To stand out in this beach-laden island, shores here are going to have to be pretty spectacular. The beach at Dickenson Bay meets the challenge head on, and has a lot to show for it. It’s widely regarded as the most popular beach in all of Antigua, especially among families and locals. Take one look at the blindingly blue-green water and the soft white sand, and you’ll easily see why.
For this reason, the beach at Dickenson Bay is no stranger to visitors. There are sunloungers and umbrellas to rent, as well as bars, restaurants and hotels just along the coast and within walking distance from the beach. Quieter days along the waterfront are to be had just south at Runaway Bay – it’s much of the same scenery as Dickenson Bay but with less people.
Great Bird Island
Tucked off the north-eastern coast of Antigua is Great Bird Island, a deserted islet that only covers a square kilometre of land. It received its name from sailors that were awe-struck by the range of birds living on the island. You can reach the island by chartering a boat from Antigua, just three kilometres across the water.
Nowadays, Great Bird Island is renowned for its quiet, white-sand beaches and coral reefs, which make for top snorkelling spots. The island is also the sole home for the Antiguan racer snake, and is also where you can view other rare species like the brown pelican, Antiguan ground lizard and West Indian whistling ducks.
Upping the adrenaline
As one of Antigua’s most popular waterfront hangouts, Dickenson Bay is treated to a number of watersports and other family-friendly activities. There’s a glass bottom boat that frequents these waters, plus paddle-boarding rental facilities to get you walking on water – kind of.
You can also hire catamarans and private yachts to get a little fancy out on the high seas, and book snorkelling excursions just off the coast. Antigua’s clear waters make for impeccable snorkelling conditions, and there are plenty of Caribbean holiday deals to help you get there.
Because much of Dickenson Bay’s activity is focused around the beach, it’ll come as no surprise that the resort’s restaurants follow suit. Here, you can expect a range of Antiguan flavours in dishes that are heavy on seafood and grains, plus the odd dash of Asian cuisine.
Some restaurants to look out for are Ana’s on the Beach and the Coconut Grove Restaurant. Both are right on the sand – as in, step off the porches and you’re ankle-deep. Ana’s on the Beach ups the romance vibes with plush cabanas and seafood dishes, while Coconut Grove keeps things casual. Think cocktails, jerk chicken and a spot of live music.
Dickenson Bay is only a 10-minute drive from the city of St John’s, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. It’s the islands’ main port, and where you’ll find the widest selection of Antiguan activities on offer.
St John’s is home to its own range of white-sand beaches, plus a vibrant shopping scene that consists of shopping malls, local boutiques and a number of jewellery stores. It’s also where you’ll find the island’s only rum distillery, the aptly-named Antigua Rum Distillery.
And if you’d file yourself under the foodie category, St John’s should be your go-to. It’s home to a healthy selection of restaurants dishing up Antiguan fare, featuring everything from cosy wine bars to sushi restaurants, Belgian waffle joints and pizzerias.