Situated at the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meeting point, Antigua and Barbuda is a small but charming island country. Renowned worldwide for its beautiful beaches, green rainforests, crystal clear waters, and unique resorts, the best things to do in Antigua and Barbuda will make your Caribbean vacation unforgettable.

Antigua and Barbuda's 20 Best Attractions

With so much to see and do across Antigua and Barbuda, we’ve put together an ultimate list of the 20 top things to do when visiting Antigua and Barbuda.

Hit One of the 365 Beaches

1. Dickenson Bay

antigua tropical paradise

Only 11.2 km from the airport and situated near Cedar Grove in Antigua, Dickenson Bay is the soul of the namesake island.

Famous for its white sand beaches (such as Dickenson Bay Beach) and turquoise blue waters, this is a perfect destination for snorkeling (if you don’t have snorkeling gear, you can buy or rent it locally). Populated with beach bars and beachside restaurants like Putters Bar and Grill and Salt Plage, it has amazing nightlife to offer visitors.

Dickenson Bay is also home to the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa, voted “The World’s Most Romantic Resort.” In addition to fantastic beach life, you can try out various water adventure sports or go on a boat tour with local Antigua tour companies like CocoVibes Tours.

2. Galleon Beach

beach day in antigua and barbuda

One of the most quaint and beautiful Antigua beaches, Galleon Beach, is located in Freemans Bay in English Harbour. Even though the beach is off the beaten path, with access only by car from English Harbour, the beach still attracts many tourists.

From tropical flora and fauna to soft white sand beaches and beautiful hills reachable from the Jones Valley Trail, Galleon Beach is surrounded by stunning natural wonders.

If you are a beach lover, check out beach bars like Loose Cannon Beach Bar and Academy of Rum and catch some rays in waterfront resorts like Moondance Antigua and The Inn At English Harbour.

Local tour companies like Bernie’s Snorkeling Antigua W.I can get you involved in various water sports activities like snorkeling, body surfing, and diving. If you like sea turtles, don’t forget to visit the nearby Galbokka Sea Turtle Hatchery. 

3. Half Moon Bay, Antigua

antigua leeward islands

Among coral reefs, green vegetation, and turquoise blue waters, Half Moon Bay takes the shape of a crescent moon and has one of the most beautiful beaches in the island country.

If you want to try snorkeling on the island, traveling to this area at the southeastern tip of Antigua is worth it.

Windsurfers will appreciate the sizable waves found towards the center of Half Moon Bay Beach, while snorkelers will enjoy the calmer waters towards the edges.

 

4. 17 Mile Beach, Barbuda

runaway bay in antigua

One of the most stunning pink sand beaches in Antigua and Barbuda, 17 Mile Beach in Low Bay on Barbuda island, is perfect for people seeking unique things to do in Antigua and Barbuda.

If you want to visit the beach, you can take the boat through tour companies on Antigua, such as Adventure Antigua Tours, or take an Antigua and Barbuda helicopter ride with CalvinAir Helicopters to get an aerial view of the magnificent beach.

 

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Visit Some of the Nation’s Iconic Sites

5. Nelson’s Dockyard UNESCO World Heritage Site

antigua and barbuda caribbean nation

Nelson’s Dockyard UNESCO World Heritage Site is a part of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. Although the Dockyard has period buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it has been completely restored. It is home to the Dockyard Museum as well as shops, hotels, and other businesses.

Nelson’s Dockyard provides excellent views of the surrounding landscape – a stunning harbor, historic places like Fort Berkeley, and the Middle Ground Trail. Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, the place also houses the Dockyard Museum, which holds the rich history of Antigua and Barbuda.

6. Admiral’s House Museum

antigua british navy museum

Named after British Naval Admiral Horatio Nelson, the Admiral’s House Museum in the English Harbour. One of the best places to learn about the early maritime life in and around the islands, the Admiral’s House Museum is populated with ancient artifacts and antiques that tell the stories of early British history.

Since the Admiral’s residence has been converted into a museum, you can also glimpse personal things like his telescope, charts, maps, and more.

The museum also houses a gift shop with interesting things showcasing the rich naval history of the place. With free entry, it’s one of the best free things to do in Antigua and Barbuda.

7. Falmouth Harbour

former sugar plantation in antigua

Located on the southern coast of Antigua, the Falmouth Harbor is a natural harbor that emulates a horseshoe shape. If you want to explore Antigua by the water luxury things to do in the country, Dream Yacht Worldwide and Catch The Cat Antigua provide Antigua yacht charter services. The harbor is also home to popular restaurants and offers extraordinary island views.

