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Bermuda Flag

Bermuda's Gorgeous Pink Sand Beaches

Two types, public and private, shown below by parish

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) 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.

There 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

2019. September 15. Balls of grease and human waste have washed up on at least two beaches along South Shore. “Sewage balls”, also known as “grease balls”, were spotted along Elbow Beach and Grape Bay Beach, both in Paget, early this week. It is the first time since April that grease balls have been reported. A mother of four who lives in the Grape Bay area described the situation as “revolting”. She added that she was most concerned for the health of her children, who were all under the age of six, with the youngest being less than a year old. The mother explained: “I’ve got four young children who are on the beach every day, if not every other day. Obviously, because of where the balls do come from, who knows what the repercussions are to their health?” The mother, who asked not to be named, said that she knew about grease balls, but had not seen them this year. She added that she saw them about 18 months ago when she first moved into the area and did her own research. But her worry was that others would not know about them or the potential health risks that came with them. The mother said: “I don’t think that many people know too much about them. It wasn’t something we’d been told about after all.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that grease balls were oils that mixed with waste water and congealed into a buoyant mass. These masses float to the surface of the water when the waste is disposed off at the offshore Seabright Sewage Outfall. However, she explained that they occasionally came back to shore as “grey pebble-like lumps of grease the size of marbles”. The department spokeswoman added: “Grease balls are not scattered over the beach but will be in the wrack line: the line of debris left on the beach by high tide. The wrack is usually made up of sargassum weed, bits of plastic, and marine debris.” The grease balls first appeared in 2013 and created a public health hazard that made beaches “unfit for recreational use”, according to a study of the beaches that same year. The Government began daily tests on the water quality and imposed strict policies on fat disposal for food services. Grease balls reappeared in 2016, though the water quality remained at a level that was safe enough for recreational use. The department spokeswoman said that the beaches were still safe for use when tests throughout the year reported low levels of bacteria. She added: “Historically, the bacterial levels in the seawater are unaffected by the presence of grease balls; analysis has shown that the grease and its encapsulated bacteria do not transfer to the seawater. We only resample when bacterial levels in the actual seawaters exceed the Department of Health guideline value.” The spokeswoman said that the Department of Parks had been contacted to arrange further clean ups. She added that beachgoers should avoid contact with these grease balls and report them to the Department of Health at 287-5333. Children should be kept away from the area until the grease balls have been removed. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources did not respond to a request for comment.

2019. August 13. Tourists and residents have called for public toilets at three South Shore beaches to be cleaned up. The bathrooms at Jobson’s Cove, Chaplin Bay and Elbow Beach all came in for criticism from beachgoers when The Royal Gazette toured South Shore beaches last week. But visitors gave the thumbs up to Horseshoe Bay, which has been renovated to include extensive facilities and is cleaned by staff three times a day. Cruise ship visitor Alex Camboa said he was appalled by the “gross” state of the bathroom at Jobson’s Cove. He found it to be littered with toilet tissue, discarded lighters and cigarette butts. He added the bathroom smelled and the taps and soap dispensers did not work. The 23-year-old, from New Jersey, said he would have to wash his hands in the sea. He said: “I love your island, but this is disgusting.” Shai Richardson, a camper at Chaplin Bay, said the bathrooms there had no lights. She said: “You can’t even use them at night because it’s completely dark. It can be a little bit scary. We don’t like bringing the little kids down there at night.” Ms Richardson added that regular maintenance was needed to keep the bathrooms in good condition. She said only some of the sinks worked, but that they were “useless if there’s no soap”. Joanne Simmons, 62, a veteran of 44 years of camping, said the Chaplin Bay bathrooms were “much better” than they used to be and were clear of cockroaches and flies. But she added: “There is always room for improvement.” Ms Simmons said: “There are no trash cans whatsoever, none outside, none inside. You can’t even wash your hands when you’re finished using the bathroom.” Nelson Brangman, originally from Bermuda, visited the island from New Jersey with American Tatiana Medley. Mr Brangman said that the public bathrooms at Elbow Beach needed to be better monitored and cleaned on a regular basis. He added: “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but every day the bathrooms need to be cleaned by somebody.” Ms Medley said the Elbow Beach portable toilet was “unsanitary” and that “I have a fear that everything is dirty in there”. Horseshoe Bay had the only toilets that won praise. Leonardo Hickney, a tourist from New York, said the was “satisfied” with the condition of the bathrooms. He added: “I’ve definitely seen much worse. They’re good quality — there’s enough stalls, everything works fine.” The Department of Parks said that the bathrooms were serviced every other day. A spokeswoman said: “The Department of Parks makes a concerted effort to proactively address complaints regarding the condition of these facilities within a 24 to 48-hour time frame.” The spokeswoman added: “The Ministry takes this opportunity to urge the community to be respectful of these public facilities as their purpose is to serve the entire community who seek to enjoy Bermuda’s public beaches and parks.”

