Cruising in the BVI is spectacular, with over 60 islands, there are plenty of beach picks for everyone, from lively bar scenes to uninhabited spits. These our our top picks when you feel the urge to pick up a mooring line, jump into the water or feel the sand between your toes with a long, cold cocktail in your hand.
Virgin Gorda: The Baths
This is not a secret locale — it’s one of the most visited spots in the BVI — but the national park on Virgin Gorda’s north shores is still a must-see. Iconic granite boulders form a canopy over sheltered sea pools, with grottoes and caves for exploring. The cruise-ship crowd usually clears out by 2 p.m., so go in the afternoon to enjoy the beach and snorkeling at Devil’s Bay. Just north, Spring Bay also offers a similar environment with fewer crowds.
Jost Van Dyke: White Bay
Picture a classic Caribbean beach: a stretch of perfect sand, sailboats and yachts docked in the bay, lively bars slinging potent cocktails, lush mountains in the distance. White Bay is the place. Oh, and did we mention snorkeling? The bay is protected by a coral reef teeming with marine life. As for that cocktail, the famed Soggy Dollar Bar claims to invented the original Painkiller, best sipped from a hammock. The watering hole’s name comes from the boaters who come ashore and pay with, you guessed it, soggy dollars.
Jost Van Dyke: Great Harbour
Jost Van Dyke’s arrival point could also be called the activity hub of the island, if a tiny 4-square-mile island could claim one. The main draws are the restaurants and beach bars, like Foxy’s Tamarind Bar & Restaurant. Grouper sandwiches, jerk chicken wings and conch fritters are on the menu, along with blinding rum beverages and beer brewed in-house. The joint features live music nightly (sometimes from Foxy himself) and beach barbecues on Friday and Saturday. Visit during one of the infamous special events, like the Wooden Boat Regatta or St. Patrick’s Day party.
Tortola: Smuggler’s Cove
The reefs at this secluded spot make it dangerous for boats to anchor, which means almost no crowds from day-trip charters. By car, navigate winding Route 1 to the west side of the island near Belmont Bay, or you can take the 20-minute hike from Long Bay. Bring your mask and fins: The same coral that hinder yachts makes for excellent snorkeling. Thanks to fewer visitors, the beach is unspoiled, with only a few snack shacks and bars.
Tortola: Cane Garden Bay
It’s clear why this is Tortola’s most popular beach: The family-friendly beach is lined with lively restaurants, windsurfers rule the waves and the location offers prime sunset viewing. After dark, the area’s bars come to life. Dance to live reggae at Quito’s Gazebo; the owner, Quito Rymer, has played with Ziggy Marley.