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Bermuda Flag

Bermuda's Beaches

With pink sand, two types, public and private as shown below by parish

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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online

Gorgeous Bermuda beach

Bermuda Pink Beach

Bermuda Pink beach - photo Bermuda Tourism

Bermuda has some magnificent large and small beaches. Beach sand is not volcanic but from finely pulverized remains of calcium carbonate shells and skeletons of invertebrates such as corals, clams, forams and other shells. Beaches begin with tiny single-celled animals, Foraminifera,  in particular, homotrema rubrum - or forams - dark red skeletal animals that grow profusely on the underside of Bermuda's coral reefs. When the red forms die, the skeletons plummet to the ocean floor. Wave action erodes the forams. They become mixed with other debris on the seabed such as the white shells of clams, snails and sea urchins.

Bermuda Pink Beach 2

Another Bermuda pink beach -photo Bermuda Tourism

It is at that time that Bermuda's white sand takes on its characteristic pink hue. Bermuda is one of the northernmost areas in the Western Hemisphere (but not the northernmost place in the world) for coral reefs. In Bermuda, see the contrast of pink sand, turquoise water between the shoreline, outlying reefs, and dark blue of the ocean beyond the reefs or land. The sand in Bermuda is exceptionally fine. Beaches in Bermuda are often favored for weddings. Often, religious ministers in Bermuda shorts and knee length socks will preside. Most beaches are on the South Shore, but a few are on the North Shore. Watch out for the rip tide and rip currents on the South Shore beaches!  They are formed by water seeking its own level. More water is pushed up on the beach as the frequency of the waves breaking on the beach increases.

As this water accumulates, it returns to the sea to find its own level, thus causing a drag outwards. The larger the surf, the more intense the rip currents. They pull out to sea, not down beneath the surface. At low tide, when the reef formations are clearly visible and the sea is calm, South Shore potboiler formations can be explored. Some contain deep natural pools for visitors to swim or wade out to and enjoy. Visitors used to riding surf boards on high rolling waves should note that only when the wind is blowing heavily from the south do Bermuda's South Shore beaches get any decent surf. Many people assume, wrongly, that Bermuda must have good surfing beaches. Beaches are closed when the wind blows too heavily from the south. When gales and hurricanes occur, of the type that bring surfing conditions, surfing is dangerous. Rip tides are bad then, too.

 Some Bermuda beaches are noted for their sea glass. Unfortunately, especially since 2012 they have been raided illegally by visiting cruise ship and other American tourists. It is illegal to take glass from this or any other Bermuda beach. The sign, posted by Bermuda's West End Development Company (Wedco), adds: “If you steal it you are depriving all those who come after you. Persons who choose to remove such items are liable for prosecution.” The Historic Articles (Export Control) Act 1983 prohibits the exportation of historic artifacts — items more than 50 years old which carry national, historic, scientific or artistic importance — cannot be exported without a licence granted by the minister responsible.

Bermudians and locals don't use the beaches from Labor Day in September through May 24. Why not?

Water temperature can be as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit in August. But it can dip to below 64 degrees in winter, too cold for most residents, only for the human penguins from Canada, Europe, UK and the USA's East Coast. After all, Bermuda is NOT part of the Caribbean. 

One of the most beautiful beach walks in the world

At almost any time of year - except when there are hurricanes or gales driving the sea to shore in huge waves - a walk on the beach is glorious. It is the South Shore Park between Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish and Warwick Long Bay in Warwick Parish.  The public beaches are open from sunrise to sunset. Do not attempt to use them illegally at night, for your own safety. 

Warwick Long Bay and Stonehole Bay

Warwick Long Bay and (lower down) Stonehole Bay. Photo Bermuda Tourism

Beaches in Bermuda - public and private - do not allow topless, nudes or semi-nudes. Camping and sleeping on the beaches are not permitted. The Bermuda Police Service encourages all beach-goers, especially visitors, to be extra vigilant of their belongings at the beach and only take items that are really necessary. They advise visitors not to take a lot of cash or credit cards or passports or watches other forms of identification or jewelry.