2019. May 3. A water-quality testing programme has started at the island’s most popular beaches. Environmental health officers started the annual check programme last month. A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Testing started on April 1 and monthly updates will soon be provided from sampling conducted from now until the autumn.” The department tests seawater for pollution during peak summer months and started to publish the results on the Government’s website in 2014. The move came after reports of so-called “grease balls”, which contained human faeces, being washed up on south shore beaches a year before. A 2013 report by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences found that the waste came from the Hamilton Seabright sewage pipeline. The US Consulate later issued a warning to American citizens that the island’s beaches could be a health hazard. Last year’s seawater sampling results from 15 different sites showed levels of enterococcus — bacteria present in human and animal faeces — well below the US Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum recommended levels. The Bermuda Government uses the EPA yardstick to measure the purity of seawater around the island. The results are posted at www.gov.bm/seawater-monitoring-programme-bathing-beaches.

2019. April 27. Researchers are checking if a rare variant of sargassum seaweed that has invaded Caribbean coastlines could make its way to Bermuda. Robbie Smith, the curator of the Natural History Museum at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, is working on a study with Dr Kerry Whittaker, the chief scientist aboard the Sea Education Association’s research ship Corwith Cramer. A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that the variant had plagued beaches in the Caribbean for the past three years. Earlier work by Dr Smith found that the sargassum natans variant had been found in Bermuda occasionally but did not seem to thrive in the cooler waters around the island. The news came after large amounts of sargassum seaweed appeared on Horseshoe Bay and other beaches over the last week. But Dr Smith said it was not unusual and that healthy quantities of sargassum were important for the health of the seas. He added: “Sargassum is two species of marine algae, sargassum natans and sargassum fluitans, which generally show strong growth in the spring. The plants will look a light yellow-brown in colour and become more golden as they age through the summer. The plants are responding to longer day lengths and warmer water temperatures and grow quickly. But the amount of sargassum we see around Bermuda is really controlled by ocean currents and prevailing winds. In the winter months much sargassum is pushed from the north towards us and the prolonged southeasterly winds this past week seem to have brought sargassum up from the south. While sargassum tends to be more abundant around Bermuda in the fall and winter months, it’s not unusual to see large quantities stranding on our beaches at any time of the year.” Sargassum is crucial to many sea species, such as sea turtles, flying fish and mahi mahi. Accumulations of the seaweed also host about 100 species which live inside it. A parks spokeswoman said: “While the Department of Parks does what it can to clean our beaches of the substance, parks crews are limited in their cleanup efforts. At present, park crews are raking Horseshoe Bay Beach in the mornings on a daily basis and usually bury the excess seaweed at the back of the beach and dunes. This process assists with stabilization of these areas in the event of a storm or hurricane. To aid in clearing the beach, the department is exploring other options, such as trucking the sargassum away from the beach.” There have also been reports of Portuguese man o’ war tangled up in the seaweed. Dr Smith said people should be cautious and avoid contact with the venomous creatures, including their tentacles, which can extend up to six feet and give a dangerous sting. The Department of Parks said that lifeguards were expected to be on duty at Horseshoe Bay Beach from Wednesday.

