Once considered the Caribbean’s best kept secret, Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation that’s quickly becoming one of the region’s top destinations.

This major tourist hub is located in the north-eastern Caribbean, and is famous for its breath-taking beaches, gorgeous landscapes, rich history, vibrant culture and world class sailing. In short, the English speaking, 108 square mile island of Antigua has something for everyone. So, based on visitor feedback and local insights, these are the five top sites to see in Antigua in 2021.

Nelsons Dockyard
Nelson’s Dockyard Photo

Nelson’s Dockyard

Located on the southern side of the island, Nelson’s Dockyard, together with Shirley’s Heights and Clarence House, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cultural site and marina were named after British Admiral Horatio Nelson when restorations began in the 1950’s. It is now home to world-famous yachting events, including the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week.

Dickenson Bay
Dickenson Bay – A perfect setting for an active day.

Dickenson Bay

The title of most developed beach on Antigua is often given to Dickenson Bay, located on the north-western coast of the island.

Its tranquil waters and white sands make it a popular meet-up place for friends and families. It is also popular with tourists given its proximity to restaurants, beach bars, resort hotels and water sport activities. Several smaller islands and a mile-long coral reef can also be found off the coast of Dickenson Bay. This beach is perfect for persons in search of a place that is neither too crowed nor too secluded.

Fort James
Fort James

Fort James

Located at the harbour entrance to the capital city St. John’s, Fort James was built in the 18th century to safeguard the island.

This north-western fort was named after King James II of England, and its ruins can still be explored extensively on foot.

A hairsbreadth away from Fort James is the extremely popular Fort James Beach. Both are situated close to the main cruise-ship dock and they are a trip-worthy sight for visitors and locals alike.

Aerial of Darkwood Beach, Antigua
Aerial of Darkwood Beach, Antigua

Darkwood Beach

Darkwood has it all; lush green hilltops, crystal clear waters, and an incredible stretch of white sand that epitomizes paradise on earth. In a country of 365 beaches, Darkwood stands out!

Located on the south-western coast of Antigua, Darkwood is a snorkeler’s haven that is surrounded by reefs and drenched in the relative calmness of the Caribbean Sea.

The neighbouring islands of Monserrat and Guadeloupe are visible from the shores on a clear day, and Darkwood Beach Bar stands ready to serve up local specialities, international beverages and unique cuisine.

Party at Shirley Heights
Party at Shirley Heights

Shirley’s Heights

Probably the most talked about spot in Antigua is Shirley Heights. No list would be complete without it so here it is –

Standing at 490 feet is the restored military lookout, Shirley’s Heights, which offers one of the best views in the whole of Antigua.

From Shirley Heights – named after Sir Thomas Shirley, a former Governor of the Leeward Islands – one is treated to a panoramic 360 view that includes both English and Falmouth Harbours.

Its popular Sunday party gets banging from 4pm and usually last until 10pm. Shirley’s Heights offers history, scenery and joviality in a unique package that is impossible to replicate!

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