Top 10 St. Kitts Beaches
It’s no wonder, as those few square miles of real estate are home to lush rainforests, graceful mountains (including a 3,792-foot volcano), virgin coral reefs, fascinating history and a mellow, laid-back island vibe.
But the main reason people come to St. Kitts is for the pristine, uncrowded beaches where they can unwind, disconnect and soak up the unspoiled beauty of a tropical island.
It’s easy to visit several of the beaches on this 18 mile-long island in the space of a few days. Here are the top beaches to see on St. Kitts:
Frigate Bay South
The most popular beach on St. Kitts among both tourists and locals, this is where many of the island’s large hotels and homes are. It features a line of restaurants and beachfront bars known as “the strip,” and vacationers can be seen swimming, windsurfing and water skiing in the calm, tranquil water. There is good snorkelling at both ends of the beach. Many tours, charters and excursions depart from this area. Frigate South Bay is on the south shore, not far from Basseterre.
Frigate Bay North
Unlike its southern counterpart, Frigate Bay North, on the Atlantic side of the island, isn’t so full of the tourist bustle. You can have the place more or less to yourself and the swimming is good, thanks to a long offshore reef, the normally choppy Atlantic is reasonably calm and safe.
South Friar’s Bay
Just beyond the Frigate Bay tourist area off the southeast peninsula highway is the grey-sand beach of South Friar’s Bay. It is popular among tourists and locals for both swimming and snorkelling and several beach bars and restaurants – from ramshackle local joints to upper-class establishments – are open for business. A word to the wise: you may be tempted to cross the road to North Friar’s Beach – its emptiness and desolation may call to you – but if you do, stay on the beach. The rough Atlantic waters can be dangerous, even in shallow areas.
At the very southern end of the southeast peninsula is Cockleshell Bay — a favorite beach for locals and visitors alike. The curved shoreline and white sand make for a perfect picturesque Caribbean setting. For those who like a lively beach scene, Cockleshell Beach is a busy place on weekends and when cruise ships stop for a visit. There are lots of small restaurants featuring local cuisine and bars that serve cold beer and tropical drinks. Live music can be heard wafting along on the sea breeze. For a more sedate Cockleshell experience, go on weekdays or during the summer.
Right next to Cockleshell Bay is Banana Bay, offering the same golden sand and tranquil water. This is where the beautiful resort of Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour is located. Before the resort was built, there were no facilities – no bars or restaurants. Today, visitors and locals alike have so much to look forward to on Banana Bay as they now have three dining options to choose from while still enjoying a quiet and peaceful day with beautiful unobstructed views of The Narrows and sister island Nevis.
Head back up the access road that leads to Cockleshell Beach, take your second right (a dirt road) and in just a minute or two you’ll arrive at Turtle Beach. A coral reef protects this beach from the Atlantic, so it’s a great place to snorkel and see brilliantly coloured reef fish and otherworldly coral formations. It’s also one of the more popular places for surfing on St. Kitts. There is a small fence there, but it is a public beach; just enter through the gate.
Turtle Beach is not a heavily visited beach. It offers great views of Nevis, just a couple of miles to the south. There are no shops or restaurants, but Cockleshell Beach is just a minute or two away.
White House Bay
The rocky coast of White House Bay is not the best beach for swimming, but it deserves a place on our list because of the outstanding snorkelling along several good reefs. Snorkellers especially enjoy exploring the shipwrecks in the bay. There are several, including a sunken tugboat and a recently-discovered British troop ship, thought to have sunk during the 1782 Battle of Frigate Bay. The ship itself dates to the 1740s. Another wreck sits in just 10 feet of water, just 100 feet or so from the shore. White House Bay is on the northwest side of the southeast peninsula. There is a snack bar but no restrooms.
This unique black/grey sand beach is located on the northwest shore of the main island and is a popular spot among the locals from the nearby towns of Sandy Point, Fig Tree and La Valle. You won’t find any facilities or restaurants, so bring what you’ll need for the day. As with most other beaches in St. Kitts, it is a great place to snorkel and dive; the calm water makes it a good location for children and those with little experience. Nearby Brimstone Hill Fortress is a British-built edifice – and UNESCO World Heritage Site – that dates to the 17th and 18th centuries.
At the very north end of St. Kitts is Dieppe Bay, home to one of the more unusual beaches on the island. This is, quite literally, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. You can see the waves crashing into each other as they move in opposite directions. The beach, with its shiny, black volcanic sand, faces the Atlantic and is protected by a reef that makes for decent swimming. Both snorkelling and windsurfing are popular here. There are no facilities.
Sand Bank Bay
On the east side of the southeast peninsula, Sand Bank Bay is a white-sand beach that has been largely ignored by the tourist machine. A few structures have been built there in recent years, but it is still very much off the beaten track. The semi-circular shape of the bay and cliffs at both ends protect this side of the island from the untamed Atlantic, so if you like to play in the surf, this is a good place to go. There are no restroom facilities.