With all the beaches to choose from on the two, long 100-mile shorelines of Eleuthera, which ones stand out and why? You have a choice of among 50 or so, and unless you are planning on spending three to six months on the island exploring all of the pock-marked rough roads that take you to each of the hidden beaches then you'll want to know which ones to make sure you get to. Here is a list of the beaches that are the "must-sees" during your week in paradise.
#5 Twin Bay (Rainbow Bay Subdivision) ? these two charming beaches win the contest hands down for the most romantic.
Set below a cliff, Twin Bay offers two cozy cave beaches with space so intimate that they're really only suitable for one couple lest you invade on another's privacy. You need to get up early to claim this beach first. Both beaches are side by side on the Atlantic side and are reached by climbing down a set of rock stairs carved out of a fallen boulder.
They each offer shade in the sandy cave, some sun by the water's edge, and a lot of wave action due to the nearby breaker. It is possible to have a strong current. In high tides they will flood so be prepared in case the water levels rise. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and grab a bottle of wine to enjoy the full day at these amazing little beaches.
Pluses: Seclusion, shade, interesting terrain due to the caves, good waves.
Minuses: They may already be occupied, strong current, not a lot of sun, a steep climb down rocky stairs.
#4 Ten Bay (Ten Bay Subdivision) ? with only one private home on the beach and with ½ mile of gorgeous pink sand, Ten Bay has become a favorite for everyone, young and old alike. It offers a spectacular unobstructed view onto the horizon for picturesque sunsets. The landscape is dotted with tall palm and casuarina trees for shade especially around the middle of the beach.
The water is usually very serene and quite shallow with no current. This is a good beach for sunning, wading, snorkeling, and bonefishing. This is an excellent beach for toddlers because of the soft cool sand and shallow waters. It tends to be more popular so you are likely to see a few visitors on the beach from time to time. It is also a good strolling beach, and there is usually an abundance of conch shells at its northern end.
Pluses: Sunsets, extremely clean, shallow calm water, good snorkeling around the sides of the bay, lots of sun, shelling.
Minuses: Other people on the beach, no waves, shallow water.
#3 Double Bay (Double Bay Subdivision) ? this beach has it all and is one of the great wide Atlantic beaches of Eleuthera. Private houses are spread far and wide up its 2 mile coastline and they are largely hidden by dunes, and lush vegetation.
The beach is quite wide by Eleutheran standards with plenty of sand between the dunes and the sea. A pretty landscape is dotted by several small cays, and the southern shore juts out convincingly separating Double Bay from Savannah Sound. The sand is firm and offers a great walk due to its length. There are small pockets of reef to snorkel on and at the southern end of the beach are two shipwrecks, one partially visible, and the second larger one much further out from shore offering a more daring snorkel and spear fishing. The water is delightful, and this is an excellent swimming spot due to how quickly it gets deep. This beach has awesome ambient sound as the small waves crashing to shore offer a delightful tone to complement the magnificent view.
Pluses: Swimming, lots of beach, shipwrecks for snorkeling, interesting landscape, good walking or running, easy roads and easy access.
Minuses: Very little shade, few access spots, many private houses, ship debris.
#2 Jack's Bay (near Cotton Bay) ? a very pristine spot with very few houses. Because of its remoteness you are likely to have this beach to yourself. It is a sandy half moon bay on the Atlantic, which is protected by a strong breaker at the mouth of the bay.
This has the benefit of providing great crashing waves that you can see and hear offshore while providing a protected swimming area close to shore. There is lots of sun and little shade on this beach. Snorkeling can be done along the northern shoreline, although the tides can make this quite shallow. The water in the bay tends to be shallow and calm due to how well protected it is. There are lots of baby conchs in the grassy areas off of the shoreline.
Pluses: Calm protected waters, wave sound at bay entrance, pretty half moon shape.
Minuses: Little shade, no waves, few shells, some debris, bumpy access road.
#1 Lighthouse Beach (Lighthouse Sound) ? few beaches match the raw beauty of what is found at the Lighthouse.
With large beaches on both the Caribbean and Atlantic separated by a natural limestone outcropping that can be climbed to where the old Lighthouse still stands, these beaches offer everything a vacationer could hope for including breathtaking panoramic views, interesting limestone caves, miles and miles of pristine beaches, and fabulous swimming on both sides and in both oceans. It is possible to swim from the Atlantic to the Caribbean using the channel that runs between the rocks and feel the power or two seas colliding. The best reefs are far offshore for snorkeling and currents can run strong where the oceans meet so be careful. Bring a kayak to reach the best offshore snorkeling spots.
Pluses: Elevated views, two beaches, two oceans, miles of sand and water, good snorkeling offshore, lots of shady spots, lots of sunny spots.
Minuses: Difficult to reach and rough road, no civilization nearby, likely to have other tourists because of its unique characteristics.
Papaw Bay, Winding Bay, Deep Creek, Club Med, Savannah Sound, Airport Beach, Rainbow Bay, Windermere Island (private).
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By: Bret Sigillo