If you love the beach, then you'll love Anguilla. There are over 30 beaches here (check out this comprehensive site about Anguilla's beaches). What's nice is that there are different kinds of beaches, all on the same island, and the furthest points of the island are probably not more than 45 minutes from each other by car. Some are deserted, nearly private beaches, others more crowded with a lot of activities, some a little rocky, most with soft white sand. Some beaches have great swimming and decent snorkeling, others are too treacherous to risk wading out. Terry and I have been to six beaches on this trip:

First we went to Maunday's Bay, but basically just took one look and turned around and left. A hurricane hit the major resort on this beach a few weeks before our arrival, and while the sand and sea looked beautiful about 1/4 mile down the beach, the easily accessible part was pretty torn up by the heavy construction equipment that was busy rebuilding the oceanfront restaurants that had been wiped out.

Cove Bay is the next beach up the east coast of the island, and that was lovely. It was very long, the sand was soft, the water clear and warm. It was also very private, there was just one other family on the beach the day we visited, and it was a weekend. There is only one restaurant at this beach, but it hadn't opened yet for the season, so that probably accounted for just how quiet the beach was.

We booked spa appointments at the Venus Spa at the Cuisinart resort one afternoon, and spent the morning at their beach. That is one sweet resort-- the landscaping is luscious, the pools are beautiful, and the adjacent beach (Rendezvous Bay) is just as nice. They provided chairs, umbrellas, and water at the beach, as well as drink service and a few floating rafts. We took advantage since although we weren't staying at the resort we were "spa guests" that day. It is just at the very beginning of the season here, but we still had a decent hike down the beach to find some unoccupied chair at 11am. I've got to suspect that in high season the beach is absolutely packed. While Rendezvous Bay is extremely long, the beach is slightly narrower than other beaches. But I do appreciate a beach with good services, and Cuisinart stocked their beach with attendants, so that was a big plus.

We went to Shoal Bay East a couple times. There are quite a few bars and restaurants on the beach, the water seemed to be a little warmer there on the Atlantic side of the island, and the waves were larger. There was a lot going on at that beach-- bands playing at the bars, people playing paddleball, there was a swimsuit fashion shoot one afternoon. There are chairs and umbrellas available, but without attendants so it was a much more casual arrangement than down at Rendezvous Bay. Terry and I didn't bother with an umbrella since there was shade by some trees that we took advantage of.

We watched the sun set over Road Bay, which I think is also called Sandy Ground. There is a white sand beach, but it's also a harbor. There were a handful of bars and restaurants over there, and there was a band playing as part of a jazz festival the evening we were there. I get the feeling that beach is more "happening" in the evenings when the bars fill up than during the daytime.

Barnes Bay is the Atlantic beach furthest west on the island. It's small and rocky, although there is a decent strip of soft sand to walk along, so you don't have to worry about walking on the rocks. The rocks are a little further back and to the sides-- the waves break over the rocks scenically. I also found the best shells on this beach. I got a lot of tiny ones with black and white stripes that I will make into a necklace when I get home. The restaurant Mango's is on this beach, but it wasn't yet open for the season when we visited. There is a lot of construction going on further down this beach, although I couldn't determine exactly if it was on Barnes Bay or the next beach over, Meads Bay. I think Viceroy is building out a large property there, but there might be more than one development going in at the same time. We didn't bother going closer to look at the signs.