Known for its paradise-like white sand beaches, colonial architecture, and incredible nature, Antigua is one of the two main islands that make up Antigua and Barbuda and one that is worthy of being treated as a destination of its own.
A trip here is all about relishing the sun and tropical weather, but if you’re the type of traveler who doesn’t necessarily want to stay all day at the resort and want to spend your vacation discovering a destination, you’ll love to know there’s plenty to do in Antigua to keep you entertained for days on end.
From hiking to historical landmarks and the best beaches on the island, here’s the ultimate list of the best things to do in Antigua so you can craft a perfect itinerary on this gorgeous island.
Fun fact – Antigua has 365 beaches – one for each day of the year!
Things to Do in Antigua
Take a cooking class
Learn how to make authentic Caribbean seafood meals through a hands-on cooking class where you’ll learn to cook using freshly-caught produce before eating lunch on a veranda overlooking the ocean.
Hop on a sailing yacht to explore the ocean
Spend the day on a 40-foot private yacht with lots of punch and rum included! This tour can accommodate up to 6 guests and you can choose the route you want to take. This is a great way to see the island from the sea and catch some of those 365 beaches.
Snorkel on Green Island
Take a boat ride to Green Island, where you’ll get the chance to snorkel among crystal clear waters where lots of marine life can be found. There’s also an open bar on the boat.
Spend the day hiking
Aside from its glorious beaches, Antigua is home to plenty of parks with glorious hiking trails perfect for any level. This tour will take you to some of the best trails the island has to offer in order to get close and personal with nature, and you can choose from easy, moderate, and challenging trails depending on your preference.
Sail along Antigua’s West Coast
Spend the day sailing along the West Coast of the island in order to see its landscapes in their full glory.
Taste local food
Head out on an adventure around Heritage Quay in order to sample traditional dishes at various local restaurants alongside a guide.
Swim with stingrays
Head over to Stingray City, where you’ll find shallow waters and a world of southern stingrays who are so used to humans that they aren’t afraid to glide by swimmers or get fed from your hand.
*Arguably one of the coolest things to do in Antigua*
Visit Nelson’s Dockyard
Once a British naval base that was later left to decay, Nelson’s Dockyard was renovated and turned into a UNESCO-listed museum, hotel, and restaurant where visitors are welcome to wander around and imagine what life was like here during the 18th century.
Visit Devil’s Bridge National Park
Located on the coast, this national park features one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Antigua: a natural arch on the Atlantic Ocean that looks as striking as ever. Legend has it that the devil lives right under the bridge, which is how it got its name!
*When I stayed at Hammock Cove, it was an easy 5 minute walk right behind the hotel!*
Befriend donkeys at Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary
Spend a few hours petting, feeding, and grooming rescued donkeys that live at Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary near the village of Bethesda on the southeastern side of the island.
Catch views at Fort Berkeley
Built in 1704, Fort Berkeley is one of the oldest structures on the island located on the English Harbor. It was constructed in order to protect Antigua from dangers, but these days, it acts as a historical landmark where you can catch great views of the ocean.
Climb Mount Obama
If you want to stand at the highest point in Antigua, you can hike up to Mount Obama, which stands at 1319 feet. From the top, you’ll get to see incredible views of the island, making it one of the best things to do in Antigua if you’re all about vistas and nature.
Enjoy the sun at Galleon Beach
Highly regarded as one of Antigua’s most beautiful beaches, Galleon Beach is a must on your itinerary. Its hilly and lush surroundings make it look straight out of a postcard, and you can spend the day here surfing, snorkeling, enjoying watersports, or simply lounging under the sun surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
For a view from the top, visit Shirley Heights which overlooks the beach.
Hop around Hawksbill beaches
For the ultimate beach-hopping experience, head over to Hawksbill beaches, a series of four gorgeous beaches that are considered some of the best in Antigua and absolutely free to visit. Sea Grape Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Honeymoon Cove, and the clothing-optional Eden Beach make up this group of beaches.
Learn about naval history at the Admiral’s House Museum
Located on Nelson’s Dockyard, the Admiral’s House Museum is located inside the house that once belonged to Admiral Horatio Nelson, an office in the British Navy. Here, you’ll get to admire heirlooms from colonial times and learn all about the island’s naval past.
Hike to Rendezvous Bay for the ultimate beach experience
If you don’t mind making a little effort in order to reach paradise, Rendezvous Bay is one of the best things to do in Antigua for you. Getting to this gorgeous bay is only possible by hiking for around 30 minutes or driving a four-wheel vehicle, but once you get there, the trek is definitely worth it.
Snorkel or dive at Cades Reef
Cades Reef provides some of the most incredible snorkeling and diving spots in the entire Caribbean. It sits just off the coast of Antigua and seeing plenty of tropical fish, colorful coral, and tons of marine species is possible on a guided tour.
