By law, all Barbados beaches are open to the public from high tide to the sea. None is out of anyone’s reach. This is great if you like to look at the stars; Barbados’ beaches are a favorite getaway for celebrities from around the world. Famous or not, all who visit marvel at Barbados’ pink-and-white beaches, which are made of coral reefs that have been turned to a very fine dust by ocean waves.

The “favorite beaches” are not automatically those graced by the placid waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is true that many of us like the “zen” of calm. But some of us long for the exciting rush of the Atlantic Ocean.

With its 70 miles of beaches, Barbados offers both. The water that washes the beaches of the west coast, also known as our “Platinum Coast”, is the Caribbean Sea, which is as calm as a lake. The Atlantic Ocean on the east coast offers world-class waves for surfers; it’s fun to sit on the beach at the “Soup Bowl” in Bathsheba on the east coast and watch surfers risk life and limb to ride the perfect wave.

The south coast offers a mix of Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean waters; These waters are not calm but they are not tumultuous either. Living water and sugar-white sands make the south coast beaches a favorite with many of our visitors.

Any “best” list is a personal endeavor, and listing the best beaches in Barbados is necessarily even more personal. There are so many I like that there could be any combination on any list. But here’s a stab anyway.

1. Carlisle Bay. We start close to town, on a mile-long stretch of beach that runs along historic Carlisle Bay, from the Hilton at one end (called Needham’s Point) to Bridgetown at the other. This beach is actually divided into local sections like Yacht Club Beach, Burke’s Beach, Browne’s Beach, etc., but it is a stunning expanse, loved by many Barbadians.

2. Brandon Beach. On the north side of the city, along the beginnings of the West Coast. Another long stretch of incredible white sand, nestled in calm, warm waters. Brandon’s beach becomes Brighton Beach, then back to Brandon’s. But whatever you call it, it’s a beauty.

3. Sandy Lane Beach. The center of West Coast opulence. This is a good place to hang out and watch the stars of the world famous Sandy Lane Hotel come to bask in the warm Caribbean Sea. Madonna, Pavarotti, Jagger, Cowell, Tiger Woods (who honeymooned there), they’ve all been there and they’re all coming back. And no wonder: the beach is pristine white, with water so clear you can see your toes wiggle.

4. Cattlewash Beach. Stretching several miles along the rugged east coast of Barbados, Cattlewash Beach absorbs the power of the first landfall of Atlantic waves after a 3,000-mile journey. As a result, the surf is magnificent, pounding day and night. The places to swim are small pools and secluded areas; other places can be dangerous. Interestingly, the beach on the east coast has rough, coarse, brown sand.

5. Crane Beach. A wonderful sight from the imposing perspective of the Crane Hotel, and a delight to swim or walk around. This is the southeast of the island, but the waves break with a long barrier reef, so the sea is safe and shallow. Accessible through the hotel property or by public road.

6. Accra Beach. Right in the action zone of the South Coast. You’ll often see superstar singer Rhianna here. She is a native of Barbados and comes home often. And why wouldn’t she choose Accra Beach? Accra is a half-mile sparkling white beach, with excellent swimming and body surfing areas along it.

By now, for anyone who knows Barbados, my list is sure to have its supporters and detractors. The truth is, there probably isn’t a bad beach anywhere on the island. So go ahead and explore them all and make your own favorites list!

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