Caribbean: Antigua, an Overview

Beautiful beaches and yachting life beckon from this romantic, honeymoon-perfect island.
by Lori Seto

Once a British naval hotspot, Antigua offers a genteel take on the leisurely life. Located in the middle of the Caribbean Islands, Antigua is loved for its chalky white beaches (366 of them), boating (featuring the Caribbean's largest regatta), and ideal weather year-round.

In a Word: Sand

Rimmed by 366 public beaches -- one for each day of the year, plus one for luck -- there's a sandy paradise for every beach personality. Some of the best include Half Moon Bay for windsurfing, Dickenson Bay for restaurant hopping and people watching, and Five Islands Peninsula for a clothing-optional experience!

Why We'd Go: 5 Features You'll Never Forget

  • Seafaring lore: History lovers and yachters shouldn't miss Nelson's Dockyard at English Harbour. Built in 1784, this former naval headquarters now hosts charming old restaurants, craft shops, and historic buildings.
  • Shipyard views: For a stunning panoramic view -- of English Harbour, Eric Clapton's house, and the island of Montserrat -- plus steel-pan music, barbecue, and a superb sunset, spend your Sunday afternoon at Shirley Heights Lookout, a restaurant perched on a bluff at the south side of the island.
  • Pirate ships: Board the Jolly Roger, a true-to-life replica of a pirate ship, for limbo dancing and plank walking. The glass-bottom boat Shorty's offers snorkeling trips, sunset cruises, and lobster picnics.
  • Barbuda: This island just 25 miles north of Antigua features 17 miles of beaches, a bird sanctuary, and colorful offshore wrecks and reefs ripe for exploration.
  • Island eats: Feast with the locals on fungi (a cornmeal and okra mix), figs (bananas), and black Antiguan pineapple at the public market. Revel in coconut shrimp and frosty passion-fruit daiquiris (nudge, nudge) on the moonlit terrace of Coconut Grove restaurant.

Pucker Up: Best Place to Smooch

Chart a course for romance on a sunset cruise; steal a kiss under billowing sails.

When to Go: Antigua at its Best

  • Best weather: The Antiguan climate is one of the most idyllic in the Caribbean, thanks to constant sea breezes and trade winds. Temperatures hover around 81 degrees but can rise to 93 degrees during the hot season from May to November.
  • Best prices: Mid-April to mid-December; exact dates vary by hotel. Hurricane season swirls from June to November (September is trickiest).
  • Festival highlights: Cheer more than 300 racing yachts during Antigua Sailing Week in late April and early May, or take in one of the Caribbean's most intoxicating Carnivals, which runs from late July to early August.

Photo: Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism

Up Next