2017. September 2. Bacteria levels at Bermuda’s beaches are well within environmental guidelines, according to the latest figures from health watchdogs. A report by the Department of Health revealed some spikes in enterococci, a group of bacteria used as an indicator of pollution or faecal contaminants, but levels remained well within US limits. The US guidelines recommend that the 30-day geometric mean does not exceed 35 colony forming units of enterococci per 100 millilitres. Results between April 30 and August 20 show enterococci levels well below that limit, although levels at two beaches temporarily exceeded 15 CFU per 100ml over the course of the summer. The first and largest peak was recorded at Snorkel Park on the week of May 21, when testing showed a mean of nearly 20 CFU per 100ml. Levels at the beach fell throughout June, reaching a low of 5 CFU per 100ml before rising again in subsequent weeks. The second highest spike occurred at the east end of Horseshoe Bay on the week of July 30, with levels again approaching 20 CFU per 100ml before falling. CFU levels at the centre of the beach and at the west end remained lower, as did the results from Warwick Long Bay. In the east end, enterococci levels at Tobacco Bay exceeded 10 CFU per 100ml twice, while waters at Shelly Bay reached 5 CFU per 100 millilitres between May 28 and June 11. Levels at Clearwater Beach, John Smith’s Bay and Grotto Bay did not exceed 5 CFU per 100ml. Centrally located testing sites — including Elbow Beach and Grape Bay — showed consistently low bacteria levels throughout the summer, with no results over 5 CFU per 100ml. The Department of Health has regularly tested seawater from across the island since 2014, using US Environmental Protection Agency methodology for recreational water quality for marine water, and posted results on their website. Problems with bacteria in the islands waters arose after a 2013 water quality study revealed levels of enterococci well above US guidelines — although only during rare and sustained weather patterns. The report led to an official warning about Bermuda’s beaches on the US State Department’s website. Enterococci can enter the sea from a variety of sources, including storm water run-off, animal and seabird waste, failing septic systems, sewage effluent, boating waste and from bathers.

2016. May 20. The seawater at Bermuda’s top tourist beaches has been given a clean bill of health as the summer vacation season gets into full swing. Environmental health officers have been regularly testing the quality of the bathing water at the nine most popular beaches for swimming since the start of April. And their latest results — obtained this week — put all the beaches in the clear when it comes to the quality of the bathing water, with low levels of pollution. Senior public health analyst Elaine Watkinson told The Royal Gazette it was “early days” in terms of collecting and analyzing water samples as the testing only began on April 4, but she added: “From the results we have got, it still looks good. We are early on in the season but we can look at the last two years’ data and expect that sort of low trend to continue. There is nothing we know of that has changed.” She said as the summer progressed, officials would gather enough data on levels of bacteria to produce a geometric mean — a measure of an overall average — for each beach. Graphs showing the quality of the water in the East End, West End and central area would then be shared with the public, as they have been for the previous two summers. “The most important area for us to concentrate on is the major beaches,” she said. “We sample over a period of time over all the main months when people swim and we are looking at the data over a period of time. We go by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) guidelines. The individual readings don’t mean as much as the readings over a period of time. So what we do is collect an average value using 30 days of sample results. Every time we do another test and get another result, we get another average value.” The sampling sites are: Clearwater Beach South, Clearwater Beach North, Elbow Beach West, Elbow Beach Central, Elbow Beach East, Grape Bay, Horseshoe Bay East, Horseshoe Bay Central, Horseshoe Bay West, John Smith’s Bay, Shelly Bay, Snorkel Park, Tobacco Bay and Warwick Long Bay West. The water taken from those beaches is tested for enterococci, a group of bacteria used as an indicator of pollution or faecal contaminants, in accordance with EPA methodology for recreational water quality for salt water. The EPA’s maximum acceptable level of enterococcus per 100 millilitres of water for a single sample is 130 cfu. The latest test results show all 14 sampling sites well below that level, with half showing a level of less than 1 cfu. Even the beach with the highest level, Tobacco Bay, in St George’s, is still only at 15 cfu. Since the testing began, Snorkel Park at Dockyard has exceeded the 130 cfu level on one occasion and environmental health officers are working with the West End Development Corporation, which owns the beach, to determine what caused the spike. On April 4, the level of enterococcus at Snorkel Park was 71 cfu per 100ml. The EPA guidelines suggest retesting if the level is above 70 cfu so another sample was taken the following day and the results showed the level had dropped to 4 cfu. On April 11, the level of enterococcus at Snorkel Park was 151 cfu per 100ml — exceeding the EPA’s acceptable limit. The next day it was retested and the level had dropped to 61 cfu. The most recent sample taken this week showed a level of 1 cfu — in line with samples taken at Horseshoe, Elbow and Clearwater beaches. Wedco general manager Andrew Dias said yesterday that the beach at Snorkel Park was not open on April 11 as there was no cruise ship at Dockyard. “There is no obvious source [of the pollution],” he said. “Obviously, we jumped on it immediately — both Wedco and environmental health. It’s still an active investigation that we continue to monitor. We are not resting on our laurels. While we are pleased with the latest results, we are still obviously investigating. We are retesting a lot more frequently to try to pinpoint if it’s coming from the land in any shape or form. We are taking proactive measures.” He pointed out that no sewage was pumped out from land to sea at Dockyard and the sewage treatment plant beneath Casemates was tertiary level — “the highest world standard that you can have for the treating of sewage. None of the water goes into the sea. The water that comes out is basically potable water and is then reused for flushing and irrigation. That water is sampled daily and injected with chlorine.” Mrs Watkinson said: “The area is being inspected to try to identify possible sources. When we get spikes of enterococci it could be down to a number of different factors or sources. It could be storm water run-off or even cleaning activities in the area or from animal contamination or from some sort of pipe leakage. It’s difficult to say for sure.” Snorkel Park operator Tom Steinhoff said the “blip” on April 11 had clearly not come from swimmers in the water so the source was a “concern”. “The storm run-off [factor] is interesting because we did have a ton of rain. It could be an anomaly because of high rain levels.” He said the latest results were welcome, adding that Snorkel Park was looking forward to a busy weekend and May 24 holiday. The Government promised in April 2014 to tell the public if sewage pollution levels off Bermuda’s beaches hit danger levels, after the United States Consulate warned US residents and tourists that the island’s waters could be unsafe at times, depending on wind and weather conditions. The first test results to be made public in 2014 included Hungry Bay in Devonshire, after fears were raised that sewage was ending up there from the Seabright sewage outfall in certain weather conditions. Hungry Bay is not listed as a sampling site this year and nor was it last year. A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Hungry Bay is not a bathing beach. The Department is focusing the recreational water monitoring programme on popular bathing beaches in accordance with advice from Carpha (Caribbean Public Health Agency).” She added: “Sampling results show that water quality of all monitored bathing beaches in Bermuda satisfies US EPA recreational water quality criteria. Bathing water quality results generally can be described as ‘excellent’ for Bermuda’s South Shore beaches. The public will be notified if waters exceed acceptable values by posted notice on the affected beaches, media release and by advisory at www.gov.bm.” nterococci – colony forming units per 100ml of water. Source: Department of Health

