Those lucky enough to take holidays to the island of Antigua will probably find that dragging themselves and their families away from their local beaches for even half an hour almost seems like sacrilege. There are few places in the world where beauty and a true taste of paradise can be soaked up like the beaches of Antigua, making any inland jaunts feel both unnecessary and avoidable.
However, contrary to popular belief there is so much more on offer than what’s right outside the doors of your hotel or resort. So, if looking to get the very most out of any holidays to Antigua, all inclusive or otherwise, take note of the following top-five must-sees:
If you can only bear to leave the beach for one excursion, make the trip to see Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. The area used to be the Napoleonic War dockyard of the British fleet and is exploding with history the likes of which would be a crime not to soak up. It’s a pretty big area and chances are you won’t cover it all in one visit, so the best idea is to plan ahead and decide which of the sights you want to see and which you’ll leave for next time…and there will be a next time. It’s open every day until early evening and pretty cheap to get in, so a good choice for all the family.
The Devil’s Bridge can be found on the East of the island and is a limestone archway flanked by sea caves with a series of blowholes that never fail to entertain visitors with their powerful blasts of water – supposedly sent by the devil himself. The whole area is free to enter and explore as all times of day at night and there’s a great beach nearby. The water blasts from the blowholes however are considered in an official capacity to be dangerous and not to be played with by kids.
Hawksbill Beach Resort technically claims ownership to Hawksbill Beaches, but they are 100% freely available and accessible to anyone. This is an excellent beach to head to for families looking for a little more tranquillity than some of the rowdier beaches, not to mention significantly calmer seas. Parking at the hotel is free and there are ample cafés and restaurants around. Take note however that one the beaches is nudist friendly and attracts a crowd not suitable for children.
Market at St. John’s
Most of those entering Antigua for a limited stay make a beeline straight from the ferry port to Heritage Quay shopping centre. However, those that know the place better than any other know that the most amazing wares and bargains on the island can be found at the St. John’s Saturday Morning Market, where everything from tropical flowers to antiques and oh-so many souvenirs can be picked up.
Half Moon Bay
A bit of a hike to get to, but it’s arguably the most stunning beach on the island as a whole. Half Moon Bay is something of a secluded paradise for those looking to get away from the masses and the effects of tourism, though it can come in at about $100 or so if your looking to take a taxi from the ferry port. As such, it is a better option for longer stays and those able to take their time.