Barbados' beaches are probably one of the greatest aspects of Barbadian culture. Older generations track down to the beach for a relaxing swim at sunrise, children 'wrinkle like raisins' and teens 'bake to a crisp' on day long excursions to the beach of choice, families picnic in shady areas followed by a game of beach cricket, and after a dip, lovers lock arms at sunset and stroll along the shore. Yes, our 70 miles of shoreline is not taken for granted, by locals or visitors alike and since by stipulation of Barbados law, all beaches are public, we are all spoilt for choice when it comes to sun, sand and glorious sea, in every shade of blue imaginable.
Hire a car for a few days and explore - with so many beaches you won't have to visit the same on twice - unless you want to, of course. Pack a picnic lunch or patronize one of the numerous restaurants, rum shops and bars scattered along the coastline. Sunscreen is a must and remember that nude/topless bathing is against the law. See Beach Safety and What to Take for other tips.
From peaceful Caribbean Sea to pounding Atlantic Ocean Barbados' coastal scenery is beautifully diverse. West Coast beaches are ideal for swimming, snorkeling or just soaking up the sun, not to mention taking advantage of water-sports of all kinds. Every now and then you might even encounter a school of flying fish jumping out of the water nearby. South Coast beaches are more choppy and breezy and good for boogie-boarding and learning to surf while South-East seas tend toward bigger waves and attract practitioners of waterman sports. Boards are available for rent and professionals do give lessons if you are interested. On the East Coast wading or dipping pools may be found in some areas but generally swimming is not recommended as Atlantic rollers make for very rough seas and high breakers. Of course this is prime action for surfers in areas like the Soup Bowl and Parlour where international competitions are held annually.
All Barbados' beaches have white sand and lovely warm blue sea, but there are a few other requirements for a good picnic. Our Top 10 list of Picnic Beaches will tell you some of the spots you can find these essentials: shade, parking, easy access for lugging the coolers and baskets, the absence of hotels, and good swimming. Its also handy if there's a shop or deli near to the beach where you can pick up supplies.
You can easily hop a bus or call a taxi to take you to a beach with a shady spot that takes your fancy, or if you are staying anywhere on the West Coast you may wish to arrange for a speedboat to carry and collect you at an appointed time. Hire a car for a few days and explore - with so many beaches you won't have to visit the same on twice - unless you want to, of course. Pack a picnic lunch or patronize one of the numerous restaurants, rum shops and bars scattered along the coastline. Sunscreen is a must and remember that nude/topless bathing is against the law. See Beach Safety and What to Take for other tips.
Popular picnic items in Barbados include: ham, cheese or flying fish cutters (sandwiches made with Bajan salt breads) served with hot pepper sauce, rotis (chicken, beef or shrimp curry with or without potato wrapped in a roti skin - sold ready made island wide), fried chicken, macaroni & cheese and salad and BBQ chicken wings. A really popular snack to take to picnics is buljol, a pickled salt fish salad served with crackers. Check the recipe out on this site. Many hotels offer the service of preparing a picnic for guests and gas stations in Barbados sell ice, take away food, drinks and snacks of all kinds for picnics.