Public beaches

main public beaches locations

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

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 should be obtained. All Bermuda's public beaches and public parks come under the jurisdiction of the Bermuda Government's Department of Parks which is issues an annual advisory regarding bonfire permits and the guidelines for dogs and horses in Bermuda’s National Parks, in accordance with the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986, 2009. 2017 and subsequent Amendments. Public beaches are without the off-beach and water-sports facilities of private beaches.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.

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. 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. 

Bars. Only two public beaches have a privately-run bar. Most Bermuda beaches are family beaches. A very few have basic restaurants franchised from the Bermuda Government but usually with no bars.  An exception is at Tobacco Bay in St. George's..

Bathrooms, showers and toilets/WCs. A few public beaches may have a bathrom/toilet/WC  but most will not. Nor will they likely have a public shower. Most public beaches in the Caribbean and elsewhere do not have bathrooms, showers or toilets and Bermuda is generally no exception. 

Best enjoyed when the tide is low. Some are completely or partially submerged at high tide) visitors should consult the tide table for that day. 

Bermuda reefs off a beach

Bermuda reefs off a beach. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Bonfires in the National Parks: All bonfires require a Special Permit which must be obtained from the Department of Parks’ office. Upon obtaining a Special Permit, persons will receive all necessary information about the terms and conditions for proper bonfire conduct within National Parks

Camping on beaches by visitors is not allowed.  

Dogs in the National Parks: Dogs are permitted to be on any public beach from 1st November to the 31st March but not from 1 April to 31 October. Dogs must be on a leash at all times with leash length no greater than three metres. For safety and health reasons dogs are not permitted on playgrounds in National Parks.

Beaches and dogs

Horses on the beaches in the National Parks: From the 1st November — 30th April, no person shall take or ride a horse on Horseshoe Bay Beach, in South Shore Park, or on the beaches in John Smith’s Bay Park and Elbow Beach Park. However individuals may take or ride a horse on all other public beaches below the high tide water mark at any time.

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.  

Special Permits: Park patrons are reminded that Special Permits should be sought from the Department of Parks if they plan to have events and activities within the National Park System. Permits can be collected from the Parks Office located at Global House, 43 Church Street Hamilton HM 12.

Private beaches  

Private beaches 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 tourist restaurants. 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. Many private beaches are as gorgeous as or better than the public ones and may have more facilities.

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

This map shows where where Parishes - including their beaches both private and public - are located. Bermuda buses go past or near many - not all - beaches. Others 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.

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

Clarence Cove

Clarence Cove

 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

Tobacco Bay

Tobacco 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

line drawing

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Last Updated: September 30, 2019
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