Those taking Barbados holidays will be treated to some of the most gorgeous coastlines on the planet. While some areas have strong currents that lend the beaches more to sunbathing than to swimming, the water here is, in general, open for business. That means endless watersport adventures and afternoon swims. Picking out the best beaches is tough with so many great destinations on offer, but here are a few we think you'll really enjoy.
On what is sometimes referred to as the 'Platinum Coast', Paynes Bay is one of the most popular stretches of beach on Barbados' western side. Its white sands are serviced by a selection of bars and restaurants, along with jet ski and catamaran rentals. The water here is particularly calm and largely free of undertows, making it a safe place to swim. And the clearness of the waves and the shallow coral reefs make it even better for snorkelling.
You'll feel like you're dreaming at this beach because it's so eye-poppingly beautiful, with clear blue crystalline waters. Carlisle Bay is a half moon-shaped bay that's also a marine park, and is the site of a number of shipwrecks whose cannon balls and anchors can still be spotted on the ocean floor.
Renowned for being one of the quieter shores on the western coast, Gibbes Beach is where holidaymakers head for an especially peaceful break. There are still watersports available like water and jet skiing, but the water is calm enough that easy-going swims and paddling are possible.
Dover Beach can be found at the end of the St Lawrence Gap. It's a long strip of road where you'll find a chunk of the area's restaurants and nightlife, down on Barbados' southern coast. Not only is it a top spot to try watersports like jet skiing or wind surfing, but it also has stands selling ice cream, snorkelling gear, cold drinks and beach accessories. Plus, it's just across the street from the Dover Playing Field, where you can catch a local cricket or football match.
Found just around the corner from Paynes Bay, Sandy Lane is its stylish older sister, whose gorgeous shores regularly welcome the rich and famous. This is due largely to the addition of the ultra-luxurious Sandy Lane Hotel, which is nestled right along the coast. Afternoons here are all about relaxing and topping up your tan, but there are jet skis and catamarans to up the energy as well.
Known under both names, this supremely wide stretch of sand is one of the most popular – and consistently busy – beaches in Barbados. The waves make for great boogie boarding and body surfing, and generally are undertow-free. At the southern end of the coast is a gathering of rock pools that are sheltered from the waves, making them a safe spot for little holidaymakers. And, at the back of the beach are a line of kiosks selling beach clothing and jewellery, as well as local bites and drinks.
Found along the quieter, eastern end of the St Lawrence Gap, Turtle Beach is a slice of white sands popular with sunbathers. Though the waves here are a bit stronger than other popular beaches that await you during holidays in Barbados, you can still take a dip to cool down. As the name suggests, Turtle Beach is also popular with turtles. They've been spotted onshore almost every month of the year in Barbados, though May to October is when you're most likely to see them laying eggs or scampering along the sand.