Less is more on the island during Autumn, with lower prices, humidity and fewer visitors, making it a perfect time to visit Bermuda.
Your first priority when you get to Bermuda (or any island for that matter) should be to hit the beach. With plenty of stunning beaches to choose from, it’s easy to become mesmerized by Bermuda’s signature pink sand and turquoise waters. What may not be as easy is deciding which ones to visit along its 62-mile coastline. Luckily, we’ve done the leg work for you and compiled a list of some of the best beaches in Bermuda, a British territory located about 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Now that tourist (and hurricane) season is over, late fall and early winter can be an ideal time to visit the “Jewel of the Atlantic.” Another plus, lower prices – hotels may offer discounts up to 60% in the winter. Bermuda can be very expensive, so this is a great time to go if you’re traveling on a budget. With the heat and humidity gone, November temperatures are pleasant (similar to May) and the island is peaceful with less tourists.
Water temperatures are somewhat cool in the winter (January through March), but scuba divers will rejoice because this is when the water visibility becomes the clearest, providing nearly perfect conditions for underwater exploration of coral reefs, marine life and shipwrecks. Bermuda is the number one wreck diving destination in the world with more than 300 shipwrecks scattered about the ocean floor –Bermuda Triangle anyone?
Beach lovers’ first choice for a stay in Bermuda is the luxurious Elbow Beach Hotel (a Mandarin Oriental property), set atop a hill overlooking the sea with secluded cottages dotted among the 50 acres of landscaped gardens. A pathway leads to a private section of Elbow Beach (Paget Parish) where the pink-tinged sand is so fine, it feels like powdered sugar. Beach set-ups are provided for hotel guests, along with food and beverage service. Once you have a Dark ‘N Stormy in hand (signature Bermudian drink of Gosling’s black rum and ginger beer) and gaze out into the clear blue waters, you’ll soon begin drifting away… until hunger strikes. Order right from your chair or dine a few yards away at Mickey’s Beach Bistro & Bar. Popular among locals and tourists alike, the fare at Mickey’s is excellent, with an Italian influence (all the chefs are from Italy). Mickey’s is launching a New England Bistro Menu beginning November 5 through the winter. A more formal dining atmosphere is just upstairs at the award-winning Lido.
Walk along the trails at South Shore Park (a series of trails along limestone cliffs and dunes) between Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish and Warwick Long Bay in Warwick Parish, and discover a few smaller beaches and coves along the way. Begin with Bermuda’s most famous beach, Horseshoe Bay, a gorgeous, crescent-shaped beach with secluded coves. Continue walking east to Jobson’s Cove (Warwick Parish), a small, sheltered beach surrounded by steep, jagged lime stone. The cove is a great place for swimming and snorkeling and is popular among locals, particularly for families with children because of its gentle waves and calm waters. Just adjacent to Jobson’s Cove, is Warwick Long Bay (Warwick Parish), another local favorite with a pink sand beach set against grassy scrub lands. Excellent snorkeling can be found here — the marine life comes close to the shore and the reef minimizes waves. Look for the coral “floating island” about 200 feet offshore, which gives the appearance of floating above the sea.
You’ll undoubtedly worked up a salty thirst, so your next stop should be the Swizzle South Shore to try Bermuda’s national drink, the Rum Swizzle, consisting of Gosling’s black rum, fruit juice (lime, orange and pineapple) and falernum (flavored sweetener). The Swizzle South Shore is a branch of the original Swizzle Inn, a landmark pub and restaurant, where the famous drink was invented in 1932. A wide selection of burgers and pub food can be found at this fun and spirited restaurant.
Due to its calm waters and offshore reefs, Church Bay (Southampton Parish) is rated by many as the best snorkeling spot in Bermuda. Dozens of colorful parrot fish and other types of marine life swim about the boiler reefs, creating a real-life aquarium. Located at the western end of the south shore beaches, just west of The Reefs (hotel), this pristine beach is another favorite among locals and includes a great picnic spot on top of the cliffs. A hillside path leads to the shore below. For exploring on land, check-out the old British Army fort nearby.
[Note that rental cars are not permitted in Bermuda and visitors get around by taxis, buses, ferries and motor-scooters. Bus #7 will take you to the south shore, where most of the best beaches reside.]
For a romantic beach dining experience nearby, head over to Coconuts at The Reefs. You’ll enjoy the peacefulness of being on a secluded private beach, surrounded by limestone cliffs and Tiki torches, where you can indulge in flavorful and exotic Caribbean cuisine. A fabulous place to stay on the northwestern tip of the island is Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, where the Clintons have been known to frequent. The property is located on a private peninsula with dozens of cottage-style rooms and suites spread out among 30 lush acres. Dine alfresco at Breezes (at Cambridge Beaches) and watch the spectacular sunset over Long Bay Beach. Breezes recently implemented a new seafood market concept, which lets diners pick-out their dinner beforehand. Try the fresh lobster – you won’t be disappointed. On the opposite end of the island, you’ll find Tobacco Bay (St. George’s Parish), a popular stretch of pale pink sand with shallow waters. Again, a great place for families, inexperienced swimmers and snorkelers, who will discover a bounty of fascinating corals and vibrant marine life. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a four-eyed butterfly fish gliding around the rocks, yet another colorful piece comprising the idyllic mosaic that makes up a tour of the sandy stretches of this beach-lover’s paradise.