Antigua; More Than Just Beaches

Shirley Heights, Antigua
Shirley Heights, Antigua

When most people think of Antigua, they think beach. But Antigua is so much more than just beaches. Located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, it is actually part of the country of Antigua & Barbuda. Antigua is the largest of the English speaking Leeward Islands. However, it is still small at 14 miles x 11 miles.

Antigua is a picturesque island that people dream of visiting when they fantasize about a Caribbean getaway, categorized by its beautiful ocean views and turquoise blue waters. Most people don’t realize that there is a lot more to this island than just the beaches.

Windmills at Betty's Hope, Antigua
Windmills at Betty’s Hope, Antigua

Betty’s Hope

Betty’s Hope was the first and the most abundant sugar plantation on the island of Antigua. It stands as a reminder of the role that Antigua played in the British Colonial Era. It was a plantation that helped Britain generate considerable wealth in the Caribbean.

Established in 1674, it was named after the daughter of one of the former owners. The comprehensive visitor’s center and museum educate tourists on the daily lives of slaves on this plantation. It also offers a way to step back into the past and understand Antigua’s rich history.

St. John’s Saturday Morning Market

St. John is the capital of Antigua and is the center of island life on Saturday mornings. This market draws in vendors from all over the island and provides a wonderful place for tourists to spend time. This market is a beautiful reflection of Antigua. You can get in touch with the locals, their incredible culture, and their fun way of life.

St. John's, Antigua
St. John’s, Antigua

Nelson’s Dockyard National Park and Shirley Heights

Nelson’s Dockyard, located in English Harbor, served the British Naval Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). It also served as the headquarters for Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson from 1784-1787. The area is filled with shops, restaurants, cafes, shops, and even a museum where you can spend a fantastic day out in Antigua.

Shirley Heights is a great hike that you can take from the Dockyard. Shirley Heights is just under 500 feet above sea level, and the summit of this hike allows for views of Guadeloupe island and the active volcanic island of Montserrat, both located just to the south. It is also a prime spot for a great Sunday night party at the Shirley Heights Lookout Bar and Restaurant. For more nightlife fun, head to Falmouth and English Harbors.

With a wide selection of markets, shops, and restaurants to tour while in Antigua, this island filled with rich colonial history offers plenty of activities away from the beach.

If you are looking for an island getaway with more to offer than just beaches, I highly recommend Antigua.

When you’re ready to start planning your Antigua escape, Endless Shores Travel would love to help.

Until next time,

Live. Laugh. Travel.

comments +

  1. Pete Hanson says:

    Antigua is the next Caribbean island I want visit. I love the BEACH, SNORKELING and visiting local culture. I am a single male so it would be nice to be around some night life but also good local restaurants, shops grocery stores. I have googled all parts of the island so I have some ideas. I would also rent a car fir my stay so that I can visit all parts of the island.

    • Amy Graves says:

      I’d love to help you plan a trip to Antigua, Pete! Send me an email when you are ready to start planning. I think you will love Antigua, such an amazing island!

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