If you plan to stay in Antigua for an extended period, there are approved Antigua real estate options in Falmouth Harbor to obtain Antigua citizenship.

8. Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre

jolly harbor

Located in the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, English Harbour, the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre is a museum on the island of Antigua, built in 1789. The hill that houses this museum was previously part of Archibald Dow’s estate – a civilian Royal Navy official. Later, the land was acquired for construction.

Established in 1989, the museum is a solid testament to Antigua and Barbuda’s history, which goes back to the Amerindian era. If you are visiting the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, go through the insightful multimedia presentations highlighting the chronicles of the past.

9. Betty’s Hope

antigua rum tour

Established around 1651, Betty’s Hope is one of the first sugar plantations in the Antigua and Barbuda. Heralded as a national heritage landmark, Betty’s Hope is open to all visitors. You can learn about the history of the former plantation through the interpretation center.

Although there are many things like the sugar mill towers and the sails that have been restored, the place still is a strong standing testament of the island’s history.

10. Fort James

sea grape beach

Located only 9.4 km from the airport, Fort James is situated at Fort Bay on the northwestern coast of Antigua. The fort was originally built by the British in the 18th century to protect the island country from invaders.

One of the most popular destinations in Antigua and Barbuda, you can still witness the famous Fort James cannons which weigh 2.5 tons each. Don’t miss seeing the foundation stone while exploring Fort James.

11. Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

antigua on site museum

If you are interested in learning the rich history and culture of this country, then you should pay a visit to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. Established in 1985, the museum is located in the former St John’s Courthouse – one of the oldest buildings on the island. The museum is a testimony of the national cultural and social heritage.

The main floors of the museum are dedicated to the art, history, and culture of the island and the library consists of artifacts dating back to the pre-Columbian age including ceramics, faunal remains, metal objects, maps, and photographs.

A few of the most important pieces in the museum are the life-like replica of an Arawak house and sugar plantation models. The museum is one of the most attractive destinations for tourists as well as locals.

12. Martello Tower, Barbuda

is barbuda safe

One of the tallest buildings in Barbuda, the 17-meter-high Martello Tower is also among the crucial landmarks on the island.

Towers like this one were constructed by the British in the 19th century all across the Caribbean to protect the land from potential invaders.

Even after Hurricane Irma stormed the island in 2017, Martello Tower stood firm and thus is one of the strongest buildings in Barbuda.

 

Get Active with Island Adventures

13. Experience Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours

antigua capital city

Consisting of around ten zip lines, two suspension bridges, and nine rope challenges, the Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours allow visitors to explore Antigua’s lush green rainforests. If you plan to try the rainforest canopy tour, get ready to explore the suspension bridges, tree houses, and a vertical descent (if you wish).

These tours are safe, so don’t worry if you are traveling with kids or senior citizens. As you zipline from one part to the other, you get a glimpse of the extensive vegetation, which includes rubber trees, mahogany, giant bamboo, climbing vines, and orchids.

With the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour company, you can either go ziplining hourly or take up a challenging course. The company also offers combined tours for tourists, including kayaking, short trips, and more.

14. Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary

antigua injured donkeysOne of the most unique things you can do here is to visit Antigua’s donkey sanctuary. Managed by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, Antigua’s donkey sanctuary is home to more than 150 donkeys.

If you are an animal lover and want to take a day off from the beach, then this should be your go-to place. The sanctuary is open to all visitors and provides them the opportunity to pet, brush, play, and spend time with the donkeys.

Visitors are also allowed to click pictures with the donkeys. If you are visiting the sanctuary, do go say hi to Stevie and July, the most popular donkeys in the place.

15. Antigua Paddles Eco Kayak Tour

breath taking watersports in antigua

Launched by Conrad and Jennie La Barrie, the Antigua Paddles Eco Kayak Tour consists of various fun activities like motorboating to visit Codrington Lagoon, kayaking through small islets, exploring the Flashes Mangroves Forest, and a guided nature walk trail across the North Sound Marine Park.

In addition to the charming beaches, the Antigua Paddles Eco Kayak tour opens up a stunning part of the island nation for its visitors.

16. Barbuda Caves

antigua natural environment

Since limestone is predominant in the Caribbean island of Barbuda, therefore you’ll find many limestone caves. Of the many caves in Barbuda, Darby’s cave is one of the most stunning on the island, 70 feet deep and 300 feet wide.

The cave is a sinkhole and is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in Barbuda. In addition to Darby’s Cave, you can also visit the Indian Cave, Dark Cave, and Two Foot Bay.

