“GET OUT OF THAT WATER, IT’S COLD” my mother screamed from the shore. “But I couldn’t help it, it was calling me,” a four-year-old me pathetically pleaded back. My mother loves retelling this story of my first Christmas in Bermuda, my family’s homeland. To her, it best explains the powerful allure of Bermuda’s beaches.
Though I’ve visited Bermuda many times, it’s been way too long since my last. So, to do this special island justice, I’ve reached out to a dear friend and local photographer, Herb T. Marshall. He’s here to give us a local’s perspective on Bermuda’s best beaches. Over to you Herb…
Article and photos by: Herb T. Marshall
Living in Bermuda most of my life, I used to take the island for granted. I found myself asking, why do tourists come to Bermuda?
Then one day, sitting on a pink sand beach, I realized. The sound of a gentle surf, warmth of the sunshine, and Longtails (White-tailed Tropicbird) flying above. THIS is why visitors come to Bermuda.
Bermuda’s best beaches offer crystal clear waters made up of several shades of blue. But, it’s not just the beaches’ look, it’s also the feel. As a local, a great beach needs to offer a getaway. Somewhere to find peace and leave the rest of the world behind.
The beaches I am going to share with you are a little off the beaten path, however, still easily accessible. Most of all, they’re gorgeous!
Though visitors cannot rent full size cars in Bermuda, I suggest renting a TWIZY. These small electric two-seater cars make getting around the island easy. They are a safer, eco-friendlier option to the typical scooter rental.
Alternatively, modes of transport include taxis, public buses, and several hotels offer shuttle services.
Want a bit more excitement? Try a boat rental. Both the east and the west ends of the island have businesses that rent Boston Whalers for half-day or full-day self-guided excursions. Explore some of the smaller coves, or islands. The boating company will even supply you with fishing gear, for a true local experience.
When To Visit Bermuda’s Beaches
March through November is the best time to organize a visit. Winter can be quite cool, but summers stay pleasant with an average high of 85°F.
Locals typically do not hit the beaches, in significant numbers at least, before May 24th. It is a tradition not to go swimming before our Bermuda Day holiday. Mainly, because for us, the water is still too cool.
Moving through the island east to west:
Located near the end of the Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, Well Bay is a lovely secluded lagoon. The bay offers the complete package when one thinks of paradise. A remote, shallow, white sandy beach soaked in sunshine.
Usually, several Green Sea Turtles swim around grazing on the sea grass. If you go snorkeling, just remember, they are an endangered species. Though you can get close, touching is off limits.
Nestled in the eastern end of the Island, located just before the Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve. Clearwater Beach is one of Bermuda’s best beaches because it is a shallow, calm, white sandy beach.
Find yourself a spot to sit and catch some sun, or snorkel the bay. If you have time, enjoy a walk along the trails in the nature reserve across the street.
The most family friendly beach on my Bermuda’s Best Beaches list is Shelly Bay.
A crescent shaped, white sand, shallow beach. Families like this beach because most children can safely walk a good distance out from the shore. The shallow waters also allow good snorkeling for the entire family.
This beach can get busy. There is a playground adjacent to the beach, as well as a large field. You might even catch a cricket match or football (soccer) game in play.
Shelly Bay is along Bermuda’s Railway Trail National Park. An historical walking and biking trail. Enjoy a walk along the shore where you can get some incredible sunset photos.
The Southlands area is an adventure! Recently acquired by the Bermuda government and made public. This previously private stretch of beach is still relatively unexplored, even by locals.
Surely, you have heard of Bermuda’s pink sand? This long pink sand beach on South Shore Road in Warwick has plenty of it.
Along the beach there are several nooks and crannies to set up your beach camp and relax. You’ll likely hear the sounds of Longtails and the waves crashing on the shore.
Keep in mind, South Shore is not as calm as North Shore. Waves can get rough. The Boiler Reefs are just a few feet from the shore in some areas. They allow for an interesting snorkel around the reefs, spotting many different reef fish species.
Across the street is the inland area of the new Southlands Park, with several walking trails to explore.
Church Bay Beach
As a local, Church Bay Beach is on my list of Bermuda’s Best Beaches for the stunning views. Whether it is mid-day or sunset, you will not be disappointed. Located in Southampton, Church Bay is the western most beach along South Shore.
Wooden steps lead down to a rocky pink sand beach. This area offers some extraordinary snorkeling. Though, a word of caution, the water gets quite deep quickly. It is the deeper water reefs that attract various fish species, making it great for snorkeling.
Between March and April, it is quite common to see whales not far offshore, breaching and swimming around this tranquil spot. Longtails will be here in large numbers as well, buzzing the shore and the cliffs looking for nesting sites.
Somerset Long Bay
Located in the west end of Bermuda, in Somerset, is Somerset Long Bay. This narrow strip of white sandy beach is flanked by a park and two nature reserves. The nature reserves offer short walking trails and is great for bird watching.
The underwater terrain here is also different from most of our popular beaches. There is a large area of turtle grass, and the bay can be full of Green Sea Turtles. Scattered near the shoreline are several small reefs, making a great place for snorkeling.
If it is a windy day, you may be sharing the waters with kite surfers. The shallow bay seems to give them just what they need to speed across the surface.
Somerset Long Bay faces west and makes for a very tranquil, even romantic spot to sit and watch the sunset.
Wishing You Well Travels
Bermuda’s beaches are like no others. I hope I have motivated you to come to Bermuda to see these gorgeous beaches for yourself. Though picture perfect, there is nothing quite like seeing them first hand.
I’d like to leave you with one final tip. Do yourself a favor and visit the beaches during the day, and for the sunset. You’ll see the water and sand in various shades of dynamic color.
So grab your swimming costume, snorkel, and a good book to relax with. We’ll see you in Bermuda.
Where to Stay in Bermuda
- Stay in the City of Hamilton: Stay within walking distance of Front Street in the capital city of Hamilton at the romantic Royal Palms Hotel. Gorgeous rooms and a well-manicured property make for a luxurious stay in paradise.
- Beach Resort: With its own private cave, spa, and beach, the tropical paradise of Grotto Bay is an easy win. The resort is also within walking distance to Swizzle Inn and the Crystal Caves.
- Luxurious Seaside Resort: The sky is the limit when staying in Bermuda. For the premier luxury destination with a private beach, look no further than The Loren at Pink Beach.
Where to Stay in Bermuda
- Guidebook: Fodor’s Bermuda helps make the most of your time with inspiring photos, easy to read maps, and itineraries.
- Myth and Legend: Into the Bermuda Triangle: Pursuing the Truth Behind the World’s Greatest Mystery by Gian Quasar, researches the famous and still unknown disappearances into the Bermuda Triangle.