prettiest in Antigua. If you are sailing around Antiqua, you should stop in Nonsuch Bay for at least a day and enjoy yourself snorkelling and exploring the bay.
Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Islands, Bahamas
As the name itself suggests, this beach is truly nature’s beauty. Soft and pale pink sand, made of crushed shells, will give you sunsets you will not forget. Swimming and snorkelling are protected by a coral reef. You will find many elegant resorts here and a laid-back vibe.
Frenchman’s Cove Beach, Jamaica
One of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica, Frenchman’s Cove Beach, is really unique. It is small in size but, its location makes it special. It is located next to a jungle with a river. There is a lot of shade under the trees, and you can sunbathe on the sparkling white sand. There is a restaurant next to the beach where you can try Jamaican delicacies and listen to live traditional Jamaican music. You can drop your anchor here and jump into the aquamarine waters and swim to the shore. Visit Frenchman’s Cove beach while exploring the beauties of Jamaica.
Hawksnest Bay and Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
Everyone who visited the US Virgin Islands would agree that Hawksnest Bay is not only one of the most beautiful places here but in the entire area. The whole island of St. John is a nature reserve and a sanctuary for endangered species. Here you can witness many turtles swimming among the reefs. It is a very safe anchorage. There is a self-registration fee for overnight moorings, and stay is possible only up to seven consecutive nights in one bay. Anchoring is prohibited almost everywhere in the National Park, but it is possible in some bays such as Hawksnest Bay. The water here is clear, corals are beautiful, and fish are abundant. If you stay in Hawksnest Bay or any of the bays in the vicinity, you will experience the perfect beach vacation.
Trunk Bay is right next to Hawksnest Bay, and anchoring is here also allowed. Thus, if you have decided to drop your anchor in one of the two bays, you can always visit the other with a dinghy. However, Trunk bay is much more crowded and busier. Here you can find a Coral Reef Underwater Park Trail, underwater snorkelling sight with interpretive signs on the seabed. The Trunk Bay snorkelling trail is one of the top attractions on St. John.
Orient Bay Beach, St. Martin
Often called the “French Riviera of the Caribbean”, Orient Bay Beach is a favourite celebrity spot and the most popular beach on St. Martin. White powder beach is protected by a reef where you can go snorkelling. You can drop your anchor in the bay and take your dingy to the shore. One location is at Green Cay at the south of the bay, and the second is at Pinel Island at the north. The south part of Orient Bay Beach is nudist, so if you do not want to strip down, you will need to find your spot on the other side of the long beach. When entering the bay, watch out for the waves as the sea can get rough.