Watch out for iguanas, tropical birds, crabs, and bats when exploring Two Foot Bay. If you plan to visit Dark Cave two miles south of the Darby Cave, you might get to witness unique species of amphipod, the blind-eye shrimp, and various species of bats.

17. Antigua and Barbuda helicopter tours

antigua helicopter tours

If you want to soak in all the local beauty from the top, taking a ride in the Antigua and Barbuda helicopters through helicopter tour companies like CalvinAir Helicopters and Blue Harbour Helicopters Ltd is an excellent choice.

If you are an adventurous soul, you should opt for the Heaven and Earth Experience- which comprises both land and air tours or the Montserrat Volcano Tour, which gives visitors an aerial view of the island’s volcano.

Additionally, various other tours are available – Antigua Half Island/Full Island Tour, the Barbuda Experience, and trips to St Kitts or Nevis.

18. Catch The Cat

oldest building in antigua and barbuda

Tired of spending the entire day on the beach? Explore the Caribbean Sea with Catch the Cat private sailing charters. Be it hosting a private event or just relaxing on the deck and watching the setting sun, Catch the Cat ensures a one-of-a-kind experience.

You can either go for day sails that are quite popular in the island and explore the southern coastline of the country – swim, snorkel and enjoy or opt for the romantic sunset cruise. Don’t forget to click pictures while you enjoy the sunset on the cruise.

19. DiveCarib

Snorkeling-and-scuba-diving in antiguaIf you are fond of diving or want to explore the land under the sea, then go for multiple scuba diving activities with DiveCarib. With this company, you can choose to go for guided diving tours all across Antigua.

From Discover Scuba programs (beginners level), PADI courses, and guided dive tours, DiveCarib has it all. Whether you are a beginner or pro, DiveCarib takes care of all its visitors. With experts from DiveCarib you can dive through popular spots like Red Rocks, Black’s Point, and Rendezvous Bay.

20. Footsteps Rainforest Hiking Tours

antigua barbuda tourismIf you are in Freeman’s Village, then make sure to go for the Footsteps Rainforest Hiking Tours.

To explore the green rainforests extensively, you can accept the help of an insightful guide known as Dassa. Dassa generally lives and works in the rainforest and guides visitors through the entire exploration of the forest.

Ensure to take a hike to the Signal Hill where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the island and enjoy a quaint picnic with your friends or family.

21. Frigate Bird Sanctuary

caribbean islandLocated in Codrington Lagoon, Barbuda, Frigate Bird Sanctuary is one of the largest Frigate bird colonies in the entire western hemisphere. If you are a passionate bird watcher, you would be thrilled to know that the Frigate Bird Sanctuary is home to around 100,000 birds.

You get to watch them very closely in their natural habitat, especially during the migration and mating seasons. To reach the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, you need to get on a short boat ride across the Codrington Lagoon.

Another great place for nature lovers and animal enthusiasts is the Great Bird Island, a  mini destination that blends eco-adventure and relaxation. Catch a glimpse of its vast wildlife, including birds, turtles, and snakes, on your visit to the trails, beaches, and reefs.

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21. Mount Obama

explore antigua

Previously known as the Bogey Peak, Mount Obama, named after former US President Barack Obama, is also the highest point in Antigua.

With a height of more than 1,300 feet, Mount Obama is one of the most popular destinations on the island country.

You can climb Mount Obama from its southern or northern side and go for hikes throughout the year. It can take around one to three hours to complete the climb depending on your expertise which makes it perfect for beginners.

22. Segway Antigua Tours

explore barbudaFrom charming beaches and lush vegetation to historical sites, if you want to travel all around Antigua, then Segway Antigua Tours should be your top choice. As the tour provides guided excursions, you get to experience the island country through anecdotal stories and insights of the guides.

Since the company organizes group tours, you also get the opportunity to meet and greet other tourists from all across the globe. Antigua Historic West Coast tour, Beach tour, and Sweet Island life tour are among the most popular tours that you can choose from to explore the islands.

23. Shirley Heights Lookout

rendezvous bay

Located on the southernmost tip of Antigua, Shirley Heights Lookout is one of the most popular restaurants on the island.

The restaurant is owned and managed locally and offers a glimpse of the easy, breezy Caribbean lifestyle.

From live music and delicious local food like grilled lobster and curry goat to an extraordinary viewpoint, Shirley Heights Lookout is one spot you should not miss if you’re in Antigua and love to eat by sunset.

24. Unique Island Tours

english harbourIf you want unique things to do in the Caribbean, this one’s for you. With over fifteen years of experience, Unique Island Tours has been taking visitors to the island country to witness its most interesting and unique sights.

