Antigua is one of the Caribbean’s most famous beach destinations, not only thanks to the fact that its coast is absolutely stunning, but also since there are 365 beaches in total – yes, that’s literally one for every day of the year. Well, excluding leap years, of course! Today, I’m going to be taking a look at some of the best beaches around the capital, St John’s.

St Johns

St John’s – a quick introduction

Before I start talking about the beaches, though, let’s talk briefly about what St John’s has to offer. Among its most famous characteristics are its cathedral and market, which are definitely both well worth a look.

In fact, it’s pretty hard to miss St John’s Cathedral – particularly if you arrive by water. Originally built back in 1845, the cathedral as you see it today is actually somewhat more recent. You see, the building has twice been destroyed by earthquakes, so the present structure is in fact the third incarnation of St John’s cathedral. Look out for its white Baroque towers, which are incredibly striking.

The market, meanwhile, takes place on the southern edge of the city every Friday and Saturday morning. It’s a traditional farmers market and predominantly sells fresh food, but there are some great local crafts too.

It’s also worth remembering that St John’s is a popular port of call on cruise itineraries, so if you have the time and the budget available to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2013, I’d really recommend doing so. There are often great deals on, which means it might not cost as much as you first think, and it has the advantage of giving you the chance to see lots of different destinations in one trip.

Now, let’s move on to the beaches you shouldn’t miss.

Fort James Beach

My first pick is Fort James Beach, which is (unsurprisingly) right next to the historic Fort James. Spanning around 1.6 km, this pretty stretch of sand is fringed by palm trees and has inviting, warm water that’s perfect for swimming.

One of the nice things about coming to this beach – and, in fact, to the fort itself – is that it has some great views across the coast. And, of course, you can break up your time soaking up the sun with a quick trip around the ruins, while there’s a handy beach bar here too.

Galley Bay Beach

Galley Bay Beach is an interesting place to visit, largely because while it’s a public beach you’ll find it backed by the Five Islands Village, which is a holiday resort. As a result, a lot of the amenities can only actually be accessed by those staying at the resort – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth coming here. Just remember to pack a few supplies like drinks and snacks!

Very beautiful, this beach is also long and quiet, and for the most part it’s a good place for swim (though you should always check the conditions at the time).

Deep Bay Beach

Deep Bay Beach is around ten minutes’ drive from St John’s, but it’s definitely worth the trip – especially if you’re keen to give snorkeling a go. You see, there is a spectacular shipwreck easily accessed in the water here, which makes it a particularly exciting place to peek beneath the waterline.

Plus, it’s just a ten-minute walk to Fort Barrington, which dates back to the late 18th century. So, there’s the potential to add a little more variety to your day on the sand.

There you have it, 3 of the best beaches in St Johns not to miss!