Hike to Shirley Heights
Once a military complex, Shirley Heights is one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island, especially around sunset and sunrise. The hike is a 1.1-mile out-and-back trail that is considered relatively easy. There’s also a restaurant and bar at Shirley Temple where you can relax after hiking with glorious views around.
Check out Falmouth Harbour
Located in southern Antigua, Falmouth Harbor is a place where you can do some of the best things in Antigua. Fishing, sailing, shopping, hiking, and diving among coral reefs are just a few of the activities on offer here!
Explore Antigua’s jungle from above by zip lining above canopies. Aside from that, this tour also offers suspension bridges and rope channels if you want to continue exploring.
Admire the Pillars of Hercules
Sitting on the ocean, you’ll find a series of quirky rock formations that somewhat look like soldiers guarding the island. The best way to see them is on a boat, but you can also hike to the end of Galleon Beach (note that scrambling is a must on the trail) to reach them.
Shop at St. John’s outdoor market
For a truly local experience, make sure not to miss out on visiting the outdoor market in St. Johns, especially on a Saturday morning. Here, you can purchase fresh fruits and all sorts of goodies just like locals do.
Explore the 1905 Wreck of the Andes
There are plenty of shipwrecks all around Antigua, but the most accessible one is the 1905 Wreck of the Andes, which sunk right by St. Johns. You can book several snorkeling and diving tours in order to see the remains of the ship.
Gawk at the beauty of Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a gorgeous bay in the shape of a moon that boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua. Soft white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush backdrops are the staples of this bay.
Eat authentic food at Trappas
If authentic meals are what you’re after, one of the best places to try local recipes is Trappas on the English Harbor. Caribbean flavors are their strong suit, and seafood here is as fresh as it can get.
Have lunch with a view at Sheer Rocks
Perched up on a cliff, Sheer Rocks is not only one of the best restaurants in Antigua, but one that also offers the best views on the island. Sheer Rocks also has pools and lounging areas in case you want to spend the entire day here!
Admire Caribbean art at Zemi Art Gallery
Located in St. John’s, Zemi Art Gallery is a wonderful place to visit in order to discover the artsy side of the island of Antigua. Here, you’ll find artwork that displays Caribbean heritage, history, and culture at its best, including masks, sculptures, paintings, and crafts.
Set just south of Jolly Harbor, Church Beach is one of the best things to do in Antigua if a day spent lounging at the beach is what you’re after. This beach features calm turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and plenty of amenities like umbrellas and beach chairs, so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything along other than your swimsuit and sunscreen.
Walk around St. John’s
Like many capital cities in the Caribbean, St. John’s is a colorful town dotted by picturesque colonial buildings, restaurants, bars, museums, and historical sites. A day spent simply walking around the streets of St John’s to get to know the capital is a must on your list of things to do in Antigua!
Galley Bay Beach
Another glorious beach worth visiting while in Antigua is Galley Bay Beach, which boasts clear water and white sand. Light surfing is also possible here, and if you get lucky, you may even get to see sea turtles hatching here.
Have dinner at sunset at Indigo On The Beach
Located on Carlisle Bay, Indigo On The Beach is a seaside restaurant perfect for dinner as the sunsets here are simply spectacular. Their menu features Mediterranean-style dishes with Caribbean touches and the cocktails here are absolutely delicious.
Tour Betty’s Hope Historic Sugar Plantation
Once a sugar plantation back in the 1600s, Betty’s Hope’s grounds were turned into a historical landmark and museum. The museum was opened in order to bring awareness and honor the lives of the slaves in Antigua during colonial times. This is not an easy attraction to visit, but one that is a must in order to fully understand the island’s history.
Meet gigantic tortoises on Laviscount Island
Visit Laviscount Island for the ultimate wildlife experience in Antigua. Here, you’ll get to meet Aldabra tortoises, which are known to live 200 years and measure up to 4 feet! Aside from tortoises, you may also get to spot other species like iguanas, macaws, and more.
Take a day trip to Prickly Pear Island
Head out on a day trip to a small, uninhabited island off the coast of Antigua where you can spend the day snorkeling, lounging on virgin beaches, and seeing unspoiled nature.
Take a day trip to Barbuda
While there are plenty of things to do in Antigua, you may want to take up on the chance to visit its little sister, Barbuda, as well. You can easily do so on a day trip by booking a catamaran tour or by taking a ferry ride on the Barbuda Express.
Take a scenic tour of Antigua
If you’re short on time and want to cram as much into a day, booking a scenic tour might be the best way to go. This tour will take you to some of the top highlights of the island, including Devil’s Bridge, Blockhouse, Shirley Heights, Nelson Dockyard, and plenty more with lunch included.
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