Be it small guided tours or big group tours, Unique Island Tour manages it all. You also have the option to arrange a customized private tour for yourself and other guests with Unique Island Tours.

If you love historical attractions, then do go for the History Replayed Tour, which takes visitors on a tour of popular destinations like Nelson’s dockyard, Shirley Heights, English Harbour, Betty’s Hope and small and beautiful villages of the island. Tourists also drive through lush green rainforests and the beautiful beaches of the island nation.

25. 40 Knots Kitesurfing & Windsurfing School Antigua

visit the coast of antiguaIf you are in Antigua, you have to try the water sports that the island offers. Looking for a safe, caring, and friendly ecosystem where you can try water adventure sports? 40 Knots Kitesurfing & Windsurfing School Antigua is the perfect place for you to be.

From windsurfing and kitesurfing to paddle boarding, 40 Knots Kitesurfing & Windsurfing School integrates modern equipment and water sports instructors to deliver a memorable experience for visitors across all age groups.

The school also hosts various events that tourists can take an active part in all around the year, like the 3-week-long Ride Antigua watersports experience or beach parties that give tourists a slice of the exciting nightlife in Antigua.

26. Adventure Antigua

bout trips in antigua and barbuda

Established by former Olympian Eli Fuller, who represented Antigua and Barbuda in windsurfing, Adventure Antigua offers a great sightseeing tour for visitors who want to explore the stunning island through and through.

One of the most popular tours offered by Adventure Antigua is the Eco Tour, which allows tourists to snorkel and explore the reefs, mangrove forests, caves, beachcombs, and quaint beaches.

If you want to explore the island on a yacht, you should go for the Antigua Classic Yacht tour and spend the day sailing and snorkeling.

27. Antigua Buggys

babuda buggy toursAntigua Buggys offers a unique experience to the visitors of the island looking for an off-road adventure in Antigua. This four-wheeler drive gives tourists the opportunity to drive their very own buggy and explore the island on wheels.

This unique tour continues for around four hours and allows tourists to visit popular destinations like Wallings Dam and Forest, Fort George, and West Coast Village, and also provides snorkeling and swimming opportunities along the way.

The Antigua Buggy tour also takes care of your water, refreshments, and a delectable Caribbean-style local lunch.

28. Stingray City, Antigua

clear blue waters of antigua

Visiting Stingray City on Antigua’s eastern coast offers visitors the adventure of a lifetime.

If you are ready to face your fears, you should take the speedboat ride to Stingray City, a shallow pool among a bed of tropical reefs populated with more than 100 stingrays.

You can feed, swim, or snorkel with the friendly stingrays, making your journey memorable.

29. Devil’s Bridge, Indian Town National Park, Antigua

antigua barbuda devil's bridge

A natural limestone wonder along the Indian Town National Park, Devil’s Bridge National Park is a must not miss destination in Antigua.

The park surrounding Devil’s Bridge provides various hiking trails and birdwatching viewpoints for visitors. You can witness more than thirty-six avian species sunbathing in the park.

 

 

Enjoy Antigua and Barbuda’s Fine Dining

30. Sip on rum at the Antigua Distillery

rum tours in antigua and barbudaLike much of the Caribbean, Antigua is known for its fine rum and rum punch production. The Antigua Distillery has been producing high-quality rums for almost 100 years. The distillery’s most popular product today is English Harbour rum, a drink described as fruity, spicy, and with a touch of oak.

You can take a tour of the distillery’s production facilities, sample its products in the tasting room, and even take a cooking class where you can learn how to prepare a selection of delectable Caribbean dishes and cocktails.

31. Sample the local cuisine

antigua and barbuda cuisine

Antigua and Barbuda’s food offerings are diverse and delicious, reflecting the nation’s rich history and cultural influences with flavors of Amerindian (Carib and Arawak), French, West African, South American, Caribbean, and British cultural traditions.

You’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants across the nation, like Sheer Rocks, Pillars Restaurant, and Hemingway’s Caribbean Cafe & Restaurant, where you can sample delicious local dishes, including chop-up (vegetable mash), goat water, red bean pigtail soup, pepperpot, conch, saltfish and fungi, and so much more.

Not to be missed is Susie’s Hot Sauce, a locally bottled specialty sauce that enhances every dish. You can also sign up for food tours with companies like Eat ‘N Lime Food Tours.

32. Go shopping at outdoor markets

antigua local markets

Food enthusiasts will be happy to learn about the outdoor market in St John’s. The market is open throughout the week, but Saturday morning is the best time to visit.

