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Jolly Beach, Antigua


Jolly Beach

Of Antigua's 365 beaches, the long, powdery strand along Jolly Harbour is one of the most beautiful on the island, which is perhaps why several of the largest all-inclusive resorts can be found there. The area is one of Antigua's busiest and most developed, with myriad watersports outfitters, and even a few good independent beach bars and restaurants.


Jolly Beach is a fine stretch of powdery soft sand, but if you are willing to travel a few kilometres south, Darkwood Beach is almost deserted during the week (though popular with locals on weekends), and Johnson's Point/Crab Hill beaches, a bit further south, are even nicer, with calm water for swimming and even a few good beach bars for refreshments.

Beyond the beach

Antigua is one of the Caribbean's major sailing centres, so trips out on the waves to more isolated snorkelling spots from the Jolly Harbour marina are a good option. One of the island's two golf courses, the Jolly Harbour Golf Course, is located here. The BBR Sportive Complex offers tennis courts if your resort doesn't have one. To the south, Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour is one of the Caribbean's best-preserved historic districts and the only Georgian-era dockyard still in use; in addition to a museum, it's filled with shops and restaurants.

Family fun

Larger resorts have organised activities for children, but most of the best activities for children will require some travel. A rainforest canopy zip-line tour, on Fig Tree Drive in the southern end of the island, will please both kids and adults. 'Stingray City Antigua', in Seaton's Village, offers an opportunity to interact with stingrays in safe and controlled conditions.

Exploring further

Harmony Hall, in Brown's Mill, is a former sugar plantation, now a gallery and restaurant. Though isolated, it's a fun place to head to for an afternoon's outing. After a superb lunch, you can explore the grounds, see the exhibits, and even spend time at the beach. The property has a boat that can take you out to Green Island, which has good snorkelling right from shore.

Splashing out

Caribbean Helicopters, based right in Jolly Harbour, will give you a bird's-eye view of the island's dramatic scenery that is more enjoyable than what you'll see from the backseat of a car or tour bus. On a trip of 15 to 45 minutes, you'll be able to look down on the rainforest, Antigua's myriad cays, or even the still simmering volcano on nearby Montserrat. These trips are expensive but unforgettable.

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