Portuguese Man of War jellyfish in BermudaThere are periodic sightings on the beaches and in waters nearby of Portuguese Men of War (Bluebottle, physalia spp - hydroid) - (see Royal Gazette photo right) commonly but mistakenly referred to as "jelly fish" with "blue or white sails" usually clearly visible and with fiercely stinging, food-catching tentacles. They get this name from Mediterranean sailors who believed they resembled 17th century Portuguese ships of war in full sail. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it's not even an "it," but a "they." The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together. The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue color of their pneumatophores. The tentacles are the man-of-war's second organism. These long, thin tendrils can extend 165 feet (50 meters) in length below the surface, although 30 feet (10 meters) is more the average. They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful, and sometimes deadly. Even dead man-of-wars washed up on shore can deliver a major problem if touched or prodded. Avoid them from a great distance at all costs, in the water and on shore as their sting could be very serious, or deadly to those at risk of heat attack or stroke or both. Ashore, they may look dead but are not. If you do not use extreme care, but approach them at entirely your own risk, repercussions and financial liability and are stung by a Portuguese Man of War jellyfish, as you undoubtedly will be in these dangerous circumstances, try to rinse with salt water and remove any visible tentacles from the skin with a stick, glove or towel; treat the affected areas with vinegar; apply warm water or warm compress; remove any of the remaining tentacles by applying shaving cream with something like a tongue depressor stick or a credit card; and apply hydrocortisone cream to the affected area. To avoid further potential problems make sure you summon help in any way possible and see a doctor straight away or get to a hospital as soon as possible.  British and European visitors should note these creatures are as potent as the lion's mane jellyfish in Britain and its counterparts of the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. In Europe, especially in Spain, the national Red Cross treats injured visitors on the beaches and governments also respond there by putting out red flags and sending boats to net the creatures.

Sewage. Following early 2014 reports earlier widely circulated in the USA, prepared by the US Consul General's office in Bermuda, that Bermuda's beaches contained raw sewage deposits from the sea and were not safe for American visitors to use, an  international organization has confirmed the accuracy of Government’s testing of South Shore waters, stating that trends indicate the waters are safe for recreational use. Representatives for the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) were contacted by the Government in June to conduct an independent study of the water quality around the Island’s beaches and ensure the reliability of the Department of Health’s weekly water quality results. Dr Lisa Indar, of CARPHA, said that after analyzing the Department’s sampling and analytical methods and independently testing water samples, the organization found the sampling methods were in compliance with standards and the laboratory results from both bodies were similar. She also noted that a historical review of sample sites indicated that recreational areas were safe and fit for use, generally meeting the US EPA requirements. Premier Michael Dunkley said Government has been working hard to tackle the issue of water quality, and bringing Dr Indar to Bermuda to evaluate testing efforts was just one step furthering public confidence in the Island’s water quality. Asked about other efforts being taken to remedy the issue, he said: “I think the people of Bermuda are well aware the challenges that we face since this report started to get into the media in spring of this year. At that time, Government was very quick to act, to assess the situation and put in short term, medium term and long term plans to deal with the challenge. Obviously, we are well aware that it didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight.” The Premier said the short term, medium term and long term plans are all still in effect, but Government wanted to ensure it was following proper testing procedures with the water samples and that Government results were accurate. Minister for Health, Seniors and the Environment Jeanne Atherden noted several efforts in place to tackle the issue, including working to ensure proper disposal of grease and oil.

Sea glass. Glass weathered smooth by the ocean, can be found on beaches throughout the Island but is particularly common on a few smaller beaches. It is sometimes used to make jewellery and various decorations. Cruise ship and other visitors have been spotted seeing it and taking it away, to the huge annoyance of locals. Neither residents nor visitors are allowed to take sand, shells, coral, sea fans or sea glass out of the beach or ocean or out of Bermuda.

The Bermuda Lifeguard Service is a service of the Parks Department of the Ministry of the Environment of the Bermuda Government. In the swimming season, the most popular public beaches have lifeguards from this service. They must be at least 16 years old, fit, healthy and  strong swimmers.  Telephone 236-4201 or 236-5902 or fax 236-3711. P. O. Box HM 20, Bermuda HM AX or e-mail lifeguard@ibl.bm. The private beaches do not have this service.

Beaches private and public

Public beaches

It seems online maps of public beaches feature only some, not all, of them. The following tries to give short descriptions of them all. 

Some are 4 star rated by this author, an international travel editor. All owned by the Bermuda taxpayer and operated/cleaned by the Bermuda Government from whom all particulars about any specific beach, such as whether  there are bathrooms and restaurants or beach bars should be obtained. All members of the public using a public beach should be aware they do so entirely at their own risk. They are all approachable by land and are usually free (except for Snorkel Park at Dockyard) to the general public and open from dawn to sunset. They are not open to the public at night. Please respect this. It is to prevent misuse or spoilage of or unseen-by-night dangers from the beaches including by persons who are local but may be homeless, or others who will never get permission, or visitors with nowhere to stay while on vacation who will also never get permission. Those who attempt to do so are usually caught, detained overnight by police, then deported. Camping on beaches by visitors is not allowed. Nude or near-nude or female-topless bathing on public or private beaches is not allowed for any visitor or local and can also be downright dangerous, not only to help prevent undesirable attention but also because clothes help give some protection against sunburn, possible jellyfish stings and nearby submerged reefs or rocks.  Public beaches are without the off-beach and water-sports facilities of private beaches. Only two public beaches have a privately-run bar. Most Bermuda beaches are family beaches. A few have basic restaurants franchised from the Bermuda Government but usually with no bars.  An exception is at Tobacco Bay in St. George's. Some public beaches have a basic bathroom or toilet but others will not. None have changing rooms or showers unless specified. Don't be surprised to see, on the Good Friday public holiday, hundreds of multi-colored, hand-made Bermuda kites are up in the air above some of the public beaches.