You’ll find a variety of locally-made crafts and local produce, such as breadfruit, dasheen, tamarind, sorrel, soursop, hot sauces, and the famous Antigua black pineapple – which is said to be the sweetest in the world).

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When is the best time to visit Antigua?

visit barbuda and antigua

The twin-island nation has a reputation for being the go-to Caribbean destination for Americans and travelers worldwide. Antigua and Barbuda resorts and hotels offer a relaxing environment while spending your days with your toes covered in the white sand of idyllic Antigua and Barbuda beaches like Princess Diana Beach. Choosing the right time of year for your visit is essential to make the most of your Antigua trip.

The best time to visit Antigua and Barbuda is between November and April, when the weather is hot and sunny. The rainy season is between May and October, with the hurricane season falling between mid-August and mid-October.

Things to Know Before Travelling to Antigua and Barbuda

Transport: Antigua and Barbuda operates a public and private transportation system. Public buses run between 5.30 am and 6 pm.

Currency: The East Caribbean Dollar (EC) is Antigua’s official currency, though US dollars are widely accepted in most tourist destinations, along with major credit and debit cards.

Safety: Antigua and Barbuda is among the Caribbean’s safest countries to visit, with low crime rates. It’s also safe for people of the LGBTQ community, with no legislation against same-sex couples.

Weather: Antigua’s geographic location poses a small risk of hurricanes, with hurricane season typically running from July to November.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Things to See and Do in Antigua and Barbuda

What to do in Antigua and Barbuda at night?

Antigua and Barbuda nightlife is exciting, with bar options such as Kon Tiki Bar and Grill and Ana’s on the Beach in St John’s Dickenson Bay. South Point Restaurant & Lounge in English Harbour and Catherine’s Cafe on Pigeon Point Beach offer live music.

Is Antigua safe for solo traveling?

Antigua and Barbuda is a safe Caribbean nation with low crime rates, making it is safe to travel solo. But make sure to take basic travel precautions while visiting.

What are the best outdoor activities to do in Antigua and Barbuda?

The best outdoor activities and adventurous things in Antigua and Barbuda include:

  • Snorkeling in crystal-clear waters off Antigua’s southwest coast
  • Sailing along Barbuda’s east coast to discover caves like Two-Foot Bay Cave
  • Zip-lining in John Hughes and Cades Peak

Is Antigua a nice place to visit?

Vibrant cities and towns in Antigua are wonder places to visit in the Caribbean, encompassing charming beaches, breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and neighboring islands, and luxury resorts.

What are the most famous places to visit in Antigua and Barbuda?

The most famous places to visit in Antigua and Barbuda include:

  • Fyes Beach
  • Dickenson Bay
  • Darkwood Beach
  • Galley Bay Beach
  • Fort Barrington
  • Prickly Pear Island
  • Long Bay Beach
  • Shirley Heights
  • Betty’s Hope
  • Deep Bay Beach
  • Nonsuch Bay
  • Jolly Harbour
  • Heritage Quay

What is Antigua best known for?

Antigua is most famous for the 18th century Nelson’s Dockyard and having the largest nesting colony of frigate birds in the Caribbean.

Why do tourists visit Antigua a lot?

Tourists visit Antigua for a variety of reasons. The nation is English-speaking, making it easy for foreigners to navigate. Antigua offers plenty of attractions and activities, such as historic sites like Nelson’s Dockyard, the pink-sand beaches of Codrington Lagoon National Park, and limestone caves like Darby’s Cave and Two Foot Bay. Additionally, the country has clear and calm waters by beaches like the Royal Palm Beach and Honeymoon Cove.

When not to visit Antigua?

Arguably the worst time to visit Antigua is September to October, which happens to be the middle of the hurricane season. While the risk of hurricanes is relatively low during this period, the weather is extremely humid.

How many activities are there to enjoy in Antigua and Barbuda?

Of the many Caribbean islands and countries in the West Indies, Antigua and Barbuda offers over 20 things to do, thanks to its 365 beaches. Activities include swimming with stingrays and through the coral reefs, romantic sunset catamaran, jet-ski adventures, boat tours exploring Barbuda or an off-shore island, and helicopter tours.

Cheap things to do in Antigua include hiking through trails such as Jones Valley Trail, Mount Obama and Ridge Trail, and Shirley Heights Lookout Trail to visit the stunning lookout point in Shirley Heights. There’s also the chance to appreciate the local foods and calypso music at restaurants and markets, visit one of the country’s 112 sugar mills, including Betty’s Hope, and explore historic museums like the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and Admiral’s House Museum.

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