main public beaches locations

Locations of Bermuda's main (but by no means all) public beaches

Special notes:

Beaches and dogs

Bermuda reefs off a beach

Bermuda reefs off a beach. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Private beaches  

Some are 5 star rated by this author, an international travel editor. Cannot be approached by land without trespassing. Owned privately by individual hotels or individual home owners. All hotel-owned private beaches have licensed beach bars, often with full-service tourist restaurants either on the beach as well as the bars, or nearby, usually with bathrooms. They have changing rooms and showers for their staying guests only. But all beaches and waters are public - not private - from the sea and up to (but not in excess of) their high water mark. This means they can be approached and accessed by boat providing neither the boat nor the passengers are above the high water mark. Please note that many of the private beaches are as gorgeous as or better than the public ones and may have more facilities. It is recommended that discerning beachgoers on a beach-binge, to save time, consider using a private beach or beach hotel restaurant when that beach is adjacent or close to the public beach.

Private beaches, Tuckers Town

Private Bermuda beach

Several private beaches

Parish beaches

The following listing shows the parishes in alphabetical, not geographical, order, although the map below shows them in geographical order from west to east.

 Bermuda Parishes

First use this map to see where where Parishes are located. Bermuda buses go past or near many - not all - beaches. If they don't, they can be accessed by moped. Parishes below are mentioned in alphabetical, not map, order. Please note how these different parts of Bermuda - Parishes - run from St. George's in the east to Sandys in the west. Cruise ship visitors - in 2011 the majority of all visitors - will see from the ports locations of their ships the number of parishes and get an idea of their distance to the beaches they favor below. 

Devonshire Parish


Devonshire Parish area

Devonshire Parish area

Hamilton Parish


Hamilton Parish area

Hamilton Parish area

Bay Island Beach

Bay Island Beach

Mid Ocean Club, Golf course and beaches

Mid Ocean. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Paget Parish

Paget Parish area

Paget Parish area

Coco Reef beach and hotel

Coco Reef Beach and hotel

Coral Beach, Bermuda

Coral Beach

Elbow Beach, private

Elbow Beach, hotel part, Bermuda Tourism photo

Elbow Beach public part

Elbow Beach public part, photo Bermuda Tourism

Bay Grape tree at Bay Grape Beach

Bay Grape tree at Grape Bay Beach. 2009 Photo by this author exclusively for and copyrighted by Bermuda Online

Grape Bay beach

Grape Bay beach

Hungry Bay beach off Tribe Road, Paget

Hungry Bay beach

Pembroke Parish


Pembroke Parish

Pembroke Parish area

 Sandys Parish


Sandys Parish area

Sandys Parish

One of the best parishes for number of public beaches.

Ireland Island's Bottle Beach

Mangrove Bay

Mangrove Bay, by Keith A. Forbes

Smith's Parish

Smith's Parish

Smith's Parish

John Smith's Bay

John Smith's Bay, Bermuda

John Smith's Bay

Pink Beach Club

Pink Beach Club map

91 rooms. South Road, Smith's Parish. Closes November 2011 for update and major renovations for reopening spring 2012. Telephone 1 441 293 1666. Fax 1 441 293 8935. With its own two gorgeous small private pink sand beaches (see above graphic). 

Southampton Parish

Southampton Parish

Southampton Parish

Chaplin Bay Bermuda 2011

Chaplin Bay

Church Bay beach

Church Bay beach. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Horseshoe Bay

Photos above and below, Horseshoe Bay. Above : Bermuda Tourism

Horseshoe Bay 1Horseshoe Bay 2 

Munro Beach

Munro Beach

Pompano Beach

Pompano Beach

The Reefs beach

The Reefs beach. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

St. George's Parish


St. George's Parish

St. Georges Parish

One of the best parishes for number of public beaches.

Achilles Bay beach

Achilles Bay beach. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach, photo by author

Fort St. Catherine Beach

Howard Bay,  extreme end of Tucker's Town

Howard Bay

Moongate at Tobacco Bay with Rhilingers

Jim & Edna Rhilinger of Maine enjoying Tobacco Bay with it's distinctive Bermuda Moongate. Photo by the author.

Windsor Beach, Tuckers Town

Windsor Beach

Warwick Parish

Warwick Parish

Warwick Parish

Jobson's Cove

Jobson's Cove: Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Southlands Beach

Stonehole Bay

Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Warwick Long Bay

Warwick Long Bay. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

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Last Updated: May 19, 2016.
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